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review 2016-12-17 00:14
Vicarious reads like a toned down, not-quite-so-violent Kill Bill meets strange Days.
Vicarious: A Novel - Paula Stokes

Book Title:  Vicarious

Author: Paula Stokes

Series: Vicarious #1 (of 2)

Genre:  Older YA, Thriller

Source:  Kindle E-Book (Library)

 

 

  

⇝Add to Goodreads⇜

 

 

 

See my full review including a video for book theme song at Leah's Bookish Obsession.

 

 

 

♪♫MY PICK FOR BOOK THEME SONG♫♪ 

Let it Die by Starset  --The less I say about that, the better… ♫ 

 

 

 

 

⇝Ratings Breakdown⇜

 

Plot: 5/5

Characters: 4.8/5

The Feels: 4.5/5

Addictiveness: 5/5

Theme: 4.2/5

Flow: 4.5/5

Backdrop (World Building): 4/5

Originality: 5/5

Book Cover: 5/5

Ending:  4.7/5 Cliffhanger: uhhh...yeah

 

Will I continue this series? For sure!!!

 

 

 

 

 

⇝My Thoughts⇜

 

 

A fascinating and super intense story, that's not without its flaws, but they're miniscule in comparison to the overall entertainment value.   Twisting, turning non-stop action is what you'll get with Vicarious.  I never got bored reading this.  The second book Ferocious is expected to come out August of 2017.  I love that this is a duology…I, personally, love them so much more than a trilogy.

 

 

 

The complex characters set this apart from other books.  They are diverse, flawed and intriguing.  The Tech involved is effortlessly explained.  I'm so looking forward to next book, I've read it takes place in LA and Seoul Korea, sounds enticing.

 ⇝Sex Factor⇜ More or less, but not explicit, not really…sorry, that was rather vague.  You should just read it…I would classify this as Older YA, mostly for it's darker themes.

 

 

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text 2016-09-15 00:59
Review for Liars, Inc by Paula Stokes
Liars, Inc. - Paula Stokes

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

 

Max Cantrell's life just got a little better. It all started with a lie to get himself into detention. That lie showed the possibility to profit off of similar lies. Suddenly Max, Parvarti (his girlfriend), and Preston (his best friend) are rolling in money and esteem. Forging permission slips and creating alibi's is, apparently, a very profitable business. Then Preston needs a cover story for a weekend getaway and Max is happy to provide one. But something goes wrong and Preston is missing and Max is now the prime suspect. Then Preston turns up dead and Max is really under fire. He knows he didn't do it, but can he find the real killer before he takes the fall?

 

Max Cantrell was someone I fell for instantly. Max isn't the popular guy or the hottest guy in school or the brain or the clown. He's just your average, decent looking guy with a passion for surfing. He's an adopted kid who has a nice family, not an abusive bunch of jackasses. He lucked out with an awesome girlfriend, though they have their minor issues. It's hard for me to really put Max into words. He's just an average guy and I loved that. We never get stories about average guys. It's always the popular boys or the brainiac or the dark brooding guy with the ripped body. I image Max has decent muscles because surfing is a serious sport, but it's not the focus. And he doesn't have girls falling all over themselves to get with him. He's also kinda a loner. He's fine with quiet and solitude.

 

Parvarti is his opposite in a lot of ways. She's smart and super-sexy and oh so confident. She's the school's it girl. I liked her, but I was always unsure of her. Something felt a bit off from the very beginning. I was convinced pretty early on that she had something to do with Preston's disappearance, but you'll have to read for yourself to find out if she did or not because I'm not telling! I will say that I do like her by the end.

Sherlock Holmes mind blown gif

This is the type of review where I want to rave about how awesome it was, but I can't say a whole lot of anything because it's almost all spoilers. I will say that I absolutely loved it and I didn't see the end coming. That final twist just blew my mind.

 

I also will say that I know changes were made for the final book and from what I can tell, there were nothing really major. A few things I can see why they were changed for the better, but if I'm being honest, I didn't really notice problems. This book is so good that none of the things that were changed caught my attention while I was reading. I was too enraptured in the story and finding out exactly where this was going to go to care if a line or two didn't make complete sense. I got the gist and that's the important part, right? After the fact, when I got a summery of the changes, I was all "yeah, that makes total sense!" and I think they'll make the story a bit more cohesive. As far as the small consistency errors, I tend to either not notice them or be entirely forgiving of them when I read an ARC/eARC. I know that what I have is not the final product. I know more work goes into it. I also know that I sometimes have consistency errors in my 2 - 3 page reviews that I do not ever edit, so I can't imagine how many would crop up in 300+ pages after revisions and edits!

 

What can I really say? This book is awesome. It has mystery and intrigue with a bit of romance and just a small touch of humor. I wasn't entirely sure I'd love it going in. I tend to skew more towards the happily ever afters and, for a while, I wasn't sure that was going to happen. I wanted to read it regardless because I loved The Art Of Lainey and knew I could expect great things from Paula. For those like me worried about the conclusion, it does end on a happy note. Not everyone gets to ride off into the sunset consequence free, but the important people are on the right track. All you really need to know is that this is an edge of your seat, must keep reading kinda book that makes you completely forget reality for however long it takes you to finish it. What more do we need? Is that what we all look for? To get lost in a fictional world? I hope you love it as much as I did.

 

****Thank you to Harper Teen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

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review 2016-08-30 00:00
Vicarious
Vicarious - Paula Stokes Vicarious - Paula Stokes This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life

I liked this book but not nearly as much as I had hoped I would. I live in the St. Louis area, so when I saw the cover of this book, I just had to read it. I put all of my other books aside when I picked this one up from my library and starting reading it right away. It turned out to be an okay read for me. I am glad that I read it but I wasn't blown away by it.

One of the reasons that I read this book was the setting and I do have to say that I was a bit disappointed by the parts of St. Louis that made its way into the book. There is talk of some St. Louis clubs and to be honest I have no idea if they are real or not since my days of hitting the club are long over. There are a few other things mentioned but with a few changes this book could have really taken place anywhere. That's probably actually a good thing for most readers but I wanted more of St. Louis.

I never felt invested in any of the characters. Winter Kim just didn't feel real to me and that made it hard for me to relate to her on any level. I should have been feeling her pain since she has been through a lot of terrible things that she is still having to deal with but I just didn't feel it. Jesse was probably the character that I liked the most in the story but I still can't understand how he could be as perfect as he seemed to be.

The mystery was pretty good. There was a lot of stuff going on in the story so there were not any boring moments. I did guess the big twist pretty early on in the story even though I had hoped that something else would happen to prove me wrong. Books are really just more fun when you are not able to guess how everything will end.

There were a lot of things that worked well for me in the book and there were a few things that didn't work as well. I was entertained by the book but I found it pretty easy to set aside. I do realize that I am not the target audience for this one and I am sure that my teenage daughter would probably like it a bit more than I did. I am not sure at this point if I will pick up the next book in the series or not.

Initial Thoughts
I am going to need a day or two to think about this one before I can write any kind of review.
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review 2016-07-05 01:27
FUCKING AMAZING
Girl Against the Universe - Paula Stokes

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Girl Against the Universe is a clear indication of how much Paula Stokes has grown as an author since The Art of Laineycame out. I really liked The Art of Lainey and I loved Liars, Incbut Girl Against the Universe was a phenomenal novel and one I am proud to claim as a favorite of 2016. Through this novel, Stokes beautifully explores mental illness and grief. Also this novel is full of a lot of fucking emotions so please be prepared. I haven’t had such a strong emotional reaction to a book in a while. I spent a good chunk dry crying and PAULA STOKES, YOU ARE AMAZING.

I tend to be picky about books that deal with grief because I always feel like there is an element of ‘romance cures all’ but that didn’t happen in Girl Against the Universe . Jordy and Maguire share a therapist and thats how they meet. For the past couple of years, Maguire has avoided people because she thinks she is bad luck. She doesn’t meet Jordy and change overnight. In fact, she makes it clear that she won’t just get better by being friends with him. It’s a process that happens through therapy sessions, help from friends, conversations with parents and she is not magically cured ever.

Healthy depictions of therapy and parental relationships is one of the things that makes this book stand out in general but Maguire really steals the show. Her journey to accept this terrible tragedy that happened to her and her interaction with the people around her is amazing. The way she slowly starts to heal and learns to seek help is SO IMPORTANT. I am probably going to phrase this terribly even though I am trying but I love the ways in which her mental illness is depicted. It is realistic and not at all seen as ‘quirky.’ There are people around Maguire who are genuinely worried about her and pay attention to her behaviour.

When your father and brother die, you don’t just magically heal. Even if it was years ago. The way Maguire deals with her grief is really what makes this book special to me. No one in my immediate family has passed away recently but this year has been full of a lot of death for several of my close friends which is why this book really hit home with me. The way Maguire deals with her grief is heartbreaking and honestly made me want to curl up in a ball and cry (and I mean, I did dry cry.) UGH. I am tearing up thinking about this book.

JORDY AND MAGUIRE ARE THE CUTEST COUPLE EVER. Their romance is slow burn and I LOVE that even though they like each other, they are friends before they are anything else. Especially since Maguire isn’t ready for a significant other at the beginning of the book (she has spent years avoiding people, so she definitely needs friends more than she needs significant others.) Jordy is just so precious and I LOVE that he respects Maguire but also calls her out when she does something inexcusable, hurts him or when she is making bad decisions.

Jordy is also a well developed character outside of his role as a friend/boyfriend. He has his own problems and I love that Stokes takes the time to explore those as well. Maguire may be the main character but Jordy is also important.

Note that I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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review 2016-05-23 00:00
Girl Against the Universe
Girl Against the Universe - Paula Stokes I had high expectations for this book, but I didn't expect for it to grab me the way it did.

This is a story about a girl who's struggling to stay above water, but finds herself drowning time and time again. I think we can all relate to this. It's about being afraid of things happening to other people more than oneself. About taking on too much responsibility and survivor's guilt. I think we've all been there, more or less. And that's the thing about this book: It's so relateable!

I don't know whether I actually learned something from this book, but it definitely made me think about some stuff. Stuff that's been piling up for a long time, and that I was now able to think about and figure out. I don't know if I would've worked up the courage to do so on my own, but this book definitely inspired me to just do it. I'm grateful for that.

I loved Maguire. I loved the therapist. I loved the love interest Jordy. I basically loved everyone!
The way Maguire fell in love, but still struggled with her life was so realistic. Love doesn't just cure everything! Sure, loved ones can be helpful through hard times, but they can't just make everything better like that. It takes hard work from the person themself. This book got that part exactly right and I really loved reading about it. I feel like maybe this book could help break down some taboos.

The writing style is working really well too. This book is full of humour, heart and wise words. I love how it made me go from laughing to tearing up within the same paragraph. I don't care what Paula Stokes writes, because I'll read it all.
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