Mini Reviews #1

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Mini Reviews #1All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Published by Knopf
on January 6th 2015
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon, Goodreads

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. 

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. 

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. 

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review

I’m the black sheep of the group with All the Bright Places. I know many many people loved this book, but I just couldn’t connect to it myself. I don’t know what it was but I didn’t cry or feel even the tiniest bit emotionally invested in Theodore and Violet’s story which made me sad. Honestly I kept having this feeling as I read that I would have loved Theodore and Violet in another book. There was something off putting to me about the humor added to a book that really was a very serious subject and because of that I never got myself fully invested in the lives of these characters. I guess I can see why people would love it, maybe, but sadly I wasn’t one of those people.

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Mini Reviews #1Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Published by Viking Juvenile
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
Amazon, Goodreads

Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

Review

I struggled with Saint Anything. After I finished I initially gave it 3.5 stars but the more I let the book settle and marinate I realized that I didn’t like it really. I mean I liked parts of it but as I started to think about it the parts I didn’t like really started to gnaw at me and they became the focus of the book more than what I did like. Honestly I hated the parents, was mildly in like with Sydney and okay about Mac. I didn’t see the chemistry between Sydney and Mac the more I thought about it and I HATED the part with Sydney’s brother’s friend that was beyond creepy. The way the whole situation was handled with him really left a bad taste in my mouth which made it hard as a Dessen fan to really like this one which made me sad. I wish I could talk about the things I did enjoy but sadly I just can’t. This just wasn’t a book for me.

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Mini Reviews #1Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Published by Balzer + Bray
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
Amazon, Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Review

Another book that I was the black sheep on. I don’t know if this was one of those books that is too hyped so when I read it is fell flatter than expected or if it was just a book that I wasn’t impressed with. Honestly I can see what people love about it. Simon and Blue’s emails are awesome and I LOVED the last 40 pages of the book. But I felt I was constantly waiting for the wow moment that made everyone fall in love. And truthfully I never got it. Like I said the last 40 pages were awesome, but I wanted more of that awesome. I wanted to know what happened after and I wanted Martin to have to face consequences for his actions but I never got that. In the end I liked it but I didn’t love it.

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Mini Reviews #1Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Published by Balzer + Bray
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon, Goodreads

The romance of Beauty and the Beast meets the adventure of Graceling in a dazzling fantasy novel about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

For fans of bestselling An Ember in the Ashes and A Court of Thorns and Roses, this gorgeously written debut infuses the classic fairy tale with glittering magic, a feisty heroine, and a romance sure to take your breath away.

Betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom, Nyx has always known that her fate was to marry him, kill him, and free her people from his tyranny. But on her seventeenth birthday when she moves into his castle high on the kingdom's mountaintop, nothing is what she expected—particularly her charming and beguiling new husband. Nyx knows she must save her homeland at all costs, yet she can't resist the pull of her sworn enemy—who's gotten in her way by stealing her heart.

Review

I think I had one problem reading this book which made me not love it as much as I expected. That problem is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. The reason that was a problem was because I read that first and I’m insanely in love with that book because of that I kept comparing Cruel Beauty to it which I know is not fair, but I couldn’t help it. Instead of getting wrapped up in the story of the Gentle Lord and Nyx I kept thinking about Maas’s world as it made reading this one hard. I mean don’t get me wrong they are different books, but they are based off of the same fairytale. I did like Nyx and the Gentle Lord’s relationship so that made reading the book easy. And even though I figured out what was happening really really early, I enjoyed the back story too. I guess when it comes down to it, it is a “It’s not you, it’s me” kind of problem. But I would definitely say to try this one. And I’m looking forward to Crimson Bound too as I like how Hodge writes stories.

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10 Comments

  1. I’m listening to All the Bright Places right now (not very far in because my daughter doesn’t like listening to my books 😉 ) and I like it so far. But it’s just like, not love and I’m not imagining I will fall in love with it. I do like how audiobooks have different people read different voices, both the voice actors seem to fit the characters really well.

  2. I’m right there with you on Cruel Beauty (not a fan) and I think my negative feelings about All the Bright Places are even stronger than yours. I don’t usually link to my own reviews BUT if you read the 3rd paragraph after my spoiler warning in my AtBP review, I posit that the book would have packed more of a punch (and just been better) with a slightly different structure for the narrative: https://missprint.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/all-the-bright-places-a-review/

  3. I didn’t know I was clicking on Black Sheep Mini Reviews 😉 I’m kidding although it does hurt my heart a little that you didn’t love these books as much as the masses – but we all have those moments! I wonder if I would have felt similar about Cruel Beauty if I had read it after ACOTAR. I hope your other recent reads are fairing better!

  4. Sorry these were mostly disappointing reads for you, girl. That sucks about Simon. 🙁 I hate it when a book doesn’t live up to the height.
    I plan on trying Saint Anything at some point this year, but I’m keeping my expectations low.
    Great minis!

  5. I have high hopes on Saint Anything since I super love Along for the Ride and Lock & Key. But Saint Anything seems an okay read. ALSO, I have apprehensions on reading All the Bright Places. Everyone seems to love it and I don’t do well on hyped books. 🙁 AND I’m with you on Cruel Beauty. I did not like it too! I even gave it 2 stars!

  6. I’m sad that CRIMSON BOUND didn’t work for you like you hoped it would! I had a couple of nits with it myself, but I still loved it, and I’m happy to say it turned me on to Hodge’s fiction LIKE WHOA. Her novella GILDED ASHES is even better!

  7. It’s SO nice to see someone who didn’t connect with the characters in All The Bright Places. I’m kind of bummed because I have a signed copy but I can’t bring myself to finish it, especially after seeing spoilers (even though I kind of expected it). Everyone loves Finch and I actually sort of hate him.

  8. I feel the same way about All The Bright Places – I have mixed feelings on it. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either and I see everyone else loving it. I’m curious to see how the movie will be! I’m also intrigued that its being turned into a movie at all…..

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