Totally Didn’t Book Tag

Stephanies Book Reviews Header

Since I am completely blocked in writing reviews lately I went on a search for fun book tags. I saw this one over on Inspired by the Page and decided to give it a try.

1. Totally didn’t need to have a sequel/sequels!

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

The Mortal Instruments after the initial trilogy. It really should have ended after book 3 and even then it felt drawn out…

2. Totally didn’t need to have more than one point of view!

Untold (The Lynburn Legacy, #2)

Untold (The Lyburn Legacy #2). I’m generally a big fan of multiple POV and I didn’t really mind it in this book, either. My main problem was the POVs that we got in addition to the MC – Holly and Ash when all I wanted was Jared’s.

3. Totally didn’t need to change cover art through the middle of a series!

17455585                9781460323687_whitehotkiss_ebook

The Dark Elements by JLA. Not that I don’t think this series didn’t needs a cover change, but it definitely didn’t need THIS cover change. Like, it’s really no better.

4. Totally didn’t need a love triangle!

Requiem (Delirium, #3)

Ummmm, pretty much every book ever. But I’ll go with a love triangle that I thought was one of the most horribly done ones – Requiem (Delirium #3). Don’t even get me started on how this series ended.

5. Totally didn’t need this book to be included in this series!

Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4)

Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4). Ughhh. This book was the biggest waste of time. Just page after page of whiney, heartbroken Rose.

6. Totally didn’t need a cliffhanger!

Boy Band

Boy Band by Jacqueline E. Smith. I’m not sure if it can technically be considered a cliffhanger, but I was expecting the book to be a standalone and it definitely wasn’t! I am looking forward to the next book, though.

7. Totally didn’t need to have just one point of view!

Emmy & Oliver

Emmy & Oliver. Oliver’s POV would have added SO MUCH to this story. Especially since Emmy often rubbed me the wrong way.

8. Totally didn’t need that much hype!

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

Red Queen. And also, Emmy & Oliver again.  Sorry, not sorry.

9. Totally didn’t need a relative book reference! (e.g. Hunger Games fan would love Divergent.)

Black-Eyed Susans

Black-Eyed Susans. It referenced Gillian Flynn and this book is good enough it doesn’t need it.

10. Totally didn’t deserve my time!

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)

There are many books that I end up not being impressed by, but there are just a few that I very actively dislike and I think Allegiant takes the cake. I just like to forget that this book exists.

Feel free to tag yourself if you like!

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2013 Year in Review


So I started out 2013 with a goal to read 25 books. I kept adding 10 to my goal and finally stopped extending it when I got to 85. I ended up reading 169 books (though there’s still a few days left so this number could go up by one or two). I thought I’d call attention to some of my favorites – and my not so favorites.

FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR – MYSTERY/SUSPENSE: LINWOOD BARCLAY

Never Look Away  No Time for Goodbye  The Accident

Linwood Barclay is not a new author, but I just discovered him this year. So far I’ve only read the above 3 books, but they were all consistently good. It’s not just great mystery. He writes really great, relatable characters, too.

FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR – ROMANCE: KRISTAN HIGGINS

The Next Best Thing   The Best Man (Blue Heron #1)   All I Ever Wanted   Just One of the Guys

I read Just One of the Guys early in the year because it was a free nook book and I enjoyed it. I recently just went on a Kristan Higgins splurge and read every book that she has published. They all pretty closely follow the same outline, but I love them all. I love her character development – particularly her “flashback” style of writing -, her quirky secondary characters, and that it’s romance without being erotic.

FAVORITE RETURNING AUTHOR: RAINBOW ROWELL

Fangirl

Ok, I’m going to share a very unpopular opinion. I did not love Eleanor and Park. It was only just ok for me. But I still love you Rainbow Rowell! And she gave me another excellent book to read this year in Fangirl. Cath and Levi. Sigh.

FAVORITE COUPLE (ADULT): MARTIN RILKE & IVY THAXTON RILKE

The Passing Bells (Passing Bells, #1)

I don’t think I can ever say enough how much I love Martin Rilke.  He and Ivy were my favorite characters in The Passing Bells and I absolutely loved them together.

FAVORITE COUPLE (YA): DAEMON & KATY

Onyx (Lux, #2)

Of course this has to be Daemon and Katy from Lux. They’re sarcastic and adorable.

BEST CHARACTER GROWTH: JOHN TOMASETTI

Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder, #1)

Tomasetti of the Kate Burkholder series starts off as a barely functioning alcoholic and prescription drug addict that’s just hanging on to his job and recovering from the murder of his wife and daughters. Throughout the series he sobers up (more or less), returns to being the agent he once was, and becomes the stable one in his relationship with Kate.

FAVORITE CAST OF CHARACTERS: THE RAVEN BOYS

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

Gansey, Adam, Ronan, Noah, and Blue. I love the interactions between this group. What really draws me into this series is the characters. I wish I would’ve come up with them.

BEST FREE BOOK: BACK ON MURDER

Back on Murder (A Roland March Mystery, #1)

I discovered The Roland March series by J. Mark Bertrand because the first in the series was a free nook book at Barnes and Noble (you can get it for FREE here). Bertrand is a solid writer and I gave all three books in this series 4 stars.

FAVORITE NEW SERIES (YA): LUX

Obsidian (Lux, #1)  Onyx (Lux, #2) Opal (Lux, #3)  Origin (Lux, #4)

I’ve probably mentioned Jennifer Armentrout and her Lux series in this blog more than any other author or series. I love the writing, the characters, the banter, the mysteries, and the action.

FAVORITE NEW SERIES (ADULT): THE KATE BURKHOLDER SERIES

Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder, #1)  Pray for Silence (Kate Burkholder, #2)  Breaking Silence (Kate Burkholder, #3)  Gone Missing (Kate Burkholder, #4)  Long Lost (Kate Burkholder #4.5)Her Last Breath (Kate Burkholder, #5)

I have to say that part of me loves this series because it’s based in Holmes County, Ohio – not far from where I grew up. But I also love the characters and the mystery.

LIVED UP TO THE HYPE: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

The Fault in Our Stars

I did not believe that The Fault in our Stars would make me cry. I was wrong. But it was also sarcastic and funny and wonderful.

DIDN’T LIVE UP TO THE HYPE: THE SILENT WIFE

The Silent Wife

I kept reading things about how this was this summer’s Gone Girl. It was not. It took me about a month to finally finish it.

MOST DISAPPOINTING SEQUEL: THE ELITE

The Elite (The Selection, #2)

This book actually made me angry. I really enjoyed the first book, but this one was just horrible. America becomes unbearably annoying. Aspen is a doormat. Maxon is a dick. And the rebel subplot… Here’s hoping the end of the series makes up for this book.

MOST DISAPPOINTING END OF A SERIES – RUNNER-UP: REQUIEM

Requiem (Delirium, #3)

Ugh. This story went so down hill for me in this book. The love triangle in Requiem‘s is the reason I hate them. And though Lena’s choice is obvious, she never actually “picks” him. And half the book was given to Hanna’s POV, who I could not care less about (seriously – I can’t even tell how much I DON’T care about Hanna). I felt like the end was left open for future books instead of concluding the story of Lena. It turned into an obvious and poorly done social commentary on how we need to love.

MOST DISAPPOINTING END OF A SERIES: ALLEGIANT

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)

I was soooo disappointed by this book. I didn’t think it was possible for an ending to disappoint me more than Requiem did, but this one really took the cake. While Allegiant wraps things up in a way Requiem does not, I was still more disappointed with it because I loved this series so much and was so, so expecting it to be amazing. It wasn’t just the fact that I didn’t agree with the ending. It was just poorly done.

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE YEAR – RUNNER UP: UNRAVEL ME

Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2)

I loved the first book in this series and this one got even better. And even though I hate to admit it, the love triangle in this book actually works. I don’t feel like there’s a clear choice for Juliette and I get that she has feelings for both of them because I have feelings for both of them. Just when I’ve decided I’m Team Warner, she runs into Adam and I suddenly feel conflicted. Because of course I’m Team Adam. But then there’s Warner…

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE YEAR: THE NIGHT CIRCUS

The Night Circus

This wasn’t at all what I was expecting it to be. It’s super descriptive which I don’t usually like, but it was done so beautifully in this book that I loved it. The emotional connection I felt to these characters were greater than any others I’ve read this year.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth – 2 stars (out of 5)

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)

Read a synopsis here.

I was SO excited for this book. I had already decided that it would be wonderful. I wonder if I would’ve disliked it as much if I had lower expectations for it. Because I really didn’t like it. 2 stars is being generous, but since I loved the beginning of the series I just couldn’t bring myself to give it less.

Before I start with the spoilers – because I really can’t honestly discuss this book without spoilers – I want to comment on the writing style. As we all know by now, multiple 1st person POV is my favorite. Allegiant is told through alternating chapters from both Tris and Four’s 1st person POV. It did not work. The voices were not different at all. When they were in a group and not just in their own head, I had trouble remembering who’s POV it was. Even when they were just in their own heads, Four still sounds exactly like Tris.

While I liked having Four’s POV for the sake of getting more story, the multiple 1st person just didn’t do it justice. I also didn’t  like that it meant so much of the story was told from Tris and Four being away from each other. More on this to follow…

For those that don’t want to be spoiled, I will just say this. Allegiant starts out fast paced, but then slows down. If you’ve read the series so far, I would still recommend that you read it, but it’s one of the worst endings to a series I’ve ever read.

SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT!

Back to the thought from above. Four (this book has me thinking of him as Tobias, but I liked Four from Divergent better, so I’m going to refer to him as such) and Tris had a lot of strife in Insurgent, but seemed to reconcile at the end. I was not looking for more strife between them in this book, but that’s what I got. Yes, they ultimately reconciled and that was good, but so much of this book was them spent away from each other or fighting when they were together. And it all seemed so pointless. They act like adults in every other area of their lives, but when it came to their relationship, they really are just teenagers.

I started to dislike Four a bit in this book. He stopped being the damaged but strong guy we all fell in love with and just focused on being damaged. So much of the time was him feeling sorry for himself. Yes his parents suck and obviously left him with scars, but he was such a great character because even though he still struggled, he was able to overcome it and became this really great, smart, thoughtful, strong guy. In Allegiant he just totally backslid for almost the whole book.

I felt like most of the time there was just too much going on. New characters. New government. Genetic Damage. Revolutions. Experiments. Serums. The Fringe. Lies, lies, and more lies. And none of it was really done that well, either.

I also thought Tris’ death was totally uncalled for. First off, I think it’s dumb to kill the main character in any series and that it was basically done for shock value. The whole second book was basically dedicated to Tris trying to sacrifice herself to make her parents proud and then realizing that was wrong. And then in this book she does just that. There was a lot of lead up to this, a lot of talk about sacrificing for the greater good and that it’s only worth doing if it’s in the name of love. So she takes Caleb’s place because she loves him even if she can’t forgive him for his earlier sins and that’s supposed to make us feel like her death is very meaningful. But it’s not. The whole memory serum plan and the need for a sacrifice just seemed so contrived. I really do not see the purpose of killing her off at all.

So overall, I was super disappointed with Allegiant. I felt like the biggest questions – about the Divergents and the Edith Prior video and their world in general – were answered almost right away and then a new, way less interesting plot took over. I didn’t think  it was possible for the end of a series to disappoint me more than Requiem (the Delirium series) did, but I think this book did it. So read this book if you’ve already invested in the series, and then go back and read Divergent and pretend Allegiant doesn’t exist. That’s what I plan on doing.

Top Ten Tuesday: Best/Worst Series Enders

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish is the Best/Worst Series Enders. I was going to split this in half, but all the series enders that stood out to me were bad ones, so I decided to go with all Worst Series Enders. And there’s only 9.

The Worst:

Requiem (Delirium, #3)
1. Requiem – the end to the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium, #3)

2. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – the end to the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson.

Monsters (Ashes Trilogy, #3)

3. Monsters – the end to the Ashes trilogy by Ilsa Bick

Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, #6)

4. Last Sacrifice – the end to the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

The Savage Grace (The Dark Divine, #3)

5. The Savage Grace – the end to the Dark Divine series by Bree Despain

Rapture (Fallen, #4)

6. Rapture – the end of the Fallen series by Lauren Kate

Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4)

7. Breaking Dawn – the end to the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer.

As Sure as the Dawn (Mark of the Lion, #3)

8. As Sure as the Dawn – the end to the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers

Reached (Matched, #3)

9. Reached – the end to the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie