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Posts tagged “Mini Review Monday

Mini Review Monday: The Poison Eaters by Holly Black

MiniReviewMonday

The Poison Eaters

Summary From Goodreads

Pick your poison: Vampires, devils, werewolves, faeries, or . . . ? Find them all here in Holly Black’s amazing first collection.

In her debut collection, New York Times best-selling author Holly Black returns to the world of Tithe in two darkly exquisite new tales. Then Black takes readers on a tour of a faerie market and introduces a girl poisonous to the touch and another who challenges the devil to a competitive eating match. Some of these stories have been published in anthologies such as 21 Proms, The Faery Reel, and The Restless Dead, and many have been reprinted in many “Best of” anthologies.

The Poison Eaters is Holly Black’s much-anticipated first collection, and her ability to stare into the void—and to find humanity and humor there—will speak to young adult and adult readers alike.

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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 have enjoyed Holly Black’s work in the past, most notably Doll Bones which I read last year and loved, so I was pretty excited to see what creepy things were in store in this collection. The Poison Eaters left me feeling one of the worst emotions that I could have toward a book, I was apathetic.

Some of the stories were pretty enjoyable, with a bit of a creepy/dark feel to them, and Black’s signature writing style which I do enjoy. However, too many of them felt like the skeletons of stories, a bit of bare bones that needed more flesh to them, more depth. Others were dragged on to long, to the point where any shock factor was either forgotten if it was in the beginning, or seemingly devoid of point if it was at the end.

As harsh as that last bit sounds, the stories were fine, they just weren’t up to the standard I was accustomed to with her writing. I wanted more of the haunting elements and less of the tedious filler that I found. I enjoyed enough of the stories (around 40-50%) to give it a positive rating, but I can’t recommend it. Hopefully the next book by her that I read will be at the level of Doll Bones. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #77/365; Mount TBR Challenge #56/200; 2014 TBR Pile #56/50

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Mini Review Monday: Mind Games by Kiersten White

MiniReviewMonday

Storm

Summary From GoodreadsMind Games by Kiersten White

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways…or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.

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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 wanted to like this book so much. Cool mind powers in a ninja/forced boarding school/asylum-like setting, a quirky MC and her blind sister who has a story just as interesting, all wrapped up in deceit and mystery. How could this possibly go wrong?

It is pretty simple. Take the story and all of its potential, jumble it up by bouncing back and forth between different times in the past and the present while also changing POV every so often, none of which has any regularity to it. Then make the MC try to act tough and pull off that persona when in reality she just whines and complains constantly. Follow it up with all of the potentially cool action scenes being messed up by mixing real-time action with a weird inner monologue that ruins any possible fluidity. Finally, make the romantic whatever-the-heck-that-was forced and awkward and the rest of the cast be bland and have no backstory to speak of.

That right there is what will result in a DNF for me. I made it through about 150 pages which is over halfway before giving up, refusing to read 100 more. Maybe my brain just wasn’t ready for all of the “mind games” that were going on, but it never felt cohesive or smooth and just no. Not for me. Plenty of people did enjoy this one, so I’m not going to say DO NOT READ or anything so drastic, but I certainly won’t recommend it. Blah. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #71/365; Mount TBR Challenge #51/200; 2014 TBR Pile #51/50; New Author Challenge #29/50

DNF


Mini Review Monday: Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

MiniReviewMonday

Storm

Summary From Goodreads

Earth, Fire, Air, Water – they have more power than you dream.

Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her, Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys—all the ones she doesn’t want. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water—just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They’re powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.

And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.

Secrets are hard to keep when your life’s at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who’s hiding the most dangerous truth of all.

The storm is coming . . .

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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!

Storm was everything I had hoped it would be and more! All sorts of cool elemental powers were on display, but they weren’t overpowering or superpowery (that’s totally a word now) which was great. It made the characters, even as awesome as they were, seem mostly normal, even openly mocking stuff like the X-Men when the MC, Becca, would expect too much of their abilities.

The biggest surprise for me with this book was that, with such a large cast, I really enjoyed all of them. Becca was funny and sweet, Chris was adorable (something I’m sure he’d love to hear), and the rest of the brothers each had a unique voice, which makes sense given the rest of the series, but something that you can’t really take for granted.

Storm was so good that I didn’t even mind the love triangle, and THAT is saying something! It was fast paced, the romance was so sweet no matter what the pairings were, and the cool displays of elemental awesome were as fabulous as you could hope for. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series and to see the world from the point of view of the other brothers, I know it is going to be a crazy ride. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #63/365; Mount TBR Challenge #45/200; 2014 TBR Pile #45/50; New Author Challenge #27/50; Seriously Series Reading Challenge #20/75

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Mini Review Monday: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

MiniReviewMonday

Attachments

Summary From Goodreads

“Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . ”

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

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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’m so glad that I saw Attachments on Katytastic’s book haul video because I really, really enjoyed it! This is my second Rainbow Rowell book, having read and loved Eleanor & Park last year, and I’m excited to get to Fangirl sometime later this year since so far Rowell’s books have been can’t miss for me.

Attachments is one of the rare books that kept me from putting it down even into the wee hours of the night, despite having worked the day before. I couldn’t get enough of the sweet and lovable characters, the witty banter, the turmoil that the MCs were dealing with, and the budding romances too! So much wonderful bookish goodness, just YES.

The only thing I have to say that is negative at all is that the ending was rather cheesy and a “I have to give my readers a happy ending or they’ll get their pitchforks out” kind of thing, but even that was fine because I wanted it just as badly as the characters did! Lincoln is this super sweet, if a bit misguided, charming guy that has been screwed over in the past and hasn’t been able to find his place since the fallout of that relationship. Beth is in an unsatisfying relationship with a guy who won’t commit, is trying to balance her feelings for her current guy (who she really does care about) with her new ones for the cute guy at the office, and all the while being a good best friend for Jennifer. The two are adorable.

There is so much to love in Attachments. Geekyness is all over the place here, the emails between Beth and Jennifer are sometimes hilarious, other times sad and touching, and the supporting cast is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Clearly I loved the book, and I’m sure (if you haven’t already read it) that you would too. Thanks so much for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #58/365; Mount TBR Challenge #41; 2014 TBR Pile #41/50

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Mini Review Monday: Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons

MiniReviewMonday

Breaking Point

Summary From Goodreads

The second installment in Kristen Simmons’s fast-paced, gripping YA dystopian series.

After faking their deaths to escape from prison, Ember Miller and Chase Jennings have only one goal: to lay low until the Federal Bureau of Reformation forgets they ever existed.

Near-celebrities now for the increasingly sensationalized tales of their struggles with the government, Ember and Chase are recognized and taken in by the Resistance—an underground organization working to systematically take down the government. At headquarters, all eyes are on the sniper, an anonymous assassin taking out FBR soldiers one by one. Rumors are flying about the sniper’s true identity, and Ember and Chase welcome the diversion….

Until the government posts its most-wanted list, and their number one suspect is Ember herself.

Orders are shoot to kill, and soldiers are cleared to fire on suspicion alone. Suddenly Ember can’t even step onto the street without fear of being recognized, and “laying low” is a joke. Even members of the Resistance are starting to look at her sideways.

With Chase urging her to run, Ember must decide: Go into hiding…or fight back?

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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!

Breaking Point is a whirlwind of action. The book takes hold of you, thrusts you into the lives of Ember and Chase as they try to stay alive and find some source of hope, and refuses to let you go until you are just as much of an emotional wreck as the characters within.

Despite the supposed decision Ember must make that the summary for the book implies, it seems like she ended up doing a bit of both. At times her and Chase, as well as a few others (which changed throughout the book, though there was a core for a lot of it), were giving it everything they had to fight against their oppressors, but quickly resorting to hiding at others for fear of getting caught. With how fast the pace is in Breaking Point the true feelings of the characters gets a bit muddled, seemingly changing just as fast as their environment, and while it didn’t ruin the story it did make the book a bit disjointed at times.

Simmons does a lot of things well in the sequel to Article 5. She made me really feel the heartbreak and sense of loss and hopelessness that Ember and her friends often had. The relationship between Ember and Chase also was very well done, having rough patches and miscommunication just like real couples do, and never feeling forced or too perfect. Finally, no matter how many different areas the group was moving around in I could always get a clear idea of what they looked like, her descriptions were excellent and detailed, the imagery vivid and quite powerful.

Overall I felt that Breaking Point was an improvement over its predecessor. Ember is still a tad clingy when it comes to Chase, but she is starting to carve out her own identity, moving out of the “overly attached girlfriend” territory. The book was a bit jumpy at times, and I felt that a couple of scenes might have been rushed just a little, but for the most part the breakneck pace worked to the story’s advantage. Breaking Point will bring out the feels in bunches and it refuses to sugar coat any of them, which I loved. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #37/365; Mount TBR Challenge #28/200; 2014 TBR Pile #28/50; Seriously Series Reading Challenge #15/75

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Mini Review Monday: Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

MiniReviewMonday

Roomies

Summary From Goodreads

It’s time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl’s summer — and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they’ve never met.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate.

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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 first thing I have to get off my chest, and it is probably me assuming too much for the umpteenth time, but I did not expect Roomies to be so focused on life before college. I knew there would be a decent amount of that from the summary, but I thought a good bit would be the two girls coexisting and figuring that out, going around college, dealing with conflicting sleep and class schedules. The problem for me is that’s the college book I want, but that’s not what this is.

Now that I’m done getting that out of the way, let me talk briefly about the book. I’ve seen this categorized as YA and NA, for me this is completely in the NA category. There is a romance focus (seemingly for all parties involved), college-age MCs, and it’s a book about college life, or at least the time immediately prior to it.

Speaking of romance, this book, seemingly like all NA that I hear about or actually read, is filled with it. I like both of the love interests, they’re great, but they’re a little too perfect, and that was obvious right from the start. They apparently have no flaws, I wasn’t loving that, nope, not a bit.

Too good to be true

However, the two main characters, Lauren and Elizabeth, were flawed in their own ways and those flaws were discussed and examined in multiple angles and ways. This I LOVED. Lauren could be a bit naive and holier-than-thou even when she wasn’t trying to be, while Elizabeth was self-centered at times and overly needy at others. Those traits didn’t detract from their characters, it made them realistic, and I thoroughly enjoyed them both. That’s why I was disappointed in their respective love interests, because that wasn’t there at all.

The writing was excellent and the plot was realistic, as each of them slowly made their way to understanding themselves, each other, and what college life (and not living at home) was going to mean. They both grew and became better people, even though sometimes tearing each other’s eyes out may have seemed like a good idea. The styles of Zarr and Altebrando flowed naturally and I didn’t really notice a change from one to the other, which was fantastic.

Brilliant

Overall this is a great contemporary read, but while I wouldn’t quite mark it as “contemporary romance” it isn’t far from, and that should be known going in if you haven’t read it already. It’s New Adult, and everything that age range has become to be known by, but it is done really well. Sure, I would have liked more college experiences, or less of a romance-focused plot, but it still worked, and that’s what matters. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #31/365; Mount TBR Challenge #25/200; 2014 TBR Pile #25/50; New Author Challenge #12/50

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Mini Review Monday: Fungus of the Heart by Jeremy C. Shipp

MiniReviewMonday

Fungus of the Heart

Summary From Goodreads

Readers of Jeremy C. Shipp’s fiction will be familiar with his minimalist, breakneck pacing, his surreal forays into political satire, and his seamless blending of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Now, in his fourth book, the Bram Stoker Award finalist expands on what many critics and fans alike have long considered the most compelling aspect of his work-relationships.

This story collection explores how a person’s desire can infect their every action and interaction with others. The desire to protect. The desire to hurt. The desire to be desired. Fungus of the Heart explores what happens between people when society breaks down and the rules go out the window.

Haunting and heartbreaking, pithy and potent, the quirky inhabitants of Shipp’s bizarro world will carve an indelible line from your funnybone to your spleen to your emotional core.

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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!

Fungus of the Heart is a collection of wonderful stories by one of my favorite writers, Jeremy C. Shipp. It’s got a great mixture of mind-bending horror, humor of all varieties, and all while forcing the reader to stop and think about the people around them and why they do what they do. Perhaps even more importantly, Fungus of the Heart makes the reader examine themselves and think about what is most important to them and what lengths they would go to for those things and/or people.

The first story, The Sun Never Rises in the Big City is one Shipp fans will recognize since it is released by itself, and I read it back in October, 2012. There you get a bit of Noir, and it does stand out from the rest of the stories as a little less dark, and more of a sad story. There is plenty of gore to be had here from The Escapist to Agape Walrus (zombies!), more (dark) philosophical humor in Monkey Boy and the Monsters (what makes a monster?) and Boy in the Cabinet (self imposed prisons), and even just beautifully written twisted stories like The Haunted House and Fungus of the Heart.

For anyone who has followed my blog for a while it will come as no surprise that I loved this book. Jeremy C. Shipp is one of the most talented writers I have ever had the pleasure of coming across and I can’t recommend him enough. He is THE horror writer for me and his bizarro infusions make his work stand out like no other. Definitely check his work out, here, I’ll even give you a link! Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #19/365; Mount TBR Challenge #16/200; 2014 TBR Pile #16/50

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