Reviewing the Unreviewed: January – February

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month (or couple months) with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

Fear the Worst

Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay. Read January 18-20. 4 stars

Good mystery. Great twists. Great character development. But I could really use an epilogue there, Barclay!!!!   

The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter, #1)

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd. Read Jan 24 – 26.  3 Stars

Started out intriguing, but got weird. The characters weren’t that likable, but I’ll still probably check out the 2nd book.

The Distance Between Us

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West. Read January 27-28. 3 stars

Overall really cute and fun. However, the end felt really rushed and the main character’s mother and her secrets were kind of silly.

Cruel Beauty

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. Read February 2-9. 2 stars.

The prose was pretty, but the story was a bit disjointed and confusing to me. Overall pretty disappointing.

Be with Me (Wait for You, #2)

Be with Me by J. Lynn.  Read February 17-18. 2 stars

I liked the secondary story lines – Jase’s secret and Teresa’s roommate – better than the first book in this series, but I didn’t really get Jase and Teresa as a couple. I think the background needed to be a little more developed instead of “I loved you since I met you” and a couple years later they’re hot and heavy in an instant. Also, not enough Cam and Avery.

The Archived (The Archived, #1)

The Archived by Victoria Schwab. Read February 13-21. 2 stars

I was a little disappointed with this book after hearing such good things about it. I did enjoy the twists towards the end, but everything leading up to it was soooo slow. And not very interesting. After the first couple of trips to the Narrows, I was pretty over reading about Mac chasing Histories.

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BOOKS I STARTED AND PUT BACK ON THE TBR SHELF

I’ve decided to step away from these for now. I’m not marking them as “Did Not Finish” because I might go back to them at another time.

Endless

Endless by Amanda Gray.

Landry Park (Landry Park, #1)

Landry Park by Bethany Hagen.

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RE-READS

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan. I actually just read this back in January, but I loved it and it did the trick when no other books were interesting me. See my original review of it here and my review of it’s sequel here.

Top Ten Tuesday: REWIND: Books I’d love to see as a tv show or movie

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is a Rewind where we can pick from previous topics that we want to do again or may have missed. I’ve decided to go with the topic from 9/10/13 – Books I’d love to see as a tv show or movie.

1. Mind Games by Kiersten White.

Mind Games (Mind Games, #1)

How fun would this be? Mystery, supernatural, family, romance. And my favorite crazy, Fia!

2. Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer.

Storm (Elemental, #1)

The four Merrick brothers on my tv screen every week? Yes, please.

3.  Runner by Patrick Lee

Runner

A Sam Dryden series? It could help fill the void in my life Jack Bauer left when 24 ended. (Though that’s coming back as a mini series!!!!)

4. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

Who wouldn’t love to see these great characters come to life? This could be one cultish hit on the Sci-Fi network.

5. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Thorne, Kai, Wolf, Levana. Enough said.

6. The O’Malley series by Dee Henderson

The Negotiator (O'Malley, #1)

A faith-based crime show with great characters.

7. A Lifetime movie series of Kristan Higgins books. So fun.

The Best Man (Blue Heron #1)

8. Basically any book by Linwood Barclay.

Fear the Worst

9. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door (My Life Next Door, #1)

Lots of great characters, sweet romance, political intrigue.

10. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl

Bringing anything by Rainbow Rowell to life would be amazing.

 

Monday’s Minutes

MM

Monday’s Minutes is my weekly post where I share what I’m reading and what I’m reading next.

WHAT I’M READING

Landry Park (Landry Park, #1)

Landry Park by Bethany Hagen. I’ve just started this so I’m not too sure what I think about it yet. It’s supposed to be in the future, but America’s future is apparently like the European Regency era. But I’m in to those types of books, so I’m ok with it.

Endless

Endless by Amanda Gray. I’m still working my way through this one. I hate not finishing books I get through NetGalley, so I want to press on, it’s just not interesting me yet. Hopefully it picks up.

WHAT I’M READING NEXT

Stranded (Alaskan Courage, #3)

Stranded (Alaskan Courage #3) by Dani Pettrey. I’ve read the first two books in the series and while I wasn’t terribly impressed, the second improved a lot over the first so I’m hoping this one does too. I like the character development and the Alaskan setting.

What are you reading?

Review: Perfect Lies (Mind Games #2) by Kiersten White

Perfect Lies (Mind Games, #2)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Annie and Fia are ready to fight back.

The sisters have been manipulated and controlled by the Keane Foundation for years, trapped in a never ending battle for survival. Now they have found allies who can help them truly escape. After faking her own death, Annie has joined a group that is plotting to destroy the Foundation. And Fia is working with James Keane to bring his father down from the inside.

But Annie’s visions of the future can’t show her who to trust in the present. And though James is Fia’s first love, Fia knows he’s hiding something. The sisters can rely only on each other – but that may not be enough to save them.

Perfect Lies is the fast-paced conclusion to the Mind Games series. I have to say the only thing I didn’t really like about it is that this series is a duology and not a trilogy. I want more Annie and Fia!

Like the first book, the story is told through alternating 1st person POV between Fia and Annie and in multiple timelines. While I understand that some people may find that style confusing, I loved it. It made for interesting twists and surprises throughout and also aided in the character development for each sister. White does a great job in giving them distinct voices.

Annie grows a lot throughout the months leading up to the end of the book. She stops being the victim and the protected one to becoming the protector. I liked how her relationship with Fia developed, even though they were apart for almost the entirety of the book. I also liked the slow build of her relationship with Cole.

Oh crazy, crazy Fia. How I love her. (Side note: her POV reminds me a lot of Juliette in the Shatter Me series. Can you imagine a crossover of these two series? Fia and Juliette would be best friends. And there would be a crazy love triangle with Warner.) Her ability to always trust her first instinct as right has begun to blur as she uses her love for James as her driving force for all her decisions. As Annie grows more confident, Fia grows a little crazier, but she never loses sight of her ultimate goal – to protect her sister at all costs.

I enjoyed the addition of “Pixie”, a mind reader who befriends Fia. Other than her, though, the secondary characters were not as developed as I would have liked. They were all as likable or as a suspicious as intended and I didn’t find any of their actions too surprising. I feel like Adam in particular got the shaft, even though I’m not that disappointed in how his relationship with Fia ended up.

Overall, I really enjoyed Perfect Lies. I loved the writing style and the character development of the two sisters. Even though I feel like there could be more story left to tell, it was a satisfying conclusion to Annie and Fia’s fight against the Keane foundation.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 4
Characters: 4
Readability: 4.5
Enjoyability: 4.5
Overall Average: 4.25 stars

Review: Secret by Brigid Kemmerer

Secret (Elemental, #4)

Synopsis from Good reads:

Nick Merrick is stretched to breaking point. He’s trying to keep his grades sky-high or he won’t get in to college. He’s trying to keep his brother’s business afloat or the Merricks will be out on the street. He’s trying to keep the secret of where he’s going in the evenings from his twin brother Gabriel – or he fears he’ll lose his family. And he’s trying to keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who is his ‘girlfriend’s’ partner.

And then Quinn takes to hanging around his sworn enemy, and an Elemental Guide is counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers. Storms are brewing. On all sides.

This is going to be more of some random thoughts than a full review. Because it’s my blog and I can do what I want to.

-Michael is still my favorite Merrick. By far. I can’t wait for his book next. And I’m so, so happy that the cover is not insanely horrible. (Not good, mind you, but compare the picture below to the picture above. For real.)

Sacrifice (Elemental, #5)

-I still don’t like Quinn. But she’s on her way to being not completely horrible.

-I liked Tyler in this book. I think I’ll like him in future books since he’s no longer being a terrible, hateful human being.

-There was no Gabriel-Hunter bromance in this book, which made me sad. There just weren’t enough of the other Merricks, period. And Layne had like one line of dialogue. Becca was in it a bit more than previous books, but still not enough of her, either.

-This book focused way more on the romantic aspects instead of really moving the Elemental plot along. When we finally get around to it, it felt too rushed.

-I felt like Kemmerer was trying to make more of a political point than she needed to. For me, I would’ve liked Nick’s relationship with Adam to be part of Nick’s story and not all of Nick’s story. There’s so much more to people than their sexual orientation and I felt like Nick got the shaft a bit in this book because that’s all that was really focused on. How about how insanely powerful we find out he is with the air element? Barely brushed the surface on that.

-Overall, I enjoyed Secret and still recommend this series.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 2.5
Characters: 3.5
Readability: 4
Enjoyability: 3.5
Overall Average: 3.375 stars

 

Monday’s Minutes

MM

Monday’s Minutes is my weekly post where I share what I’m reading and what I’m reading next.

WHAT I’M READING

Secret (Elemental, #4)

Secret by Brigid Kemmerer. While I love this series, I’m not too invested in this installment yet. I really don’t care for Quinn. Nick is the Merrick brother focused on this time and so far there hasn’t been enough of the rest of the Merricks.

The Archived (The Archived, #1)

The Archived by Victoria Schwab. I started this a few days ago and am about half way through. I’m not really into it, though. I want to finish it, so I’m hoping it starts to pick up soon.

WHAT I’M READING NEXT

Endless

Endless by Amanda Gray. I’ve read some good things about this and just got it through NetGalley.

What are you reading?

Review: The Fever by Megan Abbot

The Fever: A Novel

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Synopsis from Good Reads:

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie’s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town’s fragile idea of security.

A chilling story about guilt, family secrets and the lethal power of desire, THE FEVER affirms Megan Abbot’s reputation as “one of the most exciting and original voices of her generation.”

*The Fever is available June 17, 2014.*

PLOT

On the surface, this story poses as a medical mystery/thriller. A young, beautiful girl suddenly becomes very, unexplainably ill. Several similar outbreaks follow. Is it the fault of mandatory vaccines? Is it the dangerously polluted lake? Is it the something environmental in the school? Something the police are investigating?

The real answer isn’t as surprising as you’re probably hoping for – once you realize this is not a mystery or a thriller, but a commentary on being a teenage girl, being confused by teenage girls, and raising a teenage girl.

You could not pay me enough to go back to high school. While my high school experience was not very similar to our main characters in this book, there were still a lot of familiar settings and feelings. I feel this part of the book was done well – showing the insecurity, uncertainty that is teenage life, but also from a teacher’s point of view, a parent’s point of view.

What didn’t quite work was the red herring through most of the book. It was a lot of build up for nothing and was a little disappointing. I feel like if this was marketed for the story it really was, I wouldn’t have been disappointed in it.

CHARACTERS

The story is told in third person POV and we get the view points of 16-year-old Deenie, her brother Eli, and their father Tom. I felt like Deenie and Tom were both very well developed and likable characters. While he was likable, too, I felt like Eli could have been a little more developed. In some ways he was a typical teenage boy, but there was more to him and I didn’t always understand his motives. While I liked his relationship with his sister, there were almost times where I thought the story was going to veer off into an incest subplot and I’m very glad it didn’t go there.

There were several minor characters, Deenie’s friends and their parents, that were interesting and odd and I wish we would’ve gotten more of some of them. But I like how the focus stayed on the Nash family and their reactions to everyone else.

READABILITY

While the story jumped around a lot, I felt it was done well here. Enough time was spent with each person or event and if it wasn’t, it only left me more anxious for the next part. It was a pretty fast read. While I’ve been struggling to finish another book for days, I picked this one up this morning and finished it the same day.

ENJOYABILITY

I enjoyed The Fever, though I didn’t feel it quite lived up to my expectations. I was ready for a mystery or a thriller and it’s not exactly what I got, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 3
Characters: 4
Readability: 4
Enjoyability: 3.5
Overall Average: 3.625 stars