A Fierce and Subtle Poison

review

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A Fierce and Subtle Poison

Samantha Mabry

2stars

Goodreads

I was provided with this ARC by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.


Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl–Isabel, the one the señoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill.

Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers–and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.

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I was really excited when I received an ARC of this book. I’m a fan of magical realism and this one just sounded so interesting.  I don’t know much about Puerto Rico or its culture, so I was interested in learning a bit about it and the myths.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed. I don’t know if my expectations were too high or if it simply wasn’t the story I wanted it to be.  You ever feel like that?  It’s not so much expectations for greatness, but expectations for the story to go a certain way.  Well that’s how I felt when I was reading this and it just didn’t turn out how I wanted it to.

The pacing was way off and the mystery was solved way too quickly. And it wasn’t even that good of a mystery.  I just had this whole idea of how the plot would progress and it just didn’t do that.  I know it’s not fair of me to hold the book accountable for my desires of how it should read, but I’m going to.  Sorry. I probably could have still enjoyed it more, but the issue with the pacing was a big downer.

At the beginning I was really excited. Lucas seemed like an actual teenage boy and one that wasn’t obsessed with talking about his penis.  I thought I would really like him, but he ended up annoying me.  Isabel annoyed me as well.  In fact, the only character I liked was Marisol and you find out she dies on the 3rd page of the book.

This book was supposed to get my out of my reading slump. I did finish it within 3-4 hours, in one sitting, but I think it did more harm than good as I haven’t picked up a book since.

ARC Review: The Girl Who Fell by Shannon M Parker

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Thegirlwhofell

 

The Girl Who Fell

Shannon M. Parker

Publication: March 1, 2016

Source: Netgalley, e-ARC

4stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

I was provided with this ARC by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

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His obsession.
Her fall.

High school senior Zephyr Doyle is swept off her feet—and into an intense relationship—by the new boy in school.

Zephyr is focused. Focused on leading her team to the field hockey state championship and leaving her small town for her dream school, Boston College.

But love has a way of changing things.

Enter the new boy in school: the hockey team’s starting goaltender, Alec. He’s cute, charming, and most important, Alec doesn’t judge Zephyr. He understands her fears and insecurities—he even shares them. Soon, their relationship becomes something bigger than Zephyr, something she can’t control, something she doesn’t want to control.

Zephyr swears it must be love. Because love is powerful, and overwhelming, and…terrifying?

But love shouldn’t make you abandon your dreams, or push your friends away. And love shouldn’t make you feel guilty—or worse, ashamed.

So when Zephyr finally begins to see Alec for who he really is, she knows it’s time to take back control of her life.

If she waits any longer, it may be too late.

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I have been interested in this book since April 2015 when the only description it had was :

A YA debut in which a high school senior mistakes her boyfriend’s physical and mental manipulations for devotion, only to discover the truth when it may be too late.

That right there hooked me and I knew I had to read it.

There are a plethora of examples in YA Lit of unhealthy and borderline, if not straight up abusive relationships. And the majority of readers rarely acknowledge them. Instead the asshole love interests are lauded and adored and the relationships are set as standards of true love. And it’s bullshit.

This book is so important because it shows just how wrong relationships like these can end up.

Personally, it was an extremely hard book to read. I saw SO much of my 16-year-old self with her first boyfriend and her first love in Zephyr. Of course, my relationship wasn’t as abusive as the one presented in this one, but still. It has taken me over a decade to recognize that a lot of what happened in that relationship was incredibly unhealthy. Anyone who has experienced the all-consuming, need to spend every second with someone, type of first love that usually manifests in high school students will be able to connect with Zephyr.

It was also hard to read just because you already know how it ends. The synopsis and the opening chapter sets up how things turn out, so you go in knowing that shit is going to hit the fan and it is so hard to see Zephyr realize that for herself. The entire time I just wanted to jump into the book and shake her and make her see what was so obvious to the reader.

The writing was superb. Parker did a wonderful job of slowly building up to the climax of the book, subtly showing how unstable Alec was, but was also able to make it seem so reasonable that Zephyr didn’t recognize it for what it was. Alec’s emotional manipulation was so ingrained in the text that sometimes I had to even reread a few sections to see it myself. Honestly, the writing was the highlight of this book.

Zephyr’s friends Gregg and Lizzie were interesting characters. They weren’t nearly as developed as Zephyr or even Alec, but they added an interesting touch. 500 points for a great female friendship, and a great friend who sticks by Zephyr even when she is ditched multiple times. Gregg was a bit of a jerk at times, but he was still a good friend.

There was also the subplot with her father who walked out on her and her mother the previous summer and it was interesting and totally played into the overall plot, but I was really just here for the “romance”.

My only real complaint is that the ending seemed a tad rushed, but honestly, it’s fine. It didn’t detract from the powerful message. I read this in one sitting. I was hooked from the moment I started, and only took a few breaks when my anxiety was about to hit the roof and I just couldn’t read anymore. This book reminded me so much of a tamer Fear, the 1996 movie with Mark Wahlberg and Reese Witherspoon, minus the iconic rollercoaster scene. So if you’re a fan of the movie and you like YA, I would say that this is a must read (And you aren’t a fan of the movie, you’re wrong because it’s a cinematic masterpiece. JK. But really…NICOLE 4EVA.)

Sailing Through Time: Review of The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

review

thegirlfromeverywhere

 

The Girl From Everywhere

The Girl From Everywhere #1

Heidi Heilig

2/16/2016

Source: Netgalley

3stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

I was provided with this ARC by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.


Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times – although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix’s father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix’s existence rather dangerously in question…

Nix has grown used to her father’s obsession, but only because she’s convinced it can’t work. But then a map falls into her father’s lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it’s that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.


 

Again I should point out that time travel books are my favorite so they are probably already always guaranteed at least 3 stars.  Or maybe I just haven’t read a really bad time travel book yet.

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The Good

The Storytelling

The Girl From Everywhere was a beautiful blend of history and mythology. On top of time traveling, which they call “navigating”, to the far off past, they can also go to mythical places, since it’s based on maps, and the belief that these places/things existed. That means if they found a map of Atlantis, there is a strong possibility they could actually go to Atlantis.  Kashmir, actually might even be from a mythical location that people once believed existed.   So to learn about Hawaiian mythology was really cool and I think Heilig did a wonderful job of weaving it into the story.

Plus, a lot of what happened was inspired by actual events! I definitely don’t really have a huge grasp on time travel science, but I like the theory that you can never really change the present/future.  Everything you do in the past has/will already happen in the present, simply by you going back to the past.  Does that make any sense?  Who knows if that’s a real theory, but it’s the one I like most.  So to find out that some of the events actually happened added to my favorite time travel theory.  Plus I just really love history.

The Familial Relationships

Nix’s dad is a huge jerk.  He’s obsessed with getting back to 1868 so that he can save Nix’s mother’s life, even if it includes endangering his daughter’s existence, only really cares about himself, and is an opium addict.  But I actually really enjoyed Nix and his relationships, her frustration over wanting to leave and feeling obligated to stay, and the growth their relationship undergoes.  It actually isn’t very often where a parent is a pretty prevalent secondary character in a YA novel.

The Lack of Romance

Ok, so there are not so subtle hints of romance, and even the briefest glimpses of a love triangle (although I don’t actually think it was one, but I’ll come back to that later), but this book was so much more.  The relationship between Nix and Kashmir was so perfect because that’s all it was: hints. They developed on their own and together. There is nothing better than when you can completely remove the romantic storyline and nothing changes.

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The Not So Good

Nothing in this book was bad per say, but there were some issues

Backstory/Worldbuilding

While Heilig did a wonderful job bringing Hawaii to life, not so much with explaining the science/magic behind the ability to navigate.  It involves maps, which you can only use once, doesn’t have to include ships and you have to believe it, but that’s basically all we know.  While I would prefer the information to be woven throughout the storytelling, I would much prefer an massive info dump to a lack of information.  It didn’t really ruin the book for me, and maybe it’s good that it’s a bit vague because it does seem magical.

The Actual Lack of “Navigating”

Ok, for a time travel book, they stay in one place for a good like 80% of the book.  We do get to see some of 18th century Calcutta and ancient (I think) China, most of the story takes place on one island of Hawaii. And to be honest, it made the plot a bit slow.  Usually with time travel books I’m always excited for the next location, which speeds up the pace a lot.  The Girl From Everywhere is over 400 pages long, and while it was still a quick read (for me anyway), there were some times when I was a bit bored.  While it was wonderful learning about and visualizing Hawaii in 1884, I wanted more action and adventure.

The Fact that This is A Series

Honestly, this book is a perfect standalone.  While I would love to learn more about the science/magic behind the navigating and actually see more traveling, I would prefer this not to be a series.  Maybe it will be a companion novel series, which I would enjoy more, because Nix’s story just seems to have ended perfectly.  It was open and free and anything can happen, and I kind of don’t want to see that. Especially since I suspect a series would definitely involve a love triangle and I’m not here for that.  So unless it is a companion novel, I don’t think I will be reading the next one.

 

Overall, I enjoyed this book enough to look past the lack of explanation/navigating.  I will probably even reread it (probably in preparation for the sequel which I say I won’t read but totally will).  If I wasn’t on a 6 month book buying ban I might even buy it.  Check back with me in 5 months.

 

*This is a scheduled post. I am currently on vacation*

ARC Review: These Vicious Masks

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These Vicious Masks

These Vicious Masks #1

Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

February 9, 2016

Source: Netgalley, e-ARC

3.5stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

I was provided with this ARC by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.


Jane Austen meets X-­Men in this gripping and adventure-­filled paranormal romance set in Victorian London.

England, 1882. Evelyn is bored with society and its expectations. So when her beloved sister, Rose, mysteriously vanishes, she ignores her parents and travels to London to find her, accompanied by the dashing Mr. Kent. But they’re not the only ones looking for Rose. The reclusive, young gentleman Sebastian Braddock is also searching for her, claiming that both sisters have special healing powers. Evelyn is convinced that Sebastian must be mad, until she discovers that his strange tales of extraordinary people are true—and that her sister is in graver danger than she feared.

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Throughout reading I felt a bit removed from both the characters and the plot.  Basically, for the majority of this book I was just reading it because I had an ARC and felt as if I had an obligation to finish, since nothing was really annoying me enough to DNF.  I’m glad I finished because the ending really helped up my enjoyment of this novel and I am 85% positive I will continue with the series.

What I liked:

Evelyn

I really enjoyed that she was constantly rebelling against society’s restrictions, but at the same time acknowledged that deep down it still mattered to her.  I feel like whenever I read about a heroine who wants nothing to do with Society they often don’t recognize how difficult life would actually be if they were to truly spurn it.  She was sassy and outspoken, and she was always ready to save not only her sister, but herself.  Yes she got help from 2 men, but she wasn’t about to be left behind while they played hero.

I also really liked that even though she is told that she has special “powers” she doesn’t actually believe it until she sees it.  I am so sick of instant acceptance.  Oh, I can heal people with my touch? OK awesome. No need for proof.  Nope. Not Evelyn.

The “X-Men” aspect

I LOVE X-Men.  When I was in high school I used to watch those movies over and over again.  Until I saw Captain America, they were in fact my favorite superhero group. So I really enjoyed this part of the novel.  I’m really looking forward to the sequels to learn more about them and what other people can do.  There actually wasn’t much information about the powers in this book, as it was more Evelyn’s searching for her sister and her introduction into this new world, but I’m ok with that.

The Romance (or lack thereof)

Ok, this one is kind of misleading, because I wasn’t in fact the biggest fan of the love-triangle, as you will see, but I will mention that I did appreciate that you could remove the romance entirely and the book would survive and still be pretty awesome.

The Ending

I have to say that I saw it coming, and I’m totally OK with it.  It just had to happen, in my opinion.  It opens up so many possibilities for the sequel, but it also doesn’t exactly end on a cliff hanger.  It would have been totally possible to end the book with the first one, but I’m glad there will be more.

What I didn’t like:

The Love Triangle/Square

I have to admit that I don’t automatically hate love triangles.  I can enjoy them well enough, but usually only if the girl (who is usually the top of the triangle) has enough redeeming qualities for me to see why even one guy would be interested in her.  And it works because Evelyn is pretty damn awesome, but I just didn’t really like either of the male love interests.  Sebastian Braddock was dark and broody, and they had some nice scenes, but I just didn’t see any chemistry between them.  Added to the fact that there is also another lady who is interested in him, and things are getting a bit crowded.  I did like Nicholas Kent more, but there was just something about him.  He always seemed a bit shady.


That’s pretty much all that I really didn’t enjoy, and even that didn’t take too much away.  The plot was fast paced and non-stop action and it kept me engaged for the majority of the time.  And there is nothing quite like reading a historical novel (even a supernatural/paranormal/sci-fi one) to make me thankful I live in the 21st Century.

Review: Up To This Pointe by Jennifer Longo

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uptothispointe

 

Up to This Pointe

Jennifer Longo

Publication: 1/19/2016 

Source: Netgalley, e-ARC

3stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


She had a plan. It went south.

Harper is a dancer. She and her best friend, Kate, have one goal: becoming professional ballerinas. And Harper won’t let anything—or anyone—get in the way of The Plan, not even the boy she and Kate are both drawn to.
 
Harper is a Scott. She’s related to Robert Falcon Scott, the explorer who died racing to the South Pole. So when Harper’s life takes an unexpected turn, she finagles (read: lies) her way to the icy dark of McMurdo Station . . . in Antarctica. Extreme, but somehow fitting—apparently she has always been in the dark, dancing on ice this whole time. And no one warned her. Not her family, not her best friend, not even the boy who has somehow found a way into her heart.


This might contain spoilers, but I thought the reason for why Harper wound up in Antarctica was obvious from the synopsis alone, so I’m going to talk about that within my review. 

I’m not the biggest fan of contemporary YA.  I used to be way more into when I was a teenager myself, but now I often find that I feel way too removed from the trials of being a teenager that it doesn’t end up working.  So I was very pleasantly surprised by this novel.

I am secretly obsessed with ballet, even though I only took lessons for 2 years when I was 5.  There aren’t too many books that are about ballet, but I am always looking for more.  Up to This Pointe, isn’t exactly really about ballet, but more about the dancer and what happens when the plan you worked for your entire life is dashed right before your eyes.

Harper and her best friend Kate have had a plan in place since they were young.  They are both going to dance with the San Francisco Ballet after graduating high school.  Except, as Harper soon learns, although she has more love for ballet than possibly anything else in her life, she does not have the skill to make it as a professional dancer.  She feels an obvious sense of loss and confusion and ends up running away to Antarctica to figure out what to do next.

Before I go into anything else, I want to talk about the fact that NO ONE, especially her ballet teacher, tells Harper that she does not have the talent to make it as a ballet dancer until it almost too late.  Her teacher waits until a few weeks before the audition to break it to her that there is no way she would ever be picked up by a company.  Now, that might seem harsh, and it is, but that’s ballet.  And this should have been relayed to Harper years before the story takes place.  She probably would have still auditioned, because that’s just who she is (and she still does) but at least she would have had years, not weeks to come to terms with the fact that she will probably not be selected.  It just made me angry, and doesn’t seem realistic that a ballet teacher wouldn’t have informed her of this.

I liked Harper.  I loved her love for ballet, her students and her city.  This book was a beautiful homage to San Francisco.  I understand her need to go away to find herself after such a devastating loss. But I think the best part of this book was the friendships.  SO MANY FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS.  Kate, Vivian and Charlotte are the main women that Harper interacts with and each relationship was different, and I think wonderfully portrayed.  The friendship with Vivian might have been a bit rushed, but I still really enjoyed it. And there was a moment where I really hated Kate, but for the most part I understand her as well (I, personally, wouldn’t have forgiven her for saying what she did, but that is just me and I’m petty and I can hold a fantastic grudge).  The relationships weren’t always perfect, but they were realistic and that means a lot more.

Another plus was the family relationships portrayed in this book.  A huge hell yeah for present and pretty awesome parents and a positive sibling relationship.

The romance, although not really entirely a love triangle, wasn’t my favorite part, but I’m really happy with how it ended.  It might seem like it, but I don’t think the romance was even really a huge focus of the story.  A lot of it was just Harper trying to figure shit out and what to do now that she can’t be a dancer.  The answer was right in front of her all along and I’m happy with the ending.

There are just some things that weren’t fully addressed and I have some issues with.  As a dancer (and one who wants to be a professional), Harper obviously has to retain the right body weight (I say obviously because ballet is brutal).  She is constantly dieting, and there were some points where it seemed extremely close to anorexia.  If it’s not anorexia, she has some serious issues with food and eating and they were hardly addressed.  Also, what’s with her nails always being blue (not painted blue, just blue).  Does she just have bad circulation?  Is it because of her weight? WHY ARE THEY ALWAYS BLUE?  You tell me this but don’t explain it.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading it.  A win for contemporary YA, which I haven’t had the best of luck with recently!

 

Snowed In Read-A-Thon Reviews

So last Friday, the snow started to fall in Baltimore, and it didn’t stop until Saturday night.  All together we got around 29 inches (a new all time record!)  and I was stuck in my apartment until Tuesday when I finally went back to work.  (There are some sections of the city and out towards the county that still aren’t plowed! The DC-Baltimore area is horrible at handling snow, mainly because we don’t usually get THIS much snow.)

But, I was prepared.  I knew I would be stuck inside so I decided to host my own personal Snowed In Read-a-thon.  I wanted to read 6 books (2/day Friday-Sunday), but by Sunday afternoon and 5 books later, I was pretty burnt out on reading. But still.  5 books in 3 days is still pretty good! So here is another round of mini reviews!

Friday

awickedthing

 

A Wicked Thing

A Wicked Thing #1

Rhiannon Thomas

3stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


 

I had a hard time deciding how to rate this one. I finished this book in one sitting, but the pacing was pretty slow and not much actually happened. Usually when in doubt, I go with 3 stars.

I liked Aurora as a character and how Thomas updated this fairy tale. Sleeping Beauty isn’t my favorite (probably because I’ve really only seen the Disney version where she has like 7 lines), but Thomas made it more interesting.

Aurora doesn’t need or want to be saved and when she awakens to find a strange guy in her room kissing her she is appalled and creeped out.  She learns that her entire family is dead, and that the kingdom has fallen into hard times. She discovers that everyone wants to use her to their own ends and that she isn’t really safe anywhere.  There are  3 men, all who can offer her different things, but she doesn’t really like any of the choices so it’s not really technically a love square.

There is a sequel, so the book kind of just ends without that much of a climax. Well, to me anyway.  I’m sure other people would disagree, but I thought the ending was a bit weak.I liked the book, and I plan on continuing the series, but it was just kind of anti-climatic.   Even this mini review is hard to write, so I’m just going to stop.

*This book counts towards the Rock my TBR Challenge and the Fairytale Retelling challenge

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How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True

by Sarah Strohmeyer

1star

Goodreads


This might be the dumbest book I have ever read.  I hated it.

Maybe I could have enjoyed this more if the Fairyland Theme Park hadn’t existed in the same world as Disney. I mean you are seriously  trying to tell me that a British Duke would go to a knock off amusement park in New Jersey over the real thing in California/FLorida?  NEW JERSEY?? (No offense to anyone from Jersey. I’m from NY, so you know, I’m an asshole.) Or try to say that Disney was lame competition for Fairyland? GET OUT OF HERE. You ruined it for me with that.

Also this book was WAY too juvenile. People who send their kids to fairyland camp so that they can become Prince and Princesses at Fairyland? I don’t think so. I shouldn’t have to suspend my disbelief more in a realistic fiction book more than a fantasy.  Nope. sorry.  I’m sure I would have enjoyed this more if I hadn’t been younger or obsessed with Disney World.

*This book counts towards the Rock My TBR Challenge

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Saturday

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Tell me Again how a Crush Should Feel

Sara Farizan

2.5stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


I liked this book, but it wasn’t amazing or anything and that makes me sad.  I wanted it to be great. The writing was pretty simple which isn’t always a bad thing, but I just couldn’t connect with it.

I mean this book has a lot going for it.  It’s about a Persian lesbian.  Not only are there not enough F/F YA books, but I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with a Persian MC.  There was so much other diversity as well, and it didn’t come off as tokenized either.  There was even a Jew, and it is so hard for me to find Jewish characters. Yeah, she was a side character, but I still really liked her.

But something just stopped me from loving it.  It was probably the writing style as I had no major problems with Leila.  I wish I could have loved this, but it definitely wasn’t a bad book.  If you are looking for more F/F YA or a Persian MC with actual Persian culture within the book, this is a great book.

**This book counts towards the Rock my TBR challenge

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jack

 

Jack: The True Story of Jack & The Beanstalk

Liesl Shurtliff

3stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


This one was very cute.  I had previously read Rump by the same author, and while I enjoyed it, I definitely think I enjoyed this one more.  I don’t really remember much of what happened in Rump,  but some of the characters are present or mentioned within this book, which is always one of my favorite things.  You don’t have to have read Rump first, but it is always nice to start at the beginning.

I think this is perfect for the younger set of Middle Grade readers who are interested in fairy tales. I liked how there were a bunch of allusions to other fairytales/folktales, such as Tom Thumb, Thumbelina, the woman who lived in a shoe and others.    I also really liked how the author tied together the “worlds” of her two books.  I’m glad I finally got around to reading this and I’m looking forward to reading Red soon.

**This book counts towards COYER, the NG & EW  & Fairytale Retelling challenge.

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Sunday

thegirlwhofell1

 

The Girl Who Fell

Shannon M Parker

I have a full review coming for this one since it was one of my most anticipated 2016 releases.  Stay tuned for it.

A Lacking Space Adventure: Review of Starflight

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Starflight

Starflight #1

Melissa Landers

February 2, 2016

Source: Netgalley, e-ARC

2.5stars

Goodreads

I was provided with this ARC by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.


Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world–and each other–the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe.

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I was wavering on how to rate this book.  Ultimately I settled on a 2.5 because I just couldn’t give it 3 stars.

The Good

Entertaining

It was a pretty fast read. I basically read it in one sitting and I wasn’t really ever bored while reading.  There was plenty of action to keep me engaged and interested.  Terraformed planets, space pirates, runaway princesses, intergalactic hit men.  There was a lot going on, and even though it wasn’t perfectly executed, I didn’t hate it.

Likeable Characters

I enjoyed both the Main and secondary characters.  In fact, the secondary characters were pretty great.  Renny the kleptomaniac was interesting and Kane and Cassia were adorable (I might actually check out the sequel because apparently it will be focused on them).

Solara and Doran, our MCs, were fine characters.  Nothing particularly annoyed me about them (beyond the obvious fact that Doran starts off the book as a complete jackass).  I wasn’t too attached to them, but I didn’t want one of them to be kidnapped by a bunch of space pirates.  Plus, Doran when through some nice character development, even if Solara didn’t.

The Romance

I’m a sucker for a nice slowburn romance, especially one that evolves from hate to love.  And that’s exactly what happened in Starflight.  Even though I was a uncomfortable because Doran was SO horrible to Solara at the beginning,  the romance was one of the better aspects of this novel, in my opinion.

The Bad

World Building  

While I get the overall gist of this world, I’m a bit confused.  I have no idea when in the future this takes place, as the Earth is still around and populated, but there are many different solar systems involved.  I have no idea what this Solar…something…is.  I even forget what they were called, but basically I think they are like the government but I’m not even sure.  I like knowing how shit works, especially in books that take place in the future.  I don’t need the entire history of how things came to be, but it’s nice if at least the basics of how the future is ruled is laid out for me.

The Ending

It kind of just ends.  Nothing is really resolved and we don’t really find out what the hell has been going on.  What about the fact that Doran is a fugitive?  What about the fact that his father is in jail?  And his mother?  I mean, we really are just left hanging and I’m a bit confused as to whether this story is over or not.  And with that little twist at the end it just feels entirely unfinished. The author says that it is a standalone novel and that there will be a companion novel that focuses on other characters but there is still so much more of this story I wanted to know about.     I’m not positive if I will be continuing on to read the companion novel, but If  I do I really hope it resolves all these issues.

 

Also, it was an odd book for trying to pinpoint an age group.  For the most part It was more geared toward the younger YA set, but there was kind of a lot of, not sex exactly, but allusions to sex.  I have no problem with younger YA reading that, but it does seem a bit strange.
All in all, it was entertaining, but nothing really special.

Mini-Review: Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

It’s a bit late, but I just finished so I might as well post it now as the upcoming month is pretty much already scheduled with posts!

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Crenshaw

Katherine Applegate

2015

2stars

Source: Netgalley

Goodreads

I was provided with this ARC by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.


Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?


 

I LOVED The One and Only Ivan. I sobbed while reading it and it has stayed with me over the years. So I was super excited to get an ARC of Katherine Applegate’s new book Crenshaw. Of course life got in the way and I was unable to read it before it was published. When I signed up for COYER, I knew it was one of the books I wanted to make a priority to get to.

And all I have to say is…meh.  I mean, this book touched on a lot of difficult topics, the biggest being homelessness.  I think it did a wonderful job of addressing that in terms of a book for the younger set of middle grade. BUT I was totally disappointed in this.  Where was the magic I felt while reading The One and Only Ivan??? The imaginary cat, Crenshaw, was there for like 10% of the book, at the most, and says like 3 words.  It wraps up extremely neatly which of course is nice for the age group but still.

I wish I had loved this book but it simply did not have the same element that made The One and Only Ivan so damn special.  I was looking for a touching and poignant story that could transcend age groups, and instead I got an extremely short, rushed and boring story that basically mentions an imaginary cat.

2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge

I’m joining the 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge, hosted by Falling for YA.

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  • The challenge will run from Jan 1, 2015 – Dec 31, 2015.
  • Anyone is welcome to join. You do not need to be a blogger, just post your reviews and come back every month to link them up.
  • Any genre, release date, request date, length, etc. counts so long as it came from Edelweiss or Netgalley.
  • At the beginning of each month there will be a roundup post for you to add your reviews.
  • If you forget to link up one month it’s not a problem just add your reviews next month.
  • If you would like to move up or down levels that is completely fine and at your discretion.
  • If you have any questions tweet me @FallingForYA or e-mail Emisbookblog@aol.com!

Levels:

Bronze – 10 Books

Silver – 25 Books
Gold – 50 Books
Platinum – 75 Books
Diamond – 100 Books

I’m going to go Bronze, which is 10 books.  In reality I want to read at least 1 book/month from Netgalley that are, as of December 2015, archived and still sitting on my kindle waiting to be read.

  1. Wayward by Blake Crouch
  2. I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
  3. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
  4. The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre
  5. Second Position by Katherine Locke
  6. Finding Center by Katherine Locke
  7. Jack by Liesl Shurtliff
  8. The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
  9. Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry
  10. Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
  11. Joyride by Anna Banks
  12. The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

These are, of course, subject to change and some will overlap with the COYER challenge that runs until the beginning of March.