To All the Books I Forgot to Review (2): Audiobooks Edition + Giveaway

13 April, 2014 Giveaways, Reviews 18 comments

Don't You Forget About MeSince I’ve started my little project of Reading Whatever I Wanna — AKA This Ain’t Your Job — I’ve noticed I’m reading more and, more importantly, enjoying it. Sometimes I still want to talk about these books, though, so that’s when To All the Books I Forgot to Review was born. This works out perfectly for a few reasons: (1) Sometimes I don’t have an entire post worth of words to talk about just one book. (2) Since we have so many reviewers now, we might end up reading the same books, but I don’t always review them. (3) It also let’s me read more and talk more, just in a more condensed format. Of course, the best part for my readers is that this post will always feature a giveaway of some of the books mentioned, open internationally to our readers.

Hover over the books for the synopsis and links!

If you love Fantasy…

Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor  Goodreads | Purchase By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz. Common enemy, common cause. When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love. But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world. What power can bruise the sky? From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.  At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor

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By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.
Common enemy, common cause.
When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.
And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.
But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz … something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.
What power can bruise the sky?
From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.
At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

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Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.
Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.
In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.
That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.
First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.

1. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor 4 Stars

I enjoyed this finale much more than I did Days of Blood and Starlight. There’s just something about seeing Karou and Akiva steal away precious moments in the midst of impending death. However, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending. Taylor chose to introduce new characters and it felt a bit jarring for a final book. Out of nowhere, characters who I’d just met suddenly became extremely important to the plot when all I really wanted was more Karou and Akiva. The sexual tension and want between those two was through the roof and I JUST NEEDED THEM TO KISS ALREADY. What I find interesting is how with Daughter of Smoke and Bone I quickly labeled this series as PNR, but now that doesn’t feel accurate. Sure, there is a love story at its root, but has become so much more than that. It feels more Fantasy and less PNR by the end, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t left craving more of that romantic spark I felt in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. A part of me wants to read a straight PNR from Taylor just so my feels can burst into flames. Overall, I loved this book and this series still remains a favorite.

Need an in-depth review? Paul reviewed it here.

2. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslie Walton 4 Stars

Guys, this book! If it’s not on your TBR list now, add it immediately. It’s magical realism and it’s beautiful writing and it’s amazing. It’s a generational saga about love, lust and heartbreak.

The theme of love was an interesting one because while it does include stories of men and women, Walton, focuses primarily on the women of the Roux/Lavender family and the long term effects their failed relationships and mistreatment of men had on them. I’m not entirely sure if this was intentional or not, but my mind couldn’t ignore the common situations many women in real life go through depicted in the novel: loveless marriage, single parenting, sexual abuse, etc. For each of the women, naïveté is both their charm and curse. It’s their hope, willingness to give their hearts freely and complete trust that leads to their heartbreak.

Need an in-depth review? Check out my full review here.

 

If you like Horror…

World After

World After (Penryn & the End of Days #2) by Susan Ee

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In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what’s left of the modern world.
When a group of people capture Penryn’s sister Paige, thinking she’s a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.
Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels’ secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.
Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can’t rejoin the angels, can’t take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

The Unbound

The Unbound (The Archived #2) by Victoria Schwab

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Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.
Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she’s struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn’t easy — not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she’s really safe.
Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She’s sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she’ll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?
With stunning prose and a captivating mixture of action, romance, and horror, The Unbound delves into a richly imagined world where no choice is easy and love and loss feel like two sides of the same coin.

1. World After by Susan Ee 3 Stars

I was rather disappointed with this sequel because I didn’t find it as exciting an action packed as Angelfall. This may have something to do with Raffe and Penryn not being very exciting apart from each other, because for the first half of the book, I struggled to stay interested. On the positive side, the second half does pick up after Penryn and Raffe reunites and the horror aspect that we saw at the end of Angelfall really starts to shine through. I’m curious to see where this series is going, because a large part of World After was about Penryn — once again — going off into danger to save her sister, who seems to now have a larger role in this whole Angel Apocalypse thing. I really hope books 3-6 don’t follow similar plots. There are only so many times Penryn can save Paige before it loses its appeal.

2. The Unbound by Victoria Schwab 4 Stars

Thank goodness this didn’t fall victim to Second Book Syndrome.  While I do think I enjoyed The Archived a tiny bit better than The Unbound, this was still up there as a tightly-plotted and well-written book. The best thing about both books is that the mystery is really solid. My mind was constantly trying to figure out who the bad guy was or how things would turn out in the end, but it surprised me. Also, more Wesley FTW! The thing that bugged me was Mac’s inability to trust Wesley. I understand why she held back, but I felt very frustrated when he obviously wanted to help. At the same time, he was holding back from her and it looked like a convenient and deliberate attempt to give the romance tension. Man, I hate when that happens. The worst part is that I’ll never know how it turns out since Disney didn’t pick up the third book. BOOOO, DISNEY! I really hope Victoria considers self-publishing it, because I’d totally buy it.

 

If you like Sci-Fi…

Cress

Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

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Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair – or her guard.
In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.
Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker – unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.
When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

 

Cress by Marissa Meyer 5 Stars

Ahhhh, this book was so good! The Lunar Chronicles just keeps getting better and better. This is easily the strongest novel of the series so far. The pacing, characters and plot were noticeably stronger this time around, something I felt Scarlet was lacking. I was shocked at some of the things Meyer put her characters through and now I’m doubly worried for them in Winter. At this point, I won’t even be surprised if not all of them make it alive in the final book, and I’m not even sure how Meyer is going to end this one. I NEED WINTER NOW.

Need an in-depth review? Check out my full review or Meg’s review.

 

If you like Contemporary…

Bleed Like Me

Bleed Like Me by Christa Desir

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Seventeen-year old Amelia Gannon (just “Gannon” to her friends) is invisible to almost everyone in her life. To her parents, to her teachers–even her best friend is more interested in bumming cigarettes than bonding. Some days, the only way Gannon knows she’s real is by carving bloody lines into the flesh of her stomach.
Then she meets Michael Brooks, and for the first time, she feels seen to the core of her being. Obnoxious, controlling, damaged and addicting, he inserts himself into her life until all her scars are exposed. Each moment she’s with him is a passionate, painful relief.
But as the relationship deepens, Gannon starts to feel as if she’s standing at the foot of a dam about to burst. She’s given up everything and everyone in her life for him, but somehow nothing is enough for Brooks–until the ultimate test.
A piercing, intimate portrayal of the danger of love so obsessive it becomes its own biggest threat.

Bleed Like Me by Christa Desir 4.5 Stars

WOW. This book doesn’t come out until later this year — October — but I finished reading it the other day and have the urge to talk about it. It’s no secret how strongly I loved Fault Line, so when I saw Bleed Like Me go up on Edelweiss, I knew I had to read it. I was not disappointed. This book is just as grim and heartbreaking and horrifying and tragic as Desir’s debut. Like Fault Line, nothing is spared and the characters go through situations no one should have to deal with. Twilight has the stigma of being the punchline to YA for Bella and Edward’s co-dependent relationship being glamorized, but in Bleed Like Me, no such fairytale exists. Gannon and Brooks are in an unhealthy relationship, addicted to each other and unable to see how toxic it is. It’s a quick read, but not always easy due to the subject manner. But I will say it was hard to put down and I spent 2 hours sitting in my grocery store parking lot binge reading because I just had to see how it ended. Add this to your list, people. It’s a winner.

My full review will go up around release day. Be there with me to discuss.

 

If you like Audio Books…

Grasshopper Jungle

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Narrated by Philip Church

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In the small town of Ealing, Iowa, Austin and his best friend, Robby, have accidentally unleashed an unstoppable army. An army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises that only want to do two things.
This is the truth. This is history.
It’s the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it.
You know what I mean.
Funny, intense, complex, and brave, Grasshopper Jungle brilliantly weaves together everything from testicle-dissolving genetically modified corn to the struggles of recession-era, small-town America in this groundbreaking coming-of-age stunner.

Hate List

Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Narrated by Kathleen McInerney

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Five months ago, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.
Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

Landry Park (Landry Park #1) by Bethany Hagen Narrated by Leslie Bellair "Downton Abbey" meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayal Sixteen-year-old Madeline Landry is practically Gentry royalty. Her ancestor developed the nuclear energy that has replaced electricity, and her parents exemplify the glamour of the upper class. As for Madeline, she would much rather read a book than attend yet another debutante ball. But when she learns about the devastating impact the Gentry lifestyle—her lifestyle—is having on those less fortunate, her whole world is turned upside down. As Madeline begins to question everything she has been told, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana, who seems to be hiding secrets of his own. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty—her family and the estate she loves dearly—and desire. Fans of Ally Condie, Kiera Cass, Veronica Roth, and even Jane Austen will be enthralled by this breathtaking read.

Landry Park (Landry Park #1) by Bethany Hagen
Narrated by Leslie Bellair

Goodreads | Purchase
“Downton Abbey” meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayal
Sixteen-year-old Madeline Landry is practically Gentry royalty. Her ancestor developed the nuclear energy that has replaced electricity, and her parents exemplify the glamour of the upper class. As for Madeline, she would much rather read a book than attend yet another debutante ball. But when she learns about the devastating impact the Gentry lifestyle—her lifestyle—is having on those less fortunate, her whole world is turned upside down. As Madeline begins to question everything she has been told, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana, who seems to be hiding secrets of his own. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty—her family and the estate she loves dearly—and desire.
Fans of Ally Condie, Kiera Cass, Veronica Roth, and even Jane Austen will be enthralled by this breathtaking read.

Fallen

Fallen (Fallen #1) by Lauren Kate
Narrated by Justine Eyre

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There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.
Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.
Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.
Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

 

1. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith 2 Stars

DNF.

I think I may have enjoyed this more if I had read it instead of listening to the audiobook. The narrator’s voice was so robotic and made me want to slam my head against a wall. I fell asleep a lot and had to keep restarting chapters.

I also don’t really understand what was happening? The world was ending? Bugs were invading human bodies? Oh, well, not a single fuck was given that day.

I was interested in the MC’s struggle with his sexual identity, but the cons I mentioned kept me from continuing the story long enough to find out how that’s resolved.

Whomp, whomp.

2. Hate List by Jennifer Brown 3.5 Stars

I thought the narrator did a really excellent job and the story was written in unique way (told from the MC’s point-of-view and through newspaper articles), but somewhere along the last third, I started to lose interest. I appreciated Valerie’s character and it was interesting to see her search for some sort of redemption despite the incident not being her fault. Her father really aggravated me, though, since he flat out said he would never forgive her and blames her for what happened. The climax and plot seemed to plateau around 55% and it never really recovered. I did enjoy the story and feel it’s an important one, but I wasn’t blown away.

3. Landry Park by Bethany Hagen 2 Stars

I had high hopes for this one when I first heard of it, but it was mostly very boring. The narrator was terrible or monotone, though, she did read very fast, but the story itself wasn’t all that interesting. Madeline spends most of her time thinking about university or how much she loves her house or how much she’s trying to pretend she doesn’t like David Dana. I was intrigued at first, but it got old very fast. The world building was also very confusing and felt quickly assembled just so the author could get back to telling us about how bad Madeline felt for the dying, poor people while she remained more concerned about losing her house. The vanity and materialism of some of the characters was a real turnoff. I know that was the point, but it was annoying to read. The ending was lackluster and I couldn’t seem to manage to care about the characters by then. I’m proud that I even found it in me to finish.

4. Fallen by Lauren Kate 1 Stars

DNF. I do not understand why this book is so popular. It’s boring, lacking interesting characters, boring, has a terrible love interest, Bella Swan’s back and boring. There are so many things I could rant about the 30% that I read, but instead I shall review this is one gif.

bad decision

Need an in-depth review? Check out Kat’s review.

The Burning Sky

The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy #1) by Sherry Thomas
Narrated by Philip Battley

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It all began with a ruined elixir and a bolt of lightning.
Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she’s been told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of the Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.
Guided by his mother’s visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.
The Burning Sky—the first book in the Elemental Trilogy—is an electrifying and unforgettable novel of intrigue and adventure.

Faking Normal

Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
Narrated by Emma Galvin

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An edgy, realistic, and utterly captivating novel from an exciting new voice in teen fiction
Alexi Littrell hasn t told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.
At school, nobody sees the scratches or her pain. The only person she connects with is the mysterious Captain Lyric, who writes song lyrics on her fourth-period desk for her to complete. With pencil marks and music, Alexi carves out a comfortable space for herself as she and the Captain finish each other s songs words on a desk feel safer than words spoken aloud.
But when Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend who understands her better than anyone. He has secrets of his own and knows all about suffering in silence. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally speak up.
With her powerful, moving debut novel, author Courtney C. Stevens emerges as an extraordinary new talent to watch.

Shatter Me

Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi
Narrated by Kate Simses

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Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war– and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Attachments

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Narrated by Laura Hamilton

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“Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . “
Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.
Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.
When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.
By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.
What would he say . . . ?

5. The Burning Sky by Sherri Thomas 1 Stars

DNF. I thought for sure I would love this since a few of my friends highly recommended it to me, but I hated it. The main characters are terrible and underdeveloped. Let me count the ways: Iolanthe is virtually a Mary Sue and can do no wrong. She is The One with the power to save them because of reasons and has the BEST of luck. *wink, wink* Prince Titus is a spoiled brat that wants everything his way. He even tries to manipulate Iolanthe several times to get her to do things by preying on her feelings. There’s also a romance that came out of nowhere, horrible world building (GAH, this is a fantasy novel, FFS!) and info-dumping all over the place. Also, I hated the narration. Maybe I should have not gone with the audio, but I tried the print too and it’s just a big old NOPE for me.

flipping tables

6. Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens 4 Stars

This was pretty good and very sad. Both Bodee and Alexi go through some pretty harsh things and I felt for them. Bodee’s dad killed his mom and Alexi has never told anyone what happened to her over the summer. The relationship that blossoms between the two was both sweet and endearing. Their relationship mostly stays in the friend zone even though it’s pretty obvious they have feelings for each other, but I preferred it that way. I loved how they always had each other’s back, especially Bodee. I mean, this kid is grieving for his mom, but spends most of his time concerned for Alexi. I was a little confused for a majority of the novel because the rapist is not revealed until the end. Up until I found out, you’re led to believe it’s someone else and that she willingly had sex with him. I don’t know if this was just how it came across since I listened to the audio version, or if it’s how it’s read in the print too, but it was a strange plot twist. I’m under the impression that her brain suppressed the memory and she filled in the blanks herself with another guy? If that is what happened then it might explain why she never felt discomfort for being around the rapist. Though, I would have thought there would be something subconsciously warning her away. But overall, I enjoyed it.

7. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi 1 Stars

DNF.

“I always wonder about raindrops.

I wonder about how they’re always falling down, tripping over their own feet, breaking their legs and forgetting their parachutes as they tumble right out of the sky toward an uncertain end. It’s like someone is emptying their pockets over the earth and doesn’t seem to care where the contents fall, doesn’t seem to care that the raindrops burst when they hit the ground, that they shatter when they fall to the floor, that people curse the days the drops dare to tap on their doors.

I am a raindrop.

My parents emptied their pockets of me and left me to evaporate on a concrete slab.

death by rain

Here lies Steph Sinclair, slaughtered by metaphors raindrops.

8. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell 3 Stars

I enjoyed this much more than Eleanor and Park, but still didn’t love it. There are so many pop culture references that it’s impossible to forget the book is set in the 90s as it’s so overloaded with name drops (movies, actors, shows, etc) that it felt unnecessary. If it weren’t for the fact that I’ve already read Eleanor and Park, I would have just assumed it was because Beth was a movie critic. But now, I’m guessing that it’s just the way Rowell sets up her story. As for me, there were times when I liked it and others when I found it distracting.

I really did enjoy the premise of the novel and thought it was cute if being a stalker could ever be cute. And the characters were charming and held a lot of personality, my favorite being Lincoln’s sister. When she mentioned she couldn’t go see the Pokemon movie because she was allergic to Pikachu, I laughed out loud in a public place like a mad person. There were a lot of great one-liners that I felt was missing with Eleanor and Park.

The thing I did notice about Attachments, is that once it hit the climax, my level of excitement for finishing the novel plateaued. After Lincoln quit his job, I became infinitely less interested in the story. This is probably because Lincoln by himself is a really boring character.

By the end, I was satisfied with the ending and it pretty much ended how I thought it would. I’m now officially concerned that I won’t like Fangirl because this is the second Rowell novel that didn’t do much for me. Or maybe it’s the fact that they’ve hired the dullest narrators to read her books. Possible.

 

If you dig the Graphic Novels…

Zita the Spacegirl

Zita the Spacegirl (Zita the Spacegirl #1) by Ben Hatke

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Zita’s life took a cosmic left turn in the blink of an eye.
When her best friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult, Zita leaps to the rescue and finds herself a stranger on a strange planet. Humanoid chickens and neurotic robots are shocking enough as new experiences go, but Zita is even more surprised to find herself taking on the role of intergalactic hero. Before long, aliens in all shapes and sizes don’t even phase her. Neither do ancient prophecies, doomed planets, or even a friendly con man who takes a mysterious interest in Zita’s quest.
Zita the Spacegirl is a fun, captivating tale of friendship and redemption from Flight veteran Ben Hatke. It also has more whimsical, eye-catching, Miyazaki-esque monsters than you can shake a stick at.

Legends of Zita the Spacegirl (Zita the Spacegirl #2) by Ben Hatke Goodreads | Purchase Fame comes at a price... Zita must find her way back to earth...but her space adventures have made her a galactic megastar! Who can you trust when your true self is overshadowed by your public image? And to make things worse...Zita's got a robot double making trouble--while wearing her face!

Legends of Zita the Spacegirl (Zita the Spacegirl #2) by Ben Hatke

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Fame comes at a price…
Zita must find her way back to earth…but her space adventures have made her a galactic megastar! Who can you trust when your true self is overshadowed by your public image? And to make things worse…Zita’s got a robot double making trouble–while wearing her face!

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl (Zita the Spacegirl) by Ben Hatke

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Ben Hatke brings back our intrepid space heroine for another delightful sci-fi/fantasy adventure in this New York Times‑Bestselling graphic novel trilogy for middle grade readers.
Zita the Spacegirl has saved planets, battled monsters, and wrestled with interplanetary fame. But she faces her biggest challenge yet in the third and final installment of the Zita adventures. Wrongfully imprisoned on a penitentiary planet, Zita has to plot the galaxy’s greatest jailbreak before the evil prison warden can execute his plan of interstellar domination!

1. Zita the Spacegirl series by Ben Hatke 5 Stars

This has to be the CUTEST graphic novel series I’ve ever read. My kids and I love it so hard. The best part is that it’s a perfect graphic novel for my young kids (3 and 6) to understand and enjoy. It’s also great for me to do lots of voices to entertain them. I love the fact that it’s a sci-fi story for kids that features a female heroine. That doesn’t happen often enough! Zita is brave and a good friend. Though she has her moments of insecurity and bad decisions, she doesn’t give up easily. Also, the artwork is beautiful! I loved reading about Zita’s adventures and I’m so happy First Second put these on my radar.

Boxers

Boxers (Boxers & Saints #1) by Gene Luen Yang

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China, 1898. Bands of foreign missionaries and soldiers roam the countryside, bullying and robbing Chinese peasants.
Little Bao has had enough. Harnessing the powers of ancient Chinese gods, he recruits an army of Boxers–commoners trained in kung fu–who fight to free China from “foreign devils.”
Against all odds, this grass-roots rebellion is violently successful. But nothing is simple. Little Bao is fighting for the glory of China, but at what cost? So many are dying, including thousands of “secondary devils”–Chinese citizens who have converted to Christianity.

Saints

Saints (Boxers & Saints #2) by Gene Luen Yang

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China, 1898. An unwanted and unwelcome fourth daughter, Four-Girl isn’t even given a proper name by her family when she’s born. She finds friendship–and a name, Vibiana–in the most unlikely of places: Christianity.
But China is a dangerous place for Christians. The Boxer Rebellion is in full swing, and bands of young men roam the countryside, murdering Westerners and Chinese Christians alike. Torn between her nation and her Christian friends, Vibiana will have to decide where her true loyalties lie…and whether she is willing to die for her faith.

This One Summer

This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki

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Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It’s their getaway, their refuge. Rosie’s friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It’s a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.
In This One Summer two stellar creators redefine the teen graphic novel. Cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, the team behind Skim, have collaborated on this gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about a girl on the cusp of her teen age—a story of renewal and revelation.

2. Boxers by Gene Luen Yang 4 Stars

I don’t know what I was expecting when I first started reading Boxers, but it certainly wasn’t a war. That may give you pause, but I went into this one blind. I didn’t read the synopsis and had only seen a few of the illustrations at the BEA last year before deciding I wanted to read it. Overall, it was eye-opening and violent. I enjoyed the way Yang told a historical story with fantasy elements and was impressed with the amount of detail. I also liked how religion itself was handled. It plays a huge role in the story and I never felt it got too preachy either way. It’s very violent in nature, just as the Boxer Rebellion was, so I’d recommend this one for mature YA readers and up.

3. Saints by Gene Luen Yang 3 Stars

Saints is the companion novel to Boxers and slightly shorter. It tells the story from a young Chinese girl who converts to Christianity during the Rebellion. It was interesting to see the same events that played out in Boxers seen from the other side, but all in all, I don’t think this was as strong as Boxers was. I will say, though, that while you could probably read either first, I’d go with this one last since it does give the final piece to both books’ endings.

4. This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki 3 Stars

This One Summer is worth a read for the breathtaking artwork alone.  Check it out:

This One Summer artwork

Unfortunately, the story didn’t do much for me. I really liked the idea of a summer of firsts and lessons, but when it was all said and done, I don’t really think the main character learned anything. There’s some slut-shamming done and she never understood why it wasn’t okay to say certain things. Though her friend did correct her a few times, she seemed to just write it off. The book also never felt like it actually had a climax at all. It largely felt like a summer of revelations that was witnessed by the main character, but she doesn’t seem to have a strong reaction to most things either way. As a result, it was very hard for me to place my feeling about her and I’m left wondering what the whole point was of the book. But again, the art is beautiful.

 

We can’t forget the Picture Books…

Bob and Otto

Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel & Nick Bruel

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Bob and Otto do best-friend kinds of things together–eating leaves, digging, playing–until the day Bob decides to climb a tree, simply because . . . he has to. When the two meet again, Otto is still the same dirt-loving earthworm, but Bob has done the unthinkable: grown wings. Friendship overcomes all else in this sweet and funny story, because no matter what happens, “. . . friends are important.”

Froodle

Froodle by Antoinette Portis

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In a normal neighborhood, on a typical day, the birds chirp, the dogs bark and the cats meow. When Little Brown Bird decides she doesn’t want to sing the same old song, out comes a new tune that shakes up the neighborhood and changes things forever in this funny, innovative book that kids will love to read outloud.

Sing

Sing by Joe Raposo & Tom Lichtenheld

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“Sing! Sing a song. Sing out loud, sing out strong.”
So begins a song first made popular on Sesame Street, then interpreted by singers of every style, from Gloria Estefan to the Dixie Chicks to R.E.M., as well as famous personalities such as Conan O’Brien, Katie Couric, Nathan Lane, and Liam Neeson.
Now, bestselling children’s book illustrator Tom Lichtenheld has put a visual story to this timeless and universal song that celebrates perseverence, self-expression, and the power of music to help each of us find our voice.
A CD with three songs is included: “Sing!” “Somebody Come and Play,” and “One of These Things.” Music by Joe Raposo. Songs performed by Becca Kauffman with The Midnight Sun Ensemble.

1. Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel & Nick Bruel 3 Stars

My daughter has the opportunity to bring home a new book from school every Friday. This was, unfortunately, one of the books chosen one week. You should know that my rating is an mixed rating of both my feelings and my daughters. She really enjoyed Bob and Otto, but I was left underwhelmed. First off, it’s dull as dirt. Second, I don’t think the lesson it was trying to teach — jealousy — was executed well. The butterfly was trying to console the worm by telling him about all the great things worms are for, but it kind of came off as, “Even though you’re ugly and have an unappreciated job, and I’m obviously more beautiful, you’re not as worthless as you think.” Gee, thanks, butterfly. You’re a real friend. I mean, really.

2. Froodle by Antoinette Portis 4 Stars

The artwork was cute but, overall, this did nothing for me. It would be good for an early reader and my kids really loved it.

Sing by Joe Raposo & Tom Lichtenheld 4 Stars

I probably read this in less than 2 minutes, but I LOVED IT SO MUCH. It’s super cute and even comes with a CD so I can relive my Sesame Street childhood whenever I want. I’m also pretty sure I enjoyed this more than my kids. I ain’t even bothered.

 


Giveaway

Two winners will win 4 books each, one US/CA and the other international. First winner drawn gets first dibs and whatever is left goes to the second winner.

ARCs:

  • The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslie Walton
  • World After by Susan Ee
  • Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
  • The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy

Finished copies:

  • The Burning Sky by Sherri Thomas
  • Boxers by Gene Luen Yang
  • Saints by Gene Luen Yang
  • This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki

Contest Rules:

  • To enter, please fill out the Raffelcopter form below.
  • We ask that all entrants be at least 13 years or older to enter.
  • The giveaway is open to International.
  • When the winners are chosen, it will be announced here and the winners will be emailed. Please check your email because we are only giving the winner 48 hours to respond! Otherwise another winner will have to be selected.
  • Please enter your email address in the Rafflecopter form and not the comments.
  • Also, please understand that we reserve the right to disqualify any entries we find gaming the system. Cheaters never prosper.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Steph Sinclair

Steph Sinclair

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
I'm a bibliophile trying to make it through my never-ending To-Be-Read list, equal opportunity snarker and fangirl, YA Books Central editor and co-blogger here at Cuddlebuggery. Find me on GoodReads.
Steph Sinclair
Review: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout http://t.co/3RLkuyt8Ik #CuddlebuggeryArchive - 5 hours ago
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18 Responses to “To All the Books I Forgot to Review (2): Audiobooks Edition + Giveaway”

  1. de Pizan

    A cute kids’ graphic novel that you might be interested in is Giants Beware! by Jorge Aguirre–the main girl wants to be a hero and slay giants/dragons/etc, her little brother wants to be a pastry chef (and also a swordmaker), and their best friend wants to be a princess (“because it’s a valid career choice”).

  2. Kate Copeseeley

    I hope Victoria Schwab DOES self-pub her third book. She already has a loyal audience and she would probably make more money per e-book that way, too. Although, paperbacks are trickier.

    It’s funny how a narrator can make or break a book for you. That is where I’m at with Cress right now. Right smack dab in the middle of the story and unable to make myself finish it because I can’t stand the voice actor. Ah well.

    Those Zita books look adorable. She looks just like Ramona Quimby to me. I will probably get them for my little guy because like the feminist mother that I am, I want him to see lots of strong female characters in books. :)

    I really really love these posts and I sincerely hope you keep doing them. They are a lot of fun to read!
    Kate Copeseeley recently posted…So Excited I’ve Been Spouting Gibberish All Day!My Profile

  3. Cathy Keaton
    Twitter:

    Isn’t it amazing how much more you enjoy reading when you read whatever you want?

    I don’t have much to say other than this is a very cool little set-up for your reviews. Thanks for sharing! I always love your take on books.

  4. Shannelle C.
    Twitter:

    Audiobooks! A good narrator can just easily make or break a book. But I”m just wondering how the narrator for Shatter Me got the strikethroughs across in the audiobook.

    Anyway, I’ll be waiting for more of this! It’s like snippets of reviews, and as muchas I love Meg, I miss you and Kat!
    Shannelle C. recently posted…Book Review: GoldenMy Profile

  5. Natalie Monroe
    Twitter:

    Such a shame to hear that about Grasshopper Jungle. It’s been hyped about this way and that. But I should by now that popular aren’t necessarily good books *cough*Fallen*cough*.
    But Cress did live up to the praise and now I’m just sitting here, twiddling my thumbs, and waiting for Winter. I don’t think anyone important will die though. The series strikes me as rather tame and not as dark as some other YA books I’ve read. But I agree with you on having no idea how Meyer will end it. As long as Cress and Thorn get together, I’m good.
    Thanks for the giveaway, btw!

  6. Kaethe

    Absolutely loving the condensed format, because it’s hard for me to find anyone reviewing the entire age range of books I’m reading, from YA down to picture books. Thanks!

  7. Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    Yay! We both actually liked a thing, that thing being Ava Lavender. Maybe our opposing streak is over?

    Too bad World After was disappointing. It was only like four bucks, though, so even if I feel the same oh well.

    Oooh, you already read Bleed Like Me? Jelllllllz.

    You should try Grasshopper Jungle in print. I thought it was hilarious. April was not a fan of the narrator either, and she’s an audio expert.

    Bahahaha, I’m still trolololing at you picking out Fallen for yourself.

    Whoa, your Faking Normal comments are SUPER spoilery. But, yeah, I hated the mystery part a whole lot, and there was a bunch of love fixes stuff which I didn’t like either.
    Christina (A Reader of Fictions) recently posted…Audiobook Review: Legion by Brandon SandersonMy Profile

  8. Juanita

    I just read Faking Normal a few days ago, and I liked it. Tough subject, but I felt for Bodee and Alexi and was hoping for a good outcome. She never stated who the rapist was, and I felt like the guy it was set up to be was too obvious and had a suspicion it was the person we discovered it really was. I think it was just too tough for her to reconcile it, to come to grips what what had happened since she didn’t say no.

  9. Elliott

    Your way of describing all in this post is in fact pleasant, every
    one be able to simply be aware of it, Thanks a lot.
    Elliott recently posted…ElliottMy Profile

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