Reviews: The Battle of the Lilys

No, there’s no a book by that title. (I don’t think. *checks* Nope, I’m safe.) I just realized this week that I read 2.5 books last weekend, and they ALL featured characters named Lily. Weird. I wonder if Fate was trying to tell me something–and if she was, it better be something good! Like, someone named Lily is getting ready to give me a million dollars.

The three books were:

Untitled and In Progress by A Friend of Mine
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

In the first, Lily is the main character’s best friend. She’s spunky and fun, blond, and may be facing some major life changes that parallel the main plot.

In Hourglass, Lily is the main character’s best friend. She’s spunky and fun, dark-haired, and helps the main character deal with major life issues to advance the plot.

In Forgive My Fins, the main character herself is named Lily, and while she’s blond, she’s not overly spunky except when verbally sparring with the hero-antagonist.

I swear I didn’t choose these things on purpose. While Lily is a lovely name, I don’t have any particular affinity for it that would cause me to seek her out. Despite the seeming similarities as listed above, these books aren’t overly similar. The one my friend’s still writing I, obviously, can’t review here (I’ll let you know when it’s on the shelf, though, because I adore the thing already), but I’ll try to give the low-down on the other two.

Hourglass is a sci-fi-ish YA about a gal named Emerson who sees people and images from the past. Her brother renovates old houses, and being around old places with lots of history seems to make her ability (curse, she’d call it at the start) kick into high gear. She’s had issues with depression (her parents are dead), and being able to see people who aren’t there only adds to her crazy (her word, not mine).

The story gets moving pretty quickly, and I appreciated that. Emerson, her brother, his wife, and Lily (of COURSE, Lily) are pretty vivid. I wanted to like them, and I did. However, when the love interest, Michael, gets introduced, I thought the pace got a little carried away. Within about three seconds of screen time, per se, there are already heavy undercurrents of attraction and all that jazz, and it builds to a massive intensity within only a couple of chapters.

Not saying it can’t happen like that, but I found it overbearing.

There are some other quirky things that I didn’t think were quite well enough explained. The mechanics for using her/their powers are annoyingly detailed and don’t seem particularly important. There’s a set of quasi-love triangles that are started but never fully realized. (And I swear, Michael’s best friend and primary competition, Kaleb, looked an awful lot like Taylor Lautner in my head. Read it and tell me you didn’t feel the similarities in role, even if the plot doesn’t match.)

I forced myself to accept the romance and pretend that the build-up had been sufficient to make me believe in it. The other things weren’t quite so glaring as the romance thing. After that, the rest of the book went much smoother. I can be a good sport about suspension of disbelief when I have the right motivation.

What’s sad is that the best thing I can say for this book is that FINALLY I found a recent YA that knows how to wrap up a storyline even in the process of setting things up for a sequel. For that, I wanted to kiss my Kindle Fire and then recommend this book to everyone. But the overall book itself? Meh. It had good parts, and even the annoying parts weren’t terrible, but nothing made me fall in love with the characters or the world. It was interesting, but not engrossing.

RATING: 3 out of 5 stars

Forgive My Fins, on the other hand, was a light and fun YA romance about a half-human, half-mermaid girl who’s obsessed with making one certain guy her mer-mate. It was obviously intended to be a guilty pleasure and just a tiny bit silly, and I appreciated just how well it did that. (I read Oh. My. Gods. by the same author, and it was good, too.)

Lily–short for Waterlily, in this case–who is a mermaid princess, has been living with her aunt for a few years, experiencing the human life after learning that her mother was actually human. This story also starts out at a rapid pace, drawing us into Lily’s quest to ask her longtime crush, Brody, to a school dance. Her land best friend (because she has a water best friend, too) is encouraging her, and her next-door-neighbor-slash-archnemesis is getting in her way.

We know pretty quick that the neighbor, Quince, is the real love interest, and not oblivious Brody. This is a case of main character blindness, because she is stupidly loyal to the idea that she’s in love with Brody, despite all evidence against it. As an adult reading a teen book, the convenient blindness got a little annoying after awhile, but I can see how I would have had similar thoughts at that age. I’m not sure I was quite THAT oblivious, but I had my moments.

Lily and Quince are rather quickly thrust into a series of events that both give us a great view of the underwater world and force them to face several tests of their friendship (Lily doesn’t like to admit it, but they ARE friends) and romantic relationship. At times it was sweet, at others frustrating, and still others extraordinarily awesome.

This one also has nice resolution while setting us up for a sequel. *happy sigh*

While I enjoyed this one a great deal, it’s not quite something for my reread list. I might read the sequel if I’m jonesing for some light and fluffy, but it’s not getting prioritized on my TBR list.

RATING 3.5 out of 5 stars

So which featured the best Lily? Well, my answer would show a lot of partiality, so I think I’ll let you read and decide.

*

The count is now:

  1. The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey
  2. One Good Knight by Mercedes Lackey
  3. Fortune’s Fool by Mercedes Lackey
  4. The Snow Queen by Mercedes Lackey
  5. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
  6. Hourglass by Myra McEntire
  7. Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
  8. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
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