Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her dad and little brother.

Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32 and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

MELISSA DE LA CRUZ’s next adult novel will be a sweet, sexy and hilarious gender-swapping, genre-satisfying re-telling of Pride and Prejudice, set in contemporary America and featuring one snooty Miss Darcy.

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

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe will be available October 17, 2017.

I love a good holiday romance and I love Pride and Prejudice re-tellings, so Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe looked like it would be perfect for me. While it was a fun read, it ended up falling short of my (pretty high) expectations.

I loved the idea of a gender-swapped Pride and Prejudice. I can’t think of any other re-tellings I’ve read that took that angle. I also like the idea of getting Darcy’s POV instead of Elizabeth’s (or Luke’s, in this case). Unfortunately I felt like this was more of an “inspired by” then a true re-telling. If it wasn’t for the names of the characters (Darcy Fitzwilliam, Bingley Charles, Luke Bennett) and the title of the book I’m not really sure if I would’ve even noticed that it was supposed to be a re-telling. That said, the story wasn’t bad. It was a very quick and easy read and had many cute or funny moments.

Darcy was pretty unlikable, which was ok in the beginning because she was kind of supposed to be. However, I don’t think she ever became more likable. Even though she was supposed to be this brilliant, successful woman, she was super immature and self-centered and kind of oblivious. There’s several scenes where she explains how she’s just super confident and driven, and not snobby or selfish, but honestly I just didn’t buy it. I was rooting for her, though, and she did make some strides when it came to her family. Luke was more likable, but we actually don’t get a lot of him. There is not very much time spent with Luke and Darcy together before they are officially together, so I had a hard time really shipping them as a couple. We do get more of them together in the end, which I liked.

One thing that does kind of bug me, which is not the book’s fault, is that the synopsis sounds pretty different than the actual story. Darcy doesn’t really date the type of guys mentioned, I don’t recall a mention of multiple cell phones, and she comes home to see her mom, despite her estranged father and three brothers she’s never really liked. Luke is described as less ambitious than Darcy, but I don’t think he was ever referred to as a slacker. The “fall into bed” statement is also misleading. There were also some continuity issues within the story that bothered me. I’m hoping that those are just ARC issues, though, and will be ironed out in the finished copy.

Overall, Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe was a cute, quick, and easy read. I loved the concept for the book even though it didn’t quite live up to it’s potential. I think hard core Pride and Prejudice fans will find it a little lacking, but if you’re looking for a nice holiday romance I would recommend checking this out.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

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Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway: 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

Synopsis:

“Mean Girls for the Instagram age.” —The Times (London)
The New York Times bestselling author known for her thrilling twists is back:
They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart.

Natasha doesn’t remember how she ended up in the icy water that night, but she does know this–it wasn’t an accident, and she wasn’t suicidal. Her two closest friends are acting strangely, and Natasha turns to Becca, the best friend she dumped years before when she got popular, to help her figure out what happened.

Natasha’s sure that her friends love her. But does that mean they didn’t try to kill her?

13 Minutes is a psychological thriller with a killer twist from the #1 internationally bestselling author Sarah Pinborough.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: October 3rd 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller, Crime, Mystery, Fiction

Links:

 Goodreads
Amazon 
B&N
Book Depository  
iBooks 
Kobo 
IndieBound  

13 Minutes is a YA psychological thriller that will once again prove that teenage girls can be the worst. Tasha is the pretty, popular girl that wakes up from a traumatic event with no memory of what happened to her. She begins to suspect her best friends had something to do with it and reaches out to her former friend, Becca, for comfort and for help. Along with the mystery of what really happened to Tasha, there is some major teenage girl drama going on. The relationships between the girls, Becca and her boyfriend, and the high school popularity hierarchy were all explored. Can I say this again? Teenage girls can be the worst. I don’t really want to say too much more about the actual plot because I think it’s best to go in without a lot of information.

I really liked the formatting of the story. The chapters alternate from the POVs of Tasha, Becca, and the man that rescues Tasha in the beginning of the book. There are also excerpts from Tasha’s journal, counseling sessions between a doctor with Tasha and the same doctor with Becca, newspaper articles, text threads, and excerpts from the detective’s notes. I thought all of these were used very effectively and helped keep up the suspense.

Overall, I enjoyed 13 Minutes. I thought the characters were very well done and loved the formatting. It was definitely one of the better YA suspense books I’ve read. It reminded me a lot of another one that I really liked, but I don’t want to say which one because the twists are very similar and it would give too much away. Speaking of the twist, I did figure things out well before they were revealed, but it was still fun to see how everything came together. I have to admit that I was just a little disappointed, though. After the great twist ending in Behind Her Eyes by this author, I was expecting a little something extra at the end of this one, but there wasn’t. I think fans of YA suspense will enjoy it, though.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

Sarah Pinborough is a critically acclaimed adult and YA author based in London.
Sarah was the 2009 winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Story and also the 2010 and 2014 winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Novella, and she has four times been short-listed for Best Novel. She is also a screenwriter who has written for the BBC and has several original television projects in development.
Her next novel, Behind Her Eyes, coming for HarperFiction in the UK and Flatiron in the US (January 2017) has sold in nearly 20 territories worldwide and is a dark thriller about relationships with a kicker of a twist.
You can follow her on Twitter @sarahpinborough

ABOUT THE GIVEAWAY

   1 ARC of 13 MINUTES by Sarah Pinborough
   US Only

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Review: Renegades (Renegades #1) by Marissa Meyer

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

From #1 New York Times-bestselling author Marissa Meyer, comes a high-stakes world of adventure, passion, danger, and betrayal.

Secret Identities.
Extraordinary Powers.
She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

I received a copy of this title via a giveaway from the publisher. It does not impact my review.

I am a big fan of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series and despite not being a big superhero fan have been really looking forward to Renegades. I was very excited to win an advanced copy through a giveaway from the publisher.

Renegades tells the story of a world where prodigies exist. Prodigies are people with special abilities. They had been persecuted for a long time until a very powerful prodigy, Ace Anarchy, staged a rebellion against the powers that be. During this Age of Anarchy when crime was running rampant, a small group of prodigies formed to try and restore justice, calling themselves the Renegades. Now the Renegades rule the land. Nova, one of the few anarchists left and one with a very personal grudge, wants to take the Renegades down and plans to “become” a Renegade to take them down from the inside.

Renegades appears to be very heavily inspired by X-Men. Most of the plot and characters reminded me of the movies (I’ve never read the comics). The story was pretty predictable, but it was still fun and I enjoyed it. I did think the book was far too long for what little happened, though. There was a lot of world building and an over-the-top amount of description (for me, anyways). This book really just seemed like it was more concerned with setting up the series then anything else. I remember not loving Cinder (the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series), but thought all the rest of the series was fantastic, so I have high hopes for the following books.

I liked Nova and the morally gray ground she walked. She is smart and funny. She’s on a mission for vengeance, but she also thinks that society would be better off without the renegades. She feels like people rely too heavily on them instead of providing for themselves and non-prodigies should be able to form their own government again. Adrian is part of a superhero dynasty and leader of the team that Nova joins when she becomes a Renegade. He believes in the renegade’s mission, but also thinks there is some room for improvement. Adrian is a very lovable character and I enjoyed all of his POV chapters. The romance between Nova and Adrian is very slow burn and is still in very early stages by the end of the book. There wasn’t a whole lot of development on the other characters and I hope they all become a little easier to keep straight in the coming books.

Overall, I enjoyed Renegades. It was a fun story with likable characters. I did feel like it was a little too long, though, and the pace was pretty slow for most of it. Not a whole lot really happened and because of this I can’t quite give this 4 stars. I do have very high hopes for the rest of the series, though.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

Review: Fallen Heir (The Royals #4) by Erin Watt

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

These Royals will ruin you.

Easton Royal has it all: looks, money, intelligence. His goal in life is to have as much fun as possible. He never thinks about the consequences because he doesn’t have to.

Until Hartley Wright appears, shaking up his easy life. She’s the one girl who’s said no, despite being attracted to him. Easton can’t figure her out and that makes her all the more irresistible.

Hartley doesn’t want him. She says he needs to grow up.

She might be right.

Rivals. Rules. Regrets. For the first time in Easton’s life, wearing a Royal crown isn’t enough. He’s about to learn that the higher you start, the harder you fall.

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

Fallen Heir will be available August 28, 2017. 

The Royals series is such a guilty pleasure for me. They are not the type of books I usually read, but I picked up Paper Princess because of all the hype and found it totally addicting. I felt like that addictive quality was lost a little bit in the following books, but it was back in full force for me with Fallen Heir.

Fallen Heir shifts the focus from Ella and Reed to Easton. I really enjoyed getting his 1st person POV. I was expecting the story to be told in dual POV between Easton and the love interest, newcomer Hartley, but I’m actually really glad that it wasn’t. I can’t really think of many Romance books that are told solely from the male’s POV and so that set it apart a little bit. And while there was a lot of brooding, I did like the insight into his behavior and I enjoyed it a lot more than I had enjoyed Reed’s POV.

As expected, there was all sorts of behavior I don’t approve of when reading about young adults (or regular adults for that matter), but I felt like it was toned down a lot from the previous books. I really appreciated that the story didn’t rely so heavily on shocking or graphic content. This book focused more on Easton’s destructive behavior and that there were actual consequences to it for both him and the people around him. I am really hoping that Easton gets into a rehab program before this series is over.

I enjoyed the slow burn relationship between Easton and Hartley. While at times Easton did come across a little too stalkery, being in his head we know there was no ill intent, so it didn’t really bother me that much. I liked that we got to see Ella and Val and I liked Easton’s friends Pash and Bran a lot, too. There was some more high school mean girl drama that kind of annoyed me, but I didn’t find it as over-the-top as it was in previous books either.

Overall, I really enjoyed Fallen Heir. I loved getting Easton’s POV. Sometimes he’s a hard character to like, but I was 100% rooting for him the entire time. I felt like this book recaptured the addictive writing that the first book in the series had and I can’t wait to read more – especially with those major cliffhangers this one ends with.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

Reivew: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

I was browsing the clearance shelves at my local bookstore and saw this book on sale for about $6.00. After all the hype surrounding this series I decided it was time for me to FINALLY give it a try.

Illuminae is definitely a book you have to read a hard copy of. It would not be conducive to e-readers and would definitely leave a lot to be desired via audio. The formatting was very cool. It’s all documents and chat logs and graphics and the creators of the book obviously put a lot of thought into the layout and details. I’ll say again, it was very cool. Unfortunately, one very cool element does not a 5 star book make (at least not to me).

While I loved the format, it did not always work for me. There are many official memos and etc. that come across too unprofessional. I think there could’ve been a greater effort made to make them sound more realistic. I also had a huge problem with the video transcripts. The person transcribing them put in way too much detail of the participant’s feelings and thoughts turning it into more of a standard narration than what it should have been (this did have an explanation at the end so I’m not going to go into great detail with the quotes I actually took the time to mark to prove my point – I’ll just say that when I was reading those parts I was annoyed by it). There are also very long parts from AIDEN’s, the computer, POV that came across way too odd for me. They also blacked out all the curse words which at first I thought I would really appreciate, but quickly learned it just brought more attention to them. I found myself filling in the blacked out words anyways, and then sometimes second guessing which curse word I thought it was. This was not a good use of my time.

The plot was repetitive and drawn out. Lots of missiles and computer hacking and teenage angst and zombie-like sickness outbreak. I felt kind of bored during parts of it. However, every time I was thinking that I just didn’t care about what was going on, a character would be killed off and I found myself getting choked up. The character development was actually really well done. I loved Ezra and his kind of obnoxious friend McNulty. I loved Kady’s hacker friend, Zhang. It took me a little longer to warm up to Kady, but I did eventually really root for her, even if I didn’t love her as much as some of the other characters.

Overall, I liked Illuminae, but I didn’t love it. The non-traditional formatting was very cool and is definitely worth picking up an actual hard copy of the book for. However, I don’t understand all the 5-star hype for this run-of-the-mill sci-fi story. That said, it was still an enjoyable read and I plan on continuing the series.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

Review: Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.

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

Emma in the Night will be available August 8, 2017. 

There is no shortage of books about the return of missing girls, but Emma in the Night sets itself apart by including  and exploring an authentic narcissistic  character. The term Narcissist is used incorrectly a lot to describe people who are just arrogant, but it’s an actual personality disorder that is much more than just arrogance. Though at times the story turned almost a little too clinical describing how Judy, the mother of the missing girls (Emma and Cass), is a narcissist, it was a lot of interesting information.

The story is told through the POVs of Cass, the daughter that has returned and wants to help find her sister, and Abby, a psychologist with the FBI working the case who also grew up with a narcissistic mother. Through both of them we see just how twisted and abusive Cass and Emma’s childhood was and the reason behind that behavior.  I feel like the story is less about finding out exactly what happened, as finding out how exactly the characters reached this point. The conclusion to the crime/mystery was kind of clichéd and a little unsatisfying, but the events leading up to it were interesting.

I appreciated the new angle on the missing girls trope, but was left slightly underwhelmed overall. I think if you go into this for the character development, the family drama, and the mental health information rather than for the mystery, you will enjoy it.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

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