"I spent my life folded between the pages of books." -Tahereh Mafi

Some of my reviews are normal non-spoilery reviews. But some of reviews contain lots and lots of spoilers to help you (and me!) remember what happened when the next book in the series finally comes out. Both review types are clearly marked.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 2/5 stars

Not one likable character in this whole book. Like seriously, I couldn't bring myself to care if everyone in this book died. So I really didn't care if Preston was dead, who killed him, or if Max ended up going to jail for it.

Why do teenagers in books have to be so stupid? They really don't. Not all (or even most) teenagers are as idiotic as the characters in this book. If my best friend had gone missing when I was a teenager, I know I would have promptly gone to my parents and/or the police. And especially if her blood-covered phone showed up in my car, I would have contacted the police. I mean, I get that this perhaps would have made for a boring book, but at least it would have been more believable than this pile of shit.

Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 3/5 stars

This book is such a mind-fuck! At least until I figured out the twist about halfway through. But even then it was still enjoyable. I hate trying to review books like this because it's so difficult to review without giving anything away. So I'll just say that if you like slightly spooky books that keep you guessing, then you should totally read this book!

Paperweight by Meg Haston

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 3/5 stars

This was so disturbing, but in a good way. I've never had any sort of problem with food, so it was difficult to totally relate to, but the author did a good job of making me almost understand Stevie's motivations. There were parts that were almost too disturbing in the way that she sees food. But it seemed pretty true to what those who have eating disorders go through. Which made it even more disturbing.

This book was good, but I still didn't feel as much reading it as I felt like I should have. I just never fully connected to Stevie. Good, solid book, but not amazing.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 3/5 stars

This started out strong but I just got bored about 3/4 in. The concept was interesting and the world-building was solid. Every time I thought, "wait, but what about...?" it was explained.

And it was relatively unpredictable...for a ya dystopian that is. I wasn't quite sure where were going, but I enjoyed the ride.

Until we got there. And then I just got bored. I'm really not sure why, but I just lost interest. Maybe because it felt like the author was just trying too hard at times. Or maybe because some of the characters just weren't that well-developed. Regardless it was a struggle to finish this one even though I initially loved it.

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 5/5 stars

This book tackles so many difficult issues and it does it perfectly. Rape culture, consent, feminism. All handled perfectly. Finally. When the main character loses her virginity, she focuses on the active consent she's giving. And it's still portrayed in a sexy way (take that - anyone who thinks that consent isn't sexy!!). And when when of her friends bashes feminism, she defends it perfectly simply by defining it.

There is a lot of slut-shaming throughout the book, but it's believable under the circumstances. It's quite common for people to slut-shame rape victims. And it's dealt with well - rarely does the MC join in or think it's okay. Sometimes she doesn't object when I wish she would, but that's also understandable under the circumstances. Of course the slut-shaming bothered me - that's the point

It was good to see how differently everyone reacted to this one event. And it seemed that each of the MC's friends had a different reaction - from fear (that it could have been her) to sympathy to anger (that it was interfering with the basketball season). Each of these emotions was explored well - one of the friends who keeps slut-shaming the victim does so out of fear because she wanted to affirm that she's so different from the victim and that something like this would never happen to her.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Angelfall by Susan Ee

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1)
This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 4/5 stars

I've been avoiding this one for a while because I thought the angel thing would annoy me. I'm not a Christian and I just don't like angel stories. I dislike angel stories so much that I actually stopped watching Supernatural when all the angel stuff started happening! (don't worry - I started back up again!!) But this doesn't hit you over the head with religion. Actually, Raffe, an angel, admits to being agnostic.  

This novel is essentially a typical YA post-apocalyptic survival novel. Girl's sister gets taken and she has to navigate her new post-apoc reality to get her back, with the help of a hot guy who may be good or evil. It's pretty standard, but it's a standard I like, so I'm cool with it!

Another Day by David Levithan

Another Day (Every Day, #2)
This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 4/5 stars

This book was great, but nowhere near as awesome as Every Day. This is a companion novel instead of the sequel I've been desperately hoping for - seriously, there is so much more that could be done with A's story and to get a companion instead of a sequel is just plain disappointing.

If you read this immediately after Every Day, I would think it would be a bit repetitive. But it's been just enough time for me since I read it (it's been about a year) that I forgot some of the details, so this didn't feel boring to me. 

I didn't really like Rhiannon in Every Day and this book didn't make me like her any more.  She's just not independent enough for me. So I had a hard time understanding why someone as awesome as A would fall for her.

Bottom line: it's not really necessary to read both books and if you only read one, it should be Every Day.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Charity Raffle - Win a Kindle!!

Hey everyone! In September, I’m doing a 30 mile hike in 1 day to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive systems of approximately 30,000 children and adults in the United States. Research and are supported by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation are making a huge difference in extending and improving the quality of life for those with CF. However, we continue to lose at least one precious life to CF each day.

To raise money to support this amazing foundation, I’m raffling off a (gently used) kindle!! This is a basic, last generation kindle (non-touchscreen with the buttons on the side) – it works perfectly! Each $5 donation gets you one entry. You can donate here: http://fightcf.cff.org/goto/loyet When you donate, just put “kindle” in the personal note section so I know that the donation is a raffle entry. Winner will be chosen on August 10 at noon! Thanks and good luck!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 1/5 stars

DNF @ 40%

There is not one likable character in this book. I almost started to like Aubrey and then she ruined it.

Both Aubrey and Lena were dating Charlie, which they find out at his funeral. But Lena doesn't think he's actually dead so they team up to try to find him. Charlie is awful. I could not understand why either girl liked him. Lena admits that she always thought he was cheating on her. Even beyond the cheating, Charlie is just weird. He's constantly reinventing himself. For example, the Charlie that's with one girl doesn't like olives, but the one that's with the other love them. What is this? Is this supposed to be quirky and cute? Because it's not. It's just fucking weird.

Lena's annoying - she's the stereotypical rich girl. No depth whatsoever. And just when I think Aubrey might be tolerable, no - she spent most of her relationship with Charlie cheating with his friend. WTF?

So I guess I'll never know if Charlie is actually alive or not since I abandoned this book. But I am totally okay with that. Some things are not worth knowing.

Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 3/5 stars

The worst thing about this book is Ivy's friends. I am so tired of YA heroines that are "friends" with the popular mean girls but who secretly hate them. It just makes me hate the MC. I have never had a friend that I hated - seriously, what's the point? Is this something that actually happens?

Ivy spends most of the book terrified that her "friends" will find out that her family is *gasp* poor. Oh the horror! She does grow throughout the book to realize that living in Lakeside isn't all that awful and that there are worse things than not being rich. 

Besides the awful friendships, this book was mostly enjoyable. Nothing really remarkable, but a solidly enjoyable YA contemporary. There's a bit of a love triangle, but it's not too drawn out.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Pines by Blake Crouch

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 4/5 stars

What the fuck? This book was crazy! In a good way though. There were so many times while reading this book that I just said whaaaaat?  Remember the first season of Lost? How every episode there was something insane and wonderfully confusing that happened and it was so awesome? That's this book.

I feel like it's impossible to properly review this book without giving away any spoilers and I don't want to do that because guessing what the fuck is happening is the best part. And the end doesn't disappoint. I saw something similar happening but it was still surprising. So without giving anything away, I'll just say that you should definitely read this. 

Since I finished the book I also watched the first 2 episodes. The show is similar and yet very different. A lot of the parts of the book are in there, but in a different order. And the show moves a lot faster than the book. But if you've been watching the show, you should definitely pick up this book!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Clouded Sky by Megan Crewe

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 3/5 stars

Just not as good as the first book. This isn't bad, but it's just not great. Nearly the entire book takes place on an alien space station, which sounds exciting, but isn't. It's pretty boring. Skylar is basically trying to find the traitor in a group of people she's just met. Why her? Why can't anyone else figure this out? And the "mystery" of who the traitor is is just too damn obvious. What is she even doing there? You'd think that for all the trouble of bringing her along, they'd have something important for her to do...

The "pet" thing just freaked me out too much. A lot of people keep humans as "pets" and it's just as creepy as you would think. I've actually avoided other books that include this and probably would have avoided this one too if I had known it was part of the storyline.

I liked the idea of the love interest, but it just fell a little flat - I just didn't really feel anything. I actually really liked Jule, but I never got the sense that Skylar did.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Shadows by J.R. Ward

This post contains lots and lots of spoilers!!

Omg, this one is heartbreaking! It mostly focuses on Trez and Selena. Trez finally finds out about Selena's disease and even though he knows she's dying, he still wants to be with her for whatever time they have. Which ends up being like a week. I seriously thought they'd figure out a way to save her, but nope. :(  At the end Trez wants to die but at the entrance to the Fade, Selena tells him he has to stay to take care of his brother.

The secondary storyline involves iAm finally finding his HEA. He sneaks into the Shadows compound to look through the library for a cure for Selena. He ends up meeting and falling for Princess Catra (the same one that Trez is promised to!) disguised as a maid. With s'Ex's help, she finds out her mother has faked astrological charts. The queen faked the one that determined that her newborn daughter (with s'Ex) wasn't the heir (which means she was killed). And she faked Trex and iAm's charts - iAm is actually the Anointed One who's supposed to make babies with the princess - not Trez! What a wonderful coincidence since her and iAm have already fallen in love. s'Ex kills the queen as revenge for her causing his daughter to die; Catra becomes Queen and promotes s'Ex.

But this is a Black Dagger Brotherhood book so there's like a thousand other storylines to keep track of! First, something's up with Rhage. Mary thinks it's panic attacks because what's happening to Trez and Selena is too similar to what could have happened to him and Mary. But I think it's more that that. And the next book is about him, so...

There's little Assail and no Sola at all in this book. Wrath finds out that Assail's supplying the Lessers with drugs and that they're using those profits to buy weapons. Wrath confronts him and tells him he needs to stop. Assail agrees, but way too easily. He beheads the Forelesser, presents his head to Wrath, and tells him where the Lessers can be found. But he's definitely planning something else.

Xcor and Layla are still meeting up in secret. Xcor's bonded with her but doesn't think he's worthy. Layla's starting to fall for him too. Even more when she realizes that he has no intention of bringing down Wrath anymore. He feeds from her but then freaks out at his reaction and is afraid he'll hurt her and her unborn youngs (twins!!). He makes her leave.

Throe leaves the Band of Bastards because they no longer intend to overthrow Wrath. Now that he's democratically elected, Xcor doesn't want to overthrow him. Throe tries to convince the rest of the Bastards to leave with him, but they stay true to Xcor. Throe goes to Ablaone (Wrath's assistant) and asks to stay there and says he has info about the BoB. He tells Wrath that he's parted with the Bastards because he doesn't want to go after the King (liar!!). As Wrath and the Brothers become suspicious, he leaves Abalone's and asks to stay with an upper class female who's whored for the Bastards before.

The Brothers are also restarting training. And opening it up to everyone - even the poor and females!! Abalone's daughter Paradise wants to try out. Abalone doesn't want her to, but eventually he gives her permission. Her best guy friend Peyton is also trying out but is against her going because the females of the species are precious. Ugh.

Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 3/5 stars

This book has a bit of a paranormal aspect to it, but it still reads exactly like a contemporary. It was sweet, if not a little predictable. 

The book rotates between 4 POVs. The thing I liked best was how realistically distinct each of the girls are. And I don't mean in a stupid Sporty Spice/Posh Spice kind of way (these are the only Spice Girls I can remember! lol). They are each complex individuals who have their own personalities and interests. They're distinct, but not in a stereotypical ways. A lot of authors have a hard time writing one, let alone four, complex character. 

While the characters were interesting, the story was a bit boring. Sweet, but boring and predictable. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 1/5 stars

This book sounded so damn good, but it ended up being rather problematic.

1) Will felt so disconnected from everything. There was no emotion at all, even though emotional things happened. It felt like he was in a fog, which just made no sense. It made the book incredibly boring, even when things happened.

2) Where is the plot??? Seriously, what was the point of this book? Books are still supposed to have actual plots, right? Where there's some sort of story, with a climax and a resolution? This book had none of that. There was nothing. Just a jumble of things happening, without any reason. And the end. Ugh, seriously, the end isn't an end. Nothing is resolved. At all. Why did I waste my time when I get nothing at the end?

3) The painfully stereotypical portrayal of bisexuality. I was so excited for this book because there needs to be more discussion of bisexuality. Bis are horribly ignored in the lgbt community and in society at large. I thought this book would help fill that void, not play up existing stereotypes. The stereotype of bisexuals is that they are promiscuous - it's impossible for them to be in a monogamous relationship, because they always want both genders. Btw, while I'm totally cool with polyamory, not all bisexuals are unable to monogamous. This book plays into this stereotype in a damaging way. Will constantly cheats on Brandy with Angus, because he just wants them both so badly. And that's another thing - both relationships seem to have no actual foundation rather than sex. Casual sex is cool and all, but being bi (or gay or straight for that matter), isn't all about sex. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

How the Wolf Lost Her Heart by Sarah Brownlee

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 2/5 stars

This book would have been so much better if it had been written in and/or set in the 1980s. But apparently 200 years in the future, we still have crap like this:

"Picking on girls again because you're too much of a coward to take on anyone your own size?"
"And why in the world are you wearing men's clothes?""Oh, ah," said Skye. "I, erm, bought them.""Bought them? Why?""Oh, just felt like a change," said Skye in a would-be cheery voice."Felt like a change? Oh Skye... Please tell me this isn't a sign that you've lost interest in the male species!"
Nice to see that sexism and transphobia are still around in 200 years! Everything from the nightclubs to the weird rivalry between Skye and the "mean girl" seems straight from some '80s movie!

The world building here was weird. There were things that we explained in too much detail, while we were just supposed to let other things slide. Like apparently newspapers being abolished? Wtf? Why? There isn't a strong authoritarian government here so that just makes no sense. There's an attempt at explaining all the thugs that run rampant in the city, but it makes no logical sense. It would be better if there just wasn't an explanation. 

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 5/5 stars

This book was so damn cute! Simon is just adorable! Simon is not the typical lead character. He's not popular, but he's not a loser. He's a geek, but people like him. You know, the way high school is for most of us, am I right?

The friendships he has are wonderful. And the e-mail relationship he has with Blue is so sweet. And this book wasn't nearly as predictable as I thought it was going to be. There were so many times that I thought I knew who Blue was, and then, nope, I was wrong. Which was wonderfully surprising.

Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 3/5 stars

This was okay. Just okay. It was just so similar to Pivot Point, which was way more awesome. With Pivot Point, there was a purpose to the two different alternate universes; here there wasn't. Which just made the whole book feel pointless. I probably would have liked this if I hadn't read Pivot Point before. Honestly, if the concept intrigues you, just read Pivot Point. 

I also had a difficult time keeping track of each timeline. They're labeled with different names, but it was still hard to remember what had happened to each one. There's really not much more to say - everything about this book was just a big meh for me. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

99 Days by Katie Cotugno

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 4/5 stars

This novel is very messy - it's definitely not the typical YA contemporary romance that I was expecting, which was a pleasant surprise.  Molly comes back to her hometown for the summer after spending the year away at boarding school. She had left unexpectedly after everyone found out that she had cheated on her boyfriend with his brother. She never dealt with the fallout, but now she's back for the summer and has to deal with the whole town hating her.
It's easy to forget that your hometown isn't the entire universe.
I really liked this book. I liked the messiness and I liked the characters' imperfections. However, I think this book will make a lot of people angry There's quite a bit of cheating. I think it's dealt with realistically. It's messy and it doesn't follow the formula I expected, but it's realistic. The characters definitely have their faults, but they were realistic faults.

This book also touches on slut shaming. Yes, what Molly did was wrong, but Gabe was also wrong in sleeping with his brother's girlfriend. But of course no one in town is calling Gabe a slut or keying his car, a fact which he actually brings up a few times. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Half Dead and Fully Broken by Kevin Craig

This review is spoiler free!!

2/5 stars

If an author uses offensive language in a book, I automatically deduct a star. That's if I can even finish. The main characters used retarded multiple times in this book. When are authors and editors going to learn that this is a offensive word? And yes, trolls, I realize that teenagers use this word. That's not the point. When someone in real life uses an offensive word like that, I can tell them that they're being a stupid jerk and then I can decide to never speak to them if they continue to use offensive language - I can't do that in a book. But I can knock off a star in the hopes that eventually authors/editors will realize that people don't want to read crap like this.

Besides the offensive words, this book was okay. It was just a bit too weird for me. And not in a good way. Carter's twin dies and it's weird for him because Marcus was super popular and they have the same face and it's weird. And I thought this would make for a really interesting and heartbreaking story. And instead, Carter starts seeing Marcus's ghost and then starts dating Marcus's girlfriend. Yes, 2 months after his twin brother's death, he starts dating said brother's girlfriend. That's just fucked up.

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 4/5 stars

Krissy is a popular high school athlete when she finds out she's intersex. This causes her to reevaluate everything she think she knows about herself. This book explores an issue that's only recently getting more attention. This is still a condition that lots of people don't understand very well. I knew a bit about it, but I learned a lot more from this book. 

A book about a sensitive issue like this could come across as really preachy, but it doesn't. It's easy to identify with Krissy as she explores who she is and what gender means to her. This book explores big issues but it doesn't seem forced on you. The reactions of some of Krissy's classmates and friends will make you want to scream, mostly because of how realistic they are - I can totally imagine teens reacting that way and it's sad. Luckily, there's some positive reactions as well that will warm your heart.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp

This review is spoiler free!!

DNF @ 22%

The main problem I had with this book is how it's written. It's first person, but it's written to the love interest. I hoped I'd be able to get into it, but I just couldn't. It just felt too weird.

I might have been able to put up with it if the story was amazing, but it was about a girl who's dad loses her college money so she decides to make moonshine to make the money. :/ Just seems like a strange leap. I think I'd rather just take out a loan or wait a year than make and sell an illegal substance.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ash by Shani Petroff & Darci Manley

This review is spoiler free!!

1/5 star

DNF at 50% because I was just so damn bored! The plot is very slow-moving - it takes about a third of the way in before anything happens besides a sporting event. Then there's a little excitement for a bit but then that fizzles out too. 

The 2 povs are very difficult to distinguish from one another. The 2 girls are very different but their voices aren't. I usually don't have problems with multiple povs (I didn't have a problem distinguishing Tris and Tobias), but this one was tough. What's super weird is that there are 2 authors so I assume they each wrote a pov, which you would think would make them distinct. But you would be wrong. It was tough to really figure out any personality for the characters. Their demographics and situations are clear but they didn't have distinctive personalities, which made it so difficult to tell them apart. And it made it difficult to really care what happened to them.

Righteous by Kim Lehman

This review is spoiler free!!

3/5 stars

The best thing about this book is that it's less about the romance and more about Ria's relationships with other people - her new best friend, her mom, the principal who becomes like a father figure, an elderly woman who's like a grandma. 

The romance is sweet. Pretty predictable, but still sweet. But it's more the background story, unlike most ya contemporaries. It starts off like a ya contemporary romance, but focuses on so much more. 

What I didn't really like about this book is the main character. Her life isn't awesome, I understand that. But she's just so damn cranky. She's mean to everyone for no reason at all. She eventually grows, but in the beginning I just wanted to slap some sense into her.

Broken Skies by Theresa Kay

This review is spoiler free!!

3/5 stars

I liked this a lot, except...
Aliens that look exactly like humans except for weird hair and eye colors. Really? I mean this just makes no sense. I'm able to deal with that shit from Star Trek because it's Star Trek. But in any other SciFi, if the aliens look just like humans, I need a reason (see Stargate. No, seriously, everyone should watch Stargate because it's the best show ever in the entire world. But also they gave a great reason for why all the aliens look like humans - because, well, they are!). So I really need an explanation for this, although perhaps that's coming in the next book(s).

And then there's the bit where Jax has no idea what to do when she encounters a black bear. This is a girl who grew up in a cabin in the middle of nowhere with her father and brother; a girl who knows how to hunt and take care of herself. And she freaks out over a black bear?? Fyi, black bears are pretty timid - all you'd have to do it make a lot of noise and it would go away. Which you would think she would have known. Also, you'd think she'd know better than to just leave her pack on the ground unattended, where bears (and other critters) could easily get to it.

But I did really like Lir and the relationship that developed between Jax and him. It definitely wasn't insta-love. For a second I thought there'd be a love triangle, but that went in a totally different, and better, direction. So while there were a few things that annoyed me, overall I really liked this book and can't wait for the next one!!

The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

This review is spoiler free!!

4/5 stars

It seems to be the unpopular opinion, but I really liked this book! It certainly wasn't perfect, but most of its problems didn't bother me much.

This book is so similar to so many other books. A girl whose touch kills (Shatter Me), a girl promised to the prince but who also likes a guard (The Selection) and I'm sure there's others. Not very original. But I just didn't care. I still liked it! 

And the plot is just so damn predictable. I totally saw all the twists and turns coming. The ending wasn't the shock the author intended it to be. But again, I just didn't care - I still liked it! 

Sometimes a book just works for you even when you know it shouldn't. That was this book for me. Objectively, I shouldn't have liked it, but I just went along for the ride and all it's imperfections didn't get in the way of me loving it. Seriously, I can't wait for the next book!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

This review is spoiler free!!

4/5 stars

So many feels! The author obviously understands grief and how it feels to lose someone you love. There's a lot to identify with for anyone who's experienced loss. If you are lucky enough to have not yet lost someone you love, this book will give you a glimpse of what it's like. And if you have experienced that type of loss, there's so many times you'll say "yep, that's it."

When Ty first died, she was there every time I turned around, her eyes worried and bloodshot with crying. "Are you okay?" she'd ask, over and over and over. No, moron, I'd think. I am not okay. My brother's dead. But I'd suck it up and say, "Yeah, I'm okay," which after a few days gave way to a weak nod, and then she'd say something like "Let me know if you need anything" or "I'm here if you want to talk." Which, after a while, I figured out was what she really wanted me to do. She wanted me to talk about Ty. About his death. About my feelings about his death. And suddenly I got the distinct feeling that she wanted me to cry, so that she could be my shoulder to cry on. She wanted me to break down so that she could build me back up, so she could be my stellar bestie who got me through the worst.
True story - 8 years after my mom's death, I still refuse to spend Mother's Day with my extended family because everyone looks at me like I should be sobbing the entire day. No thanks. 

I loved the main character. She's geeky, but not unrealistically so. She's consumed with grief and guilt over her brother's suicide so she ends up pushing away all the people who care about her. Her best friends, her boyfriend, her parents, everyone. There's some great friendships and there's a sweet little romance. The romance definitely isn't over the top and it's not like the guy "saves" her from grief or anything stupid like that. They were in love before her brother died and she pushed him away. 

Find at Goodreads