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review 2017-07-06 12:55
The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie
The Edge of the Abyss - Emily Skrutskie

This review will include spoilers for the first book. You’ve been warned.

At the end of The Abyss Surrounds Us, Cas decided to stay with the Minnow and her crew. I wish I had written down her reason for doing so, since one of my problems with The Edge of the Abyss was that I couldn’t remember why she’d have wanted to stay when staying seemed to cause her nothing but grief.

At any rate, she stayed - I think because she wanted to get more evidence on the guy who was trading Reckoner pups to the pirates, and because she loved Swift so much? Except the latter reason turned out to be less than wonderful, because right after deciding to stay with the Minnow, Cas learned that Swift had personally been responsible for Durga’s death.

So that’s Cas’s emotional state for much of The Edge of the Abyss: upset at Swift for what she did, upset at herself for essentially turning traitor and staying with pirates, and perversely drawn to Santa Elena and whatever scraps of praise she was willing to give out. Bao is somewhere out in the ocean, and Cas mistakenly thinks he’s the only free Reckoner. He very much is not - the crew of the Minnow discover others, which they nickname Hellbeasts. Every last one of them was a Reckoner pup illegally obtained and improperly raised by pirates, and they’re complete destroying the ocean ecosystem. If life in the ocean is to be saved, the pirates, all of them, will somehow have to band together, admit their mistakes, and defeat the Hellbeasts.

Considering that I disliked the first book, I should not have continued on with the series. However, I did, because I wanted to find out what happened to Bao. He was literally the only character I cared about - all the humans could have gotten eaten, for all I cared.

Unfortunately, it took half the book for Bao to show up. Until that point, I had to deal with Cas and Swift’s relationship angst. First Cas would be angry at Swift for being directly responsible for Durga’s death. Then Swift would be upset with Cas for effortlessly becoming Santa Elena’s favorite. Occasionally things would be okay between them for a short while, but it was never long before everything got fouled up again. All it took was one wrong look, or someone waking up on the wrong side of the bed, or Santa Elena smiling at the wrong trainee. I think Cas and Swift only had maybe 10 pages total in this whole book where they weren’t hurting each other in some way.

That’s really not what I want from a romance, and it didn’t help that Cas’s situation seemed more and more like Stockholm syndrome to me. Santa Elena had been manipulating Cas’s emotions from day one, and I hadn’t forgotten that Cas and Swift’s relationship had gone from dislike and wisps of something nicer to full-blown “I’m throwing away my entire former life for you” in the space of a day. I spent so much of this book wishing that Cas and Swift would just break up already. Cas had enough on her plate just trying to figure out what to do about the Hellbeasts and processing her dawning realization that she’d made a terrible mistake by staying on the Minnow.

Even though this book had more Reckoners and Reckoner battles, it was somehow more boring that the first one. I missed Bao, and Skrutskie’s decision to write this series in first person present tense sucked the life out scenes that should have been exciting or painfully intense. Unfortunately, things didn’t improve much once Bao was finally found again - watching Cas remind him of his training wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as watching her train him in the first place. Also, one revelation about him really bugged me. If there was anyone I’d have liked to be exempt from this book’s great gobs of relationship awfulness, it was Bao. At least Cas treated him better in this book than she did in the first one.

I wish I had liked Skrutskie’s writing more, and I wish I had been more invested in Cas and Swift’s relationship. Since I didn’t and I wasn’t, The Edge of the Abyss was a drag to get through and an absolute relief to finally finish. However, I’d absolutely recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the first book and wanted Cas and Swift to work out as a couple. Cas and Swift had some really good scenes near the end, ones where they actually worked together. For me, it was too little, too late. I did at least appreciate that none of the characters I kind of liked died.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2017-05-31 19:00
Book Review: Grace and the Fever
Grace and the Fever - Zan Romanoff

Where to start? I knew this would be a great read as soon as I started it. Grace is a pretty typical teenager who happens to be obsessed with a boy band. As someone who once had N'Sync and Backstreet Boys posters all over my wall, I immediately related to her interests. Unlike her friends, Grace never outgrew her love of Fever Dream and it caused her to grow apart from them.

 

This coming of age story really covered a lot of relationship issues that young adults deal with and I really enjoyed getting to know Grace through all of them. While the main focus was on Grace's interactions with Jes and the band, reading about her navigation through her friendships was equally important. This book tackles some basic parenting/friendship issues but also goes through the online identity stress and of course, celebrity privacy issues. It sounds like a lot, but the story was well rounded and a very fun read.

 

There is so much going on with Grace as she meets her idols and subsequently gets pulled into their world, it was refreshing to feel the nervousness and trepidation she experienced. The author does a wonderful job of pulling you into the moment and running away with it. I didn't want to put the book down.

 

The celebrity lifestyle comes with a lack of privacy and a lot of its own subculture. Jes' character was realistic and full of surprises. His acknowledgement of his lack of "regular" experiences hit me right in the heart. Adolescence is such an important part of growing up and a rock start lifestyle definitely isn't a normal youth experience. I imagine most young stars would relate to those feelings.

 

I would highly recommend this book to YA readers, especially those who really enjoy a story about coming into your own skin and learning from some hard life lessons.

 

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, I was not monetarily compensated and my opinions are my own*

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review 2017-02-24 03:53
Review: Great build, disappointing ending
Chameleon - Zoe Kalo

What first drew me to this book was the cover, isn't it gorgeous? I read the synopsis and knew that I had to get my hands on this intriguing story. Seances, murder, mystery and a convent, what could possibly go wrong?

Let's start with the good. First off, Paloma was an interesting character. Her experience and apathy toward her new "home" made her a character I could easily relate to. Who would want their senior year of high school uprooted? And to a convent? I would have hated it too. There was definitely a mystery about her and her curiosity about her new friends was natural and moved at a great pace. Paloma herself had some demons to battle and I really enjoyed her amateur sleuthing techniques and observations.

I have to say, what bothered me about this book is how rushed everything seemed at the end. The story was building nicely, sometimes even a bit slowly, and then all of the sudden I am rereading sections to try to figure out what happened. I love a good mystery/suspense build and I was disappointed in how quickly this one switched gears.

If you enjoy drama and a who-done-it thriller then this is the book for you. Lots of intrigue and interesting twists await you, I just didn't particularly enjoy the rushed ending.

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text 2017-01-22 15:11
REVIEW BY ANGI - Feeder (Feeder #1) by Eliza Green
Feeder: Young Adult Science Fiction (Book 1, Feeder Series) - Eliza Green
You have to keep moving forward, he says.
But I am afraid of change.
Change will kill me.
 
 

When their hometown of Brookfield is poisoned by radiation, seventeen-year-old Anya Macklin and her older brother Jason are relocated to the safe but boring urbano of Essention.

 

While Jason is put to work, Anya is enrolled in the adult skills course at Arcis, a secretive and heavily monitored education facility. There she must compete with other teenage recruits and earn her place in society by reaching the top floor.

 

At first, Anya fears change, and is reluctant to advance. But then she meets Dom Pavesi, a brooding, evasive stranger who drives her to discover the rules of this dangerous game where there can be only one winner.

 

Who is Dom? Which side is he on?

 

And what terrible truth awaits Anya on the ninth floor of Arcis?

 

Source: sites.google.com/site/archaeolibrarian/angi/feederfeeder1byelizagreen
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review 2017-01-11 21:38
Review: Love and Other Unknown Variables
Love and Other Unknown Variables - Shannon Alexander

It is a rare occasion that a book makes me laugh and cry at the same time. I really loved Charlotte's quick wit and charming sarcasm, combined with Charlie's social ineptitude it made for a winning combination.


The story is written from Charlie's point of view which gives it a really great perspective. As intelligent as he is, Charlie has a lot to learn about life, social skills and of course love. One of my favorite quotes from the book is “Please don't confuse love and logic Charlie. They aren't even remotely related. “ I really enjoyed reading about Charlie's fumbling journey into realizing not everything in life can be broken down into an equation.

In addition to enjoying the budding friendship of Charlotte and Charlie, their friends and family really make this a well rounded story. Charlie's two best friends and sister are easy to relate to and aren't afraid to tell him when he's being awful. This story would not have been as strong without them.

Charlotte's sister is the idealist we all want to be. She challenges a group of high school kids to "bring it" on the very first day of class and the pranks that ensue brought a delightful chuckle in this sometimes serious story. Most of all I enjoyed that she wasn't perfect and was able to be vulnerable without being weak. That seems to be a rare talent for female characters.

I would highly recommend you pick up this well written story, but be prepared for a few tears along the way. As with life, we can't always chose our own endings. 
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