To intro a bit, these are the new version of “Books I’m Never Reviewing”. I kept feeling like the connotation was that I wasn’t fond of said books, when often, quite the opposite was true. Also, the name was clunky. The bottom line is this: These are considered legitimate reviews by absolutely no one. Why? I don’t feel like it, nor do I have to. But apparently, my ego dictates that I still think you care whether I liked them and/or I feel like shouting about them. And so, I shall.

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on March 17th 2015
Pages: 384
Format:Hardcover
Source:Purchased

Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.

This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.

This book is written by Stacey Lee and involves The Oregon Trail. There wasn’t even a slight possibility I wouldn’t love it. Awesome characters, a great story, fabulous friendships, ship-worthy romances, it has it all.

I maybe wanted a tiny bit more out of the feels, but other than that, it was an absolute win and a book I would recommend to literally anyone and everyone.


Returned by Kimberley Griffiths Little
Series: Forbidden #3
Published by HarperCollins on February 7th 2017
Pages: 384
Format:Hardcover
Source:Purchased

After tragedy strikes on the day they were to wed, Jayden must support Kadesh as he ascends the throne and becomes king of Sariba. But with the dark priestess Aliyah conspiring to control the crown, and the arrival of Horeb, Jayden’s former betrothed, Kadesh’s kingdom, as well as his status as king, is at stake.

Jayden knows that the time to be merciful has come and gone, and that some enemies can only be halted by death. Now she and Kadesh must prepare to fight not only for their love, but also for their kingdom.

Solid series end. Not as emotionally powerful as the first book, though I imagine nothing could be. Stronger than the second, though at times a little predictable. Still, wrapped up the series well, and the characters were amazing as always.  I liked that the author kept Jayden a strong, powerful, and influential woman while still making it believable within the confines of the society she was in. I also loved the role of family and friendship as pivotal to the story. As a whole, this is a strong series and definitely perfect for fans of historical fiction.


Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on March 7th 2017
Pages: 416
Format:ARC
Source:ALAMW

What if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?

One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.

The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.

Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?

Jeff Zentner owes me a lot of tissues. I loved this book even while I hated this book. It was so damn moving, and yet remained incredibly grounded and realistic. The characters were believable, their pain palpable. Showed incredible portrayals of loss and grief along with attempting to pick up the pieces of one’s life. Bonus points for fabulous and faithful portrayal of therapy.

Which is good because I cried so hard I probably need to add extra sessions or something.


The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig
Series: The Girl from Everywhere #2
Published by Hot Key Books on March 9th 2017
Pages: 400
Format:Paperback
Source:Purchased

The breathtaking sequel to the acclaimed The Girl from Everywhere. Nix has escaped her past, but when the person she loves most is at risk, even the daughter of a time traveler may not be able to outrun her fate—no matter where she goes. Fans of Rae Carson, Alexandra Bracken, and Outlander will fall hard for Heidi Heilig’s sweeping fantasy.

Nix has spent her whole life journeying to places both real and imagined aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. And now it’s finally time for her to take the helm. Her father has given up his obsession to save her mother—and possibly erase Nix’s existence—and Nix’s future lies bright before her. Until she learns that she is destined to lose the one she loves. But her relationship with Kash—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—is only just beginning. How can she bear to lose him? How can she bear to become as adrift and alone as her father?

Desperate to change her fate, Nix takes her crew to a mythical utopia to meet another Navigator who promises to teach her how to manipulate time. But everything in this utopia is constantly changing, and nothing is what it seems—not even her relationship with Kash. Nix must grapple with whether anyone can escape her destiny, her history, her choices. Heidi Heilig weaves fantasy, history, and romance together to tackle questions of free will, fate, and what it means to love another person. But at the center of this adventure are the extraordinary, multifaceted, and multicultural characters that leap off the page, and an intricate, recognizable world that has no bounds. The sequel—and conclusion—to the indie darling The Girl from Everywhere will be devoured by fans of Rachel Hartman and Maggie Stiefvater. Includes black-and-white maps.

I enjoyed this sequel, though not quite as much as its predecessor. Stakes seemed a little higher in the first book, but I did enjoy how I feel like we got to know the characters a lot more in the sequel. Still a fun adventure at sea, and a satisfying enough ending to the series. And I shipped the ship a lot, which is extra fun in a book about ship. Incidentally, I feel like the word “ship” has lost all meaning in my brain.

Also, this is how I imagined the ship when it traveled. You’re welcome for the constant The 100 references.

So, that’s all from me for now! Have you read any of these? Plan to? Started any of the series? We should of course discuss them!

Posted March 22, 2017 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Quasi-Review, Review / 16 Comments


16 responses to “Inarticulate Book Musings (2)

  1. sam

    These are awesome! Ship the ship on a ship – Ha! I agree with you 100% on Goodbye Days. You totally summed up almost everything I was thinking. BTW: you almost make me want to watch The 100. =)
    Sam @ WLABB

  2. YAS I CAN’T WAIT FOR GOODBYE DAYS. Because I want to be broken obviously. And by “can’t wait” I mean “cait why havne’t you read it yet it’s literally on your kindle”…although I think my heart is procrastinating the pain??? Also some idiot (spoiler: me) borrowed out 3989 library books with due dates so. 😭 I’ll read it soon!!

    I also can’t wait for the Ship Beyond Time!!

    And I liked Under a Painted Sky but I didn’t really connect emotionally at all?? However Out Run the Moon by Stacey Lee is A++++ 😍😍😍

  3. Okay so I have actually read or plan to read a lot of these! Yay! I read Under a Painted Sky last summer and because I am apparently a heathen with a heart made of stone, I remain the only person I know who thought this one was a little heavy on the religious undertones. It was fun and I’m glad to have a non-problematic-in-representation western to recommend to teens wanting something along those lines (especially since it can skew younger too). But, man, it’s so Christian and I work with a lot of Jewish and Muslim teens and I just don’t know about that hand off which feels fraught at best.

    Embarrassingly I totally forgot that the Forbidden series was still going. Sometimes I pretend I want ancient historical fiction in my life. Then I try it and it turns out that I don’t really.

    You are making me nervous about Goodbye Days, Shannon! I am definitely reading it because I really loved The Serpent King and am obsessed with Jeff’s social media presence in a big embarrassing way. BUT I feel like I really need to plan this so I have something read after it shatters me. Eek.

    Is it weird to say that my excitement about The Ship Beyond Time has dwindled. I loved the first one, read it early, and it was a lot of fun but maybe less impressive in plotting and scope as I got more distance from it. I have The Ship Beyond Time from my library but I don’t find myself clamoring to drop everything and pick it up. We’ll see.

  4. I wish I could express my thoughts in just a couple sentences. I have a hard time condensing thoughts. Perhaps I should start incorporating some funny gifs! I have a collection of Buffy ones… haha

  5. Oregon Trail plus 1800’s sounds like a win. Goodbye Days sounds absolutely wrenching (imagine the guilt you’d feel if you thought it was your text that accompanied the accident- I’m assuming that’s what’s happening here?) and I probably won’t read it lol because I avoid subject matter like this generally- although I’ve heard good things about Jeff Zentner too. And The ship Beyond Time has me really curious because time traveling always does. Also- thank you for the ship visual. Because everything goes better w/ The 100. 😛

    Is that even the same ship they took to Becca island a few episodes ago? Do they have more than one ship? Between ships and Becca island and the rig, we need more aquatic adventure on The 100. What else could they find at sea? Maybe the Skaikru (just the cool ones) could become Seakru lol and find a boat to sail around on like Fear the Walking Dead. Except where would they get gas? Oh wait gas isn’t a problem, we’ve covered that. Seakru could sail up to NYC and we could see what the big city looks like all fucked up. I wish they’d listen to my ideas. 🙂

  6. AHHH, I am so glad you loved Under the Painted Sky! It’s so good tbh. I gave away my hardcover, a while back, and have been regretting it ever since. It’s so cute && appropriate of that GIF. Hee. I feel like I’m the only one not on the Jeff Zentner train and that bums me out because I’ve heard only GREAT things, so I need to scoop up one of his books asap. Great reviews! 😀

  7. I’m in queue for Goodbye Days at the library, and your comments made me both doubly excited and doubly anxious to read it. XD I’ll be sure to keep a box of tissues handy. I’m a little hesitant about reading The Ship Beyond Time – I liked The Girl From Everywhere, but not so much that I’d want to read the sequel unless it were demonstrably better.

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

  8. I found your quick thoughts to be super entertaining! I’m not too sure about Ship Beyond Time (I haven’t seen that cover before!), because there were a few issues I had with the first book. I’ve heard so much about Jeff Zentner’s writing too and how tear jerking they are. Great reviews Shannon!

  9. LOL that was pretty much me with Goodbye Days! I just couldn’t stop reading it even though it literally ATE AT MY HEART and now it’s (no surprise) one of my top faves of the year. I’m glad you also agree 🙂

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