1.5 out of 5

[ARC provided by Paper Lantern Lit in exchange for my volunteer position as a VIP Trendsetter.]

All aboard the Destiny, a cruise ship hosting a high school music competition where the winning group receives a $25,000 cheque. Liza is the only one who knows how desperately her band needs it, and her one goal as she boards the ship is to win the prize and keep her marching band afloat.

A huge mishap involving an out-of-bounds bowling alley and a stray bowling ball throws the entire competition in jeopardy, and Liza finds herself putting all the blame on the school’s quarterback, Russ, on the trip as a form of detention. Serving as the band’s—and thereby Liza’s—lackey, Russ only causes more harm than good in Liza’s eyes. To top it all off, Liza is sharing the cruise not only with her arch nemesis Demi, but with her crush and son of the band director, Lenny. She can’t afford any distractions, but one little kiss wouldn’t hurt…

It’s rare that I finish a novel and ask myself what on earth just happened, but that’s what I did upon finishing this. The Trouble with Destiny lacks the charm of Morrill’s Meant to Be and is a severe let-down in terms of plot, character building, and writing style.

Let me start off by saying that the opening was good but very long; there is not much action until about a quarter of the way in. That being said, the plot is predictable, and the writing and pace are both flat. There is way too much going on and not enough space devoted to properly developing relationships or the varying storylines in order to make the outcomes believable. For example, there was zero chemistry established between Liza and Russ. Therefore the shift in Liza’s characterization and tone, particularly towards Russ, is so sudden that I was experiencing whiplash. It takes about a paragraph for Liza’s entire personality to change, with no decent reason or warning.

Additionally, as someone with seven years of concert band experience, the band setup seemed very unrealistic to me. For example, the sheet music for Pirates of the Caribbean or Star Wars isn’t that difficult for a band with experience and skill (I’ve played both pieces in band at the senior level), so it seems unlikely that they would win a competition using such simple music. With this in mind, it is quizzical to me why someone headed for Juilliard would be wasting their time with a band that plays such lower-calibre pieces.

Overall, The Trouble with Destiny is incredibly, incredibly disappointing. Definitely steer clear of this one, but bear in mind that Morrill has done better. I look forward to seeing her next novel and hope it demonstrates the quirky skill that I know she has.

-Ember Book Reviews

Check out this book on Goodreads.



If y’all don’t know who Lauren Morrill is, then you’d better educate yourselves. In my opinion, she’s going to be the next big thing in the YA genre. Based on her Twitter feed recently, she already has five (!) books in the works, two of which are out now and one of which—my WoW pick, The Trouble with Destiny—is to be released on December 8th, 2015 (according to Morrill’s website). I haven’t read Being Sloane Jacobs but I want to. I did read Meant to Be last summer, and it got me through an incredibly rough trip abroad and just made me oh, so happy.

How would I describe Lauren Morrill’s writing? If I had to sum it up in three points:

  1. Spunky. There’s just something about Morrill’s writing that tells me she could kick yo’ ass (she IS, after all, a roller-derby girl) while balancing her laptop in one hand and her baby in the other. Plus her haircut is gorgeous. I could never pull off short hair.
  2. Original. Morrill notices the little things. In Meant to Be, Morrill described all of Julia’s little ticks without boring me. In fact, I was insanely interested in knowing how Julia’s bag was organized and what her note-taking method was. I mean, hello? How does Morrill even DO that? I have no freaking clue, and that’s why I love her, and think she’s probably going to take over the world.
  3. Like a chocolate cake. Yes, I just compared Morrill’s writing to dessert. Maybe I’m a little bit hungry. Basically, Meant to Be was delicious and I wanted more of it when it was over. I’m sure her other books are and will be the same. It’s not even just that, though. I want to call her writing flavourful. There’s something distinct about it that means when you pick up any one of her books and read the first few lines, you say to yourself, “Yup, that’s Lauren.” She’s got her own unique style and texture. Simply put, her writing is decadent.

December 8th can’t come fast enough.

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-Ember Book Reviews xxoo

Check out these books on Goodreads: Meant to Be, Being Sloane Jacobs

Purchase these books on Amazon: Meant to Be, Being Sloane Jacobs

OR you could always check out your nearest Indie store 😉