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Book Reports (146-155)...

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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