Mini-Reviews: November

MiniReviews

LikeMandarinThis book has survived countless cleansings of my to-read bookshelf on Goodreads only to become a DNF after about five chapters. Such is the life of a book on my shelf, apparently.

I wasn’t a fan of Kirsten Hubbard’s Wanderlove, but I was still hoping to enjoy this book – unfortunately, too many things were working against it for me. I didn’t care about the main character, who seemed less like a main character and more like a stalker of the character the author really wanted to focus on. I’ve read books where the main character doesn’t seem to be the actual main character, but only some books work. Here, I feel like Grace is still supposed to be the main character, but she kept slipping in and out of the narrative and not leaving enough of an impression on me.

There were also some tropes that I just wasn’t interested in reading about. Seriously, what is it about small towns that make books want to complain? We get it, there’s less going on in small towns than a place like NYC or something, but can contemporary and paranormal protagonists please stop trashing them and complaining about them all the time? And I just wasn’t interested in the reading about the “damaged wild child” of the title. In the few chapters I read, she just didn’t seem to transcend her own trope, and even though she might have later on, I didn’t feel like sticking around for that.

2.5stars

OneMomentWhen I read Kristina McBride’s The Tension of Opposites, I was just beginning to read more contemporary books, and sometimes I wonder if that’s part of the reason I was so floored and emotionally affected by it. If I read it for the first time now, would I be as impressed? If One Moment is anything to go by, probably not, although that isn’t a slam on either books.

The fact that I finished this, during my recent string of DNFs, is a great accomplishment for me. That was partly due to the fac that it was short, but I don’t care what the reasoning is, just that I managed to do it.

I think the main reason I couldn’t really get into this story was because I wasn’t quite sure what the purpose of it was. I mean, the summary builds up this big mystery of what happened to MC Maggie’s boyfriend when he died – or at least, that’s what I thought it was doing – but the first chapter basically showed us, unless I was imagining things. So I’m reading the book, all the time wondering why everyone is freaking out about what happened to him when we already knew. I mean, Maggie didn’t know, but I didn’t really care, because I thought that was the mystery we were supposed to be reading about.

The story itself wasn’t bad or anything, it just wasn’t what I expected, and I’m not sure if I would have finished it if it had been longer and if there wasn’t the mystery of what was going on with Maggie’s boyfriend before he died.

3.5stars

DemonosityAmanda Ashby’s first two books were fairly interesting and quick reads, but nothing that wowed me or anything. I wasn’t too sure about this book before starting it either, but I figured it would be enjoyable enough.

And, while I’m sure it was, I just didn’t feel like reading it. I got a few chapters into it before I sighed, closed it, set it aside, and moved on. The main character was quirky, but she also seemed like she was really a popular girl who just happened to keep to herself and wear unusual clothes. The main mean girl also apparently becomes the antagonist due to evil possession or something – not quite sure since I didn’t actually get that far, but I didn’t want to get that far because it sounded kind of like an excuse to explain why the main character would hate the quirky MC so much.

I think the main reason I put this down was because of the MC-and-mom relationship. The mother was villianized from the very beginning and, while she certainly wasn’t perfect, I didn’t want to hear about every little thing she seemed to do wrong. I’m sure their relationship would be addressed later in the book, but, like I said, I just wasn’t interested in the book enough to do that. And it was in third person, and books with one protagonist written in third person just feels really detached to me a lot of the time.

2.5stars

TheRulesI’m a pretty big fan of Stacey Kade’s The Ghost and the Goth trilogy, so I wanted to look this book, even though I wasn’t that impressed by the cover and the two-tone eyes actually kind of creeped me out. Unfortunately, although it started off decently, the further I got, the less interested I got, and I finally decided I was done.

This has two narrators, like Ghost did, but I found this one more annoying, mainly because of the female main character whose name I’ve already forgotten (and it hasn’t been that long since I read it, just like a week or so) – in Ghost, Alona (see, I can remember her name, and it’s been much longer – I think of that as a sign…) is the popular and self-obsorbed mean girl who dies and is quite unhappy about that, to say the least. When Will, the other MC, would mention how pretty and strong and such she is, I liked that, because it fit with the mean girl obsessed with her appearance as well as a character I genuinely liked. However, when the female MC is talked about in positive terms by the popular guy who’s the other narrator, I just roll my eyes and think to myself “Yes, I know you’re going to end up insta-loving her or something – can you move on please?”

The mean girl in this story was also over the top, and cared about the lowly MC way too much. Also, I wasn’t a fan of the MC, and if I can’t root for her to succeed against her antagonist, win her love interest, and truly connect with the friend she’s always mentally putting down, then there’s really no reason to keep reading.

2.5stars

TheWildQueenI didn’t like this book as much as I had hoped, but it was still a pretty interesting look at Mary, Queen of Scots.

The main reason I even looked at this book was because I had a renewed interest in all things European royalty after I began watching the campy-but-so-entertaining CW show Reign. I figured this book would give me a slightly more accurate take on the young queen, which it did.

The writing style wasn’t the best though. It read more like a history book with a narrator than a true narrative, and there were so many names, and characters with two names (their actual names and titles) that it was hard to keep up. Also, Mary would refer to people as if she were introducing them for the first time when she really wasn’t, so I would sometimes think it was a new character. Mary was also quite stuck up, and I had trouble knowing if this was meant to show her as a character who’s been the queen since she was days old or if the author didn’t realize how her MC was coming across.

It kind of took me a while to read this, but it was still quite interesting to learn more about Mary, Queen of Scots, although I might stick to an actual history book next time.

3stars

ExtraordinarySecretsofAprilMayJuneI wasn’t a big fan of Robin Benway’s Audrey, Wait!, and I was even less of a fan of this book.

My main problem was the sisters. They all narrate chapters on their own, but they don’t seem all that different from each other. They have different things to complain about, but they seem to be the same otherwise. They all whine about some many things and they spend way too much time fighting with each other. I guess it might be that way so that they all happily and finally come together in the end to prove that their relationship really works or something, but I honestly didn’t want to wait around for that to happen.

I’m still going to try Benway’s Also Known As, but I’m starting to think that her books just aren’t my cup of tea – if I even drank tea, that is.

2.5stars

LeapofFaithThis was a short book and a debut, so I honestly wanted to finish it, but ultimately I just didn’t care enough to bother.

The story itself was kind of interesting, but I didn’t care about the MC Leah/Faith/whatever at all. If I didn’t care about her, that mean all the moments when she thought she was going to get caught or when she was upset had no emotional power for me, which robbed the book of some of its emotion as well.

I think that, if you liked the MC, or don’t need to like the MC to enjoy books like this, then you’ll probably be fine and at least enjoy it for the most part. I personally got ten chapters in, nearly halfway, and realized that I could live without knowing what would happen, which seemed like an obvious sign that I really didn’t need to read this book. I might check things out from the author again, but I’d like to hear some more about the book first – I came into this book knowing nothing, and I don’t know if that made a difference. Maybe, if I had read a review of someone who liked it, I would have stuck around.

3stars

TheBadQueenThe Bad Queen apparently equals a bad book, at least for me. Well, that’s not completely true, but it was definitely my least favorite of the three Young Royals books I read this month.

I like the figure of Marie Antoinette, but I wasn’t a fan of her character in this book. My main issue was how small-minded she seemed to be when it came to finance. I knew what was going to happen to her in the end, of course, and I knew that the French public didn’t like her spending habits, but I had to slug through many chapters describing the decadent and very expensive things she kept purchasing despite how many people told her it was a really freaking bad idea. I wanted to shake her, but she just didn’t see it.

This, like The Wild Queen, was also fairly long, and by the end I was sometimes skimming a bit because I was slightly bored. The end got dramatic, though – I mean, if you know what happened to Marie Antoinette, you know why – and it had me desperately wishing that the author had changed history just so these characters didn’t have to suffer.

But, of course, that’s not how these books work.

3stars

BoyfriendAppThis started out so well for me, which is why I’m even more disappointed by how it ended, at least for me.

This was an audiobook, but for once that didn’t work against it. Well, that’s not completely true – I didn’t finish this for another reason, but the fact that I still had three or four hours left to listen to certainly didn’t help. But I took a chance on this book in the first place because I actually like the narrator, and that didn’t change. Some of the voices she used, especially for the guys, were a bit eye-rolling, but I like her narration for the most part, which is rare for me.

No, the MC ruined it for me. She was perfectly find, interesting and cool even, until her Boyfriend App worked so well that it set up the guy she liked with a cheerleader a bit less than halfway through. Then she got mean and nasty and slut-shaming and girl-bashing and I just couldn’t handle her. It wasn’t the girl’s fault that she got matched, and it wasn’t like she knew someone else liked the guy, but you would think it was based on the awful way the MC treated her in her head and sometimes even out loud. At that point, I decided I was done.

2.5stars

DuchessinaThis was my favorite of the three Young Royals books I had. I think this had a lot to do with the fact that it was the shortest (about 250 versus 400+), but I also liked the fact that I knew nothing about Caterina (Catherine) de Medici prior to her tenure as the Queen of France (and that stuff was just from The Wild Queen and Reign).

This also took place in Italy, a country whose history I don’t know as much of versus France or England. So, it had all the advantages of The Wild Queen, but without an extra 200 or so pages.

The little Duchessina, as she’s called, also seemed less spoiled than the other two monarchs. Maybe that’s because she wasn’t born into royalty, maybe it’s because she’s just that kind of person – either way, I liked her more because she didn’t feel entitled the way the others did, especially since she was growing up in a powerful family that was now mostly hated by their country.

Caterina’s life might have sucked a lot, especially in the early years, but it sure was interesting to read about.

3.5stars

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