Though I enjoyed both Daynight and Clean Slate Complex, I unfortunately had a really hard time with Arbitrate. I really wanted to like it, but it wasn...moreThough I enjoyed both Daynight and Clean Slate Complex, I unfortunately had a really hard time with Arbitrate. I really wanted to like it, but it wasn’t what I had hoped for in the delivery.
My biggest problem was that the book bounced around way too much for my taste. First, it was written from three different point-of-views: Ethan’s, Blake’s and Kira’s. On top of that, though, it also jumped back and forth between the present and a few months previous. Neither of these things are bad on their own, but together, it was confusing. I’d often forget who was narrating, and then a flashback would happen and I was lost. The flashbacks were always marked with how many months, but it was done SO often that I started getting everything jumbled up inside my head.
None of the characters were particularly likeable, save for Kira and Jax. Kira started to wear on my nerves after a while, though, with the way she talked about the babies. I’m a mom so I understand, believe me…kids are a lot of work and she had 3! But she was concerned about them one moment, and the next would run off and leave them behind to do something else. If she had just focused on one thing it would have been fine – she’d be out doing her thing and all of a sudden be worried about the babies. Jax seemed like the only decent, stable character in the whole book.
Be warned, there were love triangles upon love triangles here. Kira had babies with Ethan, Blake and Jax. Ethan thought Kira was dead, so started dating Alexa, who likes Joshua and Adam too. Blake was with Bailey (he doesn’t really like her, but she’s the crazy ex-girlfriend), but started going out with another girl, and Bailey is going out with Adam. Joshua likes Alexa back, so has a beef with Ethan. Ethan and Jax are jealous of eachother. Bailey is jealous of Kira and Blake’s new love interest and goes nuts. Seriously? One love triangle is enough, but there are like 10 different ones going on at any given time in this book.
So then there was the confusion about all the different groups in the book. There were SO many. The Ten, Arbiters, Genitors, Exilers, Second Chancers, Daynighters…after a while it was just a bit much. So, Second Chancers are the ones that died on Earth and went to Thera, the Daynighters are those with enough DNT in their system to move back and forth between worlds, while Exilers are Second Chancers that got kicked out of their respective cities and live in the harsh conditions outside. The Ten are the council, Arbiters are above them (and move Second Chancers to Thera, can teleport, and stay neutral until necessary), and Genitors are basically gods. Confused? Me too, and it wasn’t spelled out for me, I had to try to sort through all the terms to figure it out.
It seemed that the author bit off more than she could chew with this story. If some of the plot points were left out, maybe explored in other books, it would have been so much better. Sadly, it was too much all the time and it made my head spin. Assassinations, threats, conspiracies, bloodlines…after a while it was just overkill and I couldn’t enjoy it anymore.
So, while this book just wasn’t for me, other reviews are positive and enjoyed all the twists and turns that this book had to offer. If you’ve read the first book in the series, give it a try – perhaps you’ll like it better than I did. You’ll need to read Clean Slate Complex, the novella that comes between Daynight and Arbitrate, though…I wasn’t sure at the time I read it, but I know now that you’ll understand a little more if you read it.(less)
Though this was a new “genre” of sorts for me, I was completely charmed by the sweet little roman...more**review originally posted on Coffee Bean Bookshelf**
Though this was a new “genre” of sorts for me, I was completely charmed by the sweet little romance packed into these few pages! It could have easily been expanded to a full-length novel, but it was just right as a novella, too.
Instead of over-complicating things, the story begins simply and the backstory of how Katie and Alex ended up in the same vehicle is told later. Both characters think that it will be the worst Christmas ever, and as it’s told from both of their points of view, it’s easy to get to know them in such a short amount of time. I loved both Alex and Katie, they were absolutely perfect for eachother!
Once disaster strikes and they end up stranded in a snowstorm, I was sucked fully into the story…wondering how they would get out of this predicament and just what lay in store for these two students. What happened was adorable and heart-warming, with each of them opening up to the other about what was going on in their lives that Christmas. I fell for both of them right then.
I would have loved for there to be more from Alex’s point-of-view, as his story was the more dramatic, once they were able to get out of the cabin in the woods. I *hated* Katie’s mom for not realizing what was going on with her daughter, and for pushing Katie even further away. I felt bad that she never found out exactly what is going on with her parents.
If you’re in the mood for a sweet romance to read in a short amount of time then look no further. This is great storytelling in a little package, the perfect Christmas novella!(less)
This was one of my most anticipated books of the fall releases, and to be totally honest, I was r...more**review originally posted on Coffee Bean Bookshelf**
This was one of my most anticipated books of the fall releases, and to be totally honest, I was really disappointed. What I expected was a book with heart about two best friends doing their best to complete one’s “F-It List” before cancer gets the better of her. I wanted an emotional roller-coaster and a book that would give me the opportunity for a good ugly-cry. Sadly, it wasn’t any of those things.
I’m not sure where to start. Maybe with the bucket list? It was a good idea, it was just not fully developed. At the beginning of the book, everything seemed to be going as planned – I met Alex, found out her story; met Becca and found out about the bucket list. Alex starts doing some of the “easier” things from the bucket list. And then it all goes awry.
I’m not a prude, but Becca’s list was almost all about sex, except for silly random things like “eat a hot pepper”. Like, really? I understand that these are high school girls. They’re already sexually active – that’s not a shock or even an issue for me. It’s just that the list isn’t really rounded out. At all. Maybe that comes with maturity? I don’t know.
But partway through the story, the list is completely forgotten about, and the plot veers off in a totally random direction. Oh, now instead of being about best friends, as the synopsis led me to believe, it’s a romance.
Another problem for me was the language. I’m OK with swearing, I swear myself, and swearing in books isn’t usually an issue. But it was overdone. Again, I know that the point-of-view is a high school girl, but it seemed a bit much.
Then come my feelings about the characters. Alex wasn’t really all that lovable. She was sarcastic and abrasive, and while I could sometimes find it amusing, it wore thin a little bit. I felt like I didn’t really get to know Becca because it was too one-sided, all about Alex and not enough about Becca and the bucket list, which in my opinion would have been much better plot points. Instead it’s Alex and her love of horror movies; Alex and Leo; Alex and her inability to emote anything; Alex feeling sorry for herself.
I’m really sad that this wasn’t the book that I thought it was going to be. I wanted it to be on the top of my favorites list for the year. Maybe if I’d gone into it knowing what it was really going to be, I would have had a different opinion. The writing wasn’t bad, in fact I read the whole thing in just a few hours. It kept me interested, and I kept hoping that it would change pace again towards the end. I just feel really misled by the synopsis.(less)
I will say that I was happily right about how much I would like this book! This was just what I w...more**review originally posted on Coffee Bean Bookshelf**
I will say that I was happily right about how much I would like this book! This was just what I wanted to read…a sweet little romance with an interesting and different plot. The romance wasn’t in my face that much, either, which was a change of pace
I immediately like Kyra’s character – she was a little bit self-depreciating, but strong in many ways because she was smart enough to see the mistakes of her past. I had a little bit of a hard time trying to figure out her family connections, they were mentioned a few times but I would forget and then get confused. It makes more sense now that I realize that there are two other books dealing with her family, though this is not a part of a series. By the end, I had it mostly figured out, though, and loved her family for who they were, and how they came together for her when she needed them.
Zach was truly a breath of fresh air – a good kid, with a squeaky clean image – not a bad boy, not a reformed bad boy, or a boy with an attitude. Ben and Logan were not really the focus of the story, but I definitely liked Logan a lot more than Ben, who was downright rude and rebellious.
For some reason I like stories revolving about the music and entertainment industries, and this was a new twist on that theme. This boy band has changed managers and are ready to shed their “good boy” image, they’re on tour *and* to top it all off, they are having a documentary made about the band. What I loved most was that it all felt real and not haphazardly thrown together – the connections, fights and emotions displayed all rang true. While many other books in this genre focus on the music scene, Break It Up went another direction, and was more about the people involved and the conflict that goes along with that.
I didn’t see the major conflict coming the way that it did. I probably should have, it was a long time coming throughout the book, but I had hopes that Kyra would be able to pull it off and everything would be very happily-ever-after. It didn’t quite work out that way, but enough that I was still quite happy with the ending.
If you’re in the mood for a New Adult novel that isn’t heavy on the romance and a refreshing change from the norm, you should definitely check it out. I will warn you, though, that it’s still for a mature audience – while there are no graphic scenes, the story doesn’t shy away from the subject of sex. I think I will be reading the novels about Kyra’s aunt and uncle soon, and will be watching for more stories by this author! (less)
If I could only use one word to describe my feelings on this book, that word would have to be: shocking. Everything seemed to come as a surprise to me...moreIf I could only use one word to describe my feelings on this book, that word would have to be: shocking. Everything seemed to come as a surprise to me throughout the book, and I loved that I could never seem to catch on.
I was drawn into the story very quickly, and instantly loved the connection between Alexis and Cohen. Alexis' character was likeable from the start - I often found myself smiling just imagining her as a person standing next to me. Sometimes it felt like the characteristics were quite random, though - and I found out later that they were actually quite important. Either way, she's the kind of person I would have gotten along with at her age, I think.
Even though there wasn't much time to get to know Cohen, I thought they were absolutely adorable as a couple. For a bit I believed that the story was going to be MUCH different than I had originally anticipated. But, as soon as I started getting comfortable...BAM! The world ends. I was heartbroken, because I'd tricked myself in those early pages into thinking this was going to be a love story.
The description of Alexis and Cohen's world being torn apart was dark - oh, so very dark. But it was as if I was standing there, as much in shock as Alexis was. My brain was scrambling to put it all together - to figure out what exactly was going on. It was slightly reminiscent of a couple books I've read lately, but still had it's own quality to it, and was very well-written.
The story jumps ahead a bit after the initial shock, and Alexis goes through the motions as she's done since "the monsters came". I found this part to be long and tedious for some reason...I wanted to get back to the action, and wanted to know exactly what was happening. It was important, though, to get a sense of the world she was living in - alone, forced to be quiet and in the dark - and comes into focus later on in the story. How she stayed so sane, I don't have a clue.
The action starts again without much warning, and then just keeps on going. I felt a little bit like I was on information overload as piece after piece of the puzzle were being laid out before my eyes, and I couldn't keep everything straight - but I loved it. From then on, it was a total roller-coaster ride of thoughts and emotions. I don't want to ruin it, though, because it was intense - and there's not really a way to describe it better than that without giving too much away.
The ending took me by total surprise, I must say. I love a good cliff-hanger, and I did not see this one coming (in my defense, I still thought I had 20+ pages to go, according to my e-reader). I just sat there and stared at my screen for a moment in disbelief - as in, HOW could she end the story RIGHT THERE? I'm desperate to find out exactly what happens, because I thought I had it all figured out only to be blindsided and left hanging. I will be waiting ever-so-anxiously for the next book in the series, Broken Fragments, to come out in January! I would definitely recommend this one to fans of dystopias, and those who are OK with cliff-hanger endings.(less)
This is one of those books that makes me wish I did half-star (or bean) ratings. I believed that...more**review originally posted on Coffee Bean Bookshelf**
This is one of those books that makes me wish I did half-star (or bean) ratings. I believed that this would be a somewhat light contemporary read, and got something completely unexpected. As I tore through this book, I was thrilled by the puzzle that was forming that just kept getting weirder and weirder by the minute.
I instantly hated Paulie. I hate cheaters. It was slightly redeeming that he was honest about it, but not quite enough. To start, anyway. Eventually I got to like him, because I realized that he was overall a pretty decent guy with a big heart. His closest friends, including Hannah and their teacher “Logs” were great, as well – I felt like I knew them quite well by the end of the story. I was getting some bad vibes from many of the other characters, and literally yelled a couple of times at Paulie, Logs and Hannah, willing them to stop doing whatever it was that they were doing.
I was on edge as I got closer to the end of the story, flipping pages like I couldn’t wait to find out how everything pieced together, and if I was right. It wasn’t scary, but it was intense. I was left with some unanswered questions, though. While I normally hate that, I like that Crutcher didn’t wrap everything up in a neat little bow.. there was still some instability left when all was said and done, which is much more realistic.
It’s not really advertised properly for what it is, and for that, I think that it won’t be for everyone. It’s a realistic, suspenseful YA novel – and I was one that loved it for what it was and not what I thought it would be. I’d recommend it for someone who is in the mood for something a little more intense in the young adult genre.(less)
I was so excited to be able to get to read this book – it was a quick read, not too long, and jus...more**review originally posted on Coffee Bean Bookshelf**
I was so excited to be able to get to read this book – it was a quick read, not too long, and just enough to keep me entertained.
I really enjoyed the development before everything goes wrong partway through the book – Kelley York did a great job of telling the story of these three kids and their unusual circumstances. Ahslin and Hunter are half-siblings…they are the same age and share a father, who they usually visit in the summer. But they’ve both finished high school and decide they want to go stay with their dad for a while during the winter. Chance is their best friend when they are at their dad’s house, but they don’t talk to him outside of the time they spend there.
The story is told from alternating perspectives of Ashlin and Hunter, which I think was perfect for this story. It helped me, as a reader, to understand what they were each thinking and feeling about the same situations. Most often their versions never overlapped – it was a continuous progression, each of them telling the next bit of story from their unique point-of-view. Ashlin and Hunter’s characters felt quite realistic to me, and I liked them a lot. But not as much as I loved Chance. His character was so different from theirs – carefree, laid-back, adventurous – and I adored him for it. His story was sad but I somehow knew that beneath it all he had a heart of gold.
There was a little bit of romance in an unexpected place, but it was tasteful and heart-warming. It was sort of the focus of the book, but not really. I know that doesn’t make sense, haha. The romance was there throughout the book, but it didn’t take away from the rest of the story and events that were happening, just added to them.
Once the story begins to intensify, I found I wasn’t able to put the book down. I wanted to keep reading to see exactly what happened to Chance’s mom, and how the three of them were going to settle things. Then the ending broke my heart…it really did. I thought it was headed for an good, old-fashioned unrealistic happy ending, and instead it was something beautiful and touching but sad at the same time. It wasn’t a disappointment, though, because it was exactly what *should* have happened.
I highly enjoyed reading this novel, I hope that I will find more of Kelley York’s work soon! If you like realistic young adult fiction with a little bit of intrigue and suspense, you should add this book to your wishlist!(less)
I actually liked this so much more than I thought I was going to. I went into it expecting a typical New Adult novel, and got something completely dif...moreI actually liked this so much more than I thought I was going to. I went into it expecting a typical New Adult novel, and got something completely different – a book with a lot of heart and a good mystery, too.
The mystery behind this whole story was incredible – I mean, I loved the clues that Gideon left for Aurora to figure out, and how it inevitably led them on a road trip down Route 66. The clues were placed so well and I stayed just a half-step ahead of them, piecing together the puzzle as it was laid out.
Having the story set in the 70′s was groovy (haha) – I enjoyed it because it was a little different from the norm and made the mystery that much harder to figure out. Many times I’d catch myself thinking “duh, just go on the internet” and then realize that “duh” – they couldn’t. How easily I forgot that the world wasn’t as connected then as it is now! No cell phones, GPS, or computers – they had to do this the “old-fashioned” way.
Aurora’s character was really likeable – she was super smart, liked to read (yay!), and was really, really perceptive to how people around her were feeling and acting. I didn’t like Donovan at first, he just seemed too grumpy and full of himself, but eventually I came to like him, as well – especially once he stopped fighting with Aurora every second and started protecting her. There were a few moments where he surprised me and melted my heart just a little bit. I loved that the relationship between Aurora and Donovan was slow-paced and not at all like most New Adult relationships – hot and heavy without much thought going into it. In fact, it wasn’t really the focus of the book like I thought it was going to be, which was nice in itself.
I was a little sad when this story wrapped up…I was so engrossed in the mystery that when they finally had it solved, I wanted it to keep going. And then it was over – just like that. Everything finished up with a tidy little bow, but I wanted something else. I can’t say what, exactly, but something more. I’ll hold out hope that there will be a sequel or something to this one!
I was surprised by how much I liked this book. If you’re looking for something a little different from the norm in the New Adult genre, you should definitely pick this one up! I know I, for one, will be looking for more of Marilyn Brant’s work!(less)
Things really heat up (literally) in this final book of the trilogy, and I’m a little sad to be letting these characters go!
Zoe and Noah continue tryi...moreThings really heat up (literally) in this final book of the trilogy, and I’m a little sad to be letting these characters go!
Zoe and Noah continue trying to find their way, even as more people join their rag-tag group. But the bigger the group, the more it splinters, and nobody is entirely sure who to trust. I loved the dynamic that this added to the story, because I never really knew what was going to happen next, adding to my connection with the main characters. At least the love triangles were toned down this time around, with only a few mentions and the characters involved acting a bit more maturely than I would have expected.
A few times Noah has to make decisions that he feels are right, even if he knows that not everyone (including Zoe) will agree. Sometimes it broke my heart, because I didn’t want it to end up that way. I had very clear expectations for Noah and Zoe, and when he needed to make those tough choices, I hoped that there would be a way for it all to work out.
There was a lot of action in this final book, and a few surprises. Occasionally, I could see things coming, and with other events I was caught completely off-guard. At times the characters would act particularly obtuse and I would want to yell at them because I *knew* something was coming but couldn’t add up the parts quick enough.
Mostly, I think this was a great conclusion to the series, and I will be watching for more by this author!(less)
I went into reading this with a little bit of worry – you see, I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, so I was worried that this would be one of those b...moreI went into reading this with a little bit of worry – you see, I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, so I was worried that this would be one of those books with all the details wrong and it would drive me crazy. But, thankfully this story, while fictional, reads as if it was my childhood – or that of any other JW kid who wasn’t entirely sold on the religion. I’m guessing that the author’s experience as a JW was before my time, since there were a few details that are not exactly as they are now, but still true to life.
Emily’s character as a young child is very innocent and I connected immediately to her. I think the things she thinks and acts is similar to how a lot of JW kids start out. She believes everything she’s told, even if she isn’t quite sure what it means or how it all fits together. LoveGrove does a great job writing from this perspective, which I’d imagine would be very hard to do. Emily’s older sister Lenora is starting to experiment and test the boundaries, and though she’s sullen and a bit bratty, I saw a lot of myself in her as well. The parents and uncle are an interesting group, because in off moments they let you see their true feelings, even though they’re trying hard to parent as best they can and not let their children see what is going on beyond what they need to know.
The alternating perspective of Emily as an adult were disconcerting at first, and it took me a bit to figure out exactly what was going on. Maybe it’s the way that the narrative switches from third-person when telling about Emily’s family life in her formative years to first-person when Emily is older. It was a little odd. I found myself rooting for her, though, and that she would be able to make it in life despite her up-bringing and naivete.
In the end, there is nothing really resolved – as this topic isn’t one that can really *be* resolved, I guess. Sadly this story rings so true that I think that maybe some will see it as far-fetched and a little bit crazy. It would almost seem that way to me if I hadn’t lived a life so similar. It’s a fictional story that is very close to being true, so if you’ve ever really wondered what goes on behind closed doors in a JW family, you should read this book. The memoirs I’ve seen sensationalize and embellish the truth, but this is spot-on despite being fiction.(less)