Reviewing the Unreviewed: May

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  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits #1) by Katie McGarry. Read May 3-6. 2 stars.

This series seems to be so beloved in the blogosphere, but I didn’t really find it to be my cup of tea. While the characters’ drama was a little to a lot heavier than your standard YA, every other thing about it was a list of clichés. However, it wasn’t all bad and I’ll get to the rest of the series just to see if I find the next books more enjoyable.

 

Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2)

Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry. Read May 12-14. 3 stars.

I actually liked this book a lot more than the first in the series. Beth – who I hated in the first book – grew on me in this one, though I still don’t love her. I do love Uncle Scott! Like so much. I also really like Ryan. He is basically a perfect boy living in imperfect circumstances. His character was a little unrealistic, but he was sweet and I don’t care.

The pace was a little slow and there were kind of long periods of time where NOTHING really happens. I feel like it could’ve been maybe a little shorter, but overall I enjoyed it and I’ll continue to the next book in the series.

 

Crash into You (Pushing the Limits, #3)

Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits #3) by Katie McGarry. Read May 14-19. 3 stars.
This book was ok for me. Isaiah was not my favorite character in the previous books and he’s still not my favorite, though I liked him a lot more in this book. I enjoyed the chapters from Rachel’s perspective the most. It was interesting to read about her anxiety since I suffer a bit from that myself. This series still isn’t my favorite, but I like it enough to continue it.
Omens (Cainsville, #1)
Omens (Cainsville #1) by Kelley Armstrong. Read May 24-27. 2 stars.
I think this book would’ve been better if it was about 100 pages less. It started strong and then was way slow and kind of boring and then it got exciting and then it ended on an odd note. I didn’t find it satisfying in terms of the mysteries of Cainsville, but I’ll probably end up reading the next book.
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RE-READ
Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)
What can I say? This book is so cute. I was thinking that the third book in the series was coming out in May, but I guess it’s not until August. But I still enjoyed the re-read.
Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2)
I LOVE Cricket Bell. And his stupid name.

 

Review: Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Foreman

Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Allyson Healey’s life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.

I just don’t get it. Why is everyone so in love with this book? I will say that Foreman is a good writer. I had no problem with her prose.  Or even the general storyline. It was just where it went. So for those that haven’t read it and plan on it, I will say this was just ok for me and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. However, a lot of people really love it, so if you’re a big fan of YA Contemporary you may enjoy it.

***BEWARE OF RAMBLY SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON***

So Allyson is a high school graduate who has moped her way through a Trip of a Lifetime in Europe. While this is a little annoying, I get it. I can personally attest that having a Trip of Lifetime thrown at you when you are not in the right head space for it does not end well. But just before the trip ends, Allyson has a personality switch and decides to skip the last event to see some artsy guy in an artsy Shakespeare production. She takes the personality change even further when she leaves her best friend and goes with artsy guy, Willem, to Paris for a day.

This ONE DAY is supposed to be magical and romantic and change Allyson’s whole life. I just don’t get it. I don’t get why she likes Willem. Sure, he’s cute and foreign and charming, but it’s all in a narcissistic way. And I have no tolerance for his gypsy lifestyle.  They have a couple of moments where she “sees the real Willem” by his vague comments or a certain look in his expressive eyes, but she doesn’t really know him – or his last name, or his phone number, or his e-mail address. Their day together isn’t even that great, but Allyson romanticizes the fact that they avoid touristy things like the Lourve and the Eiffel Tower. When they break into a building to spend the night and she wakes up after having sex to find him gone, she freaks out. She ends up contacting her trip advisor who pays for her to reconnect with her best friend and extols these words of wisdom to Allyson after finding out he still has her super expensive watch:

“They’ll do that, sometimes. Take things as a sort of trophy. Like serial killers.”

So Allyson goes home and is so depressed (she thinks it’s because of being in love with Willem, I think it’s a cautionary tale of why you should wait to have some emotional maturity before having sex) and bombs her first semester of college. She finally decides to give herself a new start – by taking a class about Shakespeare. She finally makes a friend and he convinces her to look for Willem just so she can find out what happened. What if he didn’t really leave her?

So then some boring things happen where she fights with her parents and gets a job and she goes back to Paris to look for him. She meets up with some more gypsies who help her search. And by this time I’m hoping that she DOESN’T find him. I’m thinking, what a wonderful book this could be if she doesn’t find him. She finally stopped being mopey and stood up to her parents and made some friends and is feeling comfortable with herself for the first time in her life and wouldn’t it be wonderful to just end it right there? She met a boy, had an odd day with him that she eventually used as a springboard to become the person she was always supposed to be.

But, instead, after some amazing coincidences (or Accidents or Fate) she finds Willem in another country. He’s performing Shakespeare. And he has a girlfriend. Or just another girl. And she decides the door has closed and SHE’S FINE WITH IT. She doesn’t approach him and is in fact planning on leaving again. Then she realizes that since her day with him she’s grown so much and she just needs to be brave enough to tell him all about it. So she goes back after him. She introduces herself (because, yes, this guy she’s in love with never bothered to ask her real name) and he’s surprised.

The end.

What? So has he been looking for her? Does he think she’s a crazy stalker? Are they now in love forever? Does he start following her on Twitter? I feel like I must read the next book now. But I don’t want to.

And am I the only one that really hopes their relationship ends in nothing more than friendship? I would find it so much more satisfying for Allyson to just grow into herself and not for a guy.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 2
Characters: 1.5 (Allyson is well developed, no one else is even close)
Readability: 3
Enjoyability: 1.5
Overall Average:  2 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I read because of the Blogging Community

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish, is a freebie week where we can pick our own topic. I’ve decided to go with the Top Ten Books I read because of the Blogging Community. Perhaps my favorite thing about blogging is all the books I’ve discovered from reading other blogs. I wish I could remember who the blogger was that made me read these books, but I just can’t remember. So know, whoever you are, I thank you.

The Night Circus

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)  Untold (The Lynburn Legacy, #2)

2 & 3. Unspoken and Untold (The Lynburn Legacy) by Sarah Rees Brennan

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

4. The Raven Boys series by Maggie Stiefvater.

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)

5. Shadow and Bone series by Leigh Bardugo.

Storm (Elemental, #1)

6. The Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer.

The Fault in Our Stars

7. The Fault in our Stars by John Green.

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)

8. Anna and the French Kiss series by Stephanie Perkins

Submerged (Alaskan Courage, #1)

9. The Alaskan Courage series by Dani Pettrey

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

10. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.

What books have other bloggers inspired you to read????

 

 

Monday’s Minutes

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

WHAT I’M READING

Omens (Cainsville, #1)

Omens (Cainsville #1) by Kelley Armstrong. This book has been on my TBR list forever and finally became available at the library. I’m not quite half way through yet, but I’m a little disappointed so far. After a promising beginning, the pace has slowed way down and it’s just kind of weird and confusing instead of mysterious. I thought about putting this down, but I’ve waiting so long to read it and am far enough into it that I want to see it through.

Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)

Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Foreman. Everybody loves this series. I was about four or five chapters in when Omens became available and this one hadn’t done anything to interest me so far, so I made the switch. However, I’m planning on trying this again for a few chapters to give me a little break from Omens.

WHAT I’M READING NEXT

Boy, Snow, Bird    Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1)

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi and Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige just came off the hold list from the library, so I think I’ll be going with one of them.

 

 

Review: Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

Cop Town

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

Atlanta, 1974: As a brutal murder and a furious manhunt rock the city’s police department, Kate Murphy wonders if her first day on the job will also be her last. She’s determined to defy her privileged background by making her own way—wearing a badge and carrying a gun. But for a beautiful young woman, life will be anything but easy in the macho world of the Atlanta PD, where even the female cops have little mercy for rookies. It’s also the worst day possible to start given that a beloved cop has been gunned down, his brothers in blue are out for blood, and the city is on the edge of war.

Kate isn’t the only woman on the force who’s feeling the heat. Maggie Lawson followed her uncle and brother into the ranks to prove her worth in their cynical eyes. When she and Kate, her new partner, are pushed out of the citywide search for a cop killer, their fury, pain, and pride finally reach the boiling point. With a killer poised to strike again, they will pursue their own line of investigation, risking everything as they venture into the city’s darkest heart.

Relentlessly paced, acutely observed, wickedly funny, and often heartbreaking, Cop Town is Karin Slaughter’s most powerful novel yet—a tour de force of storytelling from our foremost master of character, atmosphere, and suspense.

I’m a big fan of Karin Slaughter and her Will Trent series, so I was a little disappointed when I found out her next novel was a stand-alone and not the next installment of Will Trent. I should have known better. Of course Slaughter would deliver a well-paced, character driven crime thriller that would completely suck me in until the last page.

Cop Town did remind me a lot of Criminal, a Will Trent book that shares its present day timeline with the 70s. Like Criminal’s 70s storyline, Cop Town focuses on two young female cops trying to not just prove their place on the force, but survive it. With a cop killer on the loose and prejudices running high, Maggie and Kate set out to investigate on their own, below the radar of the good ol’ boys who aggressively dismiss them.

What I really love about Slaughter’s writing is her character development. While the mystery of the cop killer is front and center, the story really focuses on the journey and growth that Maggie and Kate go through. They are two very different women from very different backgrounds, yet they both have personal demons that drive them together. Slaughter does a great job of including enough background information to inform us of their motivations and give us real emotional connections to them without ever detracting from the main plot. I also found the cast of supporting characters to be well developed.

Overall, I really enjoyed Cop Town. It was very well-paced with a perfect mixture of mental investigation and action. I found the conclusion to the mystery to be satisfying with the reveal of the cop killer to be a surprise, yet made sense when looking back through the story. The only things I didn’t really care for were Kate’s relationship with a married man and Maggie’s unresolved relationship – or lack thereof – with her neighbor.  I would recommend this book to fans of Karin Slaughter, criminal novels, and 1970’s enthusiasts.

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

Cop Town will be available June 24, 2014.

Wish They Would/Wouldn’t Wednesday

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Welcome to my new feature: Wish they Would/Wouldn’t Wednesday. This is where I’ll discuss issues that I wish authors would or wouldn’t do. This could include favorite styles, themes, genres, or pet peeves. And my first topic is………

I WISH THEY WOULDN’T: CREATE SERIES WITH NEW PROTAGONISTS FOR EACH BOOK

So we’ve all been there. We read a book and fall in love with not just the story, but the characters. Even if the plot wraps up in a satisfying way, you still crave more of the characters. And you’re in luck! It’s a series. HOWEVER, instead of focusing on these characters that you adore, a minor character from the first book takes center stage.

Now don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of series like this that I end up really enjoying, but each new book drives me a little bit crazy waiting for my old favorites to show up before I start to like the new characters. And even when I really get into the new protagonists, I still can’t get enough of the characters from the first installment. I wish these types of series at least included more of the previous primary characters in each new book.

Some examples of these series that I read and enjoyed, but was still annoyed with (click on the picture for summaries):

The O’Malley series by Dee Henderson

The Negotiator (O'Malley, #1)  The Guardian (O'Malley #2) The Truth Seeker (O'Malley #3) The Protector (O'Malley #4)  The Healer (O'Malley #5) The Rescuer (O'Malley #6)

The Alaskan Courage series by Dani Pettrey

Submerged (Alaskan Courage, #1) Shattered (Alaskan Courage, #2) Stranded (Alaskan Courage, #3)  Silenced (Alaskan Courage, #4)

Reviews: Shattered, Silenced

Pushing the Limits series by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)  Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2)  Crash into You (Pushing the Limits, #3)

Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer

Storm (Elemental, #1)  Spark (Elemental, #2)  Spirit (Elemental, #3) Secret (Elemental, #4)

Reviews: Storm, Spark, Spirit, Secret

What do you think of series that change protagonists with each new book? Love them? Hate them? Read them, but are annoyed by them?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books About Friendship

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is: Top Ten Books about Friendship.

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

1. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Gansey, Adam, Ronan, Noah, and Blue!

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)

2. The Vampire Academy Richelle Mead.  Lissa and Rose!

Attachments

3. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. Beth and Jennifer!

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)

4. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan. Kami, Jared, Angela, Rusty, Holly, and Ash!

Storm (Elemental, #1)

5. The Elemental Series by Brigid Kemmerer. – The Merrick brothers!

Well, I’m going to stop at a top 5 for today! What books about friendship are missing from my list?