Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Release Week Blitz: The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre

post it note with clothes peg against wooden surface

We are extremely excited to bring you the Release Week Blitz for Ann Aguirre's THE QUEEN OF BRIGHT AND SHINY THINGS!! THE QUEEN OF BRIGHT AND SHINY THINGS is a Young Adult Contemporary Romance published by Macmillan!! Grab your copy today!

Queen of Bright and Shiny THings - cover

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Sage Czinski is trying really hard to be perfect. If she manages it, people won’t peer beyond the surface, or ask hard questions about her past. She’s learned to substitute causes for relationships, and it’s working just fine… until Shane Cavendish strolls into her math class. He’s a little antisocial, a lot beautiful, and everything she never knew she always wanted.

Shane Cavendish just wants to be left alone to play guitar and work on his music. He’s got heartbreak and loneliness in his rearview mirror, and this new school represents his last chance. He doesn’t expect to be happy; he only wants to graduate and move on. He never counted on a girl like Sage.

But love doesn’t mend all broken things, and sometimes life has to fall apart before it can be put back together again…


When I walk past the music room, I hear something that stills me in my tracks. People push past; I've become a rock in the middle of a rushing stream, but I can't move. Then someone shoves me from behind, not on purpose, but the result is the same. I slam into the lockers past the classroom and bounce. The underclassmen who were wrestling don't even notice that my brain has stopped firing.

Shane Cavendish plays like it's his reason for living.

I don't write that on the Post-it, of course. That would just get him beaten up even harder. Instead I scrawl, You’re awesome on the guitar, because the jocks might think that’s cool and leave him the hell alone. It's a long shot, as I don't have any particular cred with their crew, but being a musician is pretty spectacular. I can't breathe for how good—how remarkably talented—he is. And I suspect that if he found out anyone was paying attention, he'd stop playing.

Backtracking to his locker will make me late for class, but it's worth it. I stick the note just below the vents, as I always do, but this time it feels weightier, more somehow, like this is a turning point. Shaking off the odd sensation, I dodge into Econ with a mumbled excuse. Sadly, it holds no weight with Mrs. Palmer. Unlike the male teachers, she isn't impressed with talk of 'female problems', so I get my first detention of the year, only the second I've ever had.

Since tomorrow is Friday and I have standing plans with Ryan, I ask, “Can I just get it over with tonight?”

I calculate; school lets out at 2:45. An hour of sitting in silence, and I’m supposed to be at work at four. If I hurry, I can still make my shift at the Curly Q. Which sounds like a diner, but it's actually a hair salon. I'm not qualified to do anything but wash hair, sweep up, and answer the phone, but it's better than fast food. I work two afternoons a week from four to eight, which earns me spending money for the week. Since I'm under eighteen, I get paid fifty cents an hour less than an adult; that makes me a bargain.  After detention ends, I’ll just need to ride hard to keep Mildred from yelling at me.

Mrs. Palmer glances up from scribbling down my doom. “Can you get a ride home?”


I’ve always got my bike out front, and the town is small enough that I can ride anywhere I need to go from school. This is the one positive aspect of living in a tiny berg like this, especially given my opinion of privately-owned fossil fuel burning vehicles, which covers nicely for my lingering fear.

Author PhotoAbout Ann Aguirre:

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.

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This is well and beautifully written. It's by Aguirre after all. I adore her prose, so I was excited to get my hands on this one.
But after finishing it, I well, I wasn't awed. I liked this, I liked the Characters, I enjoyed the story line but it was just not quite it. I've thought about this and it took me a while to work out what I didn't actually like about this.

Well, as I said this is well written. I love Aguirre's writing style. And this didn't disappoint. It well written. I felt for the MCs, but I didn't feel with them. Which is one of the reasons of what I felt was missing, I expected to be submerged in the story.... but I kept stopping and reading different stuff. Not my typical Aguirre experience, usually I read her books in more or less one sitting

The character building was done meticulously, just as expected. Aguirre as usual gave all the characters depth. Even the baddies, showed a different side to them, and though this has a happy ending - it isn't a HEA or a happy-clappy or black and white kinda thing. There are layers to each characters. But again, while I enjoyed their journey they didn't touch me as much as I would expect. There was just something a wee bit off. The characters aren't memorable for some reason, I didn't really connect with them.
And at first I thought it might be to do with the plot.

The plot was fun, sweet and heartbreaking. Not that many surprises actually, it felt like it was slow paced, despite the fact that quite a bit was happening. In fact when the big reveal happened, I was not surprised- well, actually I kinda was, but by that time I didn't care that much anymore. And retrospective I realised there lays my issue with this. The entire story line is built up on this huge secret- it's a huge tease... so much so that by the time we told what it actually is, I couldn't give two toots anymore. Plus we never get really told how bad things actually were.. So well, the big reveal is only a wee bit of a reveal....

Considering that Aguirre tackled a rather heartbreaking reality I was left rather cold by this. The plot made me think of the Sea of Tranquility- and I love that book- so this is a good thing. But unlike SoT, The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things didn't touch my heart. Still there are some wonderful quirky details - the post-it's for example are beyond adorable and heartwarming. There are heartbreaking details the entire reality of the system is just devastating. Then there is the best-friend situation, the entire high school situation, popularity and all that, first time love, self-doubts,...
Well, there is a lot happening in this book but all those details probably are one of the reason the plot felt slow. And it make me wonder if maybe there was too much there. Then again I did love all of that.

Which brings me back to the beginning. This has so many good aspects. Really it does. But it felt too long or too slow. I think the big bad issue is held over ones head too long
But ultimately I can't really explain why this didn't quite work for me. It's what it is in the end. Some books just resonate with you, others just don't quite do it for you... Which sadly seems to have happened to me with The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things.
Still this was a good read and if you like the genre, give it a go. I for one can't wait to read whatever Aguirre writes next!


(click on the name for reviews of this geek)

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