Friday, August 3, 2018

June and July Mini Reviews

June and July books have been a mixed bag for me so far! I've loved some, but others... not so much. 


Title: The Unbinding of Mary Reade
Author: Miriam McNamara
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: June 19th, 2018!
*eARC kindly provided by Skyhorse Publishing via Edelweiss*

Find it on Goodreads.

This book was just so AWKWARD. The writing was not… good, and it didn’t always seem to fit in with the characters and time period. And oh god, the characters. Maybe it’s because I don’t know the history of Mary Reade, Anne Bonny, and Calico Jack that well, but their story just never seemed to blend well together. I mean, they spent the first 50% of the book on one damned island, doing nothing but drinking, cleaning the ship, and getting into fights. And I thought the romance between Mary and Anne developed fast and didn’t feel very organic, and there was a lot of drama created because of it with Jack and the rest of the pirates. The book was weirdly paced in general, and I didn’t think it needed the past chapters with Nat at all (though if this is part of Mary’s true-life story, then I guess, but I wouldn’t know that). The confusion Mary felt over who she was felt realistic given that she’s lived as a boy since she was a kid, but I can’t speak on whether it was problematic or not. So yeah, there was just a lot about this that seemed off, and while I loved that ending, I was wholly hoping to love this f/f story but didn’t. The Unbinding of Mary Reade was one of my most anticipated novels of this year, and boy did it disappoint me greatly. I’m so SAD.
Rating: 2 Paw Prints!

Title: The Kiss Quotient
Author: Helen Hoang
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 5th, 2018!

Find it on Goodreads.

Oh, I ADORED this. The characters, all of them, but especially Michael, Stella, Quan, Michael's mom and grandma, and Janie. They were so real, and the romance felt so fresh, and just so damned beautiful. It did take Michael a long time to find his worth as a person, and to let go of his stubborn pride and accept help and go after his own future. But I loved his journey, as well as Stella's. Being autistic, she's always had problems with social interaction. But through her relationship with Michael, she starts to come into her own and find her footing with life and people, and she was so clever and bright and refreshingly genuine that I just ended up rooting for her so hard. I can see why so many people have fallen for this story and its two main characters at the heart of it. It's a wonderful portrayal of what it means to love and care for someone with your whole being. I'm SO here for more books in this series. I'm eagerly anticipating The Bride Test, though it's going to be a year yet before I can read it. *sobs*
Rating: 4 Paw Prints!

Title: Grace and Fury (Untitled #1)
Author: Tracy Banghart
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 31st, 2018!
*eARC kindly provided by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers via NetGalley*

Find it on Goodreads.

I wasn't expecting to finish this today, but the book was so readable, even if there wasn't as much action or exciting plots. It's on the quieter side, more about finding your strength and your lines and having faith in who you are even when everyone is telling you that what you think and believe is wrong. It was about two sisters whose worlds are turned upside-down. They're both thrown into lives that are the complete opposites of all they'd been taught and raised to be, but the two of them are fighters. And they love each other so much that they're willing to do almost anything to save the other. I loved their relationship, the complicated-ness of it just felt real and genuine, and so did how they just wanted each other to be safe and happy even when it directly conflicted with their own predicaments. I wasn't as sold on the romances. I just didn't CARE enough, and I was more invested in the sisters' love, and in these groups of women who have learned to survive in a society that hates them and turns them into competitors. It was very feminist at its core. The world-building wasn't as good as it could have been, but I still really enjoyed it. It's like a futuristic Italy. And I'm definitely looking forward to the sequel!
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!

Title: Like Never and Always
Author: Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: July 17th, 2018!
*Physical copy kindly provided by Tor Teen*

Find it on Goodreads.

I feel very MEH about this book. I could understand Liv's confusion, as she reexamines who she is in Morgan's body, and has to reconcile that with this new life of hers. So the fact that her relationships with people are complicated, it makes sense. But I just was SO annoyed by the love triangle. It completely took me out the story at multiple points, and I wish I could've gotten into the romance. Clay was the actual best. But I just did not really care about any of this, or the main character. And the explanation over what happened was definitely not what I expected? I could suspend my disbelief in a way, but I didn't always like the treatment of mental health here. Plus the whole mystery behind Morgan's secrets wasn't thrilling at all, and some of it felt WAY out in left field, man. Like, all of the shit that happened near the end? It felt like it was there purely for drama's sake, not because it moved the story or the MC in any way. You still don't get all the answers, and in the end, I was left being like that's it?! I don't know, I just think none of this came together that well at all.
Rating: 2.5 Paw Prints!

Title: Spinning Silver
Author: Naomi Novik
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: July 12th, 2018!

Find it on Goodreads.

But the world I wanted wasn't the world I lived in, and if I would do nothing until I could repair every terrible thing at once, I would do nothing forever. 

MAN. What a story! I didn't love it like I love Uprooted, but it was *so* good! I really came to care and love the characters, all of them, not just the main ones. And I cared about what would happen to them. This was a found family, of sorts, which is one of my favorite tropes, and I thought it worked SO well here. I just found the change-up in POVs startling sometimes, and it took me a minute to figure out who was speaking. And there wasn't really any romance? Which made me sad, even when I understood and was satisfied with the results. But yeah, like as I was reading this, I kept setting it aside and going slowly and I wasn't at all sure about it at some points. By the end, though, I was pretty in love with how everything came together, and how the little pieces fit into the overall plot, and the way that two queens made bargains and stepped into other worlds and saved multiple kingdoms. They were fierce and cold, and they would have nothing less than what they deserved and wanted. omg I loved the girls so much. Spinning Silver was, in a word, a fairytale, about debts and love and the line connecting them.
Rating: 4 Paw Prints!

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