Review: Alex and Eliza

Title: Alex and Eliza
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction, Romance
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Their romance shaped a nation. The rest was history.

1777. Albany, New York. 

As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball. 

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

Review:

Despite the wartime backdrop, this was a light-hearted story of two people falling in love. But that all it was really. There wasn’t much fear of them not being together, because after the musical we all kind of saw it coming. It was kind of interesting delving into their romance itself, but in the end I had to ask myself how much of it was real and how much of it was fictionalized.

There’s also something I don’t like about Melissa de la Cruz’s writing. It’s… choppy? That’s the best word I have for it right now. But I just didn’t find myself connected to the characters or deeply engaged with the world. It was as if she just had a bunch of facts and was listing it off for me in book form and that was that. There was a lot more telling in this than showing. I guess that may be where this book fell short?

My favourite part of the book was the ball scene where Eliza and her sisters are ripping Hamilton a new one. It was funny and snappy and probably the only part of the book where I was like “Hey, I like these characters.” Otherwise, it was just who is with who, who wears what dress, is she wearing a wig, or is she not, etc. It was quite boring, to be quite honest…

As a whole, just a light, quick read. I don’t really know how much history you’ll get from it, but it was cute.

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
World Building: 3/5
Writing: 2/5
Pacing: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.7/5

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Book Blitz: Surviving High School

SurvivingHighSchoolBlitzBanner

Welcome to the Surviving High School Book Blitz, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

SHSTitle: Surviving High School
Author: Lele Pons and Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Vine superstar Lele Pons—“one of the coolest girls on the web” (Teen Vogue)—teams up with #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz (The Isle of the Lost) in this lovable debut novel about the wilds and wonders of high school that’s as laugh-out-loud addictive as Lele’s popular videos.

Ten million followers and I still sit alone at lunch. Lele is a bulls-eye target at her new school in Miami until, overnight, her digital fame catapults the girl with cheerleader looks, a seriously silly personality, and a self-deprecating funny bone into the popular crowd. Now she’s facing a whole new set of challenges—the relentless drama, the ruthless cliques, the unexpected internet celebrity—all while trying to keep her grades up and make her parents proud.

Filled with the zany enthusiasm that has made Lele into Vine’s most viewed star, this charming novel is proof that high school is a trip. From crushing your crushes (what’s up with that hot transfer student Alexei??) to throwing Insta-fake parties with your BFFs and moaning over homework (GAH) with your frenemies, high school is a rollercoaster of exhilarating highs and totally embarrassing lows. Leave it to Lele to reassure us that falling flat on your face is definitely not the end of the world. Fans of Mean Girls will love this fun and heartwarming fish-out-of-water story.

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Prologue:

To my lovely and beautiful readers. Before I tell you the story of how I vowed to survive high school, I’d like to talk about something near and dear to my heart.

See, every human being (and most animals, I find) have their own unique essence, an essence comprised of deeply rooted qualities that make them who they are. Ancient Greek philosophers would refer to this as the “soul”—but I am not an ancient Greek philosopher, I am a teenage girl, and so I will call it Lele-ness. Of course, you wouldn’t call it Lele-ness, you would call it Sara-ness or Jason-ness, or whatever your name might be.

My point is: I believe that YOU-ness is something very special, no matter who you are, and it ought to be celebrated. So I shall now tell you how I came to be truly Lele, a person I love for better or for worse.

Of course, part of your essence comes into this world with you at birth, but it’s really what happens next that starts to shape you into you. I was born in Caracas, a major city in Venezuela, but quickly moved to the countryside where I—get this—lived in a barn. I mean, can you even? Picture this: baby Lele running barefoot through cornfields miles and miles away from civilization.

I didn’t have dogs or cats as pets, instead I had baby tigers and monkeys as close friends. My whole childhood I knew nothing of shopping malls or (gasp!) the internet. For entertainment I had only nature—bird-watching and berry picking and, best of all, stargazing.

For as long as I can remember, language has been a struggle for me. Words didn’t come to me as a child, so I used my body to communicate. It felt so much more natural to express my- self that way. I felt comfortable drawing out my thoughts and feelings, instead of verbalizing them, so I’d often draw out storyboards—sometimes eight pages long—to explain to my parents or teachers what it was that I wanted. Everyone has their strengths and their weaknesses: for me, artwork and movement were strengths, while speaking to others using words was a weakness.

Now take all of that and add immigrating to the United States, and you have a potential disaster on your hands. I knew nothing about American culture, and my differences paralyzed me with anxiety. For comfort and peace of mind, I turned to entertainment. I found I was embraced by my peers for being physically dramatic and, well, funny. I found that I knew how to make people laugh, and so I held on to that as a life raft in the sea of the most confusing and alienating time in my life.

I believe it was my wild upbringing plus my verbal disadvantages that led me to be the performer and one-of-a-kind weirdo with a heart of gold that I am today. It’s not always easy being Lele, but every morning when I wake up I say, “Bring it on,” and that attitude is what has taken me on this incredible journey.

I encourage you to think about the life events and circumstances that have made you truly YOU, and to celebrate every single part of yourself—the strong, the weak, the good, the bad, and the ugly— because each part contributes to making you special and AMAZING. Trust me.

So that is the story of how I developed my Lele essence. What follows is the story of how I survived my first year at Miami High and how I got to share my message with almost ten million followers. I hope you enjoy it!

XO Lele

About the Authors:

Lele Pons was born in Caracas, Venezuela and moved with her family to Miami when she was five years old. She got her start when she created a page on the video-sharing app Vine in December 2013. Originally intended as a fun outlet to showcase her creativity, her vines evolved into comedic sketches and pulling practical jokes on family and friends. Her following grew from five thousand local followers to more than ten million by November 2015.

Today she is one of the most recognizable names on social media, and has been featured in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, Teen Vogue, Time, and more. Lele has been nominated for three Teen Choice Awards, a People’s Choice Award, and a Streamy Award. In 2015, she was invited to the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama to help launch her campaign for disadvantaged kids to go to college. Lele graduated from high school in 2015 and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.

MelissaMelissa de la Cruz is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of books for readers of all ages, including the Witches of East End, Blue Bloods, and Descendants series.

 

Giveaway:

Enter to win a print copy of Surviving High School, open to CAN/US residents.

ENTER HERE!~

Review: Frozen

22633620Title: Frozen [Heart of Dread #1]
Author: Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston
Publication Date: October 31, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Romance
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows. At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she’s heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light. But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all.

I was not impressed by this book. Why? Let me count the reasons…

1. World Building

Yes, yes the world is covered in snow. It’s cold. There was a flood at some point. Everyone lives in Vegas and gambles even though they don’t have enough money to eat. Okay. Sure. But why? There’s little to no explanation as to how this world came to be. Was it global warming? An atomic war? The moon disappearing or getting to close? LIKE. I need something. Throw me a bone here. We are simply introduced to a world full of trash with these magical people who suddenly popped out of nowhere with powers and indomitable strength. We get no history, and I find myself unable to really fall straight into this world and travel with the characters. There’s also very little description of buildings or environment and when there was, it felt disjointed.

2. Plot Lines

Remember in 2nd grade when you had to do those little mountain drawings for plot lines, where you’d start off with the introduction, then move to a conflict, then the climax, and then the resolution? Yeah, this story was like that, but for every single chapter. It would be calm at the beginning, something would be seen, or something would jump out of nowhere, everyone would freak out and the story would suddenly start speeding along for all of two pages, and then the thing would be dead or they’d realize their mistake, and everything would just fix itself in second, and tada, end of chapter. Due to this, the story had very little fluidity and felt like a jerky car ride.

3. Character Development

There was a little bit of this, but the story never explains the intricacies of all the characters’ stories, they just have snapshots here and there that don’t really explain how the sixteen year old became a general, or how the powerful girl gets a job in a casino, or what one earth brought all the people together, prior to Nat. I also feel like that characters showed little connection to each other and little growth in general. People would often just pop out with new skills, powers, stories, etc. There was no practice, no honing of skills and it just didn’t flow.

4. Lack of Explanation

There was no explanation for a lot of things: the world building, the character’s abilities and origins. It made it hard for me to follow and it really gave little to no connection to characters and the whole dystopian scene. Honestly, it was like the authors thought, let’s make it dystopian -sticks in winter scene with trashbergs- okay, okay, now we’ll give the MC powers -throws the randomest powers to Nat- I don’t know what the difference between any of the powerful people were because there was so little information on any of them. And that last part. My goodness. Just when I thought the book couldn’t get more incredulously idiotic they came up with THAT. THAT is, simply, the most random insertion of something ever in any novel I’ve ever read. I just. NOPE.

Overall, this series just didn’t agree with me. As with most books that aren’t that great, this had some potential, but it fell so short of expectations that I can’t even say I want to read the sequel. Getting through this book was like a chore and I really don’t think reading should ever be this much of a struggle.

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
World Building: 1/5
Writing:1.5/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall: 2/5
GoodReads: 3.61

eBook obtained via Hachette Children’s Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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