The quickest of takes and the mini-est of reviews

I read a bunch of books while I was out on my hiatus and since I was on hiatus, I wasn’t taking notes as usual. Let’s just say that I remember¬†some of these books better than others. But it’s the lasting impressions that really count, right?

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab – I LOVED the first book in this series! And this one honestly did live up to my expectations. If you liked the first book, you’ll like this one too. Everything that I liked about the characters from the first book were in this one as well plus more. The book was just…deeper. I cried. 5/5

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – My first experience with E. Lockhart and I absolutely loved it. I loved the writing, I loved the characters, I loved the setting. The plot was masterful and I think I started to suspect what the twist was exactly when the author wanted me to. I will definitely be reading more by her. 5/5

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee – I don’t really know what I expected this book to be… It was just a little too artificial for me. The characters were all fake with each other (as they were supposed to be, but still) and the setting of the tower also seemed a bit contrived. I don’t think there were any characters that I really just¬†liked. I won’t be reading the second one. 3/5

Imprudence by Gail Carriger – I keep reading this series because I keep hoping it’ll get better. I adore the Finishing School series and I just want this series to be a little more like that. Something about Prudence repeatedly rubs me the wrong way. She’s just so…arrogant? Bossy? Entitled? I’m not exactly sure what it is. Nevertheless, I will probably read the next one. 3/5

Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer – This book was just so…weird. The girls were in the past, but they could remember everything about the future. There was no real reason why they should need to recreate a photo in order to get back to the future. And then the ending with one of the characters seemed a little dramatic and unnecessary. I also didn’t really like any of the characters.¬†2/5

The Siren by Kiera Cass¬†– The story was okay, but had some elements that left me scratching my head. The main character’s decisions didn’t always make sense to me. I didn’t feel like she always acted rationally or like…thought through her decisions. Secondary characters were all just okay.¬†3/5

The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh¬†– This was a great follow-up to the first book. I enjoyed the strategy involved at various points throughout the story–it just kind of mixed things up a little bit. I also enjoyed getting to know the little sister better as a character.¬†4/5

The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne¬†– I liked this book more than I thought I would! The main character was relatable and likable. I loved her interactions with her half-siblings and her dad’s wife (especially that last relationship). Her struggles seemed genuine and the conflict that she has to face was really well done. I would definitely recommend this book!¬†4/5

Fireworks by Katie Cotugno¬†– This book…I liked that it was set in the 90s. The girl band/boy band thing seemed genuine because of the time period. But then there’s just a lot of girl/girl fighting and backstabbing and not being good friends-ing. I did like where the main character ended up though.¬†3/5

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han¬†– To be completely honest, I haven’t been on the Peter train since the second book (John Ambrose all the way–don’t @ me). So this book was a little bit ugh for me. But also, I know that we all want happy endings, etc, but why do YA authors want us to believe that all high school relationships will work out in the long run? I know that some do, but the vast majority of high school relationships are just that–high school relationships. NOT “always and forever” love. I would not have wanted to end up with any of the boys I went to high school with. Just saying.¬†3/5

The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian¬†– The main character was a pill and I didn’t like her 85% of the time. She was a butt to the love interest for the first 95% of the book but then he still likes her in the end? I just don’t even know. Also, is this plot something that could really happen? If so, local government can be scary.¬†3/5

Lucky in Love by Kasie West¬†– I was excited that this book portrayed an interracial relationship (I’m all about that rep) but then the love interest might as well have been white. I don’t remember any defining characteristic that made him Asian except for his last name. Kasie West has been super hit or miss for me. Some books I love, but others are just flat. I did like the zoo setting though.¬†3/5

Let me know which of these books you’ve read in the comments! Do you agree or disagree with my quick takes?
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Top Ten Tuesday: New Releases That I Totally Meant to Get to in 2016 but Didn’t

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‚Äôs topic is a freebie, so I decided to go with a topic that I think they had earlier this year that I didn’t get to:¬†New releases that I meant to read in 2016, but didn’t.

Books that are literally sitting on my shelf right now:

They just sit on my shelf and mock me. Honestly, looking at some of these I’m genuinely surprised that they only came out last year–they seem older to me.

Other books I meant to read:

 

Are any of you guys in the same boat as me? Or am I alone? Which one of these am I totally missing out on and need to read ASAP?

Buzz Books 2017 | Young Adult Spring/Summer (Part 1)

Buzz Books 2017 Spring/Summer

NetGalley puts out this great compilation every season of some of the hot new Young Adult books that will be coming out. Here are my thoughts on the first 10 books featured (covers link to Goodreads).

Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh (5/16)

Flame in the MistCover: Just looking at the cover, I thought this book was part of the author’s other series. I don’t think it is though. The cover is a little confusing to me. There’s a phoenix and some throwing stars…I just don’t really know what to expect from this book. Is it going to be set in the middle east like her other series? Is it going to be something more current? I just have no idea what this book is going to be about from the cover even though it looks nice-ish. 5/10

Premise: I’m all for Asians being represented in YA literature, so that’s a good start. Thus far, I haven’t been a HUGE fan of the trope of girls pretending to be boys, but we’ll have to see how this one plays out. It sounds like it could be a kind of retelling of Mulan in a way? But maybe I’m just trying to make that connection because Ahdieh’s first series was based off of a folk tale/fairy tale. 7/10

Excerpt: Well…that was quite a gory beginning. I think it’s pretty obvious by now that Ahdieh is a great writer and you can see that in just this short excerpt. I’m already interested in the characters and I love the cultural elements that have been woven in. 9/10

TBR?: Yes

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr (5/16)The One Memory of Flora Banks

Cover: Another cover that gives me no indication of what this book is about. Just from the design it looks like it might be thriller-esque? I mean, it’s pleasing enough to look at, but I’m just not sure what I’m supposed to get from it. 5/10

Premise: First of all, I hate books where girls kiss their best friend’s boyfriends. Secondly, this book is giving me serious Everything, Everything vibes. Girl with uncommon illness meets a boy who makes her want to be brave and take chances. Leaves home when (obviously) inadvisable. I liked Everything, Everything, but this book kind of sounds like it’s everything I didn’t like about it in a new book. 3/10

Excerpt: I’m sure the book will get into it, but I’m having a hard time understanding how Flora’s memory works. Overall, I’m just a little confused by everything and I’m not all that sure that I like Flora as a character anyway. 5/10

TBR?: Probably not unless I hear really good things about it

Dream Me by Kathryn Berla (7/11)

Dream MeCover: I really don’t like this cover. It just looks cheap to me for some reason. If I saw this on a shelf I wouldn’t pick it up. But anyway…it looks like maybe the book is going to have something to do with photography or film or fame maybe? Hard to tell. 1/10

Premise: The summary mentions migraines which I don’t really understand how they fit in with her dreaming. I know that’s a little thing, but it stood out to me for some reason. I’m just not very enthused by the whole premise. Time/dream travelling seems a little much. Maybe pick one or the other? 3/10

Excerpt: Honestly, I just skimmed the excerpt. I didn’t particularly care for either of the main characters. Their introductions weren’t very strong, and I also feel like both of their voices precariously border being extremely whiny (also, who is named Babe???). 3/10

TBR?: No

Future Threat by Elizabeth Briggs (3/1)Future Threat

Cover: This cover is just okay for me. It doesn’t look particularly YA-ish, if that makes sense. I probably wouldn’t pick this up from off a shelf. 3/10

Premise: The summary makes the plot sound really confusing with multiple trips to a future that keeps changing. This is the second book in a series and I have read the first one. I liked it more than I thought I would, but I’m not particularly interested in reading more. 4/10

Excerpt: Wow, so there was a BIG data dump right at the beginning. It seems like it must be really hard to write second, third, etc. books in a series because you have to remind your readers about what happened and you’ve got to do it in a way that flows and makes sense. Especially with a series that is as complicated as this one, there’s a lot to remind readers of. I didn’t think it worked that well, but it could have been much worse I suppose. 5/10

TBR?: No

Piper Perish by Kayla Cagan (2/28)

Piper PerishCover: This cover is kind of intriguing. I like that it’s really colorful and it looks like it’s written in some kind of funky paint marker. It seems like the book is going to be about a girl (probably named Piper) who is artistic and spunky–maybe a little out of the box. 6/10

Premise: After reading the summary, I feel like this book could either be really deep or incredibly shallow. I don’t like that there is drama involving three different guys, but I do like that the main character will be dealing with doing what she wants versus doing what she feels she needs to because of familial duty. 6/10

Excerpt: Well…it’s interesting that the main character idolizes Andy Warhol–that’s different. Other than that, I didn’t like much. Maybe it’s just the situation, but the main character seems like the ultimate whiner/complainer if she’s not getting her way. I think the relationship she appears to have with her sister is pretty sad as well. I think it’s kind of supposed to be in diary format, but the only way I can tell that is from the different sections that start with the date and time. 3/10

TBR?: No

Roar by Cora Carmack (6/13)

RoarCover: I’m just not really a fan of this one either unfortunately. It doesn’t look contemporary and the colors are all a little too muted for my tastes. It looks like a typical fantasy novel cover. 2/10

Premise: The premise of this book sounds pretty good. There are some elements that I think have been overdone at this point, but it seems like an interesting twist on a familiar type of story. I’d be interested in reading it I think. 6/10

Excerpt: The writing is a little much and I don’t think the world is as well-developed as I would like, but I think I might be willing to give it a chance. 6/10

TBR?: Maybe, I’ll have to see what others say

This is Really Happening by Erin Chack (4/25)

This is Really HappeningCover: I actually really like this cover. I’d bet that some of the things on the cover have significance in some of the stories in the book. I like that there’s a lot to look at but that the layout itself is pretty simple. 8/10

Premise: This book sounds pretty interesting. Since taking a class on nonfiction last semester, I’ve become more interested in branching out and trying it. It sounds like the author has already lived a pretty full life and while I’m sure her stories will be interesting and impactful, I am left wondering, “Who is she? Why is she writing this book?” 6/10

Excerpt: Wow…that excerpt actually made me tear up. So I still don’t really know who this person is and why I should read her story, but after reading that excerpt, I think I will. Maybe there’s something about her just being another normal person that will make this book that much more powerful. 9/10

TBR?: Yes

Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau (6/6)

Dividing EdenCover: Oh. My. Gosh. That. Cover. This is what I’m talking about! I absolutely love it!!! It’s simple, but intriguing at the same time. I love the black and white color scheme and the paint dripping from above. Just amazing. 9/10

Premise: This sounds so promising! I’ve really liked that stuff that I’ve read from Charbonneau in the past so I’m sure I’ll like this one too. It does remind me a little bit of Three Dark Crowns¬†but I’m not even mad about it. The only thing I’ll say is that even if they’re twins, one of them had to have been first, right? It’s not like they could be born simultaneously. So I don’t see why it would be so difficult to figure out who’s next in line for the crown. 9/10

Excerpt: It’s interesting to me that they live in a place called Eden. Is it literally the garden of Eden? Or just a place also named Eden? It seems like the twins will both be interesting characters and I’m very interested to see how the rest of the story goes. 10/10

TBR?: YES

The Legend of Skyco: Spirit Quest by Jennifer Frick-Ruppert (4/4)

the legend of skyco spirit questCover: The cover is nice, I guess, but nothing too eye-catching. I think from the design it seems pretty obvious that this is more of a middle grade book. 6/10

Premise: I love that it’s about a Native American boy and his tribe. I’d be very interested to learn more about Native American rituals and culture. That being said, I’ve never been a huge fan of things that are abstractly spiritual so if that’s a big part of this book, I’m not sure how I’ll like it. 5/10

Excerpt: Even though the first few pages are filled with quite a bit of action, I’m not really drawn in to the story. I don’t really feel like I need to know what happens next. The characters seem nice enough, but I haven’t connected with them. 4/10

TBR?: No

The Black Witch by Laurie Forest (5/2)

The Black WitchCover: This cover’s not bad. I like that there is a forest coming out of the feather. I will say that it kind of looks like a lot of other covers that I’ve seen though–not very original. 7/10

Premise: I’m seeing a new trend emerging here…instead of main characters being special snowflakes because they have powers that others around them don’t, it seems like now characters are facing the reverse. Everyone around them has powers when they don’t. That could be an interesting premise depending on how it’s executed. 5/10

Excerpt: The main character seems like she’s probably okay. Not particularly annoying or anything like that. Just from that excerpt, though, I’d say she might be a little boring. I’m not sure how much I really enjoy the world that’s been created either. 5/10

TBR?: Not right now, but maybe if everyone starts raving about it


Those are the first ten, I’ll be posting my initial thoughts on the second ten soon.

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.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: 2015 Releases That I Missed

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‚Äôs topic is: Top Ten 2015 Releases I Meant To Get To But Didn’t

I couldn’t pick just 10…so here are 17 books that I really, REALLY meant to get to in 2015, but just didn’t.

1) The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall – Released 1/13
2) The Prey by Tom Isbell – Released 1/20
3) Shutter by Courtney Alameda – Released 2/3
4) The Distance Between Lost & Found by Kathryn Holmes – Released 2/17
5) A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas РReleased 2/24
6) The Start of Me & You by Emery Lord – Released 3/31
7) City Love by Susane Colasanti – Released 4/21
8) An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – Released 4/28
9) A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas – Released 5/5
10) The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West – Released 5/5
11) The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – Released 5/12
12) Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway – Released 6/25
13) Armada by Ernest Cline – Released 7/14
14) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – Released 7/28
15) Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs – Released 9/22
16) The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow – Released 9/22
17) A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis – Released 10/6

Did any of you read these books? How did you like them? Which ones should be at the top of my list for 2016?