Review: A Million Shadows by Janci Patterson

4 stars.

A Million Shadows
Link to Goodreads

This is the sequel to A Thousand Faces, which is about a family of shapeshifters for hire in modern Los Angeles. The main character is their teenage daughter, who ends up in a lot of trouble when her parents go missing while on a corporate espionage mission. There’s romance that I thought was extremely well done. Anyway, that was the first book.

Now, in the second book, the MC is basically on her own, with potential enemies hiding in every shadow. It was still good, but for some reason, I didn’t get sucked in in the same way. Maybe it’s unfair to this book that I read it soon after The Girl Who Drank the Moon and directly before When You Reach Me, which were both some of my favorite books I’d read in a while, so I compared it with them. I will finish the series for sure.

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

3.5 stars.

Illuminae

I heard so many amazing things about this book on Twitter that I gave it a shot. At first it seemed like exactly my thing: a cross between Battlestar Galactica and 2001, with space zombies thrown in. It moved at a breathless pace pretty much from beginning to end. There was a lot to like. But a lot of it felt derivative. And the teenaged main characters’ romance was . . . a teen romance. I’m sure if I was a teen I would have liked it more. As a 34-year-old, it was sometimes cute and sometimes not so much. There was a side character who was so off-putting that I almost stopped listening* at that point. But *spoiler* he died soon after, so . . . 

Notes: *The format is unique. It’s supposed to be a compilation of documents, recordings, communications, etc., thrown together, and you figure out the story between the lines. Apparently it’s beautifully done. I listened to the book, so I can’t vouch for that, but the audiobook was extremely well done as well. There was a full cast, as well as atmospheric noises, so it almost felt like listening to a movie. I can’t imagine trying to convert such a book to audio without going that far, though, because it would have been impossible to follow otherwise.

Also, while all swearing in the book is censored, there is a lot of it. If you don’t want your kids reading stuff like “What the f*** were you thinking?” maybe this isn’t the book for you/them.

The Review Rating System

Here’s what I mean by my star system:

DNF: Did not finish. This book had enough strikes against it that I gave up. These are the books I truly didn’t like.

1 Star: I finished the book, but I don’t recommend it. Ultimately, I was disappointed.

2 Stars: It was okay. I read it. Nothing stood out, good or bad, one way or another. Alternately: It was really compelling, but something about it rubbed me the wrong way.

3 stars: It was good. Most 3’s are books I read and enjoyed and thought were interesting or fun or well written, but I didn’t especially connect to them, and I’m pretty sure I’ll forget I ever read them years down the road. Honestly, most books I read are 3’s.

4 stars: I really liked this book. It was very enjoyable most or all of the way through, and I would definitely recommend it to others.

5 stars: Okay, this book is one of my new favorites. I was blown away. I will never forget it, and I will tell everyone I know who might possibly like this type of book that they have to read it.

As you can tell, most of these are more positive than not. That’s because I don’t finish books I don’t like. Even 1’s had enough going for them that I kept reading (I thought the conflict was intriguing, but it ended up not going anywhere, for example).

I also have a tag for “Others May Like.” That means I gave a book a rating lower than it probably deserved because I personally didn’t connect with the character, genre, story, whatever. Sometimes I can see a book and recognize that it’s objectively good while still not being something I enjoyed. I tagged these books so you can easily search these and maybe give them a chance.

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

 

2.5 stars.

If I Stay
If I Stay

I just happened across this at a library, recognized the title, and took it home.
It’s the story of a teen girl whose family gets in a terrible car crash when they are all together, and she is teetering on the edge of death for most of the book, her spirit lingering as she debates whether it’s worth it to fight for life. I did finish it, and honestly, it kept me turning pages most of the time, but holy teen melodrama. Well written, but not my thing.

Review: The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

The Seventh Wish

3.5 stars. This was a cute book about a girl who goes ice fishing and catches a fish that says it will grant her a wish if she lets it go, so she does. When it comes true in a way that is not at all what she expected, she goes back again and again, trying to make more specific and better wishes. Meanwhile, her older sister deals with a drug problem. This book is a decent comp title for mine (mostly contemporary but with a dash of fantasy, which deals with more serious issues), and I felt like it didn’t quite wow me all the way. One thing that did wow me was the atmosphere of it, the uniqueness of the character, the details of her world that made everything seem real to me. I was taking notes the whole time.