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Posts tagged “Mini Review Monday

Mini Review Monday: The Dream Thieves

MiniReviewMonday

The Dream Thieves

Summary From GoodreadsThe Dream Thieves

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same.

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life.

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I’ve been waiting to read The Dream Thieves until Blue Lily, Lily Blue came out, but I managed to get a copy on Netgalley that I’ll be reviewing later, so I decided to dive in a little early. If you really enjoyed The Raven Boys then I’m sure you love or will love The Dream Thieves because the tempo, majority of the characters, and the feel of the book are very similar to the first one. However, if you had issues with the previous book in the series you might enjoy this one anyway, it’s more polished, the characters even more fleshed out (especially Ronan), and the magical bits that started in The Raven Boys take an even greater focus in The Dream Thieves.

Ronan is a fascinating character. He’s broken, constantly putting himself down and questioning himself (though mostly in his head), but he’s also a badass, and he pulls off that semi-facade masterfully. His powers of retrieving items from dreams are shown in detail in The Dream Thieves, and by the end they are flat-out amazing.

While Ronan is somewhat of the focus in book two (kind of like Adam was in book one), that didn’t detract from the rest of the cast of characters, a group that has become one of my favorites. Blue is still quirky and hilarious, Noah is an oddball of a ghost, Adam is conflicted and broody (but crazy levels of determined), and Gansey is well…Gansey. The dialogue and banter in this series makes for some of the most entertaining reading I’ve had recently, and I haven’t ever come across a series quite like this before, it’s fantastic.

The plot takes a ton of interesting twists and turns, there are a few new characters that are introduced or that get fleshed out a bit more outside of the main group, and the ending will blow your mind. I felt like The Dream Thieves was everything I wanted The Raven Boys to be, like a fully realized version, and I can only hope that Blue Lily, Lily Blue will continue the upward trend. Thanks as always for reading. ^.^

Five Smiling Frodos w Background

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Mini Review Monday: As Long As You Love Me

MiniReviewMonday

As Long As You Love Me by Ann Aguirre

Summary From GoodreadsAs Long As You Love Me

Most people dream about getting out of Sharon, Nebraska, but after three years away, Lauren Barrett is coming home. She has her reasons; missing her family, losing her college scholarship. But then there’s the reason Lauren can’t admit to anyone: Rob Conrad, her best friend’s older brother.

Football prowess and jaw-dropping good looks made Rob a star in high school. Out in the real world, his job and his relationships are going nowhere. He’s the guy who women love and leave, not the one who makes them think of forever; until Lauren comes back to town, bringing old feelings and new dreams with her.

Because the only thing more important than figuring out where you truly belong is finding the person you were meant to be with.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I received a copy of As Long As You Love Me on NetGalley along with book one, I Want It That Way which I reviewed earlier if you’d like some context. I enjoyed book one of the series quite a bit, so I couldn’t help myself and read book two already, even though it doesn’t come out until the 30th of this month. ALAYLM was a solid NA read with some good humor and plenty of sexy fun time, just like IWITW, but this time more serious issues were tackled, something that was greatly appreciated as it gave needed depth to the book.

Lauren, the MC and best friend from IWITW, takes center stage in ALAYLM as she adjusts to life back at home, a new job and online university, and an old flame. She’s not quite as funny as I found Nadia to be, but she is probably more realistic than Nadia, having some serious issues to work through that people can identify with. She has major anxiety issues, dealing with a lot of people (especially new ones) is not her strong suit, and she’s just starting to return to her usual self, unlike the fake version she forced out that was seen in book one. All of that is made more complicated when Rob comes back into her life, and she has to deal with past feelings (and new ones) coming to light.

Then there is the love interest, Rob, who is having a rough go of it in life from work (construction that he barely scrapes by on) to his relationships (a bad one with Avery). Having Lauren come back completely alters his life, from new potential financial avenues, to a potential relationship that might actually be good for him. However, Rob has his own issues, from incredibly strong self-doubt (stemming from how his parents treat him) to his troubles with opening up to people and believing them when they seem to genuinely care. He doesn’t have as much personality as you might expect from a secondary main character, but (especially those from small towns) he is extremely easy to identify with.

The rest of the cast brings up plenty of issues of their own. There are long distance relationships (and pregnancy to go with it), sexual abuse, and physical disabilities that are all brought up by various people throughout the book, and there is a wide variety of ways that all of them are dealt with which I found pretty interesting. The tone of the book is certainly more somber than IWITW, though there are still plenty of truly happy and exciting moments, but it is something to keep in mind. This isn’t your purely light and fluffy contemporary read.

Though ALAYLM was more serious, something I appreciated in some ways, I did enjoy the majority of what I read. However, there were a few negatives I should mention. The beginning of the book was a bit of a struggle as a lot of the dialogue felt repetitious and the first quarter of the book or so felt pretty rushed, not enough to be jarring, but certainly noticeable. Also, while I know that there is a lot of history between them, it felt like Aguirre might have used that as an excuse to move things forward pretty quickly in the beginning, and that was unfortunate. The story ended up getting to more of a normal pace, but if you liked book one, and book two intrigues you, I would say not to give up if you notice those same issues at the start.

Wow, this got a little longer than I planned for a Mini Review Monday post, but I guess that’s because ALAYLM covers so much ground, especially on different serious topics. Would I recommend it? It’s a good read, but there were some issues with it, and some of the sexual acts as well (the first one in particular) that didn’t sit well, but overall yes, it’s worth your time. If you want a New Adult read that isn’t all about getting your freak on and going crazy over a guy/girl, then this is for you. Thanks as always for reading.

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Mini Review Monday: I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre

MiniReviewMonday

I Want It That Way (2B Trilogy #1)

Summary From GoodreadsI Want It That Way

Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she’s determined to make them come true—for her parents’ sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can’t risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia’s and Ty’s paths cross, and soon they can’t stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can’t know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I received a copy of I Want It That Way from Netgalley, which I was really excited to get into since it is by one of my favorite authors, Ann Aguirre. This also gave me a reason to try some New Adult, something I’ve read hardly any of, and see what I thought of it. After reading it, my first thought is that I should give this new-ish age range/type of books a shot. My second was that I’m really happy that I was able to enjoy Aguirre’s work outside of my favorite series by her, the dystopian Razorland trilogy.

That being said, I will warn potential readers that there is some insta-love involved, something I’ve been open to saying I’m not a fan of. However, it’s not quite as fast as what I’ve encountered in the past, and Aguirre made it feel as real and understandable as something like that could be. Sometimes there is that instant attraction, and once you get to know the person a bit more, and understand who they are outside of just a great set of abs or pretty face, you just connect on a deep level faster than average.

Outside of the quick love connection, the romance is very touching, sometimes steamy (in a fantastic way), and it is tested in all the right (highly believable) scenarios. The MC Nadia has a great voice, is incredibly caring and sweet, but determined when it matters. Ty is a great guy, but reserved for reasons that are incredibly obvious, and not the standard bad-boy type that plagues this type of book, something I was really thankful for.

The banter in the book is great, humor is interspersed with the serious areas to keep the reader engaged, and the supporting cast is very strong, and completely fleshed out. Some of the scenes are a bit corny or predictable, but not in a bad way, just what you’d expect from college life. I’m looking forward to reading book two soon!

If you are looking for a NA contemporary read, especially if (like me) you are a college student yourself, then this is a solid book for you to try. It comes out tomorrow, so take a look if you’re interested! Thanks as always for reading. ^.^

Four Smiling Frodos w Background


Mini Review Monday: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

MiniReviewMonday

I Hunt Killers

Summary From GoodreadsI Hunt Killers

What if the world’s worst serial killer…was your dad?

Jasper “Jazz” Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he’s also the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could—from the criminal’s point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo’s Nod.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret—could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I ran across I Hunt Killers on Netgalley when all three books in the trilogy were on there thanks to the newest one, Blood of My Blood, coming out in September. I didn’t want to get greedy though, so I decided to just get the first book and see what I thought, and I’m glad I did.

I Hunt Killers is disturbing, but not because of the murders or the tales of a serial killer. It’s Jazz and his messed up mind that make the book have a creepy, almost dirty feel to it. Being brought up by a serial killer, and one that not only didn’t hide that fact, but tried to train his son to be an even better one than his father was, had some serious side effects on Jasper’s psyche. It is chilling, an surprisingly realistic in depicting his budding tendencies to become a sociopath, all working in the book’s favor.

Jazz has to constantly battle his father’s teachings and the way that he sees the world because of them, something that causes issues with his friends, his girlfriend, and more than anything else, himself. He is always afraid that he’ll become his dad, that he’ll use his training for something evil instead of good, and that he’ll hurt those closest to him. To top it off his memory is shaky at best, and he can’t remember details of much of his childhood, including what happened to his mother.

The thrill of the chase and the way that Barry Lyga explores the depths of the human mind and the lengths it can be pushed to before it snaps make this book a very compelling read. It was another one where I took it all in one sitting, not wanting to miss a detail with a similar passion to the main character, and I Hunt Killers definitely made me want even more.

The small town made a lot of what happened possible, but it might be the only negative I have about the book. I never really got a great feel for what the place was like outside of a few specific areas, and while they weren’t specifically needed, it would have been nice to know the surroundings a bit better. Being as small as the town is it also constrained some things, forcing limitations of what the author could do, while giving them an easier manipulation of time because things took longer to come to pass versus the same scenario in a city. It will be interesting to see what happens later in the series when there is more room to work with.

Overall this was a great, thrilling read. I am looking forward to continuing the series in the somewhat near future, and learning more about what type of person Jazz will become, though I have my hunches. It is pretty graphic though, so keep that in mind if you consider picking it up. Thanks as always for reading.

Four Smiling Frodos w Background


Mini Review Monday: The Cutting Room Floor

MiniReviewMonday

The Cutting Room Floor by Dawn Klehr

Summary From GoodreadsThe Cutting Room Floor

Behind-the-scenes secrets could turn deadly for Desmond and Riley

Life in the Heights has never been easy for seventeen-year-old Riley Frost, but when she’s publicly dumped and outed at the same time, she becomes an immediate social outcast at her high school. So Riley swears off romance and throws herself into solving the shocking murder of her favorite teacher, Ms. Dunn.

Riley turns to her best friend, budding filmmaker Desmond Brandt, for help. What she doesn’t know is that Dez has been secretly directing her life, blackmailing her friends, and hoping his manipulations will make her love him. When his schemes go too far, Dez’s web of lies threatens to destroy both of their lives.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

The Cutting Room Floor first and foremost is addicting. With the distractions of Twitter, video games, more Twitter, sports, and Twitter, I often find myself pausing every so often when I’m reading a book, rarely do I devour it in one go. This was an exception to that, but honestly I’m not sure exactly why.

My first guess is that it has to do with the pacing of the book, that the sheer amount of action kept me going. The devious plotting, revenge, the insane amount of relationships that will make your head spin, and the transformation of the main characters many times over keep the book moving rapidly. The Cutting Room Floor is never dull, but all that action does mean some arcs are underdeveloped, and others aren’t even explored. The characters tend to do a 180 whenever Klehr needed them to, not necessarily when it fits the person they seem to be or even the way the plot was going. It’s a bit disconcerting, but I got caught up in the whirlwind of it nonetheless.

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I can’t say that there is a love triangle, or anything really close to it in this book, because it feels more like a love scatter plot with no correlation. Sure there is the main “romance” arc between Dez and Riley, but there seem to be a bunch of other ones that come and go randomly. There is no logic to the progression, if it can even be called that, and the reader finds out about random flings for no apparent reason at times when it has little to no impact on the main storyline. Ugh.

The characters themselves are compelling, and the dual point of view works in this case because Klehr manages to keep the voices of Dez and Riley very separate and unique. Dez is cunning, devoted to Riley and his filmmaking, and incredibly focused on getting what he wants. He is willing to do whatever he deems necessary to win Riley over, regardless of if it is dirty or reckless, and can often be cold to others if they aren’t helping him at the moment. Riley, however, is warm, sweet, and quick to love. She’s unsure of herself, and while she does some questionable things it is because she wants to do good, not out of any malicious feelings. She just wants to figure out who she is and what the best way is for her to be happy.

Devil and Angel

The bouncing between regular writing and script style can be a little jarring, but it’s not too terribly hard to get used to. High school students that participate in theater or acting of any kind will likely enjoy the many acting scenes and discussions on the craft, as well as the scenes done in script format. I feel like The Cutting Room Floor might have been better as a duology or trilogy, that way the arcs could have been more developed, the characters better understood, and the pacing slowed down a bit so the readers don’t get whiplash. It’s a good book, but it could have been a lot more. Thanks as always for reading.

Three Smiling Frodos w Background


Mini Review Monday: Crank by Ellen Hopkins

MiniReviewMonday

Crank

Summary From GoodreadsCrank

In Crank, Ellen Hopkins chronicles the turbulent and often disturbing relationship between Kristina, a character based on her own daughter, and the “monster,” the highly addictive drug crystal meth, or “crank.” Kristina is introduced to the drug while visiting her largely absent and ne’er-do-well father.

While under the influence of the monster, Kristina discovers her sexy alter-ego, Bree: “there is no perfect daughter, / no gifted high school junior, / no Kristina Georgia Snow. / There is only Bree.” Bree will do all the things good girl Kristina won’t, including attracting the attention of dangerous boys who can provide her with a steady flow of crank.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I know that I’m not breaking any new ground by talking about Crank, one of the more “popular” books that I have read during my time blogging, so I won’t be doing a traditional review so to speak. I’m just going to share a few thoughts I had on the book, okie? ^.^

Crank is far more than the meager description it is given. It is a warning to the entire spectrum of potential readers, from people who would never touch drugs to hardcore users, about the dangers of using heavily and with the strongest methods. However, the book is written entirely in verse, speaking a bit to the deranged mindset of a crank addict, but also softening some of the harder blows with freestyle. It leaves some of the detail out, though not much, and lets the reader imagine the rest. Sometimes you might wish it hadn’t.

Much of the book (the parts not trying to depress the crap out of you) sound like a ton of fun if I am to be honest. No, I’m not going to go out and do any of these drugs, but the dance party of ecstasy, the NASCAR type speed of crank, and the mellow groove of pot sound intriguing in their own ways. My guess is that is likely the point, Hopkins knows that people do this for a variety of reasons, but one of the main ones is that it generally feels really great while you are on your drug of choice.

The characters in the book were the weakest point for me. Most of them were cliche-ridden, one boyfriend an “I’ll love you forever” type despite them having only been together a few weeks (then turning on her in a blink), another with a more violent side (you know or can guess), and the knight in shining armor.

The main character is more of the same, and while she was likely very realistic in the mind of Hopkins for obvious reasons and cliches exist for reasons as well, watching the same old “girl with low self-esteem, bouncing from boy to boy, experimenting until she loses control” type of MC was a tad disappointing. Outside of the dual personality of sorts there wasn’t much that made her unique, and that was unfortunate.

Overall, though, I did enjoy Crank quite a bit. If there is someone reading this that somehow hasn’t read the book I would say that it does take a while to get used to reading in the verse style Hopkins employs, but that once you grow accustomed to it you will enjoy the book quite a bit. I don’t know that I’ll read the other books in the series, but we shall see. Thanks as always for reading. ^.^

Four Smiling Frodos w Background


Mini Review Monday: Into the Icebound by Larry Kollar

MiniReviewMonday

Into the Icebound

Summary From GoodreadsInto the Icebound

In the fourth “Accidental Sorcerers” story, Sura, Mik, and Bailar set sail for the Northern Reach, with Lord Darin in pursuit. Their journey is anything but smooth, with storms, raiders, and the prince of Westmarch standing in the way.

Joining an expedition to the ruins of Isenbund, Bailar disappears in the night. Now, Mik and Sura must help rescue their mentor from a legendary foe thought long extinct.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Into the Icebound, the fourth book in the Accidental Sorcerers series, is a fun and easy YA read that could even appeal to MG audiences. This continuation of the exciting fantasy series that I have come to enjoy incorporates a few more classic elements, including goblins and northerners that might as well be cut-outs of vikings or Norse mythology.

Another enjoyable change from previous entries in the series is that it has far more action in it and doesn’t focus as much on the romance. While I like the pairing of Mik and Sura just fine, Into the Icebound is certainly the most entertaining read because of that change.

Displays of magic are plentiful, adventures are undertaken, and history is told in a grand fashion, but in such a way that even younger readers will enjoy. What makes Into the Icebound stand apart the most, however, is that the danger factor is cranked up a few notches. Where as in the first books in the series it felt like the characters were invincible, here this is not nearly the case as many of them encounter real threats to their lives. It isn’t that I want to see Mik or Sura hurt, but having godlike main characters isn’t desirable either, and Kollar manages to balance that aspect the best in this entry to the series.

If you enjoy sorcery, young love (in moderate doses and not graphic), great adventures, and/or great MG/YA style storytelling then this series, and this book especially, is one I’d recommend. You can pick it up on Amazon for a mere dollar here, it’s well worth your time and a fast read to boot. Thanks as always for reading.

Five Smiling Frodos w Background