Textrovert

Textrovert by Lindsey Summers

Publish date: May 2, 2017

Received an ARC from KCP Loft via a Goodreads Giveaway


4 stars


Textrovert by Lindsey Summers was sweet and super cute. After accidentally grabbing the wrong phone, Keely and Talon get to know each other over the week before they have a chance to exchange the phones to the rightful owners. Under the guise of anonymity they are able to be themselves and get to know each other honestly, or as honestly as it may seem on a surface level. After swapping phones, they still can’t get enough of each other. However, their true identities might actually get in the way of the connection they had been building. While everything they told each other was the truth, it’s what wasn’t said that actually gets in the way of their relationship.

So this book was pretty short; easy enough to finish in just a few hours of reading. Despite the shortness, you still get a full story for a YA contemporary. The story is simple, relatable, and tackles a subject that many teens have to come to terms with-honesty in who they are growing up to be.

The premise of this story largely wraps around the idea that these two kids had their phones swapped and slowly get to know each other. There is something about talking to someone who you don’t know at all that makes it easy to not have any sort of expectation of the outcome. You can be entirely yourself without the pressure of the consequences of letting them down. Technology and social media makes it so easy for us to make friends in ways that are entirely unique to this current generation that makes this book applicable to the younger readers that may pick it up. The only thing that I would have added into the book would be the real complication of building a foundation to friendship via texting-there is no way to convey secondary communication via tone of voice or non-verbal cues. Emojis only go so far, and this concept could have added to any sort of miscommunication or drama that could have ensued.

The characters were great. Our main character, Keely, is able to really let herself out and learn to have her personality show via her interactions with Talon. She had lived the life of trying to please the people around her that she never really got to be selfish in her own way and never got to win any battles when it came to her needs versus those of her twin or her best friend. Talon, despite superficially having a super life, was given a little depth. Nothing that was excessively deep, but enough to give the kid some personality, something that was more than what first meets the eye. What I liked about the relationship between Keely and Talon was that it was super low key and not over the top romantic antics. It was realistic on the level of teenagers. Sometimes, YA contemporaries have these moments that are too much like a scene from a teen movie. Life just isn’t like that. While the characters had their immaturity as far as doubts and emotions, they still had their moments where they had to sit and think about their own actions and reflect on them. While that’s the case, there weren’t crazy big parties, sex scenes, or even outrageous dates. It was real, it was just two kids getting to know each other and jumping the hurdles that came their way.

The delivery of the book was great. When I first looked into the book I thought it would largely been written as text messages back and forth, but really the communication is just a underlying factor. We are still given a full story with just enough feels to make your heart get a few twists during the misunderstandings.

This book will be released on May 5, 2017. Thank you to Goodreads and the publishers for the ARC.

-Scrill

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Poison’s Kiss

Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields

“If the heart is as light as a feather, the person can enter the afterlife. If not, the heart is fed to a wild beast. My heart will sink quickly even against a brick.”

3 stars


Poison’s Kiss was the story of a Visha Kanya, a poison girl, who was raised to kiss and kill. Living her life essential as a free prisoner, Marinda has to kiss at her handlers bidding per the request of the Raja. As much as she wants to escape, she can’t because of her brother and the man she just might be in love with, and who happens to be her latest assignment.

This was a really quick, easy read. The world building was simple, but adequate as you are introduced into a Indian land with four different entities that are worshiped. The Hindu inspirations were intriguing as well as the words that were incorporated into the book: visha kanya – poiston girl, rajakumari-princess, janu-sweetheart, vish bimari- poison disease. Having foreign words to me always adds in a little more flavor and culture into a book. I loved how mithridatism was incorporated into the book that someone could become immune to poisons by slowly introducing it into their systems.

The characters were alright. Marinda was a little too trusting and was a little annoying how she relied so much on her handler for medicines. She was naive to think that the people who would hurt her or her friend would be telling her everything honestly. Deven was all fine and dandy like a good antagonist would be, but their romance wasn’t quite believable. I felt that it could have been built up a little bit more, but their relationship was sort of shallow at best. Iyla was an interesting character and I liked her relationship with Marinda, how her character was used, and how understandable her feelings would be to those that were involved with her life.

Although predictable at times, it was still a fun read full of culture, loyalty, and friendship. I would read the next book just to see where the story is going.

-Scrill

Stealing Candy

Stealing Candy by Stewart Lewis

Publish date: May 2, 2017

Received an ARC from SOURCEBOOKS Fire via Netgalley for a fair review.

1 star


“I should be freaking out. Crying or shaking like before, or screaming for help. I’m being kidnapped. The wild thing is, my heart is not only pounding with fear, but also with a twisted freedom.”

 

To say this book was awful would be an overstatement. To say it was good would, again, be an overstatement. As a YA contemporary with coming of age & romantic themes it falls into the I can read this easily in a day or two category. Unfortunately, the actual content seemed absurd to subject to a YA audience. This book paints a romance and justification through Stockholm Syndrome.

Stealing Candy is about a rock star’s daughter, Candy, being kidnapped outside of her school. Right away she notices that only one of her captors is a psychotic druggie (she calls him “Cancer Stick”) while the other is an attractive young man who doesn’t tend to be as violent (she calls him “Half Smile”). In the duration of her kidnapping Candy learns about the reasons behind her kidnapping and starts to just go along with it.

***Spoilers from this point on.***


Okay, WHAT THE FREAKING HECK. This chick is so dumb. Before she even gets to the whole “swooning over half smile kid” she has plenty of opportunities to run away from the people who are kidnapping her. Screw the fact that only one of the guys beat her over her head and duct taped her and shoved her into the back of a junky Toyota. Here’s the facts- it was Half Smile’s idea in the freaking first place! I know, I know. She lived a sheltered life and has her daddy issues to top all of this. But really? Hi, yeah, I got kidnapped…2 hours in I decided it felt like an adventure. WHAT THE F!? This entire time you are running all the scenarios from movies of kidnappings.
So not only does Candy screw her few opportunities to escape from her captors, but she totally falls for one of them. So within reason, with SS typically there could be a traumatizing situation (kidnapping/rough captor) followed by someone who is gentle (half smile is nice to her). I don’t see how that constitutes having sex with the guy like2 (I think? I wasn’t exactly counting) days later.

So here’s the few reasons why I hate Candy, and have zero sympathy for her crazy ass:
1. She talks about her classmates in shallow and cliché categories: The Borings, Max the Goth
2. She bitches about her dad, all the while living off the cushy living he provides for her (typical teen)
3. She thinks getting kidnapped is an adventure ( I STILL CANT GET OVER THIS)
4. She has sex with a captor, who also has a girlfriend that she’s aware of, and doesn’t feel any remorse for her action
5. At the end, after time being apart from Half Smile she still decides to go back to him. Like shit girl, meet a new guy! If he wanted you around, he would have emailed more in year since you had seen him…
6. We are somehow given a personality with her because she’s super into film, and all I could think of was that scene in American Beauty with the floating trash bag.

Okay so Half Smile. The entire reason why he does all this was to get his dad some retribution. 1 million dollars from the guy who framed him – Candy’s dad. So after finding out about the framing and not receiving the payout. He decides to save a ton of money to drive up the Eastern seaboard kidnap a girl and spend all that money driving back down to Florida to a concert where her dad is playing so she can be used for ransom….How he was going to complete final task he hadn’t planned out. Just took all the time to save enough money from mowing lawns to make this trip (I mean, that’s a lot of time saving money…how had he not thought it through?!) Also, towards the end, they end up just letting a detective know that it was this famous rock star not Half Smile’s dad and of course he looks into it because dang it’s this famous rock star! This kid is dumb too.

Moral of the story kids? Don’t be scared or try to escape if you’re kidnapped? They might have some reason for the awful act, and they might be the love of your life….

So many nopes.

-Scrill

Alex, Approximately

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

“Meeting real-life Alex could be great, but it could also be on big awkward disappointment. Which is why I’m not really sure if I want to know anything more about him.”

4 stars

This book was too cute. I love me a YA contemporary, but I especially love me a mistaken/hidden identity story as well. Now while this was a You’ve Got Mail retelling, it only just barely had its similarities. Baily & Alex are friends on some movie app/website thing. Their online personalities just click, and turns out Bailey’s dad lives in the same town as Alex. Not wanting to be shocked into a real life friendship, when Bailey ends up living with her dad she decides to try to find Alex by the clues left by their online conversations. Her summer plans are interrupted by none other than life carrying on.

As a re-telling I really wish the Bailey & Alex bit was a little more involved. Once she moved over we had more interactions with her friends, and I was really hoping for the moments that Alex would be…well helping her find Alex knowing all the while he had to woo her. Instead, we get her normal relationship with Porter and Gracie. Still, it was super sweet, and now I want to watch You’ve Got Mail. I loved all the movie quotes in the beginning of each chapter because it sort of set you up vibe wise with what you would encounter in that section.

The descriptions of the area in NW Cali was all on point and all I want to do is sit on the beach now with the morning fog rolling in around the ocean.

I loved the characters. They had these normal lives. Bailey had some unfortunate events that developed her character. There is reason as to why she loves the old flicks, there’s a reason why she doesn’t really get close to people, and a reason why she has an alias online. The only problem I had was that she had these classic movie obsessions, but it doesn’t really come out that much when she’s hanging with her friends. Sure she does her hair like Lana Turner, but I mean, if I was super into something my friends would know…So it was hard to believe that it never came up with her friends that she was a serious classic movie buff. I appreciated that she had her own style, but it wasn’t a major player in her character, it was noted, but it didn’t drive the story. There was never a moment of super low self-esteem, just typical shyness that a teen might have over her body or its marks.

I liked that Bennett didn’t pretend that kids just stop at making out. Kids have sex, all the time. Now, while I don’t want to have graphic detail of some teenagers getting it on, I also don’t want to pretend that things either 1. fade to black, or 2. it’s okay to start slut shaming. Thankfully Bennett doesn’t do either of those. In fact, the way she talks about the interactions of Bailey’s is almost comical in a -I’m a teen and I am not going to tell you everything, but let’s just get this straight, things happened. – sort of way.

Porter had that typical super-hot boy co-star thing going for him. But I mean, he’s a surfer, of course he has a great bod. And honestly, given his heritage, I’d probably swoon over him too. Porter had this defensive attitude that at first really turns Bailey off. Fortunately we don’t have to suffer through it as we get to know that Porter is actually just a sweet guy with his own issues and history.

Gracie is rad. I love that she and Bailey have a normal friendship. Sometimes in YA contemporaries we get stuck with these catty girls, and neither of these girls is like that. They support each other and cheer each other on, and when a small hiccup arises in their friendship they hash it out, even though it’s hard.

Davy hit a sore spot for me. And not in a ‘this character is not real’ sort of way, quite the opposite for me. Sometimes we get caught up in the romantic teen angst part of the story that we forget that people have real problems, and not just family stuff. To me, Davy was a completely believable character because I had a friend just like that – surfer, heroin addict turned homeless – all before the ripe age of 20. So when I see a character like Davy, it really breaks my heart. And I totally understand how much Porter suffers with trying to help a friend, only to have to let go if you don’t want to drown right with them.

-Scrill

Duels & Deceptions

Duels and Deception by Cindy Anstey

Publish date: April 11, 2017

Received an ARC from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group via Netgalley for a fair review.

5 Stars


“Chivalry and good manners were all well and good in a ballroom. However, being on a lonely road while rushing away from villainous villains was neither the time nor the place for excessive decorum.”

What a delightful story! Fans of regency romances will find romance, comedy, and even a little mystery and intrigue in this novel.

Duels and Deception is told from alternating points of views we are given a rich story of love, responsibility, and what a proper lady does with her time and money. Lydia Whitfield is in need of her lawyer to assist her with her estate. Robert Newton, her lawyer’s apprentice answer the call and their relationship soon becomes more than just a meeting here and there from your solicitor. An attempt to the safety of Miss Whitfield brings the two together as they make their way first to safety and then to solve the mystery of who exactly would be culprit behind her kidnapping.

Like Jane Austen, Cindy Anstey uses free indirect speech to help guide the interactions of the characters had the understanding of ritual that was proper and expected in that era. This allowed our characters a whole slew of backhanded comments and insults all the while keeping face and propriety.

The entire time I was reading this I kept snickering aloud to myself as I read the interactions between the characters. The actions of the characters were heightened even more as we read them from different points of views. Often we are pitched this genre of story from the female’s point of view, however, seeing the male point of view offers a few LOL moments.

“A niche was found for him next to Miss Elaine, who seemed to be suffering her usual eye affliction – batting and blinking – while leaning in closer and closer until Robert feared she might tumble from her chair.”

Our characters are given great personalities that develop as they have to deal with what is proper and what they really want to say or do. And what happens when someone is insulted? A challenge to a duel! Oh what fun duels are…miscommunication leads to the keeping of honor which leads to death.

This book was sweet and comical at the same time. The entire time we are wondering who done it all the while rooting for our unlikely couple. The characters are endearing, especially when they are drawing closer to each other despite the character flaws they both may have. By the end I was swooning and cheering on the two as they face their love vs. decorum.

-Scrill

Age of Myth

Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan

“A terrible reckoning is still on its way. We as a people stand atop a precipice, backed up to the very edge. We have no choice. We must find the courage to fight for our lives even against those we once thought to be gods.”

4 stars


Age of Myth was all the embodiment of epic fantasy. Beautifully constructed history, world building and characters Sullivan gives a story of bravery, companionship, and magic.

Many paths converge in Age of Myth. As several different stories collide normal humans find themselves heading into a war with the Fhrey, or the Gods. The small stories build to create one interwoven story. Starting with Raithe and his father encountering and killing a Fhrey, causes him to be a nomad, spreading his story as The God Killer with his new ex-Fhrey slave companion Malcom. Persephone, loses the title of chieftan’s wife as her husband returns from an unsuccessful raid against a great bear that has been ravaging her village. Suri, a young mystic, comes to Dhal Rhen to warn Persephone about her mentor passing and events to come.

Despite the length and an entire world being built, I never felt overwhelmed. Sullivan does a wonderful job of painting a stunning world rich with landscape and history. With a classic trope of power-driven villains, the dynamic of multiple stories comes together gives an original world to escape in. The story itself does drag a little and is a bit lengthy…but it sort of still worked. I just had to take a break a few times. The fact that the Rhune (human) sides of the stories are broken up by the Fhrey stories helps breaks up the monotony of the story. Still, this is the only reason why I give 4 stars, instead of 5. The story could have used a little more ummph to get through the long journey. Something to break up the scenes a little better and keep me coming for more.

The characters in the book were very well thought out. Every single person has their own history that compels their actions and personalities. There isn’t a waste of character either, they each have their own role, and each contributes something to the story as well. My favorite was Suri. She is such a bad ass and I mean, come on, she has a wolf for a best friend. She is brave and enchanting at the same time and I want her to be my friend too.

-Scrill

The Beast is an Animal

The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

“The beast is an animal
Hear it scratch upon your door
It sucks your soul then licks the bowl
And sniffs around for more
The beast is an animal
It has a pointy chin
It eats you while you sleep at night
Leaves nothing but your skin!
 “

2 stars

So, first of all, this book doesn’t really have a lot to do with the beast. I mean…it’s in it yes, but I’m not sure why it’s the title subject to be honest. Second of all, it drags on and is sort of boring. As a whole, the story is sort of good, but the pitch was just, ZZZZzzzzzz.

So this story follows a little girl named Alys. She’s seen the soul eaters and even the beast and feels a connection with them. After the soul eaters ravage her village leaving just children, she and her fellow survivors take refuge in the next town over. There the new village lives in fear of the soul eaters and Alys grows up knowing she is different, that maybe she is just like the soul eaters that killed her parents and have been killing her friends.

I liked the idea of this gated up village that the children take refuge in. It really gave me the same vibe that M Night Shyamalan’s “The Village” gave me. All these God fearing people keeping close tabs on people, controlling them, shaming Alys for being different – all the while there’s this monster lurking in the woods that only hurt people when they’re misbehaving.

The characters themselves were great too. The problem with the book was just that there was so much time spent creating the world, talking about the characters and building up to this point in the story that ended pretty anti climatically. The whole time we get to hear Alys talk about how she thinks she might be bad, when really she’s just being this good timid little girl.

I am not sure what I was expecting really. I was hoping it would at least have something exciting. Unfortunately, the ending was quite like the beginning and middle – drawn out. By the time I finished, I thought to myself, great, finally!

-Scrill

Royally Bad

Royally Bad by Nora Flite
Bad Boy Royals #1

2 stars


“I’d been thinking of her as my Cinderella. I was already a prince – in a sense – so why couldn’t it work? We’d dance, I’d put the shoes on her prefect feet, and we’d kiss and laugh, and all would be fucking sparkles and hearts.” 

I really had a hard time picking between a 2 and 3 stars on this. I mean, I have a hard time judging truly because this isn’t really the genre I prefer to read. Still, despite my low expectations it was surprisingly entertaining – despite the parts that made me laugh out loud and think…come on…really.

So the book is about this girl, Sammy, who becomes super involved in this family’s, the Badd’s, personal affairs. From making a wedding a dress, to being a brides maid, to being arrested with them. The day they Badds entered her family was the day her life changed from it’s boring and quiet ways.

The plot itself was…well entertaining enough. What I mean by that was that it was enough for me to finish the book. There were a few parts that left me wondering…why? Like, the Mr. Badd didn’t really know the relationship between Kain & Sammy, but still felt inclined to protect the girl because something concerning her might affect the family…..okay. It wasn’t really expected considering his position. The ending was a little predictable, well part of it was, but that’s okay.

The characters were so-so. Sammy was a cute little feisty girl, but was a little too trusting. Kain was sort of a d-bag. His third sentence in the book was, “Don’t use the worlds ‘little’ and ‘dick’ in the same sentence with me.” I mean serious eye roll, this guy is so into his penis and thinks he is all that. In fact, a lot of the things Kain says is pretty eye rolly-y. He’s got that macho protector character down. At least there weren’t a ton of hits-his-chest-cave-man moments.

All in all, it was a quick and easy read. Funny at some moments with a large dash of cheesy romantic scenes. My biggest problem is I can’t get behind a guy who is so fully of himself and having a character change so quickly. Call me a pessimist.

-Scrill

Illuminae

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

“I don’t know my limit, but I’m scared to reach it. I don’t know what will happen if I do.”

million stars

5_stars

I have to admit. I went into this book blind. There were enough people suggesting to me to read this book next (its my friend add question-and thanks to you guys for doing so) that I picked it up. I didn’t even read the synopsis. All I knew was what I saw – a book in the format of files, reports, etc. What I expected: boring with little world building. My final thoughts: I am not surprised Plan B Entertainment bought the film rights to this book….and I hope they put out an epic movie. Because that’s what this book was, it was epic.

The book starts off running. Yes, it’s a report documenting separate interviews with two teens, Kady and Ezra. What they tell you is this: their home was attacked and they escaped and they are now refugees on these ships that rescued thousands the day of the attack. The story doesn’t end there-duh because there’s still 500 pages left. 500 pages of pure mayhem, unexpected plot twists, and a roller coaster of emotions. I kid you not I would go one minute from squealing about the cuteness that is Kady and Ezra to biting my nails due to the AI that is AIDAN. 

Despite everything in this book being collected reports, files, documents. It flows like a regular story. I never found a moment that I was bored. Through reports on video surveillance, instant messages, military action reports, you get an entire world that is set entirely on a space ship(s).

The characters are amazing. Every key player in the book has personality and brings substance to the book. Even the AI, AIDEN, has his moments when he has his moments of deep, meaningful thoughts . As the book carries on you really get attached to the characters and your heart breaks as tragedy strikes each of them in different ways. Kady is such a bad ass. 

What I loved best was that you are kept on the edge of your seat the entire time. 600 pages seems daunting, but it reads like a 300 page book. There were several plot twists that leave you shell shocked and dying to find out what happens next. Sometimes sci-fi can get a little technical or a little too far fetched. But this is a grounded, page turner, that left residual images in my dreams. I am not sure 5 stars is enough.

scrill sig

Beauty Sleeping

Beauty Sleeping by Farha Hasan

received a copy in exchange for a fair review from Weapenry Co-Op via Netgalley.

I am sorry to say that I DNF at 30%. I don’t particularly like to do that, especially from Netgalley. But I just couldn’t do it anymore

Beauty Sleeping is the first installment to the Make A Wish series by Hasan and is retelling inspired by Sleeping Beauty. I honestly don’t exactly know what is even going on in this book. From what I could tell there is a girl in a coma that can float around and see what is going on in other people’s lives.

Plot: Like I said, I have no idea what is happening. The story is jumping around from character to character so much that I am confused. The timeline is also confusing as well. One moment we’re at work, another we’re in therapy, then at home.

Characters: I feel that at 30% I should know a little bit more about our characters. I’m not sure if Hasan intentionally wrote this way to make the book a little mysterious, but I don’t know who the actual main character is. I know there’s obviously the girl in the coma. there’s a girl who is a designer for an ad company, and then some guy who works on Wall Street. That’s all I really know. I mean, I am a third of the way through and I don’t even care about the characters enough to keep going, not even considering the confusing plot.

Setting: New York. This could have been worked up so much more! The only major point that this gives any credit to is that our male antagonist works on Wall Street. Otherwise..it could be anywhere. The only depth that we get is when he is at his family house and talks about different foods. Thank God the characters are Indian because they gave some depth to the story and what is going on around them (arranged marriages, family obligation)

So, in the end, I only really got to 30% because I am a xenophile and I typically like books that use culture besides Caucasian America. Unfortunately, there was little that I got from the culture besides a few dishes and apparel references. It wasn’t enough to get me past the confusing intro and into any real story…if it existed.

-Scrill