Size Doesn’t Matter: Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger (2)

I’ve been blogging for a long time and, frankly, I don’t want to write huge reviews for all the things anymore. Whenever I’ve got whatever number of mini reviews I deem sufficient, I’ll put together one of these here posts.

School for Sidekicks by Kelly McCulloughSchool for Sidekicks - Kelly McCullough

Date Finished: July 19, 2015

Rating: 3 stars

What I Thought: School for Sidekicks is a fun middle grade superhero book. It’s got a lot of great humor based on tropes from all the superhero pop culture out there, for example how capes should be avoided despite how stylish they look. The plot proved more complex than anticipated and suggests that there will be at least another book about Evan Quick, though I’ve not found anything to confirm that.

There’s a hint of adorable middle grade romance where they don’t like each other but also kind of do. What really makes School for Sidekicks stand apart for me is the diversity. There’s casual mention of Evan’s dad’s two mothers, for example. One of the kids, Blurshift, has a power that allows them to shift genders and Blurshift has yet to choose a gender or standard form, which is so cool.

School for Sidekicks is worth a read for those of you who can’t get enough of superhero stories. If there is another book in the series, I’m down for it.

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Review: Bright Lights, Dark Nights by Stephen Emond

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Bright Lights, Dark Nights by Stephen Emond

Bright Lights, Dark Nights by Stephen Emond
Published by Roaring Brook Press on August 11, 2015
Pages: 384
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
four-stars

AmazonThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
A story about first love, first fights, and finding yourself in a messed up world, from the acclaimed author of Happyface.

Walter Wilcox has never been in love. That is, until he meets Naomi, and sparks, and clever jokes, fly. But when his cop dad is caught in a racial profiling scandal, Walter and Naomi, who is African American, are called out at school, home, and online. Can their bond (and mutual love of the Foo Fighters) keep them together?

With black-and-white illustrations throughout and a heartfelt, humorous voice, Bright Lights, Dark Nights authentically captures just how tough first love can be...and why it's worth fighting for.

Once again, we can start off the review with a little laughter at my expense. I looked at the cover of Bright Lights, Dark Nights, combined that with the fact that I knew it was illustrated, and made myself very excited for an interracial romance superhero book. At first I was very disappointed to realize that the superhero thing was one hundred percent in my own head, aside from some small mentions of superhero comics. Even knowing better, that cover still screams superhero book to me. Actually Bright Lights, Dark Nights (which I keep mistyping as Dark Knights fittingly) is more of a contemporary Lies We Tell Ourselves.

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Surprising Things About Adulthood

Last month, I wrote a post reflecting on high school and comparing my dreams then to my life now. This post is a variation on that topic. Today, I want to talk about things that really surprise/d me about being an adult, sometimes despite adults having warned me over and over.

For those who don’t know me, I’m 27 going on 28, in case you’re curious how much old I am as of this writing. This list may not be universally applicable because obviously my experience is not everyone’s.

  • Adults would always say stuff like “you’re as old as you feel” and shit like that, which I always thought was bullshit because I felt like an adult then and I wasn’t. Well, once I became an “actual adult” by all accounts, I still feel like um not that. Like, seriously, there is nothing weirder than having to refer to myself and my friends as “men and women.” I mean, technically, I know it’s accurate but it feels SO WEIRD.

gif what's my age again blink 182

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Review: The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak

I received this book for free from BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak

The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak
Series: The Heartbreaker Chronicles #1
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on August 4, 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
four-half-stars

AmazonThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
"When I met Oliver Perry, I had no clue he was the lead singer for The Heartbreakers. Unbeknownst to him, I was the only girl in the world who hated his music."

Stella will do anything for her sister—even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD... for three hours. At least she met a cute boy at the Starbucks beforehand. A blue-eyed boy who looks an awful lot like...

Oliver Perry. Of course Starbucks guy is the lead singer for her least favorite band. Thanks, universe. But there may be more to Oliver than his world-famous charm, because even after she insults his music—to his face—he still gives her his number. Seriously, what is her life?

But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver—dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band—when her sister could be dying of cancer?

Going into The Heartbreakers, my expectations were incredibly low. I mean, the words “Wattpad sensation” generally send me running in the opposite direction. Still, I’m a total sucker for girl meets celebrity romance. I mean, there was this one and this one and this one. Yeah, I like them all. Has this trope been my one of my favorites since I was naïve enough to think that one day I WOULD be that girl and fall in love with Lance Bass or someone like that (major trolololol)? Oh yeah. The Heartbreakers delivers most excellent girl meets hot celebrity­, so much so that I had a ridiculous grin on my face from beginning to end.

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Size Doesn’t Matter: Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger (1)

Lately, I’ve been struggling with this whole book blogging thing. I’m trying to cut back on full reviews and on pressure. Believe it or not but these couple paragraph things are so much fucking easier. I’ve been putting them in my monthly wrap up, but I feel like that has me posting way too long after I finished the book. As such, I’m going to try putting together a post of mini reviews everytime I’ve finished 3+ books. There’s no rhyme or reason here and they’ll be ordered by the date I finished the book.

The Books (and a Novella)

Illusive - Emily Lloyd-JonesIllusive (Adverse Effects #1) by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Date Finished: July 7, 2015

Times Read: 2

Original Review: 4 stars on July 25, 2014

How Did It Hold Up? When I picked up my ARC of Deceptive, I immediately realized I didn’t remember the characters or plot well enough to go straight into it. Since I had Illusive on hand, I decided to take the time to reread it. Illusive was ever-so-slightly less wonderful the second time, because I was noticing some odd writing quirks I missed then, but I’d still rate it somewhere from 3.5 to 4. It would definitely be a tough choice.

I pretty much stand by everything I said then. The world building is a bit odd but Lloyd-Jones makes it work. The characters have great banter. What I would add is that the third person POV is oddly distancing and jumps around in frustrating ways. After an intense scene with a bit of a cliffhanger, you’ll go to Daniel’s POV or into Ciere’s past, and that’s just so not what you want right then, which really kills momentum. However, the second half of the book doesn’t do this nearly so much and I raced through the ending.

Also, I’m pretty sure I ship Kit and Magnus even more than I did on my first read and I swear if they are not cannon I will be most put out.

Murder on the Disoriented Express (Adverse Effects #1.5) by Emily Lloyd JonesMurder on the Disoriented Express - Emily Lloyd-Jones

Date Finished: July 7, 2015

Rating: 3 stars

What I Thought: Typically, I pretend that these little novellas don’t exist, but I thought I should give them another chance, because I might be missing something. While I did enjoy “Murder on the Disoriented Express,” I don’t know that I’ll be purchasing too many novellas. It’s a cute bridge from Illusive to Deceptive, and I like that it’s setting up for my ship, but it’s also really not plot-necessary. It’s been so long since I read one that I forgot about that and how it frustrates me to spend $2 for them. So yeah, it’s good if you’re a novella person and not a miser like I am.

Graceling - Kristin CashoreGraceling (Graceling Realm #1) by Kristin Cashore

Date Finished: July 11, 2015

Times Read: 2

Original Review: Read pre-blogging, but 4.5-5 stars

How Did It Hold Up? Sadly, Graceling wasn’t as strong as I remembered. It’s weird because this is one of those books I compare others to. However, on this read, I wasn’t as impressed with the pacing or the writing as I was when I read this book back in 2009. It just didn’t command my attention as much as some of the other things I was reading, which truly shocked me.

Don’t get me wrong. I still really enjoyed Graceling, and the romance very much still held up. The concept of the graces is still masterful. Graceling will always stand out for because of the sex positivity and the fact that Katsa doesn’t want marriage or children. Graceling challenges a lot of societal norms in a really great and intentional way. There will always be a place on my shelves for Graceling, but I don’t think it’s a top favorite anymore. I’m kinda sad about this tbh, though thankfully I still liked it. It’s a dangerous business, readers, rereading your old favorites.

Pretending to Be Erica by Michelle PainchaudPretending to Be Erica - Michelle Painchaud

Date Finished: July 12, 2015

Rating: 3.5 stars

What I Thought: Pretending to Be Erica has a fabulous, vibrant narrative voice, and I really churned right through it. It’s a mystery thriller that’s very much character driven, so it worked for me. It didn’t reach that level where it came alive and I cared so intensely, but it was fun.

Though I did like the ship, I feel like it could have used more establishment. I really liked that Violet was a criminal, not just a good girl in a bad situation or something; she owns her own guilt. The psychological elements of the novel were fabulous too, and I liked how she tried to balance her two selves. Mostly, I feel like this novel was a bit rushed. It’s under 300 pages, and I honestly wish there was more. If there were a sequel about what Erica gets up to next, I would most definitely read it.

Fire - Kristin CashoreFire (Graceling Realm #2) by Kristin Cashore

Date Finished: July 13, 2015

Times Read: 3

Original Review: Read pre-blogging but 4.5-5 stars

How Did It Hold Up? Unlike Graceling, Fire completely held up for me on my second reread. In fact, I noticed things that I hadn’t remembered from the first two times I read it.

Everything about Fire really leveled up. The ship is a slow burn so slow that it gets down into every fiber of your shippy heart. It’s a similar vibe to that of Katsa and Po, but it’s a bit less startling, a bit more well-established.

The feminism is still every bit as present, with the use of birth control, sex positivity all around (even to the extent of no one shaming the women who get pregnant from casual sex), and Fire’s bisexuality. I also actually love that Fire, unlike Katsa, wishes she could have children but is still making the decision not to. Fire’s a much more engaging heroine than Katsa, and I think her characterization is a bit stronger. Both are great books but it’s clear how much Cashore’s talent had grown from book one to book two.

Also, I actually reviewed Bitterblue all official-like if you’re curious how the rest of the binge went.