Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review: Zero Repeat Forever by G.S. Prendergast

Zero Repeat Forever by G.S. Prendergast

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3-out-of-5-stars

Summary: “He has no voice, or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind.

Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.

His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting.

Until a human kills her…

Sixteen year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade, annihilating entire cities, taking control of the Earth. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her friends have only a fragment of instruction from the human resistance.

Shelter in place.

Which seems like good advice at first. Stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesn’t like feeling helpless but what choice does she have?

Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend.

Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival comes to depend on trusting each other…”

Review: This book is very similar to “The Fifth Wave” in the fact that a strange “other” race has come to take over Earth but I felt that it fell flat.  I’ll start off by saying that it took me a while to read this book. I picked it up, put it down and read a few other books in between but last night I was determined to finish it! The reason why it took me so long is because I found it to be slow. There is a lot of time in the book where not much is happening, they are just waiting around trying to figure out what to do. Another issue I had was that there are a lot of unanswered questions that I’m guessing/hoping will be answered in the next book in the series. The most interesting character in my opinion is the Nahx. I’m intrigued by what exactly they are, why they travel in male and female pairs and their ranking system. That is really what I wanted to know more about. I found the human characters to be frustrating and lacking. At times Raven comes off as this badass chick and then other time she seems like a damsel in distress. There is also the weird relationship between Raven, her not so great ex-boyfriend who is idealized and his twin brother that I just couldn’t wrap my head around. The book was decent but I fear that a lot of people won’t be able to get by the slow pace of it. Even though I am curious to find out more about the Nahx I will not be reading the second book in the series.

* I received an advance copy with at Book Expo America

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Book Review: The Child by Fiona Barton

“The Child” by Fiona Barton

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4-out-of-5-stars1

Summary:“As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…”

Review: This is a great psychological thriller with intriguing characters. What makes this thriller stand out is the characters. None of the characters get lost and they all have very distinct lives and personalities. You can’t help but feel like you personally know each of the women involved in this story. Although I enjoyed this book I did find it to be drawn out at times and had unnecessary plot lines (for example – we briefly hear about trouble at home for Kate but it is never expanded upon or resolved). I also was able to figure out the plot twist before it actually occurred in the book which does put a damper on the reading experience. Even though I was able to solve the mystery before the book I still really enjoyed it. I will definitely be recommending this book to my friends who enjoy a good thriller!

 

*please note that I received an advanced copy of the book from NetGalley

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Book Review: Release by Patrick Ness

“Release” by Patrick Ness

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Description: “Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.”

Review: I was so excited when I was able to get an advanced copy of “Release” and quickly read through it. Very rarely do I give half stars but this book was on the verge of being a 4 star book for me. What prevented me from giving it the full 4 stars is that the book is comprised of 2 different stories. There is the beautiful story of Adam Thorn, a character who you can’t help but fall in love with, and a strange paranormal story that left me confused more than anything.

This story really struck me. I recently was talking to an ex-moron friend about the difficult time her best friend had coming out to his religious family. It baffles and upsets me that there is still a stigma around the LGBT community. This book is very timely and is a must read for many people. Adam Thorn is such a likeable and relatable character. Patrick Ness does an amazing job of making the character so realistic. The book follows Adam for just 1 day but it is a day full of meaning for him. After I finished the book I was shocked by how many emotions I felt following just 1 day. Adam’s story is beautiful and sad all at once.

As for the odd paranormal sections… early on you learn about a girl who was murdered in the town. This girl comes back as a strange spirit queen looking for revenge. These sections did not add anything to the story for me and if anything I thought they took away from Adam’s story. I’m very curious to know why Patrick Ness felt the need to add this second story. I think the paranormal story would have been better off as a separate book.

I will definitely be recommending this book to other adults and high schoolers!

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Book Review: The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

“The Whole Thing Together” by Ann Brashares

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3-out-of-5-stars

Description: “Summer for Sasha and Ray means the sprawling old house on Long Island. Since they were children, they’ve shared almost everything—reading the same books, running down the same sandy footpaths to the beach, eating peaches from the same market, laughing around the same sun-soaked dining table. Even sleeping in the same bed, on the very same worn cotton sheets. But they’ve never met.

Sasha’s dad was once married to Ray’s mom, and together they had three daughters: Emma, the perfectionist; Mattie, the beauty; and Quinn, the favorite. But the marriage crumbled and the bitterness lingered. Now there are two new families—and neither one will give up the beach house that holds the memories, happy and sad, of summers past.

The choices we make come back to haunt us; the effect on our destinies ripples out of our control…or does it? This summer, the lives of Sasha, Ray, and their siblings intersect in ways none of them ever dreamed, in a novel about family relationships, keeping secrets, and most of all, love.”

Review: I really struggled to read this book, I found it slow, confusing and lacking dimension. All of the interesting aspects of the story are briefly mentioned and are glossed over. The story felt like it was rushed.

This story is about a variety of personalities, how they cope with life and how they manage to live together. Due to so many characters it was difficult to keep track of who is who (sorry Mattie and Emma) and to feel connected to any of them. The characters and story of Ray and Sasha are more developed but I found the whole romance to be disturbing. Even though Ray and Sasha are not biologically related the budding romance between them creeped me out.

I wish the author cut the number of characters in half and gave them more details and focus. The characters had a lot of potential for growth but due to the overwhelming number of characters, all with personal struggles, I found it difficult to get to know them. A lot is mentioned and hinted at in the book but not much is flushed out.

While I will be purchasing this book for the public library I work at due to the author’s name (teens will still want to read it) I do not think I will personally recommend it to anymore.

*please note that I received an advanced copy of the book from NetGalley

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Book Review: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly

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2-out-of-5-stars

Description: “An original addition to the beloved Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, “Lost in a Book” follows the lonely, bookish Belle as she finds an enchanted book in the Beast’s library called Nevermore that carries her into a glittering new world. There, Belle is befriended by a mysterious countess who offers her the life she’s always dreamed of.

But Nevermore is not what it seems, and the more time Belle spends there, the harder it is to leave. Good stories take hold of us and never let us go, and once Belle becomes lost in this book, she may never find her way out again.”

Review: There might be some burning pitchforks after me after this review but here it goes! There was a lot of hype surrounding this book and I became very excited when I heard about it (I even went to 2 stores to purchase it only to find out that it was sold it!). I was a huge Beauty and the Beast fan growing up and cannot wait for the movie! I must say that I had high expectations for this book, a lot of friends told me it was amazing, and maybe that is why I was so let down.

I found the story to be overplayed (love vs death, enchanted book, etc); to me it came off like a typical girl getting sucked into a fantasy world, blinded by beauty and is too dumb to realize what is happening. Belle is supposed to be a book smart character but does not see or listen to the warnings she is given in Nevermore. I became frustrated that she would fall for Death’s trickery so easily, I felt that she should have seen what was coming. Even until the middle of the book I was still holding out hope that Belle’s wits would persevere (not so much).

The story unfolds quickly, almost too quickly in my opinion. Due to the fast pace it was hard to feel a connection with the characters. I wish the book slowed down and built up more anticipation. Also, the character of Beast was lacking, he is not present for the majority of the story and I felt like he could have had a lot more depth than what was shown. It was hard to figure out why Belle was so drawn to Nevermore when she constantly spoke about her love for the servants and even her blossoming friendship with the Beast. Overall I felt like this story was rushed and not fully developed. I wanted to like it but just couldn’t get into it. This book is a quick read, I was able to binge read it in 2 days.

Even though I was not the biggest fan of “Lost in a Book” I do have several friends that adore it! They enjoyed it because it was not a retelling per se but still keeps the original characters present. Jennifer Donnelly is a great author and I did like how it wasn’t your typically retelling. There will be many Jennifer Donnelly and Beauty in the Beast fans that will find a treasure in this book!

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Book Review: My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

 

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Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

Description: “Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?”

Book Review: Surprisingly, this is only the second Sophie Kinsella book I have read and therefore I cannot compare it to any of her other novels. I found “My Not So Perfect Life” to be an easy read with a lot of relatable/likable characters. The dialogue is clever and the characters are quirky and off-beat. This book is a great portrayal of what it feels like to be a 20 something.

  • Trying (and failing) to reinvent yourself
  • Attempting to land the perfect job
  • Trying to get by when you don’t have enough experience to land said perfect job
  • Attempting to make your life look perfect on social media

Although I personally connected to this book on a 20 something level I think adults of a wide age range will also find it relatable. The characters are fleshed out nicely with lots of quirks and flaws. They all have personal struggles that they hide behind a facade. This story is all about having your own issues and attempting to keep your life together while portraying yourself as “perfect.” While being a fun book to binge read over a weekend, it is also a reminder that no one’s life is perfect. I highly recommend this book!

 

*please note that I received an advanced copy of the book from NetGalley

 

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Book Review: You Know Me Well by David Levithan & Nina LaCour

You Know Me Well by David Levithan & Nina LaCour

Description: Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other — and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour, the award-winning author of Hold Still and The Disenchantments, and David Levithan, the best-selling author of Every Day and co-author of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn) and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green), You Know Me Well is a deeply honest story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.”

Review: This is a great coming of age novel, not only for the LGBT community, but for all teens. There are love obstacles in this book (like most YA novels) but they aren’t overdone or blown out of proportion. I felt the teenage angst was appropriately portrayed. While I no longer feel it, I was able to enjoy the melodrama and it took me back to the feelings I had as a teenager. This novel poetically describes the struggles of trying to be yourself and find out who that is. The only issue I had was that at times it was hard to figure out who was speaking, I personally prefer when the character speaking is clearly stated. Don’t let the fact that this story has a LGBT element stop you from reading and recommending it, people from all walks of life can enjoy the beauty of this book! I would recommend it to adults and teens who connect with the LGBT community, who are struggling with their own identity and who enjoy realistic YA fiction.

*please note that I received an advanced copy of the book from NetGalley

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Book Review: Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten

Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten

Description: The Haves. The Have Nots. Kate O’Brien appears to be a Have Not. Her whole life has been a series of setbacks she’s had to snake her way out of — some more sinister than others. But she’s determined to change that. She’s book smart. She’s street-smart. And she’s also a masterful liar.

As the scholarship student at the elite Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ranks and land a spot at Yale. She’s already found her ‘people’ among the senior class ‘it’ girls — specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner. As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she’s always needed, the sister she never had.

When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration as head of fundraising, he immediately charms his way into the faculty and students’ lives — especially Olivia’s although she doesn’t share what’s going on. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal and can’t afford to ignore. Mark has his own plan for a bright future and never doubts that he can pull it off. How close can Kate and Olivia get with Mark without having to share their dark pasts?”

Review: This book was a quick, fast-paced psychological read. I am usually good at figuring out the psychological twists and turns but this book threw me. I was on the edge of my seat while reading it, Teresa Toten did a great job of building suspense. While the author did a great job of developing the main character, Kate, I felt like the other characters could have been more fleshed out. I’m the type of person that wants to know what motivates someone, I was intrigued by so many of the characters and wanted to know more. I hope she writes another book about one of the other characters. There are so many layers to this book and the author reveals them in a way that is griping. This book left me guessing and wanting more. Don’t read this if you hate open ended books! I would recommend this to friends who are looking for a quick read and enjoyed Gone Girl.

*please note that I received an advanced copy of the book from NetGalley

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Book Review: Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

Description: Nanette O’Hare is a hardworking high school student, a good daughter, a best friend and a great soccer player. Yet, Nanette feels like there must be more to life than going through her every day routine. A teacher sees Nanette as a kindred spirit and gives her a book called “The Bubblegum Reaper.” Nanette becomes consumed by the mysterious book about a boy who decides to “quit.” Her teacher helps her get in touch with the reclusive author; it is through the author that she makes new friends, finds her first love in a troubled teen and begins to question her very way of living.

Review: “The Silver Linings Playbook” is one of my favorite books (waaaaaay better than the movie), when I saw that the author wrote a new YA novel I was dying to read it. Unfortunately, the book didn’t have the same magic as “The Silver Linings Playbook,” at times I honestly thought I was reading a John Green novel (think “The Fault in our Stars” without cancer).  I really did want to like this book, I love YA novels that are philosophical and forces you to think. The reason why I didn’t like it is because I found it preachy and the story line obvious (who would have thought the troubled poet would get himself into trouble and meet a sad end?!?). The characters are very stereotypical – the troubled violent teen who writes angsty poetry, the teenage girl who has it all but yet it’s still not enough, the reclusive author who won’t answer questions, a boy  who gets bullied by his classmates and a group of high schoolers who only care about getting drunk and hooking up. I wasn’t able to connect with the characters; I wanted to shake them, tell them to suck it up and deal with it (which might have to do with the fact that I’m now in my mid-20s and can see past high school agony). While I wasn’t able to connect with them many teens who have dealt with bullying, peer pressure and divorce will feel for them.  Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the book I do know some teens who will enjoy it. The book depicts the ups, downs, ins and outs of being a teen. It portrays the confusion and varied emotions that hit in the high school years. Although it depicts these emotions nicely I don’t think it shows how to best handle them and might leave teens with more questions and answers (just like the author of “The Bubblegum Reaper”). I would recommend this book to young adults who like John Green and those who question society norms but are mature for their age.

*please note that I received an advanced copy of the book from NetGalley

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Book Review: Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

Description: “Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.

In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society in which obedience is paramount and rebellion is punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.”

Book Review: YA dystopian novels (and their movie counterparts) are overdone, I decided to give this one a shot because of A) the author and B) it sounded intriguing. I  found this book to be a refreshing change from the recent dystopian novels, there was no instalove or love triangles or wars. There is some violence (aka branding a person) and intense scenes in the story.  The first half of the book was a little slow and bland but picked up in the second part. It was an enjoyable read but not one to write home about. Celestine as a character is a little weak, I’ve read some other reviews that declare her to be unbelievable but I felt her back and forth questioning (of who to trust/what to do) is extremely realistic. She grew up with strict societal rules stating that all Flawed are lesser beings, now everything she grew up believing has been turned upside down.  I did find her slightly frustrating though; she was wishy washy and I kept hoping she’d come in her own as a strong female character. The idea of branding people in specific places based upon their crime was interesting and brought me back to my English Lit classes (“The Scarlet Letter” anyone?). I wish there was more information on the other characters, I found them more intriguing than Celestine. Each character had an agenda that was fueled by something personal, I would love to find out more about them (especially the grandfather). I also wish there was more backstory of why/how these society rules came about (more than just one sentence). I will be reading the next book because I am curious about what happens. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to people who liked the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld.

*please note that I received an advanced copy of the book from NetGalley

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