Book Review: Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

11389398Publisher: First Second
Published Date: February 2012
Genre: YA, Graphic Novel, Contemporary, Paranormal, Fantasy
Series: N/A
My Source: Own Copy
Links: Goodreads
Review Also On: Goodreads and Amazon

Goodreads Summary:

After years of homeschooling, Maggie is starting high school. It’s pretty terrifying.

Maggie’s big brothers are there to watch her back, but ever since Mom left it just hasn’t been the same.

Besides her brothers, Maggie’s never had any real friends before. Lucy and Alistair don’t have lots of friends either. But they eat lunch with her at school and bring her along on their small-town adventures.

Missing mothers…distant brothers…high school…new friends… It’s a lot to deal with. But there’s just one more thing.

MAGGIE IS HAUNTED.

Friends with Boys did not turn out the way I thought it would. With the title, I thought it would have a lot of focus on how Maggie’s only friends until going to high school were her brothers and we’d look more into their relationships with her. I also feel like a lot of things are left in the air, so readers don’t get much closure (although going by the Goodreads’ reviews, I may be in the minority with my thinking).

I liked Maggie. I thought she was a nice character, and I wanted to see her get through her first days of high school, make new friends, and hopefully start dealing with her feelings about her mom leaving. She’s nervous about starting high school since she’s been home-schooled, and she feels alone since her brothers have already made themselves at home in the scary place of Sandford High. She meets Lucy and her brother Alistair, and she feels less alone. However, she is also being stalked by a female ghost.

Maggie’s got cool brothers. There is Daniel, the oldest and loves to act, and the twins Lloyd and Zander. In this short story, we get to see that everyone is struggling with something, and while I appreciate learning these things about each of the characters, I don’t feel like we got enough time to explore everything. I feel like the twins, Lucy, Alistair, and Maggie’s issues are all a bit unsolved. And as far as I can see, we won’t be getting a sequel for this graphic novel.

With Maggie, I’m not sure if she’s starting to deal with her mother leaving. I also don’t like how we’re left within a rocky place between Maggie and her father.

And the ghost. The ghost!! Nothing is truly explained about the ghost. We have a potential story about her, but it’s never confirmed if that haunted story is about THIS ghost. Why does she follow Maggie around? Will she continue? She still seems so sad. What’s her story? How come Maggie and certain people can see her and others cannot (or possibly cannot. Again, many things left unanswered)?

I enjoyed the art and I liked the premise of this book, but I just feel so…underwhelmed? Is that the word I’m looking for? I just feel like I have so many questions about the characters and whether they’ve learned/grown that it leaves me feeling like “Eh…This was okay, I guess?”

Rating: 2.5 STARS ~ More okay moments than struggle moments.

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Book Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published Date: May 2017
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Series: N/A
My Source: Library
Links: Goodreads
Review Also On: Goodreads and Amazon

Goodreads Summary:

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

My Review

I had this book on hold from my library the minute I was able to. This book was a sweet and cute romance that I would be happy to recommend to everyone. Dimple was great. I loved that she was focused on her career, on her future, but was also able to open up to other possibilities and people. Rishi was just a sweetheart. I was rooting for him to win Dimple’s heart from the beginning.

The “side-plots” were really good. I liked that Dimple, while not liking her roommate Celia’s new friends, she was willing to try for her sake. When that didn’t work, Dimple and Celia were able to realize they could still be friends without having the same friends. And, without spoiling too much I hope, when the chaos happened near the end of the book, I’m glad that Dimple was there for her.

The romance between Dimple and Rishi was cute. Knowing they were only there for 6 weeks and already were feeling love for one another, I don’t know if that works for me, but I was willing to look past it. This was definitely a hate-to-love type of story, so if you like those, you’ll like this one.

What I enjoyed the most was that we were able to see a few different views on arranged marriages. We got Dimple who was completely against it for a number of reasons, Rishi who liked tradition and wanted to make his parents proud, Dimple’s female family members who saw it as a great opportunity for Dimple, and even Celia who saw it as super romantic.

When Dimple Met Rishi is a great romance and coming-of-age story. Both main characters have their inner conflicts of wanting independence, love, acceptance from their family, and passion for what they wanted and believed in. You’re not going to want to put this book down once you get started.

Rating: 4 STARS ~ Oh man, this was a great book. Will be recommending.

ARC Book Review: These Ruthless Deeds by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

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Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Published Date: March 2017
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Series: These Vicious Masks #2
My Source: Netgalley
Links: Goodreads
Review Also On: Goodreads and Amazon

Goodreads Summary:

England, 1883. Still recovering from a devastating loss, Evelyn is determined to use her powers to save other gifted people from those who would harm them. But when her rescue of a young telekinetic girl goes terribly wrong, Evelyn finds herself indebted to a secret society devoted to recruiting and protecting people like Evelyn and her friends.

As she follows the Society’s orders, healing the sick and embarking on perilous recruitment missions, Evelyn sees her problems disappear. Her reputation is repaired, her friends are provided for, and her parents are newly wealthy. She reunites with the dashing Mr. Kent and recovers the reclusive Mr. Braddock (who has much less to brood over now that the Society can help him to control his dangerous power). But Evelyn can’t help fearing the Society is more sinister than it appears…

My Review

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, and now I have and it’s an ARC review after the release date. Better late than never, right? I’m sorry, but I was really in a book slump (life slump) these last couple of months. Hopefully things will get better, but they’ll only get better if I get started on something, right?

Anywho, the sequel to These Vicious Masks. I remember really liking the first book and calling it a “X-Men meets Pride and Prejudice.” If you want to read the full review for the first in this trilogy, follow the link riiiiight here, but as a quick review, the characters were great, the plot was engaging, the powers and how they worked were very nice. It was an overall great read. Here, I will warn that if you haven’t read the first book, I may spoil things for you. I won’t spoil anything for These Ruthless Deeds, but there is the potential of me talking about the twists and surprises from These Vicious Masks, especially one in particular.

These Ruthless Deeds shares some of the aspects of the first book, but not all. With the characters, I’m sad to say that I started to dislike Evelyn almost partway through, and I absolutely loved her before. She became a little annoying when trying to convince the others of her ideas, but without any real proof. She gets a bit repetitive and requires others to “save” her, which was the opposite of how she was in the first book. Mr. Braddock and Mr. Kent…Well, in my opinion we don’t get a lot of development on Mr. Braddock in this book, so I don’t have much to say about him. There was tons on Mr. Kent and I’m happy to say my love for him has grown tenfold. There is a lot of interactions between Mr. Kent and Evelyn, and Mr. Kent and other members of the society. He’s still witty and how he uses his ability is spectacular. He is a favorite of mine.

With the sequel came a lot of new characters, and this is where things go a little downhill for me. I feel like there were too many characters and it became a tad hard to keep track at the beginning. As you continue reading, some of those characters are dropped off and the others are focused on so we have a good core group to work with, but These Ruthless Deeds does work with a lot more characters than its predecessor. Some of the new ones I liked, for example Oliver was a good character. I wished we learned more about him and Emily, but with some many pages you can’t get to everyone.

And now for the plot: The beginning was hard. It seemed to drag and maybe it was because I was being bombarded with new characters with new powers so I was trying to remember everyone. Still, I had a really hard time and that’s one of the reasons it took me so long to get through this book. I enjoyed the plot of the first one a lot more than the one in the sequel. Things were happening but at the same time it felt like nothing was happening, and I don’t know how that…well, happened! The big climax of the story doesn’t happen until you’re 80ish% into the book and then everything explodes before you eyes.

That ending though. I saw a number of reviewers who were happy with how this ends, but I guess I’m in the minority. I felt like it was a fast and easy way to fix any plot holes they may have in the future. I also thought it was shocking how they could do something so drastic. I felt kind of disappointed because it essentially took away a lot of things I had been liking about the series. I’m almost disappointed enough to not read the last book when it releases, but maybe after some time away from These Ruthless Deeds, I’ll understand the need for the ending more.

Giving a rating for this is tough. After going back and forth on this, and knowing how much I liked the first one, I’ll say this:

2.5 STARS ~ More okay moments than struggle moments. However, I’d still recommend to those who really really like the first book.