Review of The Eternal City by Paula Morris

TheEternalCityThe Eternal City
By: Paula Morris
Release Date: May 26th 2015
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Laura Martin is visiting Rome on a class trip, and she’s entranced by the majestic Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon. . . . Everything in this city seems magical.

That is, until the magic seems to turn very dark.

Suddenly, statues of Cupid and ancient works of art come to life before her eyes. Earthquakes rumble and a cloud of ash forms in the sky. A dark-eyed boy with wings on his heels appears and gives her a message. Laura soon realizes she is at the center of a brewing battle — a battle between the gods and goddesses, one that will shake modern-day Rome to its core.

Only she and her group of friends can truly unravel the mystery behind what is happening. As tensions mount and secret identities are revealed, Laura must rely on her own inner strength to face up to what may be a fight for her life.

My Thoughts:
This was the first book I’ve read from Paula Morris and so I really didn’t know what to expect. The writing was easy to read and I was excited by the idea of the setting being in Rome. Some part of me, based on a vague recollection of the summary, thought our main character, Lauren, would be traveling back in time. I only briefly read the summary before requesting this one and when it arrived I jumped in without refreshing my memory. I kept waiting for something to drag Lauren back through time but that didn’t occur. Instead, things happened in present day.

Though this book proved to be a fast read it wasn’t overly enjoyable mostly due to my disconnect to the characters. They each felt rather flat to me especially our lead, Lauren.  She never felt more than two dimensional. We read about her attachment and past with her grandfather but I never felt it. Sadly, I never felt any of the emotions she was described as feeling. There was a tiny bit of romance and even that felt meh to me.

The setting was beautifully described and it did seem easy to picture what was happening around Lauren and her friends. I really enjoyed the visuals of a modern day Rome being overrun with statues (did seem a little Jumanji esq.) As for the big mystery about why the mayhem is occurring it wasn’t overly difficult to figure out. Little tips led me easily to predict what was coming which did detract a tiny bit.

Final Thoughts:
Regardless of my disconnect to the characters and the predictability, Paula Morris’ writing was engaging and I had no problem finishing The Eternal City. It wasn’t a book I regretted reading and I felt that I did derive some enjoyment from the story, especially the setting.

Review for Anything Could Happen by Will Walton

AnythingCouldHappenAnything Could Happen
By: Will Walton
Release Date: May 26th 2015
Publisher: Push
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was sent by the publisher in consideration for review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
When you’re in love with the wrong person for the right reasons, anything could happen.

Tretch lives in a very small town where everybody’s in everybody else’s business. Which makes it hard for him to be in love with his straight best friend. For his part, Matt is completely oblivious to the way Tretch feels – and Tretch can’t tell whether that makes it better or worse.

The problem with living a lie is that the lie can slowly become your life. For Tretch, the problem isn’t just with Matt. His family has no idea who he really is and what he’s really thinking. The girl at the local bookstore has no clue how off-base her crush on him is. And the guy at school who’s a thorn in Tretch’s side doesn’t realize how close to the truth he’s hitting.

Tretch has spent a lot of time dancing alone in his room, but now he’s got to step outside his comfort zone and into the wider world. Because like love, a true self can rarely be contained.

My Thoughts:
I hadn’t read the summary when I jumped int0 reading Anything Could Happen. Immediately I was drawn into the writing style with its ease and likeable main character, Tretch. I had no clue that this was a diverse book focusing on the main character’s decision to come out to his friends and family (which was done wonderfully in my opinion). If you follow me you know I’m not a contemporary fan but I really enjoyed this book and read it in one sitting.

Tretch’s sexuality was handled beautifully and so easy to relate to. I was quick to fall in love with him, his quirks and interests. I loved his relationship with his parents and brother (no absent family in this book). His parents felt so real to me, and being the mother of a son, I could relate not only to Tretch but also to his mother. Not only do we have present parents Walton also brought in some incredibly touching and poignant moments with the grandparents.

I really enjoyed that Matt, Tretch’s best friend, had two fathers. I personally haven’t known anyone with same sex parents so I found this look into how it might affect Matt very interesting. I felt that the author handled everything elegantly and with real heart. I loved how supportive and likeable the entire cast of characters were- well, for the most part.

I was surprised at how little happened plot wise, go in expecting a completely character driven novel, but at the same time it was such an emotionally rich novel. Though there’s no real physical action (there was a great dancing scene though) it was never dull or boring. I felt the pacing was very fast and I flew through the pages.

I really am so excited that I found a contemporary novel that completely immersed me and touched my heart. I actually cried and laughed while reading this one and now I’m going to be on the look out for more contemporary like this one. Another thing I don’t typically like but didn’t mind in this book was the mention of pop culture. Tretch was very interested in music (hence the book’s title) and so certain songs and artists were referenced. I’d not ever heard of Ellie Goulding before but I really like her song, Anything Could Happen now! I suggest giving it a listen before reading the book.

Final Thoughts:
I am so excited that I’ve finally found a contemporary novel that I really enjoyed and read in one sitting. Anything Could Happen was such a surprise for me since it’s completely out of my typical genre. I couldn’t help but be swept away with the loveable characters and wonderfully represented family dynamics.