Let’s just say it’s been a while since I’ve read some of these books [Mini-Reviews]

There are so many books that I read last year that I still haven’t gotten around to reviewing. Hopefully, this post can make a (small) dent in that list.

mini-reviews

The Conspiracy of Us and Map of Fates by Maggie Hall

map of fates

conspiracy of us

I really thought I was going to like these books because it seemed like it was going to be one massive treasure hunt. Instead, we’re gifted with insta-love and a completely unnecessary love triangle. I also don’t really understand why there’s this slight magical element? I mean, one of the characters is literally fireproof and I don’t know how that can be explained without magic. The main character is so naive and very annoying. I never understand why protagonists have such a hard time being left behind on “missions” when they have no training and would clearly only get in the way. I, personally, would be happy to sit on my behind in the hotel room and let people with ACTUAL TRAINING take care of the dangerous stuff. I honestly don’t know why I even bothered with the second book, but I am definitely NOT going to be reading the third one. 3/5

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

Orphan Monster SpyI wasn’t super impressed by this book. I thought it actually started off pretty strong, but it didn’t maintain that excitement through to the end. While I felt like it had a different tone from most books, that didn’t really make things any more interesting. The plot was fine, but not super engaging and I had a hard time figuring out what the end goal was supposed to be. Our main character is going through a bunch of stuff, but for what? I also didn’t find myself connecting to any of the characters. The main character was…fine. Kind of bland–you really don’t get to know her that well. The author also chose to include some pretty messed up characters, but I didn’t really feel like they added to the story. 3/5

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

The ArchivedThis book had been on my TBR forever because I really liked the Monsters of Verity duology. Also, I love any kind of twist on the “library” so if you know any good alternate library books, let me know in the comments! To get into my review, I felt like the world was pretty complex and didn’t really get explained very well at the beginning, which just left me feeling confused. I was also very confused for the first three chapters because I didn’t realize that Da and Dad were not both Mackenzie’s father. I liked Mackenzie as a main character, but she made some really questionable decisions. I never really understood her resistance for sharing information with the librarians, but especially Roland. He seemed to obviously be on her side and some things could have been prevented if she had been more transparent. I thought Wesley was a bit much as a character, but I did like watching his relationship with Mackenzie develop. Owen, on the other hand…that relationship seemed to come out of nowhere. In the end, there was a twist that I did NOT see coming and I’m just left with so many questions. Like, what is up with Ms. Angelli? Such a mystery. 4/5

ebook | Paperback

The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher

The ChristmasaurusThis is such a fun middle grade Christmas book. The language was pretty silly throughout, so I would definitely recommend for younger middle grade readers, but I think that age will find the silly language really enjoyable. This book has wheelchair representation which I don’t think I’ve seen in any other books–let alone middle grade. I’m no expert, but it felt like it was portrayed accurately and definitely felt super respectful. I also thought that the characters developed in a realistic way. Even though Brenda is horrible, I felt like I understood her and that’s not always the case with antagonists. I loved all of the illustrations throughout and the Christmas feels were SO STRONG. There’s a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming (am I just oblivious???) which was such a fun surprise. I recommend getting the version of the book that comes with the soundtrack–not necessary, but a really fun and festive bonus. 4/5

ebook | Hardcover | Musical Edition

Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake

Two Dark ReignsOkay, I’m hoping to get through this review without any spoilers, but it’s book three in the series, so I’m really sorry if I reveal anything from the first two books–unintentional. After the second book I wasn’t sure how invested I would be in the rest of the story–I didn’t really see where Blake could take it from there. However, the third book got me reinvested real quick. I found myself liking this book much more than the second one and the different POVs continued to be a nice change of pace. I enjoyed each POV equally. There continue to be many, many questions and I need the next book asap. The ending took me by surprise and I’m still not sure exactly what’s going on or what’s going to happen. There’s some interesting things going on on the island and I guess we’ll just have to see what happens next. 4/5

ebook | Hardcover

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, & Brodi Ashton

my plain janeI love this series! The tone is fun and light and easy to enjoy. Once again, I thought the rotating perspective worked well, but Jane’s sections were probably my least favorite. I do wish that I’d read Jane Eyre first, though, because there are certain plot points that were so strange and I don’t know if they were extra or if they’re part of the original text. This is partly why one of my 2019 reading goals is to read Jane Eyre. I also liked that this is somewhat of a “Jane Eyre origin story”. The plot itself was good, but not completely thought out or explained. Why do the talismans work on ghosts? What really determines if a ghost moves on or not? Is a special “moving on” room really necessary? I also felt like red rooms were mentioned several times and I don’t really know why. Despite all that, the tone of the book is so enjoyable that I happily overlooked the times when things weren’t fully explained and I’m excited to continue on with this series. 4/5

ebook | Hardcover


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Top Ten Tuesday: Christmas Wishlist

top-ten-tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year

My husband knows that getting me books for Christmas is ALWAYS a good idea. Here’s a list of books that were on my Christmas wishlist:

1-4) The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
5) Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd
6) A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd
7) Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
8) Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
9) Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
10) Manners and Mutiny by Gail Carriger

‘Tis the Season Book Tag

Capture

I was tagged for this by Aimal @Bookshelves & Paperbacks.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE WINTER READ?

I don’t have one that I consistently read every winter, but I would definitely recommend Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn or My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins.

FIND A BOOK WITH BLUE ON THE COVER

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Had to do it. So perfect.

FIND A BOOK YOU’D USE AS THE STAR ON TOP OF A CHRISTMAS TREE

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I haven’t actually read this book yet, but I do own the first in the series and plan to read it.

PICK ONE FICTIONAL PLACE THAT WOULD BE PERFECT FOR A WINTER VACATION

I’ve always wanted to go to Colby which is the beach town in some of Sarah Dessen’s books. There’s this Pie Cafe/Laundromat that I’m dying to visit.

PICK ONE FICTIONAL CHARACTER YOU’D TAKE WITH YOU ON YOUR WINTER VACATION

Kitty from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han. That girl seriously cracks me up!

NAME ONE BOOK ON YOUR WISH LIST THIS YEAR

Any Morgan Matson book really. I love everything that she writes.

FAVORITE HOLIDAY DRINK, TREAT, & MOVIE

Drink: I’m a big herbal tea drinker. There’s nothing cozier than curling up with a book, a big sweater, and a mug of tea.

Treat: All the sweets. Seriously. All of them. I like everything.

Movie: Any of those gooey Hallmark Christmas movies. So corny, but so so good at the same time!

I tag anyone and everyone who wants to do this! #christmasfeels

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan [Audiobook]

Dash is perusing the bookshelves of one of his favorite bookstores when he finds a notebook. Inside, the notebook contains a set of instructions. As he follows the instructions, he begins to wonder about the girl who wrote them. He decides to join her in this game of dares. As the notebook travels between Dash and Lily, they both become more and more curious about the person on the other side of the pen. Is it friendship? Is it love? Or are they just two people who only get along when they’re writing to each other?

I thought the narrators for this book were AWESOME. I’d 7741325seriously listen to any other books that they’ve read and I wouldn’t even care what they were. Their voices were PERFECT for the characters. Dash was interesting and serious while Lily was sassy and fun. I think having the different narrators and having the book written by two authors really made each character’s voice stand out during their chapters. It was great. I liked that Dash was sarcastic. He had this really dry sense of humor that cracked me up. Lily was awesome too! I don’t know if it was the reader, but she sounded really confident in herself and I liked that. It’s not often where you get a lead female protagonist who just feels confident, you know? A lot of times they’re second guessing themselves and obsessing over their crush. Lily was very refreshing.

I’ll admit, there were some things that I had a hard time suspending my belief over. Like, how in the world to Dash and Lily have so many connections? Every time they pass the notebook back and forth I’m just like, “No way. How do they know someone who can do this for them?” That was really the only negative about this book though (that and a little too much language for my taste). As I said earlier, the two main characters were great and the secondary ones were awesome too. I loved Lily’s family. I thought they were so fun and friendly and obviously in love with Lily.

Overall, it was so much fun to listen to. I’m not sure how it reads, but if you can get the voices right in your head, I’m sure it’s great. Also, it was kind of fun reading about Christmas during a summer road trip!

Overall Rating: 4
Violence: Mild
Language: Moderate. Some strong language (mostly confined to Dash’s chapters with one exception).
Sexual Content: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate

My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

It’s Christmas time. The Hallmark Channel and ABC Family are showing gooey Christmas movie after gooey Christmas movie. The snow is falling outside and you’re curled up on the couch watching holiday movies while sipping hot chocolate. Actually, imagine instead that you’re reading a book. But not just any book–a book that encompasses that entire feeling into one small package even though it’s the middle of the summer. That’s what this book was meant to feel like.

When I first saw this book, I was very excited. Some of my favorite YA authors all in the same little package! And I love those gooey Christmas movies so I knew I’d love these short stories. Overall, the book was good but I probably wouldn’t read it again. Not for any particular reason…it’s just one of those read once and be done with it kind of books. There were some stories that I LOVED (Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, Kiersten White, and Ally Carter). But then there were other stories that felt kind of flat to me and still others that I felt would have been better suited to a longer length–novella or even a full-length novel. The stories that I liked the most I feel had the exact right amount of romance and character development, but still had a simple idea that was easily wrapped up in 20 or so pages.

Overall a really fun read! I liked that the stories were short because it made the book feel a little more manageable I guess. I know that Stephanie Perkins is (in the process of?) coming out with a second edition of these stories with all new authors. I read that somewhere… But I’ll definitely be reading that one too.

These ratings are more of an average since I don’t think any of the stories would be rated exactly the same.
Overall Rating: 3
Violence: None
Language: Moderate
Sexual Content: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Mild