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.

I was going to do a The 100 post for today, but I haven’t been feeling well and I am tired and those take wayyy too much time. More time than me shoving quick impressions of these books at you, anyway.

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada
Series: This Mortal Coil #1
Published by Simon Pulse on November 7th 2017
Pages: 425

Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.

That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.

When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race.

Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much can she even trust herself?

Damn, the twists in this book! I complain a lot about books not being able to shock me, so imagine my delight when this book just kept the intense, unexpected moments coming! I found the world and the characters fascinating, and the plot was on fire– full of action and adventure. I am definitely looking forward to the next book, also, I cannot say much because so much of this book is a big old spoiler. Because twists

But wait…. did I mention all the twists?? 🤔

Strange Fire by Tommy Wallach
Series: Anchor & Sophia #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on October 3rd 2017
Pages: 386

It only takes a spark.

They said that the first generation of man was brought low by its appetites: for knowledge, for wealth, for power. They said mankind’s voracity was so great, the Lord sent his own Daughter to bring fire and devastation to the world.

The survivors were few, but over the course of centuries, they banded together to form a new civilization—the Descendancy—founded on the belief that the mistakes of the past must never be repeated.

Brothers Clive and Clover Hamill, the sons of a well-respected Descendant minister, have spent their lives spreading that gospel. But when their traveling ministry discovers a community intent on rediscovering the blasphemous technologies of the past, a chain of events will be set in motion that will pit city against city…and brother against brother.

Along with Gemma Poplin, Clive’s childhood sweetheart, and Paz Dedios, a revolutionary who dreams of overthrowing the Descendancy, Clive and Clover will each play a pivotal role in determining the outcome of this holy war, and the fate of humanity itself.

This made for a very disappointed Shannon. I was super excited for it, even though I know the author can be ummm questionable, I loved Thanks for the Trouble, and sometimes it’s okay to have problematic faves, yeah? Well. Sadly, this didn’t live up to my high expectations. Mostly because I was bored, so very bored. I didn’t connect with the characters very much. And the one exciting plot point is pretty much ruined by the synopsis? So yeah, I kept hoping I’d start to care more, but alas, I did not.

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
Published by Sterling Children's Books on September 5th 2017
Pages: 262

*“Aven is a perky, hilarious, and inspiring protagonist whose attitude and humor will linger even after the last page has turned.” —School Library Journal (Starred review)

Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona, Aven moves with them across the country knowing that she’ll have to answer the question over and over again.

Her new life takes an unexpected turn when she bonds with Connor, a classmate who also feels isolated because of his own disability, and they discover a room at Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined. It’s hard to solve a mystery, help a friend, and face your worst fears. But Aven’s about to discover she can do it all . . . even without arms.

Oh, look at me, finding a Middle Grade book that I freaking adored! I probably would never have picked this up, never read it, if it wasn’t for my daughter. She’s six and she likes books, and this looked fun, and she was interested. And hot damn, it was good. The characters are so lovely, so imperfectly perfect, and very relatable. Disability is discussed in such a candid yet appropriate way. And the story itself… well, I laughed, I cried, I cheered. Seriously so glad that I discovered this gem, and I hope that more people pick it up, because it is so worth it. And yes, my daughter loved it too,  she still talks about months later, it in fact!

Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Sona Charaipotra, Dhonielle Clayton, Katie Cotugno, Jocelyn Davies, Nina LaCour, Emery Lord, Katharine McGee, Kass Morgan, Meredith Russo, Sara Shepard, Nicola Yoon, Ibi Zoboi, Julie Murphy
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on January 2nd 2018
Pages: 320

Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of "how they first met" from some of today’s most popular YA authors.

Readers will experience Nina LaCour's beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard's glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon's imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno's story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick's charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants.

This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.

So, it was, in fact, cute. Most of the stories i liked, if not loved. And I hated none, so that’s pretty good! There were a few that were standouts though:

  • Dhonielle Clayton’s The Way We Love Here
  • Nina LaCour’s Print Shop
  • Kass Morgan’s 259 Million Miles

But most of them hovered around 3.5, hence the rating here. Cute, but I’ll probably only remember a few of them. But a fun concept nonetheless.

Managed to get The 100 in here anyway, like a real warrior would. Or something.

Have you read any of these books? Agree? Disagree? Let us chat about them!

Posted January 18, 2018 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Quasi-Review, Review / 38 Comments

38 responses to “Inarticulate Book Musings (5)

  1. Ooh Clarke and Finn in the looooove bunker! 🙂 Clarke is actually smiling. Remember those days?? And Meet Cute looks… cute. Kass Morgan had one of the better ones?? That’s kinda neat.

    This Mortal Coil sounds great, because DNA hacking? Fun. Bummer about the Wallach book. I read one of his, the name escapes me but it was the end of the world one- it was okay. *shrug* And Insignificant Events sounds inspiring just from the synopsis! Glad that one was so awesome.

    • HA Clarke used to smile, juuuust a little. Now… no one smiles, only stabs. And YES- Kass Morgan’s writing seems to have vastly improved! Like, so much so that I added her forthcoming book to my TBR because this story made me trust her a little ha.

      This Mortal Coil really was good- and so, so surprising at every turn! I was SO bummed about Strange Fire- and I had wanted to read We All Looked Up, I pre-ordered it what, like, 28 years ago when it came out? Yeah. But now I am a bit hesitant actually. And YES- Insignificant Events was SO inspiring, I loved it!! 😀

      • We All Looked Up- that was it! That one bored me to death, sadly. But that doesn’t mean it’s not good, of course, it just wasn’t for me. And yes, it’s all stabby now! 🙂

  2. I’ve been hearing soooo many good things about This Mortal Coil! I need more hacker books after Warcross, and yes, hello, I need twists! 😉 I might give Meet Cute a shot too, since I need some more romance in my life! Awesome reviews, Shannon! <3

    • Yeah, I don’t know TMC ended up so under the radar, because it really is fabulous! I need to read Warcross, too! I liked the idea of Meet Cute, but the more I think about it, the more I wonder if I didn’t like it *quite* as much as I expected to because like…. we really ONLY see the meeting part? But that IS the point, after all, so not the book’s fault! Thanks so much!!

  3. You had me when I saw your status update on GR for Cactus. Seriously, the name of the book is awesome. I am so glad you liked it. I mean, I just shed a tear reading the review. I love books that can make me babble like that!

  4. Awk I really hate that I didn’t love This Mortal Coil!? Everyone seems to RAVE (I think I even saw a ton of big name authors loving it!) and here I am…this unfortunately deluded moose that just didn’t click with it. 😭 Pity party for 1 over here. BUT ANYWAY! I think the cactus book sounds super cute, I mean who wouldn’t love a cactus. And I’m kind of sworn off Tommy Wallach after his nonsense…but that might not be fair?! IDK. Authors are hard to know what to do with.😂

    • Eh, sometimes things just do not work, I feel you! I am over here, the lone person who didn’t love Cruel Prince, so I get it! The cactus book IS adorable and wonderful! And nah, I think it’s totally fair to be over an author because of their behavior! I mean- had I not already read and loved his book BEFORE he started his nonsense, I probably would never have read it either! Authors CAN be tricky- at least you have a handy guide for what NOT to do 😂

  5. Tammy V

    I just finished This Mortal Coil too and loved it. I agree. The twists just kept coming and once you thought you figured it out – another twist!

  6. This Mortal Coil popped up in my GoodReads feed last month and I remember thinking it sounded interesting but never looked further into it. Now I’m convinced I need to read it. I mean, that cover alone. I’m equal parts horrified and intrigued. I’m looking forward to Meet Cute. I mean, hello, cute contemporary romance… yes please and thank you.

  7. I’ve been excited about reading Cactus since I got a copy at ALAN in November. I’m glad to hear it’s such a good book.

    My take on Wallach is that I don’t regret reading the books I did, but am not interested in reading more by him. An author with some problematic rep in one book is one thing–we all have things to get better at. But an author with problematic statements AS THEMSELVES–I don’t really want to support that.

    • Oh YAY I hope you love it too, it was seriously awesome!

      I agree with what you said about Wallach, too. I mean- I don’t know that I’d buy his books, or even read them for review, because I don’t know that I want to support that either. Grabbing it at ALA was a good middle ground haha. For me, his statements (at least what I have seen, and PLEASE correct me if I am wrong) are more ignorant and deluded, but not hateful? I definitely draw the line at hate, no question.

  8. Loved these quick reviews! Plus I totally appreciate the GIF from The 100! (Love that show!) The cactus book looks cute! and I also adore plot twists like any good reader would so I might have to check out that one!
    Happy reading 🙂

  9. I haven’t read any of those books yet. Love that you adored the one you read with your daughter. My girl is now 13 and loves to “force” me to read her favorite books. She has good taste! I hope you’re feeling better!

  10. THE WAY WE LOVE HERE HAD ME IN TEARS! I loved that story which has me excited for The Belles (I know it wasn’t you fave, but hopefully it’ll work for me)!

    I know nothing of Tommy Wallach expect his twitter rep, and I probably won’t read anything by him because he sounds like a weird dude.

    Everyone keeps talking about the twists in Mortal Coil! I think I’m going to look for an audiobook of it!

    • SAME, I cried! I loved that story! And I DID like The Belles quite a bit- I rated it… let’s see…. 3.5! I really liked the premise and characters, I just felt it was a bit long/descriptive at times. But definitely still good!

      YEP he is a weird dude. UGH it’s hard to decide where to draw the line with problematic authors- I mean, he hasn’t (as far as I have seen, anyway) been like, hateful toward a group or anything, just… inappropriate and kind of ignorant? Which still doesn’t make me want to promote him, but I will read an ARC that I don’t have to review, unless he IS being hateful or whatever, then I am OUT no question!

      And YES you should! It’s really good!

  11. I actually haven’t read any on your list. I tend to avoid Middle Grade books for some reason. I did really want to read This Mortal Coil so hopefully one day. Thanks for the quick reviews!

    • YESSS it is SUCH a good book. Like it’s cute, but it also deals with some tougher topics, so it is a good balance. And it’s fun, and the MC is so fabulous. And Lena loved it so… there’s that. This Mortal Coil WAS really good! Just come to my house and borrow it 😀

  12. This Mortal Coil sounds amazing, Shannon! I hadn’t heard of any of the books you reviewed here, but that one really stood out to me. I love books set in a disastrous future – where the characters can’t really trust anyone, and where the stakes are incredibly high. And it sounds like that’s the case with this one.

  13. I’m surprised by myself that even though Meet Cute is getting okay-ish to decent reviews, I kind of have no interest in reading it. >.> I really REALLY want to read This Mortal Coil though! I alllmost got a review copy but then the person who supplies copies to the UK disappeared for a bit for personal reasons and my copy fell through :'( I will buy it and read it one day though! Glad you loved it. Also, the cactus title made me laugh but it sounds like a good book DD: So I will further check out reviews for that one.

  14. Strange Fire sounds….not good. Hahaha. Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus on the other hand…freaking magical! I struggle with MG feeling a bit too young sometimes, but wow, this one sounds very sophisticated. Good disability rep is a definite plus!

    Meet Cute sounds, well, cute! But like most short story collections I guess it’s plagued by a little unevenness. But oh my god that Clarke and Finn gif has me triggered. 😡😂

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