Review: Jinx

Meg Cabot

Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen; Reprint edition (May 12, 2009)
ISBN-10: 9780060837662
ISBN-13: 978-0060837662
Source: My personal book

Summary from inside flap of book:

The only thing Jean Honeychurch hates more than her boring name (not Jean Marie, or Jeanette, just… jean) is her all-too-appropriate nickname, Jinx. Misfortune seems to follow her everywhere she goes—which is why she’s thrilled to be moving in with her aunt and uncle in New York City. Maybe when she’s halfway across the country, Jinx can finally outrun her bad luck. Or at least escape the havoc she’s caused back in her small hometown.
  But trouble has definitely followed Jinx to New York. And it’s causing big problems for her cousin Tory, who is not happy to have the family black sheep around. Beautiful, glamorous Tory is hiding a dangerous secret—one that she’s sure Jinx is going to reveal.
  Jinx is beginning to realize it isn’t just bad luck she’s been running from. It’s something far more sinister… and the curse Jinx has lived under since the day she was born might just be the only thing that can save her life.

My review:
  I hate to admit it, but this is the first Meg Cabot book that I have read. I own many of her books, but I have never read them. I enjoyed Jinx. It’s not overly complicated or highly original, but I still liked it. The inside flap makes you think there will be something devious and “sinister” hidden in the plot, but really it’s nothing more than a jaded, spoiled, rich teenage girl pretending to play “witch-believe” with several equally snotty friends. The only thing sinister would be the personality of Tory, Jinx’s NY cousin. Talk about a character! If I had met this girl in high school, I could only imagine how awful my memories would be. Wow.
  Tory is by far the best description of a woman scorned I have read in YA fiction—witch craft aside, of course. On a human level, Tory is despicable. Back stabbing, deceitful, envious. The whole nine yards. She is pure evil in the disguise of outward beauty. Her friends were equally disgusting, although they weren’t mentioned much in the book. I got the impression they were meant to be more like groupies than supporting characters. For all of the negative vibes you got from Tory, Jinx gives you the exact opposite. She is the image of mid-west innocence; after all she is a preacher’s daughter. The quaintness of her character, combined with her gorgeous natural curly red hair make her an easy target for Tory’s wrath. Plus, it doesn’t help that Tory’s secret love is head-over-heels for Jinx. The characters were decent. You certainly felt sorry for Jinx during all of her mishaps, and you couldn’t help but dislike Tory. Unfortunately, that’s where the charm ends.
  The plot is pretty predictable. It’s a classic case, really: Pretty girl doesn’t realize she’s pretty. Pretty girl falls into the trap of equally pretty girl with disgusting personality. Pretty girl unknowingly wins heart of handsome boy. Love triangle ensues. Mean girl gets what she deserves while pretty girl realizes she has self worth and falls for handsome boy. The end. Yep, that’s pretty much it. Granted there were a few twists along the way, but nothing overly exciting. I did like that Zach (said handsome boy) seemed like a complete charmer. He had some personality traits that made him very likable. There were a few scenes in the book that had potential to be suspenseful, but it seemed like the majority of the story only skimmed the surface and never fully dove into a deeper plot. For a younger reader I’m sure it would be satisfying, but I like a little more depth in my reading material. Of course, I probably shouldn’t have expected anything more than what I got considering I bought this book for my classroom library.
  Overall, it was a fun, quick read. I enjoyed it. I’m sure if I was a middle school girl I would be enthralled with this novel. I would probably even imagine Zach Efron’s face for Zach in the book… if I were a middle school girl. But, alas, I’m not. (I really couldn’t imagine anyone that I felt would fit the characters when reading the book.) I gave the book 3 stars because it was decent. There were some funny parts that made me chuckle, and the descriptions were well written. My visualization abilities were working in overdrive throughout most of the book. However, it wasn’t exactly “mature” content like the jacket flap implied.

Review: Die For Me

Die For Me
Amy Plum

Product Details
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (May 10, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0062004018
ISBN-13: 978-0062004017
Source: free ARC from NetGalley

 Summary from Amazon:
In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life--and memories--behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant--an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

My review:

I must say that it has been a long time since I’ve read a paranormal romance novel that I actually enjoyed as much as the Twilight series. Even if you’re not a fan of the Twilight books, you would still like this book. It’s very fresh and original. The concept of guardian angels falling in love with humans seems to be a little over played at the moment, but that didn’t affect my enjoyment any. The chemistry between Vincent and Kate was so believable that their story sucked me in. I was completely captivated.

The characters in this book are awesome! I loved, loved, loved the fact that Kate was intelligent and strong. Even though she was devastated by her parents’ death, she held on to life. Of course, for a while there wasn’t much to her life, but she overcame that. Kate loves to read (already a plus in my book for lovable characters) and she loves fine art. She is described as an “old soul,” which I find to be the perfect description for her. It seems like the majority of the heroines in romance-type novels seem a little weak or too dependent on a male for security and strength. This was certainly not the case with Kate! She was a fantastic strong, female protagonist.

I also adored Vincent. His description just makes him seem delicious. Dark hair, blue eyes… sigh. His attraction to Kate was simply steamy, yet it managed to stay clean. I do love a boy with virtues in YA novels. The other characters were also enjoyable. Georgia, Kate’s sister, came off as flippant and irritating most of the time. I’m pretty sure that’s how a typical self-absorbed teenage usually acts, so it worked. Jules and Ambrose were nice sidekick types. Both were standoffish in the beginning, but they ended up having a nice supporting role by the end of the book. But my favorite minor characters have to be Kate’s grandparents. They just seemed charming. I loved how “progressive” the grandmother tried to be, but at the same time they were old fashioned. They seemed eloquent, sophisticated and completely in love with one another. I loved their relationship. It gave me tingly feelings like a Hallmark commercial.

Every good book would not be complete without a character or two that you loathe. There were several that I could pick, but I have to express my frustration over Charles. I wanted to punch the little brat. It’s a good day when a book can evoke that much emotion from me to make me envision choking and punching a character. That is certainly how I felt with Charles. Such.a.punk.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to the paranormal romance lovers out there. It’s clean—no X rated material. The characters are well written and well developed. The plot is fast paced enough to keep you reading. (I managed to finish this book in one reading.) The concept was somewhat original, but I am getting tired of angels and demons, vampires, and werewolves. I guess it can’t be escaped in the genre. If you liked Twilight, you should love this book. The connection between Kate and Vincent is every bit as strong as Bella and Edward’s pull on one another. Plus, Kate doesn’t come across as a whiny, irritating, self-pitying baby like Bella did in New Moon. (Her constant pining away for Edward almost drove me away from the series.) This book will be a series, so I am anxious to see what happens with Vincent and Kate. I’m pretty sure the troubles they will face together are just beginning.

Book Blog Hop and Follow Friday (9)

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blog Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books. This week's question celebrates April Fool's Day: "Since today is April Fool's Day in the USA, what is the best prank you have ever played on someone OR that someone has played on you?"

I'm not much of a fan for April Fool's Day. I hate pranks, really. Kids have a tendency to be cruel, so I always tried to lay low on this day. I do remember getting a whoopie cushion when I was younger. Oh how I loved that thing! Once, I quickly slid it under my mom as she was getting in the passenger seat of her car. The door was wide open and we were in front of Publix (a grocery store). It was classic. I laughed until tears came down my face. My dad even laughed. Then the look of death came. Suddenly, it wasn't funny anymore. I never got my whoopie cushion back. Sigh. Maybe that's where my aversion to pranks stems from.

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga at Parajunkee's View. This week's question is: What is the book that you really don't want to admit to loving?? 

Well, this is a funny one for me. I have found myself stalking eBay lately looking for R.L. Stine Fearstreet books. I read all of them when I was younger, and now I've started reading them again. Of course, I say I'm reading them so I can recommend them to my students, but that's not the entire truth. I actually enjoy reading the cheesy horror books. It's like reliving my childhood everytime I open a book. I also like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. I find them to be hysterical. I have my 8 year old read them to me so it doesn't seem too pathetic. =)

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