I thought that I would love No Good Deed. A retelling of Robin Hood with a female lead? All types of YES! Unfortunately, No Good Deed was so flippingI thought that I would love No Good Deed. A retelling of Robin Hood with a female lead? All types of YES! Unfortunately, No Good Deed was so flipping boring that I just could not fully appreciate the badass lead.
So, yeah, this book was insanely boring to me. It was just so slow paced. And it didn't seem to have much going on. Basically, Ellie goes back in time, does something that makes the sheriff want to arrest her, runs, and then rinse and repeat. This happened throughout the entire book. Also, this book was very snarky. Now, don't get me wrong. I love snark as much as the next sarcastic person, but seeing as how I already noticed that not much was going on, it just seemed like the author was trying to hide that by putting in endless amount of snark as a way to entertain instead of developing the plot.
More Eh: What was up with the family being so worried about the brother being in the Peace Corps? Like it's the Peace Corps, not war. As someone who seriously considered the Peace Corps, applied (withdrew my application after I got into grad school), and has spoken to people in the Peace Corps, the whole "he's in danger" thing just left a bad taste in my mouth.
In the end, I was incredibly bored by No Good Deed. I found it to be so slow-paced with very little plot. YMMV....more
It All Comes Down to This is a really great read. Despite the fact that there's not much plot action happening, I've always enjoyed coming-of-age storIt All Comes Down to This is a really great read. Despite the fact that there's not much plot action happening, I've always enjoyed coming-of-age stories and this one is really well done.
The Good: I absolutely adored the relationship between Sophie and Lily. I'm a sucker for a good sister relationship and this one hit all the spots. You could clearly see the affection that Lily and Sophie have for one another. I also found that a lot of parts in the story gave me food for thought. Like how Sophie's mother differentiated herself from other blacks because she was lighter skinned and therefore viewed herself as being better than darker blacks. Or how she didn't like her children to use the word "black" to describe themselves. Even the minor part of a minor character describing herself as Spanish and not Mexican and using that as an excuse to not play with Sophie was eye-opening.
The Eh: Seeing as how It All Comes Down to This doesn't really have a tight plot, some of it might seem to not flow so well. It does meander a bit and readers who don't like that might not be to into this book. Again, as someone who does like coming of age stories, I didn't mind this too much, but it was still noticeable.
In the end, I highly recommend It All Comes Down to This. It was a really great, quick read and I loved being inside of Sophie's head. Again, it gave me much food for thought. Definitely one for everyone to pick up. (Oh and if you don't like Middle Grade novels, but do like YA, I would still pick this up because this kind of felt like YA-lite to me.) ...more
I used to see Mary Downing Hahn's books all over my school's library when I was a kid. I never checked any of them out because I'd always preferred myI used to see Mary Downing Hahn's books all over my school's library when I was a kid. I never checked any of them out because I'd always preferred my horror to be more adult (think Stephen King). However, as I'm now getting more and more into middle grade novels (they're the perfect books to get you out of a reading slump), I decided to see if Mary Downing Hahn's books were as creepy as they seemed to be to everyone else when I was kid. This particular one wasn't.
I'm well aware that as a fully grown adult who reads all types of hardened horror (not really. I just stick to a lot of ghost stories), a middle grade horror book wouldn't really scare me. However, I just expected more. I wanted to think a bit along the lines of "Wow, that would've creeped me out when I was a kid." But I never really thought that. I think the problem lies with the fact that Elsie wasn't all that creepy, just infuriating as all get out.
Elsie wasn't a scary ghost. She wasn't an all that sympathetic one either. All she really did was annoy me so much that I sped through this book because I didn't want to interact with her anymore. On the one hand, great job at One for Sorrow for making me feel something for the characters. Not so great that what I felt was "Ugh, you again." In fact, I think what ultimately made One for Sorrow just an okay read was that there really weren't any sympathetic characters in here. They were all just mean little girls. And despite my affinity for YA novels, I'm not into reading books about mean children/teens.
Despite some flaws, I did enjoy One for Sorrow. It was a quick read (when I had time to read it), it flowed nicely, and it served its purpose: to get me out of my reading slump. I think I'll still check out more of Hahn's books as the consensus seems to be that this book is not as creepy as her others. Still somewhat recommended....more
While reading Refugee, my feelings were along the lines of "This is an okay book. Not great, not bad. Just okay. Three star worthy, for sure." SomewheWhile reading Refugee, my feelings were along the lines of "This is an okay book. Not great, not bad. Just okay. Three star worthy, for sure." Somewhere along the way, though, this book changed to a four star book.
The Good: Refugee is a middle grade novel. A middle grade novel dealing with the atrocities that come with war and being a refugee. With it being a middle grade novel, I had assumed that those atrocities would be, I don't want to say dumbed down, but rather would be downplayed. I was happy to see that it wasn't. You get a really good picture of the destruction that war causes.
The Eh: I feel like there was a lot packed into Refugee. It's supposed to be like three books in one since we have three completely different journeys, but I feel like there was enough here that it would have been more cohesive to have three completely separate books focusing on each of the journeys. I also wasn't a huge fan of how Refugee was written. Stylistically, there were just a few things that were a bit off-putting for me (i.e. like the sounds being verbalized).
So, why did I end up giving Refugee four stars instead of the three that I had originally been debating? Because in the last 10 pages of the book, I started bawling my eyes out. The resolution to one of the journeys was just so utterly heartbreaking and it really got to me. And if a book can make me feel that much, I think that it's worthy of that fourth star.
In the end, I highly recommend Refugee. It was an action-packed yet heartbreaking book that deals with a subject matter that's just so incredibly important....more
I expected to like Girl in Disguise more than I did. I had never heard of Kate Warne before and was incredibly giddy to read this book because of courI expected to like Girl in Disguise more than I did. I had never heard of Kate Warne before and was incredibly giddy to read this book because of course the first female detective has to be incredibly interesting. And she was, I wasn't enamored with the way this book told her story.
I guess I had expected this book to be more like the detective books I've read before: the ones that focus on just one case per book. In fact, I think I would have preferred that. Macallister probably could have expanded Kate Werne's story throughout a few books. It would have helped the character development in this book, which was somewhat lacking.
I never felt like I knew any of the characters. I never felt any real connection to them. I think it's because Girl in Disguise tries to cram in Kate Warne's whole life in a few pages and so it ends up feeling rather rushed.
In the end, I wasn't a big fan of Girl in Disguise. While it was somewhat interesting, the character development was lacking. This really should have been like a 3 book series (and this is coming from someone who loves stand-alones)....more
I thought for sure that I would love The Orphan's Tale. Circuses AND WWII? Those are two of my favorite things to read about! However, The Orphan's TaI thought for sure that I would love The Orphan's Tale. Circuses AND WWII? Those are two of my favorite things to read about! However, The Orphan's Tale never fully took advantage of its amazing premise and ended up being somewhat of a disappointment.
The Good: As mentioned above, the premise of The Orphan's Tale was really great. The circus part was intriguing and adding the backdrop of WWII added even more tension. I also really liked Astrid. I thought she was a solid main character and I would have loved it if the book was mostly about her. The friendship between Astrid and Noa also started off as solid and was one of my favorite parts of the beginning.
The Eh: The characters aren't all that developed in The Orphan's Tale and this includes Astrid and Noa, our main characters. Sure, you get to know some things about them, but they're never fully explored. We just get to know them on a surface level, which is disappointing. The supporting characters are given one maybe two lines worth of dialogue and are never really mentioned much, yet we're supposed to care about them. Well, I didn't because we don't know anything about them. So, what's the point?
I might have overlooked that and given The Orphan's Tale 3 stars had it not started to get YA trope-y. Noa, unfortunately, was the weak spot in this whole book for me. Again, I liked her friendship with Astrid at the beginning, but the minute her love interest is introduced, everything goes to hell. The whole Noa and Luc thing was insta-love at its purest (and by that I mean, if you look up insta-love in the dictionary, you'll see a picture of Noa and Luc). These two have known each other for a week and are already in love. And because of that, Noa starts doing increasingly stupid things and gets pathetic. She mentions that she doesn't care who Luc's family is because she has nothing to lose...because she's not Jewish.
So, she has no problem taking the chance that her little whirlwind romance will put everyone in danger. And I'm supposed to believe that she loves Astrid so much and will do anything for her after that? Nope. Sorry. The minute that happened, Noa lost me. I started finding her friendship with Astrid insincere and so I no longer was invested in the story because their friendship was the main thing that intrigued me. Also, this book was crazy melodramatic. I can take drama, I expect some in fiction. But WWII was dramatic enough, why add soap-opera like plots and conflicts? It just made this book ring insincere as a whole.
Overall, I found The Orphan's Tale to be a bust. The book might've been better had it focused solely on Astrid and her storyline. Adding Noa just cheapened the whole experience. The characters were weak, the plot was melodramatic, and the book as a whole was a disappointment. I say skip it....more
I expected to love The Valiant. Female gladiators? All types of YES! I just knew this book would include some awesome female badassery. And it did. AnI expected to love The Valiant. Female gladiators? All types of YES! I just knew this book would include some awesome female badassery. And it did. And while I liked it overall, there were still some things that kept me from rating this higher than 3 stars.
The Good: For the most part, I liked Fallon. She was badass throughout most of the book and she didn't annoy me too much (she annoyed me some, though). Even better than Fallon was Elka. Oh, how I LOVED Elka. She was more badass than Fallon, seemed way more sincere, and was just an all-around great character. I really enjoyed her friendship with Fallon (though I was kind of bummed that the friendship was in the background throughout the middle of the novel). However, my absolute favorite part of The Valiant (besides the badass female gladiators, I mean) was the relationship between Fallon and Lady Achillea. I won't spoil it, but it was such a great angsty, emotional relationship and I wanted so much more of it.
The Meh: The identity of Lady Achillea was incredibly predictable. In fact, I kept wondering if this was supposed to be a plot twist because I started suspecting it even before Lady Achillea appeared. So much for build up. Speaking of build up, the romance between Fallon and Cai was all sorts of insta-love. They've seen each other all of 3 times and already they're professing their love for each other, which is weird considering Fallon starts off the book completely in love with Mael. So, yeah, that was annoying and made Fallon less awesome (i.e. one of the big reasons she annoyed me).
Another thing that was off-putting was how abrupt the ending was. It wasn't an unexpected ending or anything, but it was tied up a little too neatly in the last few pages. It felt as though the author was on some sort of deadline and so needed to resolve all conflicts quickly. Once it was over, I kept thinking, "That's it?" I, then, expected to come on Goodreads and see that The Valiant was part of a series, but it doesn't seem to be. And I'm one of those people who always bemoans that everything is a series, so that should tell you right there how abrupt it was. I wanted a better resolution. The Valiant needed about 20-30 more pages in order to flesh out a proper ending.
In the end, though, I did like The Valiant. Fallon was somewhat of a badass, the supporting characters were solid, Lady Achillea was amazing (and I so want a book with her upbringing and how she got to where she is), and the book was a page-turner. So, I still recommend it.
ETA: This is part of a series because of course it is. Oh well. I'll check out Book 2. Valiant, you win this round....more