16 July 2018

Murdertrending; Gretchen McNeil

#Murdertrending#Murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Do not read if you don't like gory murders!

Ok, now that warning is out of the way... wow. This is one of those "this couldn't really happen, right?" books - the idea of Alcatraz 2.0, the app and live feeds, the Postman, etc. all are so over the tip but... maybe... perhaps... it could really happen here. After all, we're in the land of Big Brother (the tv show, not the Orwellian idea, although perhaps that's not so far off) and we have a reality star for a President. This lost points for one (really two) obviously glaring plot holes. But anyone needing an thriller/murder adrenaline rush will appreciate this despite that.

eARC provided by publisher.

Storm-Wake; Lucy Christopher

Storm-WakeStorm-Wake by Lucy Christopher
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

DNF - did nothing new to the Tempest story.

ARC provided by publisher.

Sanctuary; Caryn Lix

SanctuarySanctuary by Caryn Lix
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Clearly the start of a series (or at least a duology).

While much of this was nothing new (prison for "anomalies" is a space station of sorts, dystopian world with corporate vs. national citizenship, etc.) and the characters pretty static, this was still enjoyable. I particularly liked that the aliens (not really a spoiler - you know there have to be aliens, right?) weren't humanoid.

ARC provided by publisher.

All These Beautiful Strangers; Elizabeth Klehfoth

All These Beautiful StrangersAll These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This would have been a much faster read had I not spent so much time trying to figure out which prep school this was (I think it's actually a combination of three).

As far as plots go, this is pretty standard teen stuff, standard, that is, if you belong to a certain group of students attending certain schools. There's a lot of "where are the adults" here, as most schools I know are (now, not back when I was a student in the 70s) paying closer attention to students' goings and comings. The semi-ripped from the headlines subplots were the best ones.

eARC provided by publisher.

Contagion; Erin Bowman

Contagion (Contagion, #1)Contagion by Erin Bowman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Decent space thriller - this time with zombies (or something like that, there doesn't seem to be a lot of "must eat brains" involved). Moments when things could have been quieter, less trill-filled are few and far between, and that doesn't help. Ratcheting up the tension only works if there's some relief.

eARC provided by publisher.

The Only Story; Julian Barnes

The Only StoryThe Only Story by Julian Barnes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've always loved Barnes' work and now? Adding Max Verstappen's 2016 Brazilian GP drive? It's a great example of (as Paul says) the lack of risk limiters.

So, why am I rounding up from 4.5 stars? I'm not really sure. Getting the story of Paul's love for, and relationship with, Susan felt a little flat. Maybe it was because it was told from such a distance? or that we moved from the first person to third person as we move from the first flush of love through today? Or maybe it was because Susan's story felt a little forced? Why she leaves her husband and what happens after wasn't that new.

Still, 4.5 isn't bad, right?

Games of Secrets; Kim Foster

Game of SecretsGame of Secrets by Kim Foster
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Dickensian-era London, people with special talents, warring factions between those people, and a young woman taken from her usual life of flower selling (luckily not named Eliza) to learn airs and graces and special tricks. We've read this before, right? And sadly, this series does nothing new in the genre.

eARC provided by publisher.

Folded Notes from High School; Matthew Boren

Folded Notes from High SchoolFolded Notes from High School by Matthew Boren
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Rounding up from 1.5 stars because why not.

Seriously, this was a wicked mess - from the author's note saying that folded notes were from the 80s/90s (uh, try long before that, including my 70s JHS/HS years) through the need to drop in cultural references so we'd know it was set in 91/92 to the fact that none of the voices felt like different characters. I remember notes in school and these felt almost as though everyone went to a different school! So few of them referenced a conversation they'd had in person, and even then it was more like "ok, we talked/met and here's what was said".

Sigh.

What Should be Wild; Julia Fine

What Should Be WildWhat Should Be Wild by Julia Fine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The premise is great: a line of women, "cursed" in some way, who have an affinity or something with the forest near their town. Maisie is one of those women, and her "curse" is that if she touches something living, she'll either kill it or bring it back to life; her father keeps her away from everyone so that they never learn about this curse (or to protect her from others). Her life after her father disappears changes and she must go out in public... and therein lies danger. Can Maisie find safety? happiness?

This is one of those books that is so up my alley and yet all the diversions to tell the story of the other women in the forest lessened the impact. There were other ways to tell those stories that would have been more affective and less distracting. And then the possible love triangle? Another "could have been handled differently" moment.

eARC provided by publisher.

09 July 2018

Grace and Fury; Tracy Banghart

Grace and FuryGrace and Fury by Tracy Banghart
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The blurb said "for fans of The Selection and Caraval" but it's more The Selection and Fight Club/Lord of the Flies/Beauty Queens/Hunger Games... and the mash-up is, in many ways, entirely predictable. Who the traitor really is won't surprise anyone, and I'm pretty sure I can guess/predict what will happen in Book Two.

That doesn't mean there isn't some good here: not every character is a stereotype. The world is somewhat thinly built, but perhaps we'll get more in the next volume? Teens will enjoy this no matter what because the girls/women are strong and the violence is unusual for this type of book.

ARC provided by publisher.