Jenn's Books

I'm a librarian in sunny Florida. Most of the books I read are from the YA shelves, but I do read a lot of paperback romances as well.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea - April Genevieve Tucholke The writing in this book is very lush, dark, and sweeping. If that is not your thing, then you will hate this book. If you like Gothic novels, then you will love love love this book. The pace of the story is really languid, but that's part of the charm. It feels like you're sinking further and further into the story and the character's lives. The plot line seems strangely complicated yet painfully obvious as to the direction it's going in. The ending was actually quite surprising though. Violet is a great protagonist. She's aware of her surroundings and that she's being swept away by River, yet she still allows herself to be. Tucholke did a fantastic job of keeping her from being completely clueless or unbelievably perceptive. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will definitely read the next in the series.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library (Mr. Lemoncello's Library #1) - Chris Grabenstein Probably one if the best books I've read this year. It is filled to the brim with book references and fun puzzles. I was thoroughly delighted by it.
Since You Asked - Maurene Goo I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for review.

I loved this book! Holly was a great narrator. She was funny, sarcastic, and easy to relate to. I loved her family and friends. They were all well rounded and interesting. Holly's articles were funny and in a realistic teen voice. Holly is someone I would've been friends with in high school. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to a friend or patron.
Love, Technically - Lynne Silver I received this book from Netgalley to review.

This novella was sweet and cute. I didn't realize it was a novella until I was halfway through and saw that I didn't have much of the story left. I liked the characters, but they sometimes seemed a little silly at times. For instance, Michelle is completely unaware that her new boyfriend is the CEO of her company. In the beginning this makes sense, but as time goes on you wonder how she missed some of the signs. Sark writes a note to Michelle at one point in order to apologize and reveal his secret identity. Michelle doesn't get that this is what that note was. Sark really should've expected some sort of fallout from this. When she doesn't say anything about this revelation, Sark assumes that she knows and thinks that there is nothing wrong with their relationship. This was really my only problem with the novella. It just seemed like you had to suspend a lot of disbelief for that part of the plot. Other than that I really liked the interactions between the characters. In particular I enjoyed watching Michelle try to advance in her career. I never felt like I was bored waiting for the romance to roll back around, which sometimes happens with love stories. All in all this was a very cute novella.
Love Overdue - Pamela Morsi I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley to review.

This book was enjoyable, but not without its faults. My big issue with it was that it was a romance novel where I really didn't care about the romance until about 50% through. Scott and DJ fight a lot, and not in a fun bantery kind of way. Once they start dating, the relationship makes sense and the reader starts to root for them. For the rest of the book I was fully invested in their relationship. The other points in the book were great. I liked the parts of this book that concerned DJ's job. That may just be because I am a librarian :) I enjoyed the scenes concerning the wheat harvest more though. It was absolutely fascinating how the town gets together for the harvest and basically focuses solely on that task. The whole situation with Scott's mom was a little out there, but major points for originality. My other problem with the book was that the ending seemed to be missing a chapter. The entire book revolves around the fact that DJ is keeping a huge secret from Scott. We never actually get to see her reveal this secret. Then there's an epilogue where everything is absolutely fine and they have children. It was very jarring to have the book climbing to this boiling point then defuse it immediately with no payoff. I would've enjoyed the book more if the romance made more sense in the beginning and if there had been that extra chapter at the end.
Left Drowning - Jessica Park I received a copy of Left Drowning from NetGalley to review.

I absolutely loved Park's book Flat-Out Love. It was touching and beautiful. It also made me sob quite often. I had very high expectations for this book as a result. This book met my admittedly high expectations. Blythe and Chris had a very interesting relationship. I loved seeing how the Shepard kids all reacted to the same tragedy. They all grieved in their own very unique ways. It was interesting to see all of those approaches. Chris and Blythe are tied together in a rather interesting way. I thought it was quite clever. The reader is given enough clues to figure most of it out on their own. While I was reading the book, I was irked at how coincidental it seemed that they ended up at the same school. I loved that their little meeting by the lake and her giving him her shirt is why he ends up there. It was so well done. . Thankfully, it was explained away.
In Too Deep - Coert Voorhees I received this book from Netgalley to review.

I adored this book and read it one sitting. Like started it at 11:00 at night and stayed up until 2AM reading even though my Kindle's power died and I had to go padding around looking for the cord. That isn't to say it didn't have faults, but it was so much fun that I had to keep going. The book reminded me a lot of Heist Society by Ally Carter.

Annie was a great protagonist. She was level headed and smart. Her extensive knowledge of diving and how present that was in the book was great. I loved hearing about how everything worked. I also loved how history was woven into much of the book.

There were some things that were too convenient, such as calling the governor and having excessively rich friends. On occasion the love interest parts were a little weird concerning Josh and other girls. I was having too much fun to be bothered by any of that. I would definitely read another book with these characters. Also, if Voorhees wanted to write a companion novel about Gracia and Baldwin solving cyber crimes I would totally read that.
Proxy - Alex London I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley to review.

I love love loved this book. The way that the author built up his future was clever. The idea of credit systems, debt, and proxies was well thought out and executed well. The author did a great job of explaining their concept of the future without a giant infodump. Everything was explained concisely and in an easy to understand matter. That is not always the case with science fiction novels, so I appreciated that.

The character development was very well done. Syd was an easy character to root for. Marie and Knox were great foils for each other in terms of why they were helping Syd. Knox is such a spoiled jerk. He tries to become a better person and occasionally succeeds. His development toward not being a raging jerk has some major stumbling blocks, but that kept things realistic. Marie

Diversity in books always makes me happy. I was pleasantly surprised that the main character was a person of color and a homosexual. The former was brought up a handful of times. Syd calls himself brown. His mentor states that he thinks Syd's ancestors are from the Holy Land. Knox describes Syd's appearance at one point as well. Syd's homosexuality was brought up more often and had a much bigger impact on the plot. We see how it had an effect on his friendship with Egan, how it impacts Knox's interactions with him, and how homosexuality is viewed in this depiction of the future. It opened up a lot of avenues for the author to take. He used them exceedingly well.

The ending was very interesting. It was dramatic and quite unexpected. There are quite a few expectations most readers should have and they were subverted. For instance, the original Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Citiessacrifices himself for the sake of others. It's an expectation that he will do this or at least attempt to sacrifice himself. Instead someone sacrifices themself for Sydney in a complete 180. I loved that. It was very unexpected that Knox would sacrifice himself and then die. This is the first book in the series, and it seemed like the future books would be about Sydney and Knox. I truly did not expect for him to die. It was a great twist. My only qualm with it was that anyone with their blood could then become the sacrifice. Oh well. I enjoyed the ending so much I'm willing to overlook that.

I would definitely recommend this to YA readers looking for a new sci-fi/dystopian series.
Tumble & Fall - Alexandra Coutts I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley to review.

I love the concept of this book. The three teens in this book are dealing with serious problems in their life. They are forced to confront them in a short period of time because of the ensuing apocalypse. That drives them all to find closure before the world ends. The author did a great job portraying teens with mental health issues, alcoholic parents, absentee parents, a loved one's recent death, and stepfamilies. A big part of being a teenager is figuring out where you belong and these teens all go through that to find their home and the families they created before the end. I loved that about this book. Was it fast paced or action packed? No, the book was more of a character study. It took me a while to get the hang of the characters and want to know more about their stories. Zan had me from the start. Sienna took a chapter or two to hook me. They both held my attention. My interest in Caden rose and fell dramaticallly. His plotline was well done, but I was more invested in Zan's search for closure and Sienna trying to figure out where she wants to be when the world ends. I think it was because I wanted to see more of Caden's relationship with his mother and sister. I wanted a bit more crossover between the kids. Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to a friend. I think that the book's strongest point is that it has good crossover appeal. The asteroid aspect of the book makes it more than a regular contemporary novel. I think it would be a good stepping stone to introduce readers of contemporary YA to science fiction and vice versa.
Data Runner - Sam A. Patel I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley to review.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was full of action and had a realistic rendering of the future. I liked the addition of parkour to the story. It was integrated well and made sense. The sport was explained well for those who were unfamiliar with it. There aren't a lot of YA books about it so that was nice. The philosophy behind parkour was explained well. The sense of community the boys had was relatable. Some of the hacking stuff went over my head, but the gist of what was going on. I felt like that was what was supposed to happen when Martin opened his mouth though. He's very intelligent and his technobabble illustrated that. I loved the world building. The idea that the net became controlled and how that changed communication made sense. The evolution of courier and security systems out of that was very logical. Overall, I thought that the book was a really fun read.
Seraphina - Rachel Hartman I read this book until 2 AM when my eyes refused to stay open. Probably one of the best fantasy stories I've read. Excellent world building. Great female lead. I loved it.
Entwined with You - Sylvia Day So I guess there are going to be more books in this series now? I was fully prepared for everything to be wrapped up and to say goodbye to the series. The ending threw me for a loop because of this. It was still a great book though.
Obsession - Jennifer L. Armentrout Adult spinoff of one of my fave YA series? Yes, please! If she wants to write more following Hunter and Serena, I will certainly read it.
Soulless - Gail Carriger, Gail Carriger I finished it and immediately bought the five pack for my Kindle. Enough said?
If I Should Die - Amy Plum I received this book as part of a Goodreads First Reads contest. This review contains spoilers for this book as well as the two that proceed it in the series.

This book picks right up where [b:Until I Die|12908877|Until I Die (Revenants, #2)|Amy Plum||14612013] finished. Recap of Until Die's ending: Violette betrayed the revenants of La Maison because she thinks that Vincent is the Champion. (Also, she's kind of nuts.) Kate and Georgia stumbled upon this because they were following Arthur, who they thought was the betrayer. (He wasn't.) Vincent came along to save the girls and was killed in the process. Violette took his body. Kate is mourning Vincent when she hears him in his volant state. End of book.

If I Should Die opens with the continuation of the discussion Kate and Vincent were having. He talks with Kate long enough to tell her where his body is and how much he cares for her. His voice drops off, causing Kate to panic. She rushes back to La Maison to inform the others of what's going on. They decide that they need the assistance of Bran to figure out a way to get Vincent back. They discover that Vincent's body was incinerated and his spirit is bound to Violette. Bran tells the revenants about a process called embodiment, which will get Vincent a new body. After that, they can worry about the fact that Violette is bent on destroying them and their kind.

This book was an excellent wrap-up to the series. It was fast-paced, romantic, and funny at times. There were a couple of new characters we get to meet. Some of our old favorites get more of the spotlight in this book.

The book added a lot in terms of worldbuilding. There was a lot of new information concerning revenant history and customs. It was all doled out in small portions, which was nice. I loved the emphasis on research. It was especially cool that one of the key breaks came from Papy. One of my favorite parts is when he gets to see the revenant super museum. Also, it was very clever and seemed historically appropriate that the instructions for embodiment were in a mural in the archives.

The thing that struck me most about this book while I was reading was the balance between serious and lighthearted moments. This book could've been a ridiculously melodramatic, over the top story. Kate's boyfriend is essentially dead. It's pretty much her fault. The world is being threatened by supernatural creatures. Several characters are angsting about their love lives. There are a lot of fight scenes. Amy Plum managed the make the book fun even though there was a lot of danger and drama. Any time it got a little too heavy there was a little quip or a bit of sarcasm to lighten the mood. It kept the book from feeling overwrought with angst and melodrama. In another author's hands it could've easily been like that.

I loved that Kate's family was further pulled into the revenant's world. Papy found out about them at the end of the second book. To an extent, Kate's family is included in the plans. I liked that they weren't in the dark and thought that their reaction to the revenants was realistic. Georgia is one of my favorite characters so seeing more of her was a delight. Especially, her flirtatious with Arthur and their kiss.

The only real negative was that it took forever for them to work out that Kate was the Victor. The reader was given a ton of clues so it was quite easy to figure out. I understand why it happened when it did, however, I was ready for her to be the Victor and kick some numa ass. We did get to see a good amount of that though. I was a little worried they would find out with like ten pages left. It is quite a bit more than that thankfully.

Also, I know that the pacing of the book would've suffered drastically from it, but I would've liked more of the secondary romances. Their moments were so cute or sort of heartrending (depending on the couple). If Amy Plum wants to write enovellas about Georgia/Arthur or Charlotte/Ambrose in the same way she did for Jules, I would definitely read them.

In conclusion: awesome book, awesome series, if Amy Plum decides to write more in this universe I would be all for it.
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover - Sarah MacLean This is how you write a romance novel! Pippa is smart and likeable. She knows what she wants and goes after it. Cross is dark and complex. His backstory was very well done. There is no instalove. They slowly become attracted to each other, which the author displays beautifully. The steamy scenes were great. The resolution was clever.

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Michael Grant
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