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Muggle-Born.net is a blog mostly on young adult book reviews. My name is Cialina, and I am a college student living in New York City. I love Harry Potter, coffee, and bookstores.

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You are here: Home » Genre: Romance

My Last KissMY LAST KISS by Bethany Neal Book Review
Publication Date: June 10th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Rating: – Acceptable |

Book Summary:What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy?

Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss–the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died–is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn’t a suicide as everyone assumes. She can’t remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she’s worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend.

If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she’ll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made–good and bad–that led to her last kiss.

Bethany Neal’s suspenseful debut novel is about the power of first love and the haunting lies that threaten to tear it apart.

My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal Book Review Overview:

  • Mystery that keeps you guessing
  • Convoluted ending that made it a little unsatisfying for me as a reader

The last thing Cassidy remembers is her birthday party. But when she wakes up, she realizes that she is no longer living. Trapped as a ghost in the living world, Cassidy tries to piece together the events that led up to her death. MY LAST KISS by Bethany Neal is a page-turning mystery about lies and first love.

I wasn’t really a fan of the romance in MY LAST KISS by Bethany Neal. I just have a hard time with the fact that Cassidy cheats on her boyfriend of three years. I don’t think she ever justifies the fact that she cheated, but it was hard for me to like her as a protagonist. I like the chemistry between Cassidy and Ethan, but I can’t forget what Cassidy did. I feel bad for both boys who were affected.

I found the mystery to be really enticing at first. Bethany Neal kept me guessing throughout the entire book. But the mystery got a little too convoluted in the end. I can’t believe I’m saying this but there were just too many twists and turns towards the end, and it got tiresome. I just wanted to know who was behind the murder. I think that the red herrings were too close together, and I think I would have liked them spaced out throughout the book instead of all in one go at the end.

The ending felt a little abrupt, and I would have liked to see a little more resolution. Unfortunately, because the book is told from Cassidy’s perspective, the story ends when her friends solve the murder. The secondary characters are never fully realized and we are left hanging in the middle of their grieving process.

The mystery in MY LAST KISS by Bethany Nealis a page-turner, but the ending left more to be desired.

 

About the Author

Bethany NealBethany Neal writes young-adult novels with a little dark side and a lot of kissing from her Ann Arbor, Michigan home. She is obsessed with (but not limited to): nail polish, ginormous rings, pigs, pickles, and dessert.

You can find her locked in her Writertorium for insane amounts of time. But, hey, insanity is fun! My Last Kiss is her first novel.

Find the Author

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Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Three Stars - , , , , , | Words 923 words



You are here: Home » Genre: Romance

The Winner's Curse by Marie RutkoskiTHE WINNER’S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski Book Review
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy, #1
Publication Date: March 4th 2014 by Farrar Straus Giroux
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |

Book Summary: Winning what you want may cost you everything you love As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski Book Review Overview:

  • Intelligent heroine who saves the day
  • Romance develops at a believable pace

After the Herranis were defeated during the Herran War, they were enslaved by the Valorians. The people are forced into servitude while the Valorians live in their homes. Kestrel is the daughter of the Valorian army’s general, and as the general’s daughter she has the choice of following in her father’s footsteps in the army or marrying. One day, Kestrel impulsively buys a slave at auction. Kestrel is drawn to Arin, a defiant young slave. Soon, she finds herself falling in love with him, but Arin has secrets that will turn Kestrel’s world upside down.

What I love most about Kestrel is that she’s not the butt-kicking heroine that we see so often in young adult novels nowadays. Kestrel may not have the athleticism and survival skills like Katniss from The Hunger Games or Tris from Divergent, but Kestrel is still a strong female lead in her own way. Kestrel knows that her strengths lie in planning and strategy. Despite her father’s years of experience in the military, Kestrel can draw up a better and more successful battle plan. To me, there’s nothing better than a heroine who uses her brains to save the day.

When I hear star-crossed lovers, I’m always skeptical. But much to my great surprise, THE WINNER’S CURSE delivers. The romance between Kestrel and Arin is real. There’s no instant attraction, no insta-love. The romance develops at a believable pace. Furthermore, the romance is not perfect because they have to overcome not only the barrier between classes, but also the divide between their people. Arin and Kestrel are always questioning their feelings and their loyalties. Because they are on two different sides of a war, the romance is complicated.

The combination of the strong female protagonist and the believable romance makes THE WINNER’S CURSE an enjoyable read from beginning to end.

 

About the Author

Marie RutkoskiMarie Rutkoski is the author of the YA novel The Shadow Society and the children’s fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders, The Celestial Globe and The Jewel of the Kalderash. Her next project is a YA trilogy that begins with The Winner’s Curse, which is scheduled to be published in March 2014.

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Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Four Stars - , , , , , , | Words 928 words



You are here: Home » Genre: Romance

Diva by Jillian LarkinDIVA by Jillian Larkin Book Review
Series: Flappers, #3
Publication Date: July 10th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Rating: – Acceptable |

Book Summary: If you love The Great Gatsby, you’ll want to read the Flappers series.

Joy and tragedy collide in DIVA, the riveting conclusion to the Flappers series, set in the dazzling Roaring Twenties. Parties, bad boys, speakeasies—life in Manhattan has become a woozy blur for Clara Knowles. If Marcus Eastman truly loved her, how could he have fallen for another girl so quickly? Their romance mustn’t have been as magical as Clara thought. And if she has to be unhappy, she’s going to drag everyone else down to the depths of despair right along with her.

Being a Barnard girl is the stuff of Lorraine Dyer’s dreams. Finding out that Marcus is marrying a gold digger who may or may not be named Anastasia? A nightmare. The old Lorraine would have sat by and let the chips fall where they may, but she’s grown up a lot these past few months. She can’t bear to see Marcus lose a chance for true love. But will anyone listen to her?

Now that the charges against her have been dropped, Gloria Carmody is spending the last dizzying days of summer on Long Island, yachting on the sound and palling around with socialites at Forrest Hamilton’s swanky villa. Beneath her smile, though, Gloria’s keeping a secret. One that could have deadly consequences . . .

Book Review Overview:

  • Watch out for an homage to The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald in one of the storylines!
  • Characters have definitely grown since the first book and I just wanted them all to have a happy ending
  • Not the best conclusion to a series, but I was still satisfied
I continued to enjoy the different perspectives in Diva by Jillian Larkin because I loved seeing how the storylines would intersect. Diva continues through the perspectives of Gloria, Clara, and Lorraine in the 1920′s Prohibition in New York City. I was a little sad at first that Vera was no longer in the picture but it seemed like she already had her happily ever after.
Basically, the theme for this book is redemption. Lorraine wants her friends back, Clara wants Marcus back, and Gloria just wants her life back with Jerome. Jillian Larkin manages to keep me engaged into the different plots with various surprises along the way.
However, Gloria’s subplot to uncover the mystery behind the rich Forrest Hamilton became a little predictable. The Flappers series is pitched for fans of The Great Gatsby, and it became a little too clear by the time I finished the book: Gloria’s subplot mimics the storyline of F. Scott Fitsgerald’s famous novel. If it were any other novel, I probably would have been aghast. But since The Flappers is  a fun series, I looked at it as a nice homage to the author that inspired the books.
For the most part, I read Diva to hope for my happily ever afters. After reading Ingenue, I wasn’t satisfied with the ending, so I just had to finish up the series to get my fix of romance.
It was also a treat to travel back to the 1920′s. I think that Jillian Larkin captures the best in her series is the music. I really get a lot of the setting’s mood and atmosphere through the different types of music that we are exposed to as a reader. I actually wished that there was a playlist that I could listen to while I read Diva. It made me crave for jazz and a little bit of showtunes. I also would have loved to hear Gloria sing!
What makes Diva a little different from the other books in the series is that there is a lot less emphasis on the nightlife in the Prohibition era. The characters in the first two novels were so involved in speakeasies and gin joints. But in Diva, there are only mentions of these places. A lot has to do with the fact that the characters have grown since the last book: Gloria has been arrested, Lorraine has finally matured, and Clara has lost her one true love. For the most part, their partying days are behind them.
Instead, Diva focuses on the life of the young and the rich in the 1920′s. Lorraine is a Barnard girl, Clara is a successful writer for a popular magazine, and Gloria is hanging out with the rich in Long Island. It was a nice change of pace, and it prevented Diva from being too similar from Ingenue, the previous book.

Diva is not the best conclusion to a series that I’ve ever read, but it was good enough. I got my fix of romance and history.



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Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Three Stars, Uncategorized - , , , , , , , | Words 983 words



When the day shall come that we do part, if my last words are not 'I love you'-ye'll ken it was because I didna have time.
- Diana Gabaldon, The Feiry Cross


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