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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Sort-Of Return of a Terrible Blogger (aka Rapid Reviews #1)

Posted by Irish in Review1 Comment

Ack!!

2017 has not been a good year for me blogging wise. Its not that I don’t want to blog I just get so overwhelmed with how far behind I am on reviews and so run away from the open blog post window and escape into a book. Which then just makes the cycle repeat. So I think that I am just not going to try. Which is a terrible thing for a blogger to say…but its October 2017 and I’m like 158 blog posts in the hole….there is no way I am digging myself out that that with any grace. lol

So instead what I am going to do is draft up a series of posts listing out the books I’ve read each month. Starting with some of my 2016 backlog….yes, I still have books to review from 2016. 

 

I will mention the book, my star rating, and will add in a line or two of thoughts for those books I remember enough to comment on. Maybe one day, for some of them, I’ll write up something longer. But for now I think that this is what I can handle and then I can start of 2018 with a clean slate. Because I do miss blogging. I’ve just been doing this for ten years and got a bit overwhelmed so I think this break has been good for me. That said here are my first Rapid Reviews.

READ IN 2016 – Part 1

1. Title: All Note Long
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Perfect Harmony, Book 3
Genre: New Adult, MM Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Netgalley
Rapid Review: This was such a fun story and I just loved the push and pull between these characters. They gave me all the heart-achy feels that I love and I had such a hard time putting this one down. A great end to a fun series.
Recommend: Yes!

2. Title: Interference
Author: Kay Honeyman
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Edelweiss
Rapid Review: This one left me wanting something more. I also did not like the main character. She was so clueless about everything, her love interest was always trying to make her look like an idiot, and her parents were just awful. I went into this one with high hopes and found it to be just so-so.
Recommend: Not really

3. Title: Even Odds
Author: Elia Winters
Series: Slices of Pi, Book 1
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Netgalley
Rapid Review: So…I kind of recall reading this one but I also don’t really remember much else. GR says I read it in a day which is usually a good thing, but I made no notes. So, in the end a forgettable read.
Recommend: um…maybe? lol

4. Title: Two Summers
Author: Aimee Friedman
Narrator: Frankie Corzo
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Parallel World
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: This was such a fun story!! I loved how Friedman pulled off the parallel words and how she brought everything full circle for a satisfactory ending. The narrator was A+ and really helped to bring these characters to life. I wasn’t always a fan of the secondary characters (Ruby 😡 ) but I could totally relate to Summer.
Recommend: Yes!

5. Title: The Star-Touched Queen
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Narrator: Priya Ayyar
Series: The Star-Touched Queen, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: 2 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: ZOMG this MC bugged the ever loving crap out of me! Talk about your TSTL sort of heroine. I spent much of the book wanting to shake her and the rest rolling my eyes. I found the plot to be repetitive and really the only thing that kept me in this one until the end was the narrator.
Recommend: Nope!

6. Title: Girl Against the Universe
Author: Paula Stokes
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Publisher
Rapid Review: This was one of those books that I didn’t mean to start when I picked it up and then became so engrossed I couldn’t put it down. I loved these characters and the story that Stokes told. I do think that some things were a little rushed but overall just a great story that kept me up into the wee hours of the morning. <3
Recommend: Yes!

7. Title: Holding Up the Universe
Author: Jennifer Niven
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Publisher
Rapid Review: This was sent to me by a sales rep friend of mine and I wasn’t sure if it was a me book. But my starts, this friend gets me and the books that I like. I fell in love with these MCs and had such a hard time putting this one down. It just hit me right in the feels and I can’t recommend it enough.
Recommend: Yes!

8. Title: Wolf by Wolf
Author: Ryan Graudin
Narrator: Christa Lewis
Series: Wolf by Wolf, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult, Alternate History
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: I went into this one with high hopes and was terribly disappointed. It was so very sssllllooowww! Nothing seemed to happen for much of the story and then you blink and its over in this crazy convoluted climatic scene. Ugh. I was annoyed more than anything and not sure if I’ll ever pick up sequel as I really don’t care about these characters.
Recommend: Maybe

9. Title: Connection Error
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: #gaymers, Book 3
Genre: New Adult, MM Contemporary Romance
Rating: 3.5 stars
Source: Netgalley
Rapid Review: Annabeth Albert is a total must read author for me as she writes such wonderful characters. There is angst and heart ache and everything just ends in a happy sigh. I know when I pick up an Albert book that I’ll most likely read it in one sitting and be left wanting more and this one was no exception.
Recommend: Yes

10. Title: Shadow Magic
Author: Joshua Khan
Narrator: Ramon de Ocampo
Series: Shadow Magic, Book 1
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: It took me FOREVER to start this one, not because anything was wrong with story but because I was so scared I wouldn’t like it that I was afraid to start it. But once I did I was totally sucked in. Loved these characters (HADES!!!) and this world. Such a fun, fast paced middle grade series. My only real disappointment was that they didn’t use two narrators. There were POV chapters from Lily’s POV and they would have been even better with a female narrator to go along with them.
Recommend: Most definitely!

11. Title: The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You
Author: Lily Anderson
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Netgalley
Rapid Review: Holy geekery goodness! I loved everything about this story. Trixie was a character that I could easily relate to and this story took me notice or at all to read. I think I had a big smile on my face for much of the book. Lots of pop culture nerd references which you don’t see a lot of in YA characters. The only real thing missing was that the romance wasn’t super romancy (i.e. not enough kissing) but there is a companion coming out so I hope to see more of these characters in that book!
Recommend: Si Senor

12. Title: Gemina
Author: Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files, Book 2
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Publisher
Rapid Review: I DEVOURED Illuminae and was super excited for Gemini. While I didn’t love this as much as the first I did still enjoy it. This one was a wee bit more love triangly (though not terribly so) than I would have liked. Overall this was still an addicting read and I am really curious to see where things go in the third book.
Recommend: Heck yeah!

13. Title: One Silver Summer
Author: Rachel Hickman
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 2 stars
Source: Gift
Rapid Review: This one seemed like it would be totally up my ally but oh my stars it was painful to read!! I did read it in a single sitting as I kept hoping for improvement but alas this one was a dud. Too many one off POVs, easy story lines to figure out and a way to annoying heroine just wrecked this one for me.
Recommend: Nope. Nope. Nope.

14. Title: Cold-Hearted Rake
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels, Book 1
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: Kleypas is usually an easy sell for me but I didn’t love this one as much as her others. I really wasn’t a fan of how the heroine’s sister hijacked much of the book. This is all the more annoying when you know that book 2 is the sisters book so much of what happened here should have happened there. I liked the characters for the most part those the heroine did annoy me more than I would have liked as well.
Recommend: Yes, but not to everyone

15.Title: The Deepest Blue
Author: Christina Lee
Series: Roadmap to Your Heart, Book 2
Genre: New Adult, MM Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: I always love a good Christina Lee story and have been enjoying her foray into MM romances. And while I enjoyed this one there was just something missing that kept me from loving it entirely. I liked the family interactions and the push/pull between the two MCs…I just can’t put my finger on what didn’t set my heart aflutter. Still worth the read though if you stumble on it 🙂
Recommend: Yes

16.Title: Overexposed
Author: Megan Erickson
Series: In Focus, Book 4
Genre: New Adult, MM Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: Oh star this book!! Oh how these characters made my heart ache in all the best possible of ways. I could not put this book down and its totally my favorite in the series. I loved how this story progressed and how Erickson brought them to their HEA. Biggest regret is that it had to end.
Recommend: YES!!

17.Title: All the Wrong Places
Author: Ann Gallagher
Series: Bluewater Bay, Book 14
Genre: New Adult, MM Contemporary Romance (Ace MC)
Rating: 3 stars
Sourced: Library
Rapid Review: This one drew me because of the Ace MC but I did feel like I was being lectured to a lot about the different types of love. It also seemed a little too, gay for you at times as well, but that may have just been my frustration with how some of the characters acted and all the lectures. I also really hated on character and wasn’t a fan of the epilogue. Why oh why do I read epilogues? Overall though, I did like how different types of sexuality were explored in this book as there aren’t enough Ace characters in books.
Recommend: Yes

18.Title: Fly With Me
Author: Chanel Cleeton
Series: Wild Aces, Book 1
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Publisher
Rapid Review: Hello sexy fly boys! I don’t read a ton of military romances but I did enjoy this one. The characters were fun and the chemistry sizzled off the page. There was lots of great banter and angst and I just rushed right through this one until I hit the end of the book.
Recommend: Yes

19.Title: Shuffle, Repeat
Author: Jen Klein
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 stars
Source: Purchased
Rapid Review: This one started off of so adorably cute and I was loving every page. I was flying through the pages but then it all just took a turn near the end. I still liked it but it totally killed some of my enjoyment of the whole story.  Definitely worth the read though if you are looking for something cute to pass the time.
Recommend: Yes

20.Title: Frazzled: Everyday Disasters of Impending Doom
Author: Booki Vivat
Series: Frazzled, Book 1
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Edelweiss
Rapid Review: I don’t read a ton of middle grade but I did adore this one. Its a mix of drawing and story and it just all flowed really well. Abbie Wu is a character that was easy to identify with and the story made me laugh out loud at times. It was a super quick read and I am looking forward to reading more of Abbie’s adventures in middle school.
Recommend: Yes

Reviews Left in the Queue

2016: 30
2017: 111
Total Reviews: 138

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Friday, July 1, 2016

Review: Deeper by Robin York

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Deeper by Robin YorkDeeper by Robin York
Series: Caroline & West,
Published by Bantam on 28 January 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 370
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Putnam, Iowa // Ankeny, Iowa

First Line(s): Sometimes I hate the girl I was back then.

 

DEEPER by Robin York is a book that came to me highly recommended by a few different people. But once I saw there was no HEA and that the story continued in another book I was a bit hesitant to try it. I like my romance stories to be contained in one book and I most definitely like there to be a HEA. While I found DEEPER to be a quick read it hasn’t been a very memorable one. And my one Goodreads note, at 68%, declares West to be an asshole. This, ladies and gentleman, is the love interest. If he’s not a super likable character at 68% then how am I to be invested that he and his lady love, Caroline, are meant to be?? Caroline and West are your typical New Adult trope characters. She’s the goody goody rich girl that everyone loves and he’s the ultimate bad boy that she’s warned to stay away from. But there are sparks the moment they meet and while they don’t speak for years they both secretly lust after each other.

Then when Caroline’s super perfect (on paper at least) boyfriend, the golden boy of her high school and the guy her daddy adores doesn’t like that she broke up with him he lashes out. He posts intimate pictures of Caroline and posts her personal information (address, email, phone, etc) on-line like the true dickhead he is all while pretending it wasn’t him and that he’s shocked and upset and they should totally get back together. Everyone on campus of course can’t see that he did something wrong and she’s slut shamed and harassed on every level. Renege porn is a real and terrifying thing and I think that York handled that aspect of the story well. But I hated how everyone blamed Caroline for it, even her own father, and of course only West saw the crime of it which brings the two closer together.

Deeper Quote

Then things happen, there is drama and angst and all the new adult book cliches that you would expect. DEEPER is filled with ALL THE TROPES and then to go through all of that and not get a HEA?? Ugh. No. Not a fan. There is also nothing truly memorable about this book. Before starting my review I had to go and read reviews written by others on Goodreads because I was drawing such a blank as to what happened in this story. The only thing I really remembered was the whole revenge porn aspect. Other than that this story did not stick. Which, for me, is never a good sign for a book because me plot recall is usually pretty good. As such I’m not sure that I’ll read the sequel, HARDER (seriously NA please come up with better titles!!! You do your genre a disservice.)

I think that I just expected more from DEEPER because of all the hype and it just didn’t live up to my expectations. For a story that spans two books I wanted to be wowed and filled with an eager expectation to see what happened next. But in all honesty I really don’t care if Caroline and West ever find their HEA. I’m not invested in them enough as a couple for that. And despite being told over and over I’m just not sure that I believe in their romance. Yes, they lust after each other but as people I’m not sure just how well they mesh or believe that they’ll work in the long term. There were parts of DEEPER that were good but they just weren’t enough so in the end I was just meh on this one.

irishdarkblue

IR - Deeper

 

Add Revenge Bound by Heidi Joy Tretheway to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add All the Rage by Courtney Summers 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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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Audio Review: The Remedy by Suzanne Young

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

Audio Review: The Remedy by Suzanne YoungThe Remedy by Suzanne Young
Narrator: Rebekkah Ross
Series: The Program,
Also in this series: The Program, The Treatment, The Epidemic
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on 21 April 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Death & Dying, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 9 hrs and 45 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
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 Epidemic

Place(s) Traveled To: Corvallis, Oregon // Eugene, Oregon // Portland, Oregon // Lake Oswego, Oregon

First Line(s): It’s time to say good-bye.

When it came to Suzanne Young’s book THE PROGRAM (my review) I fell hard and I was sad when the series was over as I just loved this world that she created. When I heard that Young was writing a prequel duology I was both excited and scared and sad. I was excited because I wanted more of this world and I was scared because I wasn’t sure if THE REMEDY would live up to its predecessor and I was sad because our old friends wouldn’t be in this one. I should not have worried though as Young totally knocked things out of the park with this creepy origin story to how The Program came to be. THE REMEDY is told from the POV of Quinlan McKey who is a Closer. That is she is a girl that pretends to be girls who died in order to help grieving families move on.

Quin’s life is never fully her own due to the work that she does and its something that her father has had her do for the past 11 years. Which is far far longer than the recommended time to be a closer. In THE REMEDY she’s sent out on a long term assignment not long after coming off a job and as a result she begins to lose herself a little. Quin has never lived a normal life but in this role she gets to experiment with what may have been if her life was different and she likes it. Quin also begins to uncover some shocking facts and learns that all may not be what it seems with the company that she works for and with the world in general. There seems to be an epidemic starting and if she isn’t careful she might get sucked in.

The Remedy Quote

I didn’t think that I would like a character more than Sloane from THE PROGRAM but Quin totally wins the reader over with her actions. She’s smart and vulnerable and as a reader you just want her to find peace and happiness. You want to shake her father for making her do this work and you want to slap Deacon for some of the things that he does. I was totally invested in THE REMEDY and found myself coming up with reasons to drive around town just to listen to more of this story. Its twisty and turny and there are just some things you can’t see coming until after they’ve happened. Rebekkah Ross is a fantastic narrator and her voice just totally sucks you into this story and won’t let you go. Ross *is* Quin and you can’t ask for any more than that when it comes to a books narrator.

THE REMEDY was a total emotional roller-coaster ride for me and just when I thought I had things all figured out Young would toss in some new fact or detail to totally surprise me. THE REMEDY left me in awe an amazement and I just don’t understand when everyone isn’t totally buzzing about this story. Its realistic and stunningly written and I love trying to find all the connections between THE REMEDY and THE PROGRAM. Its a book that can be read independently of the other series but I think it just becomes all the richer for reading in the order that it was written in. THE REMEDY is one of the best books that I’ve read so far this year and I can not wait to see where Young goes with this series next.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - The Remedy

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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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review: The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent

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

Review: The Stars Never Rise by Rachel VincentThe Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent
Series: The Stars Never Rise,
Published by Delacorte on 9 June 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Death & Dying, Demons, Dystopian, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: New Temperance, Unknown

First Line(s): There’s never a good time of day to cross town with a bag full of stolen goods, but of all the possibilities, five a.m. was the hour best suited to that particular sin.

Before reading THE STARS NEVER RISE by Rachel Vincent I wasn’t sure what to expect from it. I knew some of my trusted friends had read and really enjoyed this dystopian novel so when a copy landed in my lap I decided to give it a shot. I thought that THE STARS NEVER RISE was an interesting read and a change on your typical dystopian story but it also took me longer to read than it should have and I can’t full place my finger on why. There was just something about the story that didn’t compel me to pick it up and as such I became easily distracted by other things until I forced myself to sit down and finish the story.

I thought that the world in THE STARS NEVER RISE could have used a bit more development but overall it did have more character to it than many of today’s dystopian reads. I also liked the characters and thought that Nina was strong and courageous and dealing with a whole mess of things that no teenage girl should have to deal with. And it certainly doesn’t help when she learns that the demons that her world has to deal with are an even bigger threat than initially thought. That’s right, I said demons. THE STARS NEVER RISE is full of them and I liked Rachel Vincent take on this mythology and how she incorporated religion into her story. For in Vincent’s world the Church has taken control of all as a way to hold back the demon horde but all is not as status quo as the Church wants everyone to think.

Stars Never Rise Quote

There is also a very interesting romantic interest in this book and those that aren’t a fan of love triangles will have to beware before picking up this book. While THE STARS NEVER RISE doesn’t have a love triangle in the traditional sense there are aspects to this story that may be off putting to some. I thought it was interesting and I do wonder where Rachel Vincent is going to go with it. Although I do have a theory so I am curious to see if things unfold the way that I think it might. If it does I will be really disappointed so here’s hoping that Vincent is more clever than I when it comes to that situation.

Readers should also know that THE STARS NEVER RISE does end with a cliff hanger. For me, its not a gripping edge of your seat I need the next book now sort of cliff hanger but it does have me wanting to see how it all ends. As such, I will be picking up the next book THE FLAME NEVER DIES (Release Date: Aug 2016) but don’t think that I will be rushing out to read it. I also think that THE STARS NEVER RISE is just a duology and I like that we’ll be getting an ending ending with the next book. Although I could be wrong about this and I’m just going off what Goodreads is showing me. Overall, I liked THE STARS NEVER RISE but I didn’t love it. I think that fans of dystopian reads (even those who are tired of the genre) will enjoy it but maybe wait until August because…you know…cliff hanger.

 

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Stars Never Rise

Add The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Blog Tour, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Blog Tour Review: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa YeeWonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee
Series: DC Super Hero Girls,
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on 01 March 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Fantasy, Friendship, Middle Grade, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 240
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Metropolis // Paradise Island

First Line(s): It was barely the third week of school, and already someone had been expelled.

WONDER WOMAN AT SUPER HERO HIGH by Lisa Yee is the start of a new middle grade series set at the fictional Super Hero High in Metropolis. This is the school where all the young super heroes go to learn how to use their powers and how to be a super hero. Or maybe not as not all those who go to this school have good intentions in mind. Wonder Woman is a total fish out of water when she starts at Super Hero High having been home schooled and fairly sheltered on Paradise Island by her mother. She knows of the outside world but she misses a lot of social queues and doesn’t always get the joke. She’s a very literal girl and so this makes her a tad bit socially awkward and that is part of what makes Wonder Woman, or Wondy as she begins to be called, a relatable character.

Going to a new school is always hard be it a transfer in, a move from home school to public, or even going from middle school to high school. Its easy to get overwhelmed at times or to sign up for too much. Not to mention all the pitfalls of making new friends (or enemies as the case may be) along with being part of the social media generation. Wondy learns all of these things, often at a comical expense throughout the course of WONDER WOMAN. Her roommate runs HQTV (aka Harley Quinn TV YouTube channel) and so often captures Wondy’s mishaps along with her fellow students much to Wondy’s embarrassment but its something she learns to deal with and become aware of. To think before she acts because you never know who may be watching and to learn to accept that she can’t be perfect all of the time.

Wondy is a bit naive at times and that wasn’t always the easiest things for me to read as an adult but I think that this is something that will really help her appeal to a younger reader.  Wondy is also filled with so much heart and dedication to do well and to be the best friend she can be. She’s the sort of girl who wants to be the best at everything and to win all the awards but she’s also humble enough to know when to share the spotlight with someone else. Even if doing so means sacrificing something else.

There were times when WONDER WOMAN made me laugh at loud, usually at something Harley Quinn said, and times where it made me cringe. I loved all the various characters that were incorporated into this story along with the superhero triathalon. I liked how this was a girl power dominated story in a universe that is typically overshadowed by boys. I thought that the mystery element was a little weak, choppy and highly underdeveloped but that is probably not something that will bother younger readers. But will also help in teaching them the impoartance of making assumptions and why that isn’t always a good thing. There are a lot of great teachable moments in WONDER WOMAN and its a book that I look forward to sharing with my niece as I think she’ll like it a lot.

irishdarkblue

IR - Wonder Woman

 

Add Cinderella Stays Late by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams to Goodreads (Click here for my review)

Add Gotham Academy Volume 1 by Becky Cloonan to Goodreads.

four-stars
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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: P.S. I Like You by Kasie WestP.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Published by Point on 26 July 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Distance Between Us, Pivot Point, Split Second, On the Fence, The Fill-In Boyfriend

Place(s) Traveled To: Morris, Arizona

First Line(s): A lightning strike. A shark attack. Winning the lottery.

There are few authors out there in which I get really excited for…ok that’s a lie…but you know the feeling I mean that bouncy excitement when you hear that author x has a new title coming out. Its that moment when you know you want the book right that instant and it almost doesn’t even matter what the book is about because you want it and you’ll love it because it is author x. Well, Kasie West is that sort of author for me and I yearn for a new book from here even as I’m just starting her newest book. Such is the case with P.S. I LIKE YOU which is a story that I devoured and then was left a wee bit sad at the end because I didn’t savor that first time read. I’ll never experence these characters for the first time again and yet I know that there is nothing that could have slowed down my reading process because the story was just that engrossing.

West has a gift for writing likable and believable characters and in creating a world that you want to exist in. Kasie West’s characters aren’t perfect, they make mistakes and there are times when you want to shake them. Lily could be frustrating at times with her attitude towards one character but over all I adored her. I also loved her friendship with Isabel. Those girls are everything I like to see in a friendship in books. They support each other and they also call each other out on their crap. I hated when they fought and my heart ached during those moments and I loved when they came back to each other. They were real friends, unlike so often in a YA book when the BFF is more of a frenemy than a friend.

PS I Like You Quote

And then there was the boy. *inesrt happy sigh here* Oh how I loved how West reveled the plot of PS I LIKE YOU. I adored the note exchange and how Lily and her love interest got to know each other without bias. In letters you can more easily be yourself. You don’t have to pretend if you don’t want to and over the course of several exchanges Lily and her guy revealed secrets and likes and just got to know each other without filters. There was no pretending or putting up false fronts and their exchanges just make your heart ache at times. Especially when the time comes to leave letters behind and to maybe find that common ground in the real world. This transition is one that West does beautifully and oh how it all made my heart melt in the end.

PS I LIKE YOU was a quick read and one that I loved. In my opinion, you really can’t go wrong with a Kasie West book. They are fun and enjoyable and I’ve loved them all. Although if I were to pick a favorite then, right now, it would be PS I LIKE YOU. This book isn’t perfect but its pretty gosh darn close and I know that I will be re-reading it often. PS I LIKE YOU has everything I adore in a story and even a little bit more. Its Kasie West at her best and I’m already hungering for her next book. West is usually an instant love for me and if she is for you as well then you’ll be wanting to make sure you get your hands on PS I LIKE YOU.

irishdarkblue IR - PS I Like You

Add In Real Life by Jessica Love to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola YoonEverything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte on 01 September 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Diseases, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Los Angeles, California // Kahului, Hawaii

First Line(s): I’ve read more books than you. It doesn’t matter how many you’ve read. I’ve read more. Believe me. I’ve had the time.

When I first heard of EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING I wasn’t sure if it would be a book for me. For one, its an Alloy Entertainment book and me and packaged books don’t always get along the best and two because of its topic. But then I kept hearing people rave about it and so I decided to give it a try. Now normally, hyped up books and I don’t get along so that coupled with the packaged book and you’d think that EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING would be a total miss for me but lo and behold I ended up loving this one.

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING is a story told from Madeline’s POV. Madeline is your typical teenager and she likes to shop and read and she gets into fights with her mom. But Madeline isn’t like most teens as she lives in a bubble. Literally. She is a girl that can’t go outside because the outside world may kill her as she’s allergic to pretty much everything. Her mother is a doctor and her primary caregiver and has turned the house into a refuge of sorts and tries to give Madeline a normal life. Madeline is okay with this until new neighbors, including teen boy Olly, move in and then Madeline begins to yearn for more.

Everything Everything Quote

Special thanks to AndiABCs for helping me pick out which quote to use!

I really enjoyed Madeline’s voice and I was totally sucked into her story. I found it hard to put EVERYTHING EVERYTHING down and read it quickly. Madeline was smart and funny and I loved how she and Olly found a way to communicate when she wasn’t able to go outside or even open a window. Its a fast paced story that makes you feel all the feels. And even though I totally predicted how this whole story would play out in the beginning it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story. Madeline and Olly’s relationship was everything and I couldn’t get enough of it.

I do wish that there had been a little more from the ending. After all that build up I wanted more and so felt a little cheated. There just weren’t enough words to satisfy me but what words were there were well written. I enjoyed Nicola Yoon’s story telling and I am already looking forward to her next book. EVERYTHING EVERYTHING is the sort of book that reminds me to take chances and to not judge too harshly before I give a story a chance. Because you never know what you might be missing if you don’t try to see if something is worthwhile.

irishdarkblue

IR - Everything Everything

 

Add Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy to Goodreads.

Add Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas to Goodreads.

four-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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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Audio Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

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

Audio Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth WeinCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Narrator: Lucy Gaskell, Morven Christie
Series: Code Name Verity,
Published by Bolinda Publishing on 06 June 2012
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adaptation, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Girls & Women, Historical, Mystery & Detective, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military, Young Adult
Length: 10 hours 7 min
Format: Audiobook
Source: Free Download
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Ormaie, France // England – Various (mid-1930s – early 1940s)

First Line(s): I am a coward.

When it comes to Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity there is a lot of suspension of disbelief that must occur on the reader end of things. For while its a beautifully written story the series of events that occur in the first half of the book just would never have happened. Not that a young girl wouldn’t have been captured and tortured by the Nazi’s but that her interrogators would have allowed her to weave her story of nonsense for as long as they did when they were trying to obtain valuable information.

There were also a lot of crazy inconsistencies throughout the narrative of Code Name Verity and I know some of it was because Verity was weaving her little deceptions but some of it just did not make sense with the time period or the history of the war. So I found myself sighing a lot. Especially when a slip of a girl, no matter how smart and talented, was able to fool so many soldiers in the German army. I get that Verity was good but again they wouldn’t have allowed her to tell her history and the history of Maddie for as long as she did as there was no value to that story. Yes it was a pretty story but it lacked substance.

Code Name Verity Quote

Despite all my issues with Code Name Verity I did like the beginning of the book. That portion of the story that was told by Verity. I liked the narrator for that section, Lucy Gaskell, and it was her narration that kept me listening even as the story annoyed me. A good narrator can make or break a book and the Gaskell certainly kept me invested. I didn’t like Morven Christie’s narration as much but I think that was do in part that I didn’t really like the POV of that section. For I’ve listened to clips of Christie of on other audios and I like that snippets so I definitely think that it was the text and not the narrator that caused my dislike.

There is a lot of bait and switch in Code Name Verity and even though I guess the bulk of the story early on I didn’t mind as much. What I did mind was how the second half was almost a whole different book with a whole different writing style. And the clever clues that were laid out in the first half were swept aside and the reader was bludgeoned with revelations and told over and over just how smart and clever Verity was. Events just took on that too good to be real aspect and so my interest in the story started to plummet.

Perhaps, Code Name Verity, just had too much hype surrounding it that I set my expectations high. But I don’t see the masterful novel that others who read it before me did. I was frustrated throughtout most of the story and often rolled my eyes at some of the revels. If I had read this in print I probably would have DNF’d after tossing the book across the room a few dozen times. But I liked the narrator so I persevered. I’m not sorry that I read it as Code Name Verity was well written I just wasn’t a total fangirl for the plot.

irishdarkblue IR - Code Name Verity

Add Kiss of Deception by Mary Pearson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add The Wrath and the Dawn  by Renee Ahdieh to Goodreads. (Review coming soon)

three-stars
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