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.

First & Then by Emma Mills
Published by Brilliance Audio on October 13th 2015
Format:AudioBook
Source:Library
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First & Then is like first love: profound and stirring, surprising and funny, and utterly delightful.” —T. Michael Martin, author of The End Games

Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them—first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love—with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

This was my first ever audiobook! Well, the first (and as it turns out, only) one I have ever finished. Audiobooks are probably not for me? Anyway. The book. It was cute! I liked the romance and the family stuff, I just wish Devon had like, done more I guess? Like, her cousin-brother played football and also the guys she was friends with played football. And Devon… was there. But look, it was fun and got me through a ten hour road trip, so who am I to complain?


Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Series: Themis Files #1
Published by Del Rey on April 26th 2016
Pages: 304
Format:ARC
Source:Won
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A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.
But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

An inventive debut in the tradition of World War Z and The Martian, told in interviews, journal entries, transcripts, and news articles, Sleeping Giants is a thriller fueled by a quest for truth—and a fight for control of earthshaking power.

Val picked this one for me to read from a large pile of books I was indecisive about, and it was a very good choice! It was definitely different than I expected- I think I assumed that people would be hanging out on space ships, but that is my bad for never reading synopses. Anyway. It’s told in an interview format, but I was still able to get a good feel for the characters and world. And now, I want more, and cannot wait to read Waking Gods.


Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
Published by Delacorte Press on September 5th 2017
Pages: 272
Format:ARC
Source:ALAMW
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The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.

Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.

An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two. A bad romance, or maybe three.

Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains. A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.

A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

True story, I wasn’t a huge fan of We Were Liars, so maybe this author and I are simply not meant to be? A lot of the time, I was kind of like “what am I actually reading?” I didn’t really like the characters (though I also didn’t know that I was meant to) and since things were told in reverse, I felt like there wasn’t a ton of point as the story went along. But I think this is probably a case of being me, and not the book, so if it sounds interesting, hope you have better luck!


The Valiant by Lesley Livingston
Series: The Valiant #1
Published by Razorbill on February 14th 2017
Pages: 372
Format:ARC
Source:ALAMW
GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository

Princess. Captive. Gladiator.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.

When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.

Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival.

Now Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.

Oooh how I adored this book! I thought it would be my kind of book, but damn, I was blown away. Badass women kicking ass and forming bonds, family relationship focus, romance, history… yeah, is it any wonder this made it onto my favorites list? Sequel has been pre-ordered, because I need more, of course. This book pulled at my heartstrings and had me engaged and enraptured at every turn. Love, love, love.

Have you read any of these books? Do we share any opinions? Let’s talk! 

Posted August 9, 2017 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Quasi-Review, Review / 20 Comments


20 responses to “Inarticulate Book Musings (3)

  1. I have not read any of these, but I am reading GF soon. I am a Lockhart fan, and hope I like it more than you. It took me a while to find the type of audiobooks that work for me. Contemporaries are the best, since there is usually not a lot of complicated world building and what-not. Oddly enough, this sort of reflects the type of TV shows I can listen to and peek at, versus watching full out (a requirement for certain shows, otherwise, I have no clue what is going on).

  2. So I JUST got a review-copy of Genuine Fraud in the mail today…😭😂 NOT EXCITED ANYMORE. I lvoed We Were Liars but like that was ages ago and IDK if my tastes have changed! But we’ll see. I desperately need to read The Valiant. Badass women gladiators is what’s missing from my life tbh. AND I WANT TO READ SLEEPING GIANTS SO BAD!! I love books with unique formatting. I need pictures and stuff ok. I am a child.

  3. Ooh, The Valiant sounds really interesting! I’ve been craving fiction set in Ancient Rome this summer so I might just have to check that one out. Also, not gonna lie, I’m kind of glad you’re not a fan of E. Lockhart’s stuff because I was starting to feel like the only person in the world who literally has no interest in her work. Great reviews as always, Shannon! ^_^

  4. I really can’t wait to have a chance to read Sleeping Giants. I’ve heard only good things and I need some quality sci-fi.
    Talking about The Valiant, everyone is crazy about it but I don’t feel like even consider this one. It’s more a problem of mine. I’m Italian and seeing another book set in ancient Rome with gladiators… I had enough of them.

  5. I haven’t read any of these, but now I kind of want to! Especially The Valiant. “And Devon… was there” made me laugh. 😀

  6. I don’t really do audiobooks because I get easily distracted, and they take too long? Although when I used to drive a lot for my job they would have come in handy! Sleeping Giants I kinda liked, but the narrator creeped me out a little. Like what is he supposed to be? I never figured it out. But Waking Gods maybe I’ll give a shot. I’ve heard it has more action?

    I was kinda ambivalent about We Were Liars (and didn’t even know there was a new Lockhart) so this one… I dunno. Doesn’t sound great. And The Valiant I need to read, because gladiatrixes (is that right) of course, and the cover for the new one is like damn lol. I should just go buy it right now cause I just finished a book and don’t know what to read next…

  7. Sleeping Giants sounds AMAZING! I have a feeling I’m going to love it a lot. *_* Valiant also sounds so incredible!

    I also wasn’t a fan of We Were Liars, I just didn’t care about the characters and I couldn’t connect with it at all. GLAD I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE!

  8. Wait, you have only ever finished ONE audiobook? I feel that it is definitely harder than it should be to find the right narrators for audiobooks, but some of my favorite reading experiences have been through audiobooks, namely Carnival and The Night Circus. I really enjoy this short review style. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Ah I’m sad about Genuine Fraud – I’ve been wanting to read that one! I haven’t read all of these books, but they’re on my TBR. I did read First & Then, though! It was a while ago and I remember liking it but I also was in a huge YA contemporary kick back then AND I don’t remember a single thing about that book so >.< haha

  10. Love the mini reviews, sometimes keeping it short and sweet is for the best. First and Then has been on my TBR for a long while and I do still want to read but I get being annoyed an MC doesn’t seem to do more but watch other people. The Valiant has been on my TBR ever since a couple of other bloggers told me it was brilliant, though. The fact you then went and preordered the next one tells me I need to get my hands on a copy, expense be damned.

  11. I love when I learn an interesting fact about a fav blogger! I DID NOT know you didn’t like audio books! I know what you mean since didn’t like them my entire life either [until I HAD to come to terms that I didn’t have time to “read” because I was on the road so much and audio books would be the only way to preserve my beloved bookworm status 🙂 ] Now I want to read The Valiant so badly!!! I love badass female characters bonding!! is there really, anything better than that??? 🙂 I THINK NOT 🙂

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