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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)...

Book Reports (38-42)...

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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****
Riders, by Veronica Rossi -- recommended for those who like paranormal YA, those who like a *male POV, those who like complex characters, and those who like lush story-telling -- Tor Books, 2/16

*****
Map of Fates, by Maggie Hall -- highly recommended for those who liked the first one (Conspiracy of Us), those who like Dan Brown-type thrillers, those who like spunky heroines, and those who like YA romance **(with complications) -- GP Putnam, 3/16

****+
Light of Day, by Allison van Diepen -- highly recommended for those who like ***gritty YA tales, those who like redemption tales, those who like feisty heroines, and those who like strong chemistry in their romance -- Harper Teen, 11/15

****
The Heir and the Spare, by Emily Albright -- recommended for those who don't mind a slightly distant narrative style, those who don't mind fast-paced (and perhaps a little skimming) story telling, those who like sweet YA romance, and those who like ****royalty tales -- Merit Press, 1/16

**
Glass Sword, by Victoria Aveyard -- recommended for those who liked the first (Red Queen), those who like YA fantasy, those who like epic world building, and those who like *****gritty heroines -- Harper Teen, 2/16

*One of my favorite parts of this is the male POV. I like War, and I like his perspective...and I'll definitely look for the next one in the series/trilogy.

**I'm not a fan of love triangles (at all), but every now and then, an author will handle it in just the right way -- a way that makes the triangle not only realistic but necessary. Imo, that's how Maggie Hall handles this one, and I can't way to see what happens in the next one!

***This is the second in the collection (it's not really a series, since you don't need to read the first to understand the second -- clearly, as I didn't even realize there was a prequel, so to speak, until I'd finished this one). I'm not sure I'd read another -- I might, but the setting is so different from what I'm used to (which is good; it's definitely what drew me to this one, in the first place). For one book, it's fine. Would I want to return to Miami for more? I honestly don't know. But I've long enjoyed van Diepen's romances. :)

****I picked this up based on the description (a girl with an unknown past meets the 'spare' for the British crown). I liked those aspects, for sure, but it's definitely told in a distant manner, and although we see hints of the important events, we're often pulled away before an emotion really seeps through. It was entertaining but a little frustrating because of that.

*****The premise of this world is pretty cool (and very unique), but the heroine is so...well, kind of unlikable, to me. She's just so fierce and passionate and determined to see (and do) things in only one way. I will pick up the third (because really, don't I have to see how it all turns out?), but I don't know if I trust the author to end it all the way I personally would like (ha).

On Deck: We're heading out later this week to visit Moab, so I have a bag full of books to read on the journey.

Book Reports (34-37)...

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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***+
[Stone Field, by Christy Lenzi -- recommended for those who like YA historicals, those who like re-imaginings, those who like Wuthering Heights, and those who like *lush writing -- Roaring Brook Press, 3/16]

***
I'm From Nowhere, by Suzanne Meyers -- recommended for those who like YA character studies, those who like contemporary tales, and those who like **somewhat ambiguous endings -- Soho Teen, 1/16

*****
Powerless, by Tara Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs -- highly recommended for those who like superheroes, those who like mysteries, those who like strong and unconventional heroines, those who like groups of kids working together, and those who like sweet YA romance -- Sourcebooks Fire, 6/15

**
Fire Sermon, by Francesca Haig -- recommended for those who like fighting against great odds, those who like YA dystopic, and those who like complex (moral) situations -- Gallery Books, 3/15

*I'm not a huge Bronte fan, and I could never get through Wuthering Heights. This book, however, is soooo lush in the writing (and the setting and the characters)...it's still not my personal cup of tea, but I can appreciate its richness.

**This drove me crazy, in all honesty. The writing is fine and even easy to follow...but man, by the end of the book (which I skimmed), I still felt like nothing had really happened, and it seemed like finally the story was ready to begin (and the book was over). Maybe there will be a sequel?

Currently Reading: another Karen Robards

On Deck: I have a book coming in the mail (yay), and I have a couple others waiting for me...

Book Reports (26-33)...

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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***+
[Tell the Wind and Fire, by Sarah Rees Brennan -- recommended for fans of Brennan and for those who like *Tale of Two Cities, for those who like teen romance (and romance period), and those who like strong heroines and sweeping paranormal tales -- Clarion Books, 4/16]

****-
Sultry Sunsets, by Mary Calmes -- recommended for those who like male/male romance, those who like her Mangrove Tales, and those who don't mind a rather brief story arc -- Dreamspinner Press, 5/15

****+
Blue Days, by Mary Calmes -- highly recommended for those who like male/male romance, those who like persistent heroes, and those who like small-town settings -- Dreamspinner Press, 11/14

***
Raising the Griffin, by Melissa Wyatt -- recommended for those who liked **The Princess Diaries, those who like male POVs, and those who like commoners thrust into royalty -- Perfection Learning, 7/05

***+
Zero Day, by Jan Gangsei -- recommended for those who like political fare, those who enjoy hostage/release drama, those who like broken teen characters fighting back, and those who like pre-romance -- Disney-Hyperion, 1/16

****+
Hunted, by Karen Robards -- highly recommended for those who like adult romantic suspense, those who like NOLA settings, those who like tough cops with a soft inside (ha), and those who like solid resolutions -- Gallery Books, 12/13

***+
The Body Institute, by Carol Riggs -- recommended for those who like unique sci-fi, those who like ***politics surrounding personal freedom versus government control, and those who like teen romance -- Entangled, 9/15

****
Demonosity, by Amanda Ashby -- recommended for those who like humorous approaches to mythical/paranormal ideas, those who like spunky heroines, those who like ****aspects of asexuality, and those who like brooding boys -- Speak, 8/13

*I really do adore Brennan's writing style, but I'm not a huge Dickens' fan. Once I realized the story I was reading (well, a re-telling of aspects of that story), I lost some of my enthusiasm...but the writing works for me, so I finished it anyway.

**I've never read TPD, in all honesty. I saw the movie(s), of course, and I actually picked up the last one, just to see where the author had it ending (but I only skimmed the book). This version is darker, broodier, and I had a hard time liking the MC. I also didn't love the resolution (okay, without spoilers, I did really like the very end -- like that last two pages or so).

***I thought the political hints in this were the most intriguing aspects. Imagine a world where the government insists that not only does everyone have to have healthcare (yep), but the government also gets to determine punishment if people aren't taking care of themselves in a manner the government agrees with. Whew!

****I rarely come across asexual characters in teen books (this might be the very first time), so I appreciate that Ashby included Nash. He's a thoughtful, intriguing character -- and I like his own humor regarding his asexuality.

On Deck: Well, I'm about to head off for the library... ;)

Book Reports (21-25)...

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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****
Thicker than Water, by Brigid Kemmerer -- recommended for those who like sympathetic characters, those who like suspense/mysteries, those who like intense teen romance, and those who don't mind a fairly unresolved story arc* -- Kensington,12/15

(R) *****
Bang, by Lisa McMann -- highly recommended for those who like the trilogy and those who like YA thrillers -- Simon Pulse, 8/13

*****
Fill-In Boyfriend, by Kasie West -- highly recommended for those who like realistic teen contemporary, those who appreciate thoughtful teen characters**, and those who like sweet romance -- Harper Teen, 5/15

****+
Forget Tomorrow, by Pintip Dunn -- highly recommended for those who like sci-fi time travel, those who like thoughtful teens, those who like sweet romance, and those who like twists and turns -- Entangled, 11/15

***
Infinite Sea, by Rick Yancey -- recommended for those who liked the first (The 5th Wave), those who like alien tales***, and those who like teen angsty romance -- Putnam, 9/14

*I have really enjoyed Kemmerer's other books (the Elementals series). And this one has many of the same elements that I loved so much...but for me, it really fell down at the end, and too much of the plot remained not only unresolved but unable to suspend my disbelief. :( I'm hoping there will be another book to explain some of this...

**Too many teen books these days spotlight self-centered, whiny teens. I appreciate West's approach, and I like the fact that her MC works to be a more thoughtful person (even though she wasn't that bad, to begin with) -- plus, the love interest is awesome. :D

***I usually love alien tales, and I did like the first one. This one...well, it didn't help that it was no longer from Cassie's POV (it did spend time with her here and there) and I didn't like Ringer (the character we spent most of our time with).

On Deck: more wonderful possibilities :)

Book Reports (16-20)...

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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****+
Erebos, by Ursula Poznanski, Judith Pattinson (translator) -- highly recommended for those who like YA suspense, computer games/hacking, male POV, and romance on the side -- Annick Press, 1/12

***+
Ash & Bramble, by Sarah Prineas -- recommended for those who like fractured fairy tales, those who like clever and strong heroines, those who like romance, and those who *don't mind a heroine who doesn't know her own heart for most of the tale -- Harper Teen, 9/15

**+
Lock & Mori, by Heather Petti -- recommended for Sherlock Holmes' enthusiasts, for those who like YA re-imaginings, for those who enjoy **broken characters fighting their way back, and for those who like angsty romance -- Simon & Schuster BFYR, 9/15

(R) *****
Crash, by Lisa McMann -- highly recommended (still) for those who like YA thrillers and emotional romance -- Simon Pulse, 1/13

****+
Hush, by Karen Robards -- highly recommended for those who like adult romantic suspense, those who like gutsy heroines, those who like 'manly men' (secret operatives), and those who like family loyalty -- Gallery Books, 12/14

*I really liked the premise of this book, but Pin/Pen's lack of understanding of her own feelings (which were completely obvious to everyone else, especially the reader) made it hard for me to really get into the story. She was such a fighter and so strong...so that huge lack of awareness annoyed me.

**Okay, so I should have known going in that the characters would have some serious issues...but for me, their problems overcame the rest of the story (which could have been the intent?).

On Deck: perhaps the rest of the Crash trilogy, The Infinite Sea, and a couple others.

Book Reports (9-15)...

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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***+
Onyx, by Jennifer L. Armentrout -- recommended for those who liked the first, those who enjoy alien and paranormal tales, and those who like angsty teen romance and drama -- Entangled, 8/12

****
Opal, by Jennifer L. Armentrout -- recommended for those who liked the rest of the series, those who enjoy alien and paranormal tales, and those who like angsty teen romance, drama, and relationships - Entangled, 12/12

****
Origin, by Jennifer L. Armentrout -- recommended for those reading the series, those who like twists and turns (and don't mind a bit of torture and violence), and those who like teen romance (including intimacy) -- Entangled, 8/13

****+
Opposition, by Jennifer L. Armentrout -- highly recommended for those who've read the others, for those who like alien invasion, and for those who like high stakes and end-of-world scenarios (along with teen romance) -- Entangled, 8/14*

**
The Perilous Sea, by Sherry Thomas -- recommended for those who liked the first, those who enjoy fantasy mixed with history, and those who like a touch of mythology, as well (along with sweet romance) -- Balzer & Bray, 9/13 **

**+
Court of Fives, by Kate Elliot -- recommended for those who like a blend of fantasy and Roman history, those who like strong heroines, and those who like adventure -- Little, Brown, 8/15

****
Piece of Cake, by Mary Calmes -- recommended for those who've read the other Matter of Time books, those who like novellas, those who enjoy adult male/male romance, and those who like law enforcement tales -- Dreamspinner Press, 8/15

*Clearly I'm reading the entire series. I like the premise a great deal, and this is a good example of how sometimes reading a series after they're all out is the best plan. I don't think I would have gone beyond #2 (Onyx) if I'd had to wait for the others to be released. However, I really like many of the ideas presented, and Opposition (the conclusion) is easily my favorite of the group, so I'm glad I was able to read them all right after the other.

**I really want to like this trilogy...but it's more detailed (in the world building) than I currently like. I go back and forth in this -- there are times when I revel in the lush world building. I will definitely be looking for the last book, as I think the characters and situation are intriguing.

On Deck: Erebos and Ash & Bramble

Book Reports (1-8)...

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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****+
See How They Run, by Ally Carter -- highly recommended for those who liked the first one, for those who don't mind a slightly (maybe?) unreliable narrator (who's also a bit whiny), and for those who like some nice plot twists and turns -- Scholastic Press, 12/15

(R) ****
Cry No More, by Linda Howard -- recommended for those who enjoy adult romantic suspense, those who don't mind a rather slow build-up, and those who like happy (though delayed) endings -- Ballantine Books, 4/04

**
The List, by Siobahn Vivian -- recommended for those who don't mind serious angst, those who like multiple POV, those who don't mind numerous unlikable characters, and those who like social experiments -- Scholastic, 3/14

***
[Yes, Chef, by Alex Cohen -- recommended for those who enjoy foodie/restaurant tales, those who like male/male romance, and those who enjoy novellas -- Less Than Three Press, 1/16]

****
[Getting Him Back, by K.A. Mitchell -- recommended for those who enjoy NA (New Adult) male/male romance, those who don't mind somewhat shallow feelings, those who like redemption stories, and those who like college tales -- Carina Press, 2/16]

****+
Obsidian, by Jennifer L. Armentrout -- highly recommended for those who like alien stories, those who like teen romance, and those who like good versus evil paranormal tales -- Entangled, 5/12

(R) ****
Floodgates, by Mary Calmes -- recommended for fans of adult male/male romance and for those who don't mind slightly unreliable narrating as a suspense tool -- Dreamspinner Press, 12/14

(R) ****+
Prey, by Michael Crichton -- highly recommended for Crichton fans, for those who like adult thrillers (techno-thriller, in this case), those who like insightful descriptions, and those who like novels that stretch your mind a bit -- HarperCollins, 5/02

Currently Reading: Well, I'm re-reading some books while I wait for holds to come in at the library...still fun, though.

Top 11 ***** YA reads of 2015...

Five-star books are those that I read feverishly from beginning to end, often in one day. These are the ones that keep me at the gym (where I read while on the elliptical) for an extra hour, the ones that keep from getting my work done (ha), and the ones that I dream about at night. :) I probably read 135-140 YA books this year, so these are truly the best of the bunch (in my opinion, of course). Again, they're organized by title (alphabetically):





















Top 7 ***** Adult Books 2015...

Five-star books are those that I read feverishly from beginning to end, often in one day. These are the ones that keep me at the gym (where I read while on the elliptical) for an extra hour, the ones that keep from getting my work done (ha), and the ones that I dream about at night. :) I probably read 30-35 adult books this year (not many compared to the YA/NA), so these are the cream of the crop. Most are male/male romance, but some (as you'll see) are mystery/suspense. Again, they're organized by title (alphabetically):













Top 6 ****+ Adult Books 2015...

And here are the adult books (all of them male/male romance) that I read all the way through (perhaps with a bit of skimming) and will re-read and/or find sequels:











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