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Book Reports (40-47)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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***** (R)

***** (R)
All In and Bad Blood, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes -- highly recommended for Barnes' fan who like YA romantic suspense/thrillers -- Disney Hyperion, 11/16-17

(I love Barnes' writing style, and I'm glad she has the next series to keep me going (The Fixer).)

*
Random, by Tom Leveen -- recommended for those who like the perspective of the antagonist and those who like teen bullying drama -- Simon Pulse, 8/15

(I didn't realize going in that the majority of this would be told by the so-called antagonist...I didn't really like her, and when I skimmed the ending [as I tend to do], she hadn't grown or changed a whole lot. *shrug* I like Leveen's writing style and have enjoyed two of his other books quite a bit. I think people who are interested in this topic might enjoy the book.)

***
Incognita, by Kristen Lippart-Martin -- recommended for those who read the first (Tabula Rasa), those who like sci-fi thrillers, those who like sweet teen romance -- Carolrhoda, 10/16

(I really enjoyed the first one, and this one is also good...but for some reason, I couldn't get into it as much this time. I don't think it was the fault of the author -- that just happens now and then where the story has faded from mind enough that it takes too long for the world to capture my attention. Still, I suspect many will love this.)

**
[Select, by Marit Weisenberg -- recommended for those who like sci-fi mysteries (similar in some ways to Twilight), those who like teen angst and drama, and those who like teen romance (two from different worlds, so to speak) -- Charlesbridge Teen, 10/17]

(The premise on this is really engaging, and I kind of tore through the first few chapters...but although the tension seemed high, it didn't build in a way that worked for me. Also, I thought for sure I'd missed a prequel or something because the narrator kept briefly referencing events that happened before in such a way that made me feel like I was missing something. I didn't enjoy it, and it took a while to piece everything together. Overall, it felt rather trope-y, and I didn't love the execution or the resolution. That said, I didn't really like Twilight at all, so this type of tale is probably just not to my personal taste, and chances are, this will be adored by many.)

***+
[Concealed, by R.J. Crayton -- recommended for those who like dystopic sci-fi (virus-type), those who like family drama, those who like determined heroines, and those who like teen romance -- Createspace, 5/16]

(I like this, though I didn't love it. The premise is intriguing, and I definitely enjoyed the characters. The plot reveals were a little slow for me, and I felt a bit like the book ended kind of in the middle of everything. Still, I will read the next one. :) )

Book Reports (35-39)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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****+
Corruption, by Jessica Shirvington -- highly recommended for those who read the first (Disruption), those who like strong teen heroines, those who like sweet romance, and those who like dystopic/sci-fi -- Harper Collins, 3/17

I didn't read the first one very carefully, but I really enjoyed this one anyway. I got enough of the world-building from the first to follow this, and because of that, this one didn't need as much and could focus more on plot and characters. I enjoyed the tension between the characters and the conflicts present.

****
The Release, by Tom Isbell -- recommended for those who've read the rest of the trilogy, those who like the strength of the underdog, those who like angsty teen romance, and those who like sci-fi/dystopia -- Harper Teen, 2/17

This was a nice conclusion to the trilogy. It's a depressing world, without a doubt, and I felt like some of the angst Hope tortured herself with was unnecessary -- but overall, I enjoyed the series.

*****
[One of Us Is Lying, by Karen M. McManus -- highly recommended for those who like crafty mysteries, those who like multi-POV narratives, those who like realistic teen drama, and those who like Agatha Christie-like takedowns -- Delacorte Press, 5/17]

I loved this! :D It hit all my favorite buttons -- school tales, multi-POV, Agatha Christie-like mystery...just right up my alley. Plus, there's all kinds of romance (or hints of romance), including GLBT. There's definitely some diabolical thought processes here, though, so beware of triggers (though I imagine most readers won't pick it up if teen death bothers them to that point).

***** (R)

***** (R)
The Naturals, Killer Instinct, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes -- highly recommended for those who like YA thrillers and YA FBI tales -- Disney-Hyperion, starting 10/14

I'm re-reading the whole series and loving it just as much (maybe more?) the second time...

Book Reports (28-34)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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****
The Darkest Lie, by Pintip Dunn -- recommended for those who like suspense, those who like relationship drama, and those who like justice served -- Kensington, 6/16

I like Dunn's writing style, and I found this intriguing. It was sad too (which I often shy away from), but the ending was satisfying and made sense. Overall, it was a good read.

****+
[Relationship Status, by K.A. Mitchell -- highly recommended for those who like NA male/male romance, those who've read the others in this series, and those who like dual-POV -- Carina Press, 4/17]

I've liked all the books in this trilogy, and this was a satisfying (albeit rather short) ending. I like Wyatt and Ethan, so having their POV trade off is a definitely plus. Their relationship is realistic, and the supporting characters are also fun to spend time with.

(R) ****+
Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson -- highly recommended for those who like super-hero science fiction (with a twist), those who like bookish heroes, and those who like determination -- Delacorte Press, 9/13

****+
Firefight, Brandon Sanderson -- highly recommended for those who like super-hero science fiction (with a twist), those who like bookish heroes, and those who like determination -- Delacorte Press, 1/15

I read the 1st one years ago but forgot to pick up the second one. However, I got all of them for D this year, and he loved them -- so I gave them a go. They're definitely enjoyable, though I haven't finished the third yet. The pacing and tension in the first 2 is well done, and I really like the world building and how it's all twined in with the plot. David is a great hero. :)

***
A Lie for a Lie, by Robin McCready -- recommended for those who like family drama, those who like teen relationship drama, and those who like complicated families -- Henry Holt, 2/17

This was okay. I didn't love how the MC really lacked in perception, and her justification for doing some of the things she did seemed fairly shallow. That said, I have known teens very like her, and she had a good heart, overall. I writing style put me off a bit too, as the MC seemed very distant from everything that happened. My favorite part was the complicated family -- definitely realistic.

(R) *****

(R) *****

The Testing trilogy, by Joelle Charbonneau -- highly recommended for those who like dystopic books, those who like strong (and intelligent) heroines, and those who like sweet teen romances -- Harcourt Brace/Houghton Mifflin, 6/14-1/16

Struggling to find unique books. :( Still, always glad for re-reads!

Book Reports (24-27)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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****
[Hit the Ground Running, by Mark Burley -- recommended for those who like multi-POV, those who like mostly male POV, those who like mysticism (almost like magical realism), and those who like thrillers in a Dan Brown style -- Blue Moon, 4/27]

This is an entertaining read, though the mysticism/magical realism threw me a bit (because it seemed very down-to-earth when it began). I definitely liked the MC, though, and the mystery was interesting enough that I will look for the next one. :)

**
[The Whole Thing Together, by Ann Brashares -- recommended for Brashares fans, for those who like grief/recovery tales, for those who like family stories, and for those who like teen romance -- Delacorte Press, 4/17]

I liked the ideas here, but it developed very slowly. Plus, the multi-POV was actually confusing (which is rare) and jumped from person to person without a clearly distinct voice change (to me, at least). Still, I suspect that those who like Brashares' style will find this one another gem. :)

****+
[The Takedown, by Corrie Wang -- highly recommended for those who like futuristic tales (technology-wise) with contemporary struggles, those who like sweet teen romance, and those who like heroines who fight -- Freeform, 4/17]

I really enjoyed this, even though the MC isn't super sympathetic to begin with. However, she grows (and it's realistic) and changes, and as more of her background is revealed, her actions make more sense. I also like how the other players in the game are complex...and the love interest is sweet and realistic too. Not to mention, the look at what social media could become is frighteningly plausible.

*****
Gemina, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff -- highly recommended for those who like YA sci-fi, those who like sweet teen romance, those who like space thrillers, and those who read the first (Illuminae) -- Alfred A. Knopf BFYR, 10/16

The second was just as exciting and sci-fi interesting as the first. I already can't wait for the third (not coming out till 10/17) -- aaaiiiii!

Book Reports (18-23)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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****+
Thick & Thin, by Charlie Cochet -- highly recommended for those who like the THIRDs series, those who like male/male romantic sci-fi, and those who like law enforcement tales -- Dreamspinner Press, 2/17

(This was a novella, and that was my only real complaint -- too short! :D I like the characters, I like the complex world and the mysteries surrounding it, and I can't wait to see what happens next.)

****+
[Danced Close, by Annabeth Albert -- highly recommended for those who like dancing, those who like male/male romance, those who like dual-POV, and those who like triumphant personal tales -- Lyrical Shine, 3/17]

(I really enjoyed this, as well. The two main characters are both so sympathetic, and I really like how matter-of-factly they're portrayed. I also like the underlying feeling of humanity here: we all want to love and be loved, regardless of minor differences in how we view gender and sexuality. I think Albert does a great job illustrating this in her stories.)

****
Old Loyalty New Love, by Mary Calmes -- recommended for those who like shifter tales, those who like male/male romance, and those who like first-person stories -- Dreamspinner Press, 12/13

(I enjoyed this. I mostly liked the more peripheral story of Quade's alpha role in his tribe, though the love story was nice.)

****
Fighting Instinct, by Mary Calmes -- recommended for those who like the first (see above), those who like shifter tales, those who like male/male romance, and those who like mythology (Hunter/British/Welsh mythology) -- Dreamspinner Press, 12/14

(I enjoyed this was more than the first, mostly because of all the mythology surrounded the stags. As someone who has read Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series numerous times, I found that aspect fascinating. The rest wasn't as thrilling but still enjoyable.)

***+
Frat House Troopers, by Xavier Mayne -- recommended for those who like cop tales, those who like male/male romance, and those who like 'gay-for-you' tropes -- Dreamspinner Press, 12/12

(The mystery in this one was definitely on the periphery, which weakened it a bit for me. Plus, although I don't doubt this is realistic, the idea that someone can be straight -- not bi at all -- and decide to be gay because they fall in love with their best friend...well, that isn't something I understand that well. It didn't seem convincing to me, so I had a hard time with that basic idea here.)

****+
[As I Am, by A.M. Arthur -- highly recommended for those who like Arthur's other books, those who like male/male romance, those who like dual-POV, and those who like triumphant personal tales -- Carina Press, 2/17]

(I really enjoyed this one, as well. I like all the books in this series. I think Arthur does a good job portraying those who are struggling and how they overcome their pain and challenges. I like the love stories, and I like the dual-POV. The main reason this didn't get 5 stars from me was because it seemed like Will's story was told more sympathetically than Taz's...and that kind of bugged me throughout. But it's a minor complaint. :) )

Book Reports (14-17)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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***
Kiss CAM, by Kiara London -- recommended for those who like friendship-to-love stories, those who like vlogs, and those who like teenage angst -- Swoon Reads, 10/16

(I found this book frustrating. It was realistic, I'm sure, but the constant waffling from each of the MCs -- male and female -- drove me crazy. "Do I love him? Do I not?" "Does she love me? Does she not?" It was really annoying, and I ended up skimming most of it to get to the end where they finally figured it out.)

***
Disruption, by Jessica Shirvington -- recommended for those who like YA sci-fi, those who like clever heroines, those who like sweet romance, and those who like an easily hated villain -- Harper Collins, 10/16

(I liked the premise of this, and I liked the MC...I just didn't have the patience to read through all her actions. I skipped to the end and read the last chapter(s), and I was able to figure out the majority of the story from there. I will mostly likely pick up the next one, however, as I think I'll have more interest now that I have the set-up down.)

****
[As You Lay Sleeping, by Katlyn Duncan -- recommended for those who like YA suspense, those who like sweet teen romance, and those who like intricate mysteries -- Harper Collins, 2/17]

(I really liked the mystery portion of the book. I thought it was realistic and convincing. I didn't love the characterization nearly as much. The MC started out seeming pretty self-centered...and then, without any real work or self-reflection on her part, she suddenly became a better person. And although the love interest was sweet and smart, he was also a little one-dimensional. The ending was...a little cliche too. Still, it was entertaining, and I read it all.)

*****
Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff -- highly recommended for those who like YA (traditional) sci-fi (meaning not dystopic but a space drama), those who like realistic but not overly angsty teen romance, those who like unusual and varied formats, and those who like strong heroines -- Alfred A. Knopf BFYR, 10/15

(I really enjoyed this one. I love space dramas, and this had all the adventure, the high action, the personal touches -- plus, it was written as if I was watching it unfold on a screen in front of me, and I really liked that. I already have the second one on my TBR pile...)

Book Reports (12-13)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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*****
What Light, by Jay Asher -- highly recommended for those who like sweet teen romance, those who like thoughtful and good characters, and those who like strong families -- Razorbill, 10/16

(This is just a feel-good read from beginning to end -- but it's not shallow at all. Instead, it illustrates how those who remain true to themselves and to their belief in kindness and forgiveness can make a difference. I like all the relationships in this (friendship, romantic love, and familial love), and I especially appreciate Asher's gentle writing style.)

***+
[Perfect, by Cecelia Ahern -- recommended for those who read the first one (Flawless), those who like rigid dystopian worlds, those who like 'love at first sight' type scenarios, and those who like a heroine who fights for others -- Feiwel & Friends, 4/17]

(This was interesting, and I should admit up-front that I did NOT read the first one. I did enjoy this, but I felt there were holes in the world building, and I found it really hard to take the relationship between Celestine and Carrick seriously when they didn't know each other at all but were still madly in love...also, I didn't especially enjoy the narrative style (there were numerous flashbacks). This is just personal taste, of course. :) )

Book Reports (1-11)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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(R) *****
Storm, by Brigid Kemmerer -- highly recommended because of the tense and intriguing plot and sympathetic characters -- Kensington, 5/12

(R) *****
Secret, by Brigid Kemmerer -- highly recommended because of the tense and intriguing plot and sympathetic characters -- Kensington, 1/14

(R) *****
Sacrifice,by Brigid Kemmerer -- highly recommended because of the tense and intriguing plot and sympathetic characters -- Kensington, 9/14

(I'm still hoping Kemmerer will do a follow-up book. She kind of wrapped up the series -- partway.)

**+
Switch, by Carol Snow -- recommended for those who like paranormal twists, those who like teenage angst, and those who like strong family stories -- Harper Teen, 8/09

(This was okay. It wasn't great, but it had some nice moments. My favorite part was the 'ghostly' grandma. I skimmed through most of it.)

***+
Dead Girls Don't Lie, by Jennifer Shaw Wolf -- recommended for those who like mysteries, those who like teen romance (and complications), and those who like resolutions -- Bloomsbury, 10/14

(This was pretty good. I skimmed through the middle section because I could see where it was heading, but the ending was fast-paced and interesting.)

****
Paradox, by A.J. Paquette -- recommended for those who like science fiction, those who like vulnerable yet courageous heroines, and those who like sweet romance -- Ember, 9/14

(The concept here was pretty fascinating. The only thing which held me back from really loving this was the slooooow reveal. I got frustrated with how little Ana knows. Everything is shared at the end, but it's right at the end.)

****
Avalanche, by Melinda Braun -- recommended for those who like nature thrillers, those who like male POV, and those who like hints of romance -- Simon Pulse, 11/16

(I enjoyed this. The set-up is realistic and intriguing, and since I've been to Berthoud Pass and the surrounding areas, I immediately had a sense of the setting. I felt like the character relationships/interactions were sacrificed a bit for the plot, but it was still a good read.)

*****
In Case You Missed It, by Sarah Littman -- highly recommended for those who like realistic teen drama, those who like sweet teen romance, and those who like family drama -- Scholastic, 10/16

(I read this in one sitting -- or standing, since I was at the gym. The writing is compelling, the plot is realistic ((a teenage girl's family gets hacked and her online journal becomes public viewing)), and the family drama and growth is well written and engaging. I loved it!)

*****
If You Knew Jack, by MC Lee -- highly recommended for those who like spy tales, those who like sympathetic teens, those who like male POV, and those who like angsty teen romance (male/male, in this case) -- Harmony Ink Press, 11/14

*****
Like I Know Jack, by MC Lee -- highly recommended for those who like spy tales, those who like sympathetic teens, those who like male POV, and those who like angsty teen romance (male/male, in this case) -- Harmony Ink Press, 7/16

*****
Shadow Operation, by MC Lee
highly recommended for those who like spy tales, those who like sympathetic teens, those who like male POV, and those who like angsty teen romance (male/male, in this case) -- Harmony Ink Press, 12/16

(Clearly, I've discovered a new series -- and I love it! Jack is a great character. I feel for him, I ache for him, I get frustrated with him...he's very realistic and complex. And his life is so...hard! He's been raised in a secret facility, and he's being trained as a spy. He slips into characters to flush out the 'bad' guys (he thinks...he's told almost nothing about his work). He's never really known anything different, but as a reader, I just want him to find out the truth and discover that he's loved. The romance is between Jack and another operative, Leo, who is both cagey and vulnerable...I can't wait for the next one, and I hope the author doesn't make the mistake (like some do) of drawing this series out so long without resolution that readers give up. For now, she still has my attention though. :) )

Whew -- it's good to be caught up! I also read a number of adult books, but they were all re-reads, so I won't catalog them. Read on!

Top Reads of 2016...

I read ~177 books in 2016 (it was more than that -- I often stop cataloguing the re-reads at a certain point in the fall). In June, I had 10 5-star, first-time, YA reads. From July to December, I only had 1 (yikes). But here's the one:


Remember Yesterday, by Pintip Dunn
The premise of this (probable) trilogy is so unique (time travel involving twins born at different times), and I really enjoyed not only the science but the philosophy behind it all. The characters were complex and intriguing, as well.

Here's the list from the first half of the year: http://robinellen.livejournal.com/576950.html

There were more five-star re-reads than there were first-time...but that's not surprising, considering that I re-read them because they're so good, in the first place. :)

Soon, I'll post my first reads of the new year (I'm already behind in posting, so there are a few of them). Read on!

Book Reports (168-177)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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***
The Rains, by Gregg Hurwitz -- recommended for those who like horror, those who like zombie/alien sci-fi, and those who like survival tales -- Tor Teen, 10/16

I didn't realize this was horror when I picked it up, and I will admit that horror isn't really my thing. But I have to say that the writing itself is pretty compelling, and I will look for the next one.

****
[You Don't Know My Name, by Kristen Orlando -- recommended for those who like suspense/thriller tales, those who like CIA, and those who like teen romance -- Swoon Reads, 1/17]

I enjoyed this, though there were moments where I had a hard time suspending my disbelief (one of those especially when it concerns the parentage of the MC), including the MC's gullibility about certain things. Still, I will definitely look for the next one when it comes out.

***+
Like a River Glorious, by Rae Carson -- recommended for those who liked the first one (Walk on Earth a Stranger), those who like sweet and loyal teen romance, those who like historical settings, and those who like the combination of magic and reality -- Greenwillow Books, 9/16

I love Carson's style, and I really liked the last third of this. But there were some brutal parts, and I'm not sure I'd want to read those again. I will definitely, however, be picking up the last one of this trilogy.

***+
Radical, by EM Kokie -- recommended for those who like suspense, those who like stories about cults/militia, and those who enjoy lesbian romance -- Candlewick Press, 9/16

I found this very interesting (though really sad). The insight into this girl's life was heart-breaking and intriguing, but the ending is very hopeful, and that makes it definitely worthwhile, imo.

*****
Remember Yesterday, by Pintip Dunn -- highly recommended for those who read the first one (Forget Tomorrow), those who like sci-fi, those who like family loyalty, and those who like sweet teen romance -- Entangled Publishing, 10/16

I thought this one was just as intriguing as the first, and because I was more familiar with the world/setting, it was easier to get sucked into the story. I'm looking forward to the last one (just a note: I found it very interesting how both Jessie and her sister felt like their mom loved the other better...I really enjoyed reading the first book from one twin's perspective and the other from Jessie's -- plus, I think the premise here ((trying to determine young people's future by traveling to the future and scoping it out)) is fascinating and well-delivered).

****+
The Stand-In, by Steve Bloom -- highly recommended for those who like male POVs, those who like teen romance, and those who like humorous narratives -- Carolrhoda, 10/16

So this isn't LOL funny, but the MC here is very likable and has a light-hearted outlook on life. I liked how his character grows and learns throughout the book, and of course, the ending is perfect. :)

(R) *****
Made for You, by Melissa Marr -- highly recommended for those who like romantic suspense with a paranormal twist -- HarperCollins, 1/16 (paperback)

I liked this just as much the second (third?) time around.

(R) *****
The Candidates, by Inara Scott -- highly recommended for those who like school tales, those who like magic, and those who like sweet romance -- Disney-Hyperion, 8/10

I enjoyed this just as much the second time around too -- though I also picked up the second one, and it disappointed me just as much. :( I think that's because everything I loved so much about this first one is removed from the second (ie, the focus is completely different). Still, this is a good read.

(R) *****
The Body Finder, by Kimberly Derting -- highly recommended for those who like teen FBI-ish tales, those who like paranormal elements, and those who like sweet romance -- HarperTorch, 3/10

I read the whole series again, and I really enjoyed them all. I just like Derting's style and how she builds suspense and tension -- and Violet and Jay are a great (and sweetly loyal) couple.

(R) ****+
Gallagher Girls, by Ally Carter -- highly recommended for those who like teen spies, those who like school tales, those who like sweet romance, and those who like stories about family relationships -- Disney-Hyperion, 3/07 (starting then)

Then I re-read this entire series. I still liked it, though it's more simplistic than I remember, and the last couple books are definitely my favorite (and stronger, imo).

I did more re-reads, but these are the highlights (and the authors/books that I wanted to 'promote' a bit). I won't log anymore until next year (I have a nice collection for our upcoming trip).

Book Reports (160-167)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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****
The Paranaturalist, by Ki Brightly -- recommended for those who like paranatural-based tales, those who like male/male romance, and those who like complexities that aren't always fully explained -- Dreamspinner Press, 6/16

I like aspects of this a lot, but it was a little inconsistent in development (both in romance and plot). Still, it was an entertaining read.

***+
An Assassin's Holiday, by Dirk Grayson -- recommended for those who like short bites of stories, those who like male/male romance, and those who don't mind ambiguous morality -- Dreamspinner Press, 11/15

This was okay, though novella's have to be really good for me to love them, and this was only average.

****-
Family Jewels, by MJ O'Shea -- recommended for those who like thief/law enforcement mysteries, those who like male/male romance, and those who like hopeful but open endings -- Dreamspinner Press, 4/15

I liked this a lot until the ending (sigh). I guess I just prefer HEA or HFN more than this more open-ended feel...but the whole cat-mouse plot was fun.

*****
Catch a Tiger by the Tail, by Charlie Cochet -- highly recommended for those who like the THIRDS series, those who like urban fantasy thrillers, and those who like male/male romance -- Dreamspinner Press, 2/16

No surprise that I loved this one. :) This is Calvin and Hobbes' story, and I inhaled it!

****+
When the Dust Settles, by Mary Calmes -- highly recommended for those who like the Timing series, those who like cowboy drama, and those who like male/male romance -- Dreamspinner Press, 11/16

This is also a novella, but it's definitely above average. Of course, part of its allure is that it continues a story that I already love -- though this is about Rand's half-brother. Still, I always enjoy venturing back into this world.

****
At Your Service, by Ariel Tachna -- recommended for those who like male/male romance, those who like angst, and those who like French settings -- Dreamspinner Press, 3/16

I liked this, though there's a ton of angst...and I did skip over a chunk near the beginning (when they first separated). All in all, it's good, though not as good (to me) as Tachna's Austrailian series.

****+
Flight or Fight, by Dirk Grayson -- highly recommended for those who like mysteries, those who like male/male romance, and those who like sheriff tales -- Dreamspinner Press, 8/16

I enjoyed this a lot. I like both the main characters, and the mystery has that old-fashioned murder mystery feel (that you don't always find these days). Plus, it's set in WY, and that's one of my favorite states.

*****
[Fair Chance, by Josh Lanyon -- highly recommended for those who like suspense, those who like male/male romance, and those who like slow development -- Carina Press, 3/17]

I loved this! I also loved the previous one (Fair Game); one of my favorite aspects of Lanyon's style is his character and how he develops them. I love both Elliot and Lance, and I like their interaction -- plus, the mystery/thriller is very good here too.

As you can see, it's been a while since I updated these (ack). I've actually read a ton more than this, but these are the only new ones (the others were all re-reads), so they're the only ones I'm counting for now. :)

Book Reports (156-159)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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****-
Troublemaker, by Linda Howard -- recommended for Howard fans, for those who like adult romance, those who like a hint of mystery, and those who like small town life -- William Morrow, 5/16

* I wanted to love this (because I always wait for the next Howard book to come out), but it was pretty slow. There really isn't much happening on the 'suspense' side of the romantic suspense, and although the romance is fine, it didn't engage me like some of her other books. I think it would have been stronger if the suspense had been present (the beginning and the end held the only real aspects of it). *sigh*

***-
I've Got You Under My Skin, by Mary Higgins Clark -- recommended for those who like Clark's style, those who like mysteries with many possible suspects, and those who like multi/omni POV -- Pocket Books, 3/15

* I used to read MHC a lot (in my late teens), and the books she was writing back then were mostly very good. I haven't read one of her 'new' mysteries in 20 years...and I wasn't impressed. The characters are pretty bland, the romance was practically non-existent, and the killer was meh. *sigh*

****+
David, Renewed, by Diana Copeland -- highly recommended for those who like male/male romance, those who like family tales, and those who like sympathetic characters -- Dreamspinner Press, 9/16

* I like Copeland's writing, and her newest was a good example of why: the enjoyable cast of characters. I liked everyone, and even those which aren't super likable are still realistic and round out the feel of the book nicely. It seems like she set this up so there could be other books in this series, and I certainly hope that's the case!

*****
Tied Up in Knots, by Mary Calmes -- highly recommended for those who like the rest of the trilogy, those who like law enforcement (US Marshals) tales, and those who like male/male romance -- Dreamspinner Press, 9/16

* I was so excited to see this book, and even though it focused more on Ian's and Milo's relationship than a mystery, I still loved it. I'm hoping there will be yet another which perhaps resolves some of the things she hinted at here (like Dreo's gun and why Kage is being framed, etc).

Book Reports (146-155)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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***
The Ones, by Daniel Sweren-Becker -- recommended for those who like sci-fi, those who like thriller-type tales, and those who like *fierce heroines -- Imprint, 9/16

* The MC here is definitely fierce, and I thought the story was intense all the way through (plus, be aware that there are some torture scenes -- not hugely graphic, but emotionally intense).

****
The Outliers, by Kimberly McCreight -- recommended for those who like *suspenseful mysteries, those who like loyal friends, and those who don't mind cliff hangers -- Harper Collins, 5/16

* This is suspenseful, and it seems like something new is revealed around each corner...but it was a little annoying how the MC trusted one specific thing so deeply. It wasn't completely obvious that she was being naive, but I felt like she was far too trusting overall. Still, it was a good mystery, and despite the cliff hanger (or maybe because of it), I'll definitely pick up the next one.

****+
23 Minutes, by Vivian Vande Velde -- highly recommended for those who like *brave heroines, those who like thrillers, and those who like complex characters -- Boyds Mills Press, 4/16

* The MC here is definitely brave and quite vulnerable. I like all we learn about her throughout her 23-minute segments. I also like how complexities about the supporting characters are revealed throughout too.

****
Future Shock, by Elizabeth Briggs -- recommended for those who like sci-fi thrillers, those who like *time travel, and those who like sweet romance -- Aw Teen, 4/16

* I really liked the premise here, and I thought the plot was well-paced, for the most part. The main reason I didn't read every page was because too many people were hiding secrets, and to me, that gets annoying after a while. Most things were revealed by the end (though not all), but in some ways, I felt like some things should have come earlier. Still, it was a satisfying read.

****
P.S. I Like You, by Kasie West -- recommended for those who like *angsty romance, those who like teen drama, those who like quirky families, and those who like sympathetic (though sometimes clueless) heroines -- Point, 7/16

* There are times when angsty teen romance is done the way I like it...and this didn't quite cut it. I like aspects of it (mostly Lily's personality and family), but the constant misunderstandings and lack of perception from Lily and Cade got annoying after a while. Still, teens might really enjoy it.

****+
Savage, by Thomas E. Sniegoski -- highly recommended for those who like *sci-fi horror, those who like suspense, and those who like apocalyptic tales -- Simon Pulse, 5/16

* I actually don't like horror that much, but although this is really creepy and gory in places, I truly enjoyed the suspense/mystery and the apocalyptic feel. It's clearly the first in a series (or duo) -- at least, I'm hoping there will be more. I'll definitely pick up the next one, if so.

***+
Black River Falls, by Jeff Hirsch -- recommended for those who like *sci-fi adventure, those who like vulnerable heroes, and those who like kids versus establishment -- Clarion, 7/16

* The premise of this is intriguing (the hero is the only one who remembers the past after a virus sweeps through his town), and I enjoyed his character. After a while, the tale just started to bog down a bit for me, though I thought the ending was fairly satisfying (and a little sad).

****
Break Me Like a Promise, by Tiffany Schmidt -- recommended for those who liked Hold Me Like a Breath, those who like *self-centered heroines (who grow), those who like mafia-like tales, and those who like bittersweet romance -- Bloomsbury USA, 6/16

* I loved the first one (Hold Me), and there were many aspects of this I also loved. But Maggie is so selfish (and frankly, b*tchy) through most of the first half of the book that I had a hard time reading it (and ended up skimming until she finally started growing up). The intrigue around the black-market organ mafia is still intriguing, however, and I can't wait for the next one. Thank goodness for Alex!

****
The Glittering Court, by Richelle Mead -- recommended for those who like *epic-like tales, those who like fashion/Victorian-type stories, those who like adventure, and those who like loyal romance -- Razorbill, 4/16

* I liked the epic feel to this, how the setting moves from one land to a rugged one across the sea. Yes, it was pretty obvious that it mimicked England/colonial US, but I still enjoyed that aspect. One thing that bugged me throughout was the mystery surrounding Adelaide's two closest friends (their stories will be told in companion novels). I get that Mead wants to keep their stories intact (I guess), but it left some gaping holes here (imo). I did get tired of all the focus on looks and clothes...and some of the characters seemed contrived in places. Still, it was entertaining, and I will pick up the next one.

****-
[Running with the Pack, by AM Burns & Caitlin Ricci -- recommended for those who enjoy *unusual romance (LGBTQIA), those who like an environmental focus, and those who like supportive families -- Harmony Ink, 9/16]

* So the romance in this is actually a three-some between teen boys, one of which is gay, another bi, and the third ace. I liked reading about something I'm not as familiar with, and I liked their bond (it's YA and not graphic at all). I thought the families were very accepting (perhaps a little unrealistically), and the antagonist was rather two-dimensional. Still, it's a sweet, easy-to-read romance with some animal protection thrown in.

Book Reports (139-145)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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**
The Last Star, by Rick Yancey -- recommended for fans of the trilogy (The 5th Wave), for those who like alien-attack tales, and for those who like *realistic/ambiguous endings -- Putnam & Sons BFYR, 5/16

* The ending here was definitely not a 'happy' one, though I suppose there was a hopeful element to it...it was a little too realistic for me, I guess. ;)

***+
Mirror in the Sky, by Aditi Khorana -- recommended for those who like angsty teen drama, those who like sci-fi twists, and those who like *growth in their protagonist -- Razorbill, 6/16

* This drove me crazy for much of the book because all the characters were awfully short-sighted and self-centered, BUT I very much like how the MC realized at the end that her insecurities were not unique (even though they were based on a unique reason -- her being the only POC in her school). I really like that moment when it became clear to her that even those girls (and guys) who seem to 'have it all' are just as insecure and find ways to hide their weaknesses (a very teen experience, regardless of circumstances/background). At the same time, the idea that 'you can't help who you love' was quite prevalent here, and as I don't agree at all, I found that a bit annoying too. ;)

****
The Season, by Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer -- recommended for those who like *Pride & Prejudice tales, those who like humorous and sympathetic heroines, those who like society tales, and those who like sweet (though fast) romance -- Viking BFYR, 7/16

* I didn't realize this was a P&P re-telling (modern-day) until I was about a quarter into it (when I thought to myself, "Wow, this is very similar to P&P" and happened to look more closely at the cover, where it clearly stated it). I enjoyed it, though it had some of the same issues that P&P does for me (in the book -- too many details!), and the relationship between 'Darcy and Lizzy' (not their names in this book) happened extremely quickly (too quickly for my taste). Still, it's a fun look at Texas and debuts.

***-
Unrivaled, by Alyson Noel -- recommended for those who like *multi-POV tales, those who like Hollywood, those who like game players, and those who like mysteries -- Katherine Tegan Books, 5/16

* I was drawn to this because of the three narrators, but after a couple chapters in each of their voices, I realized I didn't care enough about any of them to continue on (though Tommy was my favorite, and I might have been more interested if everything was from his POV). However, the mystery is definitely interesting, and I will probably pick up the second book to see what happens next.

**
Flying, by Carrie Jones -- recommended for those who love *Carries Jones' writing, those who like unique and sympathetic voice, those who like alien tales, and those who like sweet romance -- Tor Teen, 7/16

* I really like Carrie's voice and style, and that's what drew me to this in the first place (even though the premise isn't really my thing). I think readers who like quirky, likable, determined heroines will enjoy this!

****+
[Waking in Time, by Angie Stanton -- highly recommended for those who like *time-traveling tales, those who like sweet romance, those who like strong family relationships, and those who like a bit of a mystery -- Switch Press, 3/17]

* This is a unique take on time traveling, as Abbi travels backward and Will travels forward -- so they only intercept a few times. More than that, it's about Abbi figuring out a secret in her grandma's life...and the relationships she builds in the different times. I couldn't put it down (and read it in two sittings)!

Book Reports (136-138)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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****+
Forgive and Forget, by Charlie Cochet -- highly recommended for those who like male/male, adult romance, those who like amnesia tales, those who like baker boys, and those who like a sweet wrap-up -- Dreamspinner Press, 4/16

*****
Smoke & Mirrors, by Charlie Cochet -- highly recommended for fans of the THIRDS series, for those who like male/male, urban-fantasy romance, those who like law enforcement, and those who like established relationships -- Dreamspinner Press, 7/16

****
[Garden District Gothic, by Greg Herren -- recommended for those who like solid suspense/mysteries, those who like NOLA tales, those who like male/male/male adult romance, and those who like quirky narrators -- Bold Strokes Books, 9/16]

I have a few re-reads too (in this category), but I've read them a couple times in the past (and posted about them), so I'll leave it for now. :)

Book Reports (129-135)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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***
[The Cabin, by Natasha Preston -- recommended for those who like angsty teen drama, those who like mystery/suspense, and those who don't mind some *shallow reactions/motivations -- Sourcebooks Fire, 9/16]

* This was definitely suspenseful, and I found the tension engaging. However, the teens continually made stupid choices (which teens tend to do, I know), and I found it hard to believe they'd all react as they did. Still, I suspect that a teen reading this would find it much more enjoyable than I did. :)

**
Tangled Thoughts, by Cara Bertrand -- recommended for those who've read the *first two, those who don't mind drawn-out plots, and those who like love quartets (ha) -- Luminis Books, 7/16

* I really enjoyed the first two, but I came into this one with the idea that it was the last of a trilogy...when it's simply the next book in a series. :( It felt unnecessarily long and drawn out to me, and I didn't really appreciate the two extra characters thrown in to add love interest to a story that was (in my opinion) already filled with a strong and romantic sub-plot. Basically, it didn't work for me at all, and although I might pick up the next one (IF it's the final book in the series!), this one really disappointed me.

****+
The Dead and Buried, by Kim Harrington -- highly recommended for those who like mysteries, those who like *ghost tales, and those who like sweet teen romance -- Point, 1/13

* I liked that we got to know a bit about the ghost here (she died not long before the MC arrived in her house), and I liked that the characters were complex and interesting throughout. I've read most of Harrington's other books, and I think she's a solid writer. :)

****
[Genius: The Game, by Leopoldo Gout -- recommended for those who like *adventure/techno-thrillers, those who like unique characters, and those who like hints of teen romance -- Feiwel & Friends, 5/16]

* The description here was right up my alley, but it honestly took 100+ pages before the real action began. I originally picked this up for my son (at PLA), but I've already told him to simply begin at the second section; I honestly don't think the first section adds anything of value (some background that you can pretty much pick up reading between the lines in the rest of the book). However, other than being too long and detailed, it's an interesting thriller, and I'll definitely look for the next one.

****
Wickedpedia, by Chris Van Etten -- recommended for those who like *standard horror, those who like teen drama, and those who like gory justice -- Scholastic, 6/14

* I actually don't really like horror that much, but this reminded me of I Know What You Did Last Summer (the movie more than the book), and despite the corny feel to it, it was a fun read. I think teens will probably really enjoy it.

***
Love and Other Foreign Words, by Erin McCahon -- recommended for those who like McCahon's writing, those who like friends-to-romance tales, and those who like *uptight heroines -- Dial Books, 5/14

* I really liked McCahon's first book (I Now Pronounce You Someone Else), but I somehow missed this one when it first came out. It didn't work as well for me, mostly because of the MC. She was simply too uptight and clueless for my taste, and although I loved the love interest, I found it frustrating to read through all the issues the heroine dealt with as she worked through her own feelings.

****-
Secrets, Lies, and Scandals, by Amanda K. Morgan -- recommended for those who like teen murder drama, those who like *multi-POV tales, and those who like hints of romance (some past GLBT) -- Simon Pulse, 7/16

* The multi-POV approach was the best part of this, imo. I liked the insight into the various characters, but I did think they were pretty clueless (and yes, I know this is realistic for many teens). Despite their cluelessness, their motives were more realistic than other books with a similar premise, so I didn't mind. One thing I didn't love was the ending...perhaps there's going to be a sequel?

Book Reports (127-128)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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****+
[Boyfriend Material, by K.A. Mitchell -- highly recommended for those who liked the first, those who like new adult, male/male romance, and those who like *vulnerable heroes -- Carina Press, 8/16]

* In the first book, we got to see things through Ethan's eyes; this time, it was Wyatt's turn, and I really like how vulnerable both young men are. I like seeing how they struggle and grow through the story.

****+
[Bad Judgment, by Sidney Bell -- highly recommended for those who like adult, male/male romantic suspense, those who like heroes overcoming troubled pasts, and those who like *love victorious -- Carina Press, 9/16]

* Although this is billed as suspense (and it does fit the bill), I found it to be a bit heavier on the drama portions. Still, I found it very engaging (despite the somewhat graphic moments of violence -- rare but still in place), and I loved the relationship between the two men (Brogan and Embry).

Book Reports (121-126)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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****+
[Three Truths and a Lie, by Brent Hartinger -- highly recommended for those who like suspense (especially psychological suspense), those who like *misdirection, those who like twists at the ending, and those who like a fast-paced narrative style -- Simon Pulse, 8/16]

* This also has YA male/male sex (not graphic) included...and the misdirection is so well done. I can almost always guess the ending accurately, and this time, I truly had no idea. I was stunned -- and it really made some of the narrative tricks (that had been bugging me a little bit) fall into place. Very intriguing read!

***+
The Darkest Corners, by Kara Thomas -- recommended for those who like *mind-bendery mysteries, those who like spunky yet vulnerable heroines, and those who like a 'real-crime' feel to their tales -- Delacorte Press, 4/16

* I can like these types of tales, and I did find this one interesting (especially when all was revealed), although I didn't love any of the characters that much. The MC was sympathetic, to be sure, but I didn't find myself involved enough in her plight to really feel with her throughout the tale. Still, an interesting idea here.

****
Seven Black Diamonds, by Melissa Marr -- recommended for those who like tales of Fae folk, those who like *intricate relationships between the characters, those who like sweet romance, and those who like Marr's lush writing style -- HarperCollins, 3/16

* I'm not a huge fan of urban fantasy (fae, werewolves, vampires, etc), but I picked this up because I always like how Marr builds the relationships in her books with such depth and complexity. This didn't disappoint, and that aspect alone kept me engaged.

****-
Trance, by Linda Gerber -- recommended for those who like YA paranormal tales, those who like sweet romance, those who like grief recovery, and those who don't mind some *too-easily-tied-up-loose-ends -- Speak, 10/10

* I really liked the premise here, but I just couldn't buy the execution. I did read it all the way through, but it kind of fell flat for me, personally. Although the MC did deal with some of the issues surrounding the loss of her mom (and sis), so much was glossed over -- and the fact that she was allowed to drive at all when she went into 'trances' made it very difficult for me to take other parts seriously. Still, the romance was very sweet (and had an intriguing twist).

****+
With Malice, Eileen Cook -- highly recommended for those who like *ripped-from-the-headlines' thrillers, those who like amnesia tales, those who like sympathetic heroines, and those who like realistic endings -- HMH BFYR, 6/16

* This was hard to put down, and I read it very quickly because of that. I like the narrative style that allows the reader to understand the past only as the MC remembers it, and I like the tension that builds throughout the story, as well.

****
The Countdown, by Kimberly Derting -- recommended for those who've enjoyed the rest of the trilogy (The Taking), those who like alien tales, those who like *sweet teen romance, and those who don't mind brief sections of graphic violence -- HarperTeen, 5/16

* The romance here is sweet, but it's also a little hard to believe. I thought that in the first one too, when Kyra fell for Tyler (the younger brother of the boyfriend she'd had before she was taken) in just a week. Not that much more time has passed here, and...well, it just didn't work as well for me as other aspects of the book. I also had a hard time with how quickly everything pulled together at the end (in other words, the pacing seemed a little off). That said, overall I found the trilogy intriguing and well worth my time and enjoyment in reading it.

Book Reports (117-120)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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*****
Blood & Thunder, by Charlie Cochet -- *highly recommended for those who like paranormal, adult, male/male romance;those who like 'cop' tales; those who don't mind gore; and those who are fans of the Therian series -- Dreamspinner Press, 8/14

* A/N: I'm not a huge fan of paranormal tales, but as I think I mentioned with the first of this series (Hell & High Water), Cochet makes it work. I love the Therians and the world building here, and I also like the team aspect and the interplay between the various members. Because I can't check these out at the library, I will probably wait a bit before buying another -- but I sure am enjoying them as they come. :)

*****
Rack & Ruin, by Charlie Cochet -- highly recommended for those who like paranormal, adult, male/male romance;those who like 'cop' tales; those who don't mind gore; and those who are fans of the Therian series -- Dreamspinner Press, 11/14

*****
Rise & Fall, by Charlie Cochet -- highly recommended for those who like paranormal, adult, male/male romance;those who like 'cop' tales; those who don't mind gore; and those who are fans of the Therian series -- Dreamspinner Press, 2/15

****
Faith & Fidelity, by Tere Michaels -- recommended for those who like adult, male/male romance; those who like contemporary tales which include grief and grief recovery; those who like coming out tales; and those who like love stories between older men -- Dreamspinner Press, 10/14

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