To All the Books I Forgot to Review: The Comic Con Contemporary Kick

27 October, 2014 Giveaways, To All the Books... 31 comments

LifeI want to try something new with this edition of Books I Forgot to Review and talk a little about random things since I haven’t been as active on the blog as of late. Reviewing has been so hard to squeeze into Real Life these days mainly due to me going back to work part-time (and maybe even full-time soon). I don’t know how my fellow bloggers with full-time jobs (and who have families!) do it! You guys are serious rock stars. I bow to your time management and balancing skills. Since at my current job I’m doing a lot of writing, blogging and social media stuff, the last thing I want to do is come home and do it all over again. And that totally sucks because I love this blog so much!

The good news is that I’ve still been reading and getting in some relaxation here and there. I’ve been enjoying my reading time and listing to more audiobooks (OMGOSH OUTLANDER, YOU GUYS!), watching Game of Thrones, swooning over the actor who plays Jamie in Outlander and enjoying life! This past month, I had an awesome opportunity to visit New York Comic Con and meet some really cool peeps. I hung out with Hannah from The Irish Banana, Nicole from Paperback Princess and Julie from Bloggers Heart Books and had a super awesome time. We ran into Jon from Bookish Antics and Mel, author of The Girl at Midnight, who has awesome purple hair. There were probably some other people too, but I think it’s already been established that I’m the worst. Here are some pics:

Oh and these dancing guys was pretty awesome too:



Don't You Forget About Me

To All the Books I forgot to Review is a segment that I do when I get really lazy about reviewing books. This time I’ve managed to include 31 books into this one post like a total BALLA. #HipsterBlogger

If you love Fantasy…

Exquisite Captive

Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1) by Heather Demetrios

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Forced to obey her master. Compelled to help her enemy. Determined to free herself. Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle. Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it? Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika Johansen

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On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown. Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust. But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend…if she can survive. The Queen of the Tearling introduces readers to a world as fully imagined and terrifying as that of The Hunger Games, with characters as vivid and intriguing as those of The Game of Thrones, and a wholly original heroine. Combining thrilling action and twisting plot turns, it is a magnificent debut from the talented Erika Johansen.

Hunting Monsters by S.L. Huang

Hunting Monsters by S.L. Huang

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“Happy birthday, child. Careful not to shoot any grundwirgen.” Ever since she was a small girl, she has learned to be careful on the hunt, to recognize the signs that separate regular animals from human-cursed grundwirgen. To harm a grundwirgen is a crime punishable by death by the King’s decree – a fatal mistake that her Auntie Rosa and mother have carefully prepared her to avoid. On her fifteenth birthday, when her mother is arrested and made to stand trial for grundwirgen murder, everything she thought she knew about her family and her past comes crashing down. Auntie Rosa has always warned her about monsters. Now, she must find and confront them to save her mother, no matter the cost.

1. Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios one-star

DNF’d at 52%

Abusive Love Interest:
I really tried to love this, but when it was apparent that it was impossible, I would have settled for “like” instead. Unfortunately, none of the 52% that I read convinced me to stick it out until the end. Instead, I was given Malek, the abusive asshole, who I’m told later, is a part of the love triangle. It’s possible that this could be a bit of Stockholm going one, but I couldn’t care less at this point because I’ve lost interest. He throws her against a wall hard enough to cause a knot to form on her head and bruises her arms. Nalia makes excuses for his behavior, Malek feels guilt and I’m sitting here fuming. The way the novel was going, it conveniently had a reasoning for his behavior (he just can’t help he’s a violent View Spoiler »! ) and I just could not.

Boring:
NOTHING happens in the first half. Nalia goes shopping, talks about her past life, goes dancing, talks about her past life, goes to a party, and talks about her past life. There was just way too much set up and not enough action.

The World-Building Didn’t Feel Organic:
The characters would be in the middle of dialogue and all of the sudden we have to have a 3 page flashback or history lesson. It felt out of place and disrupted the scenes. They also felt forced, and for this to feel like it was upper YA, I was constantly underwhelmed. It’s like Demetrios spent so much time trying to build an atmosphere, describing so many things at once that they ended up conflicting with the story she was trying to tell.

Just… NO

From her fingertips to her elbows, the henna-like tattoos of her race crawled over her cinnamon skin.

I really, really hate when a non-white character’s skin is described with food. I was excited that this book featured diverse characters, but disappointed with how they were described.

As much as I was looking forward to this book, it’s just not be for me.

2. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen one-star

I’m proud of myself for finishing this The Queen of the Tearling even though it’s turned out to be one of my most disappointing reads this year. HarperCollins was really pushing this title marking-wise, and while it’s not considered YA, they did offer it to quite a few YA bloggers for consideration for review. I had to be the special person to request it. I wish I hadn’t have done that.

The Queen of the Tearling tried to do a lot of things and that’s its biggest problem. You can’t have a high fantasy, historic society set in the future and NOT do any type of world building. You can’t have set rules up in your world only to break it because MAGIC. It’s not nice to tease the reader from the very beginning of SECRETS and have you supporting cast dangle it in from of us like a carrot for the entirety of the novel and NEVER TELL US by the end. Because that’s exactly what happened. It really made me question what the point of the novel was considering I learned nothing new about the plot or characters by the end.

I’m also surprised this was marketed as Adult to YA readers when it really is just a poorly plotted MG fantasy. For all this book had going for it — and it had a lot, including a movie deal with Emma Watson attached to star! — I expected so much more. I expected to be blown away, and maybe that was part of the problem, but really the level of SUCK contained in The Queen of the Tearling is baffling. I don’t recommend it at all.

3. Hunting Monsters by S.L. Huang four-stars

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book for free from The Book Smugglers, the publishing duo behind this title. I don’t usually do short stories and I’ve frequently find myself saying that every time I read a short story I actually like. But it’s true, I don’t. In this case, Huang’s story immediately hooked me and by the time it was over, I was wishing for more. The pacing was perfect for its length and never felt rushed like some novellas may feel. What I really loved was reading a story that featured diverse characters that felt natural to the setting and plot. I’ll probably be interested in checking out the author’s other work in the future.

 

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo

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The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne. Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army. Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives. Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

Winterspell (Winterspell #1) by Claire Legrand

Winterspell (Winterspell #1) by Claire Legrand

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The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums. New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor’s ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother’s murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer. Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes. Her home is destroyed, her father abducted–by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they’re to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets–and a need she can’t define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won’t leave Cane unscathed–if she leaves at all. Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.

4. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo four-stars

OH THIS SERIES WHY DID IT HAVE TO END? The Grisha series is one of my favorite series and I’m so sad to see it end. Shadow and Bone still remains my favorite of the trilogy, but I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. I know this ending had some a little miffed (I’m trying not to spoil anything for those who still haven’t read it), but I didn’t mind it too much. I had quite a few SHIPS in this series and I can’t say I’m disappointed with who Alina ended up with because I always knew deep down that it would always be that way.

As for the writing… it’s everything you’d want and more from Leigh Bardugo. The wit, humor and banter is there with an awesome cast of characters like STRUMHOND LOTS OF HIM YES. I’ll definitely be checking out the spin-off series.

 5. Winterspell by Claire Legrand DNF at 25%

I feel really bad that I only read a quarter of Winterspell before giving up. I was really excited for it, but had a hard time with the beginning. I kept putting it down over and over to the point where I just had to stop.

Things that bothered me:

– The main character, Clara, is sexually harassed by an older guy frequently in addition to others that are alluded to. That was hard for me to read, though, I’m not saying it’s a deal breaker for a book to show this. I don’t know if this was relevant to the plot or if it was a plot device since I didn’t read far enough to find out. So don’t let this point alone turn you away.

– Clara seems to develop a strange relationship with a statue. This caused some major eyebrow raising from me. I guess he was a real guy deep inside the statue, but it was just really weird.

Things I liked:

– I love Legrand’s imagination. She’s always impressed me with how she can create something that looks nothing like what’s on my current bookshelf. I haven’t read The Nutcracker, but I know the general gist behind the plot. Winterspell is a retelling, but it definitely stands on its own.

– The descriptions and setting was very great and the best part of Legrand’s writing.

Eh, I guess this just wasn’t a Stephanie book.

 

If you’re partial to Sci-Fi…

Control (Control #1) by Lydia Kang

Control (Control #1) by Lydia Kang

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An un-putdownable thriller for fans of Uglies When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn’t even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA. A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.

Starbreak (Starglass #2) by Phoebe North

Starbreak (Starglass #2) by Phoebe North

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The Asherah has finally reached Zehava, the long-promised planet. There, Terra finds harsh conditions and a familiar foe—Aleksandra Wolff, leader of her ship’s rebel forces. Terra and Aleksandra first lock horns with each other . . . but soon realize they face a much more dangerous enemy in violent alien beasts—and alien hunters. Then Terra finally discovers Vadix. The boy who has haunted her dreams may be their key to survival—but his own dark past has yet to be revealed. And when Aleksandra gets humanity expelled from the planet, it’s up to Terra, with Vadix by her side, to unite her people—and to forge an alliance with the alien hosts, who want nothing more than to see humanity gone forever.

1. Control by Lydia Kang one-star

DNF at 57%. This is one of those times where I legitimately think I’ve read a different book that my friends. In theory, Control should have worked for me. I really loved the idea of a conspiracy and the secret being in Zel’s genes. I really thought these were great ideas and I was completely looking forward to reading about it. Then I started reading and my happy cat died.

Slut-shaming

Zel, our main protagonist, is constantly slut-shamming another girl named Vera, who is very shapely and has no issues with flaunting it. From the first time they met, Kang used a the common “slutty, mean girl” trope as Vera’s characteristic. I didn’t see this as anything else as a plot device to make Zel seem more spechul and spark sympathy from the reader. I already felt bad that Zel lost her dad and sister in the car crash (this isn’t a spoiler since it happens in the very first chapter), but when she constantly went around and said things like this, I was less and less inclined to root for her:

I’m not shocked by the fact that she’s wearing the latest fashion from Hookers-R-Us.

Insta-love with a terrible love interest

Zel almost immediately falls in love with the resident bad boy. I wouldn’t have had too much of a problem with that if he also wasn’t a dick to her. Like a HUGE dick. He’s rude to her and she continues to pine over him and make excuses for his behavior. Then later, he just happened to really care about her too, because of reasons.

I don’t know if things improved from there, but I was too disgusted to care.

2. Starbreak by Phoebe North three-stars

I was really impressed with Starglass last year, so I was very eager to read Starbreak. I didn’t quite like it as much as Starglass mainly due to the romance. I just don’t see me shipping an alien plant with a human. That was really hard and my brain rejected that idea. I was hooked for the first half of the book, but the second half became all about the romance, something that I couldn’t care less about. Otherwise, the writing was beautiful and the plot very solid. I also loved how things ended and that this is not a trilogy!

 

If you like Contemporary…

Random by Tom Leveen

Random by Tom Leveen

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Who’s the real victim here? This tense and gripping exploration of cyberbullying and teen suicide is perfect for fans of Before I Fall and Thirteen Reasons Why. Late at night Tori receives a random phone call. It’s a wrong number. But the caller seems to want to talk, so she stays on the line. He asks for a single thing—one reason not to kill himself. The request plunges her into confusion. Because if this random caller actually does what he plans, he’ll be the second person connected to Tori to take his own life. And the first just might land her in jail. After her Facebook page became Exhibit A in a tragic national news story about cyberbullying, Tori can’t help but suspect the caller is a fraud. But what if he’s not? Her words alone may hold the power of life or death. With the clock ticking, Tori has little time to save a stranger—and maybe redeem herself—leading to a startling conclusion that changes everything…

On the Fence by Kasie West

On the Fence by Kasie West

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For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she’s spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game. To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can’t solve Charlie’s biggest problem: she’s falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1) by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1) by Stephanie Perkins

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Can Anna find love in the City of Light? Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she’s less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken —and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s waiting for?

1. Random by Tom Leveen one-half-stars

I read Random early because it was right after I’d finished Fault Line and I was hoping for a book to give me similar feels. I was drawn in by the original cover, which featured a cell phone cord in the shape of a noose. Since I’ve been on this contemporary kick, I thought this would be right up my alley. It wasn’t. So much potential wasted! The sad part is that I was hooked right until the final reveal. I’m shocked that the author dropped the ball so late in the book, though, it’s only 200 pages, so a relatively quick read.

View Spoiler »

The worst part is that the main character learns nothing by the end and I was left wondering what the point of the book even was.

2. On the Fence by Kasie West two-stars

On the Fence was one of my most highly anticipated books of 2014. I love everything about Kasie West. Her books are usually ridiculously cute, have snarky characters and just speak to my soul. But not this one. This one was pretty un-Kasie West. The romance felt very unrealistic in a sense that it took the main character forever to figure out the love interest liked her. There’s only so much of that I can tolerate when it’s so completely obvious. However, One the Fence‘s biggest issue was its predictability. I knew how the book would end right from the beginning and had long before figure out the SECRET everyone was keeping from the main character. This novel just fell really flat for me.

3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins three-stars

Okay, so don’t pull out your torches and pitch forks, but I just thought this one was OK. It had its really cute moments, especially the ending, but this is another case where I feel the romance was drawn out way too much. Anna could have easily been 70-100 pages less to make the point it was trying to make. I enjoyed seeing the romance blossom, don’t get me wrong, but there was something about St. Claire that just rubbed me the wrong way. OH YEAH, HE’S A DICK. There would times when my SHIP was set to sail and he’d just fuck it all up. UGH!!!

My ship

Honestly, looking back, it wasn’t a very memorable book for me anyway, so whatever. I *might* continue on with the series, but I hear so many people say that Anna is their favorite out of the three, so that doesn’t leave me very hopeful, especially since I hear Isla has insta-love. Maybe I should just stop while I’m ahead.

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

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A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world. This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

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Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics. Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel. Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives. And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.

Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

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Two years ago, sixteen-year-old Jamie Henry breathed a sigh of relief when a judge sentenced his older sister to juvenile detention for burning down their neighbor’s fancy horse barn. The whole town did. Because Crazy Cate Henry used to be a nice girl. Until she did a lot of bad things. Like drinking. And stealing. And lying. Like playing weird mind games in the woods with other children. Like making sure she always got her way. Or else. But today Cate got out. And now she’s coming back for Jamie. Because more than anything, Cate Henry needs her little brother to know the truth about their past. A truth she’s kept hidden for years. A truth she’s not supposed to tell. Trust nothing and no one as you race toward the explosive conclusion of this gripping psychological thriller from the William C. Morris Award-winning author of Charm & Strange.

4. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson three-stars

True facts: I almost DNF’d this book because of the writing style alone. There’s just no other way to say this, but it was just so damn purple. Some of it was really nice, like so:

“This is what I want: I want to grab my brother’s hand and run back through time, losing years like coats falling from our shoulders.”

Other times I felt like I was stuck in paintball war of words:

“My heart leaves, hitchhikes right out of my body, heads north, catches a ferry across the Bering Sea and plants itself in Siberia with the polar bears and ibex and long-horned goats until it turns into a teeny-tiny glacier.

Because I imagined it.”

Then some of the time, it made me laugh:

“For the record, I’m in the midst of a penis panic attack.”

Only to feel like I was drowning in a rainbow ocean:

“He floated into the air high above the sleeping forest, his green hat spinning a few feet above his head. In his hand was the open suitcase and out of it spilled a whole sky of stars.”

WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? I think I’m way too much of a cynic to jive with this kind of writing. It was like Shatter Me went on an acid trip and threw up all over my pages. Still, I’m impressed with Jandy because both Noah and Jude’s chapters were VERY different from each other, containing two different narration styles. Honestly, she pulled it off well. I never had trouble figuring out whose chapter I was reading: Noah liked to abuse metaphors and Jude talked in fragments to her dead grandmother. How Jandy managed to do this so flawlessly is beyond me, but clearly it’s the mark of a very talented writer.

Your love for I’ll Give You the Sun will depend entirely on how you feel about the writing style. It’s can be VERY jarring in the beginning, but the story itself is good. I loved how it wasn’t necessarily a love story — though, there is the cutest romance between Noah and the boy next door that I wanted so much more from — but a story about second chances and the relationship between siblings.

But I really have to talk about the scene between Noah and Brian where they are in Noah’s room together… figuring things out… and wow. I did not see it going there and was rather pleased Jandy didn’t shy away from such a powerful moment for those boys.

5. Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews four-stars

This is the book I wish received more attention than The Fault in Our Stars. Unlike the aforementioned novel, it doesn’t glamorize a terminal illness and try in any way to make light of the situation. In case that offends anyone, keep in mind that I did enjoy TFIOS, but I just think Me, Earl and the Dying Girl had a more powerful message.

This isn’t going to be a book for everyone. The protagonist is an anti-hero who will anger the reader and make you wish he were a real person just so you could slap some sense into him. He is flawed in every possible way, but he was so realistic, that I couldn’t help but to kinda like him. Maybe. In a strange turn of events, Greg finds himself hanging out with Rachel, a girl in his class that was recently diagnosed with cancer. And he hates it. In the beginning he feels a sense of obligation to spend time with her because she’s dying. He gets that she’s dying, but he doesn’t understand how to handle it, and as a result, says some pretty offensive stuff to her and is just a general jerk. But he keeps trying to do better, visits her in the hospital and tries very hard to make her laugh until her last day.

“There was just something about her dying that I had understood but not really understood, if you know what I mean. I mean, you can know someone is dying on an intellectual level, but emotionally it hasn’t really hit you, and then when it does, that’s when you feel like shit.”

Greg showed a lot of growth in the end from going from a character who didn’t seem like he gave a shit to one who became obsessed with helping a friend, who didn’t realize how much her dying was affecting him.

“And the point of Rachel the Film should really have been to express how awful and shitty that loss was, that she would have become a person with a long awesome life if she had been allowed to continue living, and that this was just a stupid meaningless loss, a motherfucking loss, a loss loss loss fucking loss, there was no fucking meaning to it, there was nothing that could come out of it…”

What I loved the most was how Me, Earl and the Dying Girl showed a teen who didn’t know how to deal with losing a friend, something I’m sure many teens don’t understand. Death sucks. Seeing it happens just multiplies that times 1,000. There are no heroes in a story like that. I appreciate that Andrews showed that side.

Also, bonus points for completely getting Earl’s character and family right! POC that actually sound and act like POC!

6. Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn four-stars

I really don’t know how to review this book, guys. It was such a mindfuck that I’m not sure the right words even exist to describe this, but I’ll try. It’s dark, twisted and strange. On some level, I knew what the twist was — which is my only criticism — but the final one at the very, very end? WHOA. What the fuck did I just read?

Unfortunately, I can’t really talk about any aspects of this novel without completely giving it away, so you’ll just have to read it for yourself. If you enjoy psychological thrillers, unreliable narrators, weird characters, this book is for you.

Bleed Like Me by Christa Desir

Bleed Like Me by Christa Desir

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From the author of Fault Line comes an edgy and heartbreaking novel about two self-destructive teens in a Sid and Nancy-like romance full of passion, chaos, and dyed hair. 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, who is more interested in bumming cigarettes than bonding. Some days the only way Gannon knows she is real is by carving bloody lines into the flesh of her stomach. Then she meets Michael Brooks, and for the first time, she feels like she is being seen to the core of her being. Obnoxious, controlling, damaged, and addictive, he inserts himself into her life until all her scars are exposed. Each moment together 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 he poses the ultimate test. Bleed Like Me is a piercing, intimate portrayal of the danger of a love so obsessive it becomes its own biggest threat.

Breakable (Contours of the Heart #2) by Tammara Webber

Breakable (Contours of the Heart #2) by Tammara Webber

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He was lost and alone. Then he found her. And the future seemed more fragile than ever. As a child, Landon Lucas Maxfield believed his life was perfect and looked forward to a future filled with promise — until tragedy tore his family apart and made him doubt everything he ever believed. All he wanted was to leave the past behind. When he met Jacqueline Wallace, his desire to be everything she needed came so easy… As easy as it could be for a man who learned that the soul is breakable and that everything you hoped for could be ripped away in a heartbeat.

7. Bleed Like Me by Christa Desir four-stars

I had every intention of writing a full review for Bleed Like Me, but life got in the way and, well, here I am.

The other day I found myself in a conversation with a few people who thought YA was mostly made up of love triangles, teen angst and paranormal creatures that run around with their shirt off. To be fair, there are a good amount of these kinds of books in YA just as there are in Adult Urban Fantasy or PNR, and there is nothing wrong with these novels.

My issue always stems from the fact that some make blanket statements about YA when they don’t even read YA. YA has too much romance. YA is full of girls and their inability to choose which Totally Hot Guy they want to spend the rest of their life with. YA has too much sex; we must protect the children! YA is too dark. Most of these I brush off as ignorance, but the last one usually gives me pause. It’s rather ironic that some would want to limit stories that portray harsher lives of teens. It’s almost as if they worry it’ll rub off on kids, and it’s an absurd notion.

Bleed Like Me would fall under the “Dark YA” umbrella — though, I prefer to refer to it as an Issue Book since “dark” is subjective — and like Fault Line, I would be hesitant to recommend it to a younger teen (read: under 13 years of age) unless they are reading it with their parent or guardian. It does contain a few mature themes: drugs, cutting, suicide, etc., however, nothing is glamorized and it would be a great book to open discussion.

This novel shows what happens when two teens so deeply tangled in a bad romance, go from bad to worse. Nothing good happens in this book, so if you are looking for something light, this won’t “Git R Done” for you. Still, it’s an important read and I hope more people consider picking it up and giving it a chance.

8. Breakable by Tammara Webber three-stars

This is an example of when a companion novel doesn’t build on the awesome of an already existing story. Easy is one of my favorite books of all time. I loved every page, but Breakable? I barely remember what happened. Landon’s POV isn’t as interesting as Jacqueline’s and was a chore to read at times. Other times, when he does have some interaction with Jacqueline, he comes over very stalkish, which I was disappointed to see. Still, I did relatively enjoy it more than Kat did.

 

If you love Dystopian…

Meridian (Arclight #2) by Josin L. McQuein

Meridian (Arclight #2) by Josin L. McQuein

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Marina thought that she had solved all of the Arclight’s mysteries. She had found her own history—that she was one of the Fade, that she never should have been human. She knows that the Fade who surround the Arclight don’t want to be the humans’ enemies at all. She knows that the leader of those inside the Arc, Honoria Whit, never told the whole truth. But there is so much more that Marina is just discovering. There are more survivors out there. Only Marina—and her friends, all of whom have connections to the Fade they’d never known about—can lead her people to them. But there are also darker dangers, things that even the Fade fear. And Marina slowly realizes she may never have been “cured,” after all. The sequel to Arclight, Meridian is an intense, action-packed page-turner about the lines we draw between right and wrong, light and dark . . . and the way nothing is ever that black and white.

The Jewel (The Lone City #1) by Amy Ewing

The Jewel (The Lone City #1) by Amy Ewing

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The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring. Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life. Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence… and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

The Giver (The Giver Quartet #1) by Lois Lowry

The Giver (The Giver Quartet #1) by Lois Lowry

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Jonas’s world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

1. Meridian by Josin L. McQuein two-stars

SO DISAPPOINTED! I loved Arclight and couldn’t wait to read this, but it let me down big time. Biggest issue: it wasn’t very exciting for me. I don’t know if I was just in one of those reading slump moods, or if it was Meridian, but something wasn’t working out. Everything moved so slowly and I found myself losing interest as the book went on. Quite a few times, I almost DNF’d just to spare myself, but I was really curious about the ending and if Marina would end up with the guy I shipped her with. NOPE. T_T

my ship

2. The Jewel by Amy Ewing three-stars

I think on some level I should probably have disliked this book, but I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. It’s a light read and I sped through pretty fast and none of the characters irritated me too much. This might have something to do with the fact that books that explore a Reproductive Dystopian world fasciate me. I didn’t really love the romance because it is on the “quick” side of things, but somehow that did not seem to bother me much. The plot seemed to more than make up for that, and The Jewel had good pacing and even better anticipation. One thing you might want to consider is that this book does have a terrible cliffhanger. It’s the worst. I know I’ll end up reading book two just for that alone. I only hope that book two either expounds on the romance or gets rid of it completely.

I can’t compare this to The Selection because I haven’t read it, so if you are looking for me to do that, I’m not the best person to ask.

3. The Giver by Lois Lowry three-stars

I really wonder if I would have liked this book more if I had read it with the rest of the world years ago. I can’t help but compare it to dystopian novels that are out now, which isn’t very fair because those authors have had many, many examples to get theirs right. So it’s really hard for me to review this without completely ripping the book’s throat out for its lack of world building and terrible pacing. On the surface, it’s a great story, but I didn’t feel any of the strong emotional connections others mention when they talk fondly of this classic.

Also, the ending was ridiculous. There is no way a young boy and a baby would have survived in the wild alone. I do not buy that.

 

If you seek Graphic Novels…

The Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop

The Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop

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THE ISOBEL JOURNAL is no ordinary snapshot of a contemporary teenage life. A charming and vivid narrative scrapbook of the eighteen-year-old author’s sketches, mini-graphic novels, photographs and captions, it captures her wit, her observations and her creative talent as she takes us through the three central themes in her life: ‘Love’, ‘Friends, Art and Otters’ and ‘Me’. Resonant of Laura Dockrill’s MISTAKES IN THE BACKGROUND and with the powerful naïve illustrative style of cult Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara, this is a collector’s gift for teenagers and all who have the teenage experience still in their hearts. Readers will emphasise with this witty and honest journal of a girl getting to grips with impending adulthood. A must-have for all hipster teenagers and anyone who appreciates the raw creativity of youth. Enchanting and poignant.

The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, Volume 1 (The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel #1) by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, Volume 1 (The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel #1) by Neil Gaiman

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It Takes a Graveyard to Raise a Child. Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family. Each chapter in this adaptation by P. Craig Russell is illustrated by a different luminary from the comic book world, showcasing a variety of styles from a breadth of talent. Together, they bring Neil Gaiman’s award-winning, nationally bestselling novel The Graveyard Book to new life in this gorgeously illustrated two-volume graphic novel adaptation. Volume One contains Chapter One through the Interlude, while Volume Two includes Chapter Six to the end.

1. The Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop three-stars

Well, this was just strange. The Isobel Journal doesn’t really tell a story, but rather is collection of random thoughts from an 18-year old girl. Some of these are personal drawings from the author, photographs and magazine clippings. It’s an interesting book if you’re looking for something different and it did make me laugh out loud at inappropriate times, so there’s that.

2. The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman four-stars

So this was rather awesome. Just check out the first page:

The artwork is breathtaking and I just couldn’t look away from it. What’s even cooler is that a different artist illustrates for each new chapter. Highly recommended, especially if you are a fan of the original book.

If you dig the Audio Books…

Cruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe) by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe) by Rosamund Hodge

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Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart. Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny. Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him. With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people. But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her. As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, comes a hilarious, heart-wrenching take on love, marriage, and magic phones. Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply—but that almost seems beside the point now. Maybe that was always beside the point. Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her—Neal is always a little upset with Georgie—but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go without her. When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything. That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts. . . . Is that what she’s supposed to do? Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

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John Green s “The Fault in Our Stars” meets Rainbow Rowell s “Eleanor & Park” in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel. Cammie McGovern s insightful young adult debut is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story about how we can all feel lost until we find someone who loves us because of our faults, not in spite of them. Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can t walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized. When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other s lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.”

1. Cruel Beauty by Rosamound Hodge one-half-stars

I have to give the narrator, Elizabeth Knowelden, some credit here. She tried. She really, really tried to salvage this book by giving the main character tons of personality, but not even she could change the source material. The fact is that Cruel Beauty made absolutely no damn sense.

How does the magic work? I dunno.

Who are the real bad guys? I dunno.

Wait, what’s the SECRET. Well, I dunno because Nyx learns it and then FORGETS it on the next page to conveniently keep the plot rolling. Awesome.

HUH? There’s time travel? ….Maybe, but not really. It’s a SECRET that you’ll never find out and/or stop caring about.

Cruel Beauty was like a mixing pot of great ideas that didn’t get mixed very well. The oil rose to the top and the cake fell flat. Also, I have no idea what the hell I’m talking about, kinda like this book. But the narrator’s voice was nice.

2. Landline by Rainbow Rowell three-stars

Why do they keep hiring Rebecca Lowman to narrate Rainbow Rowell’s books? She sounds like her mouth is super dry and it makes weird sounds in my ear. Make her stop.

On the surface, Landline would appear to be a romance novel with science fictional elements added thanks to the magical phone, but it’s really way more than that, but also none of that at the same time. It takes a deeper look at the age old saying: Sometimes love just isn’t enough. In essence, that’s what Georgie relied on to keep her marriage together for so long until she realized it was falling apart. Can love really endure all things?

“We’re not broken up.”
“I know, but we’re still broken.”

If there is one thing I could complain about with Landline, is the “magical fucking phone.” I really wanted more from it. I expected Rowell to explore the reasons behind the time traveling, but there wasn’t any. By the end of the novel, the focus remained on Georgie and Neal’s relationship and it left behind more questions than answers. While the phone does play a large part in the book, it’s always just a passing thought for Georgie. She does think about the mechanics behind it a few times, but it’s brief and didn’t satisfy my curiosity. How did it work? What were the consequences of the space time continuum for using this phone? Did Neal really know about the phone? Does Georgie’s family home hold any other super powered 80s magical devices? Did the Doctor create the magical phone?! Am I thinking about this too hard?!

well yeah
Overall, Landline is a solid novel about what happens to a relationship when you are well past the infatuation, past the first years of marriage and into a barren territory you never thought you’d be in. How do you find your way back to the oasis and why can’t love save you? If you were hoping this was Rowell mixing her quirky contemporary with a bit of science fiction, you may be underwhelmed on that notion. However, I wouldn’t discount it because of that. It’s not what I was expecting, that’s for sure, but I wasn’t disappointed with what I found in its place.

Check out my full review at Tor.com.

3. Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern two-stars

REBECCA FUCKING LOWMAN. I had to get that off my chest.

Say What You Will and I were getting along great for the most part — yes, even despite my dislike of this narrator — until the main character, Amy, decided she didn’t give two shits about anyone but herself. Matthew goes out his way for Amy and cares for her, helps her when no one else does. And what does Amy do to repay him time and time again? She insults him, cheats on him and still expects him to show up when she is at her lowest. I just hated seeing a character used so much. It bothered me to no end. Make no mistake, Amy was a Mary Sue with a walker. Her only flaw besides just being a shitty person was her cerebral palsy, which she uses to her advantage. When she’s called out on this by Matthew, she brushes him off. View Spoiler » I do not understand what the point of this book was.

When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds

When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds

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In Bed Stuy, New York, a small misunderstanding can escalate into having a price on your head—even if you’re totally clean. This gritty, triumphant debut captures the heart and the hardship of life for an urban teen. A lot of the stuff that gives my neighborhood a bad name, I don’t really mess with. The guns and drugs and all that, not really my thing. Nah, not his thing. Ali’s got enough going on, between school and boxing and helping out at home. His best friend Noodles, though. Now there’s a dude looking for trouble—and, somehow, it’s always Ali around to pick up the pieces. But, hey, a guy’s gotta look out for his boys, right? Besides, it’s all small potatoes; it’s not like anyone’s getting hurt. And then there’s Needles. Needles is Noodles’s brother. He’s got a syndrome, and gets these ticks and blurts out the wildest, craziest things. It’s cool, though: everyone on their street knows he doesn’t mean anything by it. Yeah, it’s cool…until Ali and Noodles and Needles find themselves somewhere they never expected to be…somewhere they never should’ve been—where the people aren’t so friendly, and even less forgiving.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling

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Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He’s never worn a cloak of invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry’s room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in eleven years. But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that’s been waiting for him…if Harry can survive the encounter. Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.

American Gods (American Gods #1) by Neil Gaiman

American Gods (American Gods #1) by Neil Gaiman

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First published in 2001, American Gods became an instant classic, an intellectual and artistic benchmark from the multiple-award-winning master of innovative fiction, Neil Gaiman. Now, discover the mystery and magic of American Gods in this 10th anniversary edition. Newly updated and expanded with the author’s preferred text, this commemorative volume is a true celebration of a modern masterpiece by the one, the only, Neil Gaiman.

A storm is coming….

Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life. But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself. Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. It is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own. Along the way, Shadow will learn that the past never dies; that everyone, including his beloved Laura, harbors secrets; and that dreams, totems, legends, and myths are more real than we know. Ultimately, he will discover that beneath the placid surface of everyday life, a storm is brewing – an epic war for the very soul of America – and that he is standing squarely in its path. Relevant and prescient, American Gods has been lauded for its brilliant synthesis of “mystery, satire, sex, horror, and poetic prose”

1. When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds four-stars

If you are looking for an audiobook that features a diverse group of characters and awesome narrator, this is it! When I Was the Greatest was a pleasant surprise for me. It was real and honest and made me remember my own childhood. It’s always nice to be able to see yourself in literature, and since it doesn’t happen that often for me, reading this book was like drinking a big cup of nostalgia. I totally cracked the biggest grin when Ali mentioned that he had to have a fresh pair of kicks before going to the party. I loved how the entire neighborhood looked out for Needles, who has Tourette Syndrome. There was just so many feel good moments in When I Was the Greatest and the narrator’s voice fit the bill perfectly. Loved it!

2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling four-stars

I don’t think I need to go over this. It’s pretty basic, people.

3. American Gods by Neil Gaiman four-stars

Only Neil Gaiman could get a FULL NARRATION CAST. O.O Does that ever happen in life? I’ve never seen it done except in this case. But wow, this is one of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to. Each character has its own narrator and Gaiman himself narrators the Coming to American sections (which seemed completely random, but, whatever, Neil Gaiman’s voice tho).

I hadn’t read the book before listening so, I was a little taken back at how Shadow seemed to be a really apathetic protagonist. Oh, his wife just died the day before he’s due to get out of jail? He’s not bothered. Someone wants to kill him? He’s not bothered. Weird shit is afoot? He’s really, really not bothered. I didn’t get that about him and would have loved to see more emotion from him. To be fair, he does open up later near the end, and I guess that’s the point (kind of?), but that’s my gripe.

I was really impressed by the plotting and ending. Wouldn’t it be cool to crawl up into Neil Gaiman’s head?

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson

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When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father (a professional taxidermist who created dead-animal hand puppets) and a childhood of wearing winter shoes made out of used bread sacks. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it. Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter are the perfect comedic foils to her absurdities, and help her to uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments-the ones we want to pretend never happened-are the very same moments that make us the people we are today. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is a poignantly disturbing, yet darkly hysterical tome for every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud. Like laughing at a funeral, this book is both irreverent and impossible to hold back once you get started.

Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon

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The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743. Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

4. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson four-half-stars

I’ve been following The Bloggess on Twitter for quite some time. I have a bit of a girl crush. Her snark and sarcasm is a thing of beauty and I had been meaning to check her book out. This is probably the funniest book I have ever read/listened to. Jenny Lawson, AKA The Bloggess, has compiled some of the strangest life experiences together and wrote a book. Nothing could be more true and awesome.

“…and whenever I had menstral cramps, I could just pretend that Voldemort was close.”

Thank you, Meg, so much for this audiobook. You know me well.

 5. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon four-stars

The narrator is amazing. She easily is able to flip back and forth from female voices to male. She also has not probably doing the really howt scenes. Also, also, don’t listen the real howt scenes while driving. This audiobook should come with a warning.

Reasons why I liked it:

– Very well researched. The author did a great job bringing the time period to life.
– Developed and interesting characters. They feel real and all leave me with conflicted emotions. They’re created with such a complexity that at times I either loved them or hated them.
– Detailed writing made for a great audiobook. It’s possible I could have gotten bored of I had read the print instead.
– Excellent plot. I’m eager to find out more about the stones and how the time traveling works. Also, I’m wondering how Claire’s involvement will alter history.
– Solid romance. Though I had a few reservations about Claire and Jamie’s relationship, I quite liked them together in the end.

Things I didn’t like:

– The spanking scene. It’s not because it happened, but Jamie’s reaction to enjoying it. No matter how much I think of it, it bothers me. However, I’m thinking that may be authorial intent: For us to question societal influences of different time periods and its effect on human behavior.
– Too detailed at times, so much so, that it detracted from the scene.
– I don’t buy Jamie’s overnight transformation from Virgin Boy to Super Freak.

Bottom line: I really enjoyed it and will be continuing the series. If you are interested in tackling this book, I highly suggest the audio version (the narrator is excellent) as it can drag a bit on the less interesting scenes.

Also, HOLY SHIT HAVE YOU SEEN THE SHOW?

 

Books I’ve read early that you should totally pre-order or acquire an ARC of:

This is a bonus round where I try to come up with a witty sentence that will completely sell you on a book!

Little Peach by Peggy Kern

Little Peach by Peggy Kern

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In the tradition of Patricia McCormick and Ellen Hopkins comes this powerful novel, the riveting story of a runaway who is lured into prostitution by a manipulative pimp. What do you do if you’re in trouble? When Michelle runs away from her drug-addicted mother, she has just enough money to make it to New York City, where she hopes to move in with a friend. But once she arrives at the bustling Port Authority, she is confronted with the terrifying truth: she is alone and out of options. Then she meets Devon, a good-looking, well-dressed guy who emerges from the crowd armed with a kind smile, a place for her to stay, and eyes that seem to understand exactly how she feels. But Devon is not what he seems to be, and soon Michelle finds herself engulfed in the world of child prostitution where he becomes her “Daddy” and she his “Little Peach.” It is a world of impossible choices, where the line between love and abuse, captor and savior, is blurred beyond recognition. This hauntingly vivid story illustrates the human spirit’s indomitable search for home, and one girl’s struggle to survive.

Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy #1) by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy #1) by Victoria Aveyard

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Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard’s sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king’s palace. Will her power save her or condemn her? Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood–those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own. To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard–a growing Red rebellion–even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski

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Book two of the dazzling Winner’s Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love. The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret. As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

1. Little Peach by Peggy Kern five-stars

200 page powerful story that with knee your feels right where it counts, make you curl into a ball and cry. (Recommended for fans of Ellen Hopkins and Christa Desir’s Fault Line and Bleed Like Me.)

2. Red Queen by Vitoria Aveyard four-stars

It’s like an X-Men dystopia stuck in a high fantasy world on crack.

x-men

3. The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski five-stars

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

feels

 

Giveaway

One winner will have their choice of any book mentioned in this post to be purchased by me from The Book Depository.

 

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 internationally.
  • When the winners are chosen, it will be announced here and the winners will be emailed.
  • Please enter your email address in the Rafflecopter form and not the comments.

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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
Memes About Big Book Bloggers https://t.co/Yz5NM39pSj #CuddlebuggeryArchive - 5 hours ago

31 Responses to “To All the Books I Forgot to Review: The Comic Con Contemporary Kick”

  1. Kate Copeseeley

    I love these posts, because I feel like it’s all the reviews I want to read in one place, without multiple link clickage. (Yes, I think we all know that I’m super lazy) Great work!
    BTW- I totally get the whole, I have a job and kids and a hubby and my time for other fun stuffs is limited.
    🙁 There really aren’t enough hours in the day.

  2. Danielle D
    Twitter:

    I can’t wait to get my hands on The Winner’s Crime!!! So glad you loved it too!

    This was a great post to read. Usually I skim over longer reviews just to see the gist of what the review is saying – I’ll usually make up my own mind whether or not to read a book. But this was simple and sweet, yet still said a lot about the titles. I’m not so sure about picking up Exquisite Captive or Winterspell now. We’ll see…maybe eventually.

    But for the record – I like Lola much better than Anna. Maybe because I read Lola first, but Anna was just a bit more boring to me!

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      Glad this format worked for you! That’s interesting that you liked Lola more because a friend of mine mentioned yesterday that people who were underwhelmed with Anna loved Lola more. This gives me hope.

  3. Ashley

    I hope this doesn’t come across wrong, but I’M SO GLAD YOU FELT THAT WAY ABOUT ON THE FENCE & ANNA!!!

    I seriously thought I was the only one.

    On the Fence just didn’t feel like Kasie West. It was disappointing and bleh.

    Then Anna… gosh… ST CLAIRE IS SUCH A DICK!! I really couldn’t understand why all the girls loved him. He was totally pathetic and annoying. GRRR. Also I thought Anna had some seriously stupid moments.

    I’m the same as you though: I keep thinking I want to continue the series (mainly to read #3), but with everyone saying Anna is the best… that makes me think it’ll only go downhill from there.
    Ashley recently posted…Keto-Friendly Low Carb PizzaMy Profile

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      NO THAT’S PERFECT. I’M SO GLAD I’M NOT ALONE.

      I was really shocked with On the Fence. I read it on a plane ride and was soooooo underwhelmed.

      You know, now people are saying that those who didn’t love Anna loved Lola better. So I’m a tad more inclined to read it now.

  4. Georgia B

    I totally agree with you about Anna and the French Kiss it just went on way too long for what it was. And yes Etienne is not appealing. At all.
    I’m disappointed you didn’t love Control since I bought that a while back I’ll probably still give it a go but slut shaming could be a massive turn off for me.
    Georgia B recently posted…Let’s Talk About: Strong Female CharactersMy Profile

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      Anna was like reading about someone beat a dead horse. Way too long.

      I seem to be in the minority about Control, so you still may like it quite a bit. At least the cover will look awesome on your bookshelf.

  5. Renee Bookboyfriends
    Twitter:

    Oh wow! I always get jealous of people who go to conventions and comic con! ermehgerd! It looks like you had so much fun! And I have no idea how you managed to read that many books! I barely read 50 a year so… yeah I’m a little slow. O.O
    Thanks for the post!
    Renee Bookboyfriends recently posted…PhotoMy Profile

  6. Shannelle
    Twitter:

    *bows* All the reviews! I don’t know if I could even fit that much in a single post. Ever. BUT OH OH OH SHOW REC TIME! Have you watched How to Get Away with Murder? There’s a hot guy, but he’s gay, so don’t know if you can crush on him like on that guy from Outlander (didn’t stop me because he’s a sexy little piece of sarcastic, cocky know it all and I love him for it.) And there’s a great cast, and a great plot and you should watch it!

    And THE WINNER’S CRIME. >.< Spare me a hint? And the fact that you went to Comic Con! That must have been so much fun.
    Shannelle recently posted…ARC Review: SacrificeMy Profile

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      I haven’t seen it yet! But as an avid Scandal fan, I definitely plan to!

      The Winner’s Crime is darker than The Winner’s Curse and I was really scared for the characters in this one. In fact, I’m terrified for book 3!

  7. Carina Olsen
    Twitter:

    EEEK! So many amazing books in this post 😀 You read so much amazing. <3 THE WINNER'S CRIME. So happy that you loved it 😀 But aw. I am so so sorry that you DNFd Winterspell 🙁 I adore that book. Though I can get what you mean. Maybe. Still. So sad you didn't love it. Sigh. And Cruel Beauty.. I loved this book. But I get that it isn't for everyone 🙂 Anyway. Love love love reading all your awesome reviews. <3 And the giveaway is perfect too. You are awesome 🙂
    Carina Olsen recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #159My Profile

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      I know. 🙁 I’m sad about Winterspell too. I might come back to it a little later when I’m in a different reading mood. I’m sad about Cruel Beauty too. The writing was so pretty but the story line was so confusing. Maybe I should have read the print instead of listened to the audio for that one.

      And thank you!

      • Carina Olsen
        Twitter:

        Oh, you should. <3 You really should try Winterspell again. Because it ends up being really, really amazing, hih 😀 Though I can understand why some might not love it. Maybe. Probably. Though I did love it, hih 🙂 ANYWAY. But yeah. Cruel Beauty. Sigh. I just loved all of it. The writing is stunning, yess. But ohh. I do think that, yeah, you should have read it instead 🙂 but it may just not have been for you. 🙂
        <3
        Carina Olsen recently posted…In My Mailbox #157My Profile

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