27 September 2018

Damselfly; Chandra Prasad

DamselflyDamselfly by Chandra Prasad
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ok, but not as good as Beauty Queens. I'd recommend this to those who like the "marooned students trying to survive" genre, but beyond that it won't appeal.

Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined; Danielle Younge-Ullman

Everything Beautiful Is Not RuinedEverything Beautiful Is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really liked Ingrid, but the whole wilderness thing bothered me: the way the counselors were so dismissive of the campers, the fact that they didn't think about the appropriateness of co-ed tents when dealing with troubled teens, and the idea that with no training whatsoever the teens would figure out how to survive. And maybe it's me, but the Big Reveal felt like it was trying to be part of a trend (like Belzhar).

ARC provided by publisher.

The Most Dangerous Thing; Leanne Lieberman

The Most Dangerous ThingThe Most Dangerous Thing by Leanne Lieberman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There wasn't enough of any character to really grab onto, and the idea of the Vagina Monologues being somehow that subversive made me question whether this was being written as modern fiction. Not that the play is performed regularly in schools, but it was written 20 years ago! The entire book left me sort of "meh" about it, which was too bad because teen depression (which our main character suffers) is an important topic.

ARC provided by publisher.

Aftermath; Peter Robinson

Aftermath (Inspector Banks, #12)Aftermath by Peter Robinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you know about the Bernardo/Homolka murders, then nothing in this book will surprise you. That's probably all I need to say, beyond that this is a good addition to the Banks series.

26 September 2018

The Dark Sescent of Elizabeth Frankenstein; Kiersten White

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth FrankensteinThe Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Oh my. This had so much promise - so much! - and, well... Elizabeth was just not the heroine this book needed. I got why she was so concerned about being kicked out of the Frankenstein home, and why she was so protective of Victor, but it just went too far. Only at the end do we get any sense of her real self, rather than the person she wants to portray (more glimpses along the way would have been great). Having the Frankenstein house be on an island in Lac de Geneve was perfect, as was setting the college in Ingolstadt, but if readers don't know the original story, they won't notice (nor will the get the adoption of Elizabeth and Justine, etc.). If this prompts them to read Shelley's story, great.

eARC provided by publisher.

Broken Things; Lauren Oliver

Broken ThingsBroken Things by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Decent mystery about what happened to Summer five years ago, but the flashbacks and the excerpts from the Lovelorn books interrupted the action. Lovelorn definitely was, as Wade says, derivative - it would have been far more interesting had the creation played more of a role in this book (or the life of the author, why it ended in the middle of a sentence, etc.). Part of me wished this was more like Fangirl in terms of learning about the author and that world.

eARC provided by publisher.

Wednesday's Child; Peter Robinson

Wednesday's Child (Inspector Banks, #6)Wednesday's Child by Peter Robinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the things that Robinson does really well is create characters that feel real; in this case, I could see and hear Brenda as though I'd met here somewhere. The mystery does have a "ripped from the headlines" feel to it, and there are plenty of references to the Moor Murders for those who don't know what headline is being referenced. Banks' growth throughout the series is interesting, especially if (like me) you're reading these out of order. I've said it before: one day I'll read them in order, or catch up with where he is now!

Wild Fire; Ann Cleeves

Wild Fire (Shetland Island, #8)Wild Fire by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This can't be the last Shetland book?! Sigh. At least it's ending on a good note, with enough left open should the author revisit the series. As far as mystery goes, there are parts that were easy to predict (like whodunnit and why) but the characters are so well drawn that it didn't matter.

If you've watched the tv version, you may (like me) be surprised by Cassie being much younger in the books than on tv. That doesn't actually matter to the book in terms of plot, except where Duncan is concerned, but it's one more reminder of how things changed between the two.

02 September 2018

Cross Fire; Fonda Lee

Cross Fire (Exo #2)Cross Fire by Fonda Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the hardest things to do is to write a sequel set in an already strongly built world and bring in new readers without a ton of "previouslies" or assuming that the reader has already been in this world. This book does it, and does it well. To be honest, I didn't even realize this was a sequel!

The idea that aliens have invaded, that some humans have not only decided to work with them but also undergo a procedure to become more like them, doesn't feel new (one could imagine this as an allegory for any totalitarian regime) nor does the idea that there are resistence groups. What was surprising is that the Earth-born aliens, while adhering to their original societal norms, recognize that there is something special and different about humans. I also loved that the aliens look very different than we do.