SO MANY REVIEWS – I Apologize for Nothing // Mini-Reviews

MonthlyMiniReviews

Yep, there are a lot of reviews here, but with this post, I’m FINALLY CAUGHT UP! This is months-worth of books, so this is pretty exciting. Of course, I’m always reading, so this whole being on top of things isn’t going to last long, but I WILL TAKE IT.

Anyway, onto the many reviews, including various ARCs I’ve been putting off reviewing because I felt obligated to write full reviews – but I think these are still full enough and work just as well.

TheInsideOfOutThe Inside of Out (Jenn Marie Thorne) | Goodreads | 4.5 stars

I loved Jenn Marie Thorne’s debut, The Wrong Side of Right, so a book from her that deals with queer issues definitely caught my attention. I didn’t love it quite as much, but it was still a fun ride.

I think this would be a good intro for people who are just starting to learn about queer issues and what all the letters of QUILTBAG stand for. The protagonist is the best friend of a girl who just came out, so all of the queer issues in this book come from the POV of a straight girl starting to learn about the community. This can be really important, but of course if you came into this book hoping to read about a queer girl, you might be disappointed.

There was more drama that I really would have liked, but this large book still had nice pacing and it went by pretty quick. You wanted to see what would happen – would Daisy make her homecoming dance more inclusive, would her secret come out (that she’s not gay), and would she become the ally that she totally could be if she wasn’t so self-centered (um, what teenager isn’t? hell, what person isn’t? so this isn’t a point against her, simply an aspect that makes her more realistic)? You’ll have to read to find out… I, for one, look forward to what Thorne writes next.

4.5stars

PSILikeYouP.S. I Like You (Kasie West) | Goodreads | 4.5stars

It’s been awhile since I loved a Kasie West book as much as her debut fluff-fest, The Distance Between Us, but P.S. I Like You has stopped that drought (I love all West books, but this one gets top billing).

You don’t read this book wondering who the secret boy is that Lily is writing notes with – it’s obvious from the beginning who it’s going to be. You don’t want the secret, though, you want the cute moments and you want Lily and Cade to realize they like each other and to get together already. The friendship could have used some work and I wanted more of Lily’s big and chaotic family, but those were just some quibbles – this story was about the romance, and it was adorable and wonderful.

More like this, please, West.

4.5stars

ThreeDarkCrownsThree Dark Crowns (Kendare Blake) | Goodreads4 stars

I was extremely lucky to receive a digital ARC of this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of this review.

Knowing the synopsis (three sisters are battling for the right to the throne – TO THE DEATH) and the author (Kendare Blake – Antigoddess trilogy and Anna, Dressed in Blood) was enough to get my attention so that I requested this book as an eARC. In the end, I think I might have had to rush to finish it before it expired, but even when that time constraint, I enjoyed it for the most part.

I’m not a big fantasy reader, so I’m not the ideal reader for a book like this, but I still enjoyed it. It was interesting seeing the three types of communities – poisoners, natural people with animal familiars (kind of), and those with elemental powers, especially seeing how women were the ones in charge. There were a lot of characters, which could be overwhelming, and I had my favorites (hello, elemental storyline with Mirabella), so things might drag a little when I wanted to be in one place and we were reading about a different sister or community, but I think the chapters were short enough that it didn’t matter that much.

I’m writing this review way after I read it, so things have gotten muddled a bit, but I still remember some big things and, especially, the interesting cliffhanger ending, and that seems like a good sign for a fantasy book, especially for me. So I’m definitely interested in seeing what happens in the sequel and want to see the three girls coming together more.

4stars

AvengedAvenged (E.E. Cooper) | Goodreads | 3.5 stars

I was extremely lucky to receive a digital ARC of this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of this review.

Vanished was a bit of a surprise hit for me last year – not perfect, but definitely an enjoyable mystery, and it was awesome having a bisexual POC protagonist. It seemed like it ended without resolving everything, so I was happy to hear that there was going to be a sequel. It wasn’t perfect, but a decent follow-up.

I think my main problem with this is that I wanted more of a twist with the antagonist – I wanted it to turn out that she had different motives or Kalah was jumping to conclusions, but it seemed like she was mostly right and this was less of a mystery and more of a cat and mouse game – Kalah was trying to uncover the truth that she already knew but didn’t have any evidence for. That’s not bad necessarily, but it wasn’t as twisty as I had hoped for.

It’s been a few months since I read this book as well, and I’ve forgotten a lot about it, so it wasn’t the most memorable story, but it was still enjoyable enough to pass the time for a few days, which isn’t a bad thing.

3.5stars

ByYourSideBy Your Side (Kasie West) | Goodreads | 4.5 stars

I was extremely lucky to receive a digital ARC of this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of this review.

I will always be a sucker for Kasie West books after having so much success with her. After I read her latest, I saw some lukewarm reviews for it, but I loved this one just as much as some of her better titles.

I knew that this book was about a girl getting locked into a library with a boy she barely knows, but it managed to surprise me in a number of ways, the chief of which is: AUTUMN HAS ANXIETY! She’s on medication for it and she has to deal with it after a number of stressful things, such as getting locked in the library. I found it interesting that she hid it from her friends and definitely sympathized with her. Her friends weren’t strong characters, so I really would have been fine with her never telling them, not because that’s a good idea, but because I honestly didn’t care about them and didn’t think they deserved to know such an important thing about her, but that’s just me being petty, so ignore that. I was also surprised that the whole being locked in the library lasted maybe a third of the book, not the whole thing, and the romance didn’t really ramp up until after they got out. There was definitely more drama than there really needed to be, but I didn’t mind.

This wasn’t the book that I expected coming in, but it’s still one of my favorite West books, probably (we’ll see how it stands up after a year or two, since I can be so fickle) and I’m glad to have more representation of mental health issues like anxiety in YA and books in general.

4.5stars

TheUnexpectedEverythingThe Unexpected Everything (Morgan Matson) | Goodreads | 4 stars

I bought this book before I read it, which is something I don’t do a lot, because it was another fun-looking Morgan Matson summer book and I knew that its hardcover cover would have a cool image on the other side like Since You’ve Been Gone – but then I let it sit for months without reading it. I finally decided it would be my first book of 2017 and actually sat down and read it. It’s not my favorite Matson title – hello, SYBG – but once I got into it, I really enjoyed myself.

I think that was one of my major problems with it – it took me a while to really get into it, to really gel with protagonist Andie, who was too privileged and uninteresting to me at first, and care about her summer exploits. This might not have been such a big deal with a shorter book, but this thing was like 500 pages, so when I say it took me a while to get into it, I mean a good 100 pages or so before I really cared, which is a little problematic. Once that happened, though, things got better.

There was a lot of a great friendship feels in this book, to the point where I liked it more than the romance (although that wasn’t too bad – yay for an authorly boyfriend), but there was some unnecessary friendship drama that happened toward the end. I just wanted my girls to be together and happy, having adventures! And I could have used some more cute dogs – Andie definitely got a point against her when she was so unhappy with how unprofessional “dog walker” sounded on her résumé, but she got better.

So, it took me a while to read this before I even picked it up and then a long time once I did, and it had some issues, but they were pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. This was another enjoyable Matson book, and that was all I was really looking for, in the end.

4stars

thehatinggameThe Hating Game (Sally Thorne) | Goodreads | 4 stars

If you’ve been around the blogosphere at all in the few months, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about this office-set hate-to-love adult romance. Well, I was one of those people who heard so much about it that I finally had to check it out for myself – and, if you were hoping for a scathing review laughing at everyone who found this book so great, then you are in the wrong place.

It was a bit surprising, although not in a bad way, how slow this romance went. At the beginning of the book, protagonist Lucy really does seem to hate her male counterpart, Joshua (as he starts out – he becomes Josh as he very slowly grows on her), although you can tell that her slight obsession with him, and his own with her, is just masking feelings that will soon grow. Some of the things that bring them together seem over the top (um, what, she’s suddenly uber-sick?), but their relationship is so genuine that you don’t mind.

If I had to critique this, which I suppose I do, considering this is a review and all, I would say that I sometimes I had trouble understanding their feelings for each other. Like, they obviously like each other at this point, but they’re still pretending to hate each other, or they still kind of do? Sometimes it seemed like it was just there to keep them apart a little longer. And I would have liked to see them together as a couple more, which seems to be a common problem with most romances – they get together and the climax of the book and then what? Maybe a sequel, to see where things go from here?

Also, I am so thankful for Josh, a shy man who’s super masculine and hides his shyness behind a cold and tough facade – we need to see more shy people being diverse and genuine people. Unfortunately, as I mention the word “diverse,” I’m reminded that this book isn’t very racially or sexually diverse, but it’s got most other things going for it.

4.5stars

LongMaySheReignLong May She Reign (Rhiannon Thomas) | Goodreads | 3 stars

I was extremely lucky to receive a digital ARC of this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of this review.

I was looking forward to this book so much – a science-loving girl who was never meant to be queen but becomes the head of her kingdom after everyone else in front of her mysteriously dies – so, while it was a perfectly fine book, I was disappointed when I didn’t love it.

I think my main issue is that it’s pretty slow. That’s my big problem with most fantasy books – they just get bogged down with establishing the kingdom and the politics and stuff that it feels like nothing really happens. Even at the end, it was a bit of rushed. This was more of a study in politics and a girl trying to figure out who to trust, and while that’s good, it didn’t quite work for me. I was excited to see a girl who obviously had some social anxiety issues, especially since this is a fantasy and not a contemporary book, but then things would get so bogged down with the politics that I got a little bored at times. We need slow character studies of people like Freya, but that just isn’t my favorite subject, so it didn’t quite work.

I was also disappointed that a character was obviously dealing with depression, someone who is sociable and a good person, not needlessly moody and DARK, ended up being involved in the dark dealings that led to Freya becoming queen. Yes, people with mental illnesses can do anything, including bad things, but we have too many villains in fiction who also have mental illnesses, so it left a bit of a sour taste in my literary mouth which was disappointing.

If you like fantasies and books that focus on slower subjects like politics and figuring out who to trust and how to be in charge, then this book is  for you. If those things  don’t interest you, still give this book a shot, but be ready for a slower story than you might want.

3stars

thehundredliesoflizzielovettThe Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett (Chelsea Sedoti) | Goodreads | 3.5 stars

I did not know what I was getting into when I picked up this debut. I thought this was a mystery about a missing girl and the protagonist who starts to obsess over her too much. I don’t know if this book took itself too seriously or was in on the  joke, but I thought it was hilarious, whether it was meant to be or not.

Protagonist Hawthorn (her mom is a hippie, so the name makes sense) hates Lizzie Lovett because she’s cool and seems to get everything she wants, so when she goes missing, Hawthorn DOES NOT CARE. You can tell that she’s just deluding herself and is actually obsessed, but that’s natural for the character. Also natural: she gets an out-of-this-world idea, like that Lizzie became a werewolf, and takes it totally seriously. Here’s where I thought it was hilarious, and I think the book was in on it since everyone else around her is supportive, disbelieving, or another emotion that makes sense with their own characters, but I’m not quite sure. Regardless, I thought Hawthorn was fascinating – she’s this totally self-absorbed girl who wants the world to be as interesting as it is in her head, and of course she gets disappointed when it’s not. That seems really realistic and not far off from how I can be myself, so maybe that’s why I connected with her.

The mystery is kind of a letdown, but that makes sense, actually, since there seems to be a big theme of “life can be disappointing, but there are still so many beautiful things and ways that things can go totally right.” I was always icked out by the relationship between Hawthorn, a 17 year old senior in high school and Enzo, Lizzie’s 24 year old boyfriend and I wish the book had done a better job of showing how creepy that is, but it didn’t romanticize it too much either. There’s also another little romance, and it was nice how it was really subtle and never hte focus, because romance isn’t the focus in Hawthorn’s life either, no matter what she thinks.

I don’t quite know what to make of this weird little debut, but I did kind of love it. I look forward to seeing what Chelsea Sedoti can come up with next.

4stars

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