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The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) – Rick Yancey

The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) – Rick YanceyTitle: The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) by Rick Yancey
Publishing Info: May 24, 2016 by Penguin
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Apocalyptic
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 2, 2017
Related Posts: The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1), The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2)

The enemy is Other. The enemy is us.

They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us.

But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.

In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves…or saving what makes us human.

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** This review will contain spoilers for the book! To view with spoiler tags and avoid any direct plot points, please see my review on Goodreads! **

My initial reaction to this book was… What did I even just read???
So to give this book the benefit, I did not look up what had happened in THE INFINITE SEA before starting it so I know I was missing a few things that had happened in book two, but I was kind of hoping it would all come pouring back once I started. (It did not.) I did finally watch THE 5TH WAVE movie a few months ago so at least I had that refresher of how it all started.

I’ve always had a hard time with Evan because I just like… really didn’t want Cassie to be in love with an alien… But the whole series it’s like, is he? Is he not? What in the world is going on?! That’s part of the appeal of the whole series — we never truly know — but I felt like I was jerked around for so long that I just didn’t believe anything anymore and I ended up feeling more numb towards the big, final answer because I wasn’t going to believe it no matter what happened. I was also Team Ben so as much as I got pushed toward Evan as a love interest the whole series, I wasn’t having it.

The book was slow and didn’t seem to move the plot forward much at all. Most of the true action and plot development happened in the last few chapters of the book, and they were also quite confusing. It felt like so much was jammed into the end of the book that I was trying to sort it all out at once instead of being given little kernels of information that I could apply to the series as it came to a close.

There were a lot of perspectives which didn’t bother me but I also think that things could have been a lot more concise and cohesive and better told through a few less. The addition of Ringer as a main perspective always felt a little off to me and I kiiiiind of wish her character had been rolled up into Cassie and allowed Cassie to stay in the spotlight with the romance and the badassery. I get why it was necessary, as far as the end of the plot went, but meh. Not a fan.

I also hated what was done to Ringer’s character. It seemed messy in so many ways, like there were so many ideas and they couldn’t be done to Cassie so let’s do them ALL to Ringer. There was a pregnancy story like which WHAT? UGH. Why was that even necessary? (It wasn’t.) It just felt so off and it didn’t do anything for the book except make me annoyed. I guess like, let’s preserve humanity and rebuild the world but ugh, that could have been accomplished with Sam and Megan. I also really just hate pregnancy story lines so I’m totally biased but I just didn’t feel like it fit at all. 

The whole book felt sloppy and confusing and like it got way too far from the first book, which I loved so much. The tone, pacing, and direction felt totally different (although I’m sure that was the master plan all along, but it didn’t feel like it) and some of the ending was so cheesy. I hate the “love is the answer” plot because it’s cheesy and overdone. It’s also STUPID in this book because if the aliens had been studying the humans for oh, thousands of years, HOW COULD THEY NOT HAVE TAKEN LOVE INTO ACCOUNT. If they’re that smart to mastermind this whole thing, even if aliens don’t understand a love emotion, it can be observed and people’s actions can be explained by it. Nope. Not buying it. I also know that I was doing other things while listening to this audio but what in the world even happened in the end? So what was the answer!? That’s a tough thing with being intentionally misled and redirected so many times — even the reader starts to wonder what’s real anymore, even if the truth is presented plainly. The characters still had doubts so that made me continue doubting. I don’t even know if I understand what the whole point was…

I’m glad I finished the series because it’s been on my shelf for so long but man, I haven’t been this confused and frustrated by a series finale in a while. I’m not even mad because I was already sort of detached (okay, I’m a little mad) but the biggest disappointment comes from loving the first book in a series and by the end, you feel like you can’t even recommend that series anymore. What a letdown.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Aliens, I guess. I enjoyed that this was an alien series that didn’t really feel so alien and far-fetched. Except for this book, where it felt totally far-fetched.
Left Me Wanting More: Conclusion. I just… I was so disappointed. This wasn’t what I expected at all and this whole series fell apart. I feel sad because I was one of those people who loved the second book where so many others didn’t and it ended up falling apart in the next book anyway.

Addiction Rating
If you’ve made it this far, might as well read it?

This isn’t a long book so if you’ve already read the first two, maybe worth finishing the series… But I’d still have a hard time recommending it and I don’t feel like I can even recommend the series now.

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BOOKS LIKE THE LAST STAR

          

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) – Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) – Kendare BlakeTitle: Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake
Publishing Info: October 17, 2011 by Macmillan, Tor Books
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Young Adult, Ghosts, Horror, Paranormal
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 30, 2017
Related Posts: Antigoddess (Antigoddess #1), Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1)

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas's life.

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I actually tried to read this book, oh about four or five years ago, and decided it was too scary because I hate reading ghost stories but so many people had talked about the book that I had wanted to give it a try. I figured now that I’m braver and decided to read it NOT in the dark, NOT home alone, and NOT in a very old apartment that it would take away some of the fear factor and really… it’s not a scary book at all. ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD has some gory and creepy moments but it’s more about the story of Anna and how she came to be, Cas and his family, and the friendships that form, rather than the fear.

The book was fun but it didn’t really pull me in. I liked Cas and enjoyed his point of view but the plot just didn’t quite work for me, which seems to be kind of a pattern with Kendare Blake’s books for me. I didn’t really care about the ending and didn’t really like where the story went. I felt like it would have been a better stand-alone, making this more about Cas and Anna’s story rather than Cas’s family and his history (for once I don’t want character backstory!). Even though there were a lot of things leading up to the conclusion, it still seemed to veer off in a different direction and just didn’t seem to fit the rest of the book.

It was a fun read but I don’t think I’ll pick up the second book. I’m glad I “faced my fears” and tried it again because it really wasn’t scary at all! I had just put myself in a spooky place when I first tried to read it and barely made it anywhere because I freaked myself out with a spooky setting, so I’m really glad I attempted this book again. I feel silly for being scared before but I guess I concocted the perfect storm for a fear factor the first time around!

The audiobook narrator was also very meh. He had breaths and pauses in weird places (the middle of sentences) and didn’t have very good accents at all. Anna’s Finnish accent was more Russian and no one had a Canadian accent or even a hint of one despite the fact that the book took place in Canada. I mean, all Canadians don’t have to have a strong, pronounced accent but I do notice the vowel changes a lot with my own Canadian friends so I guess I expected the same here. His voices for the other guys were like, no one’s voice ever in real life, and the girls were overdone and stereotypical, so that didn’t enhance my reading experience like some audiobook narrators can do.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Ghost stories?! I can handle ghosts in books as long as it’s not in a scary capacity. I tend to freak myself out when reading scary ghost books but I’ve read quite a few books where ghosts appear in a less threatening capacity. Anna got a little creepy in this book but Cas’s interaction with her calmed it down.
Left Me Wanting More: Focus. I felt like the focus strayed, which is silly considering that was the end point all along… So I guess I was looking for the “twist” of the end to play a bigger role in the rest of the book so it didn’t feel like we were talking about two different things.

Addiction Rating
Consider it

ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD was a quick and fun Halloween-time read. It didn’t impress me a lot but I had a good time reading it and while it was middle-of-the-road for me, I’m still glad I read it. I probably won’t read the second book, especially the way that it ended, so I can’t really recommend it but others enjoyed it a lot!

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BOOKS LIKE ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD

          

Review in a Tweet | The Lizzy & Diesel series by Janet Evanovich

REVIEW IN A TWEET is a feature that I need from time to time when I don’t have a ton to say in a review. Sometimes even mini-reviews are too long to write when you finished a book months ago and didn’t write a single note down on Goodreads. But the good news is that I started tweeting and saving very, very mini book reviews thanks to a concept that Lindsey at Bring My Books introduced me to! I’ve saved all of my super duper quick reviews to my timeline and under a hashtag (my 2017 books are under #bookadd17) for my own person way to review all of my books read this year at a glance.

Today’s Review in a Tweet is more Janet Evanovich! I decided to jump into the Lizzy & Diesel series because I’m in such a witchy/magical mood and Halloween/fall seemed like the perfect time to read them! (Yes, I’m already considering it Halloweentime.)

I actually binge-read the first three books in the series (the three that are currently published) but I’ll just post the one tweet and talk about the three of them together!

 

So these books are total brain candy and I love listening to Janet Evanovich books while I’m working. They’re fun, fast, and super easy listening audiobooks! I did like the magic involved here where I didn’t enjoy it when Diesel appeared in the Between the Numbers Stephanie Plum books but so many of Janet’s different series follow the same character patterns and her heroines are really all the same. It’s fun to keep reading them but it doesn’t really differentiate between series and they even use the same catch phrases sometimes.

Either way, I’ll continue to read them because they’re easy and enjoyable! I just know I’m not going to receive anything ground-breaking.

Oh, and I’m so over the monkeys in every series. Why.

Mini-Review: Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23) – Janet Evanovich

Mini-Review: Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23) – Janet EvanovichTitle: Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: November 15, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: November 23, 2016
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: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), 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), Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2), Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1)

In the heart of Trenton, N.J., a killer is out to make sure someone gets his just desserts.
Larry Virgil skipped out on his latest court date after he was arrested for hijacking an eighteen-wheeler full of premium bourbon. Fortunately for bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, Larry is just stupid enough to attempt almost the exact same crime again. Only this time he flees the scene, leaving behind a freezer truck loaded with Bogart ice cream and a dead body—frozen solid and covered in chocolate and chopped pecans.
As fate would have it, Stephanie’s mentor and occasional employer, Ranger, needs her to go undercover at the Bogart factory to find out who’s putting their employees on ice and sabotaging the business. It’s going to be hard for Stephanie to keep her hands off all that ice cream, and even harder for her to keep her hands off Ranger. It’s also going to be hard to explain to Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, why she is spending late nights with Ranger, late nights with Lula and Randy Briggs—who are naked and afraid—and late nights keeping tabs on Grandma Mazur and her new fella. Stephanie Plum has a lot on her plate, but for a girl who claims to have “virtually no marketable skills,” these are the kinds of sweet assignments she does best.

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** Mini-review for TURBO TWENTY-THREE… because once you review one Stephanie Plum book, you sort of review them all! ** 

TURBO TWENTY-THREE was another quick, easy, and fun Stephanie Plum novel! I really appreciate that Janet Evanovich has taken these books a little bit back into the realm of the plausible instead of monkeys-acting-like-humans. Of course, they’re still a little wacky because that is the way of Plum but at least it’s on a believable side again!

This book was a lot of fun, actually. I enjoyed the warring ice cream factory concept and it was funny watching Stephanie try to infiltrate each one, learn the feuds behind the two, and the many different ways to get in trouble in an ice cream factory.

We sort of went backwards again with the love triangle and SIGH. I was so excited to see progress in one direction and now it’s back in the middle. It could be worse because there have been worse love triangles in cozy mysteries that still also haven’t resolved and at least I like Ranger and Morelli both… But it’s been twenty-three books! I’m ready for some resolution on the love triangle thing. I’m getting a bit tired of talking about it but such is life and being a reader of this series!

I do like that I’m really rarely guess the answer to the mysteries! I guess I probably could guess a few if I tried but I love listening to these books on audio because they’re so short and fun and easy to listen to while doing other things. I love zoning out and flowing with these books and it’s great to have a lighter audio!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Ranger. I’m personally Team Morelli in terms of settling down… but darn it, I do still love Ranger. How did I get hooked in a love triangle?
Left Me Wanting More: Commitment. Come onnnn, just choose already!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you’re a fan, keep on going! I do like that things aren’t so silly anymore and hey, they may be all kind of the same but I still enjoy them all the time!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE TURBO TWENTY-THREE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

 size 12 and ready to rock    MURDER UNCORKED

All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) – Ally Carter

All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) – Ally CarterTitle: All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) by Ally Carter
Publishing Info: January 20, 2015 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library, Book Trade
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 31, 2016
Related Posts: Heist Society (Heist Society #1), Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2)

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:
1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.
As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her -- so there's no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.
Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can't control Grace -- no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

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I’m actually really disappointed that this is a new series opener from Ally Carter. I guess I’ve only read two of her books (Heist Society and Uncommon Criminals) but her early books were SO GOOD and this book just fell so flat. I heard it had a bit of a rough start but truly, the whole book felt rough for me.

ALL FALL DOWN felt super repetitive. The story repeating the same five concepts over and over again with no action to follow them up (until the very end of the book) and literally nothing happened for the first half of the book, in my opinion. I felt like the first 75% could have been crammed into a few action-packed chapters but instead, everything was drawn out. I wouldn’t have minded spending time with these characters in place of action, but the time I did spend with them didn’t feel to developed. They weren’t personalities that jumped off the page and everyone fell a little flat.

There were hints at the snark and sass that I love so much but Grace was too busy falling apart all the time for that to really take shape. I get what the book was going for and I followed it, but it all felt a bit too dramatic for me. The visions and hallucinations were just way too much and they really bothered me — as they do in pretty much any other book unless it’s really important and necessary. I’m all for showcasing a character who is suffering from PTSD and other consequences of going through some serious stuff but for some reason this just didn’t work for me in this book. It all felt forced and cheesy instead of informative and genuine.

After all that, I was waiting for the twist (I heard there was one) and… flat again. There were parts of it that were a bit predictable — I got there and understood what was going on but Grace still didn’t and it irritated me how long it reasonably took for her to catch on. There was something I actually wasn’t expecting because it was so cliche but the cliche happened anyway.

ALL FALL DOWN was an easy read and I do think I’ll continue the series but I might sneak a peek at reviews before I do so. I do love the Heist Society series and from the way this book ended, I am hoping for maybe a little more levity and a lot more intrigue in the second book.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: International thrillers. I’ve been really into international thrillers lately and I loved the mix of worlds in this book! The vibe was also really great.
Left Me Wanting More: Plot. I just felt so let down by the overall plot here. There wasn’t much development at all and it was a total snooze-fest throughout the beginning. I was just so bummed because I came to hope for a lot from Ally Carter!

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

It’s hard for me to say. I think I’ll continue the series but I can’t outright recommend this one. I think if the series gets better, I’ll have a better feeling about it!

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BOOKS LIKE ALL FALL DOWN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    

Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21) – Janet Evanovich

Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21) – Janet EvanovichTitle: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: November 20, 2012 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library, Used bookstore
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 23, 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: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), 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), , 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)

New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is certain of three truths: People don’t just vanish into thin air. Never anger old people. And don’t do what Tiki tells you to do.
After a slow summer of chasing low-level skips for her cousin Vinnie’s bail bonds agency, Stephanie Plum finally lands an assignment that could put her checkbook back in the black. Geoffrey Cubbin, facing trial for embezzling millions from Trenton’s premier assisted-living facility, has mysteriously vanished from the hospital after an emergency appendectomy. Now it’s on Stephanie to track down the con man. Unfortunately, Cubbin has disappeared without a trace, a witness, or his money-hungry wife. Rumors are stirring that he must have had help with the daring escape . . . or that maybe he never made it out of his room alive. Since the hospital staff’s lips seem to be tighter than the security, and it’s hard for Stephanie to blend in to assisted living, Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur goes in undercover. But when a second felon goes missing from the same hospital, Stephanie is forced into working side by side with Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, in order to crack the case.
The real problem is, no Cubbin also means no way to pay the rent. Desperate for money—or maybe just desperate—Stephanie accepts a secondary job guarding her secretive and mouthwatering mentor Ranger from a deadly Special Forces adversary. While Stephanie is notorious for finding trouble, she may have found a little more than she bargained for this time around. Then again—a little food poisoning, some threatening notes, and a bridesmaid’s dress with an excess of taffeta never killed anyone . . . or did they? If Stephanie Plum wants to bring in a paycheck, she’ll have to remember: No guts, no glory. . . .

Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21) – Janet EvanovichTitle: Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: November 10, 2013 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library, Used bookstore
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 24, 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: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), 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), , 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)

New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum knows better than to mess with family. But when powerful mobster Salvatore “Uncle Sunny” Sunucchi goes on the lam in Trenton, it’s up to Stephanie to find him. Uncle Sunny is charged with murder for running over a guy (twice), and nobody wants to turn him in—not his poker buddies, not his bimbo girlfriend, not his two right-hand men, Shorty and Moe. Even Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, has skin in the game, because—just Stephanie’s luck—the godfather is his actual godfather. And while Morelli understands that the law is the law, his old-world grandmother, Bella, is doing everything she can to throw Stephanie off the trail.
It’s not just Uncle Sunny giving Stephanie the run-around. Security specialist Ranger needs her help to solve the bizarre death of a top client’s mother, a woman who happened to play bingo with Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur. Before Stephanie knows it, she’s working side by side with Ranger and Grandma at the senior center, trying to catch a killer on the loose—and the bingo balls are not rolling in their favor.
With bullet holes in her car, henchmen on her tail, and a giraffe named Kevin running wild in the streets of Trenton, Stephanie will have to up her game for the ultimate takedown.

Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21) – Janet EvanovichTitle: Top-Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: June 17, 2014 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 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: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), 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), , 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)

Trenton, New Jersey’s favorite used-car dealer, Jimmy Poletti, was caught selling a lot more than used cars out of his dealerships. Now he’s out on bail and has missed his date in court, and bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is looking to bring him in. Leads are quickly turning into dead ends, and all too frequently into dead bodies. Even Joe Morelli, the city’s hottest cop, is struggling to find a clue to the suspected killer’s whereabouts. These are desperate times, and they call for desperate measures. So Stephanie is going to have to do something she really doesn’t want to do: protect former hospital security guard and general pain in her behind Randy Briggs. Briggs was picking up quick cash as Poletti’s bookkeeper and knows all his boss’s dirty secrets. Now Briggs is next on Poletti’s list of people to put six feet under.
To top things off, Ranger—resident security expert and Stephanie’s greatest temptation—has been the target of an assassination plot. He’s dodged the bullet this time, but if Ranger wants to survive the next attempt on his life, he’ll have to enlist Stephanie’s help and reveal a bit more of his mysterious past.
Death threats, highly trained assassins, highly untrained assassins, and Stark Street being overrun by a pack of feral Chihuahuas are all in a day’s work for Stephanie Plum. The real challenge is dealing with her Grandma Mazur’s wild bucket list. A boob job and getting revenge on Joe Morelli’s Grandma Bella can barely hold a candle to what’s number one on the list—but that’s top secret.

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I’m guessing if you’re this far into the Stephanie Plum series, you’re not really looking for a review of the books. I’ve sort of been lumping the last few books into a series of mini-reviews since my feelings about them tend to generally be the same!

In December, I was looking for a few quick books to read to meet my 2015 reading challenge goal and I knew the Stephanie Plum audio books were quick and also fun! I meant to start with just NINETEEN but ended up bingeing TWENTY and TWENTY-ONE as well because I was just on a roll! NINETEEN and TWENTY were my favorites out of the three. I thought they did a great job with the story line, keeping things moving, and keeping me engaged. I was actually pretty hooked on both of their plots and I also was totally hooked on the romance(s) that were developing even more! This is the one series that I’m not even mad or annoyed has a love triangle because I really feel for both guys and I really love them both in their own ways.

I don’t know if it was me rushing through TWENTY-ONE or just that it wasn’t as engaging but I found myself losing focus when listening to it. The premise didn’t appeal to me as much because I think it felt less personal and I just wasn’t as connected. I wish I had more to say but I really just ended up losing focus on this one and found it harder to concentrate on the audio, but I guess that says something in itself!

It’s weird to be almost caught up on the series now too! I’ve been reading it for about five years (I only started it a few years back when I was looking for more mysteries from the library) and this is definitely the longest series I’ve ever read… aside from like, The Baby-Sitter’s Club. It’s kind of fun to have this fun and easy series to fall back on! Except now that I’m caught up, I’ll have to find another fun, easy series while I’m waiting for new Stephanie!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Long series. I’ve really never read such a long series aside from children’s books when I was younger so it’s fun to really be so involved! It’s so easy to continue too since it’s much lighter and the plots don’t really tie together, aside from Stephanie’s personal life.
Left Me Wanting More: Swoony moments. I’m starting to really get into the romance in these books and I could totally go for a few more swoon-worthy moments!

Addiction Rating
Read them!

If you’re a Plum fan, you’re in it this far! They’re fun for quick, easy reads and they’re always a bunch of fun!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE NOTORIOUS NINETEEN, TAKEDOWN TWENTY, TOP-SECRET TWENTY-ONE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

 size 12 and ready to rock    MURDER UNCORKED

10 Things I Felt About This Book | The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

THE RAVEN KING is coming out early 2016 and I’m re-reading all of The Raven Cycle on audio before it comes out. I need a refresher on details and feels before I head into the last book of the series and oh boy, are these books sure giving me a heavy dose of both!

Since I’ve already done one formal review of THE DREAM THIEVES back when I first read it, I’m switching things up a bit with a bit more feeling and a little less analyzing with “10 Things I Felt About” THE DREAM THIEVES!

10 Things I Felt About This Book | The Dream Thieves by Maggie StiefvaterTitle: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater
Publishing Info: September 17, 2013 by Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Mythology, Magical Realism, Paranormal
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 5, 2015
Related Posts: Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls #1), The Scorpio Races, The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1), The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2), Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3), The Scorpio Races, The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1), The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4)

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?
Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.
One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.
And sometimes he's not the only one who wants those things.
Ronan is one of the raven boys—a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan's secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface—changing everything in its wake.

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10 THINGS I FELT ABOUT THE DREAM THIEVES

  • EMOTIONAL. Let’s be honest. My re-read of THE RAVEN BOYS stirred up all kinds of feelings and I was prepared to be emotionally wrecked again.
  • INSIGHTFUL. I actually didn’t feel as emotionally wrecked as I had thought (though some parts just killed me — looking at you, Blue & Gansey…) but I did feel like there were a lot of answers and there was a lot more set-up for BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE which was really interesting to see having read the first three books already.
  • IN-THE-KNOW. Like THE RAVEN BOYS, there were sooo many more clues and little things that I was able to pick up on knowing what I know of the series. It was so much fun to see those things and how much more sense they make, as well as how something small really does make a huge difference! (I wonder what I’m missing that’ll be important in THE RAVEN KING…)
  • MORE CONFIDENT. One of the big things I took away from THE DREAM THIEVES during my first read was that the ending was a bit confusing. I think I just didn’t quite wrap my head around what was happening and I was so excited to be reading the book and finishing it that I think I rushed through the ending and ended up confused on the details and these aren’t books you can rush. Knowing it was coming, I paid much more attention and listening to audio really helps because my eyes can’t skip across the page and miss something!
  • FORGETFUL. Not gonna lie… I remembered the things that stood out to me and forgot a lot of the details that actually happened in this book. BUT it was that much more exciting to re-read it! Like the Gray Man. Totally forgot how his story even closed in this book!
  • CONFUSED. … at why Kavinsky’s voice sounded like Christopher Walken on this audio hahaha. It did not seem like an appropriate voice for him, but okay.
  • IMPATIENT. I just didn’t want to put this audiobook down! This series is just so engrossing and all-encompassing.
  • RONAN-CENTRIC.loved learning so much more about Ronan in the book… In a way, it made me feel less and more for him. It’s sort of like the more you know about something, the less mysterious it is BUT those moments of Ronan affection really make you realize exactly how important and extraordinary they are.
  • SHIPPY. With all of the fan art and non-canon things I see floating around Tumblr, it was definitely important for me to re-read and experience each and every one of these relationships again. Not that I have anything against non-canon things but it does muddy things up a bit in my head sometimes!
  • CONTEMPLATIVE. I just keep thinking about ALL the things we learn in this book, what we already know from THE RAVEN BOYS, and what readers will learn in BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE and omg. It’s overwhelming. HOW WILL THIS END. I also fear for Gansey. 

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Re-read it!

You MUST re-read these book if you’re a fan of the series at all. I can tell you they just get even more magical.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE THE DREAM THIEVES

     THE ACCIDENT SEASON        PAPER VALENTINE

Mini-Review: Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18) – Janet Evanovich

Mini-Review: Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18) – Janet EvanovichTitle: Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: November 22, 2011 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library, Used bookstore
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 23, 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: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), 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)


Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s life is set to blow sky high when international murder hits dangerously close to home, in this dynamite novel by Janet Evanovich.

 
Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, and she’s flying back to New Jersey solo. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead—and a ragtag collection of thugs and psychos, not to mention the FBI, are all looking for a photograph he was supposed to be carrying. Only one person has seen the missing photo: Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target. An FBI sketch artist helps Stephanie re-create the person in the photo, but Stephanie’s descriptive skills are lacking. Until she can improve them, she’ll need to watch her back. Over at the bail bonds agency things are going from bad to worse. Vinnie’s temporary HQ has gone up in smoke. Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls for their largest skip yet. Lifetime arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt moves into Stephanie’s apartment. And everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii?
 
Morelli, Trenton’s hottest cop, isn’t talking about Hawaii. Ranger, the man of mystery, isn’t talking about Hawaii. And all Stephanie is willing to say about her Hawaiian vacation is . . . It’s complicated.

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I was fairly impressed with EXPLOSIVE EIGHTEEN! Well, in comparison to previous books. This book really had a lot going on for it as far as Stephanie Plum’s story goes and I was so excited to really add more mystery and plot to the series again! I’ve said it in previous reviews but the lack of real plot and high level of goofiness was really starting to wear on me so I’m so glad to see that things are really picking up in Stephanie’s personal life and in the development of each case.

The book started off with a twist and I was dying to see what it meant and what the details were!! That was so much fun and a great way to hook me from the start which the books don’t usually do. I wished that the mystery had lasted just a bit longer but still, I was very appreciative of it kicking off the beginning of the novel!

Somehow the Ranger-Stephanie-Morelli love triangle is one that I’m okay with. I think because I’ve really grown to appreciate and like each character. I still don’t think that Stephanie should end up with Ranger in the end but sometimes it’s hard not to root for those two to get together… But then I think of Morelli and how much I do  want Stephanie to really start and cement a relationship with him and I think that maybe it’s finally time for the book to seal that deal. As much as I enjoy the sexual tension between Stephanie and Ranger, I think that relationship can be official and still have hijinks and relationship complications enough to keep the readers laughing and interested. Hell, there can even still be sexual tension with Ranger still attracted to Steph even though she’s in a relationship. Lord knows that’s been half the series anyway!

I’m so glad to see the series improving once again! It feels like it’s really getting back on track to be a more solid series and not just a bunch of throw-away stories to keep books pumping out. They’re still on the lighter side and I always appreciate that  but I’m glad there’s a bit more substance.

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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!

explosive eighteen gr updates

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Kept Me Hooked On: Cozy mysteries. I love that this book had a BIT more of a mystery! The plot really got a bit better too. These books will always bring me back.
Left Me Wanting More: Commitment. I do enjoy some good sexual tension but I’m ready for Steph and Morelli to commit to each other already! The series can still be good, ya know?

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you’re a fan, keep on going! I do like that things are picking up once again and I still have hope for things to get even better along the way!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE EXPLOSIVE EIGHTEEN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

 size 12 and ready to rock    MURDER UNCORKED

Panic – Lauren Oliver

Panic – Lauren OliverTitle: Panic by Lauren Oliver
Publishing Info: March 4, 2014 by HarperCollins
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 18, 2015
Related Posts: Annabel (Delirium #0.5), Requiem (Delirium #3), Before I Fall, Vanishing Girls

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.
Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.
Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.
For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

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It took me a while to finally pick up PANIC and when I did, I actually opted for the audio instead of the physical book that I’d had sitting on my shelves since March. Of last year. It wasn’t even the book so much as that feeling where you find a favorite author and then things start to be… less magical. I absolutely loved DELIRIUM, didn’t feel as strongly about PANDEMONIUM, and felt a little disappointed by REQUIEM. I recently read VANISHING GIRLS and was hoping to find that magic of DELIRIUM again but it still fell a little short for me, (I’m not a middle grade reader so I haven’t read any of her MG works either) so naturally I was a bit on the fence about my enthusiasm for PANIC… and sadly I was right to hesitate.

PANIC wasn’t a bad read for me but it didn’t quite go the way that I had hoped. From the book’s synopsis, I was under the impression that PANIC was mostly a thriller and yes, there were definitely some thrilling and action-packed events throughout the book, but I actually found myself bothered by how much the book delved into the personal lives of each character. I know, I know, that sounds absolutely ridiculous. Who doesn’t want character development? Well, it’s not that I didn’t want it but the issues that each characters had and some of their current life situations ended up shifting the focus to really dig into personal backgrounds and the drama surrounding their current situations felt like it took away from the thrill of the game of Panic. I went into the book expecting so much thriller and less contemporary BUT I should have known that wouldn’t be the case since every other Lauren Oliver book I’ve read digs very deeply into each character and presents the reader with some very serious issues. This was definitely a personal preference/expectation for me.

I did enjoy the concept of Panic. I loved the adventure and suspense that it added to the book overall and how each character really was pushed to their limits (and beyond)  because of it. I was, however, a bit skeptical about the whole concept. The town is fairly small and although 12,000 people is still a lot, I feel like the cops should have been able to catch someone in the act of participating in Panic, especially when most of the entire senior class congregated to watch/join in and they visited the same spots from year to year. Some of the challenges also felt extremely intense. I guess that is the whole point of Panic but since I was already questioning things, I began to question those as well.

I was really all over the place character-wise. I didn’t really feel strongly about anyone and was actively turned off by others. I wasn’t a huge fan of Heather and I really didn’t care for Natalie. I just didn’t find myself connecting with them much at all. I started feeling like I was okay with things and then something popped up that really bothered me so I really ended up a bit disappointed overall.

I think I’m just really disappointed that this book still wasn’t the Lauren Oliver magic that I was hoping it would be. I did finish and felt… all right with it but it felt like more of a disappointment than a book I enjoyed. It seems more like one of those cases where several personal preferences come into play because I have seen a lot of excellent reviews for PANIC but this one just didn’t do it for me and I’m starting to feel less of a pull to read Lauren Oliver’s books.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

I borrowed the audiobook of PANIC from my local library (I love their audiobook selection) and overall, it was a good performance. Sarah Drew (who also plays April on Grey’s Anatomy, for those who don’t know) is the narrator for all of Lauren Oliver’s YA books so far, PANIC included, and she does a really great job of narrating. I don’t always like her voices for the characters and I don’t always think the timbre of her voice fits the main character so that was a little hard for me at times. I think she was a great selection for BEFORE I FALL but I didn’t think she was a great Heather for PANIC and I don’t think I’d want to listen to her narrate the Delirium trilogy. I think she does do a good job with narration though and I always enjoy the way she narrates, even if I don’t always love her voice for that specific character.

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!

Untitled

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Heather // Character Obsessions: Her sister, thriving, Panic.
I didn’t really enjoy Heather’s character… She was okay but at times she was a bit too much for me and I got easily irritated. I think part of it was that everything felt so forced with her. Her character didn’t seem natural and really the things that she experienced felt over the top (for what I was expecting when I started reading the book). Maybe if I didn’t have expectations, it would have been totally different.

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Kept Me Hooked On: YA thrillers. This definitely DID have some thrilling moments and I really appreciated the various things that the characters had to go through.
Left Me Wanting More: Suspense. I was really missing the suspense in this book. I think the reason that I really didn’t enjoy the more personal and realistic fiction developments were because they totally STOPPED the suspense that I was feeling. I would have loved to be on the edge of my seat the whole time.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

PANIC didn’t do it for me. I really wished for so much more and I feel like that magic is gone. The plot was okay, characters were okay, action was okay, but nothing ever felt GREAT.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE PANIC

(Click the cover to see my review!)

HOW TO LEAD A LIFE OF CRIME     THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING

Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy #1) – Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy #1) – Victoria AveyardTitle: Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy #1) by Victoria Aveyard
Publishing Info: February 10, 2015 by HarperCollins
Source: ALAMW15, Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 14, 2015
Related Posts: Cruel Crown (Red Queen #0.1 - #0.2

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.
To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the center of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.
But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

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RED QUEEN was a hard book for me to start. At first I was wary of the dystopian feel, then I was afraid of the hype, and then I was afraid of all of the comparisons that popped up as people were reading. The reviews were mixed and my expectations were sort of all over the place… But when I saw that my library had a copy of the audiobook, I thought it would be a great time to start the book and find out for myself!

I can’t sugar coat it… the comparison thing was sort of an issue for me too. RED QUEEN sort of felt like a cookie-cutter dystopian with some fantasy elements and I could not stop the comparisons from popping into my head as I was reading. The Hunger Games feel was very prevalent along with Throne of Glass with a little Divergent and Shadow and Bone. I do read so much and have read so many dystopians that it’s not uncommon to be reminded of another book but RED QUEEN felt too similar at times to the point where I could pick out specific settings, scenes, and characters from other books. Now I am not at ALL saying that Victoria Aveyard is ripping any other series off. I think RED QUEEN really fit into that dystopian mold and sometimes that mold is hard to break. For me, RED QUEEN just didn’t quite break out of that formula.

I wonder if the fact that is was so similar to these other popular series may have boosted its success with the general population. It’s easily pitchable as that true comparison to The Hunger Games and Divergent and Throne of Glass and readers who are looking for books just like their favorite series will find that comfort within the pages of RED QUEEN.  I know when I first finished The Hunger Games, I really was looking for a book very similar to it and I enjoyed so many other dystopians that I picked up afterwards. I appreciated the differences but I kept on hunting for that one book or series just like it so seeing a similarity in RED QUEEN, I think, makes it easy for fans of big blockbuster series really able to identify with this new series while still enjoying a new world and concept and then they’re also able to pass it along to their friends with the same idea in mind.

That being said, I actually really did enjoy RED QUEEN from start to finish. I was always engaged, the action and plot were always moving, and I really got to know the characters. Granted, I saw other characters in them and maybe that’s why I felt like I could know them more intimately — I had met someone just like them before — but really, the novel was entertaining from start to finish and I always felt curious, involved, and excited. I think Victoria Aveyard’s writing was really accessible for readers of many audiences and I can see why it’s gotten so much buzz. She really did put together an interesting and action-filled novel.

I didn’t have issues with the romance but it was kind of all over the place for me. Not always in a bad way… but it’s sort of triangle-y… but not really, but it is, but it’s not? (HA have fun with that description if you haven’t read the book yet. If you have, you may understand.) I was never quite sure which side I was “supposed” to be on and actually now that I’m finished, I really still not sure. The only issue that I really had was that towards the end, it seemed like Mare had an extreme reaction to one guy and then totally kind of forgot about it once things started changing. I understand that the situation changed and she was seeing someone in a different light but her feelings were strong and I think it’s hard to switch to the opposite spectrum after that. Even if it is a realistic reaction, it was hard for me as a reader to forget.

Because of the constant reminders of other series, I was ready for a vanilla ending or something that I saw coming but I was actually pleasantly surprised at how the book wrapped up! The ending actually really did take me by surprise and I was kind of hooked for the last 20% or so. I honestly wasn’t sure how it was going to end and what that ending would mean for these characters. Some things that happened I really did see coming but there’s a sort of major conclusion that happens that I was like, “HUH. Okay then! This is what I needed out of this book.” Of course by that time I was ready to for a different ending so it did boost my feelings towards the book but it was almost too little too late to really hook me or wow me.

Long story ermmm, even longer, I did enjoy RED QUEEN from start to finish. I had issues with how cookie-cutter it seemed but the writing really was engaging and the story kept me interested the whole time. The elements I had issues with weren’t anything more specific than the ghosts of YA books past (no issues with world-building or characters which THOSE are the things that really tend to leave me with a sour taste in my mouth) so I guess I leave this book with more of a positive feeling! I was honestly iffy if I was going to read the rest of the series when I was halfway through but knowing the ending, I do want to see where it goes. I’m also interested to see if this starts to break the mold a bit more in book two. Clearly Victoria Aveyard has plans and I found myself curious to see where those plans lead! I’m definitely interested in more of this story but I’m not sure it’ll be an urgent read for me.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

I actually really enjoyed this audiobook! The book was narrated by Amanda Dolan and this is the first book I’ve listened to of hers but I hope it’s not the last! I really enjoyed her narration and thought she did a great job of portraying each character not only in different voices but also different personalities. I had no issues with the phrasing of things as I sometimes do and I really enjoyed her overall performance. I think she was an excellent choice for this book with Mare as the main character! She really did a great job with her especially.

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!

red queen gr updates

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Mare // Character Obsessions: Family, stealing, self-preservation.
I really liked Mare! She reminded me of some of my favorite strong heroines (Katniss, Celaena, Alina) and she had that same sort of attitude that all of those girls did too. Sometimes it’s too much for me to watch a scared or weak heroine so I’m always drawn to the strong, sassy ones!
Cal // Character Obsessions: Duty, strength, family.
I was really all over the place about Cal… but I guess so was Mare! It was so hard to pin him down and figure out what he was really all about… But I ended up liking him a lot throughout the book! There were some pieces of him that ended up being a little rougher and Mare was very turned off by some things but I kind of liked that the book didn’t shy away from the fact that not everyone is all good.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Dystopian. I started my YA reading habits with almost all dystopian and I sort of burned myself out on the genre so I’m really glad that RED QUEEN made it exciting again!
Left Me Wanting More: Originality. I just can’t get over how much of other books I saw in RED QUEEN. That did instantly give it a defined feel and I felt like I knew the characters well already but I couldn’t shake it and sometimes it got on my nerves. I don’t think it was intentional on Aveyard’s part but I think it just fit really well with what I expect from a dystopian novel. I am excited to see where the second book goes though.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

I actually really enjoyed RED QUEEN. I didn’t fall in love with it like some did but I was wholly entertained from start to finish.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE RED QUEEN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

CATCHING FIRE     THRONE OF GLASS