Tag Archives: katherine tegen books

ARC Review – The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

25812109Title:  The Female of the Species

Author: Mindy McGinnis

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

Huge thank you to the publisher for this ARC!

River’s Review:

I have been a fan of Mindy McGinnis since her debut, and I have enjoyed everything that she has written so far. I was SO excited when I found out that she was writing a contemporary, but sadly this wasn’t my most fav of her books (I did really enjoy it a lot tho).

I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect going into this book. We know that the MC, Alex, is dealing with the death of her sister. We know that Alex knows how to kill a man. Has she done it? Why does she know? How did she learn? And why would she want to know?

This book is told in three POVs that alternate. I am not a big fan of this, and I had a lot of trouble connecting with Alex (which was probably the point). Jack was okay and I really enjoyed Peekay’s chapters. I loved the way things ebbed and flowed through the story, and how they twisted around to get to the real heart of things.

This is a book about sexual assault. And I for some reason hadn’t seen that coming.

McGinnis’ writing is gritty and honest and sometimes made me cringe with just how fucking real it is. She made me want to cry at times with some of her vivid truths and the way that she used animals to illustrate how brutal humans can be. This book scared me with how wrong things can go in the blink of an eye. And it broke my heart at the end.

If you love honest books, pick this up. If you love gritty portritates of real life, pick this up. If you think that books about rape are important, pick this up. And if you’ve previously enjoyed a book by the author, make sure you don’t miss this one.

 

ARC Review – Unrivaled (Beautiful Idols #1) by Alyson Noel

26116460Title: Unrivaled (Beautiful Idols #1)

Author: Alyson Noel

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Everyone wants to be someone. Layla Harrison wants to leave her beach-bum days for digs behind a reporter’s desk. Aster Amirpour wants to scream at the next casting director who tells her “we need ethnic but not your kind of ethnic.” Tommy Phillips dreams of buying a twelve-string guitar and using it to shred his way back into his famous absentee dad’s life. But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her bitch a long time ago.

She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.

Huge thank you to HarperCollins for sending me a copy of this book for review!

Molly’s Review:

So I wasn’t going to read this book when I first heard about it. The author alone put me off it (I wasn’t a huge fan of some over her previous work) and then I saw the huge international deal that it got and I was like ‘whelp, here comes the hype monster”.

Yet somehow this book hasn’t really been all that hyped up? It arrived with a fancy VIP invitation attached to it and then I read the synopsis and I thought it sounded like the type of ugly-pretty-people stories that I like. So I gave it and try and I liked it.

But I still don’t get it. This book is another Pretty-Little-Liars-Gossip-Girl-The-Lying-Game types and there’s nothing really special or important about it. It’s a fun read about the seedy night life of LA and there’s little bit of a mystery to it and a lot of brand name dropping, but other than brain candy it’s not like AMAZING.

But I did like it?

I totally think that people who love Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars will really enjoy it. But much as with those books (oh I also think fans of the 90210 TV reboot would love this too) they aren’t much more than a beach read (but hey, summer is coming!!!)

So grab a copy and take it to the beach and enjoy it for what it’s worth.

ARC Review – The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen

26116496Title: The Last Time We Were Us

Author: Leah Konen

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Liz Grant is about to have the summer of her life. She and her friend MacKenzie are getting invited to all the best parties, and with any luck, Innis Taylor, the most gorgeous guy in Bonneville, will be her boyfriend before the Fourth of July.  Local teen convict released early. Jason Sullivan wasn’t supposed to come back from juvie. A million years ago, he was her best friend, but that was before he ditched her for a different crowd. Before he attacked Innis’s older brother, leaving Skip’s face burned and their town in shock.

Huge thank you to Harper Collins for sending me an ARC for review!

Molly’s Review:

So I totally read this book because I had to find out WHAT the big secret was. And I ended up really enjoying this book. There IS a lot of dram and teen angst (and at times I was just like GIRL WHAT ARE YOU DOING) so if you sometimes feel “too old” for high school YA then maybe skip this one.

But I totally got this at times. I had a male BFF for 10 years before some shit went down, but I could totally relate to some of the stuff that Liz was dealing with. My ex-BFF didn’t go to jail or anything, so that part I didn’t really relate with, but some parts I was there for. The shared history, the fun memories, the comfortable understanding… I do miss all of that. But the confusing emotions and what-not where what made my friendship end.

Liz knows that she shouldn’t give her ex-BFF (who they call an ex-con, but are you really an ex-con if you went to Juvie???) the time of day. She has it all going for her; super popular BFF, super popular ALMOST boyfriend, a fun summer of the RIGHT parties and a chance to lose her v-card with THE ONE. Then she see’s Jason (the BFF) and it all comes crashing down around her.

I totally got why Liz wanted to see Jason again. She used to care about him, she was intrigued when he suggested that there was more to “that night” than most people believed and she was curious about where their friendship still stood. And the closer she got to him the more she realized what a sham her “popular life” was.

During all of this there’s A LOT of teen drama and there’s also Liz’s sister’s wedding happening. There’s a whole thing with Liz’s sister and her high school sweetheart (whom she is NOT marrying) and “that night” and Liz’s sister is a royal jerk about Liz’s newfound friendship with Jason. I really wanted to smack the sister at times because she was just so selfish and entitled about things at times. Yes, she was getting ready for her wedding and was probably super emotional and stuff, but man, some of the ways she’d talk to her sister… really made me upset.

Thankfully there is a happy ending (after some more predictable drama) and sadly the secret wasn’t as big of a deal as I’d hoped for. The writing in this is smooth and the characters do show some strengths and growth, so I decided to give this four stars.

ARC Review – The Way Back to You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott

22440677Title: The Way Back to You

Author: Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Six months ago, Ashlyn Montiel died in a bike accident.

Her best friend Cloudy is keeping it together, at least on the outside. Cloudy’s insides are a different story: tangled, confused, heartbroken.

Kyle is falling apart, and everyone can tell. Ashlyn was his girlfriend, and when she died, a part of him went with her. Maybe the only part he cares about anymore.

As the two people who loved Ashlyn best, Cloudy and Kyle should be able to lean on each other. But after a terrible mistake last year, they’re barely speaking. So when Cloudy discovers that Ashlyn’s organs were donated after her death and the Montiel family has been in touch with three of the recipients, she does something a little bit crazy and a lot of out character: she steals the letters and convinces Kyle to go on a winter break road trip with her, from Oregon to California to Arizona to Nevada. Maybe if they see the recipients—the people whose lives were saved by Ashlyn’s death—the world will open up again. Or maybe it will be a huge mistake.

With hundreds of miles in front of them, a stowaway kitten, and a list of people who are alive because of Ashlyn, Cloudy and Kyle just may find their way to back to her…and to each other.

Huge thank you to Harper Collins for sending me a copy of this for review!

Molly’s Review:

Originally I was a little worried that this book was going to be too similar to Jessi Kirby’s new book, but thankfully it was not! This book does deal with organ donations, but that’s the only similarity. So if you are also worried about that, don’t be!

This is the story of two people coming together due to a mutual loss. Cloudy and Kyle have a history, but they also have a shared loss. They both lost Ashlyn; Cloudy’s best friend and Kyle’s girlfriend. Both of them are not doing well dealing with the loss, but they go on with their lives and try their best.

Until Cloudy finds out that Ashlyn’s family is in touch with some of the organ recipients who got Ashlyn’s donated organs. Cloudy makes the snap decision to visit the recipients and she invites Kyle along with her. They take off on a roadtrip that spans across three or four different states just to see these people from afar, and to see if this can help them start to heal.

I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and both characters were very real. The story is told in alternating voices (something that I generally avoid) but both voices were very clear and I’m curious to know how the two authors went about it! I wonder if each one took a voice or what. But anyway, I liked the two voices, and getting the two different perspectives. Cloudy and Kyle both had very different relationships with Ashlyn.

I also enjoyed how unpredictable this book was. I thought that certain things were going to happen and play out in predictable ways but they didn’t. The story took interesting twists and turns and along the way both Cloudy and Kyle grew, they came to accept their losses (and not just the loss of Ashlyn, but other losses in their lives) and started to heal.

ARC Review – The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen #2) by Jodi Meadows

22909838Title:  The Mirror King  (The Orphan Queen #2)

Author: Jodi Meadows

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.

HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right.

HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.

HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.

Huge thank you to HarperCollins for sending me an ARC for review!

River’s Review:

If you know me you know that I’m not the biggest fan of YA fantasy. I mildly enjoyed The Orphan Queen and expected to enjoy this but not actually find parts that I LOVED.

In the TOQ I totally guessed who Black Knife was right from the start, and found a lot of the book predictable. I DID find the Wraith (and the Wraithland) intriguing and I was really looking forward to learning more about that. So sadly in this book the exploration that I had been hoping for didn’t quite happen, but I was surprised at the ending.

I read TMK in two days because I was very invested in what was happening. Some parts were predictable (especially when it came to certain deaths) but the way that things occurred were surprising and I enjoyed that. I really wish that Wraith Boy would have had more development because he was incredibly intriguing.

Overall there was just too much fighting going on and not enough wraith exploration. I really feel like there was a missed opportunity with that. The fighting and betrayals were all very typical fantasy, but the wraith was different and I’d read another book in this world if we were able to learn more.

ARC Review – A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1) by Brittany Cavallaro

23272028Title: A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1)

Author: Brittany Cavallaro

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

Huge thank you to Harper Collins for sending me an ARC of this for review!

River’s Review:

I LOVED this book! I’m going to be honest, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. The idea sounded excellent, but Sherlock stories can always go sideways quickly. I’m a fan of the BBC version and I highly enjoy the newer movies, even some of the older films are okay, but I really dislike the American remake and I’ve had issues with some of the other YA Sherlock remakes. So I went into this with low expectations and was worried it was going to be cringe worthy… and it’s not.

First off I love the writing. I compared it to one of my favorite author’s writing and had a friend look at me with shock because that is some HIGH praise coming from me. I love how posh everything is, how quaintly New England the rest of it is. There are a lot of clever moments in this but it’s not super heavy handed THIS IS SHERLOCK at any time. I also laughed at the James Bond part.

The homage paid to the original Sherlock stories was so well done. I loved the name play, the references to both old and new Sherlock. I also really enjoyed how Holmes and Watson were portrayed. In this book Holmes is a girl, but she’s also very much… a Holmes. I loved the whole backstory that was created for both families and how well it matched with the Watson and Holmes we currently know and love. I really liked how dark Holmes was; and yes she has a drug problem. It is addressed. But I think it’s done will in this book. And the Watsons in this book were great. We get to see not only young Jamie Watson but his father, another Watson, at work here. The way that they interact with Charlotte is both hilarious and spot on to how I’d imagine previous Watsons would react to previous Holmeses.

The mystery in this was really fun too. I didn’t see whodunit coming and thought it was well played. There were moments of shock and moments of deduction and moments of plain good sleuthing.

Everything in this was just so pitch perfect and I really hope we get more!

ARC Review – Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie

23677316Title: Burning Glass

Author:  Kathryn Purdie

Rating:  ★★

Synopsis: Sonya was born with the rare gift to feel what those around her feel—both physically and emotionally—a gift she’s kept hidden from the empire for seventeen long years. After a reckless mistake wipes out all the other girls with similar abilities, Sonya is hauled off to the palace and forced to serve the emperor as his sovereign Auraseer.

Tasked with sensing the intentions of would-be assassins, Sonya is under constant pressure to protect the emperor. One mistake, one small failure, will cost her own life and the lives of the few people left in the world who still trust her.

But Sonya’s power is untamed and reckless, her feelings easily usurped, and she sometimes can’t decipher when other people’s impulses end and her own begin. In a palace full of warring emotions and looming darkness, Sonya fears that the biggest danger to the empire may be herself.

As she struggles to wrangle her abilities, Sonya seeks refuge in her tenuous alliances with the volatile Emperor Valko and his idealistic younger brother, Anton, the crown prince. But when threats of revolution pit the two brothers against each other, Sonya must choose which brother to trust—and which to betray.

Huge thank you to Harper Collins for sending me a copy for review!

River’s Review:

I seem to be not getting along well with all of the super hyped fantasy titles this year. I struggled with this book and there were a lot of things that made me cringe.

First though I did like the concept. I feel like if the characters had all been aged up about 5 years (because let’s be real, this wasn’t YA. There was NO reason why these characters HAD TO BE teens. They didn’t.) and some of the issues were fixed then I probably would have enjoyed this. I LIKE dark fantasy. I grew up reading some of the darkest adult high fantasy the late 90’s had to offer.

I also really liked the idea of Sonya’s power. I really liked how easily she was overwhelmed by the emotions of those around her. I know that I can be a VERY emotional person that that the moods of people around myself can greatly affect me, and the extent that they affected Sonya was rather terrifying.

The writing in this was very intense and probably what kept me going. I didn’t DNF because I WANTED to see what was going to happen and the writing kept me turning the pages to find out.

Sadly I had issues with the characters, the abuse, and the lack of proper world building.

First off I thought Sonya was quite brainless. At the beginning of the book I actually thought it was told from her POV as a child! I was shocked when I found out that it wasn’t a prologue, but just the first chapter!

I understand that her gift overwhelmed her, but she didn’t really try to do anything about it. In the beginning when she’s living at the covenant she apparently spends all of her time being all “woe is me” because the other girls don’t like her. She also apparently spent all of her time NOT training. It drive me MAD later on when she was always like “what training, I didn’t get any training… because I was too busy not paying attention”. Like duh. You didn’t get training because YOU CHOSE NOT TO WORK FOR IT. She also was so blind at times to what was going on around her. And her impulsiveness was absurd. I get that she’s young but she had literally NO instinct for self preservation. Even when she was alone. Ugh, she didn’t really grow much either, like she finally tried to train herself, but again it wasn’t like she was disciplined about it or anything.

I hated both of the brothers. I did like the darkness in Valko and how he was so manipulative but the abuse that he inflicted on Sonya and how she JUST TOOK IT was disgusting. I felt dirty reading those parts… I also hated the way that he would fondle her under the table during important meetings with his advisers. Some of that was just too much for YA I felt. Too dark and twisted and too much for a character of that age and experience. Anton was also a weird one because he just had no personality and I didn’t understand at all how the two of them developed feelings for each other. Valko was crazy so I just chalked his crazy passion up to that. Anton though… it just never felt real to me.

So yes, Sonya is caught between two brothers… is it a love triangle? Some would argue no because Sonya’s feelings for Valko are really just his emotions taking over her. Either way she’s torn between the two brothers and there’s a lot of ~moments~ between her and the brothers. And I couldn’t get behind either pairing.

Another thing that greatly bothered me was the way that Sonya’s gift worked… because it’s never really explained. We know for sure that she can feel other people’s emotions. But it’s more than just feeling them, their emotions get inside of her and take over. I thought THAT was cool. But then there are times when she can practically read people’s minds? And other times when she feels things but doesn’t realize that it’s someone else’s emotion? And then other times when she can’t feel ANYTHING? And then even other times when she can take over other people THROUGH their emotions? And at the very end I don’t even know what happened. It’s all very vague. Oh and apparently she has a super “special” gift because she can sense the emotions of dead people and animals. It seemed a bit far fetched to me that she could sense the anguish of a clam having it’s pearl ripped from it’s body or the death of a cow through the leather of a boot but whatever?

And the politics and world building was all very bleh. Again, I’m coming from a fantasy background where books spend hundreds of pages describing the intricate politics and schemes and lands, but this was just teens playing at politics. Making rash choices for POWER and GLORY. And not really understanding how an economy works. None of it really made sense and it was all very lame.

So yeah. Nice writing, nice tension, interesting ideas, but a lot of poor execution that could have been fixed up and fleshed out with older characters and possibly a longer, “adult fantasy” length novel.