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Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether

The time has come to put together a few mini reviews of some books I’ve read recently! Today I’ve got a novella, a Stephanie Plum novel, and a DNF “report” (since I don’t feel I read enough to merit an actual review). As usual, I just wanted to share some quick thoughts since these aren’t quite long enough for full reviews!


Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: TetherTitle: The Audition (Seraphina #0.5) by Rachel Hartman
Publishing Info: June 19, 2012 by Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 25, 2015
Related Posts: Seraphina (Seraphina #1)

The Audition is a free prequel to Seraphina available online. It takes place a few weeks prior to Seraphina, covering Seraphina Dombegh's audition to become Viridius's assistant and thus Glisselda's music tutor.

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I really just adored SERAPHINA so I was delighted to see THE AUDITION in the end of my book when I finished! I really appreciated this story because it was an extra glimpse at the friendship that I grew to love between Seraphina and Glisselda. I always love little snippets that allow me to get to know the characters more that I’ve already come to know and love.

The story wasn’t really much but I loved every little bit of it. Glisselda is the same opinionated and strong-willed girl she always is and it’s really fun to see how her little pranks in THE AUDITION sort of shape her and prepare her to become the political schemer that I see her becoming in SERAPHINA and hopefully in future books.


Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: TetherTitle: Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: January 6, 2009 by Macmillan
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 28, 2015
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), , Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top-Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), , Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22), Curious Minds (Knight & Moon #1), Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2), Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1), Hardcore Twenty-Four (Stephanie Plum #24), The Heist (Fox & O'Hare #1)

Evanovich fans rejoice! Stephanie Plum is back in town, along with her sidekick Lula, her Grandma Mazur, and an ever-widening cast of freaks, criminals, deranged felons, and lunatics looking for love. And just when Stephanie thinks her life can't get any more complicated, in walks the mysterious Diesel. A man who seems to show up at the most inconvenient moments. This time, he's the instigator for Stephanie's new adventure, which involves camping in the Pine Barrens with Lula, and perhaps even a sighting of the Jersey Devil...so hang on for a Stephanie Plum novel that is sure to send chills up your spine--it gives new meaning to the words hilarious, and "spooky."

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I’ve read every Stephanie Plum book there is so far but I have to admit that they ARE getting a bit silly. This “Between the Novels” book was supposed to come before 15 but because the audio wasn’t available, I read FINGER LICKIN’ FIFTEEN first and then came back to this one (since I know the in-betweens really don’t follow the main plot much anyway).

I’m actually glad I read FIFTEEN first. PLUM SPOOKY was… a bit too much. Monkeys, magic, vampires, head cases… Oy vey. (Honestly it was the monkeys that did me in. Monkeys that act like humans? Nah. No thanks.) I always love stories with these characters and Stephanie still cracks me up but sometimes the ploys for laughs are just too silly and this book actually turned me off a bit. Will I keep reading them? Yes. I still own the rest of the novels in paperback (they were one of my first book collections aside from Harry Potter that I actually kept and owned and took the time to keep purchasing) and Stephanie Plum will always be a friend of mine! I just hope they don’t get TOO much sillier. I can handle wacky and fun but let’s keep it a tad realistic, huh?


Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: TetherTitle: Tether (Many-Worlds Trilogy #2) by Anna Jarzab
Publishing Info: March 10, 2015 by Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Parallel Universe
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 10, 2015 | DNF at approx. 33%
Related Posts: Tandem (Many-Worlds Trilogy #1)

Tether, the sequel to Tandem, continues the captivating tale of rebellion and romance that spans parallel worlds.
Everything repeats.
Sasha expected things to go back to normal once she got back on Earth. But now that she knows parallel worlds are real, and that an alternate version of herself exists in a world called Aurora, her old life no longer seems to make sense . . . and her heart breaks daily for Thomas, the boy she left behind. Troubled by mysterious, often terrifying visions and the echoes of a self she was just beginning to discover, Sasha makes the difficult decision to journey once more through the tandem.
Thomas is waiting for her on the other side, and so is strange, otherworldly Selene, Sasha’s analog from a third universe. Sasha, Selene, and their other analog, Juliana, have a joint destiny, and a new remarkable power, one that could mean salvation for Selene’s dying planet. With Thomas’s help, Sasha and Selene search for the missing Juliana. But even if they can locate her, is Sasha willing to turn her back on love to pursue a fate she’s not sure she believes in?

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“Everything repeats.” Oh boy, did it feel like book one repeating in so many ways… Firstly, I had some issues when I started TANDEM last year. I had a really hard time getting into it, keeping the worlds straight, and getting a grip on the characters. I finally got into the book maybe halfway through so I was hoping to pick up with TETHER where I left off in TANDEM but it sort of felt like starting all over again. I was once again lost and the worlds felt foggy. Sasha felt flat. I felt very bored, spending over 100 pages of set-up trying to get into the book and it just wasn’t happening.

A third analog is introduced in this book and I was just ugh, not a fan. She really felt like Juliana Part II and didn’t feel unique at all. I was still trying to spend time getting to know Sasha and Juliana because it was a struggle in TANDEM and here comes another character who is… just like them. Things didn’t really pick up within 100 pages and I put the book down about a month before I DNFed to see if the desire came back to read it and I found I just didn’t care how it ended. It was time to call it a day and quit this series which was sad because I LOVE parallel universe books. This one just really didn’t feel quite developed.

Tandem (Many-Worlds Trilogy #1) – Anna Jarzab

Tandem (Many-Worlds Trilogy #1) – Anna JarzabTitle: Tandem (Many-Worlds Trilogy #1) by Anna Jarzab
Publishing Info: October 8, 2013 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Parallel Universe, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: November 9, 2013
Related Posts: Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Tether (Many-Worlds Trilogy #2)

Everything repeats.
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds. Many lives--infinite possibilities.
Welcome to the multiverse.
Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather's stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real--until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.
To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she'll be trapped in another girl's life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love--one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she's someone she's not.
The first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, Tandem is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing--and no one--is what it seems.
  

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TANDEM was one of my most anticipated reads for this fall (which still doesn’t explain why I waited until after its pub date to read it even though I had it from BEA, but moving on…) because PARALLEL UNIVERSES. That is so up my alley. I had super high hopes for this book, counting on it to wow me when I was in a bit of a reading slump. Maybe that wasn’t fair of me to put all my hopes and dreams on it, but hey. I think that happens to all of us every once in a while!

My first impression of TANDEM was… not quite what I hoped it would be. Being in a reading slump at the time, I was really afraid that I would be disappointed in it after its slow beginning. I know we had a lot of things to set up for the awesomeness to occur later on, but I felt like the first few chapters could have done without a lot of the details and lengthy scenes. We go through a whole prom scene, from the original asking to the dance all the way to the “afterparty” and while I understand the purpose of that throwing our two main characters together and setting up their relationship, I didn’t think it needed to be as long as it was.

The difference between the two parallel universes that we see in TANDEM was a bit hard for me to grasp at first, but I actually blame that on myself. We go from Sasha’s world — Earth as we know it today — to Princess Juliana’s world, an alternative universe in which the Last Common Event (or LCE) with our world was hundreds of years ago. My issue was that I was having a hard time picturing the world as modern. The royalty that existed in this universe just really threw me off since most of the books I’ve been reading involving royalty are historical fiction, high fantasy, or a combination of the two. That was just a mental block in my brain and I had a hard time shaking the notion that this alternate universe had a medieval feel because in many ways, it was even more technologically advanced than our own.

Once I really got into the meat of the story, I was so intrigued. Anna Jarzab has thought out not only each world and how they compare but the explanation of how the parallel universes exist, how people can travel between them, and she enables the reader to understand a science as complex this without it being over their head. I really thought she did a fantastic job with all of these technicalities and details. I was so fascinated and easily geeked out over how cool the whole concept was (also believing it to be entirely possible).

TANDEM also has many great plot twists, some of which lead you in gently and others which totally take you by surprise. Sasha’s character becomes invested in something of a mystery which spans throughout the second half of the book. Another twist was a TOTAL shock to me, shaking up the characters’ worlds and mine all at the same time and it totally took the book to the next level!

While TANDEM didn’t 100% knock my socks off, it’s definitely a very solid series starter. I think  the exposition of the book seemed a bit lengthy and took away a bit of my excitement for what I was hoping would be a wild and fast-paced adventure. The story absolutely picked up but I feel like I’m getting more and more frustrated with books that have slow beginnings. I was hoping to be immediately pulled into the story and it just took me a while to get there. I’d still definitely recommend it but just be aware that it may take you a little bit to get into it!

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Sasha // Character Obsessions: Returning home, her Juliana connection, Thomas.
Sasha was an interesting main character because her predicament is so unique. She essentially gets kidnapped and taken through the tandem to Juliana and Thomas’ world, being forced to impersonate Juliana in her absence. She definitely doesn’t have an easy time in Aurora and I felt really bad for her. I admired her strength and bravery trying to be convincing as another person because I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to do that! (Although the way her whole connection with Juliana worked, it wasn’t AS hard.) I wouldn’t say we turned out to be best friends, but I really admired a lot of her qualities.
Thomas // Character Obsessions: His duty as a KES agent, protecting Juliana/Sasha, secret missions.
I actually liked Thomas a lot. Maybe it’s just because I love a good tortured soul… My heart goes out to him — What can I say? I really, really enjoyed his interactions with Sasha and how their friendship/relationship developed. He was very dedicated — both to his job and to Sasha. And Juliana as well — and what was interesting was that being true to each one of those didn’t always lie on the same side. Several times Thomas had to make tough choices and decide which person or job took priority.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Science Fiction. PARALELL UNIVERSES, GUYS. This is the kind of sci-fi that I just eat up. Anna Jarzab’s explanation of the worlds and the analogs was totally fascinating and HELLOOOOOO, I need book two like, right now.
Left Me Wanting More: Initial excitement. I must say that the beginning was slow for me. I understand that a book can’t be exciting every single second, but slow starts are really starting to bum me out. I think an exciting beginning is important to really pull me in so it was just hard to get the motivation to read until I got there.

Addiction Rating
Read & Recommend It!

I think TANDEM was an excellent beginning to the Many-Worlds trilogy and I’m so excited for more. I had a couple hang-ups that didn’t make it a totally stellar read for me but it was super interesting and another one of those books where I feel like with everything set up, book two will be even better!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE TANDEM

(Click the cover to see my review!)

          Time Between us           Just Like Fate