books

Book Reports (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].

****-
Love in Spades, by Charlie Cochet -- recommended for those who like military MCs, those who like dual POV, those who like Charlie Cochet, and those who like passionate male/male love stories -- Createspace, 4/18

(I liked this, though I suspect I'll enjoy later books more. This one rushed through the romance a bit (kind of insta-love, which I don't love, ha) and spent extra time on the world building. It annoyed me how often I'd read something like this: In the past weeks, he'd discovered... -- and what he discovered was all off page! Really? That's so not for me. But again, I think the next book will hopefully be more detailed and present with the couple (as most of her other books are that way). And, as is usually the case with Cochet, I like the set up (four friends running a security company). So I will be giving the next book a chance, even though I wanted to like this one much more than I actually did.)

Well, I'm still not doing a great job keeping this up-to-date. *eye roll* BUT I am getting a new website going -- and it will have all my YA reviews on it. I'll post that link when it's all ready to go. :D
books

Book Reports (50-55)...

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].

**
Folded Notes from High School, by Matthew Boren -- recommended for those who like unique narrative styles (all notes, in this case), those who like 'historical' contemporary tales (ha, because it's set in the early '90s), and those who like unsympathetic MCs -- Razorbill, 4/18

(I couldn't get past how awful the MC was, tbh. Not only that, but there wasn't really a story arc. She started out being mean and manipulative, and the story ended with her doing the same...I didn't see any growth or closure, and I honestly wasn't sure if those around her figured out what she was doing or not -- which was a fault of the narrative style, which I also didn't love. All in all, not for me.)

***
The Handsome Girl & Her Beautiful Boy, by B.T. Gottfred -- recommended for those who like non-traditional love stories, those who like dual POV, and those who like tales centered around gender/sexual fluidity -- Henry Holt, 5/18

(So I picked this up because of the gender/sexual fluidity, but it wasn't my favorite. The main characters (Art and Zee) are both so confused and angsty that I felt like I was on the precipice of a whirlpool of emotion the entire time -- and although I think that's pretty impressive for the author to accomplish, it didn't sit well with me, personally. That said, I think this is a pretty important book for any teen who is struggling with their sexuality or understanding their place in the world, and I liked the overall theme of acceptance (self and otherwise)).

****+
Ruthless Magic, by Megan Crewe -- highly recommended for those who like fantasy, those who like dual POV, those who liked The Testing and/or The Hunger Games, and those who like teen love stories (although this isn't the focus) -- Another World Press, 5/18

(I really enjoyed this! Of course, I'm a fan of Megan's books (and got to be a beta reader for her Fallen World trilogy), so it's not that surprising. But man, she did an awesome job of blending two fantasy aspects (the idea of taking a test to enter a magic school and competing against others 'to the death' for that spot) -- plus, there's enough hinting about political issues coming up to entice readers for the next in the series. I also liked both the MCs, which helps. :D)

****+
A Prom to Remember, by Sandy Hall -- highly recommended for those who like multiple POV, those who like a variety of love stories (gay and straight), and those who like thoughtful teen perspectives -- Swoon Reads, 4/18

(This is a fun read, though it has some thoughtful and insightful moments, as well. I liked most of the teen narrators, and I thought the different takes on prom and its importance/role were pretty spot on. The diversity here is also well done and realistic (diversity in sexual preference, economics, and race). All in all, a good read!)

****+
Not If I Save You First, by Ally Carter -- highly recommended for Carter fans, for those who like strong heroines (though she struggles physically but is determined), those who like survival tales, and those who like sweet romance -- Scholastic Press, 3/18

(This is another fun and quick read. I always enjoy Carter's books, and the heroine here isn't as immature as I found the one in the previous trilogy. I liked Maddie's determination and fierceness, and the relationship between her and Logan is truly sweet. The survival aspects (in the Alaskan wilderness) are also engaging.)

****-
Things I Can't Forget, by Miranda Kenneally -- recommended for those who like Kenneally's Hundred Oaks series, those who like religious characters, those who like summer camp settings, and those who like naive MCs -- Sourcebooks Fire, 3/13

(Well, I didn't love this one, which is sad (as I tend to really enjoy Kenneally's books). It was just too...too. The main character is naive and ignorant, at best, and her strict adherence to religious rules without understanding the ideas behind them really bugged me (perhaps because I knew people like this when I was young?). In some ways, she reminded me of me as a young teen (not an 18-year old), but the growth she *should* have experienced at that age just didn't happen. *sigh* I couldn't believe Matthew would be able to see past all that and stick with her (though it's nice that he did). Interestingly, Matthew is also the older brother of Jeremiah, the love interest in Breathe, Annie, Breathe, my favorite of Kenneally's books...)
books

Book Reports (41-49)...

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].

****
Time Bomb, by Joelle Charbonneau -- recommended for those who like YA thrillers, those who like multi-POV tales, and those who are okay with school bombing situations -- Houghton Mifflin, 3/18

(This is a quick read, and I found it interesting to get into the heads of the characters -- all seven of them. I figured out the perpetrator about 2/3 through, which is pretty good (I usually get it within the first quarter) for this book. I didn't love the ending (it seemed a little abrupt), but the rest was good.)

****
Portrait of Us, by Rhonda Helms & A. Destiny -- recommended for those who like sweet YA romance, those who like art tales, and those who like diverse characters -- Simon Pulse, 5/14

(This is a quick and sweet read. I liked Corinne and Matthew, though Corinne definitely was hard on him (and everyone else around her). I liked that it wasn't a big deal for Matthew or Corinne that they were a mixed-race couple, and I thought it was interesting that his biggest hang-up was how much money her family had compared to his.)

***
S.T.A.G.S., by M.A. Bennett -- recommended for those who like creepy YA school tales, those who like suspense, and those who like a background romance and diversity -- Delacorte Press, 1/18

(I liked the overall story here, but I will admit I kind of skipped over all the first half and started in the middle. Once there, I liked the rest, but the beginning was slow and a little too detailed for me. Still, it's an interesting take on a familiar boarding school trope.)

***
Seven Ways We Lie, by Riley Redgate -- recommended for those who like multi-POV tales, those who like somewhat immature characters (without a ton of depth, as well), and those who like teen drama/angst -- Amulet Books, 3/16

(This one is tough because it has many elements that I typically enjoy -- the school setting, the multi-POV, the angst -- but it just didn't work for me here. I think one of the main reasons for that is perhaps the immature outlook of all the characters. I felt like none of them could rise above their 'teen'-ness to see the big picture of life. And while that can definitely be realistic, it doesn't make for a great story (imho). At least one of them needed to be more mature and perceptive (and that's also realistic -- I had a few friends who could rise above the emo drama). It made me so very glad to be far removed from my own teen years (and having to deal with people like this day in and day out), that's for sure. ;) )

**
People Like Us, by Dana Mele -- recommended for those who like boarding schools, those who like teen angst/drama, and those who like somewhat unreliable narrators -- GP Putnam Sons BFYR, 2/18

(I can't say a ton about this because I skimmed pretty much the whole thing. However, I wanted to include it here on the off chance that someone reading might be looking for unreliable narrator tales -- and this kind of fits that bill. Plus, the narrator is bi-sexual, and it's hard to find those, as well.)

***
Here's to You, Zeb Pike, by Johanna Parkhurst -- recommended for those who like teens rising above difficult circumstances, those who like sweet YA (male/male) romance, and those who like family tales -- Harmony Ink Press, 7/16

(This book frustrated me to no end because the MC refused to ever talk about his feelings -- and the adults in his life, even those who were decent and caring, couldn't seem to figure out what was wrong (when it was obvious). So I felt like most of the problems here (other than those arising from the poor kid's wretched parents) should have been non-issues (or at least could have been minimized). However, I really liked the MC, and I love his boyfriend -- so I picked up the next one (see below).)

*****
Thanks a Lot, John LeClair, by Johanna Parkhurst -- highly recommended for those who like hockey, for those who like coming-out tales, and for those who like sweet teen romance -- Harmony Ink Press, 12/17

(I really loved this one! Emmitt is a great guy, even though he's worried that coming out will ruin any chances he has at a hockey career -- and that's a big issue since he's a very talented player. And Dusty isn't as frustrating this time because the book isn't from his perspective, so his lack of actually communicating isn't as obvious (though one of the problems in the book *does* arise from that, so be warned). This may be slightly unrealistic, but it's definitely a feel-good tale.)

****
[Surface Tension, by Mike Mullin -- recommended for those who like YA thrillers, those who like determined heroes, and those who like diverse characters -- Tanglewood, 5/18]

(This is well written (I like Mullin's style), and I was definitely into the story for most of it...and then it jumped the shark a bit. I think it's more of a personal taste thing -- as a parent, I just couldn't handle what was happening to the MC, and I couldn't read it anymore (which means Mullin did a good job putting me in the MC's head). So I skipped to the end. I'm pretty sure there will be another one, and I will pick it up, as I do like the story and the writing style.)

**-
[The Art of French Kissing, by Brianna Shrum -- recommended for those who like YA angst, those who like cooking tales, those who like selfish heroines, and those who like YA romance -- Sky Pony Press, 6/18]

(Okay, I'll be honest right up front and say that I really disliked the MC here. The premise is awesome, as you know I love foodie tales, and this is all about a cooking competition for teens to get into a culinary institute. However, I started getting nervous when I didn't the like MC in the first chapter. Then I thought, "Oh, this is the set up so we'll see her growth." Um, no. She doesn't grow. She continues on the same, self-centered, immature path throughout the book, and I couldn't handle it. I liked the love interest, except I had to wonder what on earth he saw in her -- seriously. She was horrible, and for some reason, he overlooked all her crappy actions and selfishness...and I guess that means he deserves her. *blech* Even the cooking contest couldn't save this story for me.)

Well, there we have it -- I'll try to update a little more frequently next time, as this took almost 2 hours! :D
Tags: , ,
books

Book Reports (31-40)...

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].

*****
The Woman Left Behind, by Linda Howard -- highly recommended for those who like adult romance, for those who like military-style situations, and for those who like Howard's writing -- William Morrow, 3/18

(This is Howard's latest, and I loved it! It's not as much mystery (as you meet the killer right up front) or suspense, but it's still good. I liked the developing relationship between Jina and Levi, and I liked how both had to come to terms with their attraction to each other. And I liked the details about the special ops group and their preparations.)

***+
The Ark, by Boyd Morrison -- recommended for those who like sci-fi thrillers, those who like rogue MCs (kind of like Indiana Jones, ha), and those who like a hint of romance -- Gallery Books, 5/10

(This was fun, but I will admit I tired of it about 3/4 of the way through and skimmed to the end. It just seemed really familiar by that point, and I was ready to be done. Still, if you like this kind of adventure/thriller tale, you'd probably enjoy it.)

****
Departure, by AG Riddle -- recommended for those who like sci-fi thrillers, those who like time travel, and those who like hints of romance -- Voyager, 10/15

(This was an entertaining and intriguing read. I liked the two MCs, and I liked the twists and turns in the plot. I found the ending really interesting and somewhat unexpected, as well. It's an unusual story, despite the trappings that looked very familiar, and I think that's what worked best for me.)

****+
The Trouble with Tony, by Eli Easton -- highly recommended for those who like humorous romance (male/male), those who like straightforward mysteries, and those who like novellas -- Dreamspinner Press, 8/13

(This is a fun novella, and I discovered a new writer (yay). I liked the humor, I liked both Tony and his 'doctor,' and I liked the light-hearted narrative style. I haven't read either of the other two in the series, and I don't know if I will. Even though this was fun, the others sound really different, and I'm not sure they'll hold the same appeal.)

****
Simmer, edited by Tricia Kristufek -- recommended for those who like anthologies, those who like male/male romance, and those who like foodie stories -- Dreamspinner Press, 2/16

(I liked this. There were a couple stories that I especially loved, a couple I didn't really like at all, and most that I enjoyed enough to re-read down the line. The two I liked the most introduced me to two new authors (though I will admit I haven't had a chance to look for books by them yet), and I'm hopeful to add to my ever-growing collection of male/male romance authors-that-I-love.)

*****
Bonfires, by Amy Lane -- highly recommended for those who love later-in-life love stories (male/male), school-centered tales, cop tales, dual POV, and realistic characters -- Dreamspinner Press, 3/17

(I really enjoyed this. Both MCs -- dual POV -- were really likable and realistic, imo. I liked how they interacted with each other, how they interacted with their kids (and each other's kids), and I liked that all the kids were at least teens too. It's one of those books with a world I enjoyed being in, and I would definitely go back. I know there's another book in the series, so I probably *will* return soon. ;) )

*****
Forbes Mates series, by Grace R. Duncan -- highly recommended for those who like shifter tales (male/male), those who like sweet and thoughtful characters, and those who like world building throughout a series -- Dreamspinner Press, 9/15-3/18

(I'm actually not a huge shifter person; they're okay, but I don't seek them out, by any means. But after I started the first one of these, I immediately grabbed the other three. I really like the gentle writing style, the world building across all the books, the intriguing shifter universe here, and the characters. I think the second book (Patience) was my favorite, but I enjoyed each of them. I certainly hope there will be more. :D)

Well, this is what happens when I don't make time to record my book reading for almost two months...yeesh. And I had about a dozen re-reads too (but I won't add all those).
books

Book Reports (28-30)...

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].



Site Meter


***
Setting the Hook, by Andrew Grey -- recommended for fans of Andrew Grey, for those who like fishing tales, and for those who like male/male romance -- Dreamspinner Press, 5/17

(I didn't love this. The premise seemed really interesting, but it just didn't work for me. I'm not a huge fan of Grey's writing style, but it had been a while, so I thought I'd give it another try. *meh*)

***-
Designs of Desire, by Tempeste O'Riley -- recommended for those who like her writing style, those who like overcoming abuse tales, and those who like artists and insta-love male/male romance -- Dreamspinner Press, 7/13

(I'd gotten another of O'Riley's books but had forgotten why I disliked it so much. It didn't take long for me to remember with this one. She tends to keep all the important discussions and ideas off page, and it drives me crazy. She'll actually write this great chapter, with all kinds of build up, and then you turn the page, and days have gone by. Everything was resolved off page, and the reader is only left with a brief (and, for me, unsatisfying) mention of what happened. *blech* It's probably one of the worst writing styles I've ever encountered. That said, she gets some great reviews by her fans, so clearly many people love it. The story itself was okay. I liked James well enough, but Seth seemed arrogant and controlling, and I could NOT see the attraction, especially since James was coming from a background of abuse. I think it's safe to say this wasn't for me.)

****+
Late in the Day, by Mary Calmes -- highly recommended for those who like Calmes, those who like secret ops, those who like male/male romance, and those who like intriguing supporting characters -- Dreamspinner Press, 10/17

(This is classic Calmes, to me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. AS with many of her books, I always want more, but at least Darius is interesting here. It's really a love story -- with flashbacks -- of how Darius and the only man he's ever loved meet up again. If that had been integrated a little more deeply with the on-going plot she's building (in this series and a couple of others), it would have been five stars for me. Still, I really enjoyed it, and I'm left wanting more!)

I've been re-reading other adult books too, waiting for some library holds to come in (and a new release to release -- next week!), but I'm not counting them here.
books

Book Reports (23-27)...

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

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

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



Site Meter


***+
Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys), by Amy Spalding -- recommended for those who like teen drama, those who like friendship tales, and those who don't mind hints of cheating -- Poppy Books, 4/16

(This was kind of cute, but it annoyed me that Riley was so rigid about her views on how guys should treat her when she treated them in such a cavalier manner. She came across pretty hypocritical, and that weakened the overall story for me.)

***-
You Will Be Mine, by Natasha Preston -- recommended for those who like horror tropes, those who like a YA feel, and those who are willing to really suspend their disbelief -- Sourcebooks Fire, 2/18

(I don't love horror, and this wasn't graphic, imo, so I gave it a try. But I couldn't get past the numerous points where I had to just say, "Okay, I guess this is just fiction." In other words, it was so unrealistic that anyone could stalk another person like this without the police ever catching on. Plus, the characters were soooo one-dimensional. I'm kind of surprised I finished the book.)

****+
The Dangerous Art of Blending In, by Angelo Surmelis -- highly recommended for those who like overcoming abuse, those who like GLBT coming-out tales, and those who like friendship moving to love -- Balzer+Bray, 1/18

(This is one of those books which breaks your heart while you read it. I'm glad I did, but man, what a painful ride! I ached for Evan, who just couldn't catch a break. His mother is brutal (and yikes, I wanted to rescue him from the get-go), and his dad's bewildered distance was also hard to watch. I love the growing relationship between Henry and Evan, but even that was challenging at time. It's based on the author's own growing-up experience, which makes it that much more poignant and powerful, to me.)

****
[Out of Left Field, by Kris Hui Lee -- recommended for those who like unique voices, those who like teen waffling and angst, those who like friends-to-more, and those who like girls kicking butt in boys' sports -- Sourcebooks Fire, 5/18]

(I enjoyed this overall, but I will admit that the immaturity of the MC (Marnie) annoyed me a little bit. She has great heart, and I love her fighting spirit -- but man, she really struggled to be honest with those around her (and even herself). In some ways, it felt like the author was relying a little too heavily on the trope of miscommunication (and lack of communication) to build tension too. But all in all, it's a sweet story with many positives.)

****
[The Dating Debate, by Chris Cannon -- recommended for those who like sweet teen romances, those who like feisty heroines, and those who like multi-POV tales -- Createspace, 1/18]

(I liked the characters here, and I like their unique situations. I didn't like how rigid Nina was...her bias was definitely explained and had solid reasons, but it still annoyed me that she expected West to do all the changing. West, for his part, was a more sympathetic character to me, and I thought he went above and beyond to show Nina his feelings. So it was a little uneven to me but still made for a sweet story.)

I also re-read three mysteries (One of Us is Lying, Last Seen Leaving, and White Rabbit, all five-star reads from last year -- and I still loved each of them).
Tags: , ,
books

Book Reports (17-22)...

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].



Site Meter


****
The Last Move, by Mary Burton -- recommended for those who like adult suspense, those who like serial killers, and those who like complex personal situations -- Montlake Romance, 9/17

(This was a little graphic in places for me, but overall, I enjoyed the suspense and the twists in the mystery. I also liked both Kate and Mazur and found the killer appropriately creepy. I like to try difference suspense writers when I can, and this was a nice change.)

****
Bait, by Karen Robards -- recommended for those who like adult suspense, those who like mob-influenced stories, and those who like secret identities -- Signet, 5/05

(This wasn't my favorite Robards, but I still enjoyed it. I liked the twists, but it dragged a bit for me in places. Still, I have another I will be reading soon. :) )

*****
Five Minutes Longer, Who We Truly Are, Beneath This Mask, by Victoria Sue -- highly recommended for those who like male/male FBI sci-fi suspense, those who like angsty romance, and those who like an on-going cast of characters -- Dreamspinner Press, 12/16-1/18

(I've discovered a new author and series that I *love*! This reminds me quite a bit of the THIRDS series by Charlie Cochet, but believe it or not, I like this one better. :) That's for a couple of reasons, but the main one is that this cast of characters isn't quite as similar to each other as Cochet's. Also, the regular humans here are truly average -- they're not like Dex (from THIRDS) who becomes just as strong in many ways as Sloan. Instead, Finn and Jake are just ordinary guys who are pursuing FBI work, and I like the added challenges that brings to the entire team. I can't wait for the next one to come out!)

***+
[Somewhere Over Lorain Road, by Bud Gundy -- recommended for those who like male/male romance, those who like cold case mysteries, and those who like a lot of slowly revealed background -- Bold Strokes Books, 2/18]

(This wasn't as much of a romance as I typically prefer, and all the backstory, though interesting, really slowed down the overall pace for me. The feel was grittier than I usually like, as well. Still, I thought the characters were realistic, though I didn't get as much insight into each character as I wanted.)
books

Book Report (16)...

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].



Site Meter


****
[Fourth Dimension, by Eric Walters -- recommended for those who enjoyed the Rule of Three trilogy, those who like YA sci-fi, and those who like strong female leads -- Penguin Teen, 2/18]

(This was a fun read, and although not very tense, it flowed easily. I found all the characters likable, and the world situation is interesting (just as it is in Rule of Three -- it's the same incident and the same world). If there's another, I will definitely pick it up.)
Tags: ,
books

Book Reports (10-15)...

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].



Site Meter


****
Fragments of the Lost, by Megan Miranda -- recommended for those who like YA suspense, those who like teen relationship drama, and those who like complex characters -- Crown BFYR, 11/17

(I enjoyed this, although I've read a couple with similar plots in the past year, so I wasn't surprised at the 'big reveal.' Still, as always with Miranda's books, the characters are multi-layered, and the plot is engaging.)

*****
The Unlikelies, by Carrie Firestone -- highly recommended for those who like thoughtful contemporary novels, those who like sweet teen romance, and those who like a diverse and intriguing cast of characters -- Little, Brown BFYR, 6/17

(Yep, my first five-star read of the year -- I loved it! All of the main characters were intriguing people, complex and realistic. Sadie is a wonderful narrator, with humor, humility, and genuine good-heartedness. Firestone blends poignancy and tragedy well throughout, and the book has a very hopeful feel, regardless of the bleak issues a couple of the characters face.)

***+
Openly Straight, by Bill Konigsburg -- recommended for those who like teen self-discovery, those who like teen angst, and those who like male POV -- Arthur A. Levine, 4/15

(This was well written, without a doubt -- but I had a hard time with the learning curve of the MC. He'd long been out, but when he went to a boarding school far from home, he wanted to see what it was like to live without labels...which is a great idea, except for the fact that he labeled everyone! That frustrated me to the point that I skimmed a good portion of the middle, hoping he'd discover his hypocrisy sooner. He did finally realize some important things, but it was pretty near the end. There were some interesting things going one while he struggled with this, and those kept me reading.)

****
Now That You're Here, by Amy K. Nichols -- recommended for those who like YA sci-fi with some cool twists, a sweet love story, and some nice action -- Alfred A. Knopf BFYR, 12/14

(This was an interesting and fun read, leaving me wanting more at the end. There's a companion book (which I picked up), but it sounds like it doesn't have the *more* that I was hoping for. Still, this is a great choice if you like YA science fiction.)

***** (R)
One of Us is Lying, by Karen McManus -- highly recommended for those who like YA mysteries -- Delacorte Press, 5/16

(I read this as a galley early last year, and seeing it in my top reads made me want to try it again -- so I bought it! :D I still love it; it was just as good the second time around.)

***+
[The Belles, by Dhonielle Clayton -- recommended for those who like fantasy, those who like bizarre yet lushly painted worlds, and those who like strong but sensitive heroines -- Freeform, 2/18]

(If you enjoy really unusual worlds that jump off the page, this is definitely for you! I found it really engaging as Clayton set up the society of Orleans, and I liked Camellia from the start. I did skim some of the middle, but the last 100 pages or so were so captivating I couldn't put it down. I will definitely pick up the next one!)
Tags: , ,
books

Book Reports (6-9)...

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].



Site Meter


****+
Written in the Stars, by Alix Bekins -- highly recommended for those who like sweet male/male love stories (friends to lovers), those who like geeky boys, and those who like astrology -- Dreamspinner Press, 4/12

(This was fun and funny -- cute and sweet. I just liked Bailey; he was such an adorable geeky scientist, and his interactions with John were fun. Quick and entertaining read!)

****
[And the Next Thing You Know, by Chase Taylor Hackett -- recommended for those who like multi-POV, male/male romance, and somewhat selfish MCs -- Kensington, 2/18]

(I ended up like the overall story, and although the narrative style is pretty different (almost like they're giving a TV interview or something -- talking to the reader), it was fast-paced, for the most part. But it really bugged me how self-centered Theo was throughout most of this. Obviously he was physically attractive (cute/adorable, it sounded like), but his mannerisms were kind of obnoxious, and although Jeffrey goes out of his way to change and become a better person, Theo kind of...doesn't. :/ Still, it held my interest throughout.)

****
Banker's Hours, by Wade Kelly -- recommended for those who like male/male romance, those who like 'opposites attract' ideas, and those who like quick-moving relationships -- Dreamspinner Press, 3/16

(I enjoyed this, for the most part, even though the two main characters end up getting married after a month of knowing each other. But the reasons for this are fairly realistic, and I liked that they had to work on their relationship instead of just having things flow easily. This was another one where one of the two was much more self-centered than the other, and that bothered me, as well. In fact, that was one of the less believable aspects of this story -- why on earth would Tristan ever fall for Grant? He really was unusually self-centered. *shrug* But I liked Tristan enough to read it all.)

****
Overly Dramatic, by Rebecca Cohen -- recommended for those who like humorous narratives, those who like male/male romance, and those who like the theater (stage acting) -- Dreamspinner Press, 8/15

(This was a fun read, filled with silliness (and crudity, in places). It was fast and entertaining.)