Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Infinity of You & me By J.Q. Coyle Book Review

28220701
BLURB

What if every life-altering choice you made could split your world into infinite worlds?

Almost fifteen, Alicia is smart and funny with a deep connection to the poet Sylvia Plath, but she’s ultimately failing at life. With a laundry list of diagnoses, she hallucinates different worlds—strange, decaying, otherworldly yet undeniably real worlds that are completely unlike her own with her single mom and one true friend. In one particularly vivid hallucination, Alicia is drawn to a boy her own age named Jax who’s trapped in a dying universe. Days later, her long-lost father shows up at her birthday party, telling her that the hallucinations aren’t hallucinations, but real worlds; she and Jax are bound by a strange past and intertwining present. This leads her on a journey to find out who she is while trying to save the people and worlds she loves. J.Q. Coyle’s The Infinity of You & Me is a wild ride through unruly hearts and vivid worlds guaranteed to captivate.

REVIEW
* A special thanks to the publisher for this review copy*
2.5 out of 5 stars
Image result for meh gif
Can you say let-down in any other way?

 The plot for this was set up well, it was unique and multi-layered but it failed somehow. In the beginning I was definitely intrigued by the hallucinations, the different worlds, the obvious secrets, and the underlying cause of it all. But somewhere along the way the plot became too complex, and the characters became hard to track. It was sort of like a strange version of the movie Inception--except this one was a little harder to follow due to a lot of information, or should I say situations, worlds, being thrown at you at any given time.

Don't get me wrong, you do not have to be a genius to keep up with this one, you just have to be invested enough to care.

Can you say doing too much?

After a while I was having a hard time keeping up with the different characters and which characters were doing what, and where. I was starting to get frustrated with it all, and was quite ready to call it quits.

By the end of it, I was satisfied to see it end, but not completely fulfilled with the ending. Again, the novel had a lot of potential but it sagged and fell beneath the many worlds, and goings ons. I didn't hate this one, but I can't say I quite liked--especially not by the end. I was more happy to see it over, than anything--and it's a shame too.

I'd recommend this one for readers that like complex, sci-fi-ish like reads, that don't mind a lot going on.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

City Of Saints & Thieves By Natalie C. Anderson ARC Review


29995905
BLURB
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya.
 
In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn't exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill's personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.


REVIEW
THREE AND A HALF OUT OF FIVE STARS
*A SPECIAL THANKS TO THE PUBLISHER FOR THIS REVIEW COPY*
THIS REVIEW CAN ALSO BE FOUND ON YA BOOKS CENTRAL
I can be totally sold on a book just based off of where the book is set. Most books, set in a different country, will appeal to me. Maybe I have this underlying wanderlust living inside of me I don't know. But this book was no different, a book set in Africa, I was like, "Count me in."

The setting of this book did not disappoint. I could envision this part of Africa in my mind--although I don't believe the actual city the author chose is real, but still. It was like a part of it was with me while I read.

The one thing that didn't stick with me, or rather do much for me was the whole mystery. I don't know what it is but when it comes to mysteries/thrillers, it is so hard to please me--particularly with YA mystery titles. It's like the authors are afraid, or can't, (I don't know) really go there. It always seems to be so tame. Now, don't get me wrong some YA authors write decent YA mysteries/thrillers. I mean you can tell me anything about Amanda Panitch. BUT, there always seems to be that "something," lacking. Like I said, it could be my own critical self but, it's something missing.


This one, was in fact, a thrilling read, but by the end of it, I didn't feel strongly about the book one way or the other. The saving grace was the characters.


They were complex, layered, and written in such a way--that I was intrigued and entertained by their story.

Tiny Girl was this resilient, bad a** African girl, with all the strength of someone older, and the power of someone far beyond her reach. I really liked the fact that she was this dark-skinned, fearless tiny thing. I liked watching her develop, and I felt some inexplicable connection to her character. Her relentless pursuit of justice, and her fierce protection of her younger sister, made her easy to like.

Boy Boy--was flashy and not a boy of many words, but a presence that was felt thoroughly. I liked that Tiny Girl had him as a friend.

I also, (which is going to sound weird) liked the inclusion of the gang, The Goondas. It really gave a realness to the land, and to the story itself. It gave it another level of depth. It was really interesting to see how the gang played apart in both the development of the story, and Tiny Girl, aka Christina.

I'll briefly mention Michael, although his role is sort of important to the story. His character was interesting, but I didn't get to learn much about him, just the surface things. In a way it wasn't necessary but would have been nice to know. I liked the inclusion of his character, but felt if he wasn't included, nothing would have been lost. (Sounds kind of crazy, now that I'm writing it.)

All in all it was a good read, that had strong points, but like I said just felt, "okay," by the end. That's not to say it's not worth reading. It is, just don't expect to be blown away. I mean with comparisons to Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which I've read and loved, and The Girl On The Train, which I plan to read--it definitely puts this book on a pedestal I'm not sure it belongs or needs to be on.

Anyway, recommended for readers who enjoy a whodunit type of novel--with a great setting to boot.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

This is Our Story by Ashley Elston Book Review

23341252
BLURB
Five went in. Four came out.

No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them.

Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the district attorney’s office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.

Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As investigates with Stone, the aging prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot, she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own.

REVIEW
A heart-pounding mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat, until you fall right off, flat on your face with disappointment. This book did so well until it got to the end. Let's talk about the story a bit first...

Five boys went into the woods, and only four came out. What happened here? "In my tootsie pop voice," the world will never know. Just kidding, you do find out, and again, I will get to that.

Kate works for the district attorney's office when her boss is handed it's biggest case ever. The River Point Boys Case. Someone killed Grant and Kate, finds herself seeking her own personal justice, and putting herself in danger. The DA just wants the case to go away, but Kate and Mr. Stone are determined to find out what really happened--no matter what.

What I liked: Secrecy. There are a lot of secrets in this novel, which was perfect for build up and anticipation. I was on the literal edge of my seat, reading this novel.

The characters:The characters are really solid, and I was actually interested in seeing what happened with and to them. I was invested in the story. And for me that matters. You have to care about what happens to the characters, or why even read the book?

The romance: It was subtle, believable and cute. If this were a contemporary, I'm sure the romance would have been stellar. There's all the makings for it.

What I disliked: Drumroll, please...the ending. I was sorely disappointed. All the heart-pounding, all the build-up, all the anticipation couldn't put this book back together again. If I had to describe the ending in one word, it would be, boring. The reasoning, the reveal, all..boring.

It made sense but I think that's what bothered me, it made too much sense. It was too easy for my liking. I prefer my mysteries to be hard to solve, and even harder to figure out. When it's all said and done I want to say, "I didn't see that coming. I never would have expected that."

Although I didn't have an inkling, or rather I had a hope that it wouldn't end the way it did--I still wasn't too happy with it. It was pretty flat to say the least.

Aside from that it was most definitely an enjoyable read. I can't take that away from it--but I could have done without that easy ending. Endings mean a lot to me, just as much as, if not more than the beginning.

Despite that, recommended for mystery readers, and romance readers alike.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Rise of Fire Sophie Jordan ARC Book Review

BLURB
The richly suspenseful sequel to Sophie Jordan’s romantic fantasy Reign of Shadows.

Luna and Fowler have escaped the kingdom of Relhok, but they haven’t escaped the darkness. When a battle against the dark dwellers mortally injures Fowler, Luna is faced with a choice: put their fate in the hands of mysterious strangers or risk losing Fowler forever.

Desperate to keep the one bright part of her life alive, Luna accepts the help of soldiers from a nearby kingdom. Lagonia’s castle offers reprieve from the dangerous outside world—until the king discovers both Fowler's and Luna’s true ties to Relhok and their influence over the throne.

Now pawns in each kingdom’s political game, Luna and Fowler are more determined than ever to escape and build the life they’ve been dreaming of. But their own pasts have a tight hold on their hearts and their destinies. Luna must embrace the darkness and fire within her before she loses not only Fowler, but the power she was destined to inherit.

REVIEW
*A SPECIAL THANKS TO THE PUBLISHER FOR THIS REVIEW COPY*
THREE OUT OF FIVE STARS

Reading a series is tough, because if enough time comes between you and the next book, there's a lot lost. I hate that. I hate feeling like I walked in on a conversation and I'm trying to keep up although I have no idea what anyone is talking about.

With this series, there was a lot of lost details. Although I really loved the original I had to spend a large amount of time, trying to remember exactly what this story was about. Sadly, when I did start to recall a lot of the details (some remained fuzzy, even to the end.) I found that I didn't miss this story as much as I thought I would.

It's not that it was written poorly or anything, I just didn't have as much fun with this story as I did the first time. I went against the grain originally and liked this one more than I seen most people did. But, now, I'm joining most of you in my sort of like/dislike with this novel/series. I don't completely dislike this sequel but I have to say I am a little disappointed.

I've lost my connection the characters and the story, and now that I am almost an outsider I'm not that into it anymore. I still have some semblance of appreciation for the characters and their plight--but I found that I just wasn't invested. I wasn't there.

Thankfully it wasn't even nearly all bad.

What I liked: Strong Feminine Lead/MC: Luna was not weak by any means. I am all for standing on your own feet, female MC's. Not to mention her character was likeable, and multi-faceted.

The Love Interest: Although I found his character to be a little flat this time around, it's clear he's still book boyfriend material.

The action: Once the story started to get rolling, (I want to say more towards the end half of the novel.) things did get pretty interesting. There were a few twists that made the book a bit more exciting, which I was happy for you. It just should've happened a little earlier, to be honest.

I think I pretty much covered what I didn't like. But, in a nutshell it just wasn't much going on in the first half which is tough, for a series that is far from my mind at this point.

I can't blame it all on the book. The fact is there was too much time between this book and book one and I just didn't remember enough, and I was far less invested than I was originally. That kind of messed things up for me.

It was pretty much a combination of lack of connection, and investment--and a story that waited far too long for things to kick off.

I'm not saying it's a total loss, but I'm not too happy.

I'd say this a great read for those of us who like fantasy, and don't want to invest into a lengthy series. This is actually more of a duology. There's also not too many details to trudge through, if you don't like too much of that.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Allegedly By Tiffany D. Jackson ARC Review

30037870
BLURB
Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the grey areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, and acknowledges the light and darkness alive in all of us.

REVIEW
THIS REVIEW CAN ALSO BE FOUND ON YOUNG ADULT BOOKS CENTRAL!
THREE AND A HALF OUT OF FIVE STARS
*A SPECIAL THANKS TO THE PUBLISHER FOR THIS REVIEW COPY*
At the core of this story, is a stunning and realistic tale of poverty, and hardships. Jackson does an amazing job of painting a true to life picture, of life in "prison," and the struggles of a young girl, just dealing with a lot.

Needless to say it was a raw story, at times cringeworthy, to hear the main character's story and how she grew up in this prison-like system--dealing with the repercussions of allegedly killing this "white" baby. (The color of the skin of the baby is important to the story, which is why I'm mentioning it.)

I really felt connected to the story in that way, watching the way the character was raised, down to the way the character describes the way her mother smells--connecting the smell of her hair and food--and letting that remind her of home. I felt akin to the character. Also having it set in NY--my hometown made it that much more easy for me to enjoy.

Aside from that, there are a lot of detail filled chapters to this story, there's a lot of background to get into--so there are a lot of chapters where nothing particularly exciting happens--but I can see the reason for it.

You really get to know the characters in a personal way--their strengths and weaknesses. Their quirks, the real meat of the characters. Though I tend to not go for novels that are heavy in background, and a lot of "getting to know," time. I did quite enjoy hearing Mary's story--and when she gets pregnant, the story becomes more profound.

It's quite the story, and pretty well done. It was very interesting trying to put all the pieces together, all to find out I was wrong. The ending was superb and I will say I didn't see it coming. The author had me fooled, and I am truly a sucker for a good ending. So, thumbs up for that.

It's not a whodunit mystery, so don't expect a lot of intrigue, but there's definitely some questions to be asked and by the end you'll have you answers. Some of you will be pleased, some may not--but for a debut novel, it's pretty darn good.

Great for people who like their novels real with a lot of detail. A worthwhile read.