Review: A Torch Against the Night

A Torch Against the Night
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This didn’t move in the direction or at the speed I expected. I loved book one to extremes, and I confess I was quite sick and very distracted as I listened to this on audiobook. I probably should have waited, but I was anxious to read book 2. I am not sure if my love decreased due to the story or due to my poor reading behaviors and attention span while consuming this story.

Overall, I still enjoyed it, though it didn’t make as much progress, in terms of the storyline, as I thought it would. I think I will listen to it again, right before book 3 is published, at which point I may change my rating.

I still love these characters and am fascinated by the world.

The villains are incredibly well-written and truly horrific.

Pages: 464

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Review: Steelheart

Steelheart
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an action-packed super villain story with some excellent twists. I was a bit sidetracked while reading (on audiobook), so I may be selling the story short with 4 stars. I spaced out, upon occasion, but I think that was likely me, and not the book.

Overall, I enjoyed it, and I plan to continue the series.

Pages: 416

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Review: Flawed

Flawed
Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This YA dystopian novel has a few small flaws, but I mostly disregarded them and enjoyed the story. It’s fast-paced, and the world building is good.

The MC is a bit uninspired, and the ex-boyfriend is a stupid jerk (so it disgusts me the way she lets him talk to her), but other than that it’s pretty fascinating. She’s not the kind of MC I adore, but her story captivated me. And she did grow on me a bit as the story progressed.

The society is a mess, and I can’t believe how inhumane the people have become. That also held my full attention.

Overall, I’m really happy that I read this, and I plan to continue the series.

Pages: 336

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Review: Six Months Later

Six Months Later
Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was an interesting story, to some extent, but it had some serious issues, including basic failures by the author to appropriately research and represent the world that the story is set in (high school kids getting ready to transition to top notch colleges).

Also, the MC has about the least amount of curiosity and persistence possible, for this being a thriller/mystery novel. She basically solves the mystery by everything miraculously falling in her lap at the right moment, and not through any amount of asking questions, pushing boundaries, or actual sleuth-like behaviors.

The side characters are cookie cutter versions of stereotypes and often inconsistent.

“Okay, I forgive you.”
“Wait, no I don’t.”
“Let’s be friends again.”
“I’m not sure we can ever be friends again.” . . . ad nauseam.

However, despite these negatives, the heart of the plot is interesting (Chloe falls asleep a mediocre student and wakes up having lost 6 months of her life to now having the perfect GPA and boyfriend —although it’s not even remotely realistic that she could improve her GPA and college standing so much in just 1 semester), so it ended up being a quick read. I think it could be a significantly better and more thrilling story, given the plot it had to work with, but it’s too surface-level and constantly convenient to really sink hooks into the reader.

Fast-paced = yes. Thrilling = not so much.

Pages: 336

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Review: Never Always Sometimes

Never Always Sometimes
Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was okay for the first 80%, and then the last 20% was all blah and not convincing. It also made me question the point of the story, and now, I am not not sure there even was a point to this story.

It’s a backwards twist on a bucket list, which was fun. The best part is the adorable relationship between these two best friends. The worse part is that the story lies about character emotions, throughout, in order to inform the final outcome, which is typical and uninspired, at best.

Page: 288

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Review: Seven Ways We Lie

Seven Ways We Lie
Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This has 7 POVs, and they aren’t all distinct. The female voices, in particular, really blend together. I listened to this on audiobook, which made it even harder to settle in to the story.

Overall, it’s still a good story. Typically, I love multiple POVs, but this felt like a gimmick, instead of an effective storytelling solution. In fact, I think the story would have been significantly better, had it been reduced to only a few POVs.

It’s 3.5 stars for me, but I rounded up, since it attempted to maintain my attention. The writing is decent. The story is okay. It’s just hard to fully settle down or get invested in anyone, and the lack of voice can be really disconcerting at times, especially when you’re trying to keep 7 different perspectives straight.

So now I’ve made it sound really terrible, but there were still things I enjoyed about it, including the writing style, in general. I kept reading, which means it kept my attention, despite the fact that I was unclear about 70% of the time which character was currently telling the story.

I don’t recommend the audiobook. The performance is good, but it makes it even harder to differentiate between the 7 POVs. This is one where you need to pause at the start of every section and think about who is talking before you start reading, otherwise you’ll spend half the book uncertain who is currently telling the story.

Pages: 352

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Review: When We Collided

When We Collided
When We Collided by Emery Lord
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story is chaotic and delightful on so many levels. Vivi and Jonah are complex, well-developed characters who are dealing with a lot of big issues, such as Vivi’s bipolar disorder, and the fact that Jonah’s mom checked out after his father died, leaving him to carry the burden of parenting his younger siblings.

This story manages to be both playful and heavy. It probably deserves a 4.5, but I’m going to stick with my original gut-impulse rating system.

Pages: 352

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Review: Tiny Pretty Things

Tiny Pretty Things
Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a dramatic and diverse story set in a cutthroat ballet world.

This is not a novel where you love all the characters. It’s a story where you tolerate all the characters, while still finding their stories fascinating. You won’t want to hang out with them or befriend them. This is the kind of story where you enjoy the ride but are happy the characters are stuck in the book and not part of your world.

Pages: 464

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