Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mini-Reviews: Her Best Worst Mistake, The Spectacular Now, and Starry Nights

Title: Starry Nights

Author: Daisy Whitney

Rating: 2 Stars/DNF

Release Date: September 3rd, 2013

Where to begin with Starry Nights? From the beginning itself, the narration struck me as off and as the novel progressed, I was unable to connect with the story. Unlike Whitney’s last book, When You Were Here, her latest is devoid of much emotion. I was unable to become emotionally attached to any of the characters or even come to care about them. Moreover, for a novel set in France, this book could very well be set anywhere on Earth. Whitney fails to describe her vivid setting and capture the aura of a new country, one teeming with romance and magical qualities. As a French student – one who has been forced to study art excessively by a rather obsessed substitute teacher – I didn’t have much trouble following the narrative voice, but the lack of descriptions lead me to believe that many readers may possibly be confused by the art terms or merely bored by them. I know I was. With the exception of its cover, I am sad to admit that there is nothing exceptional about Whitney’s newest novel. It didn’t work for me, but just maybe its final version will be slightly more polished and woo readers everywhere.

Title: Her Best Worst Mistake

Author: Sarah Mayberry

Rating: 4.5 Stars

I picked this up late at night, hoping to read a chapter or two before calling it a day, but I wound up inhaling this entire short novel within two hours and seeing the beginning of the next day instead. And I love that feeling; there are few things more wonderful than losing all sense of time in a book and waking up to find that the world has moved on, even while you were stuck in a haze of fiction. Her Best Worst Mistake is surprisingly readable, being both sexy and thought-provoking, with a brilliant cast of characters to boot. Usually, with a summary as sketchy as this one - sleeping with your best friend's ex-fiancée - I'm typically running in the other direction, but the overwhelming amount of positive reviews for this one made me too curious to resist. And I'm glad I didn't. While I doubt I'll pick up anything more from this author in the foreseeable future, I know I won't be able to get this remarkable love story out of my head for awhile. If you're in one of those moods where all you need is some sexy times, thrown in with a couple who walks that fine line between hate and love where the tension is just sizzling, then look no farther. Her Best Worst Mistake won't be your worst mistake, but it could very well be your best. Guaranteed.

Title: The Spectacular Now

Author: Tim Tharp

Rating: 4 Stars

I'd have never picked up this novel in a million years if it weren't for the fact that the screen writers of "500 Days of Summer" wrote the screenplay for the movie version of this novel. And Shailene Woodley, of course. It seems a little shallow to admit that, but it's the truth. I'm not a fan of Contemporary YA and I'm especially not a fan of novels about teenagers partying and drinking - which is, admittedly, a lot of what this book is. 

Yet, the narration throughout this story is superb. Sutter, the teen who has popularity, a car, a job, and a girlfriend. A really big heart. But also a drinking problem. An addiction. And reading his tale is a little like stepping into that mindset yourself. It captures the essence of the teenage years, but also the scary cliff that looms ahead when you're lost in your world. Sutter is so deeply dark with so many layers to just keep peeling. Aimee, the girl he intends to save, is just as screwed up in some ways and I love her unrelenting depths as well. All of these characters are written so starkly; realistic and raw in a manner that is difficult to describe. And this ending, though not the one I was clamoring for, did manage to grasp life in all its highs and lows. The Spectacular Now is a spectacular slice of life itself, with all its messiness and flaws, complications and oddities, and though it's not my favorite book out there, I can't recommend it enough.


  1. My friend told me about The Spectacular Now recently, I had no idea that the movie will be out soon. I need to read it and it sounds like a really interesting read. Starry Nights is not really my genre and I'm sorry you DNF it. I haven't heard of the second one but when the book keeps you awake all night it's always a good book. Amazing reviews Keertana :)

  2. You know, Daisy's work has always been hit or miss for me, Keertana. I haven't read Starry Nights, but I loved When You Were Here. That said, I hated The Mockingbirds. So, I guess it really depends on the subject matter, you know? Great mini reviews all around though!

  3. Too bad the first was a DNF. I hate when that happens. I would have also ran the other way from the second book, but you have me curious. Must read this author. Oh and the third... you also have me curious about that one. I love the messiness and flaws. Sounds like something I would enjoy. Great reviews!

  4. I was so so disappointed by Starry Nights. It was my first Whitney book and it was not the kind of introduction I wanted. The characters were so flat, the writing was eh, and the storyline was hackneyed and cliched. Such a waste!

    As for TSN -- I wasn't gong to read this at all until you said it was adapted by the same people as 500 Days. Now I want to see the movie, which means I have to read the book! Four stars is heartening to see. YA books that deal with alcoholism/addiction are always iffy for me, but I trust your judgement. Into the TBR!

    P.S. LOVE the mini-reviews! So helpful on pruning/adding to my TBR.

  5. How had I not heard of Her Best Worst Mistake and The Spectacular Now until now? Keertana you always seem to have the knack of adding brilliant books to my tbr. The sexy times in Her Best Wrost Mistake sounds like something I would devour up too. And The Spectacular Now is just calling out to me after you mentioned 500 Days of Summer, I will be off to hunt these books down. Wonderful reviews!

  6. I love Sarah Mayberry!

    I'm planning to see The Spectacular Now and then read it, I believe. I tend to like the movie more if I see it first.

  7. It's a shame about Starry Nights. I would definitely expect a book set in France to have a clear setting. It seems like a missed opportunity. But I'm glad that the other two titles worked for you! I haven't really considered The Spectacular Now before, but you do have me curious about it. Lovely reviews, Keertana! :)

  8. 1) I'm still hoping to try STARRY NIGHT, though I have a feeling that I will either love it or not be able to finish. Afraid it will be the latter, but I do adore art themes so I will try it out. Thanks for your honest opinion.

    2) OOOH. I'm always looking for books like these that are mindless and fun and sexy ;). I will put it on my list for when I need a fun read!

    3) I"ve seen this movie around, but I haven't heard much about the book. These themes make me nervous, but I'm glad you found the book to be well written and realistic. If I'm being honest though (don't hate me!) I'll probably just see this movie when it comes out in video and skip the book.


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