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Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Review: Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Summer of Sloane by Erin L. SchneiderSummer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider
Published by Disney-Hyperion on 03 May 2016
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 291
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Seattle Washington // Honolulu, Hawaii

First Line(s): The condom must’ve broke. Her words, not mine.

SUMMER OF SLOANE by Erin L. Schneider was one of those books I was really looking forward too because I knew several people who had read it and loved it. This wasn’t an over-hyped book and the synopsis made it seem like it was such a me book that I was eager to give it ago. The start of SUMMER OF SLOANE was fabulous and everything I was hoping that it would be and more. That is until around the 75% mark where this book made a complete 180 and left me wondering WTF I just read. There was so much potential for SUMMER OF SLOANE and there was already a lot of drama in the book without the story going where it went. Those last final bits just pushed it too far over the edge into the ridiculous and had me wanting to toss the book across the room.

Sloane is a likeable enough character who is dealing with a lot. Like seriously, her best friend and boyfriend not only hook up behind her back but they also end up pregnant. Sloane does what any self respecting girl does, she yells at her friend and punches her boyfriend in the nose. Sadly she doesn’t know how to through a punch and ends up breaking her hand in the process. She then plans to spend the summer with her mother and twin brother in Hawaii trying to get over the past and figure out who she is without the two people who meant the most of her. Two people who refuse to give her the space she asks for and who badger her constantly to forgive them and take them back because losing her friendship is too much for them to bear. That’s right folks, the faux-BFF and Ex-boyfriend never really apologize or take responsibility for the shitty things that they do and only care about how Sloane’s ignoring them makes them feel. Oh how I wanted to slap them both a hundred times over!!!

Summer of Sloane Quote

But Sloane is doing ok without them. She has her brother, she has her summer friends in Hawaii and she also meets Finn who may just help her forget her terrible ex. These are the parts of SUMMER OF SLOANE that I loved and connected with. They are the parts that had me rapidly turning the pages as Sloane discovered who she was without being part of the trio that she was back in Seattle. Finn was a great character and I loved how he and Sloane where together. Then SUMMER OF SLOANE took a dive off the crazy train and went from being a great book to me wondering what the heck I just read. There are misunderstandings which happen often enough in books but its how these characters react to them that had me reeling. Rather than talking they make these grand assumptions and then think that cheating is the answer. Because it worked so well when it happened between Sloane’s ex and her faux-bff. *insert eye rolling here*

I get that these characters are teenagers and maybe their actions make sense to that demographic but its not something I was able to get behind. Mainly because I’ve been cheated on in the past and its not something that can ever accept as being a way to solve a problem. SUMMER OF SLOANE is a book that I wish I could stop at a certain point. That part where I was still emotionally invested and loving every word. The ending of SUMMER OF SLOANE was just a mess that almost ruined the entire book for me. I became annoyed at all the characters and the payoff just wasn’t worth much of what came before. I did think that SUMMER OF SLOANE was well written I just wish it hadn’t introduced all that WTF-ery into the story. While SUMMER OF SLOANE isn’t a book that works for me on every level I do see the appeal of it and know of many a person that I can recommend it to as I know they’ll enjoy it more than me.

irishdarkblue

IR - Summer of Sloane

 

Click here to add From What I Remember by  Stacy Kramer and Val Thomas to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Click here to add My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatick to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

three-stars
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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Review: The Epidemic by Suzanne Young

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Epidemic by Suzanne YoungThe Epidemic by Suzanne Young
Series: The Program,
Also in this series: The Program, The Treatment, The Remedy
Published by Simon Pulse on 29 April 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Death & Dying, Diseases, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Romance, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: The Program, The Treatment, The Remedy

Place(s) Traveled To: Portland, Oregon / Roseburg, Oregon / Eugene, Oregon / Myrtle Creek , Oregon/ Grants Pass, Oregon / Weed, California

First Line(s): My entire life is a lie.

When I finished THE REMEDY by Suzanne Young I wanted to immediately jump into its sequel, THE EPIDEMIC because whoa Nelly that was one crazy way to end a book!! Thankfully, this was just a duology so I knew that Young couldn’t toy with my emotions TOO much but it was still a wild and crazy ride from the start of THE EPIDEMIC all the way until the end. I firmly believe that Suzanne Young is an evil mastermind as its pure genius how she connects all her books in this series together. I admit, there were times where I gasped allowed at a reveal and was taken by surprise by some of the twists and turns in the story. In the end, about the only real coherent thing I could say for THE EPIDEMIC is that it was mind blowingly good.

Blew My Mind

I still didn’t like, or trust, Deacon for much of the book but I did eventually come around to that ship. But who I shipped most was Quinn and all the things that she went through throughout THE EPIDEMIC. She had such an amazing story ARC that I am so very very sad to see it all come to an end. Although its good for Quinn because after what she went through I don’t think she’d survive any more of what Young could cook up for her. (Have I mentioned that Young is an evil author? Because if not she is.)

lots of feelings

THE EPIDEMIC is a book that kept me on the very edge of my seat from start to finish and one that I couldn’t put down once I started. I pretty much read THE EPIDEMIC in a single sitting and barely paused to eat or do anything because I was so invested in what would happen next. THE EPIDEMIC was so creepily delicious and by the end I was an emotional wreck of a reader who just wanted to cry in a corner and then maybe re-read THE PROGRAM because I think that book will be even more creepily good now that I know what I know about you know what.

the more you know

 

I have so much that I want to say about THE EPIDEMIC but its hard to do so without spoiling anything in the series. This is definitely one of those books where its best to go in fairly blind because then everything just feels a little bit more raw and the discoveries are that much more exciting. I also have real trouble finding words to fully express my feelings and thoughts about THE EPIDEMIC but I can show you what I was thinking as I read it via my Goodreads updates:

epidemic reactions

This world that Young has created in her Program series is nothing short of fantastic and all too scarily real. As you read this series you can see how these progression of events could happen and that just makes it all the more terrifying. Young is also a super talented writer and just has this way with words and language that really set a scene and pulls out real and raw emotions from a reader. I always become so invested in her stories and when each one ends I am left pining for the next one. If you haven’t experienced the crazy emotional roller coaster ride that is then what are you waiting for? Its totally worth it…and I’ll be waiting for you over on twitter with hugs and cookies if you need them.

shock - still processing

irishdarkblue

IR - The Remedy

 

Add The Remedy by Suzanne Young to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Altered by Jennifer Rush to Goodreads (Click here for my review.)

Add The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

five-stars
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Monday, April 25, 2016

Review: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Dead House by Dawn KurtagichThe Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on 15 Sept 2015
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Friendship, Mystery & Detective, Suspense, Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Somerset, England

First Line(s): I curse anyone who reads this book. If you touch it, hell will be waiting. Screw you. Happy reading.

THE DEAD HOUSE by Dawn Kurtagich is the a YA debut murder mystery story. Its told using mixed media or “found” documents after there is a fire at a boarding school that resulted in the deaths of a couple of students and another,Carly, to disappear without a trace. Twenty years after the events in question Carly’s diary is found and that is the main source material used to tell this story. The reader quickly learns that Carly isn’t your average teenager. Because at night she’s no longer Carly and she becomes Kaitlyn. The two girls, though they share a body, are two very different people and they lead two very different lives and yet they somehow manage to coexist. It is never clear throughout the telling of THE DEAD HOUSE which personality is the original and which is the alter.

THE DEAD HOUSE is a quick read because of its format and I thought that the story was well written and engaging as I was reading it. However, the more time that passes between my reading of the book the more story itself fades into the background. When I finished THE DEAD HOUSE I wasn’t sure what to make of the story and now a few months later I am still unsure of it. There didn’t seem to be much in the way of resolution and it felt a little open ended as if there might be a sequel at some point in the future. I also expected THE DEAD HOUSE to be a creepier story than it was and maybe the audio version incorporates the creep factor in better. Though I’m not sure how well this mixed media style would work in audio form.

The Dead House Quote

Overall, I was left a little underwhelmed with THE DEAD HOUSE. It was interesting and yet at the same time its also forgettable. I feel like I’m missing something when I see all the rave reviews of this story. Because for me there wasn’t a whole ton of substance. We got the facts and nothing but and we never really got a solution to the mystery at large. Who was Carly/Kaitlyn really? Where did she go after the fire? Or was she a victim that was never found? In the end I was left with more questions than answers so was left thinking that the whole story was just average.

Other than the main mystery of the fire, there are several other things going on from potential paranormal aspects to cults and mysterious events that happened years before the fire. There is a lot of detail given and yet not a lot at the same time. THE DEAD HOUSE is a weird little novel that I liked but didn’t love and maybe it is one that I should re-read to see if its one of those stories that makes more sense the more its read. Although, I really don’t have a whole heck of a lot of desire to re-read this one. THE DEAD HOUSE wasn’t a bad book but it wasn’t what I was expecting either and so maybe that’s part of where my disappointment comes in. If you liked mixed media and ghost stories then maybe you’ll like this one too.

irishdarkblue

IR - Dead House

Add The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender to Goodreads.

Add Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Listen to Me by Kristen Proby

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Blog Tour, Contest, Review6 Comments

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Listen to Me by Kristen Proby

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Listen to Me by Kristen ProbyListen to Me by Kristen Proby
Series: Fusion,
Published by William Morrow on 12 April 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, Performing Arts
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Rock with Me, Fight with Me, Safe with Me, Tied with Me, Breathe with Me

Place(s) Traveled To: Portland, Oregon // Hillsboro, Oregon

First Line(s): “In summary,” Cami, one of my very best friends, and a business partner, reads from the Portland Tribune, “Seduction is a restaurant unlike any other I’ve experienced.”

Kristen Proby is known for writing heartfelt characters with deep connections and sizzling passion. This April, she will seduce readers’ senses with a brand new series, Fusion, from William Morrow Paperbacks, in which five best friends open a hot new restaurant together. Today, we are thrilled to bring you the Review & Excerpt Tour for LISTEN TO ME, the first book in the Fusion Series releasing April 12, 2016. LISTEN TO ME finds a hot former rock star looking for a steady gig at the restaurant, but he’ll have to convince the prickly front-of-house manager to take a chance on him—with her business and her heart.

 Review

LISTEN TO ME is the first book in Kristen Proby’s newest series called Fusion which will revolve around five really good friends who own a restaurant together. LISTEN TO ME is Addie’s story, she’s the manager and she is looking for some musical talent to work the weekends and add to the ambiance. At an open mic night she sees Jake Keller, former lead singer of the hit band Hard Knox but doesn’t approach him, because HELLO ROCK STAR! They can’t afford that. Only, Jake’s BFF Christina sees the music act wanted sign and convinces Jack to apply. Since you don’t say no when a retired rock star offers to sing in your restaurant he gets hired and immediately starts to get his flirt on with Addie. Its cute and adorable and I just loved Jake. Addie has been burned by musicians before and just recently broke up with one so she’s wary at first but the sparks can’t be denied and soon they are on the path to happiness.

There were times when I found Addie to be a bit harsh but when you learn her history you do understand why she is the way she is. Which then only makes my heart break for her all the more later on in the book. Although I do think she strongly overreacted on one thing and blew it all out of proportion. Which then lead to their first fight, Jake then jumped to conclusions based on something he saw and his demons popped up and then before you know it the pointless breakup of all pointless breakups happens. Its over in 2 seconds and a heartbeat latter Jake regrets his actions and then for the last 40% of the book he is trying to make it up to Addie, a girl with abandonment issues so I understand why she’s reluctant to take him back. Especially since all his attempts are all him saying “I miss you” and none that take ownership of what he did.

This killed the book for me. Up until that pointless breakup I was loving this book. I adored the chemistry between Addie and Jake and loved loved loved their banter!! They got along so well and talked about so much but when it came to the one conversation that mattered they didn’t talk at all. Which made me just want to shake them so hard. There was no reason for this break up and it was drawn out way to long and its only point seemed to be cause its the formula to have a breakup and it didn’t seem like Proby knew of a good way to do it since Addie and Jake just worked so well.

I also wasn’t a fan of the epilogue. Readers, you know my thoughts on those and epilogues at the end of the first book in a series just hit a nerve more than any other epilogue. Especially since this one ends with a cliff hanger that will lead into the next book, CLOSE TO YOU (Goodreads), which isn’t out until August. My romance books shouldn’t come with a cliff hanger ending when they aren’t in the romantic suspense genre. So this and the pointless break up are what dropped this one from a 4.5 star read to a 3 star one in fast order. But I know those aren’t things that bother other people, I’m super terrible picky sometimes so know that up until those two things LISTEN TO ME was an excellent read.

LISTEN TO ME was a quick read once I was able to settle into the story. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough as I loved watching Addie and Jake come together. I adored all of the secondary characters and how they all fit and fleshed out the story. There were times that I laughed out loud at some of the banter especially scenes that involved Jake and his male BFF. There were times that this book made my heart ache and I was mostly happy with the ending I just wish that there some things that had been done a little differently. But that’s on me. You dear reader, for I know you well, you won’t mind those things near as much and so if you need a book to bring with you to the beach or pool then look no further than LISTEN TO ME. Just know you may get looks when you start to giggle from time to time.

irishdarkblue

Pre-Order Your Copy Today!

Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iTunes ** Kobo

Excerpt

 

“It is a shame,” Chris says.

                “Don’t start, C.” I toss the bacon on my plate and push it away.

                “All I’m saying is –“

                “The same thing you’ve been saying for years. I don’t want to live a public life anymore. It just fucks thinks up.”

                “You don’t have to live a public life to play music.” She shakes her head, cutting me off when I would speak. “Just listen. Kevin took me to a new restaurant the other night. It’s awesome.” She leans in, her brown eyes shining with excitement. “It’s sexy.”

                “The restaurant is sexy?”

                “Yes, and it’s amazing. So, these women have opened this place in downtown Portland called Seduction. There are aphrodisiacs on the menu, sexy music and atmosphere, amazing wine cellar. Did you know that asparagus is an aphrodisiac?”

                “I had no idea.”

                “Me either! Until we went there. It’s so great for couples, and it looks like it’s making quite a name for itself.”

                “What the fuck does it have to do with me?” I ask mildly and sip more coffee.

                “There was a sign in the window advertising for a weekend musician.”

                I stare at her, blinking.

                “So?”

                “So you should go apply!”

                She slaps her hand on the table and leans back with a satisfied smile, proud of herself.

                “Fuck no.”

                “Why not?”

                “Jake Knox doesn’t perform anymore.”

                “Jake Keller could.”

                I tilt my head, suddenly intrigued.

                “You don’t have to go in there and be a rock star, you know. You could just go in with your guitar and play music. You don’t have to do the old Hard Knox stuff, unless you want to try some acoustic arrangements. You could just do covers, if that’s what you wanted. Or new stuff you’re writing.”

                Suddenly the yearning in my gut is so intense I can barely breathe. I love producing and writing music. Hell, I spent a month up in Seattle last fall cowriting and producing with Leo Nash, an old friend of mine, for his band’s new album. It’s fulfilling.

                But fuck me, how I miss performing. And it’s really not about the screaming women, the lights, the louder-than-fuck music.

                It’s just the music itself. Performing and watching the crowd sing along.

                There’s just nothing like it. And the other night, when I sat on that stage and sang, it was like visiting an old friend.

                But I gave it up on a rainy night five years ago when Christina was almost killed and lost her leg, all because of me.

                I shake my head and clench my jaw. “No.”

Preorder LISTEN TO ME, fill out this form,

and receive an Exclusive Sneak Peek of

Kristen Proby’s EASY FOR KEEPS!

 

About LISTEN TO ME:

 

In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new series, five best friends open a hot new restaurant, but one of them gets much more than she bargained for when a sexy former rock star walks through the doors—and into her heart.

Seduction is quickly becoming the hottest new restaurant in Portland, and Addison Wade is proud to claim 1/5 of the credit. She’s determined to make it a success and can’t think of a better way to bring in new customers than live music. But when former rock star Jake Keller swaggers through the doors to apply for the weekend gig, she knows she’s in trouble. Addie instantly recognizes him—his posters were plastered all over her bedroom walls in high school—he’s all bad boy…exactly her type and exactly what she doesn’t need.

Jake Keller walked away from the limelight five years ago and yearns to return to what’s always driven him: the music. If he gets to work for a smart-mouthed, funny-as-hell bombshell, all the better. But talking Addie into giving him the job is far easier than persuading her that he wants more than a romp in her bed. Just when she begins to drop her walls, Jake’s past finally catches up with him.

Will Addie be torn apart once again or will Jake be able to convince her to drown out her doubts and listen to her heart?

 

 

ListenToMe_ProbyQuote_Tour

 

Author Pic - Kristen ProbyAbout Kristen Proby:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves. Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.

 

 

 

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter** Newsletter Sign Up

LISTEN TO ME Goodreads ** Kristen Proby Goodreads

 

 

ListenToMe_Tour_Teaser1

 

Tour Stops

Kristen Proby’s LISTEN TO ME – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

April 4th

The Cantu Sisters Book Reviews – Excerpt

2 Girls & Their Kindles – Review & Excerpt

Book Sniffers Anonymous – Review

Queenzany – Review

She Hearts Books – Review

April 5th

Melissa’s Book Obsessiom – Review

BBBf-sizzlereads-bestbookboyfriends – Review

Ticket To Anywhere – Review & Excerpt

EscapeNBooks – Review & Excerpt

April 6th

Shayna Renee’s Spicy Reads – Review & Excerpt

SnoopyDoo’s Book Reviews – Excerpt

MEReadALOT – Review

Hike2Forty and beyond – Review & Excerpt

Take Me Away To A Great Read – Excerpt

April 7th

Romance Addict Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Fiction Fangirls – Review & Excerpt

Between Books – Review & Excerpt

The Suburban Eclectic Review – Review

Princess Reads – Review & Excerpt

April 8th

Two Unruly Girls With A Romance Book Buzz – Review & Excerpt

Literati Literature Lovers – Review

What Is That Book About – Excerpt

Random Book Muses – Review

An Asian Chick & Her Cat Walk into a Book Blog – Review

April 9th

Novel Addiction – Review & Excerpt

Nerdy Soul – Review

BooksPieAndCoffee – Review & Excerpt

Short and Sassy Book Blurbs – Review

April 10th

Emmbooks – Review

The Book Hoarders – Review

Bridget’s Book Bungalow – Review & Excerpt

The Book Avenue – Excerpt

Smart & Savvy with Stephanie – Review

April 11th

Once Upon An Alpha – Review & Excerpt

A Sky Full of Stars Blog – Excerpt

Rosemarie McKenzie – Review & Excerpt

Alleskelle Blogs But Mostly Reads – Review

Southern Vixens Book Obsessions – Excerpt

ListenToMe_Tour_Teaser2

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Contest

a Rafflecopter giveaway

three-stars
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Friday, November 6, 2015

Review: George by Alex Gino

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Review: George by Alex GinoGeorge by Alex Gino
Published by Scholastic on 25 August 2015
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, GLBT, Middle Grade, Social Issues
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown, USA // Bronx, New York

First Line(s): George pulled a silver house key out of the smallest pocket of a large red backpack.

***There will be spoilers in this post so read at your own risk***

I first learned of GEORGE by Alex Gino when I received an ARC of it at BEA and I loved the premise and how the back of the book read “Be who you are.” I think that GEORGE has the potential to be a very empowering book but while I wanted to love it there were parts of it that just fell flat for me. For one, GEORGE is very short which isn’t uncommon for a middle grade read but as such I think that things were a bit rushed and felt unfinished. I also thought that the book was filled with extremes that while might be a good way to get a point across to a tween it just didn’t sit well with my adult self. The emphasis on gender separation was a bit grating and how boys were always represented by a blue color had had to do certain things and girls by pink. How the class lined up by gender and seemed to have separate entrances.

But even with the over emphasis on gender I did love George as a character. She was so sweet and genuine and made my heart ache with the responses of adults around her. Like her teacher insisting that the part of Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web could only be played by a girl and how she laughed when George tried out. That wounded my heart so much because there is no reason why a boy couldn’t play the role and also because George, while born in a male body wasn’t a boy. I loved how sure and secure George was in her thinking and I hated the doubts she had about telling the truth of her idenity to those around her. I loved how accepting her friend was and I hated the response she got from adults. Especially her mother.

George Quote

For months, George has been collecting girl magazines and hiding them in her room. They are her treasures and she loves to look at them and imagine how life would be if she looked like the girl she knew she was. When her mom finds this stash, mind you these are magazines like Teen Vogue, she flips out and yells at George that ‘he better not dress up in her clothes.’ As if that was something shameful and wrong. One of my favorite moments in the GEORGE was when she and her friend Kelly go to the zoo and she gets to be Melissa, which is the name she’d go by if she had a choice. She gets to wear a skirt and be the girl she is on the outside as well as in and she is just so happy. That’s how I wanted George to feel throughout the book.

I also felt that the reactions of George’s mother and teacher went from horrid to not in a whiplash inducing way. George’s mom went from telling George to not dress in her clothes and thing that ‘he’ was gay to being ok with George knowing she was a she. Although when George asks to be able to grow out her hair and live as a girl her mother still seems phobic about it. And that unsettled me as it seemed to put a grey cloud over the positive message that GEORGE was trying to be. But even though GEORGE unsettled me at times I do wonder how actual tweens will react to this book. Perhaps the extremes are needed to get points across to younger minds that see things more in black and white than in shades of grey. I also think that GEORGE is an important book and a good introduction to what it means to be transgender. I hope that we get more transgender books in the future for all age levels

irishdarkblue

IR - George

Add Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky to Goodreads.

Add Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Friday, October 16, 2015

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay KristoffIlluminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files,
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on 20 October 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Death & Dying, Diseases, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Suspense, Young Adult
Pages: 608
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Kerenzie IV and Deep Space via the Alexander and Hypatia  (Year: 2575)

First Line(s): “So here’s the file that almost killed me, Director.”

When I first picked up ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff I wasn’t sure what to expect but I do adore a good sci-fi and I was intrigued by the mixed media concept. So I crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t be disappointed by another poorly done sci-fi story and I dove in expecting to read this one slowly over the course of the month.

Fingers Crossed

Well the joke was on me because it wasn’t long before I found myself unable to put this book down. I was totally immersed in ILLUMINAE and this series of gives pretty much sums up how I felt once I was fully invested in the story:

can't stop reading

why are you doing this

ten in the rain

not ok

Star-Trek crying

lots of feelings

a river of tears

Seriously. I was a puddle of emotion and even now I find it really hard to put all my thoughts into words. This book just took me by surprise and even now long after I’ve finished it I am still locked in its grip. There is action and mystery and horror and romance and suspense and just so much more. The books formatting makes for a quick read and while there are times when mixed media can feel cold and impersonal in a book it really works well with this story. Despite the entire story being told in “found documents” (emails, video transcripts, IMs, etc) you really get to know all of these characters. Oh how I felt for Kady and Ezra and OH MY STARS how terrified I became of Aidan!

Illuminae Quote

scared

ILLUMINAE is a book that took me totally by surprise and literally made me gasp aloud. I can’t tell you the last time that happened with a book. It also brought me to tears and made my heart ache so very much. It was filled with everything that I love in a story and was also so much more. The story…the characters…the setting…it was just all so right and even though this book is 600 pages in length I devoured this book in just 2 days. And let me tell you the ending…oh that ending…it was the worst part. Cliffhanger.

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Which I hate because I have the patience of gnat but at the same time it was just so fitting for the story. ILLUMINAE is filled with lots of delightful twists and turns and I can not wait to see where things will go in the next book. This is one of those books that you really need to read to understand just how amazing it was and if you trust my reviews at all then trust when I tell you that you need to read this book. It was just that good.

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irishdarkblue

IR - Illuminae

Add Across the Universe by Beth Revis to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey to Goodreads.

 

Illuminae Collage

 

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five-stars
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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Review: Anything Could Happen by Will Walton

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Anything Could Happen by Will WaltonAnything Could Happen by Will Walton
Published by Push on 26 May 2015
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, GLBT, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Warmouth // Samsanouk – Unknown USA

First Line(s): Let me tell you about the first time I knew for sure I was in love with Matt Gooby.

ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN is the young adult debut novel by Will Walton and is told from the POV of Tretch who feels uncomfortable in his own skin at the start of the novel. Not because he is gay but because he doesn’t know how to tell those that he is closest too and so he feels awkward around them. To complicate things, Tretch believes that he’s in love with his best friend Matt who is most definitely into girls and who keeps trying to hook Tretch up with a date. For a short novel, ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN, took my awhile to read as it was a slow moving story. It also didn’t help that there didn’t feel like there was much spark or life to the story even with all that was going on. There were many ideas in ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN but they weren’t really fleshed out enough to be interesting to me.

Another thing that hurt my read of ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN was that there was no real romance to the storyline. Yes, Tretch had feelings for his friend Matt but he knew from the start that those feelings would never be reciprocated. Now I don’t always need romance in a story to like it. Sometimes the lack of romance can be refreshing as its so different than the norm. But I think in this case a romantic storyline could have only helped things as there would have been some action to the the story. Though even without a romance I did like Tretch’s character. I liked his love of music and how he wasn’t afraid to get lost in the lyrics and to make up dances to his favorite songs. I remember doing that myself when I was growing up and this book gave me a sense of nostalgia for those moments as its something I stopped doing somewhere along the path to adulthood.

Anything Could Happen Quote

At its core ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN is a book filled with secrets. There are so many secrets being kept by all the characters. The fact that Tretch is gay, how Matt really feels about this one girl, and various family secrets. It made for a lot of things to keep track of and deal with which weighed this story down. I think its all the secrets that made this one a slow read for me. It just seemed as if ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN lost focus at times and could have used a bit more focus and direction.

I did enjoy the friendship of Matt and Tretch but there were times when it seemed like Matt was using Tretch. Like Tretch was a placeholder until his real life began. When something happens at the end of the novel, and not Tretch’s coming out to his friend, it just seems as though Tretch was more affected by it than Matt was. Though I did like how accepting Matt was of Tretch and the feelings Tretch had for him even if he didn’t reciprocate. ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN will never be a favorite book but I do think its an important story and that Walton is an author to watch. I look forward to seeing what Walton writes next and I hope that I like it better than his debut.

irishdarkblue

IR - Anything Could Happen

Add None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio to Goodreads.

Add Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Posted by Irish in 2 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. MaasThrone of Glass by Sarah J Maas
Series: Throne of Glass,
Also in this series: The Assassin's Blade, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire
Published by Bloomsbury on 07 August 2012
Genres: Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Magic, Mystery & Detective, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 404
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
two-stars
Also by this author: The Assassin's Blade, Crown of Midnight, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Heir of Fire

Place(s) Traveled To: Endovier, Adarlan // Rhifthold, Adarlan (World: Erilea)

First Line(s): After a year of slavery in the Salt Mines of Endovier, Celaena Sardothien was accustomed to being escorted everywhere in shackles and at sword-point.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas is one of those books that came highly recommended to me by multiple people and one that had lots of promise. I have always loved a good fantasy read, especially when you add in assassins, and so I was looking forward to this one. However, this is one that never quite lived up to its promise and I ended up being horribly disappointed in it. Celaena Sardothien is supposed to be the worlds greatest assassin and yet we never see that side of her. She’s supposedly in this competition that will release her from slavery and make her the King’s Champion and yet despite 400 pages of text we see little of this competition. Even though, according to the synopsis, its supposed to be the main focus of the book. Instead, we get a character more focused on dresses or pouting because she has to miss a party. Then as the book progresses she shifts her focus a little and she gets all swoony in lust with the two male leads, Prince Dorian and Chaol Westfall who is Captain of the Guard.

*insert huge mega sigh here*

I was expecting more of a mystery as Celaena tried to figure out what was causing the deaths of her fellow contestants but she never really investigated and just sort of stumbled onto clues. Clues that were blatenly obvious and even though the big reveal didn’t happen until the end of the story I had this one figure out very early on. Which just added a whole other level of frustration to the story as things were so obvious and yet all the characters just sort of fumbled about turning a blind eye to things that were right in front of them. There there was one scene in the end where Celaena barely glances at a body and makes all these observations and the super smart Captain of the Guard is all how did I miss these obvious things on all those other bodies, wow Celaena for a cold-hearted assassin you sure are brilliant. Not to mention how he then asked her if looking at a dead boy was too much for her? Um…isn’t she the biggest, baddest assassin Erilea has ever seen? Dead bodies should be nothing new to her.

Another aspect about Throne of Glass that annoyed me was is shift in POV from Celaena to Dorian to Chaol. Now, if you know me, then you know I am usually a fan of multiple POV stores…when its done right. But in the case of Throne of Glass it came across as lazy story telling as Maas needed to move the story along but wasn’t entirely sure how so she just jumped into another characters head to do so. And don’t even get me started on the Lady Kaltain POV. Seriously that is a rant for another day. This may have been around the time I started to hit myself in the head with the book. Literally. In all honesty I have no idea how I managed to finish this one until the end. I really did want to like it but it was just a poor imiatation of a fantasy novel and it read more like a high school contemporary set in a fictional world.

Celaena is supposed to be this strong female lead but she never comes across as such. Not that she’s weak or anything its more that she’s just there and things happen around her. Then on occassion she’ll seize an opportunity and everyone will praise her and tell her how wonderful she is or how beautiful she is. We’re told over and over that she’s an amazing person and a deadly assassin but nothing in the text ever supports these claims. I much prefer my books to show me how a character is and leave the telling for other details that aren’t as readily explained. Celaena is also so oblivous to things around her and she keeps saying she’s a light sleeper or that she placed something in front of her door but people are constantly sneaking up on her while she sleeps. She’s so trusting that she eats everything that she finds and doens’t question where it came from or if it might be poisoned. Everything she does seems to be in direct opposition to how a fearless, trained assassin would act and I am abosultely amazed that she hasn’t been killed long ago.

In the end, Throne of Glass just wasn’t for me and while I initially rated it as a low 3 stars after writing this review I have to drop it down to 2. The more I think about this book the more it frustrates me. I think that Throne of Glass will appeal to the non-fantasy reader as its not really a fantasy story but those that love the genre as much as I do may be disappointed.

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irishdarkblue

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People who liked this one more that I did:

AndiABCs: “What I truly liked about the book most were the characters. Celaena was awesome. She had an edge to her but she was still a teenager with past demons. She was strong and did what she had to but she still felt things deeply no matter what people thought about her based on the fact that she was an assassin.”

Overstuffed Bookcase: “I loved the whole plot of this story, I loved all the characters, and here’s something I bet most people don’t say often with books these days–I loved the love triangle.”

Book.Blog.Bake: “I was worried for the safety of the characters I grew to love in a very short amount of time, especially since this book is part murder mystery. I think this really added a needed additional element to Throne of Glass.”

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two-stars
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Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: Breathe, Annie, Breath by Miranda Kenneally

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Breathe, Annie, Breath by Miranda KenneallyBreathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks,
Also in this series: Jesse's Girl, Defending Taylor
Published by Sourcebooks on 15 July 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Girls & Women, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 306
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Jesse's Girl, Defending Taylor

Place(s) Traveled To: Thousand Oaks, Tennessee

First Line(s): As a kid, I had the worst mile time ever.

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally is the first book of hers that I’ve read and I almost didn’t read this one as I didn’t realize that it was part of her Thousand Oak series. But after consulting with Twitter I was told that you didn’t need to read the others in order to read and understand this one so I decided to give it a shot. Breathe, Annie, Breathe was a quick read but I did find it hard to get into at first as I just couldn’t connect with with the main character. She was just all over the place with her emotions and seemed to transfer them onto others as well. I get that she was dealing with grief but she seemed to take it to the extreme. I know that everyone experiences grief differently but it just seemed over the top and took me out of the story. And if the grief was real then I really wish that she was in counseling for it as she wasn’t coping very well and as a result made some poor life choices.

I also didn’t really connect with Jeremiah either because he was such an ass in the beginning. He and Annie randomly hook up at the very beginning of the book and then he ignores her and doesn’t treat her very well. She then mopes about until he has a change of heart and then she is on the way to repeating her behavior with her dead boyfriend. In that, she wants to wrap her entire life up, in, and around his to the exclusion of all others. So for the first half of this book I really just wanted to smack these two characters up the head sideways. But then, they both seem to have this epiphany and the whole tone of the book changed for me. All of a sudden I began to like both Annie and Jere more and became invested in their story.

I experienced those heart achy moments that I so love experiencing in books and it just made me happy. So for me, the ending is what made this book and I was glad that I had stuck with it. As I said it was a quick read and there were moments of it that I liked. I liked how Annie grew over the course of the book because I don’t think I would have been able to finish it if she hadn’t. I admired her drive to want to do something for her deceased boyfriend even though I didn’t really agree with her reasons for it. I also liked how over time it because less what he would have wanted and more about what she wanted to do for herself. And while I didn’t always like Jere I do think that he and Annie compliment each other.

I enjoyed Kenneally’s writing and the world that she has built so I will probably read the previous books in the series. I think it will be interesting to see how they all connect with one another. Breathe, Annie, Breathe will never be a favorite book of mine but in the end I don’t think that my time was wasted in visiting Thousand Oaks.

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irishdarkblue

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three-stars
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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Review: Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Heartbeat by Elizabeth ScottHeartbeat by Elizabeth Scott
Published by Harlequin Teen on 28 January 2014
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown, USA

First Line(s): I sit down with my mother. My smile shaky as I tell her about my day.

***This review contains some spoilers so please read at your own risk***

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott is a book that I really wanted to love as I usually adore all things Elizabeth Scott. I just love Scott’s writing and the way that she can deal with some difficult issues. In Heartbeat, Scott takes on the complexities of life, death and blended families and sometimes I think she tried to do a little too much. First, there is the fact that Emma is dealing with the fact that her mother is dead and yet not dead in the sense that she’s being kept alive because she is pregnant. This leads to much stress and angst between her and her stepfather whom she used to be very close to. Add to that a potential new romance and my head is near spinning with all that is going on.

And while there is a lot going on in the story for the most part all the issues just stay on the surface. Emma runs around being an angsty teenager harping on everything and just being a royal B#$&* to the person she loved as a father and who loved her just as much in return. I think that Dan does a remarkable job dealing with Emma even if I also felt he was just a bit too passive and accepting of it. I think that he should have called her on her bullshit a lot earlier than he did. Just as I think that Emma should have been more upfront with what was really going on in her head. But then, at the same time she was every bit the teenage girl and so while Emma often bugged the crap out of me she was real.

I also liked Emma’s BFF Olivia. She was a genuine person and no matter what crap Emma pulled she was always there for her. Which helped Emma in that she was never bad to Olivia. Olivia is quirky and bubbly and in some ways reminded me of Mallory from Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt. I did have a love hate relationship though with how Emma compartmentalized her life in that she never discussed anything real with Olivia. If there was one thing that Emma excelled at in this book it was that she was great at avoiding issues. She refused to talk about anything and so the thoughts in her head just spun and spun and spun around until she near drove me mad with them.

The saving grace of Heartbeat came from Caleb, the cliched bad boy love interest. There is much typical YA love interest to be seen in Caleb and yet despite his cookie cutter mold I liked him. I liked how he made Emma see that there was more to life than just dwelling on what was. I liked that he showed her that she wasn’t alone in her thoughts and situation. That is always such a big part of overcoming anything traumatic because it helps to see that others are coping and even moving forward which means that you can too. Both Caleb and Emma really needed to find each other and so that I am glad that they did for together they can help mend the cracks even if they can’t remove them all together.

Heartbeat isn’t my favorite Elizabeth Scott novel as I just wanted more. I wished that she’d gone a little deeper in the issues she was exploring and I wish that there was real change in Emma. Her turn around from angtsy teen to full on happy(ish) and accepting girl was just so quick. So blink of the eye and there was nothing really to back it up other than a few random meetings with Caleb and one heart-to-heart with Dan. I wish there had been something more real used to help in her transformation, like regular visits to a therapist, or something that would make it be more real. Despite its flaws this is a book that I would recommend to some of my friends and I look forward to the next book that Elizabeth Scott write.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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