The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen

The Truth about ForeverThe Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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Loved it. I think the narrator really made the story come alive. Macy’s character development was wonderful, taking chances and making friends. In fact, her friends were one of my favorite parts of the story. Delia was just an amazing, disorganized, mess of love.

The romance was fantastic! It was sort of a un-romance. Neither party was really available, so it was a super fun friendship that lets us get to know them and their secrets. I really developed quite a crush on Wes, good book-boyfriend material. Kristy, Monica, & Bert just grew on me, bunch of loyal misfits. Good back story about several families healing from grief, each person in their own way. It wasn’t angst ridden or depressing, I just don’t enjoy those downer type books.

I’m giving it 4.5 stars, rounded up for GR. I was a teensy bit let down at the end. I just wanted a little more after all that waiting & wanting. There was A LOT of taking the lord’s name in vain, a few F-bombs, nothing sexually explicit.

Recommended. YA contemporary romance, well done. Do it audio style if you can!

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The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat FriendThe DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was hoping to enjoy this more. I saw a preview for the movie and was surprised at the PG-13 rating. The subject matter, high schoolers in a friends-with-benefits deal. Except they’re not even friends. Bianca drops the F-bomb so often, it’s like a filler word.

I know Bianca was purposely written as a cynical, abrasive character. I just wasn’t able to warm up to her, she was so negative about everything. She thinks all teenager/high school stuff (like prom) is soooooo stupid. She’s above it all and looks down on all her peers. Almost all of them. Her two BFFs and the boy she crushes on are the only ones who escape harsh judgement. She uses labels like slut and whore.

2.5 stars, rounded up for Goodreads.

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Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge

Gilded AshesGilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You all know I have a weakness for retellings, the darker, the better. This incarnation of Cinderella did not disappoint. Set in the same world as Cruel Beauty, fools are still striking bargains with the Gentle Lord. We get to meet 3 sisters who are all living with the consequences of bargains made by well meaning parents.

Maia is our Cinderella. Traces of her personality reminded me of Nyx, but without all the poisonous hate. She’s practical and tries to protect others. I enjoyed her unguarded conversations with Anax, when she was blunt and honest. She gave him some nice set downs!

Maia works hard at home serving Stepmother, Thea, and Koré. Not only is Stepmother mean, she’s a bit crazy – which is even better! The crueler the words, the bigger Maia smiles. Locked in the cellar? Maia says it’s a delightful place, nice and quiet. Isn’t it nice of Stepmother to let her cook breakfast each morning? Her poor stepsisters aren’t even allowed to set foot in the kitchen.

Maia has to stay happy all the time, otherwise terrible things happen. Read it, find out. Recommended.

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The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1)The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

YAY for buddy reads!

Wow! This was a treat. I might not have stayed with it if not for the buddy read. Complex world building was a lot to take in, and I had a hard time getting into the crime syndicate part of it. I was really hooked by the time we got to Sheol I.

Paige was a great MC, kind of a breath of fresh air. No mooning over boys or worrying about her appearance. She’s a clever, talented survivor who thrives on danger. She’s got skillz, and everybody wants her for her rare clairvoyant ability.

I loved her BFF, Nick. Not so much love for her mime-lord boss Jax. His character is interesting, written like a bit of a sociopath (remember, most sociopaths aren’t killers, they just can’t feel or fathom empathy).

I thought her friendships in Sheol I were too quick & deep. Who knows, maybe being in dire straits together can do that.

The Rephaim were my favorite part of the story. Nashira is a b*tch & a half. Warden. Hmm, he was a intriguing character, all those secrets. I like a rule breaker. There was ONE part where he said, “Always..” and I permanently pictured him as Severus Snape because of it!!! So, that killed any romantic inclinations I might’ve been having for the bad guy.

The ending felt rushed. I’m rooting for Warden to fail at his final task. Picking up the next book right away!

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Blood Crown by Ali Cross

Blood CrownBlood Crown by Ali Cross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Space ships. Genetic engineering. Humankind fighting for survival. Good, right?

A rebel prince and a hidden princess with hybrid blood running through their veins. Really good stuff.

I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly this book grabbed me. There was an abundance of sappy, lovey dovey stuff in the last chapters that could’ve been pared way down. Overall, an enjoyable story. 3.5 stars rounded up for GR.

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Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L Armentrout

Don't Look BackDon’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars, rounded up for GR. This was a well written psychological thriller, not just the fluffy stuff I’ve come to expect from JLA.

2 girls wonder into the woods. Only one reappears, 4 days later, with amnesia. Samantha is discovering that she was a mean girl with horrible friends. Her handsome boyfriend maybe isn’t so great. Cassie is still missing. Samantha learns more about herself and wonders if she was the one who harmed Cassie. Was she that awful? If she hurt Cassie, then who hurt her & left her for dead?

Enjoyable read, kept me turning pages well into the wee hours.

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Belle Epoch by Elizabeth Ross

Belle EpoqueBelle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked the premise of Belle Epoch. An agency that rents out ugly girls to be companions for society debs. Foils to make a gal look prettier in comparison. Runaway Maude is finding it harder to make a living in France than she expected. She takes a position at the agency out of desperation and it humiliates her.

I enjoyed all the female friendships and Isabelle’s determination to attend the Sorbonne instead of marrying. Maude was selfish and ambitious, not caring about anyone else’s feelings. Petty jealousy & pity parties kept me from liking her.

Overall, a good look at France in the ‘Beautiful Age’. Could’ve been a bit more fun. 3 stars.

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White Space by Ilsa Bick

White Space (Dark Passages, #1)White Space by Ilsa J. Bick
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

White Space was terribly disappointing for me. It certainly didn’t read like young adult fiction. The characters were the right age, but it was more like a super-complicated science fiction novel. I consider myself a fairly intelligent reader and I could barely follow the story. I found myself rereading pages, flipping back to reread whole chapters. There were so many different points of view, it made my head spin. New POVs were being introduced even in the last half of the book. The kicker? This book is almost 600 pages long!

This book is touted as being in the tradition of Memento and Inception. I had a huge problem swallowing all the main character’s references to The Matrix. “Who do I think I am? Neo?” “Just like Keanu Reeves.” There were at least 5 unnecessary allusions to The Matrix. I like that movie by the way. Apparently, so does the author. There were also mentions of Inkheart and Inception. Can you guess that this book is about alternate realities? What is real?

The first chapter hits the ground running into a world where panops, diddlyhumps, swoozels, arguses, & typhons exist. Words pop into being & you can’t even guess at their meaning from the context of the sentence. There is no world building, no explaining. This chapter is from a precocious (smarter than her smart parents) five year old’s point of view. Um, nope. The next chapter drops us into high school junior Emma’s head. She blinks into other realities.

The story jumps all over the place and even when some of the characters meet, we still have no clue what’s going on. It felt a lot like channel surfing the TV for hours. I know that the ending was supposed to blow my mind. I think maybe a hard core sci-fi lover might have thought it was clever. Maybe not. Part of the reason The Matrix and Inception were so cool was the amazing cinematography. After all those movie mentions, I think a more reasonable ending would’ve been that Emma is really a teenager who’s watched The Matrix, Memento, & Inception so many times (and maybe partaken of mind altering drugs) that she thinks she’s living out all those movies at once.

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These Broken Stars

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Holy plot twists Batman! This was very, very good stuff. Dual narrative, well done. Both MCs are likable. Lilac LaRoux is tough, despite her fluffy name. Tarver is a young Major, but he deserves to be put on my Hot Captains shelf. Yes yes yes. Read this book!

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