Monday, July 8, 2013

Novella Reviews: Spartan Frost + Flirting With Maybe

SPARTAN FROST
Mythos Academy 4.5
Jennifer Estep
Paranormal Young Adult
60 pages
Kensington Teen
Available now
Source: from author for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
I'm Logan Quinn, the deadliest Spartan warrior at Mythos Academy. At least I was--until the day I almost killed Gwen Frost.

Professor Metis and Nickamedes say that I'm fine, that Loki and the Reapers don't have a hold on me anymore, but I can't risk it. I can't risk hurting Gwen again. So I'm leaving Mythos and going somewhere far, far away.

I know Gwen wonders what's happening to me, whether I'm safe. I can't tell her, but this is my story. . .


MY THOUGHTS
Spartan Frost is a treat for longtime fans of the Mythos Academy series, a peek into the inner workings of the mind of Logan Quinn at his most vulnerable in the aftermath of the events of Crimson Frost. Not only do we get access to a new and beautifully tragic character landscape–a light suddenly aimed at the dark corners of Logan's we’ve previously danced around–but we also get it at a time when we have the most to learn.

He’s closed off completely to us and Gwen at the end of Crimson Frost, more inaccessible than he’s ever been before as he runs mind, body, and soul from what happened, but with this little novella the door he slammed brutally shut in our faces creaks open ever so slightly, and we surge through with all the enthusiasm and love we have for this series in tow.

While nothing hugely significant happens plot-wise, obviously, we can’t help but feel utterly content with what we're given, simply all around thankful for our few brief moments with him. His pain, guilt, and shame are there for us to see, helping us to further understand why he chooses to hurt Gwen further by leaving her. Though we disagree wholeheartedly with the way he sees himself now, we’re unable to deny the strength of his fear, and can only look to Midnight Frost with a great deal of anticipation upon finishing, longing for the moment when Gwen will inevitably beat that fear of his into submission.

Rating: 4/5

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FLIRTING WITH MAYBE
Wendy Higgins
Contemporary Young Adult
92 pages
HarperTeen Impulse
Available now
Source: from author for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
When sophomore Ryan "The Kid" McPhearson makes the Varsity baseball team, he finds himself submersed into the life of upperclassmen, and falling in love with senior Brooke Bennet. To Ryan she's his dream girl, perfect. Maybe to the outside world a two-year age difference doesn't matter, but this is high school. Everything matters.

Ryan soon realizes Brooke's life is not so perfect. He becomes her closest friend, her safe place to fall when she needs to escape. Ryan seems to be benched in the friend zone with no chance to bat.

Time is both a curse and a blessing. It ushers Brooke away to college, and Ryan into the arms of his first girlfriend. It alters Ryan from a kid to a high school graduate, ready to venture to college himself. But when Ryan sees Brooke again he realizes there are some things even time can't touch.

Though much has changed, one question still remains. Will the things that mattered in high school always stand between them?


MY THOUGHTS
Flirting With Maybe is a beautiful novella from Wendy Higgins, packing an emotional punch in a very short amount of time and giving us two impressively developed characters who ensure we’re invested in the outcome of their relationship from the very first page. The brightly colored cover and cute title suggest a story lighter in tone, but the reality of Brooke and Ryan’s friendship and romance is a bit darker than expected, the pain of a love unrequited for a time chipping away at us until we’re a gloriously lopsided, unstable mass that threatens to teeter over at the slightest touch.

Brooke is someone we want desperately to like from the beginning, Ryan’s feelings for her crystal clear and intensely genuine for someone as young as he is, but each page seems to slowly pull back the sheath on our claws, preparing them to cause serious damage if she keeps on the path she’s started down. She’s for all intents and purposes an addict in this story–her drug of choice being affection–and she constantly siphons it away from Ryan as their friendship hovers on the edge of something more for months and months, never giving anything back to replenish what she’s taken until she reaches the point where he nearly runs out of anything to give. Just before she lunges toward the final fix that will kill any lingering feelings between them, Ms. Higgins grants her a chance at redemption, and Ryan’s happiness proves to be infectious and impossible to ignore even if we still hold a small grudge against her.

While things do reach a satisfying conclusion in this novella, Ms. Higgins grants her readers an added gift in the form of an epilogue available on her blog, providing a more concrete future for this pair than is found in the story itself, and finally bringing the smile to our faces we’ve been dying for all along.

Rating: 4/5


Find Wendy:

36 comments:

  1. I love it when a novella give a glimpse of a different character's troubles. Glad you enjoyed Logan's novella. I want to read that series someday. Hopefully Gwen can take away his fear.

    That's fantastic that both stories brought you so feelings and you were able to be attached to the characters.

    Beautifully written reviews!

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    1. I'm such a huge fan of both these authors, so these novellas were just treats for me:) Definitely recommend!!!

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  2. I hate Novella's - but I love Wendy so.. of course I've read "Flirting with Maybe" But .. the reason why I hate Novella is exactly what bugged me about this story. This book could have been so much more and I feel like so many things are glossed over instead of deepen it. For a Novella it was awesome - but I wanted more! Which is exactly my problem with Novella's ..

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    1. I used to hate novellas, they just weren't long enough and didn't give me enough time with the characters, but now I really like them. I love getting glimpses of characters I don't spend as much time with in already existing series, and I thought Wendy's novella was surprisingly layered despite its short length. I could see Brooke and Ryan in a full length novel and yes more could have been explored, but I loved what we got:)

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  3. I keep forgetting that Wendy is the same Wendy as Sweet Evil. Why write a novella? This isn't related to a full book is it? I don't see why you can't expand it into a real book.

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    1. The HarperTeen Impulse imprint I believe is novellas and short stories only, so I'm sure the length was dictated for her:) And no, this is a standalone story, not related to any of her other books. I really enjoyed it though!

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  4. I actually really like novellas, especially for series for that in between fix you sometimes just NEED and I love that Estep gave us a look into Logan. it was fabulous! I enjoyed Flirting With Maybe as well! Great reviews!!

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    1. LOGAN!!!! Love him so much Ali:)

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  5. I've seen this Spartan Frost around but what surprises me is that I haven't seen that series around! I really must check it out. I'm glad you enjoyed and it sounds like a great novella. Also I didn't know that Wendy wrote a contemporary story. I must read that cause it's sounds so good. Great reviews Jenny :)

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    1. The Mythos Academy series is one of my favorites, I can't recommend it enough. And I'm a complete Wendy Higgins fangirl, so you can't go wrong with either of these novellas! Though of course, Logan's novella won't make much sense if you haven't read the series.

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  6. Novellas and me are tricky. But some do work

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    1. Agreed. Both of these did for me:)

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  7. I usually try to avoid novellas because I never feel entirely satisfied when I finish such a short story, you know? But, that said, Wendy Higgins has a novella?! Jennifer Estep has a novella?! Both are rated a 4/5? You, my dear, might have convinced me, yet again haha great reviews, Jenny :)

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    1. Yesssss. Mission accomplished! You haven't read the Mythos series have you? I can't remember. If you haven't definitely give it a try. And of course you know the awesome that is Wendy:)

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  8. Is the Wendy Higgins novella a good introduction to her writing?

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    1. I think so! I was really impressed by how emotionally complex the story is given how short it is, and I liked that she did a contemporary tale completely unrelated to her Sweet Trilogy:)

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  9. Your review of Spartan Frost just reminded me that I need to get back to this series soon! I haven't read the last 2 books yet! *cries* Why are there so many books to read, Jenny?!
    I'm not the biggest fan of novellas, but the mention of being inside Logan's head really piqued my interest. I mean who can resist that gorgeous boy?
    I didn't know Wendy Higgins had a contemporary novella out. I need to check it out, especially since it seems to be highly emotional.
    Lovely reviews, Jenny!

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  10. Look at you, all over novellas! I do love when you get some more of a world you love in these books. Wendy's novella sounds good although I feel like I'd be yelling at Brooke to just go for it and step off the edge!

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  11. I need to read this book. I already read Midnight Frost and totally LOVED it.

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  12. Novellas are tricky for me unless they are a part of a series I really enjoy (and even then, I rarely choose to read them ALL), but I'm hoping I can get started on these authors' books soon. (Yes, I know, I still need to meet a certain Kaidan Rowe! ;)) Really glad to see you enjoyed these, Jenny. Fantastic reviews!

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  13. I've never read anything by Wendy Higgins before (I KNOW!), but I do love those HarperTeen Impulse novellas. So far, they've been a huge success, and one as emotionally intese as this one was sure to catch my attention.

    As for Estep, I've been hearing so much about this Logan dude and of course I'm curious to meet him, but I have a hard time talking myself to jump into this series for some reason. Maybe because of my disappointment in her adult series.

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  14. I love reading novellas over the Summer! Both of these books sound wonderful Jenny, but I think that Flirting with Maybe would definitely be my sort of read! I love how the cover suggests it's a light and fluffy read, but it's really not! Great reviews Jenny!

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  15. Oh, yay! I'm glad that the Mythos Academy series is still rocking your socks off! I've yet to start it, but I plan to read these books soon. I love Wendy Higgins so much and I have this contemporary novella on my Kindle. Now I wonder why in the world haven't I read it so far. Ugh.. I should get on it asap. I have a feeling (even back when I first read the blurb) that Brooke means trouble, but as you pointed out, we want a HEA and we want a HEA for Ryan so I can't wait to see how it all plays out. I'm glad you enjoyed both of these novellas a lot and I hope you'll love Wendy's new story as well when you get to beta read it:) Eeek! I'm excited for you:)

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  16. I haven't read any of the Mythos Academy books but Higgins little novella has me curious and I love the way you describe it. Ryan sounds wonderful:) Delightful reviews and I am so glad you enjoyed them both! Thanks Jenny:)

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  17. I just read the first of the Elemental Series by Estep and totally loved it, so I definitely want to read her YA series. Even though you said nothing really happens in the novella, sometimes it's great to get behind a character's motivations and into their head.

    And OMG, Flirting with Maybe sounds sooo good. I have to know more about Brooke now!

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  18. Glad that Flirting With Maybe isn't as light as the cover suggests. And I so need to start catching up on the Mythos Academy books!

    Great novella reviews :)

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  19. I just realized I don't think I've tried any contemp YA in novella form! I don't even think in series form I've done it. Hm... might have to try that one.

    My biggest complaint with Spartan Frost is that there needs to be more with his POV. Would love one where he is romantic and has all those gooshy feelings (even more than the bit we got) about Gwen. Make us swoon spartan! LOL

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  20. I enjoyed Spartan Frost as well, but man that cliffhanger. I wanted Logan on the cover, though. I would like to try Wendy's book as well. It sounds like a spectacular little summer novella.

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  21. I need to catch up on the Mythos Academy series so I can read Spartan Frost, but I'm glad to hear you enjoyed getting Logan's perspective! And I'm definitely going to give Flirting With Maybe a try, it sounds wonderful! Lovely reviews :-)

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  22. I just read Spartan Frost. I was a little disappointed because I felt like a lot of the novella was used to rehash the previous book, but I do agree that it was so nice to get a look into the inner-workings of Logan Quinn. It definitely made me sympathize more with him and not hate his decision to leave in the last book.

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  23. Oh Jenny, Wendy Higgins' novella speaks to me! Angst and longing here I come! I know I can bear this because of the epilogue you've mentioned. Will I hold a bit of a grudge against Brooke? I'm sure! If you did, I'm sure I will, too. But, my balm will be from the epilogue you mention. Lovely reviews, Jenny! :)

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  24. I haven't started the Mythos Academy yet, but I'm so glad that it's still going strong. I wasn't sure about the Wendy Higgins' novella because it was about some high school drama that I wasn't interested in but I love that it's more emotional than it appears. I think I might end up liking it. Great reviews, Jenny :)

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  25. Well, these novellas seem to stand up to my most important qualifications for a good novella - namely that if it is a novella from a series, it adds something new to the story or shines a different light on a certain aspect, like the first. And if it is not a novella from a series, that it stands up on its own and still has well developed characters that you can form an emotional connection to, like the second. So yeah, these both sound good! Very impressive for novellas.

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  26. I am not big on novellas, but I love Wendy Higgins, so I will have to check out Flirting with Maybe. I have been meaning to read Mythos Academy series. I know you like it and I've read great reviews. I will have to see if my library has it. Thanks for the great reviews, Jenny!

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  27. I still haven't read anything by Wendy Higgins but I guess a novella doesn't require as much of a time commitment and so may give Flirting With Maybe a try. As for Spartan Frost ... all I need to say is Logan! *swoon*

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  28. I read the first two books in the Mythos Academy series and liked them, but wasn't blown away. I may go back to it some day. It means a lot that you like it so much! I'd like also to see what Wendy Higgins does with a contemporary, tho that sounds like a very long period of time to pack into a short novella, which makes me nervous!

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