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review 2017-11-11 21:24
Interim Errantry (Young Wizards #9.3, 9.5, 9.7)
Interim Errantry: Three Tales of the Young Wizards - Diane Duane

Three novellas? More like two short stories and a novel, because the third story is way too long to be a novella.

 

Not on My Patch and How Lovely Are Thy Branches are cute little holiday-centered shorts, the first for Halloween and the second for Christmas. Not a whole lot to say about them, but they were fun and it was nice to see the kids hanging out and being friends without their lives in mortal peril. 

 

Life Boats is entirely from Kit's POV, which is unusual and a nice change up from the shared POVs. Our friendly Earth wizards are off to help a planet evacuate before the planet's moon can fall apart and crash into it. So you know, no big deal. ;) Except that some of the planet's population don't seem able to or willing to leave, and no one can figure out why. This was not as terrifying a story as I thought it would be, given the world-ending premise, and it's wrapped up in a true YW way. There's a lot more hanging out, meeting and making new friends, and quite a bit of ... er, grown up talk as Kit and Nita are still figuring out their new relationship. I do like what this set of stories did for showing their friendship and how much their affections for each other have grown, and went some way to convincing me this is a good pairing and not just forced because of course the girl protag and the boy protag ALWAYS have to end up a couple. 

 

I don't think I've mentioned it much, if at all, in other reviews for this series, because I was so wrapped up in the emotional hangover, but these NME editions are not the best edited. There are a lot of simple mistakes in the text throughout the series, and while the last couple of books have been much better, this one almost seems to be making up for those. Extra words, missing words, misplaced words - if the writing wasn't so strong, I'd be more annoyed by this, but I felt I needed to mention it at last.

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review 2017-11-03 05:29
Solution
Saving It - Monica Murphy

Eden & Josh have been best friends for so long.  They share each other's secrets.  When a new secret arises, can Eden help Josh to solve his problem?

 

Josh wants Eden to help him find a girl.  She does not want him finding just any girl.  So he enlists her help.  Along the way, they see their relationship in a whole new light....

 

These characters are just such a joy to read.  I love their solidarity.  The banter is so much fun too.  I found myself eagerly absorbing every page.  Such a great read.  I give this story a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

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review 2017-10-05 01:01
Switched
Just One of the Boys - Leah and Kate Rooper

Alice AKA "Al" and her twin brother try out for a local hockey team after moving to Chicago.  She wants on this team so bad she will literally do anything.  There she meets Hayden. She is immediately attracted and the sparks fly between them anytime they meet.

 

Hayden does not want to be interested in his teammates sister.  This is typically taboo behavior among hockey players.  He just cannot help how he feels anytime she his near.

 

This is an original story with an unusual twist.  Surprises are inside!  I love the characters banter and the heat between the MC's nearly leapt off the pages.  I devoured every page and then wished there were more.  I give this book a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review by Netgalley and the publishers.

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review 2017-09-03 21:00
A Wizard of Mars (Young Wizards #9)
A Wizard of Mars - Diane Duane

It was never going to be easy to follow up Wizards at War, so I can cut Duane some slack for the unevenness of this book. It takes a long time for the central conflict to show up, and then the climax is a bit rushed. The expanding role of Carmela into this world felt forced and she nearly veers into Mary Sue territory. The whole thing with Nita and Kit maybe starting to have feelings for each other didn't exactly come out of nowhere but since they've been kept apart for most of the previous few books, it felt unearned. There was a great deal of telling versus showing when it comes to their friendship. Plus the fact of them not talking and comparing notes as a way to get all this stuff to happen on Mars in the first place just didn't feel authentic if they're supposed to be such tight friends. 

 

Still, even if this wasn't up to her usual standards, it still has all the things that have made Duane's other books in this series such good reads: imaginative settings, lush descriptions, personal conflict and stakes, and more background into a newly discovered alien race packed into a couple of hundred pages than most tv shows can manage over their entire runtimes. She makes the Shamask-Eilit real, and the use of the LP here is certainly unlike any we've seen in the previous books too, which is something I've been asking for for awhile.

 

This is far from my favorite, but once things started picking up, it made up for the somewhat slow and uneven beginning. 

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review 2017-08-29 03:30
Openly Straight (Openly Straight #1) (Audiobook)
Openly Straight - Bill Konigsberg

Rafe is openly gay, has supportive parents (a little too supportive), a fairly inclusive community (a little too inclusive) and a great life. So what does he do when he realizes that his entire life has become about him being gay and nothing else? He goes to boarding school clear across the country and drops all labels that define him. 

 

This was a fun book, and often funny. The supporting cast were great, especially Alfie and Toby. It was interesting to see Rafe navigate his way through his no-labels experiment and realize that whether you use them or not, they still define you and to deny them is to deny yourself. He makes a lot of mistakes, including some big ones with his bromance bestie Ben, but he learns a lot about himself and life along the way. 

 

The narrator did a decent job. He got Rafe down perfectly and did a good job with the main supporting cast. There could've been more variation in the voices he used for the other characters, especially the girls. But he knew when to keep it light and when to get more introspective without getting schmaltzy. 

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