ARC AUGUST WRAPUP

MY FINAL RESULTS

If you don’t remember, here were my goals for ARC August- I had 4 books I wanted to read this month. Here’s the link: ARC August is Upon Us!

How did I do? I was wondering the same thing myself.

While I did read four (and a half!) ARCs this month, only one (and a half!) I planned to read. The one I finished: The Scorpion Rules (click the links in the titles to see the reviews) by Erin Bow. I was really disappointed in that one, and couldn’t believe one of the most hyped fall books fell so short for me.

The second ARC I finished this month was The Fixer, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. That one DID live up to everything I had heard about it- a solid plot, exciting, dynamic characters, and a great finish that left me wanting more. I can’t wait for book two- and congrats to J. Barnes for writing the only ARC I read that I enjoyed this month!

The third ARC I read was one that I borrowed from the YA librarian where I work- A Thousand Nights, by E.K. Johnston. I didn’t write a review for that one, mostly because I really didn’t know what to think. I liked the writing, but I was often confused and a little freaked out, and it fell far short of the bar that Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn set in May of this year.

My fourth ARC was absolutely the worst. Really, one of the worst books I’ve read in a long, long time. Awake, by Natasha Preston, fell short of everything that spoke well of it, even if that was just the summary. My twitter chat review included in the post really explains everything, so make sure you check that out.

As for the half, I’m about that far into Vengeance Road, which releases tomorrow, and once I get my hard copy I’ll probably finish it out with the real pages. Something about paper just makes it so much easier to read, and my allergies make my eyes hurt too much to stare at a computer screen for long! But Erin’s writing is just stellar so far, and it’s my own fault that I haven’t gotten it finished before now!

So there you have it, my boring, pictureless post of my ARC August review- but the reviews themselves have pictures, so go check those out! And many thanks to Read.Sleep.Repeat for hosting the event! I had a blast this year and can’t wait for next year’s ARC August blitz!

Questions? Comments? Books you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and I’ll be sure to check it out!

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BABY BOOK REVIEW: AWAKE (ARC AUGUST)

IT’S A SAD DAY

I DNFed another ARC that I was really looking forward to. I should have known- it has only a 2.7 star rating on goodreads, and that’s pretty hard to do. But I didn’t look at that ahead of time, and I thought it would be great- the summary sounded cool, and I was excited about the premise. So here’s what you normally see in my reviews:

I received this book thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review.

SUMMARY (goodreads.com)

Scarlett doesn’t remember anything before the age of five. Her parents say it’s from the trauma of seeing her house burn down, and she accepts the life they’ve created for her without question—until a car accident causes Scarlett to start remembering pieces of an unfamiliar past.

When a new guy moves into town, Scarlett feels an instant spark. But Noah knows the truth of Scarlett’s past, and he’s determined to shield her from it…because Scarlett grew up in a cult called Eternal Light, controlled by her biological parents.

And they want her back.

But the actual review is going to be a little bit different. 

I don’t think I can really write a review- everything about this was just…bad. All of it. So to encompass the main points, I’m going to share with you the conversation I had with my twitter writing group (unfortunately minus Zoey-Woey) whiile I was reading, in a series of screenshots. Enjoy.
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In the end, there’s one gif that really encompasses the way I felt after every flip (swipe?) of the page, up to the point I deleted it from my tablet.

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 FINALLY

I don’t recommend this book to anyone. It was really inappropriate at times, as well as being an uninteresting and uninspiring. I DNFed this one at 18% and skimmed the remainder, just to see if it got any better. It didn’t. I don’t want to bash the author, because I have heard some good things about her other book, but this one was a major flop. At least it made me laugh, even if it wasn’t supposed to. One star, if only for that fact.

Thanks to Kiara and Liran for making this review possible. And pardon Liran’s language please 😉

Questions? Comments? Books you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and I’ll be sure to check it out!

WoW: PASSENGER

WEDNESDAY IS HERE

I’ve been awful about my blog these past two months, and I have to apologize again. I’m going to do my best to get going with it again, and hopefully the creative juices will flow! Anyway, Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, and you all know that it’s for books we can’t wait for. This week’s selection will kick off our 2016 reading year, with a release date of January 5, 2016. Without further ado, here’s

SUMMARY: (goodreads.com)

Violin prodigy Etta Spencer had big plans for her future, but a tragedy has put her once-bright career at risk. Closely tied to her musical skill, however, is a mysterious power she doesn’t even know she has. When her two talents collide during a stressful performance, Etta is drawn back hundreds of years through time.

Etta wakes, confused and terrified, in 1776, in the midst a fierce sea battle. Nicholas Carter, the handsome young prize master of a privateering ship, has been hired to retrieve Etta and deliver her unharmed to the Ironwoods, a powerful family in the Colonies–the very same one that orchestrated her jump back, and one Nicholas himself has ties to. But discovering she can time travel is nothing compared to the shock of discovering the true reason the Ironwoods have ensnared her in their web.

Another traveler has stolen an object of untold value from them, and, if Etta can find it, they will return her to her own time. Out of options, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the mysterious traveler. But as they draw closer to each other and the end of their search, the true nature of the object, and the dangerous game the Ironwoods are playing, comes to light — threatening to separate her not only from Nicholas, but her path home… forever.

WHY SHOULD YOU BE EXCITED?

Personally, I’m pumped! Even though I haven’t read A.B.’s Darkest Minds series, I’ve heard a lot of good things about her writing and storytelling. And when you combine music, pirates, and time travel, you’ve got an automatic fan! I’m really excited to see how this one plays out- there’s a lot of possibilities, and I’m trying not to let my expectations get too high, but I’ve got my eye on this one and can’t wait to read it when it comes out in January.

Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Alexandra Bracken’s Twitter

What’s your Waiting On Wednesday? Are you looking forward to Passenger?

BOOK REVIEW: THE FIXER (ARC August)

“My sister was a mover, a shaker, a problem solver – and right now, the problem she’d set her sights on solving was me.”

SUMMARY (goodreads.com)

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather’s ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess’s classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for this compelling teen drama with a political twist.

THOUGHTS

They say “teen drama” like it’s some tween romance love triangle. What they mean is “people get murdered and teens try to find out who did it.” So, you know. “Teen drama.” I loved this book, though. The plot was terrific, the characters were all so dynamic and unique, and you never felt like you needed to skim to get through a boring or unimportant section. Kudos to JLB for that- I’m a big skim-reader.

When I got to the last third of the book, my expression through the entire thing was simply this:

Seriously. The whole last third of the book. It was awesome. Plot twists like you wouldn’t BELIEVE.

PLOT: Strong, strong, STRONG! I loved the development. Even though it was a lot of information, it never felt like an info dump when you were getting details. I did find it to be a little bit slow toward the beginning, but never so much that I wanted to put it down or skim the information. Somehow, you know everything you’re reading is important. And it is- all the little strings tie up in a knot when you get to the end, and you’re just excited that you finally get to find out what all the dynamics are about. Except then you don’t, and you’re left dying for book two. I can’t really say any more without giving it away- yeah, it’s all spoilers- so I’ll just conclude this section by simply stating that IT WAS AMAZING AND YOU NEED TO READ IT NOW.

CHARACTERS: Okay, I pretty much loved all of them. I wish Asher had been a little bit more developed, and I wish we had more time to get to know Henry and what his whole deal was, but overall, they were all unique, relatable, and entertaining. They acted like normal humans and normal teens, and I really appreciated that- sometimes authors will try to make their characters do things that aren’t really something a normal, well-adjusted person would do and pass it off as creative license or ‘that’s just they way they are.’ But it’s hard to relate to those characters, and I usually don’t keep reading books with characters I can’t connect to.

On a side note, I almost found myself wanting to know more about the adults in this novel more than I cared about the main storyline at times. The three most mentioned- Ivy, Adam, and Bodie- have a great dynamic, even if it is a little confusing at times. I never thought that I would care about the side, adult characters so much, but they’re all so mysterious and intriguing, and I just can’t help but want to know what’s going to happen with them in the future.

WHAT TO WATCH: Nothing. This book was clean as a whistle- there wasn’t a romance at all, there was no bad language, no violence of note (people die, but it’s not like they stumble across dead bodies or see the graphic results of the deaths). It’s a thriller that does its job without any of the messy teen relationship drama to clog up the plot, and it’s a book I would recommend to anyone in the YA genre.

I don’t want to say any more about this book. Anything else I could say would be to give away an important aspect that you would enjoy much more finding out about on your own. I can’t imagine the feelings you’ll have when you read it- I only know what I felt, and it was so worth every second I spent reading instead of doing anything productive with my time. I give it 4.5 stars only because there were times when I was really confused, and maybe that was just me, but I still highly recommend this book for any reader- it’s a contemporary that will hook a fantasy lover as easily as it does a modern-day reader.

  Questions? Comments? Books you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and I’ll be sure to check it out!

BABY BOOK REVIEW: TROUBLE IS A FRIEND OF MINE

(Just to be clear, baby book review means I didn’t finish the book, or I just skimmed some of the chapters, so even though it may be as long as a regular book review, it’s a baby in the sense that I don’t necessarily have every detail)

“You’re already in trouble.”

SUMMARY: (goodreads)

“Of course I didn’t like Digby when I first met him. No one does.

The first time Philip Digby shows up on Zoe Webster’s doorstep, he’s rude and he treats her like a book he’s already read and knows the ending to.

But before she knows it, Zoe’s allowed Digby—annoying, brilliant, and somehow…attractive? Digby—to drag her into a series of hilarious, dangerous, and only vaguely legal schemes all related to the kidnapping of a local teenage girl. A kidnapping that might be connected to the tragic disappearance of his little sister eight years ago. When it comes to Digby, Zoe just can’t say no.

But is Digby a hero? *Or is his manic quest an indication of a desperate attempt to repair his broken family and exorcize his own obsessive-compulsive tendencies? And does she really care anyway?

THOUGHTS

You see that second-to-last question in the summary? Right up there? The one that begins with a * is the one I’m talking about.

Well, that’s the correct answer. I mean, I’m so confused by this book. I really, really don’t know what was going on, and I only closed it earlier today. Maybe in a few days, I’ll be able to function and actually figure out what was happening and what was supposed to happen. But until then, here’s what I thought of it.

PLOT: Okay, that part wasn’t…terrible, I guess. I’m pretty disappointed that it could hold my attention, but I realized that I didn’t care who the bad guy was, I didn’t care what happened to any of them, even when I was supposed to be so concerned for their safety. And I really, really didn’t know what was going on. That may be saying something about my intelligence level, but WHAT THE HECK WAS EVEN HAPPENING? (Note: I find myself finding it very difficult not to end all of these sentences with question marks, because I don’t even know how to write this review) So the plot was okay, very engaging at first, but then kind of repetitive with a few snarky scenes or funny conversations thrown in.

CHARACTERS: Oh, oh, oh. Let me calm down before I say something too bad.

Digby was weird and okay.

Zoe was an amorphous blob of average.

Henry was utterly irritating, as well as all his groupies of the indecent “easy” cheerleader variety.

Possibly the most interesting person was the crazy cult leader across the street. I don’t really know what her deal was, but that kept my attention for half the book.

So, I’m also really tired of crazy, manic, disrespectful, blatantly rude or creepy characters being passed off as ‘well, they’re unique.’ Digby is like that- he never acts like a normal person, and I guess that could be attributed to his sister’s disappearance and family falling apart, but be honest: If some guy and his friend that you just met showed up in your room in the dead of night while you were sleeping, would you be cool with that? I wouldn’t be! I would freak out! I would punch that guy in the face and make a break for it! But Zoe? She lets them rifle around her dresser and her belongings, because ‘That’s just Digby.’

That’s ridiculous.

Zoe was a doormat, obviously, peer pressured into doing everything she didn’t want to, and that’s all I’m going to say about her because she was such a blank slate.

Henry was the reason I put the book down. Maybe not so much Henry, but the scenes surrounding him. Strike one was the mean girl sending him a picture of her boobs in the middle of a restaurant. Strike two was the way he acted around Digby and Zoe- always looking over his shoulder, because the hot blonde girl told him to stop hanging out with them. Strike three was football practice, where a cheerleader yells, “Hey, QB, why don’t you come over here and sack me?”

What.

The.

Dump. *(Sorry about this expression. It’s a relic from my sophomore year of high school and it really is the only thing that seemed appropriate)

As a football fan (a real football fan) I cannot stand for this. I didn’t think it was funny. I didn’t think it was cute. It was an affront to humanity and sports and all things good writing should be. In the middle of a kidnapping mystery, that line, that scene, was where I put the book down for good. Maybe you think I’m overreacting. Maybe you think it wasn’t that bad a line. Maybe you thought it was funny. I’m just saying right here that I didn’t. From a book already on the edge of a DNF, it was the final straw.

WHAT TO WATCH: It’s just the normal teenage drama- some inappropriate pictures were taken, some sleazy cheerleaders, some fun stalkerish tendencies and vandalism, but nothing graphic and nothing I would say a teenager couldn’t handle. 13+

So, anyway, the bottom line is this: the plot was okay, and the characters were bland/crazy/both, and I wouldn’t recommend this book, but that’s just my personal opinion. I’ll give it 1.5 stars. It wasn’t really okay, but I didn’t like it, not for the fault of the writing, but because of the lackluster content.

Questions? Comments? Books you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and I’ll be sure to check it out!

A QUICK UPDATE

SO, I’VE BEEN OFF-GRID

My summer, especially the past two months, has been so, so crazy! I barely have time to read, and to top it off, I haven’t had a book in my hands that I’ve really wanted to read. The closest I came was The Princess Bride, and that one even trailed off into a skim of the ending and my ultimate boredom.

So disappointing.

One of the books I was most excited about, The Scorpion Rules turned out to be a total dud to me (as you can read in the baby review) so I only did a short review because I didn’t even finish it. Nothing that I’ve picked up has been appealing to me- I think it might be because I have a pre-hangover about Illuminae.

Wow. If that book falls flat for me, I’m going to have a serious, major problem. I’m already counting on it and Their Fractured Light to be my favorite books of the year. I’m really banking on this sci-fi to be really cool and rejuvenate me for reading. Can you tell it’s my favorite genre?

Anyway, I’m at work right now (aka, the library) and I’m trying to motivate myself to work on the blog that I contribute to here. I’m not very motivated to do anything, really- this place has about 4 people in it, and they’re all on the computers. I have Court of Fives on the way here, but I’ve heard it isn’t great. I also have  Reawakened on deck for when I finish Trouble is a Friend of Mine.

Let’s talk about Trouble. I started it Monday night, and I’ll be honest- it caught my attention pretty quickly. I read about 100 pages before I realized it, and then I got excited. But slowly, the more I read, the more confused I get, and holy smokes, I’m so over a couple of the characters. I understand the desire to round everyone out, but there’s no rounding happening. It’s just a hot secondary character who’s dating but not dating the meanest, sluttiest girl in school, but somehow he’s friends with the outcasts and does stuff with them? And the book is not moving quickly, at ALL. I don’t want to put it down prematurely, but I’m on a DNFing roll lately, and I just don’t have time to waste on books I don’t enjoy.

Someone tell me what I should read to knock me out of this slump! I’m dying here!

Anyway, this has been a Thursday ramble about what’s going on, so you don’t think I’ve died between now and whenever my next post is (next Wednesday at the latest!)

What’s going on with you? Are you in a reading slump or a roll? Have you read any of the books I mentioned today? Leave a comment!

BABY BOOK REVIEW: (ARC) THE SCORPION RULES

ARC AUGUST #1

Thanks to Simon & Schuster

ARC through Netgalley

The Scorpion Rules to be released September 22, 2015

I’m calling this another ‘book I can’t review,’ and this time it’s because I was so annoyed I couldn’t finish it. If I don’t finish, I can’t call this a real review. But I’m still going to tell you why, and what to watch.

THE CHARACTERS: I can’t even tell you how irritating they were .The only one I liked was the non-human overlord- at least he added some dimension. The rest were interchangeable- characters to add bulk that didn’t add anything to the story. I learned a hundred names and then got them all confused. Each character could have been so distinct and grabbing, especially the rebel Elian, but no. There was 0 dimension to their personalities. They all acted like frightened children up to the point I read. I mean, technically they’re kids, and their lives are in danger, but their lives have been in danger since they were born. Get used to it.

At any rate, I felt a major disconnect with the characters. They earned my disgust instead of my loyalty, my wrath instead of my love, and that will kill a for me book very, very quickly. If I don’t love the characters, I can’t love the story.

THE SETTING + PLOT: I did enjoy the world-building- it was a very well thought out plan and the descriptions were really interesting- it was almost a believable world that Bow created for readers. The plot, however, was sorely lacking. I read several chapters and skimmed even more, and nothing happened outside the school that they live in. The most exciting thing that happened was a goat getting loose and climbing a tree- I mean, you’ve created this whole world, and you don’t let us explore it? The plot really fell flat for me, which I find is happening a lot in these majorly hyped books. I’m obviously not in the majority, but I just couldn’t finish this book. Here’s why

WHAT TO WATCH:

/SPOILERS/

There’s a love triangle. A bad one, one that’s not well-developed and not well-executed, but the fact remains. And it’s a F/F/M triangle- by which I mean the main character, Greta, is ‘in love’ with a boy and a girl.

This, I simply do not read. Besides the fact that it was terribly written, I don’t read LGBT material- to be perfectly honest, it creeps me out a little bit. And too, in this particular instance, for the first half of the book Greta is all about that boy and his perfect hair and perfect face and she’ll do ANYTHING for him. But then, in 2.5 seconds, she’s suddenly in love with her (female) roommate, who is her everything! She can’t live without her! It’s just too hard to bear!

Please. Spare me the insta-love. Spare me the badly written characters and choppy love triangle. This book gets 0 stars from me- or 1 star if I have to rate it at all. The premise was interesting, but the execution falls totally flat.

ARC August isn’t off to a very good start for me. I’m hoping that my next book will be better.

See my ARC August list here!

Questions? Comments? Books you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and I’ll be sure to check it out!