Monday, November 3, 2014

Mini Reviews: Once by Anna Carey & Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Title: Once (Eve #2)
Author: Anna Carey
Publication Date: July 3, 2012
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 354
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Review for 1

When you're being hunted, who can you trust?

For the first time since she escaped from her school many months ago, Eve can sleep soundly. She's living in Califia, a haven for women, protected from the terrifying fate that awaits orphaned girls in The New America.

But her safety came at a price: She was forced to abandon Caleb, the boy she loves, wounded and alone at the city gates. When Eve gets word that Caleb is in trouble, she sets out into the wild again to rescue him, only to be captured and brought to the City of Sand, the capital of The New America.

Trapped inside the City walls, Eve uncovers a shocking secret about her past--and is forced to confront the harsh reality of her future. When she discovers Caleb is alive, Eve attempts to flee her prison so they can be together--but the consequences could be deadly. She must make a desperate choice to save the ones she loves . . . or risk losing Caleb forever.

In this breathless sequel to "Eve," Anna Carey returns to her tale of romance, adventure, and sacrifice in a world that is both wonderfully strange and chillingly familiar. 
After finishing Eve, I was dying to jump right into Once to see where the story went next! This one started right where Eve left off. The book follows Eve's life in the City of Sand with her father, the king. We learn the things that are expected of her and also get to see what is going on with Caleb.

The romance between the main characters continues to progress throughout the book, but I can't help but feel like there's no real progression of the characters themselves. Many of the problems they encounter happen because of their own easily avoidable mistakes. The king is the obvious bad guy and the only sympathetic character is Charles.

Much of the book is spent watching Eve and Caleb plot to escape the city, so the tension was definitely there. I just felt like it needed... more. Maybe it could've used more reality too.

While I didn't end up loving it as much as the first book in the series, it was still a worthwhile read and I still plan to pick up the third one soon.

Title: Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful #1)
Author: Jamie McGuire
Publication Date: May 26, 2011
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 319
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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 wants—and needs—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.

This book... I really wanted to love it. I loved the synopsis and the cover. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be.

The first half of Beautiful Disaster was tolerable, but then I got to part two. I found myself cringing every time Travis spoke. Seriously, no one in real life says the name of the person they're speaking to after every single sentence. In fact, nothing about Travis is okay. Going around beating the hell out of everyone who looks at a girl you aren't even dating yet is NOT normal. And attempting to control the people she hangs out with, the clothes she wears, the places she goes... None of this is normal.

The relationship between the two main characters is completely dysfunctional and bipolar. Seriously, who loses her virginity to someone just so he'll leave her alone? If some guy got my name tattooed on his wrist immediately after we got back together, I'd be out the door. Furthermore, there is no way a normal woman would get back together with her psycho ex-boyfriend and five minutes later book a trip to Vegas to get married. Basically, this book is a mess. I am seriously hoping no YA readers pick this up and think this relationship is normal or romantic.

By the way, someone who never trains would not be able to take out two guys in the mob. This book is ridiculous.