Sunday, January 27, 2013

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
My rating: 2 of 5 genies
Published: August 14, 2012
Pages: 416
Publisher: Atria Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Goodreads Summary
The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand. Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

My Thoughts 
(The Jersey Shore Edition)

Cover: 3/5 (it really is pretty, probably my favourite thing about this book!)
Characters: 1/5
Plot: 1.5/5
Setting: 2/5
Overall: 2/5

I wanted to get around to this after letting myself breathe a bit, mainly because, had I written this review the day I finally put down Beautiful Disaster, it would have been more of a rant than it is now. Regardless of my ranting ways, I promise to try and make this the best overall summary/critique of the reading.

Where to begin...

This is the kind of book that really makes you think. Let me properly rephrase that, this book should make many readers think, re-evaluating what women supposedly perceive as attractive/desirable characteristics and attributes in men. *Ahem* I had a problem with Travis Maddox. I'm putting it out there now, because quite frankly, "Trav" reminds me a lot of Ronnie from the Jersey Shore. Yes, the big hunk of demanding, over-controlling, boozing and womanising burning love. His relationship with Abby...let's just say, I could see the "Disaster" part just fine, but "Beautiful"? Not so much.

*Highlight to view spoiler: Since when was branding yourself for someone, in order to prove devotion, beautiful? I get that people have tattoos for reasons along this line, but somehow, McGuire really unsettled me by allowing Abby to do something like this for Travis, only to have him be so jumpy and anxious about their relationship still, i.e. the final airport scene. It felt like Abby got the tattoo more so for Travis, to prove that she was "his" even after they'd just gotten married.

It felt like a roller-coaster with these two; one minute they're together, the next they're yelling and being pissed. This is why it reminds me of Sammi and Ron, they fight ALL THE TIME and hate each other ALMOST AS OFTEN but still stay together. He isn't good for her, and she isn't the best for him, but they stay together because both want to be on Lifetime Television someday. Let me repeat, tortured, destructive love isn't love; it is something else entirely.

I just don't get Travis. He has all of this pent-up rage and aggression, but why? I thought for sure that it would be linked somehow to his dad and brothers beating on him when he was younger, but no. Trav has a decent relationship with them, and they love Abby. So why? It can't be because of his mom. I saw that McGuire tried weaselling that little excuse there, but that didn't work. She gave him this uncontrollable tempter without a reason to go with it. Travis was the bad boy I should have loved, bad attitude, tattoos every which way, abs of Adonis...And yet, it was a bit too much, his badness wasn't of the endearing sort.

He goes around flying his fists at people like some overgrown Hulk, beating up any guy that dare cross shadows with Abby, but he ends up losing his edge, and a rebel without a cause isn't much to look at. By the end, I didn't care that he was "hot" or whatever, Travis's attitude and borderline threatening nature had me running for the hills. Ladies of the universe, hear me cry: I. Will. Never. Marry. A. Travis. Maddox.


Excuse me if this isn't all that attractive:


Nope. It just wasn't there for me.

To be fair, Abby wasn't all that better, there is a reason she brought to mind Sammi Giancola. Abby is the kind of character everyone says is nice, but she does little to prove it. I can think of one incident - Thanksgiving - and that is about as sweet as she gets. I think she's a decent person, but with a penchant for giving into Travis's demands, if not totally encouraging him.

Abby: "No, Travis, your behaviour is crazy. Go away!"

Travis: "But I love you, Pidge."

The next day he's with another woman. Abby finds out.

Abby: "I hate you, Travis!"

Travis: (confused) "But I thought we were through, what's going on, Pidge? I love you!"

*Ahem* Excuse me, please, but:

It never ends.

Eesh. Just no. I had it, with the fighting and making up, then breaking up and making up. And the reason I say that Abby plays him too is because she kind of teases him along, saying one thing but meaning another.

*Highlight to view spoiler:****Losing your virginity to a guy you plan on never seeing as more than a friend makes sense, how? I thought sex and first times used to mean something.****
[Losing your virginity to a guy you plan on never seeing as more than a friend makes sense, how? I thought sex and first times used to mean something. (hide spoiler)] I couldn't see the love anywhere. Just sex, and drinking, then sex, and if I wanted that, there would be no need to read. Television covers that just fine, thanks.

I'm disappointed, mainly because I went in expecting a lot more than I got. Truthfully, the writing isn't bad, I give it to McGguire that with better material she could be a great writer, but Beautiful Disaster wasn't it. Besides its beautiful cover gorgeous butterfly, the plot was sorely lacking and side characters - U.N. officiates America and Brazil - as well as Shepley and Parker were like sprinkles of annoyance in my peripheral reading vision. Excluding America, who totally loses it on Travis, they all gave into him somehow. I guess I just don't see what the fuss is about. I've read the book, finally, because I've been dying to ever since the premise came out last year, but I came, I saw, and...meh. There isn't much to write home about.

In conclusion, there is a second book coming out, one telling the first story through Travis's eyes, and I'm interested to see what he was thinking throughout all of this. Also why the nick-name "Pidge"? It would be interesting to know, but I would have more so appreciated the added perspective had it been provided in this book; maybe I would have liked Travis more. We can dream, right? All in all, this book indeed felt like an episode of Jersey Shore, but on its better days. We have clubbing, over-drinking, loud crass behaviour, and of course, insistent arguing between couples. It makes for entertaining reading, but lacks substance. My apologies if I strayed from the aim of keeping this review rant-free, but hopefully you get the idea.

2 genies: I wanted to like this, I really did, but too much was left under-developed.
There was far more worse than good. This book could have been better.

Thanks for reading, stay Literate!



Friday, January 25, 2013

Giveaway: The Magic Warble

Hey Guys!

I have 3 copies of Victoria Simcox's The Magic Warble up for grabs. It's INT. (International)  because the winner gets it delivered to their eReader, so as long as you have one of those consider yourself eligible to enter. The summary is below and Victoria has been generous enough to offer 3 copies of this enthralling new read. I'm excited to read this, especially because the mention of Prince Werrien has me interested ;)

The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox

Twelve-year-old Kristina Kingsly feels like the most unpopular girl in her school. The kids all tease her, and she never seems to fit in. But when Kristina receives an unusual Christmas gift, she suddenly finds herself magically transported to the land of Bernovem, home of dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals and the evil Queen Sentiz. In Bernovem, Kristina not only fits in, she's honored as "the chosen one," the only one who can release the land from Queen Sentiz's control. But it's not as simple as it seems. To save Bernovem, she must place the gift she was given, the famous "Magic Warble," in its final resting place. She must travel through the deep forest, climb a treacherous mountain, and risk capture by the queen's "zelbocks" before she reaches her destination. Guided by her new fairy friends, Clover and Looper and by Prince Werrien, a teenage boy, and an assortment of other characters, Kristina sets off on a perilous journey that not only tests her strength but her heart.

You guys know what to do, fill in the Rafflecopter for your chance to win! Tweet, blog and text your other friends about the giveaway. Good luck, lovelies! 


Victoria was born in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, to an Austrian immigrant mother, and a Dutch immigrant father. She now lives in Western Washington with her husband, Russ and their three children, Toby, Kristina, and William. Her other family members are a Chihuahua, named Pipsy and two cats, named Frodo and Fritz. Besides being an author, Victoria is a home-schooling mother of twelve years and an elementary school art teacher of eleven years. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys managing her two older children's Celtic band. She also loves writing, reading, painting watercolors, hiking, good movies, and just simply hanging out with her family and friends. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
My rating: 5 of 5 genies
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Adventure, Romance, Science-Fiction
Published: February 7th, 2012
Publisher: ATOM
Pages: 374
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Goodreads Summary:
Since she'd been on the outside, she'd survived an Aether storm, she'd had a knife held to her throat, and she'd seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland - known as The Death Shop - are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She's been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild - a savage - and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile - everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria's help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

Oh my Garble Gosh!!! This book is so BEAUTIFUL. Goodness, give me that sequel NOW. My rating of it leans more towards 4.5/5 genies, but I am in love with Under the Never Sky!

UPDATEJanuary 19th, 2013

Cover: 4
Plot: 4
Setting: 5
Characters: 4
Writing: 4
Overall: 4.5/5 genies

My Thoughts

Funny thing about these 4.5 ratings, anyone would think that just because it isn't a perfect 10 (5/5), there must be something wrong with the book.



This book is the business. I like Under the Never Sky so much, mainly because Rossi is a fantastic author, she writes the dystopian world with such precision and creativity. I especially loved the concept of aether storms racking both Perry and Aria's worlds, and that despite the many differences between the two, the aether connects them. Personally, I thought the aether was destructively powerful and absolutely a force to be reckoned with, unlike anything I have ever seen before.

Other innovative ideas I loved were the Pods, Realms, and the divide between Savages and Dwellers. These elements just stood out and helped build the story, especially the conflict between Dwellers and the Savages! You get a real concept of what Aria and Perry stand to lose/gain by being together, and Rossi makes the weight of this decision so tangible that by the end of the novel, you want the two of them to be together more than ever. With expertise, she sets up her story; reaching out to readers and weaving a world that is both dangerous and intoxicating, drawing attention easily into the pages like the Pan Piper might have with mice.

Minor Errors

I will admit, the beginning was a little slow, and by "beginning" I mean the first few chapters (1-3), but things pick up pace soon after and my qualms end there. See how short that was? I didn't really have issues with anything else. The end.

Other Likes

In contrast, I was a fan of a lot of things in this book. I liked the Senses Perry and the others not living in Pods got, they were very cool and almost sci-fi with their ability to hear, hunt, see and move faster than the average human. Perry was so dynamic and he came alive for me in this book, more so than Aria, and probably because she was still finding herself whereas he had a purpose and wanted to lead the Tides. Big aspirations for someone his age, seventeen or nineteen I think!

Most of all, the relationship Aria and Perry share truly is a work in progress. They grow accustomed to each other, so much so that it feels real. There is a lot at stake, finding Talon, leading the Tides and getting to the Still Blue, Rossi makes it so that as soon as you turn the last page, you cannot wait for the next book in order to continue the journey! This read makes for thoughtful reflection, and often times I caught myself thinking...Could this be my world? *Shivers* I hope not! The world of Under the Never Sky is great to read about, but live in?


Nah, homie, that ain't for me.

I just can't wait for the next book, one of my best reads of 2012 hands down. You have to read Under the Never Sky!

Verdict: This was one helluva read, spectacular in the very most parts, and tugging rightly at the heartstrings. This book will warm your heart as it did with mine.


The Truth And Nothing BUT...

Going by FTC guidelines, allow me to point out that all the novels reviewed on this blog were either bought by me, or given by an author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Those books received from Authors and Publishers will be stated clearly as such, as will the ones purchased by myself. There is no shady business going on; no coercion, bribery or compensation has or will ever be received in exchange for any reviews. These thoughts are mine, wacky as they may be, and my honest opinion is all you can truly expect. Still reading? You should be off checking out those awesome reviews ;)