Welcome to yAdult Review, a space where two girls review novels from across the genres, from YA and MG, to fantasy and sci-fi, to historical fiction and mystery, with a sprinkling of non-fiction too. We hope you enjoy your stay here as much as we enjoy ours.

Mini Reviews (II)

22718684Blood Will Tell (Point Last Seen #2) by April Henry
Release Date: June 16, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt
Source: Publisher (THANKS!)
Rating: DNF. Page 165
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

When a woman’s body is found in a Portland park, suspicion falls on an awkward kid who lives only a hundred feet away, a teen who collects knives, loves first-person shooter video games, and obsessively doodles violent scenes in his school notebooks. Nick Walker goes from being a member of Portland’s Search and Rescue team to the prime suspect in a murder, his very interest in SAR seen as proof of his fascination with violence. How is this even possible? And can Alexis and Ruby find a way to help clear Nick’s name before it’s too late?

April Henry weaves another page-turning, high stakes mystery in Book 2 of the Point Last Seen series.  – Goodreads

Review:

One of my favorite books of 2014, was The Body in the Woodshowever Blood Will Tell was not one of my favorites of 2015. Unfortunately the love and appeal of the series that Henry had suck me into this series did not carry through this book for me. Blood Will Tell actually fell extremely flat. From the multiple POVs, to the story line, I unfortunately stopped caring. I was actually planning on finishing it, but I put it down and never remembered to pick it back up. I may pick it up again, but it won’t be anytime soon. I am interested in what happens to Nick, and probably wouldn’t have minded if this whole book was from his point of view, that may have helped the pacing for me.

 

22860020Denton Little’s Deathdate (Denton Little #1) by Lance Rubin
Release Date: April 15, 2015
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Audiobook from library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Fans of John Green and Matthew Quick: Get ready to die laughing.

“Denton Little’s Deathdate” takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day on which they will die. For Denton, that’s in just two days–the day of his senior prom.

Despite his early deathdate, Denton has always wanted to live a normal life, but his final days are filled with dramatic firsts. First hangover. First sex. First love triangle–as the first sex seems to have happened not with his adoring girlfriend, but with his best friend’s hostile sister. (Though he’s not totally sure–see, first hangover.) His anxiety builds when he discovers a strange purple rash making its way up his body. Is “this” what will kill him? And then a strange man shows up at his funeral, claiming to have known Denton’s long-deceased mother, and warning him to beware of suspicious government characters. . . . Suddenly Denton’s life is filled with mysterious questions and precious little time to find the answers.

Debut author Lance Rubin takes us on a fast, furious, and outrageously funny ride through the last hours of a teenager’s life as he searches for love, meaning, answers, and (just maybe) a way to live on.  – Goodreads

Review:

I’m not sure why I put this on hold at the library but I believe if I would have read the blurb I probably would not have put it on hold. The whole “fans of John Green” generally puts me off. Sad but true. And there was nothing wrong with this particular book; however, it is very clearly not an Ashley novel. It is an interesting concept though, what would you do if you knew what day you were going to die? Would that change anything?

As an audiobook this was fascinating because so many parts are painfully awkward and actually listening to them was painful, which made the book and the soon to be death…real. While I did enjoy Denton’s friendships, particularly with his BFF Paolo, I just was not overly drawn into the story. From the purple mark that was covering Denton and his friends, to the fact I ended the book with more questions than answers. That being said, the friendship between Denton and Paolo was so painfully real that I would love to have more of them.

18484774The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer
Release Date: April 15, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Audiobook from library
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Part Hitchcock, part Hinton, this first-ever stand-alone novel from Heather Brewer, New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series, uses classic horror elements to tell a darkly funny coming-of-age story about the dangerous power of belief and the cost of blind loyalty.

When Stephen’s dad says they’re moving, Stephen knows it’s pointless to argue. They’re broke from paying Mom’s hospital bills, and now the only option left is to live with Stephen’s grandmother in Spencer, a backward small town that’s like something out of The Twilight Zone. Population: 814.

Stephen’s summer starts looking up when he meets punk girl Cara and her charismatic twin brother, Devon. With Cara, he feels safe and understood—and yeah, okay, she’s totally hot. In Devon and his group, he sees a chance at making real friends. Only, as the summer presses on, and harmless nights hanging out in the cemetery take a darker turn, Stephen starts to suspect that Devon is less a friend than a leader. And he might be leading them to a very sinister end. . . .  – Goodreads

Review:

 

The Cemetery Boys is my first Heather Brewer novel and unfortunately while I believe every book has a reader, I am not this books reader. I am also in a mood where I don’t like any book. But that is my own thing I’m dealing with. The Cemetery Boys is the story of Stephen, a boy who just had to move to a random, small town that no one lives in (really, population is 814..or now 816.) Stephen makes it very clear that it is a backwards town and he feels very uncomfortable there, which I understood because reading about the town made me extremely uncomfortable.

But that uncomfortable town, and Stephen’s backstory explain why Stephen makes a lot of the choices that he chooses. He really is just trying to survive, even if that is making obvious poor life choices. He’s still a teenagers and teenagers make poor life choices. Hell, adults make poor life choices. It’s a good book and extremely relate-able, it just didn’t work for me.

The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass

15844362The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Audio from Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

The time has come for one winner to be crowned.

When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants. – Goodreads

Review:

The One starts off with a bang. Literally a bang from a rebel attack. What’s interesting is how much America wants Maxon the person, not Maxon the prince. Not realizing that, you know, they are one in the same. Maxon still makes me laugh by calling America out on her bullshit. It’s also heartbreaking to see how Maxon’s father, the King, continues to be a major asshole.

The One is very firmly a last novel in the series. What I found interesting was how much extra in the world building aspect occurred. We learned more about the country’s history and how the country became the country that America lives in. There is also action in this novel. From rebel attacks to gun fights, Cass wrote them all. Of course she also wrote about love.

At 25%, finally, finally America figures out she loves Maxon. Not a little bit. But finally jumps in and feels herself covered in his love. Then of course, he becomes closed off because his life is changing. What continues to be annoying is the fact neither one of them will say that they love each other. Each refuses to be the first person and because of this there is a lot of awkward gazes. He demands that she says that she loves him, she refuses until he gets rid of the other girls, he refuses to get rid of the other girls until she says she loves him.

Meanwhile, on the Aspen front, he is still annoyed that America is changing and constantly judging her while also “assisting” her. And although she now loves Maxon, she is still thankful to have a friend in Aspen. As a reader, it’s also painful to see that America hasn’t been honest with Maxon about Aspen, which one knows will probably come back to bite her. However, what did change however, was the friendship between the group of girls. Slowly as the game is crumbling, the girls bond together and actually become friends. It was nice to see the women become friends, and not consistently tearing each other down.

Family dynamics are also strong throughout The One. From Maxon’s family, including the asshole King, and the nice Queen to America’s family who in their own way are assholes. But in their own way, all families are assholes, it is what makes your family yours. Plus, family hide secrets from each other, and the family’s in The One are no different. It was refreshing to see.

Throughout this series, Cass is able to convey a range of emotions between friends and family that even if I don’t enjoy what’s going on, I understand and am thankful for her ability to convey those emotions.

All Lined Up (Rusk University #1) by Cora Carmack

18505845All Lined Up (Rusk University #1) by Cora Carmack
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Source: Audio from library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack follows up her trio of hits—Losing It, Faking It, and Finding It—with this thrilling first novel in an explosive series bursting with the Texas flavor, edge, and steamy romance of Friday Night Lights.

In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That’s what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn’t always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It’s obliterated.

Dallas doesn’t know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn’t know that Dallas is his new coach’s daughter.

And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel. – Goodreads

Review:

Dallas wants to move on from high school but that’s hard when your life in college is much of the same from high school. She lives in the same state, and her father is still coaching the football team. Life hasn’t changed for her no matter how much she tries.

Carson has almost the opposite problem. He is the second string quarterback on a team where the first string, Levi, is a king from high school and is still working with his former coach, who happened to date Dallas, who also happened to be an asshole. They had sex to save their relationship and of course, that didn’t work and Dallas still loathes him.

Dallas and Carson shouldn’t work. But they do. They start out as friends, who also call each other on their bullshit. Which, if I’m being honest, is my favorite type of friendship! One thing I enjoy about Carmack is that she doesn’t hide from the tough issues that people face, including money issues in college. Carson went to community college and knows that if he doesn’t get a scholarship he can only be at Rusk for three semesters. Dallas just wants out of Rusk purely because her father is still there. What’s interesting though is that Carson does not know that Dallas is Coach’s daughter, who everyone wants. There is a pivotal moment in the middle of the novel where my heart went out to both characters because they were both hurt and said things that they both clearly did not mean but knew no other way to get their point across.

I also found the dynamic between Dallas and her father interesting because they both try to love the other as well as they could, but it’s hard because they don’t know how to show it. So they fumble it a lot. They both also admit to making faults, but it takes them quite sometime to get there. But of course, the most interesting dynamic throughout the book was between Dallas and Carson, they really are just friends. Carson doesn’t want to date anyone because he is dedicated to the team and getting a scholarship. Dallas learned her lesson from Levi and doesn’t want to date another football guy. Even though Carson is perfect for her, the fact he’s a football player drives her crazy and makes her throw her arms at him.

There was nothing particluarly horrible about this novel, I just am not interested in ever re-reading it. Basically how I feel about most New Adult novels.

 

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby22535489
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?

Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are. – Goodreads

Review:

This is one of those rare books I don’t know how I feel about. I actually recommended this book to a friend by going “please read it and tell me how I should feel about it.” Thankfully she agreed and put it on hold at the library. I found Bone Gap to be an interesting story, but had a hard time being drawn into said story. Bone Gap took me over a month to read, almost two months. As someone who can read a book a day, taking two month is..not normal. There is a magical realism to this story that never worked for me no matter how hard I tried.

This story has multiple point of views, and not once didn’t I have a good hold on one of the characters. I understand that perspective is important because that changes everything. Bone Gap goes on to show how perspective is often the most important, but also the least important thing all at the same time. I loved how Ruby wrote from a very feminist prospective and gave no apologies for that. I wanted more of Finn. More of Roza. More of the people of Bone Gap. I will be happy to give Ruby credit, the way she weaved together the story of Bone Gap was amazing, however, I ended the book with almost more questions than I started with.

This book had signs of everything I should love and adore, but still, it took me two months to get through. That of course effected my rating, because when I read I want to be swept up by a novel, I don’t want it to be slow and savory. I want it to be amazing and a book that I cannot put down.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

18143977All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Scribner
Source: Audio from library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When Marie-Laure is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris, and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge. – Goodreads

Review:

When you have your undergrad degree in History you read Historical novels with a grain of salt. I went into All the Light We Cannot See with this edge, because my undergrad thesis was about women in France in World War II. I don’t want to be this way, it’s just the way I am. All of that being said All the Light We Cannot See drew me and and left me hanging on to every word.

I was fascinated how Doerr created two parallel worlds between Marie-Laure, who is blind, but doesn’t let that stop her and Werner, a boy who was orphaned at a young age and becomes part of the Hitler Youth. In theory these two characters have nothing in common, but All the Light We Cannot See takes place in the 1940’s when Germany and France could not have more in common if they tried.

Although I found the story compelling, I’m not sure it worked from an audio book point of view. I think the story would have worked better if there were two narrators (a boy and a girl) versus the one man narrator.  I also found the need to include this diamond in All the Light We Cannot See interesting because I honestly thing the story line would have been better without the diamond. I would have been able to feel more towards two people who are just trying to survive a war.

No matter how many World War II stories I read, I’ll continue to read them because I find a survival story fascinating. I just believe that this could have been trimmed a bit to make a better story.

The Fixer (The Fixer #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

22929578The Fixer (The Fixer #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Source: Publisher! Thanks!
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

When sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick is sent to live with her older sister, Ivy, she has no idea that the infamous Ivy Kendrick is Washington D.C.’s #1 “fixer,” known for making politicians’ scandals go away for a price. No sooner does Tess enroll at Hardwicke Academy than she unwittingly follows in her sister’s footsteps and becomes D.C.’s premier high school fixer, solving problems for elite teens.

Secrets pile up as each sister lives a double life. . . . until their worlds come crashing together and Tess finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy with one of her classmates and a client of Ivy’s. Suddenly, there is much more on the line than good grades, money, or politics, and the price for this fix might be more than Tess is willing to pay.

Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for more in this exciting new series. — Goodreads

Review:

This book is being pitched as Veronica Mars meets Scandal  and I believe that to be an A++ pitch. While I’ve never watched Scandal I’m on tumblr enough to have a good mental image about the show. I adored this book, it’s just good fun. I want more of these characters, who I’ve quickly started to view as friends. I quickly became protective of Tess. Tess started off innocent in this. She was a high school student who was looking out for her grandfather that has Alzheimer.CHHCcXkXIAAt3Bg

Then one day her sister, who hasn’t talked to her in years comes by, picks her up and wants to be back in Tess’ life. Tess has no time for that. My heart went out to Tess and her sister Ivy. Yes, Ivy left her when Tess needed her the most, but Ivy spent a lot of The Fixer trying to make her relationship with Tess stronger. Of course, I also understood why Tess had this brick wall built up around her with her sister.

Ivy’s voice was softer now. “I have been trying so hard, Tess, and I thought –” She cut herself off…..”I thought we were doing okay. I thought you were starting to trust me. I thought…” —printARC p178

Ivy’s going to be fine. I’ll hate her forever if something happens to her. She’s going to be fine. —printARC, p326

Their relationship is by far my favorite part of this novel. They were two kickass ladies who didn’t need each other, but worked so much with each other. I was pleasantly surprised by how I wanted more of these two characters. But I did welcome the other characters featured in The Fixer. From the adults that surround Ivy, who is 17 years older than Tess, to the friends Tess makes at her fancy private school everyone added something to this novel.

If she’s never going to trust me, if she’s set on hating me forever, she might as well hate me for the right reason. —printARC, p284

I’m sorry for never being what you needed. I’m sorry for doing it all wrong. I’m sorry for lying to you, and I’m sorry for telling you the way I did. I’m so sorry, baby, and I love you, and you are leaving. –printARC, p312

What I was surprised by was not only how much fun this novel was, but by how much Barnes surprised me. When I thought I was two steps ahead of Tess, I was actually just as lost and confused as she was. What that photo above doesn’t highlight is how many pages I have underlined and dog eared and how many scenes effected me or will stick with me for awhile. This is not only a book about family and growing up, but it is so much more than that. I cannot wait to see where Barnes goes in the second book. Hint: please feature more kissing.

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

22718727Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Source: Publisher! (Thank you!)
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

A hidden book. A found cipher. A game begins . . . .

Twelve-year-old Emily is on the move again. Her family is relocating to San Francisco, home of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger, a game where books are hidden all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles. But Emily soon learns that Griswold has been attacked and is in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold and leads to a valuable prize. But there are others on the hunt for this book, and Emily and James must race to solve the puzzles Griswold left behind before Griswold’s attackers make them their next target. – Goodreads

Review:

Book Scavenger is one of the cutest middle grade books I have read in quite sometime. Book Scavenger is the story of Emily, who’s family is constantly on the move. Her family rarely lives in a place long enough for Emily to find friends with a goal to have 50 homes in 50 states for blog fodder. Emily and her older brother are over it, but how do you tell your parents that you’ve had enough? You don’t.

This time they are brought to San Francisco and Emily is thrilled. She participates in a book scavenger group and her literary idol, Garrison Griswold, lives there. What Emily doesn’t expect is to get caught up in the middle of a caper and form a new friendship while participating. I found this whole book to be just a really, really cute book and while I was annoyed at Emily’s parents for not seeing that their children had enough of moving, I also understand that if kids don’t say anything to parents, they don’t always get it.

But this isn’t the story of Emily being annoyed that they moved again. It’s the story of Emily, and her new friend James, that lives below her in the apartment. Between the two of them, their love of clues, and an old book the reader is taken on a journey that is unexpected not only for Emily, but also the reader. I was pleasantly surprised by the Book Scavenger and recommend it for anyone that enjoys mysteries.


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