In an effort to cut down on posts and burnout, my Review Roundups will feature 2-4 backlist books I’ve read or listened to recently. My ARC reviews usually get the solo treatment. Enjoy the mini reviews!
Dark Star by Bethany Frenette
Series: Dark Star #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Published by Disney-Hyperion on October 23rd 2012
Format: Audio/eBook (368 pages) • Source: Hoopla
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Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it's hard for Audrey not to feel safe. That is, until she's lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human--something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile.
Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn't fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers--livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin.
To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person's memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers' next move. But Leon, her mother's bossy, infuriatingly attractive sidekick, has other ideas. Lately, he won't let Audrey out of his sight.
When an unthinkable betrayal puts Minneapolis in terrible danger, Audrey discovers a wild, untamed power within herself. It may be the key to saving her herself, her family, and her city. Or it may be the force that destroys everything--and everyone--she loves.
I needed an Urban Fantasy for my Bookish Bingo card and Morgan recommended DARK STAR. I wasn’t sure how the book would work for me because the last demon-y book I read was very meh and I never continued with the series. I was pleasantly surprised by DARK STAR and enjoyed it more (despite the same rating lol)!
I liked Audrey and pretty much all of the rest of the characters in this one. It was fun to see secrets be revealed from start to finish. Her mom, her friends, the other people with ~powers~ … they were all really interesting characters that I hope to learn more about going forward. There even was a BIT of romance near the end.
It sucks because I honestly can’t think of much more to talk about? The book flew by, as I combined some audio hours with reading the ebook for the ending. I liked it enough but there’s not much to discuss. I can tell that there’s still SO much more left to cover in the upcoming books, without feeling like they’re stretching the story too much. The ending was closed enough to not feel like a cliffhanger but open enough to get that feeling of more coming soon.
A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published by Macmillan on August 26th 2014
Also by this author: Signs Point to Yes
Format: Audiobook (272 pages) • Source: Hoopla
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The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out. But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.
Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together....
This is absolutely one of those books where the concept is infinitely better than the execution. I LOVED reading their love story from a million perspectives except their own. I’ve definitely never read anything quite like it, so the book gets major points for originality. I liked being a third party observer and analyzing their actions, but it was hard to get inside their heads (obviously). I also felt like I got to know Gabe better than Lea for some reason – like he was the more accessible character with more going on.
The story alternated between multiple side characters – a bench, squirrel, professor, classmates, friends, sibling, bus driver… It was really fun to see how everyone figured out they should be together before the two of them even saw it (or at least acted on it). It really makes me wonder if this sort of shipping happens with random people like this! The only issue with so many random perspectives (some better than others) was that each person felt like a stereotype or a cardboard cutout of the kind of person they were “representing.”
I’m glad I read it because it was really charming but the miscommunication was extensive. The concept was unique enough to engage me for sure. But I, like everyone else watching them, definitely wanted to hit their heads together.
Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 by Marissa Meyer, Douglas Holgate
Series: Wires and Nerve #1
Genres: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Comic/Graphic Novel
Published by Macmillan on January 31st 2017
Also by this author: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, Fairest, Stars Above, Heartless
Format: Hardcover (240 pages) • Source: Purchased
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In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new, action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold. When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers' leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the bestselling series.
Oh my god, it was so fantastic to be around this crew of characters again. They are my definition of #SquadGoals. While they’re not exactly still out there as a group saving the
world universe, they’re still pretty damn tight-knit. I was so excited to see Iko’s own story, since she totally deserved one, and it really did not disappoint. This format was perfect for her too.
I enjoyed the illustrations even though most of the characters didn’t look like I had pictured them! The biggest disappointment I guess is the depiction of the wolf-hybrid. I know that Wolf definitely looked like one, but I didn’t expect him to look so… inhuman? I could see the other ones who were “further along” in the process and more wolf-like, but I wasn’t a huge fan of how they were drawn. Otherwise, I liked the style overall!
As for the story: Iko’s new mission is to round-up the wolf-hybrid folks who are attacking humans on earth. Cress and Thorne were major characters in this volume, which I loved, but there were many other appearances of everyone else too. The story itself was appropriate for Iko (and the format too, as I mentioned). I think there wasn’t very much action, but I know there will certainly be some more conflict in the next story.
I think this is a must-read for Lunar Chronicles fans! It’s a refreshing new story set in the same universe with some all-time favorite characters. You’ll get major feels. I know I did!
Bounce by Noelle August
Series: Boomerang #3
Genres: New Adult
Published by Harper Collins on August 25th 2015
Also by this author: Boomerang, Rebound
Format: Audiobook (304 pages) • Source: Hoopla
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Playing the occasional club gig just isn’t cutting it for twenty-two-year-old cellist Skyler Canby, who’s trying to support herself and her mother back home in Kentucky. Persuaded by her best friend Beth to accompany her on an audition for the first feature film launched by Blackwood Entertainment, she figures why not? Beth’s a shoe-in for the lead, but maybe Skyler’s newly dyed pink hair will help her stand out enough to score a small speaking part.
Never in her wildest dreams does Skyler imagine she’ll land the lead role or that she’ll have her shoes knocked off her feet by the kiss her audition partner, Grey Blackwood, plants on her—a kiss that feels very real and not at all “acted."
After throwing a party that causes thousands of dollars of damage to his older brother’s home, reckless musician Grey Blackwood gets roped into working off his debt on the set of his CEO brother’s newest project. Grey spends his days fetching coffee and doing odd jobs around the studio, but he lives for nights when he performs with his band. He knows if he can stay focused, success as a singer is just around the corner. But that’s tough with a distracting pink-haired girl occupying his every waking thought.
Skyler and Grey have every reason to resist each other. But, like a song neither of them can get out of their minds, they have no choice but to go where the music takes them.
Man… it’s clear that no book in this series could live up to the first one! I loved BOOMERANG because it was funny and sexy; there wasn’t the typical NA angst and drama. I laughed out loud multiple times and was addicted to reading it. I finished the book in a day while laying on the beach. The second book, REBOUND, was decent. It was nothing to write home about, didn’t make me laugh, and had a bit more angst than I prefer. I was bored and it was formulaic and predictable. This final book is certainly the worst of the three. It wasn’t really funny or sexy in any way, except for literally 1-2 scenes that happen way too late.
Skyler got a lead part in a movie thanks to a great audition with Grey, Adam’s brother. There was some immediate chemistry but then the two of them jerked around for the entire book! He said that he felt something for her that he never felt before… after they met and talked like 2-3 times. I just didn’t buy it? I don’t mind instalove if I feel an immediate connection and they keep up the relationship. I was bored watching them go about their lives. Skyler even spent 75% of the book essentially dating someone else, trying to deny feelings for Grey. This book was so angsty. Each character had skeletons and things deterring them from being with each other. I get it! But I was tired of all the tropes and drama. Just didn’t care.
I’ve seen some people enjoy the romance and the pacing, but I legitimately was sick of waiting for them to get together. I’m a huge fan of slow burn romance but this was not fun. This wasn’t a fun and sexy NA but it honestly wasn’t a super dark and angsty one either. It was somewhere in between, which apparently doesn’t work for me either. MAYBE I would have felt differently if I had read the book instead of listened to the audiobook, but I don’t think so.
I’d still generally recommend this series, but for me they got worse with each book. Nothing compares to BOOMERANG. (I should just reread that one and call it a day!)