January 18th, 2018

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].



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****+
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.)
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].



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****
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!)