Catching Up with Some Mini-Reviews

51iectrxgml-_sx336_bo1204203200_Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray
I had a really hard time with the beginning of this book. I was just confused and it was a combination of having a hard time remembering how the last book ended and starting in the middle of a bunch of action in this second book. I was just like “Wait, should I be remembering this?” I really liked the first book, but with this one I felt like I was starting to see some cracks in the plot and the world that’s been built that I didn’t notice before. The recap at the beginning of the book felt kind of clumsy and clunky to me. I thought that the end got super intense, but the rest of the book was kind of meh. There were a lot of plot twists and it’s obvious that this book is just a piece of a larger machine. I’ll probably end up continuing with the series (those covers tho…). 3/5

Last Year’s Mistake by Gina Ciocca21825486

I felt like this book had a lot of potential, but didn’t end up living up to it. There was minimal character development and I didn’t find myself particularly liking or caring about the characters all that much. I didn’t like the idea of David and Kelsey cheating on Violet and Ryan even if it was to be together. I’m really of the opinion that you need to figure out what you want first–you can’t have it both ways in a relationship. I also thought David was just kind of a tease overall! I mean, if he really loved Kelsey he shouldn’t have been thinking about other girls (and then the mess they were in wouldn’t have been as big). Lastly, I just wanted to see more of the family, especially Miranda. Lost opportunity there. 3/5

51fe7mu0bcl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

This is like such a perfect wintery book and it made me crave cupcakes something fierce. First off, I really like when protagonists have interesting hobbies and this one has not one, but TWO: cupcakes and ice skating. There was so much that I really loved about this book. I loved reading about the diner and that kind of life. I know it’s hard work, but books always make it sound really fun and fulfilling. I also really liked the relationship between Hudson and Bug (are we ever told his real name?). I love reading about really positive sibling relationships, but I do have to ask whether the “older sister/younger brother who is smarter than his age” trope is overused? The last thing I’ll say is that I’m really tired of reading about girls who let boys get in the way of their friendship. I just want to read about some good, strong, positive girl-girl friendships, you know? 4/5

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh18798983

Initially I didn’t have very good feelings towards Shahrzad. I thought she was annoying at times and frankly kind of bratty. Like, sure, your situation isn’t ideal. But come on. You don’t have to be like that. The plot of this book was interesting because I thought I could see where it was going (and I didn’t like it) but it actually ended up going in a different direction. So that was a pleasant surprise. I really started to crave the scenes between Khalid and Shahrzad–I just really like them as a couple. As far as other characters go, Shahrzad’s father is a straight up creep. Seriously. My main critique for this book is just that I felt like the characters were too young for everything. I would have liked them to be just a little older like 20 and 22 instead of 16 and 18. 4/5

17696131The Fine Art of Pretending by Marie Harris

There’s something about the “boy and girl pretending to date but then really falling in love” trope that is so satisfying to me. I honestly don’t know what it is. However, I feel like this book kind of did it wrong. I wrote in my notes, “This book is literally one big eye roll for me. Cliche and shallow with a predictable ending.” I mean, the ending is always predictable in these–it’s written right in the trope–but this one was especially predictable. I didn’t particularly care for any of the characters and I found it really hard to understand their motivations. Aly is so obsessed with how she is perceived by the other sex. Like the only way she’ll feel any self-worth is if boys want to date her. NEWS FLASH: There’s nothing wrong with not dating in high school. And if a boy’s only going to notice you because you’re showing a little more skin than you usually do, he’s not worth it. 2/5

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes15507958

I guess I’ll start at the beginning, but I can’t even with this book. At first I didn’t really like Lou all that much. She’s just a little annoying and seems unrealistically…I don’t want to say dumb, but kind of dumb. What I did like right away is the family dynamic that is portrayed. This really just seemed like a book written about real, normal people. They all had flaws, but they were like…flaws that everyone has. I really, really liked Will and Lou together and I wanted Lou to dump Patrick pretty much from the first scene with him in it. He’s such a tool… I thought this book had some interesting insights into how it must be to live in a wheelchair or to be caring for someone who is–it seems like a really hard life and I have so much respect for anyone who does it. Overall this book made me both sad and mad at times since I knew how it would end (I mean, the title of the sequel kind of gives it away). I know a lot of people have liked the sequel as well, but I choose to believe that this book is just a standalone. I don’t really think it needed any kind of continuation–the ending was very nicely resolved in my opinion. 4/5

18304322Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

I really wanted to like the characters in this book, but it was hard. I appreciate that Willowdean seems to have accepted her body and who she is, but she doesn’t have to be so annoying about it. It’s like she just didn’t have any sympathy for anyone else. She was so focused on herself and what she wanted–it didn’t make her very likable and I understand why Ellen started to distance herself. At the same time, I also didn’t find Ellen all that likable either. Or any of the characters for that matter. I especially didn’t like the girlfriend drama. As mentioned above, I’m tired of boys coming between girlfriends. Let’s just all get along and be supportive of each other, okay? My last issue is the relationship between Bo and Will. I appreciate that Bo likes her and I really do believe that he does, but I feel like it would have been beneficial for the reader to have an understanding of why. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that he shouldn’t like her because of her size–what I’m saying is it almost seems like a gimmick. It doesn’t feel like it should be real because the author didn’t give us any reasoning behind it. I’d feel the same way about other relationships too. In the end, this book had some very solid themes and ideas and had some very inspirational aspects to it as well. 4/5

The Labyrinthians by J.A. Armitage [ARC]41e-ehpzdwl-_uy250_

You guys have all seen those escape rooms popping up all over the place, right? You pay money to get locked in a room, and then you have to solve puzzles to get out–often you’re timed. Well, this book takes that idea to the EXTREME. I liked the idea of it…but I think a novel isn’t the right format exactly. The reader only sees what the author describes to us so there’s no way that the reader can try to solve the puzzles before the protagonists. It casts the reader in a very passive role as opposed to an active one and I found that a lot less enjoyable. The characters themselves are not very developed, but they weren’t really the focus of the book anyway. I thought the relationship that’s developing between Kim and Nate is kind of weird, but also kind of inevitable. Overall, not much of the plot really makes sense (what that heck is going on with Ezra?) but if you enjoy reading about other people solving puzzles, you might enjoy this one. 2/5

Note: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.