Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Better Off FriendsBetter Off Friends
Elizabeth Eulberg
Point
Release Date: February 28, 2014
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 9780545551458
Websites:
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Elizabeth Eulberg has done it again! Better Off Friends is another great contemporary from Elizabeth Eulberg that left me grinning from ear to ear. 
It’s hard to review a book you liked so much. I’m finding it difficult to start off this review. There is so much I want to say, but I’m having issues figuring out how to say it. 
I loved the structure of the story. Macallan and Levi were recounting the story of their relationship, starting from when they first met in 7th grade. Between each chapters, present day Macallan and Levi would provide commentary on their actions in the past. The chapters alternated point of view between Macallan and Levi, and it was great getting into each of their heads to see how they interpreted the same events. I loved that because the story started in 7th grade, you got to see the full progression of Macallan and Levi’s friendship. You got to relive their relationships’ ups and downs. I loved that their friendship wasn’t perfect, because no friendship ever is. 
I loved both Macallan and Levi. They were extremely well written; they felt like real people. While they sometimes made stupid decisions, I couldn’t help but like them because they felt real. Everyone makes mistakes, especially when it comes to relationships with friends, and it was great to see them tackle the ups and downs of their friendship. Levi and Macallan made the book. Macallan was such a strong character. I loved how protective she was of her family and of those she cared about. Levi was adorable, and it was great seeing him trying to adapt to his new home. 
Their friendship is what drives the story. I loved seeing their relationship develop, from friends to something more. They both care deeply for each other, despite the rough patches their friendship hits. It reminded me a lot of friendship’s I’ve actually had. Their relationship wasn’t perfect, but they managed to work through their arguments and road blocks. I loved how we got to see the relationship transform and grow. Levi and Macallan realize at different times that they feel something more than just friends, but something is always getting in the way of them getting together. 
This book was so cute. While the romance is important, it is really a book that focuses on their friendship. It was great to see such a strong and complex friendship between a guy and girl. While the book does have romance, I would have enjoyed it just as much without it. This story would still be great regardless of how their romantic relationships ended up. It was really a story about friends, family and were your heart feels at home. I think this beautiful quote sums up what this book really is about: “But in truth, home isn’t necessarily where you sleep at night. It’s where you feel like yourself. Where you’re most comfortable. Where don’t have to pretend where you can just be you.” 
Elizabeth Eulberg is an author I know I can turn to for a great contemporary YA novel. Her books never fail to put a smile on my face and improve my mood. The Lonely Hearts Club helped improve my rejection from my number one college, and Better Off Friends had the same effect. Elizabeth Eulberg’s book always lighten my mood; her books remind me of the why YA books are so great. For the few hours of reading Better Off Friends, you can escape from your troubles and just enjoy the story of Levi and Macallan. Their story will lift your heart and leave you feeling warm and fuzzy. I would highly recommend this book, along with Elizabeth Eulberg’s other books, to everyone and anyone as they are magical and have the power to leave you grinning from ear to ear. 

Dark Souls by Paula Morris + Giveaway

Dark
Souls

Paula Morris
Publisher: Point
Release Date: August 1, 2011
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 9780545251327
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 292
Source: Big Honcho Media
Websites:
Rating: 3 Stars

I have to admit, Dark Souls is one of those really hard
books to review because I did not love it and I did not hate it. My thoughts
are somewhere in the middle and that is always the hardest to describe.
Dark Souls was
an interesting read. And I know, interesting is the best word, but really, I
cannot think of another word. I really liked how Paula Morris set up the story
and introduced us to the world of ghosts. While this book involves seeing
ghosts, it did feel like a paranormal novel. The ghosts were just part of
Miranda’s life, something she sees after witnessing the death of her best
friend in a car accident. I really liked how Paula Morris explained the reason
for why Miranda can see ghosts, and why any other person who sees ghosts
actually sees them. There was no paranormal explanation, more of an emotional
one which I really liked.
Something about this book
made me keep reading it. I was indifferent to the plot of the book, but I did
want to keep reading to find out what will happen and what was up with the
mysterious Nick and the ghosts in York. I was not on the edge of my seat or
anything while I was reading, I was merely reading just to move the plot along.
One thing that I really did
like about this book was the writing. Paula Morris gives really amazing
descriptions. Her descriptions of York were beautiful and really helped to
establish the setting of the novel. While I was reading, I was tempted by her
descriptions to actually look up the places were the novel takes place and was
amazed at how accurate her descriptions were.
Another thing I really liked
was the relationship between Miranda and her brother Rob. Rob was in the driver
in the car accident which killed Miranda’s friend and he is carrying around
some emotional baggage like Miranda. I really liked that you could tell Miranda
and Rob really cared for each other and I loved their conversations with each
other because they really felt like actual brother and sister and you can tell
they cared for each other.
While I liked the
relationship between Miranda and Rob, the relationship between Miranda and Nick
just did not work for me. Something about it just did not work for me. I’m not
sure what it really is, if it was the character of Nick himself or just there
interactions, but something fell flat. Nick was an intriguing character on his
own, but Miranda and him together just did not work.
I felt that Dark Souls was missing that special
something that makes me really like a book. I don’t know what that special
something really is, it’s different for each book, but this one just was
missing it. It did not click for me. Don’t get me wrong the book was good,
nothing I really did not like but it just did not blow me away. And sometimes
that happens with books.

Thanks to Big Honcho Media I have TWO copies of Dark Souls to giveaway. Here’s a bit more about the book:

Miranda Tennant arrives in York with a terrible, tragic secret. She is eager to lose herself amid the quaint shops, hoping she won’t run into the many ghosts who supposedly roam the cobblestone streets. Then she meets Nick, an intense, dark-eyed boy who knows all of York’s hidden places and histories. Miranda wonders if Nick is falling for her, but she is distracted by another boy — one even more handsome and mysterious than Nick. He lives in the house across from Miranda and seems desperate to send her some sort of message. Could this boy be one of York’s haunted souls?

Soon, Miranda realizes that something dangerous — and deadly — is being planned. And she may have to face the darkest part of herself in order to unravel the mystery — and find redemption.

Photo Credit: Robert Trathan

About the Author:

Paula Morris is the author of Ruined, and has published several novels for adults in her native New Zealand. She has lived in a number of cities around the world, including York, England. She now lives in Glasgow, Scotland, and teaches creative writing at the University of Stirling. Visit her online at www.paula-morris.com.

Paula Morris will also be featured on the This Is Teen Facebook page for Dark Souls so make sure to check it out!

Giveaway Rules:
 -Fill out the form below completely
-Open to US residents only
-Must be 13 years or old to enter. If under 13, parental consent is required.
-One entry per person. Multiple entries will be deleted
-Ends September 1, 2011

Review: Prom and Prejudice

Prom and Prejudice
Elizabeth Eulberg
Publisher: Point
Release Date: January 1, 2011
Pages: 231
Source: Bought
Ratings: 4 Stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn’t interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be — especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.
Lizzie is happy about her friend’s burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles’s friend, Will Darcy, who’s snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn’t seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it’s because her family doesn’t have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk — so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?
Will Lizzie’s pride and Will’s prejudice keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making? Whatever the result, Elizabeth Eulberg, author of The Lonely Hearts Club, has concocted a very funny, completely stylish delight for any season — prom or otherwise.
I was greatly looking forward to Elizabeth Eulberg’s second novel after her lovely first novel the Lonely Hearts Club. Prom and Prejudice was exactly what I expected and wanted in Eulberg’s retelling of Jane Austen’s classic (and one of my favorite books) Pride and Prejudice.
I love how Elizabeth Eulberg was able to adapt Pride and Prejudice without making it feel forced. Eulberg stayed very close to the original story, yet was still able to make the story uniquely her own. I loved the idea about prom being this huge, important event, because for many people and schools it is. Eulberg was able to transport Jane Austen’s character and world into a 21stcentury high school.
One of my favorite things about this book was how Eulberg kept the characters the same as the original, but they had their own, separate personalities from the original. Lizzie was smart, strong, intelligent and witty. Will Darcy was just as swoon worthy as the original Darcy. He might not have been as brooding but he was definitely still swoon worthy. I think my favorite updating of Austen’s characters was Eulberg’s equivalent of Mr. Collins. Eulberg’s character named Collin, literally had me laughing out loud. He was just as awkward and annoying as the original Mr. Collins. I loved how he would drone on and on about pointless stuff.
Elizabeth Eulberg was able to write a great adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, one with everything I wanted and expected. One thing I know for sure from Elizabeth Eulberg’s writing is that she can never fail to make me smile or put me in a good mood. Both Lonely Hearts Club and Prom and Prejudice were able to do both and I expect anything else Elizabeht Eulberg will be just as wonderful as her previous two books.