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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

Book Reports (115-116)...

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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****
Famous Last Words, by Katie Alender -- recommended for those who like YA murder mysteries with a *paranormal element, those who like Hollywood, and those who like quirky teen romances -- Scholastic, 7/15

* I liked the MC here, and I think the paranormal element made her more intriguing and vulnerable. I figured out the killer quite early on, but in some ways, that increased the tension for me.

****
[13 Minutes, by Sarah Pinborough -- recommended for those who like YA **mind-bender-y suspense, those who like ambiguous MCs, those who like multi-POV narratives, and those who like to see inside the sociopath's mind -- Gollancz, 7/16]

** Inconsistencies in the narration add to the tension in this, and although I'm not a fan of unreliable narrators, suspecting that it was a possibility from the get-go made it much more palatable and even intriguing for me. Although none of the characters are that likable (though Becca was the most sympathetic, imo), I found the novel very engaging.

Book Reports (110-114)...

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) ****+
Ice, by Linda Howard -- highly recommended for Howard fans of adult romantic suspense -- Ballantine Books, 11/10

(R) *****
Midnight Rainbow, by Linda Howard -- highly recommended for Howard fans of adult romantic suspense -- Severn House, 10/09

(R) ***+
Diamond Bay, by Linda Howard -- recommended for Howard fans of adult romantic suspense -- Severn House, 5/10

*****
Hell & High Water, by Charlie Cochet -- highly recommended for those who like sci-fi/dystopic adult stories with male/male romance, those who like cops and law enforcement, those who like *paranormal activity, those who like suspenseful mysteries, and those who like intense and fast-moving tales -- Dreamspinner Press, 7/14

* I don't normally like this kind of thing (although I did go through a JD Robb phase), and it took a couple chapters to feel comfortable with the world here (where biological warfare produced a new species of humans who could shift to animals). However, once I got a handle on it, I loved it. I couldn't put it down. I will definitely be looking for the others in this series -- it's delightful (seriously) to stumble across a gem like this!

****
Dinner for One, by Meg Harding -- recommended for those who like foodie male/male tales, those who like **tons of sex, and those who like sweet romance -- Dreamspinner Press, 7/16

** I don't mind sex (I usually just skip over it, and when there's just a touch here and there -- especially when it comes at that perfect moment in the relationship -- I actually like the addition), but I will say there was a LOT of sex (and most of it quite graphic) in this book, especially compared to the rest of the story. Without all the sex, it would probably have been more like a novella. That said, I did like the rest of the story. Both Bastien and James were sympathetic characters, and I liked the dual POV.

Book Reports (106-109)...

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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****+
Grand & Humble, by Brent Hartinger -- highly recommended for those who like stories *like Sliding Doors ('what if one thing changed'), those who like thoughtful characters, and those who like mysteries -- BK Books, 5/16

* I read this when it came out ~7 years ago, but I only vaguely remembered the details. Regardless, I enjoyed this version very much, and I like how things slowly build between alternating chapters of 'grand' and 'humble.'

****+
This is My Brain on Boys, by Sarah Strohmeyer -- highly recommended for those who like **clever heroines, those who like semi-unreliable narrators, those who like dual-POV tales, and those who like sweet romance -- Balzer & Bray, 5/16

** This is just a clever tale all around. I really liked the naivete of Addie, but her intelligence was also nicely done. The whole premise is intriguing and fun to read.

****+
Mission Hill, by Pamela Wechsler -- highly recommended for those who like ***adult legal tales along the lines of Law & Order, those who like mysteries, and those who like independent heroines -- Minotaur Books, 5/16

*** Those who know me know how much I love Law & Order, so you can guess this is right up my alley. My only real complaint was the distance I felt from the MC during parts of the books -- I wanted to know more about her, but that wasn't really the focus here (although we do learn some things about her, but since she's the narrator, we're limited by her inability to allow herself to deal with her emotions).

***
Please Don't Tell, by Lauren Tims -- recommended for those who like angsty teen stories, those who like twins, and those who don't mind ****ambiguous endings -- Harper Teen, 5/16

**** I'm not a fan of ambiguous endings, so this wasn't my thing. I also wasn't a fan of Grace (though Joy was okay), so it was hard reading all her sections.
For these, I'll simply list what I recall of why I loved them so much (five stars to me means that I loved it from beginning to end and will definitely re-read it). It's just a coincidence that there are 10 of them, and they're listed alphabetically by title:

1.
Defending Taylor, by Miranda Kineally

I loved this because I liked Taylor and her perspective, and I also liked seeing glimpses of other characters (from past Kineally books) that I loved, as well. Plus, the romance, as always with these books, is feel-good.

2.
Fill-In Boyfriend, by Kasie West

I loved this because the romance is filled with chemistry, and neither character is perfect. It was also interesting to read how the MC was perceived by others.

3.
Learning to Swear in America, by Katie Kennedy

I loved this because of Yuri and Dovie...and Lenon. I just want to spend as much time as possible with these quirky and lovable characters. By the way, this comes out next week!

4.
The Long Game, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I loved this because of the intrigue, the complexity of the situations, the challenges the characters face, and the relationships throughout.

5.
Map of Fates, by Maggie Hall

I loved this because of the intriguing plot (and the tension throughout). I also like the realistic and plausible reasons for a 'love triangle.'

6.
Powerless, by Tera Lynn Childs & Traci Deebs

I loved this because of the original premise, the characters, and the tension.

7.
Relentless, by Tera Lynn Childs & Traci Deebs

I loved this because it tied up many of the loose ends from the above -- and the romance is sweet.

8.
This is Our Story, by Ashley Elston

I loved this because it's so rare to find a truly captivating YA suspense/mystery, and this was it! I couldn't put it down, and I will definitely read it again.

9.
Unplugged, by Donna Frietas

I loved this because it holds all the usual Frietas' quality writing along with an intriguing premise, strong and sympathetic characters, and a tense plot. I can't wait for the next one!

10.
Wrecked, by Maria Padian

I loved this because of its original take on a story of rape. Because this isn't a 'light' subject, I wouldn't recommend it to younger teens, but it's not graphic, and the writing is strong and thoughtful.

I read many five-star re-reads, but I'm only including those which are firsts for me. Looking forward to seeing what the rest of the year will bring!

Book Reports (102-105)...

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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****+
Symptoms of Being Human, by Jeff Garvin -- highly recommended for those who like *sympathetic main characters, those who like triumph over tragedy, those who like thoughtful and vulnerable narrators, and those who like sweet (though non-traditional) teen romance -- Balzer & Bray, 2/16

* I felt so much for Riley -- my heart hurt when reading Riley's trials. Riley is gender fluid, so those looking a more traditional story and character might find this less comfortable, but it's a great and worthwhile read, imo.

****+
Silver, by Chris Wooding -- highly recommended for those who like sci-fi/horror, those who like teen books **along the vein of Michael Crichton, those who like multi-POV tales, and those who like fast-paced tales -- Scholastic Press, 3/14

** This reminded me a bit of Prey, though it was more horror-weighted than tech-weighted. Still, it was entertaining, tense, and easy to read.

****
Identity Crisis, by Melissa Schorr -- recommended for those who like tales of ***mean girls (with a little more depth), those who like teen drama, and those who like multi-POV tales -- Merit Press, 1/16

*** The main girl was main, but the other two seemed more deliberately obtuse (or desperate). I think it was fairly realistic, but I'm not a fan of characters who can't think past their own shallow feelings.

****+
[Say It Right, by A.M. Arthur -- highly recommended for those who like adult, male/male romance, those who like ****redemption tales, those who like friendship turned love, and those who like dual-POV -- Carina Press, 9/16]

**** Both main characters in this have had troubled pasts filled with drug use and other challenges. Although not overly graphic, the book does delve into life on the streets for gay, homeless teens (and those who will do anything to get their drugs).

Book Reports (97-101)...

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 Cage, by Megan Sheperd -- recommended for those who like science fiction (with alien-human relationships), those who like survival tales, those who like multi-POV stories, and those who like *teen angst -- Balzer & Bray, 5/15

* I had a hard time connecting with most of the characters here, despite the POV changes. They were all kind of weird and not that likable, and although the situation was intriguing, I felt like some of the 'clues' were simply dropped -- plus, none of the characters were very bright (common-sense-wise).

***+
Girl Last Seen, by Heather Annastasiu and Anne Greenwood Brown -- recommended for those who like good mysteries, those who don't mind **teen thoughtlessness and meanness, and those who like teen romance -- Aw Teen, 3/16

** I really liked the mystery part (and how all the characters had secrets), but man, these kids were NOT nice. I felt like the story took the whole 'learn how to communicate' to a darker place, and it really bugged me that they acted on assumptions (acted cruelly). I had a hard time connecting with any of these kids, as well.

****+
Inherit Midnight, by Kate Kae Myers -- highly recommended for those who like an ***exciting plot, those who don't mind shallower characters, those who like complicated families, and those who like sweet teen romance -- Bloomsbury, 2/15

*** This was a quick and fun read, although the writing is pretty clunky in places. There were some stereotypes in the characterizations, and the lack of depth bugged me a bit. Plus, the way some of the family members treated one another was annoying (especially because it was on the shallow side). That said, I really did enjoy the plot and could barely put it down because of that. And the main character is very likable, so I had fun spending time with her.

***
[The Killer in Me, by Margot Harrison -- recommended for those who like ****magical realism, those who like unusual teen romance, those who like mysteries, and those who enjoy a slow unraveling -- Disney-Hyperion, 7/16]

**** I would call this magical realism, mostly because there's very little explanation for the basis of what's happening with the main character and the 'killer in her.' When it finally does get explained, everyone acts like that's a completely normal thing to happen. I'm not a huge magical realism fan, so this didn't really work for me; however, for those readers who enjoy that, I suspect this will be a hit, as the characterizations are fascinating.

*****
[The Long Game, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes -- highly recommended for those who enjoyed the first one (The Fixer), those who like political thrillers, those who like *****intelligent and feisty teen heroines, and those who like complicated family relationships -- Bloomsbury USA, 6/16]

***** I just love how Tessa handles her life. She's impetuous and doesn't always think things through (realistically), but her motivations are always to protect and help those she loves (and even those she simply tolerates but feels protective of). Barnes does a great job, imo, of pacing these tales well -- I only put the book down when my family needed food (ha). I already can't wait for the next one!

Book Reports (93-96)...

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) *****
The Fixer, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes -- highly recommended for those who like political thrillers, those who like feisty yet vulnerable teen heroines, and those who like family intrigue -- Bloomsbury, 7/15

****
Dark Energy, by Robison Wells -- recommended for those who like YA alien tales, those who like *plotty books (that might not be as thorough on character development), and those who like teen romance -- Harper Teen, 3/16

* I liked the set-up here and how it develops, but I will say that I wished there'd been a little more character development. I liked the characters, but more would have been nice.

****
Love & Gelato, by Jenna Evans Welch -- recommended for those who like Italy, **family intrigue, and a sweet (though angsty) teen love story -- Simon Pulse, 5/16

** One of the intriguing aspects here is what happened with the MC's mom when she was in Italy years before...but it was also frustrating to see so many stupid choices.

***
The Crown, by Kiera Cass -- recommended for those who like teen sci/fi fantasy (simply because it's a future society), those who liked the rest of the series (The Selection), and those who don't mind ***slightly self-centered heroines -- Harper Teen, 5/16

*** This is a pretty intriguing world set-up, but the heroine really turned me off. She's so self-centered (though she gets better in this book -- it's the second of her story as America's daughter), arrogant, and not that sympathetic. Honestly, I'm not quite sure why the guy who falls for her does so...

Book Reports (89-92)...

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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A few re-reads:

(R) *****
Now You See Her, by Linda Howard -- highly recommended for those who like adult suspense -- Pocket Books, 9/98

(R) *****
Inherit the Sky, by Ariel Tachna -- highly recommended for those who like adult, male/male, ranching romance -- Dreamspinner Press, 2/12

(R) ****
Where You Lead, by Mary Calmes -- recommended for those who like adult, male/male romance (novella) -- Dreamspinner Press, 12/13

And a new one:

****+
Wyatt's Recipes for Wooing Rock Stars, by Clancy Nacht & Thursday Euclid -- highly recommended for those who like adult, male/male foodie romance -- Dreamspinner Press, 4/16

Book Reports (85-88)...

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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Starting with a few re-reads (all on a similar topic):

***** (R)
Souffles at Sunrise, by MJ O'Shea & Anna Martin -- highly recommended for those who like adult, male/male, foodie books -- Dreampsinner Press, 2/15

***** (R)
In the Fire, by Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin -- highly recommended for those who like adult, male/male, foodie books -- Dreamspinner Press, 11/14

****+ (R)
In the Distance, by Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin -- highly recommended for those who like adult, male/male, foodie books -- Dreamspinner Press, 6/15

And an e-galley with the same topic:

****+
[Under the Knife, by Laurin Kelly -- highly recommended for those who like adult, male/male, foodie tales; those who like *sweet romance; those who like food competition books; and those who like cooking details -- Less than Three Press, 7/16]

* I really enjoyed this from beginning to end, but I will say there's not a huge climax/resolution, if you want that type of thing. This is more of a gentle (and sexually graphic) love story (though there is tension from the food competition). I liked the MC and his love interest, but I did wish for a tad more conflict outside the competition. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Book Reports (77-84)...

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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First, some re-reads:

***** (R)
First Test, by Tamora Pierce -- highly recommended for those who like YA fantasy with strong heroines and compassionate world building -- Ember, 8/04

***** (R)
Page, by Tamora Pierce -- highly recommended for those who like YA fantasy with strong heroines and compassionate world building -- Ember, 8/04

***** (R)
Squire, by Tamora Pierce -- highly recommended for those who like YA fantasy with strong heroines and compassionate world building -- Ember, 8/04

****+ (R)
Lady Knight, by Tamora Pierce -- highly recommended for those who like YA fantasy with strong heroines and compassionate world building -- Ember, 8/04

And some new to me:

***-
She's So Dead to Us, by Kieran Scott -- recommended for those who like *teen angst, those who like open-ended endings, and those who don't mind wishy-washy emotions -- Simon & Schuster Bfyr, 4/11

****
[The Stranger Game, by Cylin Busby -- recommended for those who like **abduction mysteries, those who like sister tales, and those who like faithful friends -- Balzer & Bray, 10/16]

****+
[The Girl I Used to Be, by April Henry -- highly recommended for those who like murder mysteries, those who like ***sweet (YA) love stories, and those who like strong and sympathetic heroines -- Henry Holt, 5/16]

***+
[The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions), by Amy Spalding -- recommended for those like a unique and compelling ****teen voice, those who like sincere MCs, and those who like sweet teen romance -- Poppy Books, 4/16]

* I enjoy some good teen angst now and then, but this was over the top. The mean girls had not a smidgeon of compassion, and the love interest was weak (as in a weak character). This is the first in a trilogy, and I looked up the others...needless to say, it's not my kind of series with characters that flip-flop in their morals and personalities, and a girl who puts up with all kinds of cr*p from a boy that she never should have.

** This is clearly a current trend, but I liked the twist in this one, and although I didn't read this thoroughly (kind of skipped around), it was still enjoyable and unique.

*** The mystery here was compelling, but my favorite part was the growing relationship between the MC and the love interest. I just liked how they fit together and supported one another.

**** For me, the voice was the best part of this. The MC is unique (focused, intense, honest), and her voice pulls the reader into her head. She is also a bit naive and tends to want to believe that other teens are as hard working and careful as she is...which could be a little annoying, in places. Still, it's an interesting tale.

Book Reports (72-76)...

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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***-
Lady Renegade, by Rachel Hawkins -- recommended for those who *like the rest of the trilogy (Rebel Belles), those who like complex magics, and those who like hopeful endings -- GP Putnam's Sons BFYR, 4/16

***+
[Shutter, by Laurie Faria Stolarz -- recommended for those who like mysteries, those who like dual-POV tales, and those who like **complicated circumstances and complex characters -- Disney-Hyperion, 10/16]

****
[Never Missing Never Found, by Amanda Panitch -- recommended for those who like ***mind-bending mysteries, those who like suspense, and those who like teen romance (with all its complications) -- Random House BFYR, 6/16]

****+
[Gifted, by H.A. Swain -- highly recommended for those who like ****unusual dystopic tales, those who like sweet YA romance, those who like music, those who like dual-POV narrations, and those who like spunky heroines -- Feiwel & Friends, 6/16]

*****
[This is Our Story, by Ashley Elston -- highly recommended for those who like *****mysteries, those who like suspense, those who like sweet YA love stories, and those who like law stories -- Disney-Hyperion, 11/16]

* I really like the premise of this trilogy, and I enjoyed the first one very much. My enjoyment waned a bit as I read the second, and this one, sadly, seemed a little too drawn out to me...still, it was an interesting conclusion.

** I've read other books by Stolarz, and for those who are familiar with her slow-paced style, this will feel familiar. She often has complex situations and grey areas, and this is no different...but, as also often happens, the ending isn't as resolved as I tend to like (though others might especially appreciate that).

*** Although I didn't love the characters very much (not any of them -- even Connor, though appealing, had one pretty annoying flaw), the mystery and reveal was pretty spectacular.

**** This is such a unique dystopic tale -- rather than apocalyptic-type setting, the world has broken down into plebes and plutes, the very rich and those which are like blue-collar workers. And the very rich 'buy' talents and are then sponsored by patrons to become famous. It took a while for the story to take off (as the world-building took some time), but I liked the characters -- a plebe named Zimri and a plute named Orpheus -- very much.

***** This is tense from the first page, and I enjoyed it very much. I won't spoil anything here by giving too much information, but if you like mysteries where the evidence is slowly exposed, you'll enjoy this.

Book Reports (65-71)...

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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****+
[Come What May, by A.M. Arthur -- highly recommended for those who like NA male/male romance, those who dual-POV narratives, those who like sympathetic and caring heroes, and those who like coming-out stories -- Carina Press, 5/16]

****+
Rainbow Blues, by KC Burn -- highly recommended for those who like adult male/male romance, those who like dual-POV narratives, and those who like sweet love stories -- Dreamspinner Press, 6/14

****
Lay It Down, by Mary Calmes -- recommended for those who like adult male/male romance, those who like exotic settings, those who like twins, and those who don't mind uber-patience on the part of one character -- Dreamspinner Press, 3/16

****
Wild and Precious, by CJane Elliot -- recommended for those who like adult male/male romance, those who like coming out stories, those who like DC settings, and those who don't mind a slow build -- Dreamspinner Press, 12/14

****+
Mr. Popsalos, by Lisa Worrall -- highly recommended for those who like adult male/male romance, those who like sweet love stories, and those who like a bit of angst thrown in -- Dreamspinner Press, 12/14

****
Unshakeable Faith, by Lisa Worrall -- recommended for those who like adult male/male romance, those who like amnesia tales, those who like mysteries, and those who don't mind a bit of personality fluctuation -- Dreamspinner Press, 11/11

(R) *****
Souffles at Sunrise, by MJ O'Shea and Anna Martin -- still highly recommended for those who like adult male/male romance, those who like foodie (and TV competition) tales, and those who like sweet love stories -- Dreamspinner Press, 2/15

Clearly I'm going through a male/male romance kick -- many of these were very good, and I like stories where characters show vulnerability to the reader and to each other. Most of these did that very nicely. :)

Book Reports (62-64)...

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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****
Any Other Girl, by Rebecca Phillips -- recommended for those who like *unique but realistic families, those who like YA romance, and those who like intriguing settings -- Kensington Books, 1/16

****-
[Winning, by Lara Deloza -- recommended for those who like multi-POV tales, those who like **mean-girl stories, and those who like GLBT romance (girl-girl) -- Harper Teen, 6/16]

****+
[The Safest Lies, by Megan Miranda -- highly recommended for those who like YA suspense, those who like ***vulnerable heroines, and those who like sweet YA romance -- Crown BFYR, 5/16]

* My favorite part of this story was the family -- the MC and her two dads. They were wonderful parents. However, I just didn't like the MC much. She was pretty selfish and short-sighted, and although she tried to do the right thing, she irritated me.

** I didn't like anyone in this book (except maybe Erin). All the teens were incredibly self-centered and shallow, and they seemed to lack basic compassion. I read the whole thing (the pacing was actually quite good, and I always enjoy multi-POV narratives), but it left a 'meh' taste in my mouth, I will admit. I was happy about Erin's final relationship (there are no spoilers here, as you can't really tell who she'll end up with as you read).

*** This is an interesting look at fear and genetics -- and an MC who struggles to be more than her 'blood' allowed. I liked the mystery and the reveal, and I thought Kelsey and Ryan made a sweet couple.

Book Reports (59-61)...

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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These deal with more mature teen subjects -- all three are different takes on rape and the consequences to society, to the individual, and to the future of the victim.

***
Exit, Pursued by a Bear, by E.K. Johnston -- recommended for those who like realistic teen drama, those who like cheerleading, and those who like reading about *rape recovery -- Dutton BFYR, 3/16

****
Firsts, by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn -- recommended for those who are okay with graphic sexual talk and actions, those who don't mind **confused teens with no adult help, and those who want to think about the different sexual pressure/expectations on girls and boys in today's society -- St. Martin's Griffin, 1/16

*****
[Wrecked, by Maria Padian -- highly recommended for those who like a thoughtful look at the role of alcohol in sexual actions and consent, those who like ***complex situations with no clear right or wrong, those who like multi-POV, and those who like wise and honest narrators -- Algonquin Young Readers, 10/16]

* I actually skimmed this while standing in the library. I think it's well done, and the MC here is a fighter. She works through the trauma which comes from rape in combination with a 'date rape' drug -- which means she doesn't really remember anything that happened to her but still has flash-backs and panic attacks from triggers because of the mental, emotional, and physical trauma. There's also abortion/pregnancy issues here, so be warned if any of the above trigger readers.

** This stayed with me for a couple of reasons: 1) it's a thought-provoking look at the vast differences between sexual expectations for teen boys and girls (warning: it's pretty infuriating, but sadly, I think it's fairly accurate); and 2) the underlying story of the MC's past sexual experiences which are never completely acknowledged (even by the MC) but which clearly lead to her current actions. I finished the book frustrated about both, and I couldn't stop thinking about how I would've handled the ending differently (as a writer) and also how I'd react if I saw something like this happening in my kids' school. This is very graphic in many ways, and I wouldn't let my 12-year-old daughter read it yet...in fact, I'd probably wait at least 3 or 4 years before giving her a book with this level of graphic language around sex coupled with the MC's issues (often un-acknowledged) around intimacy.

*** This is so well written, imo. The author takes us through a case of supposed sexual assault from 3 POVs -- what actually happened (as if the camera follows around the accuser and the accused), the roommate of the victim (the accuser), and a house mate of the accused. It really pointed out how sexual assault and consent can be so complicated and difficult to discern. When I finished, all I could think was how the message to high school and college students -- male and female -- should be that alcohol is the true rapist. This is more about what constitutes consent and how different players in the game react than it is about the act itself.

Book Reports (57-58)...

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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****+
[Been Here All Along, by Sandy Hall -- highly recommended for those who enjoy sweet friendship-to-love teen romance (male/male), those who like multiple-POV stories, those who like insight into *strong family relationships, and those who like a bit of teen drama -- Swoon Reads, 8/16]

*****
[Learning to Swear in America, by Katie Kennedy -- highly recommended for those who like humor, male POVs, **unique and thoughtful characters, sweet teen romance, and end-of-world challenges -- Bloomsbury, 7/16]

* I really appreciated the families in this book. All three of the narrators have good family relationships. I liked that the parents were all supportive, and I liked the reality of them, as well. The diversity in this book is also great (and realistic) -- and the romance is so sweet. Ruby is the weakest character, to me, but I like how her sections offer some insight into why she acts the way she does.

** I loved every teen character in this! Yuri, Dovie, and Lennon are all wonderful, and I hated when the book ended and I could no longer spend time in their company. Yuri is my favorite (as befitting the 'hero' of the tale), and his personality infuses the book with warmth and sarcasm and poignancy. I already know this will be one of my top three books read this year.

Book Reports (53-56)...

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 Capture, by Tom Isbell -- highly recommended for those who enjoyed the first (The Prey), those who like dual-POVs (one male, one female), those who like determined and unlikely heroes, and those who like gentle romance -- Harper Teen, 1/16

****
[The Leaving, by Tara Altebrando -- recommended for those who like suspenseful mysteries, those who like *compelling reads, those who like slow-moving (and secondary) romance, and those who like complicated motives -- Bloomsbury USA, 6/16]

****+
[Forever, Again, by Victoria Laurie -- highly recommended for those interested in reincarnation, those who like sweet teen romance, those who don't mind **angst, and those who like strong heroines -- Hyperion, 12/16]

*****
[Unplugged, by Donna Freitas -- highly recommended for those who like philosophical mysteries, ***futuristic moral questions, strong heroines, teen relationships, and trilogies -- Harper Teen, 6/16]

* There's a blurb on this from E. Lockhart saying that this book is un-put-down-able -- and she's right! I read it in one sitting, and even though there were a couple of throw-away characters (who seemed to be there to make up the right numbers?), I found it unusually compelling.

** I loved Laurie's When, which came out a little over a year ago. It was filled with angst and sorrow...but it resolved so beautifully. This one had different kinds of angst, and it didn't resolve nearly as nicely. I enjoyed Lily's POV a lot, and I liked Amber. And I will probably re-read this (though not as often as I do When) -- so it's very good, just not quite as good as the first one. :D

*** I got totally sucked into this world -- to the point that I dreamt about it the night I finished the book (and that rarely happens with me). I've long been a Freitas fan (I've read all her YA books), but I didn't realize she had anything new out (though it's been a while). Anyway, this was so well-written, and I love the world building, the mystery, the characters...the only downside is that now I have to wait at least a year for the next installment. *sigh*

Currently Reading (and loving): Learning to Swear in America, by Katie Kennedy

Book Reports (49-52)...

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) *****
Graduation Day, by Joelle Charbonneau -- highly recommended for those who like YA dystopic thrillers -- HMH, 6/14

(R) ****
The Espressologist, by Kristina Springer -- recommended for those who like YA romance, those who like coffee (ha), and those who like fluffy, quick reads -- FSG, 10/09

*****
[Relentless, by Tera Lynn Childs & Tracy Deebs -- highly recommended for those who read the first (Powerless, those who like *superhero paranormal tales, those who like suspense/mystery, and those who like sweet YA romance -- Sourcebooks Fire, 6/16]

*****
[Defending Taylor, by Miranda Kenneally -- highly recommended for Kenneally fans, for those who like **contemporary tales, those who like strong though vulnerable (ie, not perfect) girls, and those who like YA romance (mild GLBT along with hetero) -- Sourcebooks Fire, 7/16]

* Funny thing: I'm not that into superhero tales, but this duo is so well done and filled with anti-cliches (ha). I like the entire group of kids, and I like how they work together and grow to be open minded throughout.

** In this Kineally tale, the sport (soccer) takes a backseat to political stuff. I definitely liked it, but I felt like Taylor's dad (a senator) really overreacted...of course, I also thought Taylor had a pretty immature outlook at the beginning, though that's one of the things which made the story so strong to me (her growth).

On Deck: So I went to PLA (Public Library Association conference) this week, and that means I have ~50 ARCs to read...I'm pretty excited. :D

Book Reports (43-48)...

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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****
[Taste, by Juliet Madison -- recommended for those who've read the other three (Delta Girls), those who like *sweet romance, those who like YA paranormal mysteries, and those who like foodie books -- Diversion Publishing, 4/16]

(R) *****
The Testing, by Joelle Charbonneau -- still highly recommended for fans of YA dystopic -- HMH BfYR, 6/13

(R) ****+
Independent Study, by Joelle Charbonneau -- still highly recommended for fans of YA dystopic -- Harcourt Brace, 1/14

****+
Skin Deep, by Marissa Doyle -- highly recommended for those who enjoy adult paranormal romance, those who like selkie tales, those who like quilting, and those who like **vulnerable (yet strong) heroines and unique (and sexy) heroes -- Marissa Doyle, 4/16

****+
Here for You, by Skylar M. Cates -- highly recommended for those who enjoy male/male romance, those who like overcoming tragedy, and those who like stories with strong friendships -- Dreamspinner Press, 2/15

****+
Close to You, by Skylar M. Cates -- highly recommended for those who enjoy male/male romance, those who like overcoming your past, and those who like friendships becoming like family -- Dreamspinner Press, 3/16

On Deck: a pile that I need to get to before going to PLA next week (yay)...

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