Sunday, April 22, 2012

Review of Loving Emily

Ryan Mills is only focused on one thing. He has a huge crush on Emily Wintraub. In fact, he thinks he is actually in love with her, even though they have never spoken. But he is going to her Sweet Sixteen party with his best friend Michael and hopes to find the courage to speak to her. Maybe she will like him and even go out with him.

Ryan manages to pry Emily's attention away from Derek Masters, the dreamy captain of the basketball team, with whom most of the girls are in love. They really seem to hit it off, but then his jackass best friend Michael gets completely wasted and manages to ruin the party. Ryan tries to make amends and drags Michael out of the country club. He leaves him standing by the stairwell and tells him to not move. He has to just tell Emily something, hoping to salvage whatever kind of a connection they had started prior to the disruption. Michael looks at him and says, "Soldier Rock!" and mentions he has something important to tell him, as Ryan walks away.

When Ryan returns to the stairwell, Michael is gone. Somehow he has managed to get his keys and to take off in the car. The next morning, Ryan finds out that his best friend crashed his car and is dead.

He blames himself for the accident, having left Michael alone while he went after Emily. Had he just taken him home at that moment, Michael would probably still be alive. Never mind his past history of substance abuse.

Despite the ruined party, Emily finds herself falling hard for Ryan. The two of them enter into a hot and heavy relationship. They begin to have difficulty, though, as Ryan finally figures out Michael's secret and vows to take care of Michael's unfinished business. Ryan feels torn between the love of his life and loyalty to his dead best friend. Because he feels responsible for Michael's death, it feels wrong that he is carrying on. Had he not been pursuing Emily, this would not have happened. (At least not at this point in time.) At the same time, he tries to salvage his damaged relationship with his own family.

I loved this book. It was honest and heartwrenching and refreshing to have such a story being told from a male character for once. The emotions being shared by the characters seemed valid and true, even if their situations are not going to be as familiar to most readers. After all, how many teenagers live in the lap of luxury with an Oscar-winning director for a father and parties at country clubs? But teens ruining their lives with drugs and having intense relationships are surely familiar topics. Being torn between love and responsibility is something that we can struggle with all of the way through adulthood. And everyone battles their parents, especially during the teenage years.

Ryan's devotion to his friend, to Emily, and to Michael's secret are admirable. He has to make a lot of difficult decisions along his journey. Sometimes they probably weren't always the right ones, but he learns a lot as he goes through them. He has to learn how to forgive himself and his best friend. I think he could be a good role model. While many will not find themselves in this exact situation, his journey can be thought-provoking. It's a love story that will be enjoyed by both adults and young adults. I had a hard time putting it down and want to read it again.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookRooster in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Review of Dead as Dutch

I am not a fan of the Zombie genre. I don't understand the fascination with them. But when I was offered the chance to check out Dead as Dutch for free in exchange for my review for, I decided to give this young adult novel a chance.

Stan is a film student, preparing to film a ten-minute short called Letter 13 for the coveted Fatty Arbuckle prize. He has grandiose thoughts of himself being the next Hitchcock or Coppola. On his crew is the scary-smart Irv, who seems to know a little bit about everything. His kid sister Dana has been coerced into helping him film as second unit. Keisha is the sexy female lead. Bryce is the whiny, spoiled rich kid who is used to getting his own way, especially as a talented actor. He is playing the lead opposite Keisha. All we really know about the plot of the movie is that it involves running from aliens. A good director is supposed to go with the flow and the flow quickly changes while the fivesome is working on their project.

When they accidentally uncover a mysterious metal box, their movie takes a completely different turn. The sun is going down, so they start to meander back to their campground, only to get completely lost. They stumble upon the cabin of the creepy Munyon, who seems like he belongs in Deliverance, and offers them shelter for the night. However, they quickly realize that they are not alone in the woods. Can they make room in the script for the Undead, while still clinging to their own lives?

The book was a relatively easy read for me. It flows in the same pattern as watching one of those cheesy teen horror movies unfold. The characters and the plot completely fit the mold. It reminded me of the I Know What You Did Last Summer series, as far as the characters and cheese factor were concerned, though much less scary. In fact, when the resolution comes at the end of the story, I was not surprised and actually suspected such an ending was going to occur.

Rich Docherty makes sure you really know his characters as he frequently rabbit trails to tell you each one's history. The backgrounds for some of them did seem pertinent to the story. Other ones were way too long and almost unnecessary. But unlike some other books I have read as of late, his background stories were well distinguished from the current plot. I could envision them as memory sequences during a movie.

It isn't going to qualify as literature of the highest quality, but it provides an escape for a few hours.
Get your Kindle copy here, regular price $2.99.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Huge Giveaway With The Vampire Hunter's Daughter

Are you a Facebook Fan of The Vampire Hunter's Daughter yet? If not, you better get over to Jennifer Malone Wright's page as soon as you can! She is running a HUGE giveaway right now. You have 12 more days from this posting to enter.

The Grand Prize Winner's special gifts include two autographed books, five free e-books, $10 to both Amazon and Starbucks, and an autographed bookmark. Two runner-ups will each receive an autographed copy of Jen's other book The Birth of Jaiden and a $5 Amazon gift card.

Gaining entries is easy. Visit the giveaway app and follow each step along the way. All you have to do is "Like" the pages of the books and their authors. Tweet about the giveaway. And share it with your friends!

The Vampire Hunter's Daughter is the first vampire series that I have fallen in love with, as I am not usually a fan of the genre. Jen is proving me wrong in my opinions!

Let me know if you have entered the giveaway! And good luck!