Cathy’s Ring by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman – Illustrated by Cathy Brigg.

5081991Cathy Vickers, Book Three

150 pages

Published May 5th 2009 by Running Press Kids

Note that this review contains spoilers for books one and two.

My rich boyfriend, Victor, is broke.

My potential other boyfriend, Denny, is broken.

There are creepy guys stalking my best friend.

And there are three dead bodies underneath my window.

All I have left is my sketchbook, a variety pack of lip-gloss in Assorted Candy Flavors, and a healthy dose of fear.

 

Cathy’s Ring is the final installment in the Cathy Vickers trilogy. It’s hard to describe the plot without giving anything away. I found it to be one of those books that you look back on and think, ‘so what was that about, again?’ It’s just a conclusion, you know?

Victor and Cathy each had another love interest that would be much better suited to them: an immortal woman for Victor, a mortal man for Cathy. You ask yourself, is it worth it to love someone who will die old while you haven’t aged a day since you met them? Or, can you live a whole life knowing that the person you love will go on and possibly fall in love and share a life with many more women after you? Is it better to settle for something normal?

There were a couple of things that I would have liked to happen that didn’t. But that’s okay. This was a pretty good ending to the series. The first book is definitely the best, in my opinion.

Obviously, read this if you have read the first two books.

My Rating: 3.5/4

Goodreads Rating: 3.85/5

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Cathy’s Key by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman – Illustrated by Cathy Brigg.

7054851

Cathy Vickers, Book Two

144 pages

Published May 5th 2008 by Running Pr Book Pub

Note that this review contains spoilers for the first book.

Six months ago Cathy learned that her boyfriend Victor is immortal and that she is definitely only a mere mortal.

Now, she is out of school and can’t seem to hold down a job. She hardly ever sees Victor because he is off being forced to research how to make people immortal. Her best friend Emma has started her phone company, Double Talk Wireless, with the help of a creepy benefactor who has eyes for Cathy.

When new information comes to light about her father’s death, Cathy throws herself into investigating what really happened that day.

 

Cathy’s Key continues on in the same artistic fashion as Cathy’s Book. There’s another packet filled with documents from the novel and new websites to check out. Also, if I’m not mistaken, there are a couple of new access codes to get into some of the character’s phone messages online. I’ll have to check those out soon.

I enjoyed reading this, but I must confess that I am finding it hard to express my thoughts. I also don’t want to give too much away. I will say that this series continues to be very original. The plot goes to places that are strange and unexpected, but I like it.

There are plenty of new characters in Cathy’s Key. My favourite new guy would have to be Emma’s sort of love interest, Pete. There’s also more of a focus on some of the characters we were introduced to in book one, like Tsao. A few questions are answered, satisfying my curiosity on some fronts (there are still a few things that I’d like to see elaborated on Cathy’s Ring).

If you enjoyed the first book, you should definitely continue on with the series.

My Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Rating: 3.80/5

Cathy’s Book by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman – Illustrated by Cathy Brigg.

856969Cathy Vickers Trilogy, Book One

143 pages

Published October 3rd 2006 by Running Press Kids

Cathy is an artistic teenager living in San Francisco. When her boyfriend Victor dumps her, leaving her with a muggy memory and a needle mark in her arm (not as shady as it sounds, I promise), she starts to realise that there were a lot of things about him that don’t quite add up. She starts to investigate him, sometimes with the help of her best friend Emma.

 

Cathy’s Book is an interactive feast. It comes with a packet filled with all of Cathy’s evidence – like menus, business cards, photos, inked sketches, official documents, and more. There is also an online element to her evidence. You can listen to messages and look up the places that she has been. It. Is. Awesome.

I first read this book back in 2006. I was enticed by the treasure trove of clues and papers. I love papers so much. I even used to get excited for career expos and stuff like that at school, because I just love receiving all those pamphlets (never mind that I hardly got anything out of them!). I didn’t do any of the online stuff when I first read Cathy’s Book. I don’t think I realised there was so much of it. But I’ve been checking it out this time around. You still need to figure out the access codes for some things, so it’s like you’re a sleuth as well. I also love sleuthing. Woo!

Another visually amazing thing about Cathy’s Book is that all of the pages have little doodles and handwritten notes on them. Very cool.

The story itself is very interesting and different (especially for 2006!). There’s a lot of Asian themed elements, plus a mystery, plus the ______ stuff (don’t want to say that one because it may give some things away). It is written like a journal, but not in a ‘dear diary’ kind of way. It’s Cathy recounting everything that’s happened.

It sounds short, and at 143 pages, I guess it is. But so much happens, and at a pretty fast pace. The fact that we meet Cathy after her relationship with Victor has finished, rather than from before it even starts definitely cuts down on the number of pages. There are still flashbacks of their meeting and their first date and stuff, so you don’t miss out on anything. My only slightly negative thing to say about this book is that a lot of things were left unanswered. Still, this is a trilogy – so there’s time for that. Also, if I scoured over the documents then I could probably answer a few of those things myself.

If you enjoy mysteries and teenage sleuths, as well as art, then you should definitely read this!

My Rating: 4.5/5

Goodreads Rating: 3.56/5

Crush by Lacey Weatherford.

16045855Crush, Book One

eBook, 332 pages

Published October 20th 2012 by Moonstruck Media

Cami is a good girl but Hunter is not a good boy. He’s new to town, but the rumour mill already has him pegged as a druggie and a player.

Still, Cami can’t deny that she has a crush on him. And it seems like the feeling is reciprocated.

As the two of them hang out and become closer, Hunter wages war with his inner demons. There’s a secret he’s keeping that could destroy their relationship, and he really shouldn’t be putting Cami in that position, but he just can’t help himself.

Meanwhile, there’s another stumbling block in their way – Cami’s best friend, who’s decided that now is the best time to profess his undying love for her. But when she doesn’t return the sentiment, he turns totally, weirdly, crazily jealous and possessive.

 

Crush starts out with both of the leads already crushing on each other, and their relationship moves forward pretty quickly from there. I liked the way this was done because the rest of the novel would have been too rushed if we’d had to watch an initial meeting and all of that before getting to the crushing.

Cami is very likeable. She’s the smart girl who also happens to be like catnip to all the guys – only she doesn’t realise it. Hunter is also likeable as the sweet and smokin’ bad boy who woos her.

Crush is set in high school, so it’s young adult, but it’s closer to the new adult end of the scale then the teenybopper end (the second book is set in college, so I imagine it’s even more new adult-y).

I could kind of see what was going to happen with some things, but it was still exciting to read, plus there was a twist that I didn’t see coming at all. Nothing was revealed too quickly, so it keeps you guessing. I found that as the book went on, the more enjoyable it became. At first, it reminded me of books from the eighties and nineties, like I Know What You Did Last Summer, because the dialogue was kind of dry and proper like it was in those books. But it seemed a lot more natural after a while.

Crush ended up being pretty different then what I expected, but it was also better than I expected. I’m looking forward to continuing on with this series. I just read the blurb for book two, and I am super keen!

My Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Rating: 4.02/5

Beautiful Broken Mess by Kimberly Lauren.

18307792Broken, Book Two

eBook, 238 pages

Published November 9th 2013

Jace has kept a secret from his twin brother Jaxon for a very long time. A secret about a girl with a very tumultuous past with Jax – Audrey. She may have ‘forced’ Jax to marry her because she was pregnant, and then been dumped when it was discovered that the baby wasn’t even his, but there’s more to that story than anyone knows.

It was Jace who first met and became interested in Audrey. And who knows what would have happened if she hadn’t walked into a party and kissed Jaxon, thinking he was his brother? But now, years later and despite all the confusion and heartbreak, Jace and Audrey finally have a chance to be together. But how will Jaxon take the news, when it goes completely against their bro code?

 

Beautiful Broken Mess shows us Audrey’s whole story. Including recounts of the parts of Beautiful Broken Rules where she showed up, telling them from her perspective, which paints them in a totally different colour. So if you read the first book and then thought ‘ugh!’ when you saw that Audrey was the leading lady in the second book don’t worry – she’s not the horrible person you may think she is. As for me, I actually liked the idea of Audrey being redeemed. I’ve always liked that sort of thing in novels.

Audrey is a pretty cool chick. She’s had a hard life, and has only recently really started to become the woman she’s destined to be. She’s growing up, and moving on.

I loved Jace in the first book. He was like a big teddy bear – he reminded me of this guy I grew up with. He still has that big brother thing going on with his mates girlfriends, but when it comes to his own girlfriend, he’s pretty much exactly like Jaxon – possessive and jealous (maybe slightly less so than his bro). I was hoping he’d be different, but I still liked him.

Unlike BB Rules, BB Mess is written from two perspectives – Jace’s and Audrey’s. I quite liked that. It was shorter than it’s predecessor as well. There were similar amounts of graphic content – once again, I found there to be a good balance.

It’s really hard for me to pinpoint my main problem with this book. I feel like it maybe didn’t do Jace and Audrey justice. Their romance was the main focus, but then the story became about the whole group of friends. By the time I finished, it was more about a happy ending for everyone, rather than just the two people it was mainly about. I think that their actions became a little too rushed by that point. The ending was a little too cute for me – sweet to the point of a toothache, you know?

Read this if you enjoyed the first book.

My Rating: 3/5

Goodreads Rating: 4.30/5

Painless by Devon Hartford.

18191219The Story of Samantha Smith, Book Three.

eBook, 547 pages

Published January 30th 2014

Painless concludes the love story of Christos and Samantha.

Christos is fighting for his freedom, and even though Sam could help solve the problem for him, he refuses to let her in.

Meanwhile, Samantha is still in the middle of a war with her parents about the whole art thing – they want her to become an accountant, and have cut off some of their financial support. When she still doesn’t change her major back from art, they add even more pressure to her situation.

And even as Christos and Samantha solve some of their issues, there are more heading their way…

 

Having just finished Painless, I have an overall good feeling about this book. There was a good ending, with plenty of scope for more books surrounding the same cast of characters. I’m hanging out for a book about Tiffany, an old family friend of Christos’ and a current enemy of Samantha. Mostly we only saw her as a total bitch, so it will be interesting to see other facets of her personality.

In my reviews for the previous two novels, I don’t think I ever mentioned Sam’s friends. There is the extravagant Romeo – a young gay man who dresses like a suave vampire. Kimiko, who loves to draw anime and would really like to be an artist, but whose parents want her to be a doctor (unlike Sam, she is actually doing what her parents want, but doesn’t seem to mind so much). Madison, a cool beachy freshman, is Sam’s best friend (her boyfriend, Jake, is also in it a little). The dialogue between all of the friends is very lively, but also very crude (especially when Romeo is around!). There have been a lot of sexual references throughout all three books. A lot!

I so appreciated the fact that there was never a love triangle in this trilogy. There were people who were interested in Christos and Sam respectively but neither of them ever acted on anything. I loved that the author came up with more original causes for conflict.

There was plenty of drama in Painless, but also plenty of happiness. Sam is a completely different woman than the nineteen-year-old girl we met at the beginning of Fearless.

I would recommend this series to fans of cheeky new adult romances.

My Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Rating: 4.29/5

Reckless by Devon Hartford.

18189224The Story of Samantha Smith, Book Two

eBook, 385 pages

Published October 8th, 2013

Reckless continues the romance of Samantha and Christos (Adonis).

Sam has decided to change her major to Art, but when she tells her parents they totally flip, but still manage to find a way to use the situation to their advantage. Suddenly, Samantha has to fight a whole harder for her dreams.

Christos is very busy with his painting, and is making a good name for himself in the art world. But there’s something he has been hiding from Sam, something that has the capacity to ruin their future together.

 

Reckless tackles the part of a relationship that a lot of books probably don’t show: what happens when the honeymoon phase ends. Though they love each other very much, real life is calling and Christos and Sam have to answer. They have less time for each other and have to find ways to deal with that.

The tone is more mature than in Fearless – Sam has grown up a lot. There’s also a lot more graphic content (!). The plot is very loose, and single events are explored in great detail.

Samantha has matured a lot, and her confidence is much higher in this book. She’s finally finding the pluck to stand up to her controlling parents and chase her dreams.

Christos writes from his point of view at times throughout the book, and we get to enjoy the fact that he really is a one-woman man now. He continues to give dreamy soliloquies to Samantha that speak volumes of his undying love. He is very dramatic and comfortable in his own skin – totally confident. But you also see his darker side…

Reckless was a good follow up to Fearless, and sets up the next book really well. I can’t wait to get stuck into Painless!

My Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Rating: 4.26/5