ARC Review: I Hate Everyone But You

I Hate Everyone But You

 

I have been stewing for days on how to properly write my review for this one. I won an ARC of the book on Goodreads and if that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have picked this up on my own. I hadn’t won anything in awhile so I was excited! Boy was that short lived. The only thing this story has going for it is that it is a quick read. The entire story is written in the format of emails and texts so there is that.

Short recap: Best friends, Ava and Gen, are starting their Freshman years at colleges on opposite sides of the US. They have sworn to keep in touch every day by writing emails and sending texts.

That’s all I have to say about the recap. I’m keeping that part short because everything else about the story was all over the charts. I did finish the story but I was not happy when it was over, other than I didn’t have to read it anymore. I realized that I never connected to any of the characters and I didn’t care what was happening in the story, But let’s be honest, when a story is written in this type of format, how much story can really be given/told? There is NO world building other than what is given in emails. Hell, I never even knew what the characters looked like other than one was brunette and one was blonde. I never figured out the ultimate reason for this story, other than to see if two “best friends” could truly survive being so far away from each other? Shrug. Here is what really chapped my ass about this book: there are some very serious topics discussed yet none of them are resolved by the end. None. You cannot honestly expect to drop such serious/heavy topics into a book and then glaze over them, can you, Dunn & Raskin? Here are the topics I’m talking about:

  • Mental illness
  • LGBTQ+
  • Alcoholism
  • Self harm
  • Past suicide attempts/thoughts of current suicide attempts

All of these were mentioned several times but none of them came to any resolution. They were almost used like punchlines of bad jokes. I cannot have any respect for authors that don’t take these topics seriously.

Both characters, Gen and Ava, have one or more of the above issues but I felt the way they were handled was horrid. Gen came out to Ava about being queer and being part of the LBGTQ+ community. Ava did not react well and asked if it was a phase (ouch). Plus, anytime Ava had questions or didn’t agree with how Gen was behaving, Gen immediately called her a homophobe and shut down. Uh… probably not the right way to respond. Your BFF just wants to understand so how about you help her instead of being a bitch? On top of that, Gen’s father is a long time alcoholic which lead Gen to some very bad and reckless decisions as an adult. Did Gen ever get help for her father’s problems, which spilled into her life? No. No she did not. She never talked about them to anyone but Ava but was defensive when therapy was suggested. Ava, while having some serious issues of her own, seemed to be slightly more stable than Gen and that’s saying something. Ava was the one with a mental illness (other than OCD and severe anxiety, nothing else is discussed but it is always hinted that something serious happened when she was little that caused her to go on Prozac at the age of 10), had a past suicide attempt, and was currently doing self harm. Ava does constantly complain about her inexperienced therapist and whined about being on medication but nothing else really happened. Ava claims she has the most wonderful and loving parents but the don’t seem concerned about her current behaviors of hurting herself. They also do not check in regularly about her therapy sessions. What in the actual?! These two characters are seriously all over the place. I wanted to root for them but how could I? They were both self-destructive in their own ways and refused to seek help. They also shut down when the other called them out on stupid stuff they were doing. Between the two, I tended to side more with Ava when she was calling Gen out on her wrongdoings but I’ll be damned if Gen wasn’t the hurtful one. Ava was clearly the dependent one in this relationship and that was troubling. It felt as if she couldn’t cope or survive if Gen wasn’t her friend. That is not healthy.

In the beginning of this story, I was willing to stick it out. It quickly turned into a massive trainwreck that I couldn’t look away from. This was supposed to be a humorous story, as each friend experiences several “firsts” during their Freshman year, but this story was anything but funny. This story was so heavily packed with super current topics/references/phrases/slang that it will quickly be dated, if it isn’t already and it hasn’t released yet. And while we are at it – let’s be real for a moment… nobody really talks like these two friends did. Nobody is that on point with their witty retorts and snarky comebacks. Nobody. Gen was having a bad day and BOOM! Ava would hit back with just the right quip to make things better. I call BS on that. There was so much slang and jargon that I found myself Googling what they were saying because I was lost on what was being said. (Yep, it was that bad.)  The part that really got my goat and actually pissed me off was when these authors (loose term) dropped the name and actual link to their YouTube channel. No lie. It was added as a PS to an email and I nearly set the book in fire to be rid of it. Are you effing kidding me?! GIVE ME A BREAK! How desperate are you?! How tacky can you get?! The answer is “very” in case you were wondering.

I’m sure you can guess that I did not like this book. The one and only thing it had going for it was that it was a quick read. But let’s be real, you can’t be expected to write too much of a compelling story if everything is in snarky email comments and two worded texts, am I right? Do I recommend this? Not a snowball’s chance in hell. This was a steaming pile of what the eff and I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. It was insulting, not funny, and the story goes nowhere. There really is too much crammed into this story and none of it is handled well, if at all. It’s like these authors (loose term) wanted to take every serious topic they could get their hands on and put it into one 288 page book. Not a good idea because this did not work. Not one bit. Will I read anything else from either of these people? Nope. No way.

 

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Waiting on Wednesday: Godsgrave

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

 

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2)

 

 

From Goodreads:

A ruthless young assassin continues her journey for revenge in this new epic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.

Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.

 

THAT COVER. *heart eye emoji* Are you excited for this sequel? Let me know!

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ARC Review: Wonder Woman: Warbringer

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)

 

What can I say about this story that hasn’t already been said? This was the Wonder Woman story I wanted before I knew I wanted it. It pulled me in from the first page and never let me know.

Short recap: Diana, Princess of the Amazons, chooses to put her life at risk and the ultimate challenge when she helps a female from the Land of Man. The stranger is a historical Warbringer and Diana risks her life against both mortal and immortal to help this stranger rid the Warbringer destiny forever.

I love the idea of all of the YA books coming out that focus on Superheros both Marvel and DC. Bardugo was the first author in the new DC series and she kicked it off in a spectacular way. I knew a part of Diana’s backstory but Bardugo gave it her own personal spin and I feel that made it so much more enjoyable. Even if you don’t know the backstory, you will not be lost. You will be able to easily figure out what is going on in the story. Do keep in mind that there is a lot of Greek mythology in this story but it is necessary information. Since Diana’s character and the Amazons are strong in Greek history/mythology, this was all very welcomed. It may seem like an overload but please stay with it, don’t give up on it. It all comes full circle I promise.

Diana’s character was one of the most enjoyable character I have read, but she was written by Bardugo so I’m not surprised that she was amazing. Some other reviewers have said they didn’t like Diana’s character because she was “too innocent”. Give me a break. The girl was raised on an isolated island by women only. She was heavily educated on the Land of Man but reading things from books only go so far. To have such intimate contact with so many people from Land of Man, you cannot be surprised that Diana doesn’t know as much. She has every right to be a little clueless! She was trained to be a warrior, not a manic pixie dream girl. Cut her some slack. Throughout all of it, Diana held her snarky personality and that was so refreshing. She was always quick to call someone on their BS and I loved that. The girl may have grown up isolated but she was no fool.

This story was not just one of war and fighting, it was also about strong friendships and being true to yourself. The group that Diana is trying to save is Alia, the Warbringer, Alia’s brother, Jason, and her best friends, Nim and Theo. This group was just so welcoming and accepting of Diana and her quest to save Alia. The is so much support and compassion that it was refreshing to read in a story that focuses around a Warrior Amazon Princess.

 

I know this review is kind of all over the place as I am really trying not to give too much of this away. If you take anything away let it be this: This story was amazing. It was fast paced and action packed. I was sad when it ended because I wanted to keep reading Bardugo’s version of this epic story. I hope this is already on your TBR. Give it a read and come back to let me know what you thought.

 

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ARC Review: Keep of Ages (The Vault of Dreamers #3)

The Keep of Ages (The Vault of Dreamers, #3)

 

I have been waiting on pins and needles for the third and final installment in The Vault of Dreamers trilogy. It was a heck of a wait and I was not patient about it. Just as I expected, O’Brien knocked it out of the park.

Short recap: Rosie Sinclair is still running and fighting for her life against Dean Berg, who wants to mine her for her dreams. Dean Berg has upped the stakes by involving Rosie’s family and those she loves the most. Will Rosie finally be able to expose Dean Berg for the horrors he has put her through and the rest of the kids in the Vault of Dreamers?

This was such a wild ride that I devoured the book in no time. Rosie’s character was brilliant, as always. She was constantly growing, developing, and surviving. I found myself wishing I could be as resourceful and brave as her. She went through some pretty extreme circumstances to save those she loved, even if it mean hurting herself. She was not alone, she had her dear friends Linus and Burnham. The romance was still there between Rosie and Linus, and still awkward around Burnham. The new character introduced was Lavinia Jacobs. She was a strange bird, I’ll admit, but she fit perfect into the story. She knew Dean Berg before he became the current evil person everyone is trying to run from. She worked at the Forge School before Berg so she knew what the school was supposed to be, not what it currently was.

The world building O’Brien put into The Keep of Ages was amazing! I felt like I was on the cliffs next to the beach and in the amusement park watching that fantastic dragon. I really loved the setting so much as it made the story feel realistic and believable. This was such a quick paced, action packed, non-stop story that it was over before I knew it. I found myself sad to say goodbye to Rosie and her friends. I really enjoyed watching Rosie’s character really grow and develop over the course of the trilogy. I know, that sounds crazy but when you enjoy a series as much as I enjoyed this one, you’ll know what I mean. I felt connected to Rosie because I was with her for her journey.

I am trying so hard not to give away any spoilers in this review so forgive me for being so vague. Just know this – this book was everything I was hoping it would be. O’Brien did an outstanding job of wrapping up the series and giving us the ending we deserved. I hope you will give this a chance, you won’t be disappointed.

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Books Left Unread #91

Wallpaper-Books

Books Left Unread

Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.

This week’s post is dedicated to:

A Gathering of Shadows by Victoria Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2)

 

Why haven’t I read this one? HYPE. There is so much hype! I listened to the first book twice and felt it was just alright. I thought I missed something so it has made me hesitant to start the next book in the series. Have you read this? What did you think?

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Black Sheep Review: What To Say Next

What to Say Next

 

Welcome to another Black Sheep Review! This is not going to be a warm and fuzzy review of this story as I did not enjoy it at all.

black sheep

 

What a struggle this story was. I DNFd the physical copy but gave the audio a chance as someone told me how much they loved the story. I still wanted to DNF the audio as I did not feel connected to this story and the ending was predictable.

Short recap: Kit’s Dad passed away suddenly from a car accident and chooses to friend David, a quiet boy at her school that is awkward but not savage like her other friends. Will they become friends and find a way to help each other through the rough patches in their lives?

After I finished the audio, I went back to reread my DNF thoughts. I will admit my original concerns make more sense now that I finished the story but I still didn’t enjoy what I read. At no point did I feel this was a happy, feel good story with gushy feels. This was actually a dark and angsty book with a lot of very serious topics. Now that I think about it… I think too many serious topics were crammed into this story:

  • Death of a parent
  • Depression/grief
  • Bullying
  • Cheating/adultery
  • Autism/Asperger’s

That is an awful lot to try to pack into less than 300 pages yet I don’t feel Buxbaum did it very well. I think it was gutsy to put that much into one story. That being said, I think some topics that needed to be discussed were glazed over. It felt like a majority of the story circled around David’s possible autism or where he fell on the autism spectrum. While I respect that topic being put into a YA novel because we need more stories that talk about it, I don’t feel it was done right. It showed the extreme side of his autism (though he refused to label himself as having autism or high functioning autism). I guess what I am trying to say is that including this topic did not enhance or add to the story at all. I don’t feel that David’s character needed to be set apart from the rest of the high school students. He really could have just been categorized as an introvert and it would have worked just as well. I do wish the rest of the topics had been covered better. I felt the bullying that took place really needed to be addressed but it wasn’t. It was just another thing that was swept under the rug after it served its purpose in the overall story.

I believe what is bothering me the absolute most about this story is that it did not feel original. I feel as if I have read it before: popular girl had tragic event happen and she befriends a boy she would “not normally have talked to before”. They magically become friends and possibly a romance happens. GUESS WHAT?! That happened here! There just was not anything that stood out to me to make me like the characters or the overall story because it felt like it had been done before.

Don’t get me started on the ending! Holy crow that ending made me so mad. It felt like a cop out! I nearly lost it when I read that ending. Buxbaum, you really want to write the ending that way in the last 15 pages and call it good? You have to do better than that. You drop those bombshells and then wash your hands like all is peachy? Not cool. (If you really want to know what happened, ask and I’ll let you. 🙂 )

Overall, I am still disappointed with this story. I didn’t believe the friendship/romance that bloomed between Kit and David. I didn’t buy the relationship David had with his sister/family – like why didn’t they do more to help him understand and function better with his autism? I didn’t jive with the aftermath Kit’s family endured after her Dad passed away. I didn’t buy how Kit had an awakening and chose not to hang out with her friends anymore, even if they were absolute jerks. I didn’t get how so many students could pick on one person and never get in trouble. You get the point… I didn’t believe this could happen in real life. I wish I had DNFd the audio the way I DNFd the physical book.

 

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Review: No Good Deed

No Good Deed

 

I. Love. Goldy. Moldavsky. She could write a shopping list and I would pay money to read it. She is brilliant and I will forever read what she writes.

Short recap: Gregor Maravilla wants to go to a humanitarian camp over the summer, make friends, and feed the starving kids. What he didn’t expect was what went on at this humanitarian camp.

Not for the first time, I wondered what the hell was happening at this camp.

Oh God this book had me in tears. I was laughing so hard I had to stop the audio and laugh/cry it all out. Moldavsky’s snarky and witty comments never faltered and never stopped. (Bless you for that, Goldy. Never change.) I wasn’t sure I would like the idea of a book about a humanitarian summer camp for teens but like I said, this author could write a paper on the effects of toe fungus in the world and I would read it and probably laugh my ass off. I point out that Moldavsky managed to poke fun of mainstream cultures and the injustice of it all. She makes fun of everything from the social justice movement to men’s rights movement. It was brilliantly done, by the way, and done perfectly. There is a strong underlying message that I hope people don’t miss with this laugh a minute story. It is there and it is a loud, powerful message. I won’t tell you what it is – you have to read for yourself. 😉

The characters are mostly loveable but also actually kind of real. Everyone is flawed, judged, self-conscious, and fragile. Even the celebrity within the story, Ashley. Her pure innocence at everything was amazing. The way she and Gregor became friends brought a smile to my face. Everyone wants a friend, even celebrities, right?

I was so very sad when this story was over because it was just downright fun. It did have some serious notes to it, like I mentioned above, but it was just fun. I laughed at so many moments and am still laughing at them. I am begging you – read this book. Do not go into it thinking it is a serious book about teens that want to save the world. It is a fun story with hilarious moments and quotable lines:

“She likes Adam Levine and the color plum. Not Bruce Willis eating ass.”

It will also make you give a second thought to your own humanitarian ways but in a good way. Please, give this one a chance.

 

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