Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli


Synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I have mixed feelings on Becky Albertalli's book. I loved Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, and really didn't like Leah on the Offbeat. I want to give her books another chance because I loved Simon so much. Therefore, I figured I would pick up The Upside of Unrequited. I had tried to read it a few times on my Kindle, and just couldn't get into it. I finally got the audiobook copy from library, and was able to finish it. I found it to just be okay.

I don't know if it's because I had started The Upside of Unrequited in ebook and then switched to audiobook, but I felt a deep disconnection with the characters. I didn't really care for any of the side characters, which is sad because it was a very character driven novel. I thought Will was a pompous jerk. I didn't care for the way Cassie, Molly's twin, treated Molly for a good portion of the book. I did like Molly, although some of her actions in dealing with the two guys she was interested in drove me crazy. Other than that, I thought she was a quirky, fun character.

That being said, there are a few things I did like about The Upside of Unrequited. I really loved the LGBTQ+ representation that the book provided. Not only was it accurate, but it opened the door for some great conversations about sexuality. I liked one of the specific conversations in the book about bisexuality. It's something I wish everyone realized. I also greatly enjoyed the fact that there was so much body positivity. The main character, Molly, is a plus size girl. She deals with a couple of insecurities thanks to her grandmother, but for the most part she loves her body how it is, and isn't affected by others saying mean things around her. I loved that about her. Lastly, I liked the snarky sarcastic humor that Reid and Molly shared. There were several times where their dialogue had me cracking up laughing.

The Upside of Unrequited was just an okay book for me, which was sad because I had hoped to love it. Don't get me wrong, there were a few parts that I loved, but there were also a lot of parts that I hated. I will continue to read Becky Albertalli's future releases though because I hope to recapture the magic that I felt while reading Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. I do own What If It's Us, and I've liked Adam Silvera's books, so I think that will be my next Becky Albertalli book that I pick up. I hope that I will like it more than this one.  


I give The Upside of Unrequited: 3.5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: https://beckyalbertalli.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beckyalbertalli
Twitter: https://twitter.com/beckyalbertalli
Tumblr: https://beckyalbertalli.tumblr.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beckyalbertalli/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7579036.Becky_Albertalli

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Cast in Angelfire by S.M. Reine


Synopsis:
Eighteen-year-old Marion can’t remember anything before waking up in the hospital. All she knows that a lot of people want to kill her. And her would-be assassins are not human…

Vampires are real. So are faeries and angels.

They all want Marion dead.

Surrounded by enemies, Marion turns to Lucas Flynn: a mysterious doctor who seems to know more than he’s letting on. He’s as good with a gun as he is with a scalpel. He fights like a demon but claims that he’s human. And he’s hellbent on protecting Marion.

Lucas claims that Marion is a mage: half-witch, half-angel with terrifying powers that could crack the world. But Marion can’t remember how to cast magic any more than she can remember where she comes from.

Marion must find her identity and her power…before the forgotten sins of her past catch up with her.


My Thoughts:
I love S.M. Reine's books. She is a very prolific author, and I've only read a couple of her series. Therefore, I wanted to make it a main goal of mine in 2019 to catch up on all of her books that she has written to date. It has been a few years since I have read anything about Rylie Gresham, and I wanted to try something that was close to that because I missed those characters. I decided to pick up the Mage Craft series, and I'm so glad I did. I loved the first book in the series, Cast in Angelfire, so much.

Being back with some familiar characters in Cast in Angelfire felt like coming home. It was great to reunite with these characters, and see what they had been up to since Seasons of the Moon: Cain Chronicles had ended. I did find some of the character's confusing though, especially in the beginning. I think we met them in the Seasons of the Moon: Cain Chronicles series, and I had just forgot about them because it's been so long since I've read the series. That's my fault though, and doesn't reflect on the book's quality in any way. All of S.M. Reine's books are slightly connected in the same universe, so I should have done a quick skim recap of the Cain Chronicles series before I moved onto this one. I also loved meeting some new characters as well

I thought that the plot of Cast in Angelfire was action packed. There was never a dull moment when I was bored. Even the parts where Marion and Luke were just in his truck, driving to their detestation were enjoyable. I thought it was fun watching Marion re-learn all of the information that was new to her, and seeing if she would discover Luke's big secret, which the reader already knew about from the previous series. Throughout the book, especially towards the end, I couldn't put the book down. I kept reading way past my usual bedtime because I needed to know what was going to happen next, and how Marion was going to get out of the situations that she got into.

Cast in Angelfire is definitely one of my favorite books that I've read this year. It felt so great to be back into the Descentverse, and to get to see some of my favorite characters again, along with some new ones. The cliffhanger at the end of this book drove me crazy. S.M. Reine has a great way of writing cliffhangers that leave you dying to know more. I will definitely be picking up book two, an d the other books in this series, as soon as I finish typing this review. I foresee myself binge reading the whole series this week. 
 
I give Cast in Angelfire: 4/5.
 
Want to know more about the author?

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Twinmaker by Sean Williams


Synopsis:
You can be Improved....

In a near-future world in which technology can transport you anywhere instantly, can a coded note enable you to change your body—to become taller, stronger, more beautiful? Clair is pretty sure the offer is too good to be true. But her best friend, Libby, is determined to give it a try, longing for a new, improved version of herself.

What starts as Libby’s dream turns into Clair’s nightmare when Libby falls foul of a deadly trap. With the help of Jesse, the school freak, and a mysterious—but powerful—stranger called Q, Clair’s attempt to protect Libby leads her to an unimagined world of conspiracies and cover-ups. Soon her own life is at risk, and Clair is chased across the world in a desperate race against time.

Action and danger fuel Sean Williams’ tale of technology, identity, and the lengths to which one girl will go to save her best friend.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
So far in 2019, I've been in a bit of a reading slump. I definitely have not read as much as I usually do. The things that I have read have been just okay. I've been averaging a lot of three star reads. Recently, I remembered that I have the Twinmaker trilogy on my tbr, and decided to try the first book to see if it would get me out of my reading slump. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it at all.

I found the first book in the trilogy, Twinmaker, to be confusing. The book doesn't have much world building in it. It drops you off in a place, and kind of expects you to understand what was happening, which I didn't like at all. I wish that things, especially the d-mat process and Improvement, would have been explained a lot better. As it was, I just couldn't grasp the concept of it, which is what the whole book was based on. It made for a terrible reading experience.

I also didn't like the writing style that the author had. Certain scenes felt like a jumbled mess at times. The pacing was all over the place. It felt like certain parts of the book dragged on and on, whereas the more important stuff went by so quickly that I could barely understand what was going on. In fact, the only reason why this book is getting two stars from me is because I enjoyed Q. I thought that she was an interesting character, and was the only one I really felt a connection with in the book.

Unfortunately, Twinmaker just wasn't for me. I didn't like the way things were explained, or the choppy writing style. Due to that, I won't be continuing the series, even though I own the rest of the books. I plan on donating my copies to Goodwill where someone else might be able to get some enjoyment out of them. I'm not sure if I will try any of the author's others books, or series. At this point, I want to say no. However, there is a possibility that I will pick up one of his Star Wars books sometime in the future, as I have been wanting to read all of the Star Wars books that have been published.  


I give Twinmaker: 2/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.twinmakerbooks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SeanWilliamsAuthorPage/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/adelaidesean
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/31321.Sean_Williams

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Transparent by Natalie Whipple


Synopsis:
Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.

An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.

Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
In 2018, one of my main reading goals was to read a lot of my backlist books that I had just taking up space on my Kindle for a long time. One of the ways I did that was to listen to audiobooks. Not only was it a big time saver, but I found that could read more that way. One of the last audioboks of 2018 that I listened to was Transparent. I really enjoyed the book.

It makes me sad that I had waited so long to read Transparent. I've owned it for years, but it never really caught my eye. It didn't jump out at me on my Kindle when I would browse through books to read. However, now I wish I would have read it sooner. I loved it so much. I thought the plot was action packed, and suspenseful. It kept on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen to Fiona due to the circumstances she was going through. The author was great creating dramatic tension. I also liked the premise of the different "powers" that certain people had. I almost wish that there was another series by this author about the time closer to the origins of the "powers" and people finding out how they worked, and first discovering them. I think that would be interesting to read.

In fact, the only thing I disliked about the book was Fiona's pessimistic nature at times. I understand why she was the way she was. It made complete sense for the plot, and everything she had been through in her life. However, sometimes I just wanted to reach through the book and smack her. So many problems could have been solved if she just gave the new people around her a chance instead of automatically thinking they were out to get her. It was incredibly in your face obvious that they were trying to help her, and it got slightly annoying when she would do the opposite of what they were helping her to do, or ran away from them.

I really loved Transparent. I thought it was a dramatic, entertaining book. I recently found out that the book has a sequel. I'm torn on whether I will read it. The book ended in a way where mostly everything was resolved, other than a few tiny details that weren't important to the plot, in my opinion. I also have a lot of other backlist books to read. However, I would love to see more of the different "powers" in this world, and watch Fiona's relationship with a certain someone evolve after what was discovered at the end of the first book. I might read the sequel once I get a few more books crossed off my TBR. We shall see.  


I give Transparent: 4/5. 

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://betweenfactandfiction.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nataliewhipple

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Pokemon Adventures Volume 1 by Hidenori Kusaka


Synopsis:
Adventures based on the best-selling video games! All your favourite Pokémon game characters jump out of the screen into the pages of this action-packed manga!

Red doesn't just want to train Pokémon, he wants to be their friend too. Bulbasaur and Poliwhirl seem game. But independent Pikachu won't be so easy to win over!

And watch out for Team Rocket, Red... They only want to be your enemy!

Reads R to L (Japanese Style).

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
For those of you that know me, you know I'm obsessed with Pokemon. I've loved it since I was a kid. I love the anime, the video games, the memorabilia, etc etc. Recently I found out that there is a manga called Pokemon Adventures, and read the first volume. I really enjoyed it.

Pokemon Adventures brings together everything I've always loved about Pokemon. I enjoyed watching Red discover new Pokemon, and beginning his journey as a trainer. It brought back nostalgic feelings of watching the show when I was a kid. However, the manga is unlike the show. It's similar to the video game, but there are still enough differences to make the manga unique in it's own right. I almost wish they would do a reboot of the show that is closer to the manga. I think a lot of people would enjoy it.

I thought that the first volume of Pokemon Adventures was a great start to the series. I can't wait to continue the series. As much as I loved the first volume, I wouldn't be surprised if I binge read the whole series over the next couple of weeks. I think this would be a great manga to read for someone Pokemon obsessed, or someone completely new to the series. Both would find it entertaining in different ways. 
 
I give Pokemon Adventures volume 1: 4/5.
 
Want to know more about the author?

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Friday, January 11, 2019

And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness


Synopsis:
With harpoons strapped to their backs, the proud whales of Bathsheba's pod live for the hunt, fighting in the ongoing war against the world of men. When they attack a ship bobbing on the surface of the Abyss, they expect to find easy prey. Instead, they find the trail of a myth, a monster, perhaps the devil himself...

As their relentless Captain leads the chase, they embark on a final, vengeful hunt, one that will forever change the worlds of both whales and men.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I love Patrick Ness's books. I've read most of the ones that he has released, and there were only one or two that I didn't enjoy. Recently, I found out that he released a new book, And the Ocean was Our Sky. As soon as I saw it was available, I knew I had to read it. Unsurprisingly, I loved it.

And the Ocean was Our Sky might be one of the most original stories I've ever read. The premise was intriguing, unlike anything I had ever heard of before. I listened to the audiobook, which made things confusing at the beginning. It took me a while to realize I was listening to the whale's perspective. After figuring that out though, the audiobook kept me constantly listening without taking a break, which is unusual for me. I wanted to know how things between Bathsheba and the human were going to end.

Patrick Ness did a great job at writing such a thought provoking book. It really made me think about why we treat animals (and people) the way we do, and what we can learn from seeing things in a different perspective. It was also really sad to read at times. A certain scene definitely made me cry, although I think part of that was from hearing the amount of emotion the narrator put into that scene. I also found the ending to be shocking. I did not expect everything to happen with Toby Wick the way it played out. It definitely blindsided me.

Once again, Patrick Ness has written a great book, although that shouldn't be a surprise by now. I really enjoyed And the Ocean Was Our Sky. I listened to it in audiobook, which I definitely recommend. The narrator really brought something special to the story. My only regret in not reading a physical copy is that I didn't get to see any of the illustrations, which I've heard are beautiful. Oh well, that just gives me an excuse to pick a physical copy, and read this wonderful story again.  


I give And the Ocean Was Our Sky: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: https://patrickness.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/patricknessbooks/

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding


Synopsis:
Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people's lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby has stayed focused on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a prized internship at her favorite local boutique, she’s thrilled to take her first step into her dream career. She doesn't expect to fall for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Abby knows it's a big no-no to fall for a colleague. She also knows that Jordi documents her whole life in photographs, while Abby would prefer to stay behind the scenes.

Then again, nothing is going as expected this summer. She's competing against the girl she's kissing to win a paid job at the boutique. She's somehow managed to befriend Jax, a lacrosse-playing bro type who needs help in a project that involves eating burgers across L.A.'s eastside. Suddenly, she doesn't feel like a sidekick. Is it possible Abby's finally in her own story?

But when Jordi's photography puts Abby in the spotlight, it feels like a betrayal, rather than a starring role. Can Abby find a way to reconcile her positive yet private sense of self with the image that other people have of her?

Is this just Abby’s summer of fashion? Or will it truly be The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles)?

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
One of my biggest regrets of 2018 was that I didn't read more queer literature. It's a genre that I love to read. However, with a lot of the new books that came out, I became immersed in fantasy, and missed a lot of the LGBTQ+ reads. It's something that I hope to change/catch up on in 2019. However, one of the few LGBTQ+ books I did get a chance was The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles. I thought it was just okay.

There are a few things that I did love about The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles). Even though I didn't approve of some of her actions, I really liked the main character, Abby. She had a fun, feisty spirit. I loved that I could relate to her because I am also a blogger. Seeing her push herself to be creative, not only in her blog, but in everything around her, made me want to be more creative with my blog. I also loved her boss, Maggie. She was always open to suggestions for what the girls wanted to do, and fun to work with. While reading the book, it felt more like she was their big sister than their boss. I wish more bosses in real life could be like that.

Even though I liked those parts of The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles), I did have quite a few problems with the book. The first problem I had was that it seemed boring, and tedious at times. There were chapters on end where it seemed like nothing important was happening. There was a lot of filler. Also, it seemed like the burger parts of the book had nothing to do with the story, other than being filler. I found myself really bored during them, and wanted to skip them so I could get back to Abby, Jordi, and what was going on at the boutique. I also didn't like the way Abby treated Jordi towards the middle of the book. There was something big that happened that could have been easily resolved by Abby communicating with Jordi, instead of being a jerk and completely ignoring/avoiding her. She treated Jordi very badly over something that I didn't think was a big deal.

All in all. I thought The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles) was just okay. There were parts that I enjoyed, but I also had a lot of issues with the book. Even though I wasn't in love with this book. I hope to at least try one of the author's other books to see if I like that better. I think a younger LGBTQ+ audience (middle grade or younger high schoolers) might enjoy this book more than I did.

I give The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles): 3.5/5.

Want to know more about the author?

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.