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Where Futures End – Parker Peevyhouse

Where Futures End – Parker PeevyhouseTitle: Where Futures End by Parker Peevyhouse
Publishing Info: February 9, 2016 by Penguin
Source: Publisher, Borrowed from Hoopla
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Parallel Universe
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 6, 2016

Five teens.
Five futures.
Two worlds.
One ending.
One year from now, Dylan develops a sixth sense that allows him to glimpse another world.
Ten years from now, Brixney must get more hits on her social media feed or risk being stuck in a debtors' colony.
Thirty years from now, Epony scrubs her entire online profile from the web and goes “High Concept.”
Sixty years from now, Reef struggles to survive in a city turned virtual gameboard.
And more than a hundred years from now, Quinn uncovers the alarming secret that links them all.
Five people, divided by time, will determine the fate of us all. These are stories of a world bent on destroying itself, and of the alternate world that might be its savior--unless it's too late.

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Wow, that was so incredibly disappointing. Even after finishing, I’m not sure what the point of this book was. I was excited because it featured four different points in time, all tying back to one specific concept but the different time periods were truly pointless. I’m even more disappointed because I actually liked the very first POV of Dylan and his discovery of The Other Place. I would have read a whole book about that in itself and I think that’s how this book really should have gone because the switches to different times left literally everything undeveloped. It wasn’t enough time to get to know new characters, it wasn’t enough time to get to know new times, and it wasn’t nearly enough time to understand how The Other Place connected to these time periods other than brief encounters that some of the characters had. There was absolutely no point to the 10 years from now and 30 years from now time periods. The 60 didn’t really have much more substance either, I guess, but it had a virtual reality concept that I enjoyed given my experience with books like READY PLAYER ONE and a Sanderson novella, Perfect State. 100 years from now tied back into The Other Place but this was something that could have been developed in an entire story with just Dylan’s POV, all set in today’s time, and it all could have actually been developed. That was truly the only enjoyable part of this story. There’s so much switching around and the new time periods don’t even tell you much about The Other Place, why it’s so important, and what its actual connection is with our world.

I would have actually read Dylan’s whole story and I think that WOULD have been a great book. It had a Neverending Story kind of feel (I’m sure I was influenced by their mention of it but it really did have that feel for me) and his story was clearly the most important. There was a lot to explore and set up and build there and the author chose instead to push the meat and potatoes of the book aside and start exploring new worlds. I think maybe those future worlds would have made good novellas to supplement Dylan’s story, or even a series with these being sequels or companions… But for the love of all that is good, don’t abandon something so important like that. The other time periods weren’t even interesting. They were surface stories that didn’t go anywhere, setting up romances to watch them fall, celebrity fame, egos… I mean, it didn’t even connect to the Other Place other than some interactions with the people and mentions of people going back and forth. There was little to no reason for these characters to be main characters in the story and they barely interacted with the important parts of the plot. They were shallow characters, shallow stories, and really not for me.

This book was kind of fanta-sci (a fantasy and sci-fi mix) but I don’t feel like that concept was structured well. It was fantasy in the sense that the Other Place was made to feel like a fantasy world — magic, forests, mages, water nymphs, creatures, etc — and yet it was also described as an alternate universe. So is it a magical world made real or is it a real world that we create into fantasies? It was all a little fuzzy. I wouldn’t say this alternate world has to be like ours, because you can’t expect all universes to be like ours, but the author didn’t seem to really distinguish exactly what it really was and kind of waffled back and forth, especially with the mix of calling the people from the other world “aliens”. I can see why aliens would be an appropriate term but it also didn’t quite feel right. The different futures also added to the sci-fi feel but then it even extended into dystopian as the futures progress and the readers see such a decline of our own world. And Dylan’s portion in the beginning was sort of magical realism meets sci-fi… so it was just all very muddy.

When it comes down to it, I’m mostly just so disappointed in how everything was so underdeveloped. When a seasoned reader can’t even tell you the point of the story when the book is over, that’s not a good thing. I needed to spend so much more time with the Other Place to really understand it and even just understand why this story about it was important. Sure, okay, it was important because in the end, it severely impacts our world but why? How? It was just kind of told that this is what it is and this is what happens but there was no detail how things worked, why our world was connected, or even why the Other Place affected our world so much.

Mostly, I just didn’t enjoy the writing. I can sometimes overlook plot holes or lack of details if I’m enjoying a book but pretty much everything except the beginning and end was pointless. Every character except for Dylan was annoying (Reed was okay but his world was still meh). This book was just one giant disappointment when it could have been so good. So much potential and not put to good use.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Fantasci. This book was kind of a mash-up of fantasy and sci-fi… with some magical realism feels? It was interesting but I did wish for more clarification.
Left Me Wanting More: Of one story. Just when things got going in one character’s story, the story switched to a new one. It was really frustrating, felt under developed, and didn’t allow me to connect with anyone or anything.

Addiction Rating
Skip it

This book was too all over the place and didn’t come together in the end. I’d say just skip it!

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BOOKS LIKE WHERE FUTURES END

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    INSIGNIA

The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train – Paula HawkinsTitle: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Publishing Info: January 13, 2015 by Penguin
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 29, 2016

EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

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After much anticipation, I finally picked up THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN! I totally see the GONE GIRL comparison but I also liked that the book did go in a very different direction. There are so many thrillers nowadays that compare to big titles and they’re big shoes to fill! I wasn’t as blown away by GONE GIRL as some but I did enjoy the many twists and not knowing what to expect. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN had that same sort of feel but the ending actually felt a bit more predictable.

It was really interesting to see the many unreliable narrators in this book (always a fan) and I was always kept on my toes because I was never quite sure who or what to believe! That does create a problem sometimes because I love these sorts of thrillers so I always start to form some wild accusation in my head, and sometimes I like my theories better than the actual book. Not all books can have endings so wild, though, because otherwise it’d be really played out and we’d all expect twists all the time and be able to guess them all! THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN still had a nice twist at the end, mostly putting all the pieces together, but it wasn’t as twisty as I anticipated. I enjoyed that it wasn’t what I expected but I felt after that whole book that it lost a little excitement towards the reveal and I really wasn’t a fan of the villain speech to reveal it all.

I wasn’t super duper in love with the book and yet I really couldn’t put this book down. I was so interested and hooked and I loved the mystery and suspense of it all. The unreliable narrators were great and I actually really enjoyed the writing style, with different POV switches as well as those POVs taking place at different points in time. It was really interesting to see it all come together in the end and I actually appreciate that the narrators were unreliable but in a very realistic and somewhat relatable way.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN is a very solid mystery and thriller and I can see why it captivated so many people! It really is a great GONE GIRL comparison and it allows readers to step into a relatable role and still distance themselves from these specific experiences. I’m really glad I finally read it!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Rachel // Character obsessions: Her ex-husband, the couple she can see from the train, solving the mystery.
I felt bad for Rachel and not all at the same time. She put herself into so many horrible positions and being an alcoholic made things so, so much worse… And yet she was also incredibly relatable at times. I’m sure a lot of us can relate to those missing pieces of fuzziness after a night of drinking and it just makes you think how much it can truly affect your life after continuing on like that on a consistent basis, and Rachel’s drinking messed up her life on so many levels. It was an interesting tool to use for an unreliable narrator though because it’s something where you’re able to see that a character has missing pieces or false information and it’s not cheesy or a psychological factor after a big reveal. Readers are able to see that Rachel is pretty unreliable and yet she was one to root for to pull her life together.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Adult mystery/thrillers. Adult mysteries were my bread and butter when I first started blogging and it’s always fun to jump back into that world!
Left Me Wanting More: Twists. I know I said I was happy the twist wasn’t overdone but it’s also hard when you’re expecting something huge and it’s not as huge as you thought it was. The ending was definitely still enjoyable but didn’t have that “omg” factor that shot it up to five stars for me.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you liked GONE GIRL, this is a serious and legit recommendation for you! If not, the book certainly stands on its own two feet and also has plenty of differences.

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BOOKS LIKE THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

GONE GIRL    THE good girl

Thieving Weasels – Billy Taylor

Thieving Weasels – Billy TaylorTitle: Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor
Publishing Info: August 23, 2016 by Penguin
Source: Publisher
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Heists/Spies/Espionage
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 29, 2016

Cameron Smith attends an elite boarding school and has just been accepted to Princeton University alongside his beautiful girlfriend, Claire. Life for Cameron would be perfect, except that Cameron Smith is actually Skip O’Rourke, and Skip O’Rourke ran away from his grifter family four years ago…along with $100,000 of their “earnings” (because starting a new life is not cheap). But when his uncle Wonderful tracks him down, Skip’s given an ultimatum: come back to the family for one last con, or say good-bye to life as Cameron.
“One last con” is easier said than done when Skip’s family is just as merciless (and just as manipulative) as they’ve always been, and everyone around him is lying. Skip may have given up on crime, but there’s one lesson he hasn’t forgotten: always know your mark. And if you don’t know who your mark is . . . it’s probably you.
Witty and irresistibly readable, this standout debut will always keep you guessing.

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THIEVING WEASELS was a bit different than I anticipated but really in a good way. From the cover, I thought it was going to be a lot goofier and really slapstick but it was actually a lot more serious and realistic than I thought! The book was pretty entertaining, even though it wasn’t what I expected and I really appreciated that it was a bit more on the serious side.

It really became quite the complicated thing with the book being more realistic than I thought because I ended up not being able to write off some things for the sake of comedy. For example, I was left wanting just a bit more character development for the tone of the book. Some of the family members kind of blended together (could also have been the narration too since they all had the same accent) but even from main character Skip, I wanted just a bit more emotion or connection. I think if it had been more of a slapstick style, I wouldn’t have minded as much because it would have been a “fluffier” read but just from the overall tone of how everything went, I think I needed just a bit more backstory or a few more anecdotes or digging a little deeper into the main characters.

I really liked the that the story had some twists! It kept me on my feet and it was really interesting to see where the story went. I wasn’t even sure how it would end when it was so close to being over so that was fun! I always really appreciate when I’m not able to guess the ending of a book because as an avid reader, you tend to be able to guess certain things just from reading all the time, so I really appreciated the direction the book took towards the end.

Overall though, it just really didn’t knock me off my feet. I love the surprises and overall feel of a con/heist story. The book was really fun but it just really wasn’t a stick-with-you kind of book. It did keep my attention and was a very quick read (or listen, if you do the audio like I did) but it was kind of middle of the road for me.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Source: Digital review copy from Listening Library
Narrator: Robbie Daymond
Performance: Decent

The audio for this book was decent but not stellar. This was the first I had heard from Robbie Daymond and while I did like his voice in general, I didn’t feel like he did a very good job with differentiating of the different characters. There were a lot of other male characters and they all had the same type of accent and same tone of voice so that got kind of confusing at times. I probably won’t search out more from him but if he happens to narrate another book I’m interested in, I also wouldn’t say no.

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Skip // Character obsessions: Honesty, school, his girlfriend.
Skip is the honest one in a family of cons and this was a really fun concept! I wish I did get to know him a little bit more and have him feel like a more rounded character but I did enjoy what I got to know of him. The poor kid gets put in some really tight spots, especially by family members, and I really appreciated how he handled them.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Con stories. Skip’s family is entirely con artists and I just love stories about cons/heists, etc. I felt so bad for him since they put him in a lot of tight places but it was also really fun to see different cons and how that shaped the story!
Left Me Wanting More: Personality. I thought the characters could have really had more personality.

Addiction Rating
Consider it

If you’re a fan of cons, this is an easy and quick read! It was fun and kept me on my toes but it also wasn’t a book that stuck with me. Depends on what kind of read you’re in the mood for!

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BOOKS LIKE THIEVING WEASELS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

HEIST SOCIETY    ALSO KNOWN AS

The Magicians (The Magicians #1) – Lev Grossman

The Magicians (The Magicians #1) – Lev GrossmanTitle: The Magicians (The Magicians #1) Publishing Info: August 11, 2009 by Penguin
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 9, 2016

Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn't real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn't bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin's yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they'd imagined.

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I had heard so many things about THE MAGICIANS before starting the book and naturally with the TV show having been out for quite some time, it was on my radar, piquing my curiosity. I purchased the audiobook through an Audible sale and when I was in the particular mood for it, it was finally time start it! I wasn’t totally sure how it would go since the TV show seems to be a little different (well, now that I’ve read it) so I had an idea in my head. I was happy and surprised at how the book turned out!

I loved the vibes and overall feeling right off the bat. It’s really Harry Potter meets Narnia for adults, so the comparisons really do kind of hold up there! The Harry Potter feel is much more in the beginning with a hidden magical school and an entire society of magicians that the “regular human” world doesn’t know anything about. I didn’t think the Narnia part would hold up, aside from the fictitious childhood favorite book of the characters, but then it really came in strong in the ending! I really got hooked on the overall vibe of the book and was left wanting to immediately continue the series! There were a few things that I thought we could have done without here and there but overall, it was an engaging read and quite different than your stereotypical or trope-y fantasy/magic school story. I really loved the adult feel to it (although some moments felt somewhat unnecessary) but I always love the feel of a childhood favorite that now has an adult edge. It’s fun to see characters learning about a magical school in an older setting and how differently things are handled as older teens/new adults.

I think my one real “hang-up” about the book is that it was quite piece-y. The book was a lot of moments of the school year (to start with, adult life later on) all put together, but unlike in other books that deal with long periods of time, this book didn’t quite flow like I had hoped. BUT there were plenty of interesting and quite shocking moments that really kept me interested and these moments really did end up bringing the book together. I think the book spanned a longer period of time than I had expected and I was surprised how quickly it jumped all the way through Quentin’s entire school career. I knew this was more of an adult book but I had expected the schooling part to be more drawn out. It was actually really interesting though… sort of a line between a children’s/MG/young adult magical novel and an adult magical novel. The focus is quite different and looking back on it, I think it’s neat to see the different perspective that an overall plot arc might have with the final result on a character becoming an adult instead of just the years of school.

The ending was not what I was expecting but it was quite good! After a few lulls from random bits of time at school, I wasn’t quite sure where the book would even end up… But it really all did come together in the end! This was one of those things that I probably should have seen coming but I TOTALLY DIDN’T and it was awesome. It also definitely left things open for the next book and sure had me itching to pick up book two! I’ll have to find some time to sit down with this one since it’s a longer audio but I definitely want to continue on!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Adult Fiction. I read some adult fantasy from time to time but it’s really more high fantasy than anything. This was a fun way to branch out my adult reading into a fantasy with a bit more realism.
Left Me Wanting More: Plot connection. My one big wish for this book is that it had flowed a bit more. Everything was sequential but it really felt choppy and I wished things had felt more cohesive.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

Even if you don’t read a lot of adult, I think this could be a really good crossover for YA fans. The magical school really helps bring in fans of Harry Potter and there is that total Narnia connection later on!

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BOOKS LIKE THE MAGICIANS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS

Kids of Appetite – David Arnold

Kids of Appetite – David ArnoldTitle: Kids of Appetite by David Arnold
Publishing Info: September 20, 2016 by Penguin
Source: Publisher
Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 19, 2016

Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father.
It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it.
But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.

This is a story about:

1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love.

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I should have guessed that I’d be a little bit of a black sheep on this one. I know so many people who rave about David Arnold and though I still haven’t read MOSQUITOLAND yet, I did get to meet David Arnold last year at Anderson’s YA Lit Conference and he was just so delightful! I was really excited to receive a copy of KIDS OF APPETITE from the publisher (I actually received an ARC from Penguin Random House and audio from Listening Library) for review and for participation in the blog tour.

It wasn’t that I disliked KIDS OF APPETITE. It was very well-written, clever (especially the way the ending tied up), and displayed some really beautiful friendships… But I know that I’m not in the right place in my life to read this book. I’ve been avoiding more “serious” contemporary novels as of late as a personal preference and prefer lighter, fluffier contemporary novels to balance out some more serious things in my life right now so I just didn’t appreciate some of the heavier moments in KIDS OF APPETITE that others may connect or sympathize with.

It was a little bit of a style clash too. There were just little things in the book that went against the grain of what I connect with as a reader that really stood out to me. There was just something about this group of kids that I just can’t put my finger on that I just really didn’t connect with. Maybe it was the audiobook narrators that played into that a little bit but despite the detailed character histories, uniqueness, and diversity, I just had a hard time feeling like I really connected with them and I’m not sure why. Then there were little things like the many, many instances of repetition that really got under my skin. I just really hate when things are repeated over and over again and I know that it’s like a mantra but Vic’s “super racehorse” was repeated way too much and it started to bother me. Again, a personal preference that just happened to clash with this book.

I also just never really got into the book overall. I think it was almost too much for me. There was a lot going on which wasn’t BAD but I don’t know… I just didn’t quite connect with everything. Like the characters were somehow too distant for me to connect with or our personalities didn’t mesh. Everything came together really, really well and I was expecting how everything really clicked into place so that was really awesome! The writing was really quite good but I think it just isn’t quite my style, or at least not something that I’m looking for at this point in time. What’s even more sad is that now I don’t feel the pull to read MOSQUITOLAND since I didn’t quite connect with this book.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Source: Digital review copy from Listening Library
Narrator: Phoebe Strole, Michael Crouch, Ryan Vincent Anderson
Performance: Very good

The narrators weren’t my favorites but I still think they did a very good job with this book! I didn’t quite connect to the as much as I had hoped, though. I think there wasn’t as much energy and enthusiasm for each character like I always hope for and for some reason the narration for all of them just fell a little flat. It probably didn’t help that I wasn’t super connected to the story though. I’d be interested in trying more of Phoebe Strole’s narrations but I wasn’t super sold on Michael Crouch which is a shame because I think a lot of people like him!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Bands of misfits. I really loved how this group of kids really came together because of their many differences. I love with “misfits” form their own group/gang and seeing how their relationships grow because of their uniqueness!
Left Me Wanting More: Connection. It’s just one of those books for me, I guess. I think maybe it was just too much in a few too many ways and it just wasn’t my personal favorite style.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

I may or may not be a good resource for you on this. I know some people who have felt the same way and we are just the people who don’t jive here… But I have MANY friends who absolutely loved it. Check out your trusty reviewers and see what they had to say!!

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BOOKS LIKE KIDS OF APPETITE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    we are the ants

Kids of Appetite Blog Tour | Book Recommendations for Characters

banner Welcome to the blog tour for
Kids of Appetite by David Arnold!

I am so excited to be on the blog tour for KIDS OF APPETITE by David Arnold! I was so excited to dive into this book because I’ve heard nothing but good things about David Arnold and his books! Thanks to Penguin Random House for having me be a part of this blog tour!

For today’s blog tour post, I’m sharing some book recommendations for the characters! I always take pride in giving out book recommendations and I think it’s so much fun to wonder what books these characters might like, especially with one character being a reader! (Or at least obsessed with one book) Check out my selections below — and no worries! There are no spoilers for KIDS OF APPETITE!

VICTOR

Victor is one of the main characters in KIDS OF APPETITE and admittedly is not a reader. For Victor’s book recs, I opted for reads that deal with more close-to-real-life events that he might relate to. I didn’t think Vic would like reading fantasy or sci-fi or if he might end up enjoying them someday, they’re not the books to throw a non-reader into, as thrilling as they might be. I tried to pick books that Victor might either relate to or connect to on a broader level and that wouldn’t be super long or intimidating.
I also chose some books for him that I thought he’d appreciate for the beauty in their asymmetry.

  • The Smaller Evil by Stephanie Kuehn | A quick read, a gripping concept, and a kid just trying to find his place within a group
  • When We Collided by Emery Lord | The loss of a father and two unique souls finding each other in a complicated world
  • The Distance from Me to You by Marina Gessner | I thought Vic might appreciate the reality and true setting of this book! It’s also a book about finding yourself and gaining confidence.
  • Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson | Maybe not quite Vic’s style but I thought he would connect with the concept of following a list left behind by a loved one
  • Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick | This totally seems like a Vic book. It’s a story about traveling souls and has all of the heart that he so loves about his father. It’s also one of the most unique books I’ve ever read and I think Victor would appreciate its depth, writing style, and content
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein | I think Vic would appreciate some historial fiction. CODE NAME VERITY is one of the best historical fiction books I’ve read and although it’s not short, I couldn’t put it down. I think he’d stay hooked and even as a non-reader, he’d be interested.

MAD

Mad is a reader, at least when it comes to THE OUTSIDERS. I think she’d appreciate similar books or similar concepts, as well as books that show the connection between characters and strong bonds.

  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo | Mad loves THE OUTSIDERS and even though SIX OF CROWS is a fantasy, I think she’d love the kids of The Dregs and everything their stories/histories encompass.
  • We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson | I don’t know why but I just get a feeling that Mad would like WE ARE THE ANTS. This is one of those book recommendations that I make not necessarily on content but on an over all feel/vibe and I just see this one clicking with Mad.
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven | This is another feel/vibe recommendation and I really like the connection that occurs between Violet and Finch when they both grasp onto that connection between each other. It reminds me a little of Vic and Mad in a way.
  • This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales | I think Mad would love Elise and her story of pursuing what she really loves, marching to the beat of her own drum, and finding friends in unexpected places.
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell | Aside from the fact that I think she could enjoy the book, FANGIRL has a specific OUTSIDERS scene and she would gobble that right up!
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman | IF I STAY is a story about love, loss, friendship, and tough decisions. I think Mad could appreciate all of these things.

COCO

I don’t know if Coco would be interested in reading so I tried to choose books for her that I think would hold her attention, characters she could root for, and books that incorporated a lot of action! Coco seems like a sponge, eager to soak up knowledge and I can really see her getting into exciting action sequences!

  • Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce | I recently read ALANNA and I think it would be a fun book for Coco! With Coco being that gap between middle grade and young adult, I think ALANNA would be such a fun book and series to grow with.
  • Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech | WALK TWO MOONS may be a little more serious than I’d normally suggest for Coco but it’s such a beautiful story and I think she could relate to Sal, who ends up finding out information about her family — specifically her parents — along the way.
  • The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan | THE RED PYRAMID is such a fun book and I can totally see Coco going for action/adventure/fantasy. She has a curious mind and I can see her imagination running wild with this adventure! Plus, main character Sadie is so sassy, Coco would just love it.
  • Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead | I think Coco could also read up to some young adult books! She’s very mature for her age and has a lot of world experience already that has forced her to grow up qucikly. I chose VAMPIRE ACADEMY because I think she’d love Rose and I can totally see her cheering on these characters in their quests!
  • Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard | I also think SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY would be a fun book for Coco! It’s a young adult read that easily encompasses all ages, has action and adventure, and Eleanor is a great heroine who doesn’t take crap from anyone.
  • Also Known As by Robin Benway | I could totally see Coco getting into spy/espionage novels! ALSO KNOWN AS is so much fun, has a great main character, is smart and sassy, and as a bonus, it takes place in New York.

BAZ

Baz is an interesting character for book recommendations! Being that he’s compiling his own book, I think he’d be interested in checking out different writing styles. I also think he’s extremely interested in personal connections, friendships, and situations that better people’s lives. The books I chose for him were ones I think he’d appreciate on various levels and offer strong bonds as well as deep lessons.

  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell | Baz is sort of the caretaker for the Kids of Appetite and I think he’d really appreciate this beautiful friendship between Eleanor and Park and how the whole story starts because Park just wanted to reach out to Eleanor.
  • The Lies About Truth by Courtney C. Stevens | I love this book for Baz because of its depth and the complicated friendships detailed throughout the book. It’s also one book that I remember specifically for its characters and how real they felt and I think Baz would appreciate this reality of bringing people to live in a novel.
  • Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine KuderickStardust by Neil GaimanBeauty Queens by  Libba Bray | These may seem like odd choices but since Baz is pursuing a writer career (or more specifically, writing a specific book), I like all of these suggestions to really give him a taste of different literary styles! KISS OF BROKEN GLASS is a story written in verse. STARDUST is a modern novel with a fairy tale feel. BEAUTY QUEENS is a great example of satire (and I’m sure some of those girls would remind him of Coco’s spunk)!
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry | I think Baz would love THE GIVER on so many levels. It’s the perfect story to show how a Utopian enviroment isn’t always what it appears, amazing love for a family that is not blood-related, a strong mentor bond, and all of the lessons that Jonas learns along his journey.

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Don’t forget to check out he rest of the KIDS OF APPETITE blog tour! All the stops are listed below and each blog has something special in store!

Week One:
Monday, 9/19: Owl Always Be Reading (Review)
Tuesday, 9/20: Bookish Lifestyle (Top 5 Reasons to Read KoA)
Wednesday, 9/21: Perpetual Page Turner (Interview)
Thursday, 9/22: YA Bibliophile (Review)
Friday, 9/23: Fiction Fare (Favorite KoA Quotes)
Week Two:
Monday, 9/26: Bookiemoji (CYO KoA Group of Misfits)
Tuesday, 9/27: Here’s to Happy Endings (Review)
Wednesday, 9/28: Grownup Fangirl (Review + Instagram)
Thursday, 9/29: Book Addict’s Guide (Review)
Friday, 9/30: ButterMyBooks (KoA Bookish Scents)
Week Three:
Monday, 10/3: YA Wednesdays (What Makes You a KoA)
Tuesday, 10/4: Lost in Lit (KoA Lookbook/Mood Board)
Wednesday, 10/5: MundieMoms (KoA Playlist)
Thursday, 10/6: Andi’s ABCs (Review)
Friday, 10/7: Bookworm Everlasting (Review + Instagram)

Thanks so much for taking the time to check out the blog tour for KIDS OF APPETITE! I had so much fun picking out these book recommendations and I would hope the characters would love them! What would be your book recommendations for the KOA crew? 

The Smaller Evil – Stephanie Kuehn

The Smaller Evil – Stephanie KuehnTitle: The Smaller Evil by Stephanie Kuehn
Publishing Info: August 2, 2016 by Penguin
Source: Publisher
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 28, 2016

17-year-old Arman Dukoff is struggling with severe anxiety and a history of self-loathing when he arrives at an expensive self-help retreat in the remote hills of Big Sur. He’s taken a huge risk—and two-thousand dollars from his meth-head stepfather—for a chance to "evolve," as Beau, the retreat leader, says.
Beau is complicated. A father figure? A cult leader? A con man? Arman's not sure, but more than anyone he's ever met, Beau makes Arman feel something other than what he usually feels—worthless.
The retreat compound is secluded in coastal California mountains among towering redwoods, and when the iron gates close behind him, Arman believes for a moment that he can get better. But the program is a blur of jargon, bizarre rituals, and incomprehensible encounters with a beautiful girl. Arman is certain he's failing everything. But Beau disagrees; he thinks Arman has a bright future—though he never says at what.
And then, in an instant Arman can't believe or totally recall, Beau is gone. Suicide? Or murder? Arman was the only witness and now the compound is getting tense. And maybe dangerous.
As the mysteries and paradoxes multiply and the hints become accusations, Arman must rely on the person he's always trusted the least: himself.

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I actually received THE SMALLER EVIL to review in two forms — a hardcover from Penguin and an audiobook from The Listening Library. Since I’ve been slow to read my physical forms, I quickly started up the audio in the hopes of a fast and fierce thriller that would keep me on the edge of my seat! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from THE SMALLER EVIL but the book was surely unique from my usual reads.

I’ve heard that Stephanie Kuehn incorporates an interesting, twisty side to her novels and that was definitely true for THE SMALLER EVIL. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, though. I tend to go into books (mostly) blind and usually this enhances my reading experience but sometimes the books catch me by surprise. THE SMALLER EVIL caught me a little by surprise since I didn’t realize exactly what the plot entailed. This was definitely more of a cult-feel although the group that Arman becomes involved with is never really blatantly called a cult (though it is speculated later in Arman’s stream of consciousness) but that’s what I’m calling it and the atmosphere was just … weird. I have a hard time with cults and too many times I just wanted to shake these people like, “What are you thinking??” I think it’s just something that’s hard for me to read about and doesn’t make for the most exciting topic since it’s frustrating!

There were several moments in the book that I thought didn’t need to be as extreme as they were — from random sexual encounters to moments of panic to character details — there were a few things that were just over the top that I didn’t quite buy into. This was my first book of Stephanie Kuehn’s and I was hoping I’d love that dark and twisty feel but this was not the way I expected it to come out. I was hoping for more psychological thriller that messed with my head and instead I was mostly just confused. It was thrilling and the book did mess with me a little bit but then things quickly fizzled out again once they got twisty. I was excited for a massive twist but it didn’t quite happen.

The ending was mostly disappointing. Some things were wrapped up but mostly I felt like I didn’t know why this whole thing happened. Yes, Arman grew and learned from this experience but why this experience? Why a cult? The things that were grandiose weren’t the things that I wanted to be large and then the places I hoped for something big to happen, it just didn’t. I felt like there were missed opportunities and the story just really didn’t quite come together for me.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Source: Received for review from Listening Library
Narrator: Ryan Gessel
Performance: Pretty decent but I didn’t really fall in love

This was the first narration I’ve heard from Ryan Gessel and it was a good performance. Nothing outstanding, not one of my favorites, but it was a solid narration and his voice was very pleasant to listen to but I didn’t feel like he got a lot of emotion into the book. His narration was kind of flat so I wasn’t super engaged but it wasn’t enough that I got bored. I probably wouldn’t actively seek out books that he narrates but I’d definitely be up for another one if it was a book I wanted to read! view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Fast-paced thrillers. I kind of love when books are short and to the point. It’s exciting to see a book that’s shorter and doesn’t need to be filled with extra stuff just to fill the pages. I loved that THE SMALLER EVIL was a very quick read!
Left Me Wanting More: Connection. I didn’t feel like this book connected. One moment things were starting to make sense and then it was back to confusion, but not in the way that I normally like thrilers. I like to be confused but in a sense that a twist has gotten me. I was mostly just feeling like this book was all over the place and I had no idea how it came togehter.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

I wouldn’t outright recommend it but I also wouldn’t say entirely skip it. I think if you see elements of the book that you might enjoy and you like this atmosphere, it’s worth the shot. If you’re hesitant, I’d say maybe skip it.

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