Tag Archives: river’s quickie reviews

River’s Quickie Reviews #7

It’s been a long time since I’ve thrown one of these together, but River managed to get a crapton of books from ALAMW 2016, and has been writing some mini reviews for a few of the books she got her hands on. Enjoy some mini-reviews of titles that have either just released or will be coming out later in the year!


23266647

 

Title: Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann (May 3rd 2016 by Greenwillow )

Synopsis: Addie has always known what she was running toward. In cross-country, in life, in love. Until she and her boyfriend—her sensitive, good-guy boyfriend—are careless one night and she ends up pregnant. Addie makes the difficult choice to have an abortion. And after that—even though she knows it was the right decision for her—nothing is the same anymore. She doesn’t want anyone besides her parents and her boyfriend to know what happened; she doesn’t want to run cross-country; she can’t bring herself to be excited about anything. Until she reconnects with Juliana, a former teammate who’s going through her own dark places.

River’s Review: This is a very fast read. I think I read it in about a half hour? It’s written in verse and the writing is SO gorgeous.

This is the story of a girl who has an abortion. She goes to a catholic school so there’s a lot of religious stuff going on in this book, but it’s not a book about condemning what was done. It’s not a book about a broken girl, just a girl who deals with the consequences of her actions and does what she believes is the right thing. This book isn’t preachy, but it does give a very interesting view on both sides of the debate, and I loved the juxtaposition going on in it.

I also really liked how quiet it was. She doesn’t go crazy and become a broken thing, but she does lose faith in herself and interest in things that were once important. Friends and family show concern, but it’s all very subtle and overall very well done.

This is a great book for a lazy afternoon. Beautiful writing, important content. It was something different and I needed it. 5/5 Stars.


25203675Title: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi  (April 26th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin)

Synopsis: Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds friendship and warmth. But Akaran has its own secrets – thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran’s magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar’s plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk – it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.

River’s Review: Here’s another book that I very much enjoyed but didn’t LOVE. The writing in this is breathtakingly gorgeous and I really enjoyed some of the side characters. But over all I felt a little displaced with the world and the two main characters didn’t do too much for me. I LOVED that it was based on Indian mythology, that’s not something that I’ve run into very much in YA. Kamala the flesh eating horse was hilarious, and I really enjoyed Gupta and his eccentricities. Sadly Maya was a little too gullible at times, but I did enjoy her growth as a woman in the story. Amar was every other brooding bad-good-guy.

The first 100 pages or so of this was slow and boring at times, but around 150 things really picked up and I loved the way that things were reveled and pieced together through Maya’s own personal journey.

I’m very excited to see what more Chokshi writes, because wow does she spin some beautiful tales! 4/5 Stars.


24724627

Title: The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter (March 15th 2016 by Philomel Books)

Synopsis: Cassie O’Malley has been trying to keep her head above water—literally and metaphorically—since birth. It’s been two and a half years since Cassie’s mother dumped her in a mental institution against her will, and now, at eighteen, Cassie is finally able to reclaim her life and enter the world on her own terms. But freedom is a poor match against a lifetime of psychological damage. As Cassie plumbs the depths of her new surroundings, the startling truths she uncovers about her own family narrative make it impossible to cut the tethers of a tumultuous past. And when the unhealthy mother-daughter relationship that defined Cassie’s childhood and adolescence threatens to pull her under once again, Cassie must decide: whose version of history is real? And more important, whose life must she save?

River’s Review: So I really liked this but something about the story felt super dated. I couldn’t place the time, and then there were mentions of cell phones and a couple of pop culture references, but overall this felt like it was set in the late 80s or early 90s for some reason.

And the college aspect of this was REALLY weird for me. I didn’t do the whole “freshman” thing when I was in college (I transferred in during my 2nd year) but I don’t remember my college (or any of my friends) having dances (like formals like you do in high school) and the pay phone at the end of the hallway and the very lack of anybody really following up with anything regarding Cassie just seemed really random and strange.

The emotional aspects, the mental health issues in this, and the writing were all really good though. 3/5 Stars.

 

 

Advertisements

River’s Quickie Reviews #6

22171558Title: Twisted Fate by Norah Olson (January 20th 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books)

Synopsis: When Alyson meets Graham Copeland, the new boy next door, she instantly feels like he’s a kindred spirit—shy and awkward like her, someone who has trouble making friends. It’s impossible to resist having a crush on him.

As usual, her sister, Sydney, sees things differently. In Sydney’s mind, Graham’s odd personality and secretive past scream psychopath, not sweetheart. Her gut is telling her to stay away from him, and to protect a love-struck Alyson from her own naïveté. But despite her instincts, Sydney is surprised to realize that a part of her is drawn to Graham, too.

And the more Sydney gets to know him, the more she realizes just how right—and wrong—she is about everything.

River’s Review: Well I’m not sure what to think about this. I liked it and it kept me engaged, but there were WAYYYYYY too many POVs (like, some only happened once in the book) and the ending just made no sense. I started to sense the ‘twist’ coming, but there are a lot of places in the book where I was like ‘does this even work?’

Also, nothing like We Were Liars.

Overall this was a pretty fast read that kept me guessing, horrified me quite a bit, and then had a sloppy ending that made me drop it a star. There’s a lot of negative reviews about this, and while I can see their merits, I don’t think it was an awful book. I really did like it up until the very end. 3/5 Stars.


20527903Title: Suspicion  by Alexandra Monir (December 9th 2014 by Delacorte Press)

Synopsis: Mysterious. Magnificent. Creepy. Welcome to Rockford Manor. “There’s something hidden in the Maze.” Seventeen-year-old Imogen has never forgotten the last words her father said to her seven years ago, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family’s English country manor. Haunted by her parents’ deaths, Imogen moves to New York City with her new guardians. But when a letter arrives with the news of her cousin’s untimely death, revealing that Imogen is now the only heir left to run the estate, she returns to England and warily accepts her role as duchess.

All is not as it seems at Rockford, and Imogen quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind the mansion’s aristocratic exterior, hinting that the spate of deaths in her family were no accident. And at the center of the mystery is Imogen herself–and Sebastian, the childhood friend she has secretly loved for years. Just what has Imogen walked into?

River’s Review: Well… this was boring. Or I was bored. I just couldn’t get into this book. It sounds gorgeous and it should be, but it’s super flat. Everyone is super stereotypical YA and Imogen is supposed to be this ‘teehee fish out of water look how cute it is she has NO CLUE about almost anything British despite spending half her childhood there and living in NYC’. I just don’t get how Imogen is so damn clueless about so many aspects of British culture. And whenever she makes some slip up it’s always like ‘aww, so cute, you silly American’.

I guess what I really didn’t like was the way things were set up. The first half of the book is the ‘before’ being a Duchess and then the second part is the ‘after’ becoming a Duchess part and the first half just didn’t really do much for me other than give us background and info. Which could have been done with like, a prologue or something so the majority of the story could have been focused on her actually being at Rockford and the paranormal stuff.

And good lord the paranormal stuff was boring. It wasn’t even in the book for most of it!

So I gave it a try but sadly just didn’t connect. 2/5 Stars.


 

Huge thank you to Netgalley, Edelweiss, Delacorte Press and Katherine Tegen Books for these ARCs!

River’s Quickie Review #5

18805916Title: Sublime by Christina Lauren (October 14th 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Synopsis: When Lucy walks out of a frozen forest, wearing only a silk dress and sandals, she isn’t sure how she got there. But when she sees Colin, she knows for sure that she’s here for him.

Colin has never been captivated by a girl the way he is by Lucy. With each passing day their lives intertwine, and even as Lucy begins to remember more of her life—and her death—neither of them is willing to give up what they have, no matter how impossible it is. And when Colin finds a way to physically be with Lucy, taking himself to the brink of death where his reality and Lucy’s overlap, the joy of being together for those brief stolen moments drowns out everything in the outside world. But some lines weren’t meant to be crossed…

River’s Review: Overall I enjoyed this, but I wasn’t sure about the ending. I loved the writing and the setting, but wasn’t really fond of the characters. There were some awkward moments between the two MCs and the whole ‘I’m going to almost kill myself so we can have sex’ part was a bit wtf for me. I understand that they were in love and wanted to be able to touch each other, but man… that was just a bit too much.

But I really am not sure what to make of the ending. 3.5/5 Stars.


21081693Title:  Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks (February 3rd 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Synopsis: When Tuesday McGillycuddy and her beloved dog, Baxterr, discover that Tuesday’s mother—the famous author Serendipity Smith—has gone missing, they set out on a magical adventure. In their quest to find Serendipity, they discover the mysterious and unpredictable place that stories come from. Here, Tuesday befriends the fearless Vivienne Small, learns to sail an enchanted boat, tangles with an evil pirate, and discovers the truth about her remarkable dog. Along the way, she learns what it means to be a writer and how difficult it can sometimes be to get all the way to The End.

River’s Review: Ah, this book is SO CUTE! Basically anybody who loves reading or writing should read it. It’s a magical story about the magical land where stories are created. Tuesday gets sucked into it when she goes looking for her (world famous novelist) mother. And she takes here cute little dog (doggo!) Baxterr (double rr) with her.

The writing in this is divine. I actually just finished THE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR and was finding it difficult to get into something but this was just what I needed.

Seriously, check this out. Even if you aren’t huge into middle grade (I’m not) you’ll love this! 5/5 Stars.


21469068 Title:  I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios(February 3rd 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Synopsis: If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

River’s Review: This book was difficult to read at times. I will not sugar coat that this book does not sugar coat anything. War, poverty, double standards, alcoholism. It’s all in there, it’s all real, and it’s sometimes difficult to read about.

I think something that I really love bout Demetrois’s writing is that she pushes the envelope, just enough. You feel uncomfortable and question things and just think ‘how can this be real life?’ but it IS. And that’s what this book was about. Her letter at the end almost made me cry because it was just so damn real.

This is the story of a girl who falls in love with a boy. And not his dreamy eyes or his rock hard abs. She falls in love with HIM and all of the pain that followed him home from the war. 5/5 Stars.


Huge thank you to Simon and Schuster BFYR, Henry Holt BFYR, Edelweiss and Netgalley for these books.

River’s Quickie Reviews #4

13639182Title: Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker (October 21st, 2014 by HarperTeen)

Synopsis: It’s an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp — the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn’t return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance — and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.

River’s Review: THIS WAS SO FREAKING GOOD! I can’t even right now. It’s got amazing friendship camaraderie, beautiful family bonds, cars (SEXY CARS!!!), swoony romance (kisses & peaches & swoon), and it’s so damn country it makes me miss my own tiny middle-of-nowhere podunk hometown and my own backyard swamp (tho mine was WAY less creepy).

The writing is beautiful, the story flows like nothing else, the dialogue is sassy, I READ IT WITH A SOUTHERN ACCENT IN MY HEAD FOR GODSAKE.

This is good guys. REALLY good. And I do believe it’s a standalone (lawd knows we need more of those in YA). Jump on this and read it ASAP, it’s a perfect fall/Halloween read. 5/5 Stars.


20601687 Title: Even in Paradise by  Chelsey Philpot (October 14th, 2014 by HarperTeen)

Synopsis: When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne’s at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senator’s daughter. Most people do… or think they do.

Charlotte certainly never expects she’ll be Julia’s friend. But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger than-life-new girl’s world—a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation homes, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia’s handsome older brother, Sebastian.

But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts to the future, Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden … until now.

 River’s Review: To be honest I was a little bored at points in this book and slightly disappointed because I kept thinking ‘this sure is pretty, but nothing is happening’. I thought it was going to be a three star read but then the last 20% of the book happened and my heart was ripped out and I almost cried a lot and it was so sad and beautiful and everything was so bittersweet and just wow.

I loved everyone in this book, I loved the writing, and the setting.

If you read We Were Liars earlier this year and loved that then you NEED this book. 5/5 Stars.


22006767Title: My True Love Gave to Me edited by  Stephaine Perkins (October 14th, 2014 by St. Martin’s Griffin)

Synopsis: If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or Kwanzaa, there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons to stay indoors and fall in love.

River’s Review: To be honest, I didn’t read this entire thing. I’m not a big fan of books like this, or short stories in general, but there were a handful of authors that I LOOOOOOOVE in this, so I read those (Rowell, Black, Taylor, White, MacEntyre & Perkins). I loved each story and I’ll probably grab this book when it comes out and read the rest of the stories around Christmas time.

Each short story was great and I could totally sense each author in each story. I liked that they were all love stories, but some had elements of friendship, others of family. Each one was touching in it’s own way, and I actually teared up over Kiersten White’s story.

Def. pick this up around the holidays, it will SO put you in the holiday spirit! 5/5 Stars.


 

Huge thank you to HarperTeen, St. Martin’s Press, Netgalley and Edelweiss for these ARCs.

River’s Quickie Reviews! #2

13438572Title: Althea & Oliver by Cristina Moracho (October 9th 2014 by Viking Children’s)

Synopsis: What if you live for the moment when life goes off the rails—and then one day there’s no one left to help you get it back on track?

Althea Carter and Oliver McKinley have been best friends since they were six; she’s the fist-fighting instigator to his peacemaker, the artist whose vision balances his scientific bent. Now, as their junior year of high school comes to a close, Althea has begun to want something more than just best-friendship. Oliver, for his part, simply wants life to go back to normal, but when he wakes up one morning with no memory of the past three weeks, he can’t deny any longer that something is seriously wrong with him. And then Althea makes the worst bad decision ever, and her relationship with Oliver is shattered. He leaves town for a clinical study in New York, resolving to repair whatever is broken in his brain, while she gets into her battered Camry and drives up the coast after him, determined to make up for what she’s done.

River’s Review: Jesus H. Christ that book was like a kick in the stomach. I don’t remember the last time I related to a book THIS STRONGLY. Change the characters names, New York to Japan, and this is my story plus-minus a few things. God I want to cry now.

Also the writing is fucking amazing. AMAZING. This is the type of story that makes you feel nostalgic for the life you wish you’d had (or did have and left behind).

I am so happy I read this. Even if I do feel like crying. – 5/5 Stars


 

16005219Title: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil (September 16th 2014 by Balzer & Bray)

Synopsis: The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars in Gretchen McNeil’s witty and suspenseful novel about four disparate girls who join forces to take revenge on high school bullies and create dangerous enemies for themselves in the process.

Bree, Olivia, Kitty, and Margot have nothing in common—at least that’s what they’d like the students and administrators of their elite private school to think. The girls have different goals, different friends, and different lives, but they share one very big secret: They’re all members of Don’t Get Mad, a secret society that anonymously takes revenge on the school’s bullies, mean girls, and tyrannical teachers.

When their latest target ends up dead with a blood-soaked “DGM” card in his hands, the girls realize that they’re not as anonymous as they thought—and that someone now wants revenge on them. Soon the clues are piling up, the police are closing in . . . and everyone has something to lose.

River’s Review: NEXT BOOK PLEASE! Wow, I flew through this. Totally loved it. There were a lot of characters so sometimes it was difficult to keep track of whos-who, but overall I really enjoyed everything about this! The tension was tight, the mystery kept me guessing (and I’m STILL guessing because it doesn’t get solved in this book, omg need the next one now!) and the romance was juuuuust enough. I really liked all of the girls, their friendship and dynamics, the setting… everything! And omg all of the Star Wars quotes. Amazing. – 4.5/5 Stars

Huge thank you to Balzer + Bray, Viking Children’s, and Edelweiss for these ARCs!