A Midsummer's Nightmare

Kody Keplinger

midsummers nightmareAfter reading The DUFF I discovered that Keplinger had other novels set in the same town and as I was interested to see if anything about the DUFF characters cropped up I picked up this one to read.
The lead character of this book is a teenage girl called Whitley.
She's looking forward to escaping her embittered mother for a summer of booze and beach side lounging with her semi-famous anchorman father. When he picks her up at the airport she discovers that he's getting remarried and she's staying with his fiancee and his two kids. One of whom is a guy she had a one night stand with at the end of the school year.
Whitley is an unhappy, lonely, screwed up kid. She takes her frustrations and pain out on everyone around her and it gets her in a lot of trouble.
This book is easily as well written as The DUFF and it was nice to see some of those characters again if only for a few paragraphs but I found Whitley a hard character to relate to or sympathize with. That's probably because I'm a long way past my personal teenage angst (all my angst is middle-aged thank you very much).
It's worth reading but there's nothing outstanding or especially memorable about it.

Rating: B




Kody Keplinger

the duffThis is an entertaining YA novel about a smart and cynical teenager called Bianca who is told one day that she's the DUFF of her friend group - the designated ugly fat friend.
The book follows her as she internalizes that idea and as she falls off from the beaten path of her regular life into chaos before finding a new kind of equilibrium.
I read this because I'm very intrigued by the film they've made of it. I'm going to go see it at some point.
As for the book it's enjoyable but it's also slightly uneven. The main characters are strongly written but the plot isn't hugely compelling. The biggest point in it's favour - I find myself wanting to see what the characters are up to after the story ends.

Rating: B



Sex. Lies & Online Dating

Rachel Gibson

sex lies and online datingI've read this generic romance before. To be honest I'm not sure why I read it all the way to the end on this re-read because it isn't good.

Rating: C




Seanan McGuire

indexingIndexing is kind of a mash up between The X-Files and Fables.
The story follows one team of government agents as they battle to prevent fairy tales from causing chaos in death when those narrative archetypes begin to impact on everyday life.
It's quite a lot of fun and I particularly liked the characters of Henry and Sloane. Henry's the lead agent and a perpetually ticked off almost-Snow-White and Sloane is a violent, misanthropic, permanently teenage Wicked Sister.
It feels a bit less polished and less fully realised than a lot of McGuire's stuff I've read but it's very enjoyable and worth a read if you like her brand of urban fantasy.

Rating: B



The Cinderella Deal

Jennifer Crusie

the cinderella dealThis is the second time I've read this book and it is still my favourite from the pile of 'fake marrieds' stories I read last year.
It's lacking in the feminism department - which is a problem I noticed much more this time round - but the chemistry and banter between the two protagonists is so much fun.

Rating: B



Double Trouble

Deborah Cooke

double troubleThe premise of this romance is utterly unbelievable. I honestly can't see a twin marrying her sister's ex-husband and becoming their stepmother under any circumstances in real life.
I finished it because the lead character Maralys is the kind of tough exterior/inner sweetheart cliché that I enjoy. Otherwise it really doesn't have much in the way of redeeming features.

Rating: C-



Instant Attraction

Jill Shalvis

Instant AttractionAn enjoyable, if boilerplate, romance set in the Sierra Mountains.
Katie has survived a terrible accident and is looking to escape her humdrum live for an adventure. Cam is a former snowboarding champion who has never recovered emotionally from the accident that nearly took his leg.

Rating: C



Pocket Apocalypse

Seanan McGuire

Pocket ApocalypseThe fourth Incryptid book and the second to have Alex Price as the lead character finds him in Australia fighting a lycanthropy outbreak.
These books are generally the frothiest of McGuire's output but I found this particular volume to be slight by even those standards. That's not to say that it's anything less than entertaining it's just all a bit too straightforward to feel inspired.
Maybe I just miss Verity. I'm definitely looking forward to her return as the lead character in the next book.

Rating: B



The Madness Underneath

Maureen Johnson

the madness underneathThe second book in the Shades of London series is just as charming and as much fun as The Name of the Star.
Following on shortly after the events of the first book we find Rory coming to terms with the trauma of those events and the consequences of her new abilities.
It's all really hard to talk about without spoiling, but I'll tell you one thing - this book has a doozy of an ending.

Rating: B+



Search For Senna

K.A. Applegate

search for sennaThe first of 12 Everworld books this an extremely slight YA alternate world fantasy.
It's doing a lot of expositional heavy lifting as the first book in a series but it's still a speedy read. It consists of a bunch of teenagers scraping through one adventure after another but there's no emotional heft to explain why these kids are putting themselves in the way of all this danger beyond misguided heroic notions.
I'm probably going to read at least one more of this series to give it a chance but it will have to be a serious improvement to keep me reading beyond that.

Rating: B-