Initial Impressions 3/30/18 & full review posted on The Book Addict's Guide 4/3/18:: I am a big, big Gayle Forman fan but for some reason, I justInitial Impressions 3/30/18 & full review posted on The Book Addict's Guide 4/3/18:: I am a big, big Gayle Forman fan but for some reason, I just really didn't connect to this one like I had hoped and expected. I wonder if maybe the fact that I read it as an audiobook affected anything? The narrators were fine, some of which I've heard before and enjoyed, but I just didn't make that emotional connection that I get with all of her other books.
The book did follow three different narrators, which is different from Gayle Forman's other books, and the narrations also switched tenses, from third person while telling the story to first person while recounting each character's past. I listen to enough audiobooks that I don't feel like listening to it on audio should really make a difference when it comes to the structure of the story (unless it's something that is very visual like The Illuminae Files) but maybe the physical copy had a different break that would have helped those switches/transitions a little bit more than the audiobook. I don't really think it would have made a difference, but maybe. I'm trying to reason things out because I don't want to say that this book wasn't my favorite, but I guess it's bound to happen with any favorite author (and really, it has, so that's okay too).
The stories really were beautiful. Each character has lost their way due to their own unique circumstances and when they quite randomly come together, they each help each other through the toughest points in their lives. I really loved seeing how these friendships blossomed and how total strangers were able to become such key points in each other's lives. Gayle Forman did a great job at bringing in key phrases from one person's past and sticking it into another person's present -- a clever tie between the two that makes them seem almost destined to meet and unite.
I did appreciate so much of this book and yet, I just didn't feel that pull on my heart like I have with previous novels. I definitely felt for each character and was rooting for each one, but I feel like I just didn't connect with the writing and the structure like I had hoped. The book was definitely good but it's that personal connection and emotional grab that didn't get me. I'm also sure that my expectations were ya know... WAY HIGH so that never helps why I hype books up for myself!...more
This book surprised me! I had heard a lot of good things about it but wasn’t really sure what to expect and I was definitely captivated the whole bookThis book surprised me! I had heard a lot of good things about it but wasn’t really sure what to expect and I was definitely captivated the whole book! It’s definitely YA and has the young adult feel but also has a sense of maturity that I haven’t been seeing in a lot of YA reads lately.
I love anything that has to do with time so the whole concept of this book was an instant attraction to me. Add in the twists throughout and it made it even more appealing! I also really enjoyed all of the world building presented in this book and am very curious to learn even more history and details in the upcoming novels!
Finally, I really liked how the romance was handled as well. There was a lot more beneath the surface and I appreciate how everything evolved and what came to light.
Oh, and the main character and I share a birthday :D...more
Ah, moved to the dreaded On Hold Shelf, officially on 12/13/17 after reading 30%. I had a hard time with this one after a quick, positive start. The bAh, moved to the dreaded On Hold Shelf, officially on 12/13/17 after reading 30%. I had a hard time with this one after a quick, positive start. The beginning was very Lunar Chronicles meets Mistborn and then things got super... cookie cutter. If you know anything about the Lunar Chronicles (which I hope you do by now if you're reading my thoughts), then you know how Cinder's story goes and Ana's seemed too similar. Not like Marissa Meyer was the first person to ever come up with that concept but it's one of those books where my brain just picked out too many parallels and it totally killed the vibe, just feeling like it didn't compare.
I really wasn't feeling the characters' personalities. Everyone seemed a little TOO much like a character and didn't quite feel real.
I understand the concept of a human falling in love with a robot (and I'm guessing vice-versa) but whereas Iko felt like an actual person and you forgot that she was artificial intelligence, Di (pronounced DEE? Because that reads DIE to me like Princess Di and I don't get why it was written out like that. Just use "D" short for D-09 or whatever it was) did not pick me up as someone I had feelings towards. He WAS a robot and I felt that, despite writing inklings of emotions in there. They just felt like they were thrown in and I didn't FEEL them. So yeah, that didn't work for me at all.
Ana was badass at first and quickly grew annoying. I didn't click with her and didn't want to root for her. There were also a lot of character POVs which is really hit-or-miss with me. It works if we spend time with each one but some of the voices blended and the chapters are so quick that it was a little too quick to get to know anyone.
I came to a point where I had trouble wanting to keep reading and I just have so little print-copy reading time right now that I can't afford to force myself to read something. Maybe I'll grab the audio when this book comes out but for now, it's to the on-hold shelf to see if I'll come back to it. ...more
Initial Synopsis Reaction: A) KASIE WEST B) in love with the best friend C) "This is the first in a set of three standalone books with crossover characInitial Synopsis Reaction: A) KASIE WEST B) in love with the best friend C) "This is the first in a set of three standalone books with crossover characters." I LOVE CROSSOVER CHARACTERS
Initial Impressions 7/5/18: Another wonderfully put-together Kasie West book! I will say that after reading this book, it kind of made BY YOUR SIDE seem a little less realistic (oops) and LOVE, LIFE, AND THE LIST was just such a wonderful novel. It's still not my favorite out of all of her contemporary books but it was so strong, realistic, and just really well done. I loved the sarcasm, banter, and friendship and all of the different friendships throughout the book. There were so many moments that felt natural and not forced and I really appreciated how Katie West handled so many of the situations here. I could have even gone for a few different endings but I was also really happy with how everything wrapped up!
Note: The original synopsis said there would be a crossover character in here but I don't know who it was?
Full review posted on The Book Addict's Guide 1/7/19: LOVE, LIFE, AND THE LIST was another wonderfully put-together Kasie West book! You know I’m a sucker for friend-to-more romances and this was another one that I really loved. The friendship was so great and enjoyable and I really liked how everything felt so realistic with the way that Abby handled her crush on her best friend. Did I love how Abby acted in every situation? No, and that’s what made it so realistic. Teenagers (and hey, even adults) don’t make very good decisions when feelings are involved and I know we’ve all made some choices that have hurt people when trying to figure out our love lives. I actually really appreciated that everything wasn’t perfect and smooth.
I will say that after reading this book, it kind of made BY YOUR SIDE seem a little less realistic with it the way that the anxiety issues were handled. It’s hard not to compare sometimes and LOVE, LIFE, AND THE LIST handled Abby’s mom’s agoraphobia much better than the anxiety issues in BY YOUR SIDE.
While LOVE, LIFE, AND THE LIST is still not my favorite out of all Kasie West’s contemporary books, it was so strong, realistic, and just really well done. I loved the sarcasm, banter, and friendship and all of the different friendships throughout the book. There were so many moments that felt natural and not forced and I really appreciated how Katie West handled so many of the situations here. I could have even gone for a few different endings but I was also really happy with how everything wrapped up!...more
Initial Impressions 5/24/18: Okay, first off (and no spoilers), I need to say how much I loved that ending. I wasn't sure I was liking the way that itInitial Impressions 5/24/18: Okay, first off (and no spoilers), I need to say how much I loved that ending. I wasn't sure I was liking the way that it was going and I really, really, really appreciate what Cynthia Hand did here!
The book itself was really interesting. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but not in a bad way. I was expecting it to be a little darker and a little bit more of a straight retelling rather than having a paranormal twists with actual ghosts. I didn't dislike it but I also didn't *looove* it. It was fun, but I was hoping it was going to be a little different.
This book was really enjoyable from start to finish! I had a great time listening to the audiobook and it was a really fun, easy read with some great messages. I loved how the concept was handled and it was a little cutesy at times but a unique retelling/adaptation!...more
Initial Impressions 8/29/17: For some reason, this was the least engaging book of the series for me and I felt a little bogged down and that things weInitial Impressions 8/29/17: For some reason, this was the least engaging book of the series for me and I felt a little bogged down and that things were going slowly in the middle. I had a hard time picking the book back up because I felt like it wasn't really progressing for a while, but I also know that's my lack of reading time that really hurt my reading pace as well.
I did absolutely love the ending! There was the perfect amount of bittersweet that every series finale should have. Things were wrapped up nicely, concepts exchanged hands, not everyone was perfectly okay, and it presented a new life for the characters after the events of this series wrapped up. I thought that was handled beautifully! ...more
Initial Impressions 5/9/18: I'm really glad I read FAR FROM THE TREE because this was such a lovely book. I've been skirting away from more "serious"Initial Impressions 5/9/18: I'm really glad I read FAR FROM THE TREE because this was such a lovely book. I've been skirting away from more "serious" contemporary fiction lately and I'm really glad I didn't skip this one. Too often with tough, sensitive, or emotional subjects, I'm just not in the mood or the place mentally to take those on in book form or the writing ends up being a little too much for me and I loved how Robin Benway crafted this story.
I really enjoyed the three different POVs that shared three different experiences with adoption, family, and just life in general. Each character was so well-rounded, different, and really well represented. I really appreciated each situation and their respective hurdles and hardships.
I really appreciated and enjoyed the writing and whether Robin Benway is writing a fun spy novel or a serious realistic story, I'm here for it!
Full review as posted on The Book Addict's Guide 5/21/18: I’m really glad I read FAR FROM THE TREE because this was such a lovely book. I’ve been skirting away from more “serious” contemporary fiction lately but I love Robin Benway’s books and I already knew from EMMY & OLIVER that I enjoyed her more realistic fiction style as well as cute, quirky spies.
I’m really glad I didn’t skip this book because of its serious content. Too often with tough, sensitive, or emotional subjects, I’m just not in the mood or the place mentally to take those on in book form or the writing ends up being a little too much for me, so I loved how Robin Benway crafted this story. It is a serious book but it’s written beautifully and the characters really shine and carry this book. Not every book dealing with real life topics have to have characters who are solemn and I loved the sarcasm and slight comic relief that still came through from some of these characters. Robin Benway really does a great job at making sure her characters are well-rounded and that they come off as real people and not just a character in a book and I really loved that in FAR FROM THE TREE.
I also really enjoyed the three different POVs that shared three different experiences with adoption, family, and just life in general. Each character was so well-rounded, different, and really well represented. I really appreciated each situation and their respective hurdles and hardships and I’m glad that readers got to see each situation from that character’s perspective. It wouldn’t have been the same to have one narrator sharing this experience as an observer and I love that we got to see all three siblings in their own voices.
The ending was just perfect also. It wasn’t a book that needed a fairy tale happy ending, but it was a great way to wrap up this adventure and it just felt right. It wasn’t too sad and it wasn’t overly, cheesily happy. I really appreciated and enjoyed the writing and whether Robin Benway is writing a fun spy novel or a serious realistic story, I’m here for it!...more
Initial Impressions 6/1/17 and full review as posted on The Book Addict's Guide 6/5/17: 3.5 stars Heads up, talking about specifics so there will be SPInitial Impressions 6/1/17 and full review as posted on The Book Addict's Guide 6/5/17: 3.5 stars Heads up, talking about specifics so there will be SPOILERS.
This book wasn't quiiiite what I thought it would be and that was okay but there were things that just didn't quite fit. I liked Dana a lot but it never really felt right for her to be a part of this pop star world. I feel like it would have been a little different if there had been an expressed interest in singing before she took Olivia to her audition. It just felt so off of Dana to even enter the world of singing and show business without even wanting any part of it before she got there. Maybe that's just me as a big choir nerd not understanding how you can jump into this without a passion for music or performing... I have no idea. Not staying that you HAVE to have experience in order to get into the music industry but trying to think about it as someone who was only a part of choir was overwhelming, not to mention voice lessons, dance lessons, and all of the show biz type stuff that you have to do. I don't know... I just felt like Dana didn't belong there, which I guess was the point, but it felt wrong to take that opportunity away from someone else just because she wanted to get out of her town. There are so many people who have that DREAM and while she may have been a natural performer, I don't know... It just didn't click for me and I actually was not rooting for her to make it in the industry. It really bothered me throughout the whole book and despite the fact that she was actually putting a great effort forth to grow and listen and perform... I still didn't think that was the right place for her and I knew it the whole time. Aside from that, let's not even tap into the fact that four girls are chosen for this girl group and out of four in the whole country, Dana is selected ALONG WITH her best friend, even when she sings Happy Birthday and... that's it. No other auditioning process? No other callback? No tests to see if she even knows how to read music or if she's a good dancer or if she doesn't have an attitude, etc etc etc?? I 100% understand selecting someone for their star quality but people aren't selected because of that alone. There has to be something else going there to make someone think they can turn that person into a star and that the work is going to be worth it. They flat-out didn't see enough of Dana to even know that.
The friend thing bothered me too. One of the reasons I loved Open Road Summer so much was the fact that the best friends were supportive and things didn't get catty. One was the star, one was not, and it wasn't a competition. I didn't like that Olivia sort of abandoned her best friend for the other girls because they had more experience and were, for lack of a better word, cooler than Dana was. I didn't like that this book pitted the two best friends against each other and then Olivia stabbed Dana in the back!!! Ugh UGH UGH. I couldn't stand that.
I also just had more hope that this was going to have some more 90s/early 2000s type feelings with all of those shows like Making the Band and Popstars. That was what I immediately went to when I heard the girls were going to audition for a girl group and there were some feelings of it there but I would have loved to get a little more of that feel. There wasn't much of a time era feel aside from music references, which I would have loved to see more of because HELLO 90S, like the best time ever (ha)! There wasn't that nostalgia that I had hoped for at all.
There were other feelings I got from this book though, in so many ways. I actually felt a lot of Center Stage because of all of the industry moments and things we got to see that happen in closed-door meetings. People get cut from groups, deals are made, people get stabbed in the back, images are created. I also felt some That Thing You Do! and Selena with some of those musical moments about trying to get your music out there and be heard, so that was a fun feeling.
The book was entertaining but I feel like I had a totally different image going in. FIREWORKS is a cute title for it but the cover is pretty misleading for what the book is about (despite the fact that I love it). Things were not really fun and friendly... they were kind of catty. And the fireworks were a small part of the book although related to kind of a big concept. I feel like it made the book seem so much lighter and easy-going and it was intense show business work!
When it comes down to it, I enjoyed the read and it was quick but I can't quite give it four stars because I didn't feel like Dana ever fit into this world and it stuck out to me the whole time. I just felt like everyone was forcing her into that role even though SHE knew it wasn't the right place for her either, even if she did have that star-quality. It made it hard for me to root for her to succeed because I didn't feel like even she wanted it....more
Ahhh that ending! This was crazy. Sherry Thomas totally brought everything together SO. WELL. and I can't get over how everything went down. I just adAhhh that ending! This was crazy. Sherry Thomas totally brought everything together SO. WELL. and I can't get over how everything went down. I just adore all of the characters. The secondary characters and their involvement - all amazing. The tone, the setting, the creativity, the magic. It's all awesome. I'm so happy I'm binge reading this trilogy. How can I stop!!
Full review as originally posted HERE on The Book Addict's Guide 8/22/16: THE PERILOUS SEA was quite the different set-up from THE BURNING SKY. While we still did have those shifting points of view (I wouldn’t really call it alternating — since everything was from the third person, it was much easier to slide back and forth betweet Titus and Iolanthe without such a stiff change but it is a definite shift in perspective), THE PERILOUS SEA opened up on the present time and the book kept flashing back to X point on the time line, working its way forward to meet up with where the book started. Sometimes this can get confusing, but I actually rather enjoyed it!
The shocker about the beginning of THE PERILOUS SEA is that we meet up with Titus and Iolanthe in the middle of the desert, not knowing how they got there and oh yeah, they have no idea who they are or who each other are. So as the book works through the past, the reader highly anticipates the moment when it’s revealed how they ended up that way. I rather enjoyed the suspense but I actually wish there was a little bit more time spent with that reveal. The magical thing about this whole part about Titus and Iolanthe not knowing each other was that they get to fall in love all over again. You think that little magic is gone because they’ve already gotten together? Surprise. They get to know each other again — with no pre-conceived notions, I might add — and it is amazing.
I wasn’t as thrilled about book two as I was about book one for most of the book until Sherry Thomas drops some SERIOUS TWISTS on us!! Really, a LOT happened in the last quarter of the book so it was a bit much to get all at once but oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, it was a doozy of a twist and there are a lot of reveals that happen here as well regarding several characters! Because of the mass-reveal, I kind of wish some things had been spread out so it wasn’t so soap-opera-confession-spree (it got to be a bit much and one more twist might have gotten to the point of silly) BUT I did love what the answers to all of these burning questions were. Like, I had some serious panic moments because of a huge twist and I was not okay.
Another thing that I noted in this book was something that I love so much about Sarah J. Maas’ books — the incredible ability to fit secondary characters in who become so much more. It’s so easy to dismiss supporting characters nowadays as so many books use them simply for support and not for actual plot development. Not Sherry Thomas. There are characters here for a darn specific reason and you will surely find out that reason all in good time. I loved how much foresight was involved in placing everyone where they belonged from the beginning of the series and holding some important moments with these characters until the exact right time. It was so neat to witness and one of my favorite things about this series!...more
Full review as originally posted HERE on The Book Addict's Guide 1/18/17: I was so excited for a new book by Ashley Elston because I loved her debut dFull review as originally posted HERE on The Book Addict's Guide 1/18/17: I was so excited for a new book by Ashley Elston because I loved her debut duology THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING and THE RULES FOR BREAKING! I’m always looking for more YA mysteries and thrillers because there weren’t a lot for a very long time and the insurgence of them now is so exciting! When I heard about THIS IS OUR STORY, it immediately went on my list of books I added to get my hands on!
One thing I really loved about this book is how well it was set from a teenager’s perspective. I think the hardest thing about YA mysteries is making a believable reason for why a teen is involved in the case and why they wouldn’t go to an adult or the police. In the case of THIS IS OUR STORY, main character Kate works for the district attorney’s office (as does her mother) and she assists her boss by dictating and spotting details for him, as he has failing eyesight and isn’t ready to step down from his job yet. Kate acts as an extra pair of eyes for him throughout his investigation of the River Point Boys, a group of kids involved in the murder of one of their best friends. I really loved how well this concept worked because it allowed Kate to have access to the case and obtain more details than a normal kid or outsider.
The book was interesting from start to finish but I didn’t get quite as into the story as I had hoped. I’ve gotten sucked in to quite a few mystery/thrillers and I did enjoy the whole book but it wasn’t as gripping as some other books I’ve read. The story was still very well put-together and carefully crafted. Ashley Elston did a great job with the character relationships, keeping identities secret, and weaving in doubt and suspicion.
I would say her first books/series were my favorite so far but THIS IS OUR STORY was also a very solid read! I wished I had been able to get into it a bit more, but I’ve had such limited reading time lately and a lot going on that it could always be situational and not the book. It was a very good mystery still and I really did enjoy it! It didn’t stand out as much as I had hoped but a wonderfully solid book and one I’d recommend!...more
Initial Impressions 8/24/16, modified to post as full review 8/26/16: 3.75 - 4 stars CURIOUS MINDS is the first book I’ve read from Janet Evanovich thaInitial Impressions 8/24/16, modified to post as full review 8/26/16: 3.75 - 4 stars CURIOUS MINDS is the first book I’ve read from Janet Evanovich that wasn’t Stephanie Plum, which makes it really hard for me NOT to compare it to Plum after reading 22 novels featuring her wacky crew (and even some novellas). I guess in a way, I have to since it’s my frame of reference for her writing.
Truthfully, it was noticeable for me that it was a new series that was not Plum. I guess it wasn’t different in a bad way, but I’ve been reading Stephanie Plum for at least five years and that series just has so much personality and CURIOUS MINDS felt just a little flatter. I know that Evanovich has other series that aren’t Stephanie Plum and now I wonder how those feel — was it this book specifically or am I feeling a Plum-hangover? I liked that it wasn’t as silly as Plum novels get sometimes and yet I found myself wanting a little more from the characters and from the plot. The plot was much more detective-like versus crazy antics which I liked! I always like a little bit of a mystery to solve. I did feel that I was getting just a touch confused with so many characters having their hands in the cookie jar.
I also wonder, since this was co-written with Phoef Sutton, how much that really changed the tone. Did a co-author bring the silliness down or would that have happened anyway? Who was responsible for what? An overall picture written together? Or Sutton responsible for X characters and Evanovich responsible for Y characters? I always wonder how co-written books go! Janet Evanovich’s trademark tone was prevalent throughout the book but it was also noticeably different.
Riley was definitely a Plum-type character although quite toned down. There’s still a lot of classic Evanovich jargon and characterization there but Riley Moon was much more put together. Emerson Knight was a Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory-type character (and was even specifically compared to him) but has just a bit more social skills then Sheldon and his science is toned down just a bit. He’s basically a wealthy genius, overtly labeled an eccentric, and makes for a lot of comical moments with his awkward social responses. I did like this better than outright silly, though!
CURIOUS MINDS was fun, a quick read (aka listen — I listened to the audiobook) and just some brain candy. Like Plum novels, it didn’t really stand out for me but it was fun to experience. It’s not knocking anything out of the park for me but still enjoyable and I’ll continue the series....more