May 31st, 2018

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 (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