November Monthly Wrap Up

books

Hello everyone! I promised myself I would be better at my monthly wrap ups so here we are! I knocked a few reads off of my TBR so I’m proud of myself for that. I groaned with disappointment when some of my anticipated reads turned out to be massive duds.

Books I Read

I roughly finished 23 books in November. I am quite disappointed in myself for that but there are several factors that caused me to read 14 less than the month before: I had a medical scare that took over my my thoughts for weeks; Thanksgiving holiday meant I was without my books for four days; I read much longer books than I normally do; and one physical book took me much longer to finish than it should have. I really wanted to push myself. Most were through Overdrive while two were sent by publishers for book tours and/or review, and a few were through my Audible account. Thank you to the publishers!!

Total for the year: 382/100

19 – Audio

4 – Physical

nov 3

nov 2

nov 1

 

November Book Events 

I was lazy and didn’t attend any book events during month. 😦

December Book Events

I don’t have anything on my radar as of right now but that could always change. Until that does, I’m going to continue to plow through my TBR. 🙂

 

How about you? What did you read? What bookish events are on the calendar for you?

 

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Review: The Future of Us

The Future of Us

 

What in the ever loving actual was this. I wasn’t sure there was a way to screw up a sci-fi time travel-ish story but Asher and Mackler found a way to do it.

I’m not even giving a short recap. What you need to know is that this is set in the early 90s when the internet is still BRAND NEW and AOL is the only way to get internet access. Emma has just gotten a computer and her bestest friend (and crush) Josh has graciously brought her an AOL computer disk.

Let me stop here. Anyone born before or during this period of time will have no freaking clue what AOL disks are. *sigh*

Moving on. Emma creates an AOL email and suddenly has a “favorites” bookmark to Facebook. She cannot help but wonder what this is about so she clicks and discovers it is a way to see into the future! She realizes she can see what she is doing in 2011 and what everyone else is doing as well. This girl quickly becomes obsessed with making sure she is happy in 2011. If she sees she’s married to XXX, then she obsessively stalks XXX until she finds out who he is, what he does, and if she is happy. She cannot stop thinking about herself in the future.

I am going to stop again because this is where the book seriously started to piss me off. Emma’s character was so vapid and self-absorbed that she cared about nobody but herself. She could not stop trying to change every single thing about her life 15 years in the future. Example: She found out she was living in Ohio and blew a gasket. She then swore that she would never move to Ohio, checked FB, and BAM! She was living in a new city. She did stuff like this throughout the entire book. Not once did she stop to ever wonder why she had a link to a website 15 years in the future. *bangs head against desk*

Josh’s character was just as bad. He found out who he was married to in the future and then could not stop obsessing over it. I guess “obsessing” was the theme of this book. Anyways… he finds out he is married to the hottest girl in school and proceeds to walk around with a boner for the rest of the story. This boy was running on hormones and nothing else. That is all he could talk about and all he could think about. Gross. Emma was all about boys and “fixing” her loveless marriage so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. These were badly written characters in a badly written story.

I think this was supposed to be an attempt at a light hearted, somewhat comedic story but I never read it that way. What I read was pages and chapters of Josh and Emma reading their FB status updates from the future. SNOOZEFEST. Who cares?! Nothing happened. This was not a fantastic throwback to the 90s type story. There was so very little that linked this to the 90s other than the reference to AOL and a modem. Oh, there is heavy reference to the Dave Matthews band so be prepared for that. But outside of those few items, this could have been set in 2007 and had the same effect. Writing a book for YA readers that were born in the same year as the story probably wasn’t the smartest idea. Again, pretty damn sure not all teens today even know what cassette tapes are, or Walkmans for that matter. Stop trying so hard to be hip and cool.

 

This was so much more than a let down for me. Maybe if I was a much younger reader I would be fascinated by this story but as I am not, I was not into this story. It was painfully dull and boring. The overall plot was weak at best. The characters were self centered, shallow, and lifeless. I didn’t care what they were doing or who they ended up with. I had zero cares to give about this book. The premise and cover promised a cyber-type mystery but I’m here to tell you, my friends, that was not the case. Don’t be fooled, this is not the best use of your reading time. Find another book and move on.

 

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Review: Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls

Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls

 

Nope.

Nope.

Nope.

Do not be fooled by the blurb of this one. It promises a story of betrayal, suicide, and hidden pasts full of secrets. What it actually turned out to be was something much different and I don’t mean that in a good way.

Short recap: June’s friend, Delia,that she distanced herself from has committed suicide by burning herself in a fire. June doesn’t believe it and vows to find out what really happened. What she uncovers shakes her to her core.

Well, after writing that recap maybe I should change professions because I made this story sound good. I struggled to finish this book and often thought about DNFing. Once it was over and the big plot twist was revealed, I wish I had DNFd. It was not that much of a twist, I saw it coming a mile away. The story started out with so much potential – a suicide that may possibly be a murder instead. Who did it?! What happened?! Lies! Mystery! Betrayal! Secrets! Sigh This story just did not deliver the suspense and mystery I expected.

Let me start with the characters. I could not stand June. She was in school when it was announced over the speakers that her former best friend Delia had passed away. It is a sad and tragic announcement, as it should be. But what really stood out to me is that June took it personally. She openly admits that she and Delia used to be inseparable until June decided to distance herself. June decided that Delia was not a good friend anymore and chose to not talk to her. But after the announcement, June felt it was her responsibility to find out what really happened? Riddle me this – WHY. This girl chose to not be friends with the one person who was nice to her and then, what, out of grief chose to get to the bottom of Delia’s suicide? Why was it any of her business? She chose to leave Delia’s life, that doesn’t entitle her to anything. It felt like a long (boring) story of June sticking her nose where it didn’t belong. Now Delia. What a cluster eff of a character. I felt bad for her home life after learning her side of everything. I stress it that way because we are talking about the churched up version of what happened from a very troubled teen that didn’t like being told what to do. Let that sink in and soak for a few moments. The friendship Delia and June did share was nothing but toxic. Delia was a very bad influence on June and she used that to her advantage to get what she wanted. June just wanted a friend to like her so she went along with whatever Delia told her. Everything between them got worse as the story continued and I ended up despising both characters.

The plot. This was supposed to be about misdirection and betrayal. I’m here to tell you that nothing was really as mysterious as Weingarten was trying to make it out to be. She tried to include a plot twist about 40 or 50% of the way into the book but it is painfully obvious what it was going to be. There was to shock factor or gasp moment. What did throw me for a loop and really made me dislike the story was how it started out as a typical high school drama story where a teen doesn’t like how her parents are trying to parent her (rules! OMG!) and it turned into a story about running away, lies, stealing, and murder. That’s right! MURDER. This went from high school stuff to MURDER. Slow down, Speed Racer. How did that escalate so quickly?!

The pacing of the story was bad. There were long stretches of moments where nothing happened and longer chapters where nothing made sense. There were weird flashbacks thrown into chapters randomly – either at the end or they were chapters all on their own. Regardless, they did not make sense, they did not help propel the story forward, they did not give great insight into the characters. They felt like weird fillers to make the story longer.

You can probably guess that I did not like this story. I’m all for a good messed up story of betrayal, secrets, and hidden truths, but that did not happen in this book. It was an unoriginal concept that I have read many times before in other books (Gone Girl, what?) I am still kicking myself for not DNFing because I will never get that time back. I do not recommend this to anyone. It was not clearly developed or executed. Do yourself a favor and pass on this one.

 

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Review: This Darkness Mine

This Darkness Mine

 

WHAT THE HELL DID I READ WHEN I READ THIS STORY.

It is a little difficult to say exactly what this book is about other than it’s a trip and it will mess with your mind. It’s dark, twisted, psychotic, and captivating. I couldn’t put this down. When people tell you that this book was confusing, believe them. The way this story started was not where it ended. McGinnis took this story down a dark and disturbing path that I couldn’t look away from.

This story focused around Sasha Stone, a good girl by nature. She was exceptional in school and music (clarinet). She never fought with her parents, never snuck out at night, never did anything wrong. She was perfect. All of that changed when she found a sonogram picture in a box inside of a closet… but the sonogram was of twins. Sasha was supposed to be a twin but her sister was reabsorbed by the mother’s body and never developed. This, along with other events, caused Sasha to change dramatically. She started hanging out with the bad boy, having sex with this bad boy (even though she had a boyfriend), started fighting with her parents, talking back to everyone, and doing everything uncharacteristic of Sasha. Let’s just say things get much darker and more intense after that. I won’t give anything away but if you want to know, pick up this book.

Now, while everything I mentioned above should be enough to hook you, know that this book was not 100 percent packed with OMG and WHAT?! moments. There were parts that were painfully boring and seemed to go on forever. The shock factors McGinnis put into this story was what kept my attention and me at the edge of my seat. When the story got into a lull, I started to lose my connection with the story. But no matter what – stick with this until the end. I want you to read it and come back to tell me your thoughts. Or if you have read it, tell me your thoughts! I cannot be the only person with so many questions.

 

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Review: Witchtown

Witchtown

 

I’m still struggling to write my review on this one. I borrowed it from my library with the pretense this will be a fantasy mystery thriller type story. WRONG. It was a slightly boring read with very little to do with actual witches. The ending was predictable and I was less than thrilled.

Short recap: Macie and her mother, Aubra, have been moving from witch haven to witch haven claiming to need shelter and safety. That’s a lie as their master plan is to rob the city folks and move on to the next town/haven. Their big finale plan is to rob the infamous Witchtown.

This story was a let down. I know that is a harsh way to start a review but it is true. I wanted so much more but quickly realized it was never going to happen. Macie’s character was not engaging. She was the stereotypical “But I don’t want to be bad, Mom! I’m a good girl!” character. She tried to fight her mom, her mom manipulated her daughter into helping, and Macie stewed in her growing disgust for her mom. The thing that should have been a bigger part of the book was the fact it was about witches. You could have made it all about blondes and it would have had the same effect. Calling these characters “witches” felt like it was for a way to enhance the story. Well, it didn’t work. The witches in the town of Witchtown (sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?) did very little witching. Very little witchy power was used at all. Most of them knew more about baking or herbs than powers.

I knew I should have DNFd this story when Macie grew to really like Witchtown. She liked the teens within because there was a cute boy. Groan. No surprised but Macie starts to develop feelings for this one cute boy but has constant flashbacks to the first boy she really liked but her mom took away from her. (I won’t give away the secret as to how she did that…) But because of the heavy “friendship is all the strength I need!!” montra from Macie and the “I want this boy to like me” vibes she was throwing off, I lost all interest in the outcome of the story. I did not care one bit what was going to happen.

Nothing about the story felt flushed out. The characters were all weak, flat, and one-dimensional. They had no substance to them whatsoever. They all filled one of the stereotypical roles (outcast, innocent who has a dark secret, brooding dreamy boy, vally girl who is too popular, etc). The setting was also underdeveloped. I read that there were streets, a bakery, a bank, a city hall, etc, but nothing more than that. I didn’t feel as if this place could actually exist. It did not feel believable at all. Even the overall plot itself was painfully predictable. I was not surprised by anything that happened. Hence the reason I wish I had DNFd.

This was just a disappointment of a story. There are heavy religious undertones and messages sprinkled throughout the entire story so expect that if you do read this. I won’t recommend it to you because I don’t want you to walk away as frustrated as I was… still am for reading this.

 

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Review: Renegades

Renegades (Renegades, #1)

 

Who hasn’t been excited for this book?! The thought of a story about superheros… good vs evil, who will win? I was hesitant to start this after the bomb that was Heartless (don’t get me started) but because my love for The Lunar Chronicles is so strong, I was willing to give this another try. I was not disappointed.

Short recap: Nova was born into a time where superheroes are everywhere – people born with extraordinary powers, they are known as Renegades. They are supposed to protect everyone. But when they don’t protect Nova’s family from being murdered, Nova vows revenge. She grows up to be a secret member of the Anarchists (the bad guys). She vows to bring an end to the Renegades and seek revenge for the loss of her family.

Holy crow I loved this story more than I should admit. I was absolutely fascinated with everything! The thing that stood out the most was the powers everyone had. I really did expect the normal powers… you know, invisibility, telekinesis, fire, water, blah, blah, blah. But oh no – Meyer put some thought into these characters! It made me wish I was more creative and could have thought of a good superhero for the contest she had recently. (Between you and me, I did create my own character while listening to the audio of this book. Her name is Wink and while she may not be the most creative, she made me feel like I had some sort of creativity… If you want me to go into more detail about her, let me know!) To get an idea of some of the powers these characters had: one could move through mirrors, one controlled bees/wasps/hornets/insects like that, one would know your deepest & darkest fears, one could switch between human skin and rock. Those are just a FEW of the powers. How cool was that?! I won’t give them all away – you’ll have to read to find out what else is mentioned.

Now onto the main characters: Nova and Adrian. I loved Nova so much. I felt her pain from the moment her backstory was given. She had so much passion and determination that she lept off of the pages. She was brilliant, clever, witty, and still growing. I also loved her character arc. She grew so so much as the book progressed that I kept wondering what she would do. See, since her true identity was always hidden, she chose to go undercover and try out for the Renegades. Of course, she made it and played a double agent type role. But the more she learned about the Renegades organization and the actual Renegades, her hardness slowly started to soften. Were they all really as bad as she thought they were? Then there is Adrian, the post boy for the Renegades, also known as Sketch. He is the son of one of the founding members of the Renegades that died a mysterious death. He was adopted by two dads (!!!! Insert my excitement for two dads!) – two more found members of the Renegades. That means he has some very big shoes to fill. Adrian tries every day to make his mom and dads proud. Unbeknownst to anyone, he has some secrets that come out over the course of the story. Again, I’m not giving anything away. You have to get a copy of the book to find out!

There is some romance in this story, as with any Meyer story, but I don’t feel it overpowered the actual plot. It was a slow burn between Adrian and Nova. It did not give me super gushy feels but it made me curious what would happen to them in the next book.

The overall plot was brilliant. I already mentioned it above – Nova (who has the power to make anyone go to sleep and is known as the super mysterious Nightmare) wants to seek revenge on the Renegades for not protecting her family like they promised they would. She will not rest until the organization is destroyed. But she discovers there is so much more going on behind the scenes that she just does not realize. Needless to say, things are not always what they seem.

I cannot say enough good things about the first book in a new series by Meyer. I could not get enough of this story. When I wasn’t listening to it, I was thinking about listening and finishing the story (it was a long audio, btw). But then when it was over, I was sad because I have to wait so long for the next book.  I will say that book 2 was set up perfectly and I cannot wait to see where this series goes.

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Review: This Is Not The End

This Is Not the End

 

This book caught me off guard. I was not ready for it to be as captivating as it was. I borrowed it from my library because it was a “new release” and was surprised not more people are talking about it. Once I started, I was pushing it on everyone.

Short recap: Lake is coming up on her 18th birthday, which should be a joyous occasion but she lives in a time when turning 18 means you can bring someone back from the dead. She has the chance to bring back anyone she wants. The plan has been to bring back her older brother who has been a quadriplegic for years (the family plan has been to end his life before her birthday so he can be brought back healthy and whole). But everything changes when Lake gets into an accident that takes the lives of her best friend and boyfriend. With her 18th birthday just weeks away, who will she choose to bring back?

Lake, the protagonist, was a really good character to read. I connected with her and her struggle. Her emotions came through loud and clear – what was the right choice? Her boyfriend? Her best friend? Her brother? I was not a fan of Lake’s parents at all. They were the ones that made Lake promise at a young age to use her resurrection wish on her brother. Then after the accident they constantly reminded her in the snarkiest and rudest ways possible what her duties and responsibilities were. Even her brother was the biggest and rudest jerk on the face of the planet, and I’m being nice when I use those terms. Read the book and you’ll know he was so much worse. The character that I struggled with understanding was Ringo. Ringo was a boy Lake went to school with at a very young age. He stood out and was memorable to her because he had a huge birthmark across half of his face. They ran into each other at a therapist’s office and struck up a conversation. I like how Ringo was straightforward with Lake but I didn’t like how a relationship/romance started between them, almost like instalove. If nothing else, this story did not need a romance. Plus, it started so soon after her boyfriend passed away so it felt… creepy and wrong.

There is no way I’m going to ruin this story by telling you who she picked, but know the plot was well thought out and stayed on course. There were no hidden topics brushed over or weird outer space aliens thrown in for a plot twist. This was a dang good solid story of a girl struggling to figure out who she wants to bring back from the dead. Even though she had everyone pressuring her, she stayed true to herself.

I found the premise of this story fascinating. The story does not state that it is set in any distant future so maybe it’s just an alternate reality from ours. There was not backstory as to how one was able to resurrect someone but only that it could be done and it could be anyone. The one thing that was stressed was that the person brought back might not be the same. They could not be all there mentally. I was still captivated by the thought someone could be brought back and it made me wonder if I would do that to someone I loved… bring them back from the dead.

I really want people to read this story. It is a quick one yet it will leave you guessing until the end. Please, add to your TBR and read this one. Come back and let me know your thoughts after you do.

 

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