5 Tips For Reviewing Books (From Someone Who Hates Writing Reviews)

It’s no secret that I hate writing reviews. Like, a lot.

But, I still write them anyway, and I’m sure there are other book bloggers who have the same problem as I am (or think that I write good reviews. If so, thank you!), so I thought I’d list out five tips that I personally follow when it comes to writing my own reviews!

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[LET’S CHAT] Who Are Reviews Really For?

 As book bloggers, we’re usually expected to write reviews.

I’ve talked a lot about reviews in the past few months – whether they should be subjective or objective or if we should even be writing them – and I feel like there’s always been a constant chat in the book blogosphere about how unpopular book reviews are and how some of us just really don’t like writing  them. Which begs the question, “Who are we writing reviews for if we feel like no one’s reading them?”

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Bite-Sized Reviews | The “Oops, I DNF-ed ARCs Again!” Edition

ARC DNFs

Whoops, I DNF-ed some ARCs!

Last week, I praised some of the Bookcon ARCs I had read, but with the good always comes some bad. I ended up DNF-ing two ARCs I got at Bookcon, and I thought it’d be nice to talk about them, since both of them ended up failing my expectations, and my job as a bookworm is to save people from bookish disappointment, obviously!

(Also, just in case you were wondering, this wasn’t posted yesterday because I had no wi-fi over the weekend – from Saturday afternoon to Monday afternoon – and I hadn’t written any review, so I had to skip yesterday and post today instead!)

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all rights reserved

Genre: Dystopian, Sci-fi

Series: Words #1

Rating: NONE

Release Date: August 29, 2017

Synopsis:

In a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted, patented or trademarked, one girl elects to remain silent rather than pay to speak, and her defiant and unexpected silence threatens to unravel the very fabric of society.

Speth Jime is anxious to deliver her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood. The moment she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks (“Sorry” is a flat ten dollars and a legal admission of guilt), for every nod ($0.99/sec), for every scream ($0.99/sec) and even every gesture of affection. She’s been raised to know the consequences of falling into debt, and can’t begin to imagine the pain of having her eyes shocked for speaking words that she’s unable to afford.

But when Speth’s friend Beecher commits suicide rather than work off his family’s crippling debt, she can’t express her shock and dismay without breaking her Last Day contract and sending her family into Collection. Backed into a corner, Speth finds a loophole: rather than read her speechrather than say anything at allshe closes her mouth and vows never to speak again. Speth’s unexpected defiance of tradition sparks a media frenzy, inspiring others to follow in her footsteps, and threatens to destroy her, her family and the entire city around them.my thoughts

Originally, I was super excited for this book! The cover was nice to look at, the concept sounded amazing and different from most dystopian novels, and I saw zero mention of any romance, so I was really happy when I managed to get a copy of it at Bookcon. I was quickly disappointed. From the beginning, something just felt…off. It was interesting, but I still felt a little bit bored about what was going on. I was still sticking with it since I was so excited for this book and didn’t want to give up on yet…until Speth is saved from sexual assault by a rebellious group of people who are against the strict government, and – you guessed it! – one of the members is an attractive boy her age with an air of sarcasm about him. I knew from that moment on that it was just becoming yet another YA dystopian novel that I’ve already read and has been done better, so I quit. I’m so disappointed in this one since it had such a good concept, but it didn’t work out! I seem to be in the minority, so maybe others might enjoy it!

In Summary:

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9780803741492_JaneUnlimited_BOM.indd

Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Series: NONE

Rating: NONE

Release Date: September 19, 2017

Synopsis:

Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family’s island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.” With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn’t know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.my thoughts

I honestly wasn’t too intrigued with this one since I read the synopsis multiple times, and each time I was like, “Wait…what?” But, since this was one of the Penguin Teen Game-Changers in the box I won at Bookcon, I decided to cave and try it out since after having the concept explained via Booktube, I got super excited. A mind-bending book where there are five different stories to tell, all in different genres? I was sold! Unfortunately, this book was just weird – even too weird for me. I didn’t care about any of the characters, the writing was way too stiff, I was getting bored just reading the 100 pages I did, and when I finally got to the part where we’re supposed to break into different paths, I was really disappointed where instead of being a story where the main character is faced with five doors that define her future, and she only has one choice, it ended up being about the main character having to choose between five different characters to go with, and going on a different journey depending on who you choose. Unfortunately, this book wasn’t for me, but it’ll probably be the perfect fit for someone else!

In Summary:

wtf

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Bite-Sized Reviews | The “It Is NOT A Cult!” Edition

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And I’m back with another edition of Bite-Sized Reviews! 

Tomorrow, two books are coming out that deal with very similar themes, but one ended up disappointing me and one ended up being a fantastic book! I decided to just go ahead and review the both of them today!

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The Marriage Pact

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Adult

Series: NONE

Rating: 5 STARS

Release Date: July 25, 2017 

Synopsis: 

In this relentlessly paced novel of psychological suspense, New York Times bestselling author Michelle Richmond crafts an intense and shocking tale that asks: How far would you go to protect your marriage?
  
Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.
            
The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .
            
Never mention The Pact to anyone.
            
Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples.
            
And then one of them breaks the rules.
            
The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule.
            
For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

My Thoughts

I was originally going to give this one four stars, but I don’t even remember why I took off a star, so five stars it is! I was really intrigued with this one mainly because the synopsis tells you next to nothing, and I am a very nosy person, so I needed to know what was going to happen! I definitely liked seeing from Jake’s point-of-view, since I rarely ever read a thriller from a guy’s point-of-view. I was definitely intrigued with the whole cult-ish vibe of The Marriage Pact, and this book was extremely addicting, especially since it took a lot of twists and turns I really wasn’t expecting. Not only that, but I ADORED the writing. It was very formal, but not so pretentious, you don’t know what’s going on. I’ve just never read a thriller like that before. Also, this one inserted a bunch of facts about marriage, so I learned things! And I also really loved the ending. Basically, this was like Fates and Furies, but with a cult.

In Summary:

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first we were iv

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, YA

Series: NONE 

Rating: 2.5 STARS

Release Date: July 25, 2017

Synopsis:

A group of friends start a secret society in this out-of-control thriller from the author of The Telling and The Creeping that examines the all-consuming love of lifelong friendship—and what someone is capable of when they’re afraid of losing it.

Izzie loves nothing more than her three best friends, Viv, Graham, and Harry, and the bond the four of them share. And she’s terrified of their friendship falling apart next year when they go off to college. To bind them together, she decides to create that will belong only to them, a special thing that they’ll always share between the four of them. And so they dream up the Order of IV, a secret society devoted to mischief that rights wrongs and pays back debts. At first, it works like a charm—but when the Order of IV’s escapades get recognition beyond their wildest expectations, other people start wanting in. And soon, what started as a game of friendship is spiraling into something dangerous and beyond their control—and before it’s over, they’ll pay the ultimate sacrifice.

My Thoughts

Hm, I was sort of disappointed by this one. I absolutely loved The Creeping, so I was really excited for this one, but it was just meh. First off, I thought this book was going to be about a girl gang when I read the synopsis, so I was already let down when there were two boys in the group, especially since these two boys end up being the heart of a mini love triangle – probably the dumbest one I’ve ever seen. It also had this weird feminist slant where they stand up to sexist dress codes and girls can masturbate, too, but we also have girl hate THE ENTIRE BOOK since our main characters are outcasts and the people they hate are popular, so what was the point? I also thought the whole IV thing was dumb. I am a teenager, so I highly doubt teenagers would get up to this. They’re cutting themselves to bleed on a statue, dancing around in their underwear, going out until the early morning to dump blood on people’s houses and throw rocks at their window, and I’m supposed to believe teenagers would do this why? All because of the murder of some girl they didn’t know that they found the dead body of as kids? And I’m not even going to bring up the lack of parenting that goes on as well. It just seemed really far-fetched and dumb. I will say, this was an addicting book and it was very dark, and that’s not seen much in YA, so I’ll give it that! But, overall, I was disappointed. Hopefully, The Telling is better.

In Summary: 

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A huge thank you to Ballantine and Simon and Schuster’s Children’s Publishing for the e-ARCs via Netgalley!

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5 Reasons Why You Should Pick Up THE BREAKDOWN

The Breakdown

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Adult

Rating: 4 STARS

Series: None

Release Date: July 18, 2017 (today!)

Synopsis: 

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside—the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

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“Mikaela, are you reviewing on a Tuesday???” I know, I know; I’ve broken my schedule (which I truly, truly hate). But, I wasn’t able to get this up yesterday, so I’m putting it up today, just in time for this book’s publication date! Hopefully, this will be the first and last time I do this.

1. I thought it was addicting. I mean, of course it was. I didn’t expect anything less from B.A. Paris, to be honest. As soon as I read the first chapter, I knew I was hooked, and I ended up reading this in a day. I CAN’T HELP MYSELF WHEN IT COMES TO B.A. PARIS. I know most people really appreciate having an addictive psychological thriller to read, and this one definitely fits the bill.

2. Cass was a great main character. I absolutely loved being in her point-of-view for the entirety of the book! It’s very easy to be sympathetic to her situation, especially since imagining yourself in her shoes is actually terrifying. I know I’m also one who can be quite paranoid about dumb things, especially when it’s at night and I think I’m hearing noises that aren’t even there and completely over-thinking the worst-case scenario in situations that really aren’t that bad, so I could definitely relate to her and understand how she felt. If I told you guys the type of paranoia I have about some serial killer coming to get me at night, it probably sounds dumb to you, but it makes sense to me, so I definitely understood the predicament she was caught up in.

3. It was different from Behind Closed Doors. I actually loved Behind Closed Doors, but I know some people might not like it that much, and worry that this one won’t be too good. I actually thought this was quite different, and had more of a mystery feel than her previous domestic thriller feel. It definitely still had that element of psychological suspense that I really loved and was extremely addicting, of course, but I’m glad that it shows that Paris can branch out if she wants to!

4. The writing was fantastic. I talked a bit earlier in this review about how it really captured how it felt to be paranoid, and that’s what made the writing SO GOOD. Her writing also managed to make the book so suspenseful and kept me turning the pages, which is always good for a thriller.

5. I absolutely loved the ending. I really, really did! I’ve been a bit frustrated with some thrillers when it comes to their endings since some seem to build up to some out-of-this world ending that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, but this one ended up having not just a pretty realistic ending, but a shocking ending, showing that thriller endings don’t have to be outlandish to be good. Not only that, but it also managed to tie up the story in a neat little bow, which will make a lot of readers happy.

All in all, B.A. Paris has done it again! I can’t wait to see what she puts out next!

A huge thank you to St. Martin’s Press for giving me an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley; I truly appreciate it!  

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[ARC REVIEW] Reasons Why I Fell In Love With FINAL GIRLS (And Why You Should, Too)

final Girls

Genre: Horror, Thriller, Suspense, Adult

Series: None

Rating: 5 STARS

Release Date: July 11, 2017

Description:

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

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Holy crap. Well, that was amazing. I don’t know if you guys know this about me, but this was one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I heard about this book through bookstagram, and as soon as I read the description, I fell in love. Horrors and thrillers have quickly become my two favorite genres after I dived into them for the first time in the last half of the year, and this sounded like a brilliant combination of both. And after hearing good review after good review, I knew I just had to have it. So imagine how happy I was to see that the book was available for request on Netgalley, and how shocked I was when I was actually approved to read it. Whaaat?

This book was just as amazing as the synopsis hyped it up to be. Kudos to whoever wrote that description to draw me in. I’m one of those people that is usually drawn in from the title, and from there, the description. And, sometimes, you read a book and it ends up not delivering to your own expectations. But, wow, did this one completely deliver and blow me away. I couldn’t really tell what the true mystery would be just by reading the synopsis, which I’m thankful for, because it just made the book all the more addicting and leaves you with the feeling of constantly wanting to know what’s going to happen next.

The pacing for this one was perfect. Right off the bat, you’re pulled into the action, and then yanked out into the present. I would say that there’s not a single dull moment in this book. As soon as I started reading the book, I just. Couldn’t. Stop. I needed to know what was going on, what Quincy was going to get herself involved in, what the memories of Pine Cottage would reveal next. This book is basically the definition of “Just one more chapter!” (and I’m sure all my fellow bookworms will understand this). There are several plot twists, but unlike some thrillers I’ve read, they weren’t gimmicky and didn’t feel tacked on to make the book some unpredictable mess. All the twists had clues and a little bit of foreshadowing that when you find out something happens, you’ll be angry at yourself for not noticing it before.

I really enjoyed the cast of characters in this one. Quincy is a complicated character in and of herself, since she feels as if her past and present are colliding, and she just wants to be seen as a normal person. I quickly grew to liking her and cheering her on, even though she made some decisions that might make some frustrated, but I felt like it was realistic and true to her character, especially after what she’d suffered through. Sam is a complicated character, who I feel you’ll either totally love or totally hate, since she can definitely be a bit much, but I won’t dwell on her character too much because she’s more of a person you’ll want to figure out for yourself. We also have Coop, who I truly loved, and was such an interesting character, one who I brushed aside at first.

The ending was absolutely fantastic. I loved how everything tied together so well, and when everything is revealed, it’s truly shocking. I’m definitely not going to spoil anything, but I’m glad that I was knocked so hard off my feet at the revelations. It’s good to know that even though it sometimes feels like some genres are quickly becoming too formulaic, that horrors and thrillers can still manage to keep me on my toes.

Please add this to your reading list. You will definitely not regret it.

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A huge thank you to Dutton for giving me an e-ARC of this novel via Netgalley! This was actually the first e-ARC I ever received on the site, and I’m still shocked because I literally only had about twenty or so followers at that time, so thank you so much for giving me a chance! 

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Bite-Sized Reviews | The “WTF Did I Just Read?” Edition

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Good news has come: I HAVE BROKEN MY DAMN READING SLUMP!

I thought that the reason I had one was because of reading fantasy, but I think it’s actually because of all these sequels and finales I’ve been attempting to read, but just am not in the mood for. So, at the moment, I’m going to be taking a break from sequels until I’m in the mood for them because I MISSED READING BOOKS SO MUCH.

Anyway, for some reason, I made a terrible decision to go around requesting Netgalley books over the last few months, then getting accepted for them, and then saying, “Well, the book’s not going to be published FOR MONTHS, so I don’t have to worry about it, right?” WRONG. Summer comes upon me, and I realize that I apparently ALL THE BOOKS ARE COMING OUT IN JULY. AND ON THE SAME DAY. WHICH IS TUESDAY. PUBLISHERS ARE WEIRD.

So, since I have way too many July books coming out on similar dates (seriously, there are 31 damn days in July. Why can’t they just space it out???), I thought I’d go ahead and do some mini reviews to take the load off!

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The Revenge

Genre: Thriller

Series: None

Rating: 1 STAR

Release Date: July 1, 2017

Synopsis:

Break ups can be messy. After his ex-girlfriend Hope embarrasses him in front of the entire school, Tony wants revenge. So he signs her up for online dating sites, subscriptions, and even makes the location of her phone public. And it works. A few days later, Hope calls begging Tony to stop the prank. Then Hope screams and a car door slams. The call drops.

Tony tries to keep cool. It’s just like Hope to get back at him with more drama. But when Hope isn’t at school the next day, Tony knows the joke has gone too far-and he may have lead a predator right to his ex’s door. Can Tony find Hope and save her before it’s too late for both of them?

My Thoughts

Um…WTF? This book honestly left me speechless. Like most YA thrillers I hated, the only credit I can give it is that it was addicting…and that’s basically it. The characters were completely forgettable, the writing wasn’t that good, and it was just…weird? I literally can’t put into words how much this didn’t make sense. And the ending was SO OPEN. Like, it just ended, and when I saw that there were acknowledgements, I flipped back to see if I had missed something because that couldn’t possibly have been the end. But, nope, that was it. Basically, this was the poor man’s version of Gone Girl. Like, a REALLY poor man’s version of Gone Girl.

In Summary: 

what just happened here

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waste-of-space

Genre: Contemporary

Series: None

Rating: 3 STARS

Release Date: July 11, 2017

Synopsis: 

Cram ten hormonal teens into a spaceship and blast off: that’s the premise for the ill-conceived reality show Waste of Space. The kids who are cast know everything about drama—and nothing about the fact that the production is fake. Hidden in a desert warehouse, their spaceship replica is equipped with state-of-the-art special effects dreamed up by the scientists partnering with the shady cable network airing the show.    

And it’s a hit! Millions of viewers are transfixed. But then, suddenly, all communication is severed. Trapped and paranoid, the kids must figure out what to do when this reality show loses its grip on reality.   

My Thoughts

And we have another “WTF?” book, except on a totally different scale! I guess you could say that it was contemporary, but then a little sci-fi ended up being thrown in at the end, so was it magical realism? WHO KNOWS? This was basically making fun of reality shows, and I actually enjoyed how satirical it was and how it poked fun at itself! It was also formatted to include interviews and transcripts, so think Illuminae, except all the science stuff is fake? This is honestly the hardest book to rate ever, because I didn’t enjoy it, but I didn’t hate it? So, three stars it is, I guess!

In Summary:

Question Marks

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The Inside Dark

Genre: Thriller

Series: None

Rating: 4 STARS

Release Date: July 11, 2017

Synopsis:

Five days ago, aspiring crime novelist Jason Swike awoke chained to the wall of a run-down horse stable, convinced he would soon die at the hands of Crackerjack, the infamous serial killer who had terrorized the residents of Massachusetts for the past year—capturing and tormenting men, painting whimsical designs on their faces before shattering their bones and ending their lives. Just when death seems inevitable, Jason, with the help of another captive, manages to kill the madman and escape.

Hailed as a hero, Jason reaps the benefits of his newfound fame: a book deal, a possible reconciliation with his estranged wife, and reward money he can use to pay for his son’s costly medical treatments. But he soon realizes the nightmare that began in the deserted stable is far from over, as he is drawn into a twisted game where the darkest terror may not be the psychopath manipulating his every move, but what Jason may have to do to survive…

My Thoughts

I absolutely devoured this one! I was really happy that the synopsis was so vague because that’s what made the book so entertaining – you think that the book doesn’t have enough material to carry on, but then BAM! Something happens halfway through and you just can’t stop reading because it’s so tense! I enjoyed seeing all the POVs in the story, and the ending was SO GOOD. This reminded me of Jeff Strand’s Pressure (which I loved!), but if you haven’t read that book, don’t bother looking it up because the synopsis will spoil you for this one. Overall, I really enjoyed it, and I hope to get to some of his other books soon!

In Summary:

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A huge thank you to Sourcebooks Fire, HMH Children’s Book Group, and Thomas and Mercer for the e-ARCS via Netgalley!  

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5 Reasons Why You Should Be Adding WANT To Your TBR

 

Want.jpg

Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopian, YA

Rating: 4 STARS

Series: Want #1

Release Date: June 13

Synopsis:

From critically acclaimed author Cindy Pon comes an edge-of-your-seat sci-fi thriller, set in a near-future Taipei plagued by pollution, about a group of teens who risk everything to save their city.

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is, or destroying his own heart?

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I will say, I didn’t even really have this book on my radar until I was so intrigued by the cover, I caved and decided to add it to my TBR, then went ahead and requested it. I’m so glad I was accepted for this one because I can only say that I freaking loved it.

1. The romance was amazing. So, we have this angst-y, forbidden, sexually tense romance between Daiyu and Zhou, and before you roll your eyes and groan, this romance was incredibly done well. There was absolutely no insta-love (in fact, they never say they love each other AT ALL. What is this sorcery?), and it’s all wonderful slow-burn and sexual tension. And when they finally get together, it’s like magic. I’m usually not one to get heart eyes over a ship where the both of them are on different sides of the track, but I loved it.

(Sidenote, I also ship Lingyi and Iris SO HARD. I would not be against a book entirely dedicated to the two of them being cute. Just saying.)

2. The characters were amazing. First of all, this book had a gang at a center of it, and I’m a sucker for any sort of gang or squad – think the Dregs from Six of Crows or the Night Court from the A Court of Thorns and Roses Series – so I was into it. But I absolutely loved all the individual characters and what they brought to the table!

We have Zhou, our wonderful main character who decides to act as the spy, Victor, who is sleek and sauve and hilarious, Arun, who is the scientist, Lingyi, who is the hacker, and Iris, who reminds me so much of Black Widow, and I love her, so it was great. And Daiyu, who isn’t part of the gang but is Zhou’s love interest who is strong and smart and stands on her own. I’m loving this rise of smart girls over ones who can kick ass 24/7 (even though I love those as well). I WANT THEM ALL TO BE MY FRIENDS. I just loved the interactions and relationship between Zhou and the gang, especially near the end.

3. It had great world-building. First off, this book took place in Taiwan, which I’ve never really seen as a setting before, so it was really awesome to have a book take place somewhere different and diverse. I also thought that a world that’s falling apart because of pollution and global warming was pretty much right on the nose considering the fact that Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement a couple of weeks ago, so it was interesting to see a sci-fi future like this.

4. It was a perfect sci-fi novel. I’ve definitely become more obsessed with sci-fi over the last year, but I haven’t read enough it, and I’m SO glad I had the opportunity to read this one. This one was more of a cross between dystopian and speculative sci-fi (which is my favorite type of sci-fi), and did a fantastic job of holding up a mirror to things such as privilege, class, and taking care of the environment. It was just done SO WELL, and I applaud Pon for it.

5. Basically, it was amazing. If I had to describe this book in any way, it’d be Six of Crows meets Red RisingSix of Crows because of the characters and the aspect of them being in a group and Red Rising because of the whole “lower class goes undercover in the upper class” ruse, which I totally love. So, it was two of my favorite series in one, and I couldn’t be happier. Not to mention that even though this had long chapters, the pacing was still perfect and kept me addicted. AND I WANT MORE. I saw on Goodreads that this might have a sequel, which I’m eternally thankful for. I NEED ONE.

Basically, you will not regret adding this book to your TBR. It’s definitely worth it, and I highly recommend it, obviously.

A huge thanks to Simon and Schuster for giving me an e-ARC of this book, especially since I enjoyed it so much!

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5 Reasons Why HELLWORLD Disappointed Me

Hellworld Photo

Genre: Horror, Paranormal

Series: None

Rating: 1 STAR

Synopsis: 

Five years ago, Abby Booth’s mom, co-host of a ghost hunting reality show, went missing while filming in a ‘haunted’ cave in Arizona.

Since then, Abby’s life has all but fallen to pieces, most notably because of her dad’s deep depression and how they’ve drifted further and further apart.

But now, at seventeen, Abby has decided that things will change. She plans to go to the same cave where her mom and the crew went missing and to find out, once and for all, what happened there.

With the help of the co-host’s son Charlie and two of his friends, Abby sets off on a quest for answers…but what the group ends up finding, what they stumble across in that dark, primordial cave in Arizona, is nothing they could have ever imagined.

Abby was investigating a possible haunting… she never expected that there could be something worse.

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If you saw my Anticipated Spring Releases post, you’ll know I was excited for this book! I love a good YA horror novel, so I was ready to dive into it and fall completely in love with it. Unfortunately, that did not happen. At all.

1. The characters were boring. So, we have our main character, Abby, who really wants to find her mom. Charlie, who’s basically just the love interest and there to look hot. Maybe he did something else in this book, but if he did, I don’t remember. Selby, who’s there to serve as a mechanism of girl hate – because we need more of that. And Alex, who I actually really liked…and, oh, never mind, he’s dead (you figure this out within the first chapter, so no spoilers). Basically flat characters fitting an equally flat book.

2. It didn’t know what it wanted to be. At first, I thought it was a horror, because that’s how it’s marked. Then, somewhere in the middle, it transformed into some post-apocalyptic novel with a mix of paranormal elements. And not to forget the fact that this also somehow managed to combine sci-fi AND Biblical mythology all at once. Did it work? Not necessarily. It just seemed like the book went all over the place and that there wasn’t really a clear direction.

3. The romance was ridiculous and unnecessary. And, yet again, we have a YA novel that shoves in a romance THAT IS NOT NEEDED. AT ALL. And it was a terrible one to boot. Basically, Abby hasn’t seen Charlie in YEARS, and had a crush on him back in elementary school, and for some reason, she’s still swooning over him in the present. And even though Charlie has a girlfriend, apparently a couple of hours together causes him to CHEAT ON HER by making out with Abby. Because insta-love is real, apparently. Please wait while I roll my eyes.

4. There were too many plot conveniences. Seriously, there was this one chapter near the end that was actually ridiculous and managed to happen right after the characters were stuck and couldn’t figure anything out. So, out of the blue, the thing they were looking for mysteriously appears for them. In the middle of the apocalypse. Really?

5. WTF was that ending? Seriously, what was it? We have the most random plot twist in the history of ever. And then the book just…ends. And that’s it. No explanation of the plot twist, no implications of what might happen in the future, no answers to anything that happened. Nada. I mean, maybe it’s supposed to be an open ending, but it’s not done well.

Overall, this book was just really disappointing. Nothing is more annoying than another lackluster YA horror, especially since they come so few and far in between, but this one was just…bleh. Pick up Gretchen McNeil’s Ten instead, or The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich.

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