Review: Waste of Space by Gina Damico

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Cram ten hormonal teens into a spaceship and blast off: that’s the premise for the ill-conceived reality show Waste of Space. The kids who are cast know everything about drama—and nothing about the fact that the production is fake. Hidden in a desert warehouse, their spaceship replica is equipped with state-of-the-art special effects dreamed up by the scientists partnering with the shady cable network airing the show. And it’s a hit! Millions of viewers are transfixed. But then, suddenly, all communication is severed. Trapped and paranoid, the kids must figure out what to do when this reality show loses its grip on reality.

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

Waste of Space will be available July 11, 2017.

This was such a different kind of book than what I’ve read before. While it didn’t quite work for me 100% of the time, I did find it an enjoyable, often humorous read.

I thought this was going to be a Contemporary sort of book, but it’s much more of a satire on reality tv. I have watched my fair share of reality shows and I found much of this to be really spot on – from the casting “…sixty percent white, thirty percent ethnic, ten percent undetermined…plus the four Golden Tokens: gay, foreigner, disabled, and orphan…”  (quote taken from ARC) to the manufactured dramatic plot points. I loved all the random reality tv show titles that were thrown in as being part of the same DV8 network. And I loved how it shows the audience being separated into those who fully believed these kids were in space, those who found the whole thing so fake it was insulting, and those that were just enjoying it and not really caring one way or the other how real it was.

I found some of the “spacetronatus” a little more likable and/or developed than others. I liked Snout and his pet pig, Colonel Bacon, who also came on the show. I loved Kaoru, who got recruited to the show against her will, only speaks Japanese, and is not at all amused at what is going on. The two characters that were the most developed were Titania and Nico. They developed a bit of a showmance and both had some serious backstories. I really liked Nico, but wasn’t quite as fond as Titania. I’m not quite sure why. She just kind of rubbed me the wrong way sometimes. I also thought that their storylines detracted from the overall satire feel of the book. I think that the author should have gone all in with the satire and left out the heavier storylines. The story felt a little unbalanced trying to switch back and forth between the two.

I expected to get the “spacetronauts” POV in a traditional narrative format. Instead, the story is told from a whistle-blowing intern who shares video, phone, and blog transcripts, along with his own observations. I really liked this format. All of my favorite portions of the story came from the transcripts with Chazz, the producer, working behind the scenes. I also enjoyed the Perky Paisley talk show and the various blog posts about the show. Where it lacked for me was actually with the kids on the show. While they did have several humorous moments, I found them way less interesting than the production of the show.

Overall, I found Waste of Space pretty enjoyable. I loved the satirical view of reality television. Though it did occasionally go a little far into cheesy territory, I thought it was really well done overall. If you’re looking for a humorous, different kind of YA book, I definitely recommend this one. Catchphrase forever!

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

3.5 stars

Review: He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim’s life that is changed forever. Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear, and while Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something, and someone, is always in the dark.

It took me quite awhile to get into this book. I honestly thought about giving up, but all the reviews I read that talked about the great ending made me power through. While I ultimately found it a little disappointing, I am glad that I kept reading. About a third of the way through it started to get a lot more interesting and then a little farther along there is a surprise that definitely makes the tedious first part of the book worth it.

The story is told in alternating 1st person POV between Laura and Kit and in alternate timelines. I am a big fan of both of those narrative devices when done well and I thought they were used very effectively here. It felt completely necessary to the story and not just a narrative style choice. I didn’t particularly like either Laura or Kit, but this is one of those instances where you don’t really have to. While they both did stupid things sometimes, there was always a level of empathy with them and chances of redemption, so I could still root for them. The other main character is Beth and I was not a fan of her at all. I’m not going to go into any detail about her, though, because I don’t feel like I can do it without revealing any spoilers.

Eclipse chasing is a big part of the story. I thought that it would just be part of the setting where the catalyst of the story takes place, but it’s much more than that. I never knew that eclipse chasing was a thing that people traveled all over the world for. It does seem like an expensive hobby to have, especially for people who aren’t exactly wealthy, and my deeply practical nature makes me view it as irresponsible, which kind of soured me on the Kit and Laura.  It did make me kind of excited about the eclipse that’s supposed to be in the US this year, but I just looked it up and I don’t live in an area that will see Totality so now I’m a little disappointed.

Overall, He Said/She Said was a decent book, but fell short of my expectations. The reveals and slightly faster pace of the second half the book could not completely save it from the very slow, somewhat hard to get through beginning. While I liked the twists in the story, they were not as explosive as I was expecting from other reviews I’ve read. However, I did love how it was written and thought it was one of the most effective uses of multiple POV and timelines that I have read in quite awhile.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag: 2017

I’ve seen this tag around a lot recently and was thinking about doing it and then I was tagged by Raven over at Dreamy Addictions (go check her out!). Thanks Raven! Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like.

Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2017.

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I can’t pick just one, but the 3 books I have rated the highest are: Daisy in ChainsMaking Faces, and Ragdoll

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2017.

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A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. I thought this was a good ending to the series and I liked it MUCH more than the previous book.

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To.

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Strange the Dreamer. I got it once at the library, but wasn’t in the mood for it. I then won it in a giveaway so I definitely need to read it.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year.

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Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills.

Biggest Disappointment.

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Final Girls by Riley Sager and Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh.

Biggest Surprise.

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Now You See Me. I had never read anything by this author before and when I read this it pulled me out of a book slump and completely consumed me.

Favorite New Author.

Sharon Bolton

Sharon Bolton (aka: S. J. Bolton)

Newest Fictional Crush.

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Carter Aaron from Dating You / Hating You

Newest Favorite Character.

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Lacey Flint and Mark Joesbury.

Book That Made You Cry.

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Making Faces by Amy Harmon.

Book That Made You Happy.

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When It’s Real by Erin Watt

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation.

I am wracking my brain and I don’t think that I’ve watched any. I saw the first episode of the Big Little Lies tv series (and then my free HBO expired) and thought it was ok, but it did not live up to my expectations.

Favorite Post You Have Done This Year.

Convince me to Buy a Kindle because you all did, in fact, convince me to buy a Kindle.

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year.

I’ve only actually bought three books this year and I am honestly not a fan of any of their covers.

What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year.

Lucky in Love by Kasie West

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey

Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like to participate

Review: One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

This is a book that I have been looking forward to for a long time and I’m so happy to report that it not only lived up to my expectations, but surpassed them.

I’m having a hard time organizing my thoughts on this so I’m just going to list it all out.

-I’m really glad that we got all 4 POVs. I really felt like I got to know all the characters and connect with them. The story is really character driven and each of the Bayview Four showed tremendous growth throughout the book. I liked all of the characters, especially Cooper and Nate, (though it did take me a little while to warm up to Addy) and really appreciated how different they all were and how the situation changed them all for the better (cue Breakfast Club reference). My only complaint with it is that they are all told in 1st person and their voices are not that unique. There were a few times (when there were two or more of the characters in the same scene) that I forgot which POV I was reading.

-The mystery was clever and well plotted. I honestly was not expecting to be at all surprised, but I was. There were parts that I suspected, but the full reveal was something I hadn’t guessed and I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I didn’t figure out what was happening long before it was revealed. I also loved that there are clues all along the way so the answer doesn’t come out of left field.

-I shipped Bronwyn and Nate so hard!! I loved watching their old acquaintance turn into friendship and then turn into more. They were so cute together (even though I’m sure Nate would hate being described as cute) and I loved every scene that had the two of them in it. There were a few times where it felt like maybe the romantic storyline was taking a little more center stage than the mystery (especially in the epilogue), but I just loved them so much that I don’t really care.

-There is a part where Buffy the Vampire Slayer is referred to as a “retro vampire show” and I have never felt so old.

-Family love. I liked that each character had at least one present and supportive family member. So often in YA the families are either mostly absent or completely awful, but not here. There were still some parental awfulness, but there was a lot more positive family relationships portrayed. I especially loved Addy’s sister, Ashton, and Bronwyn’s sister, Maeve.

Overall, I loved One of Us Is Lying. It’s a very impressive debut with a well plotted mystery and amazing character development. This is definitely one that I recommend and know that I will be re-reading it in the future. I really look forward to reading whatever McManus writes next.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

June 2017 Recap

June marked my 4th year of blogging. It kind of snuck up on me because I was thinking it was in July. I didn’t do a dedicated post to it, so I’ll use this to say Happy Blogaversary to me! In life news I discovered another bookworm in my extended family. I went to my cousin’s daughter’s graduation party and at every seat there was a bookmark that had a quote from the Shatter Me series. When I mentioned it to her, she was so excited that I had read them and then gave me a hug after I confirmed that I was Team Warner. We became Good Reads friends on the spot. I also bought a Kindle Paperwhite, due to all the great feedback I got. I think it’s still too soon to give a verdict on it. I don’t really like change and there are lot of differences between it and my Nook, so I am not as initially impressed with it as I thought I would be. But once I get used to it and learn all the features I’ll have a post comparing the two.

In very sad news, there was a local family that went through some major heartbreak. I don’t want to be cryptic, but I also don’t want to end up as a search result when someone googles them. I just feel the need to remind us all to not be so quick to judge. I’ve seen very hateful things posted about one of the victims involved and it completely breaks my heart because she was one of the kindest, most loving women I have ever met. The media definitely hasn’t painted this family in the greatest light, which makes it easy to jump to conclusions and judgements that aren’t true. However, the rest of the family has really lived up to the love and values they were brought up in and if they can forgive, so should we. I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s really been on my heart lately and if you’re someone who prays, maybe you could pray for this family as they move on from this tragedy.

Books Read: 9

Adult: 6
YA: 3

Favorite Books I Read This Month:

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Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren,  Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton, and One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Books Reviewed: 6

The Party by Robyn Harding – 3/5 Stars

Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter – 4/5 Stars

The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter – 3.5/5 Stars

Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren – 4/5 Stars

Her Surprise Engagement (The Sorensen Family #4) by Ashlee Mallory – 3/5 Stars

Final Girls by Riley Sager – 2/5 Stars

Books Read in 2017 Overall: 66

Funny Fridays:

Just send books ❤️:

June 2

June 9

June 23

Other Posts:

May 2017 Recap

To Not To Read Book Tag

Books I’ll Probably Never Read Tag

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read in 2017 So Far

Top 5 Wednesday: Hate to Love Ships

Reviewing the Unreviewed: June 2017

What I watched:

younger tv land - Google Search

The first three seasons of Younger were available on demand, so I decided to binge them. I LOVE IT. It’s very addictive and it’s a perfect binge show. I will say that it does try a little too hard at times to be kind of edgy, but I can overlook it. You also have to suspend belief a bit because I don’t think Sutton Foster can pull off 26 (she does look great, though! I just think that maybe 30 would have been more believable). The 4th season just started and I am so happy to have a new summer show.

Book News:

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Dan Humphries to play Joe Goldberg in You tv show

You by Caroline Kepnes is probably the most messed up book I have ever read. And it was completely addicting. It may be old news that it’s going to be a tv show on Lifetime, but this month it was announced that Penn Badgley (aka: Gossip Girls’ Dan Humphries) will play Joe. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. I’m hoping I’ll be able to watch it and not just think Gossip Girl when I see him.

July Highlight:

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The next book in the Kate Burkholder series comes out this month and Linda Castillo will be in the area. Going to her book events have become one of my favorite summer traditions and I’m really looking forward to it and the new book.