Mini Reviews #1

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Mini Reviews #1All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Published by Knopf
Published: January 6th 2015
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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 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
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three-stars

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
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three-half-stars

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
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three-stars

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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Second Chance Sunday – Thumped by Megan McCafferty

Second Chance Sunday – Thumped by Megan McCaffertyThumped by Megan McCafferty
Series: Bumped #2
Published by Balzer + Bray
Published: April 23, 2013
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four-stars

Megan McCafferty’s Bumped series of books are must-read teen dystopian fiction, along with Ally Condie’s Matched series and Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy. Thumped, the sequel to Bumped, manages to be satiric, scary, and romantic at the same time. It continues the story of separated-at-birth twins, Melody and Harmony, girls as engaging as McCafferty’s Jessica Darling. These sisters are the most popular teen girls on the planet. To their fans, they seem to be living ideal lives. Harmony is married to Ram and living in Goodside, the religious community that once meant everything to her. Melody has the genetically flawless Jondoe as her coupling partner, which means money and status—and a bright future. But both girls are hiding secrets. And they are each pining for the only guys they can’t have…. The biggest risk of all could be to finally tell the truth.

I was nervous reading this one. Bumped was such a great story that I was worried that Thumped wouldn’t live up to its awesomeness. Not to mention the fact that the description confused me. But I must say that McCafferty not only did an amazing follow up to Bumped, but she also left me wanting more of these characters.

Thumped picks up about 8 months after Bumped left off. Harmony is back with her church community and her husband Ram pregnant with Jondoe’s twins. She thought it would be best to go back but things are complicated and not getting any better. Melody, on the other hand, is still in Otherside the princess of a media frenzy that is now surrounding the twins of The Hotties as they have been branded. She and Jondoe are pretending to be an item to keep up appearances and another big secret…the world also thinks Melody is pregnant with twins. When Harm comes back to Otherside the twins’ whole world gets shaken up and not only are truths finally revealed but both girls seem to finally figure out who they are and what they want out of life.

Honestly, I really enjoyed this story. Sometimes when reading a sequel you can actually feel like you are reading two different books. There is no flow in some so it almost seems like you aren’t reading a continuation but an entirely different story. That wasn’t the case here. I almost felt like this was just an extension of the first book. The characters were all the same, minus some flaws I found with Zen this time around, and the situations and circumstances were the same. It was like coming home and just following on with their journey. I liked seeing where Melody and Zen’s relationship was and how Jondoe was missing Harmony terribly. There were also some twists in this story that I didn’t expect and some I saw coming from the first page.

Really what I liked the most was the message at the end. Melody explained perfectly what was being taken away from this teenage girls by parents, media and peer pressure. By these kids being forced to bump they weren’t really getting to make any choices on their own and it just wasn’t right.  McCafferty did an excellent job of pointing out exactly what the problem was in Harmony and Melody’s world and it was done with tact and great execution. I know there is likely no third book in the works, but for the record, I wouldn’t be opposed if she changed her mind. Really a great series.

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Second Chance Sunday – Slide by Jill Hathaway

I feel like I read this book a lifetime ago. Actually I kind of have when you think about all the other books I have read between then and now. I’ve read a lot of lifetimes in that span. Anyway, in February the second book to today’s Second Chance Sunday, Slide, came out and I really need to get it. I keep meaning too, but as much as I would like I can’t buy all the books. And since I can’t buy Imposter quiet yet, I thought I would introduce you to or remind you of Slide.

Second Chance Sunday – Slide by Jill HathawaySlide by Jill Hathaway
Series: Slide #1
Published by Balzer + Bray
Published: March 27, 2012
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four-stars

Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth - her sister's friend Sophie didn't kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn't actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else's mind and experiences the world through that person's eyes. She's slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed "friend" when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie's slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can't bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting distant lately, especially now that she's been spending more time with Zane.

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

I have to say I really enjoyed this book. I stumbled across it randomly and thought it sounded intriguing so I picked up a copy. Well, intriguing it was. Was it predictable? Absolutely. But there was some comfort in the predictability of it. There was still enough mystery to keep it going while the other parts I could see coming a mile away. It led to a balance of sorts that just worked.

Honestly, Vee made the book for me. She was just plain likable. She had this secret that she was hiding from everyone which made her have to hide a part of herself. On top of that, she had to be the rock in the family for her sister and almost parental for her too. She was only 17 and had more on her plate then any teen should. Add in the fact that things were awkward with her and her best friend Rollins and the new guy Zane it is a miracle that Vee didn’t crack under the pressure. Actually, I think that is what I liked most about her. She just stayed strong and kept going. She did what she had to to keep everyone moving all while figuring out what secrets everyone was hiding.

The story was really well told and kept me interested even after I figured out just what the heck was happening. I’m excited this isn’t a stand-alone, which I don’t say too often. I can’t wait to find out what else is in store for Vee and her slides.

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