In an effort to cut down on posts and burnout, my Review Roundups will feature 2-4 books I’ve read or listened to recently. Sometimes they’re newer releases and sometimes they’re all backlist titles. My ARC reviews usually get the solo treatment. Enjoy the mini reviews!
Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Published by Scholastic on March 27, 2018
Also by this author: I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You, Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, My True Love Gave To Me, Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover, Only the Good Spy Young, All Fall Down, Out of Sight, Out of Time, United We Spy, See How They Run, Take the Key and Lock Her Up
Format: Audiobook (297 pages) • Source: Scribd
Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble
Maddie thought she and Logan would be friends forever. But when your dad is a Secret Service agent and your best friend is the president's son, sometimes life has other plans. Before she knows it, Maddie's dad is dragging her to a cabin in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness.
No phone.No Internet.And not a single word from Logan.
Maddie tells herself it's okay. After all, she's the most popular girl for twenty miles in any direction. (She’s also the only girl for twenty miles in any direction.) She has wood to cut and weapons to bedazzle. Her life is full.Until Logan shows up six years later . . .And Maddie wants to kill him.
But before that can happen, an assailant appears out of nowhere, knocking Maddie off a cliff and dragging Logan to some unknown fate. Maddie knows she could turn back- and get help. But the weather is turning and the terrain will only get more treacherous, the animals more deadly.
Maddie still really wants to kill Logan.But she has to save him first.
I’m a big fan of Ally Carter… clearly, if you look at all the reviews up at the top there. She writes some of the most fun and engaging “light mystery” kinds of books. I love all of them for different reasons. I was pretty excited to explore a standalone too! This was a first for her. The whole Alaskan survival thing didn’t exactly appeal to me but I can’t resist her stories, so I dove in soonafter it came out.
I enjoyed Maddie and Logan, and the complexities of their relationship. I’m a huge fan of childhood-friends-to-more, especially if there’s hate-to-love involved. This checked off a lot of boxes for me in terms of tropes I love! There was a decent amount of build for their relationship and understanding where they both were coming from. I shipped them but not to OTP levels.
The survival aspects were nicely done and not overkill, considering that I don’t love that genre/topic in general. The journey was really quick (the book itself is quite short and I listened to the audiobook, which was only around 6 hours). I think I would have liked a little more to the story? It was kind of simple, if that makes sense. I had a feeling that there’d be more at the ending (like some kind of reveal or twist regarding the kidnapping) and View Spoiler »I was definitely not disappointed! I loved the twists toward the end, even if some were a bit unbelievable haha. “Stefan” helping them/kind of sort of being a good guy was awesome. « Hide Spoiler
Overall, I’d definitely recommend this one if you like Ally Carter’s writing! It’s a fun standalone and the audiobook was well done too.
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1
Genres: New Adult, Young Adult, Fantasy
Published by Bloomsbury on May 1st 2018
Also by this author: A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, Throne of Glass, The Assassin's Blade, Crown of Midnight, A Court of Wings and Ruin, A Court of Silver Flames , Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows
Format: Hardcover (224 pages) • Source: Purchased
Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble
The Winter Solstice. In a week. I was still new enough to being High Lady that I had no idea what my formal role was to be. If we'd have a High Priestess do some odious ceremony, as lanthe had done the year before. A year. Gods, nearly a year since Rhys had called in his bargain, desperate to get me away from the poison of the Spring Court to save me from my despair. Had he been only a minute later, the Mother knew what would have happened. Where I'd now be. Snow swirled and eddied in the garden, catching in the brown fibers of the burlap covering the shrubs My mate who had worked so hard and so selflessly, all without hope that I would ever be with him We had both fought for that love, bled for it. Rhys had died for it.
After loving ACOTAR and ACOMAF, I was let down considerably by ACOWAR. My love for certain characters couldn’t save me from a dragging middle section of the book, with a solid beginning and end to the story. This “novella” was created to bridge the gap between the original trilogy and the new books coming out from other points of view. I was somewhat eager to get started (I did start reading on release day, after all), but cautiously optimistic?
It was definitely nice to have a shorter SJM book because one of my larger issues with her books is that I actually don’t like her writing style. (The other huge issue is how problematic they can be, which is a whole other ball game that others have covered better than I can.) I enjoy the storytelling and the actual plot points, which is why I read her, but I don’t like her writing… especially the sex scenes. Oy. They were not enjoyable in this one either, good lord. Her words and phrases were super repetitive yet again and I don’t understand how that’s not edited better?! This is a hugely popular series and hugely popular author and her books somehow make it to publication with the same words repeating all over the place on the same page. She had the phrase “buried into her” twice in the same two paragraphs; I KNOW there are other phrases to mean sex, okay? She called Rhys a “prick” twice on the same two pages. I just hate that. I need some variety so it doesn’t feel like I’m reading the same thing over and over again. But, I digress.
The actual story in this one goes back and forth between Feyre and Rhys, mostly, with little snippets of Cassian and Nesta. I was curious to see if it would really feel like a novella or a bridge book, or if it would be a nice standalone story. It definitely was a pointless book overall and really didn’t feel like anything? I can kind of see a tiny bit of setup for the next books, especially if they’re from Cassian and Nesta’s points of view, but nothing *actually* happened here. Don’t get me wrong – there were some funny moments and cozy Solstice (wintery holiday) scenes that I enjoyed. It was cute to be around everyone again. Am I eager to read from someone else’s POV in the next books? Absolutely. I love Feyre and Rhys, obviously, but they’re grossly perfect nowadays and it was pretty boring. It’s NICE to see happy, low-drama couples, but I’m just personally ready to read something refreshing and new.
So again, I can’t really complain about this harmless lil book – it was nice to be around them during the holiday / winter season and be around this group of friends-turned-family. It did an okay job of setting up for the next set of books. It just wasn’t fully necessary.
Not If I Save You First sounds like a really good and intense story! I have Heist Society but I have yet to read it. I like the idea of having a best friend but now she wants to kill him?? I need to know WHY!
Also sorry you didn’t super enjoy A Court of Frost and Starlight. I own it but have yet to read it. I love Rhys and the other characters but I always hated Feyre. I’m kind of annoyed that she’s making these books into a long series though. I would have been satisfied with just the 3 books.
Great reviews! 😀
-Amber @ Escape Life in the Pages
Not If I Save You First seems like a fun but still intriguing mystery! I’m adding it to my tbr! 😀
I’m sorry to hear you didn’t find ACOFAS as enjoyable as the first two in the series, Lauren. It seems like there are two camps in terms of opinions: the meh camp and the OMG IT WAS AMAZING I NEED MORE camp (I’m in the latter). I do agree that Maas’ writing can get repetitive sometimes. I think for me, that’s mostly counteracted by all the humor that’s right up my alley but I can definitely see how it would be irritating. Still, I’m really looking forward to the next section of the series with Nesta’s story (although I’m sad to see Feyre and Rhys’ POV’s go)!
I really enjoyed Not If I Save You First. That was my first ever Ally Carter novel. I will definitely be reading more of her books now. It was a really quick (I agree with you that it would have been nice for it to be a little longer) entertaining read. I liked the survival action and the romance. I have yet to read ACOFAS…. I am a little nervous since fans seem kind of disappointed.