Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini ReviewsThe Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren
Published by Harry N. Abrams
Published: April 4th 2017
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two-half-stars

Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant. One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie—Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister—was gone, her heart giving out during a routine swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief. Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together. They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing—and to each other.

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.

I have mixed feelings on The Last Thing You Said. I’m not really sure what it is. Honestly I loved some parts of it. I loved the part where both Lucy and Ben were dealing with their grief in vastly different ways. I loved the setting of the beach. I loved Lucy’s friend. But there was also a lot I was confused by. Honestly I hated how Ben treated Lucy and how Lucy let him treat her. I hated a lot of the things that Lucy did. I do admit the grief of Ben and Lucy and how much they missed Trixie was done really well. That was the one part of the story I felt and understood. But everything else was sadly just not for me.

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Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini ReviewsBy Your Side by Kasie West
Published by Harper Teen
Published: January 31st 2017
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two-stars

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

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.

This book. Oh this book. The more I am away from my read of it the more I realize just how much I didn’t really like it. This was strange for me because I have never not loved a Kasie West book. But By Your Side just didn’t do it for me. It had all the ingredients, library [check]; trapped [check]; opposites attract [check]; cute boy [check, check, check] but all of those ingredients just didn’t pan out. The library was 100% not used to its best ability and because of that I felt duped into the book we did end up getting. It was like once Dax and Autumn got out of the library I was reading a whole new book, and it was a book I never saw coming. In the end I just didn’t feel like I got what I signed up for and I was left disappointed.

 

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Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini ReviewsThe One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Published by Penguin Teen
Published: May 2nd 2017
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three-stars

Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. She lives under the careful watch of her parents, in a town she is familiar with, among people who are equally familiar with her story. She has not been able to recall any part of her past since she was ten, when the tumor that was removed from her brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend's boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. She lives under the careful watch of her parents, in a town she is familiar with, among people who are equally familiar with her story. She has not been able to recall any part of her past since she was ten, when the tumor that was removed from her brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend's boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this singular memory pierces Flora's fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake and their shared kiss are responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step in reclaiming her life.

With little more than the tattoo "be brave" inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is, how old, where she lives, and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to the land of the midnight sun--Svalbard, Norway. There she is determined to find Drake, and to explore the romantic possibilities and hopeful future that their reunion promises her. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must "be brave" if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

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.

I’m not gonna lie, I struggled with this book. I didn’t struggle because it wasn’t good but I struggled because I was frustrated. And I felt terrible about being frustrated by it because I could only imagine what Flora was actually going through. But the truth is I had a hard time because this book was super repetitive. And believe me, I understand why it was, but it just kind of pulled me out of the story because I felt like I was reading the same page over and over. Really though, Flora had an incredible journey finding out how brave and strong she truly was and there was one part that I didn’t see coming until much later into the book. When all is said and done though, this book just wasn’t right for me. I do feel like it would have been a fun movie.

 

 

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Review: Unleashed – Sophie Jordan

Review: Unleashed – Sophie JordanUnleashed by Sophie Jordan
Series: Uninvited #2
Published by Harper Teen
Published: February 24th 2015
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zero-stars

Unleashed, the romantic, high-stakes sequel to New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's Uninvited, is perfect for fans of James Patterson's Confessions of a Murder Suspect.

Davy has spent the last few months trying to come to terms with the fact that she tested positive for the kill gene HTS (also known as Homicidal Tendency Syndrome). She swore she would not let it change her, and that her DNA did not define her . . . but then she killed a man.

Now on the run, Davy must decide whether she'll be ruled by the kill gene or if she'll follow her heart and fight for her right to live free. But with her own potential for violence lying right beneath the surface, Davy doesn't even know if she can trust herself.

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.

As someone that loved Uninvited and found it a really thought-provoking book, I was really excited for Unleashed. But after reading the book I have a lot of mixed feelings on it and I’m not sure how to react to them. On one hand I felt really cheated and almost tricked into reading this book and on the other hand, I actually liked the story on its own, but not part of the duology. It confused me and unsettled me. I wanted to love it and yet I couldn’t but I also couldn’t hate it. See…mixed feelings.

(I apologize for spoilers on Uninvited as I have to reveal some of that story in order to explain Unleashed. You’ve been warned.)

Unleashed continues with the story of Davy, a girl that has been marked as a murder by the government and her genetic makeup. But Davy isn’t just named a murderer, she is one. She has taken a life to save the life or her love Sean before they escaped the camp they were held in along with Sabine and Gil. Now on the run and in hiding, Davy struggles with the fact that she has taken a life and become what she was told she was. Although she is pulling away from everyone they decide to go to Mexico for safety. When the plan doesn’t go so smooth Davy ends up separated from the group and is found by a different group and one of their mysterious leaders Caden. As Davy learns more about these people and Caden she is torn between staying and finding her friends. But with a war outside and people, she doesn’t trust inside she isn’t sure which is safer.

Sadly this felt like a 3rd book, not the conclusion of a duology. Click To Tweet
Where to start. I guess the best place is with the fact that I really loved Davy and Caden’s story. I enjoyed it and liked them together whether as friends or something more. They had a chemistry that I liked a lot. I liked how they didn’t immediately have a friendship or jump into a relationship or even like each other immediately. Their relationship grew and formed something that seemed true. I loved that. What I didn’t love about it? It was part of this story.

When it comes down to it my problem with Unleashed wasn’t giving Davy a new guy. It wasn’t even that I felt like I was reading the 3rd book and not the 2nd book. It was the fact that I was drawn in to love Sean in book one. I got to know him and care for him and like him and Davy as a couple. But he was written out most of book 2 and I just don’t understand why. Why did I invest my time in this guy that was just shoved aside for something different? I wanted to see them work through their problem or not. I wanted to see Sean see that Davy was struggling and why. Instead, we didn’t get that chance and when it comes down to it that is why I felt cheated.  I felt like I was reading the beginning of a new series and not the conclusion of a duology.

Basically, Davy and Caden do have an amazing story that I 100% would have loved if it were in a different book. Unleashed reminded me a lot of the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi in which the love interest is written a certain way to easily dismiss him. It bothered me and left me feeling downright upset about a book I had previously been really excited for.

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Blog Tour: The Orphan Queen – Jodi Meadows (GIVEAWAY)

orphan

Blog Tour: The Orphan Queen – Jodi Meadows (GIVEAWAY)The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen #1
Published by Harper Teen
Published: March 10th 2015
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four-half-stars

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

Fantasy books are a new addition to my reading repertoire. It was never something I thought I would be interested in. I mean I dabbled and enjoyed some and hated others, but the fantasy book reading never clicked. That is until I read the right book and then the next right book and then the next right book. Basically, I became a fantasy reading fangirl looking for the next perfect book. The Orphan Queen, fit right in. So freaking good guys!

The Orphan Queen is about Wilhelmina, a once princess that is now an orphan fighting for her kingdom which was taken from her by a king that is now her enemy. Devising a plan with the Ospreys, the group of people she has been with since the ‘One Night War’, Wil and her best friend, Melanie, go undercover as spies in the palace to gather information to aid in Wil getting her kingdom back. But between Melanie’s strange behavior, the leader of the Ospreys acting sketchy, and the continuing appearance of Black Knife, Wil’s fight gets harder and harder to decide what exactly she is fighting for and why.

I don’t want to lie, I struggled, in the beginning, reading this one. Fantasy books are newish to me so it sometimes takes a while for me to get into them. I’m used to contemporaries that get right into the story or dystopians that start with the action. I’ve come to learn that fantasy books are about the set up in the beginning. It is about getting you to the point that you can’t put the book down and you don’t want to. I had this trouble with Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta and I started to feel sad that The Orphan Queen was going to be like that for me. And then I hit a part of the story and I was SUCKED IN, INVESTED, NEEDED TO KNOW. What was once Finnikin of the Rock now became Finnikin meets Spider-Man and I never wanted the story to end. Jodi Meadows sucked me in with her tale and her characters and I was done for.

Wilhelmina was awesome. I mean she was royalty yet she was also a hardcore fighter. She had no fear which made her an amazing ally and a scary opponent. And with Black Knife (more on him later) by her side, almost impossible to beat. Even having been through everything she had been through she was fighting for her people and being a leader to a kingdom that was under the rule of an imposter. But she was also a teenage girl. She was still trying to figure out who and what she was. She was trying to come to terms with her magic (which was outlawed) and her undeniable attraction to Black Knife. At times she would seem so invincible but then you would see the insecurities and your heart would break. Like I said, Wilhelmina was awesome.

And Black Knife! What to say about sexy, mysterious Black Knife. He was actually hard to figure out in the beginning. He seemed like the bad guy, turning people in without reasoning, just because they used magic. But as you got to know him through his nights with Wil, you saw there was a complex guy under there. And can we talk about the attraction simmering between Wil and Black Knife? I’m still fanning myself. He is just everything! And finding out who he really is?? Oh yeah, that was fun too. 😉

For a book that started out slowish, I freaking loved it. Thinking back on it I now understand all the set up that leads to the second half of the book. The slow burn makes sense now and I can appreciate it for what it was. It set up a phenomenal story of war, fighting, love, and picking sides. It built a world that you as a reader want to see succeed and flourish. It made you feel for these characters. And it made you get to such a worked up level that you almost threw the book when you finished. (Side eyes Jodi Meadows). Pick up The Orphan Queen, and you will 100% know what I mean.

About Jodi Meadows

Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy and the forthcoming ORPHAN QUEEN Duology (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen).

*A Kippy is a cat.

FIND IT: GOODREADS || AMAZON || BARNES & NOBLE || INDIEBOUND || BOOK DEPOSITORY

Along with my review for this tour I decided to dress Wilhelmina. Wil is a very complex character that fights for what she believes in. In the very first pages of the book you will see why I chose what I did for her to wear.

wil

Review/Fan Creations blog tour schedule

3/2 – Andi’s ABCs
3/3 – Hello, Chelly
3/4 – Book Emoji
3/5 – So Obsessed With
3/6 – Tune into Books
3/9 – Ticket to Anywhere
3/10 – Disquietus Reads
3/11 – A Backwards Story
3/12 – Writer of Wrongs
3/13 – Alexa Loves Books

giveaway

Harper Collins has graciously offering to giveaway a copy of The Orphan Queen to one of my lovely readers. This is for US mailing addresses only and will run from midnight on March 2, 2015 until March 8, 2015 at 11:59PM EST. Please fill out the rafflecopter entry below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*tour banner by Rachel at Hello, Chelly

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Review: Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

 

Review: Red Queen – Victoria AveyardThe Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #1
Published by Harper Teen
Published: February 12th 2015
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three-half-stars

This is a world divided by blood - red or silver.The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.Fearful of Mare's potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance - Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart . . .

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.

I’ve been informed that I am now a fantasy reader. Honestly, I’m not sure how it happened, but it did, so now I have a whole bunch more books to potential love. What does that have to do with Red Queen? Well, I wasn’t originally planning to read it. I had seen the gorgeous cover, I mean look at that thing!, and kind of passed it by. But then I became a fantasy reader and changed my mind. I picked it up and became intrigued, but not hooked. Then at about 50%, I become hooked and by 70% I needed to see how it would all end. And end it did.

Red Queen is the story of Mare, a girl living in a world separated by blood color. Reds are the lower class disposable class that is sent to fight the war on the front lines while Silvers are the noble blood with powers and money. Mare has only known Red her whole life. That is her life and she knows this. That is until something that happens that brings Mare into the world of Silvers. That makes Mare and anomaly amongst all the people. Mare has powers too. Powers that a Red shouldn’t have. Now hiding in plain sight of the royal family Mare has one thing to protect, and that is herself. One wrong move and everything can come tumbling down. Too bad her heart might say something else.

There were parts of Red Queen that I didn’t like so much. I found some of the story to be a little rushed at places. There just wasn’t enough background at times as the plot moved on. I also was slightly confused by Mare. She has these powers that are new and she doesn’t even have trouble controlling them or be afraid to use them. It just didn’t seem likely to me that she would just take to it and not be a fish out of water. Sure she was standoffish at times, but still, something felt off. I also wasn’t 100% sold on the Hunger Games/Divergent vibe at the end. It didn’t seem to naturally fit the rest of the story.

But there were parts of Red Queen that I really liked. First was that it didn’t go 100% as I expected in the beginning. Based off of the description I pictured a different book with a super clichéd plot. But I was surprised when it took a different kind of twist. It made it seem a little fresher and new which I appreciated. I also liked the distinct division between the classes. I always find that to be such a fascinating point in society and books. And I also liked the boys in the story. Good or evil, I was entertained by them and curious which way they were going to go and who they really were to the plot.

Even with the stuff, I didn’t like, I still found a pretty addictive story. There were parts, like the last half of the book, that the action was raised to the nth level and I loved that. And that end was definitely a doozy. I’m definitely curious where the author will go with this in the next book and how the rest of this story of class lines and deceit will play out in the end. Definitely, one to give a chance to at some point in time.

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Review: Rites of Passage – Joy N. Hensley

Review: Rites of Passage – Joy N. HensleyRites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley
Published by Harper Teen
Published: September 9th 2014
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three-half-stars

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she's not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She's even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won't risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty... no matter how much she wants him.As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.At any cost.Now time's running short. Sam must decide who she can trust... and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

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

This book is getting a lot of buzz. Lately it seems everyone is either reading it or trying to get someone to read it. From what I see it has really high ratings so I was really excited to get a chance to sink my teeth into it myself. Sadly it is an unpopular opinion time. Although I liked the book, a solid 3.5 like, I wasn’t wowed by it like all the rest. It was interesting, some parts more than others, and had a unique idea that you don’t read a lot about and had good characters, but something just didn’t resonate with me. I certainly didn’t hate it, I just didn’t get that wow factor either.

Rites of Passage is about Samantha McKenna, a military brat that enters a prestigious military academy because of a dare from her recently deceased brother. Sam is one of the first females to enter the Denmark Military Academy. She knows she will have her work cut out for her. She isn’t going to be wanted there by a lot of people. She is prepared as she refuses to be the McKenna that lets her father down. But as soon as hell week starts things get even more complicated. ‘Mac’ as she is known, forms a crush on someone in the academy. But that is the least of her problems. The main problem is the secret society that is out to get her and they aren’t scared to shed some blood.

True story, I was 100% impressed by Mac. She was doing something most guys wouldn’t have the guts to do and she was doing it well. She was excelling every way she could and training in her spare time. She was hardcore and I loved that about her. She didn’t back down or complain or run scared. She was pretty awesome. That was the one thing I really loved in this story. Books need more female characters like this that aren’t dealing with a dystopian world war. And I also liked the relationship she formed with Drill. It seemed very organic and real. There was nothing forced about it, and I could feel the spark. That was another pleasant surprise.

I guess where some of my problem with this book that made it not have the wow factor was all the buildup it took to get to the intense action. It was definitely what you would call a slow burn. There was a lot of set up and use of military terms and background information. For me it was just a little too much as it made parts just seem a little duller. I mean I didn’t have to force myself to read the book or anything like that, but I just wish it moved a tab quicker. Also I really had an issue with that end. I mean what was that??!! I don’t want to give anything away but when I was done I was all like, HUH???

But all in all I enjoyed Rites of Passage. It was unique and kind of cool. I don’t see or read a lot of military kind of books so this was a nice change of pace. And when the action started to happen it was really good, end of your seat good. I would definitely recommend taking a look at it and I would definitely read more from the author in the future.

 

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