Book Review: Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

Rating: StarStarStarStar

Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. And Jeremy is hands-down the wrong guy for her to fall for. He is infuriating, arrogant, and the only person who can stand in the way of Carmen getting the one thing she wants most: to win the prestigious Guarneri competition. Carmen’s whole life is violin, and until she met Jeremy, her whole focus was winning. But what if Jeremy isn’t just hot…what if Jeremy is better?

Carmen knows that kissing Jeremy can’t end well, but she just can’t stay away. Nobody else understands her–and riles her up–like he does. Still, she can’t trust him with her biggest secret: She is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to perform, and what started as an easy fix has become a hungry addiction. Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of always doing what she’s told, doing what’s expected.

Sometimes, being on top just means you have a long way to fall….

*****

HOPEFUL.

Virtuosity surprised me in more ways than i expected. It started a little boring but when things picked up, boredom was the last thing on my mind. Martinez wrote beautifully that even a nonclassical-music/violin lover like me could be so entranced by her story.

Carmen is a music prodigy and with that came a not-so-normal childhood. When she met Jeremy, she longed for the simple things: staying out late for a date, going to a jazz bar without sneaking out, liking a boy and him liking her back just because she’s a girl, not a top class violinist. Carmen fought for what she think is right, stood by her choice, and rebelled when choices were taken away from her. What she went through was sad, unfair, but sweet. Jeremy is a complex character. Charming and irritating at the same time. He was so brave because it took guts for him to ask something of Carmen for his dream and for his family.

The twist got me dumbfounded. It was real, hurtful, and unbelievable. Nonetheless, the book ends with a note of hope and full of choices which i love. Virtuosity is about realizing life wrapped around by different kinds of love: selfish, romantic, unconditional. Most of all, it gives the readers the idea on how choices are and will always be in their hands, should they choose to live and to love according to what or who they are.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Imprint: Simon Pulse

Pub Date: 10/18/2011

Thank you Simon & Schuster Galley Grab for the free e-copy.

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

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Book Review: Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Rating: StarStarStar

Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it’s a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy’s car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend’s attention. 

Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: she and the other players’ girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won’t get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don’t count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. And Lissa never sees her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling, coming.

*****

I’d never felt like this, like I wanted to climb into another person’s skin.

BLUNT.

Shut Out is mediocre compared to Keplinger’s The DUFF, but it still has its own merits. It showcased another round of sex-questioning issues that i found very interesting yet realistic. Truly, this is another book that has a no-holds-barred sex theme that subdues the notion of not FREELY talking about it.

Lissa is a hypocrite when her secret was divulged in the middle of the sex strike. It was irksome, and i cannot understand why she had the idea in the first place. Her OCD is relatable – it calms her when things get out of control. Cash is… endearing. Although i’m skeptic that he’s a flirt and yet doesn’t know anything about dating, he is really likeable. There are those Lissa-Cash moments that are supercharged with electricity! I love Chloe the most, among the characters. She’s funny, feisty, and loyal. Those sex punchlines of hers are so hilarious! Chloe is as real as it gets.

Shut Out is a fun read to fill your time when you just want to have a good time reading. It fell short for me though, so i reread my fave scenes from The Duff after finishing Shut Out. Toinks!

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”