This is like, the first time in… ever, really, that I have been behind on reviews. Not much, since these all came out in the past week, but still. I do not like being behind at all! Good news though, I liked them all, woooo! And you don’t have to wait if you would like to obtain them! 😀
Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner
Last of Her Name by Jessica Khoury
The Last 8 by Laura Pohl
Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on February 26, 2019
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review, via Netgalley
A contemporary novel about two best friends who must make tough decisions about their futures--and the TV show they host--in their senior year of high school.
Every Friday night, best friends Delia and Josie become Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood, hosts of the campy creature feature show Midnite Matinee on the local cable station TV Six.
But with the end of senior year quickly approaching, the girls face tough decisions about their futures. Josie has been dreading graduation, as she tries to decide whether to leave for a big university and chase her dream career in mainstream TV. And Lawson, one of the show's guest performers, a talented MMA fighter with weaknesses for pancakes, fantasy novels, and Josie, is making her tough decision even harder.
Scary movies are the last connection Delia has to her dad, who abandoned the family years ago. If Midnite Matinee becomes a hit, maybe he'll see it and want to be a part of her life again. And maybe Josie will stay with the show instead of leaving her behind, too.
As the tug-of-war between growing up and growing apart tests the bonds of their friendship, Josie and Delia start to realize that an uncertain future can be both monstrous...and momentous.
I am notoriously picky about books of a lighter nature. But since The Serpent King is one of my all-time favorites, and I really loved Goodbye Days, I was obviously going to give Rayne & Delilah a go. And I am so glad that I did, for it was fabulous. This book is completely laugh-out-loud funny. Nay, it’s laugh-at-inappropriate-times funny.
But beyond just being phenomenally funny, it had so, so much heart. Delia and Josie are both incredible characters who I loved from basically the start. I related far more to Delia, but I still really enjoyed Josie. They’re both facing a lot of changes as they finish their high school years, and effectively, their childhoods. They are of course also going through major personal changes, as a result of all of the upheaval but also just as a result of growing up.
Their friendship is at the center of the story, and it’s so well done. It feels incredibly authentic, and I swear I have had some of these same ups and downs with my own friends (you know, minus the horror movie cable access show, sadly). But it isn’t just their relationship that has a focus, there are so many other highlighted relationships! All the side characters are incredibly well fleshed out, and I grew to care about them just as much as Delia and Josie. And, family was a huge focus too.
Add to it a road trip to a fan convention, and you have me drowning in flails. You’ll laugh (a lot), cry, and just feel like your heart is fuller after reading Josie and Delia’s story.
Bottom Line: Full of hilarious hijinks, heartbreaking, life-defining moments, and a friendship that frankly cannot be beat. To say you want to read this is a severe understatement.
Last of Her Name by Jessica Khoury
Published by Scholastic Press on February 26, 2019
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review
Sixteen years ago, rebellion swept the galaxy known as the Belt of Jewels. Every member of the royal family was murdered--down to their youngest child, Princess Anya--and the Union government rose in its place. But Stacia doesn't think much about politics. She spends her days half-wild, rambling her father's vineyard with her closest friends, Clio and Pol.
That all changes the day a Union ship appears in town, carrying the leader of the Belt himself, the Direktor Eminent. The Direktor claims that Princess Anya is alive, and that Stacia's sleepy village is a den of empire loyalists, intent on hiding her. When Stacia is identified as the lost princess, her provincial home explodes into a nightmare.
Pol smuggles her away to a hidden escape ship in the chaos, leaving Clio in the hands of the Union. With everything she knows threading away into stars, Stacia sets her heart on a single mission. She will find and rescue Clio, even with the whole galaxy on her trail.
Gosh this was an adventure and a half! I have been sadly bummed by some of the other Anastasia-themed books I have read in the past, but this one finally hit the mark! So let us talk about it, yeah?
The Things I Liked:
- Well, obviously the Anastasia bit! The other didn’t really drag out the “reveal” of that part either, which I was so thankful for. In most of the retellings I have read, it’s this big dramatic build up but… if you’ve told me it’s an Anastasia retelling, I know she’s the royal, somehow miraculously alive? That’s the whole point! This one gets that out of the way almost immediately so we can move on with the story. Also, the other did a great job of building on that story, and pulling at the ol’ heartstrings.
- Space adventures! I came for the adventures in space, and I was absolutely not disappointed! There’s a ton of high stakes action, and a huge system in which to explore. That said, it didn’t feel too overwhelming or convoluted; it was a good blend.
- I adored the friendships/relationships. There are a lot of really tight friendships in this book. I wasn’t sure how they’d all work out at the end of the day, but it was a good journey finding out! Plus, Stacia had to grapple with her new identity, which obviously changed the way she saw her relationships with basically everyone. Good stuff.
- This is hard to navigate because of spoilers but let me try. So the story makes some choices up front that I found… questionable. And had me trying to wrap my head around the “why” behind a lot of stuff. BUT. The author ties every last thing together so flawlessly, that you’ll be so glad that you stuck with it. Everything will make sense, I promise!
The Things I Didn’t:
- It did take some time for me to fully get into. Look, this is a very minor gripe because like I said, the payoff was really worth it! But it’s worth mentioning!
- The ending was a little underwhelming? I am not going to get into it, but I would have liked a bit more? But it was still a legitimate ending, so fear not!
Bottom Line: A super fun adventure in space that blends Anastasia and sci-fi together in a fabulous way!
The Last 8 by Laura Pohl
Series: The Last 8 #1
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on March 5, 2019
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review, via Netgalley
A high-stakes survival story about eight teenagers who outlive an alien attack—perfect for fans of The 5th Wave
Clover Martinez has always been a survivor, which is the only reason she isn't among the dead when aliens invade and destroy Earth as she knows it.
When Clover hears an inexplicable radio message, she's shocked to learn there are other survivors—and that they're all at the former Area 51. When she arrives, she's greeted by a band of misfits who call themselves The Last Teenagers on Earth.
Only they aren't the ragtag group of heroes Clover was expecting. The group seems more interested in hiding than fighting back, and Clover starts to wonder if she was better off alone. But then she finds a hidden spaceship, and she doesn't know what to believe…or who to trust.
This was fun, and full of excitement! I think the comparisons to The Fifth Wave are perfect, but also, it’s still completely different- in a good, yet dark way.
Things I Liked:
- This book could (and should!) be a movie. The author wrote it in such a way that I could genuinely picture Clover and the situations she was in. I could see how flawlessly scenes would change, etc. And sometimes it is just plain fun to read a book that moves so great.
- I love the apocalypse. You can judge me, but I do. I love it because it brings forth all these thought-provoking questions, and makes me really ponder every situation the character is in. This particular apocalypse felt especially terrifying- as you can see by the title, we’re working with the assumption that these are the last eight people on Earth.
- The atmosphere was incredible. Continuing on my last pro, the author really made the world feel desperate and awful. You could truly sense the desolation that Clover was experiencing and just… wow.
- Full of twists! There is so much happening, and a lot of it I did not see coming. I read this super quickly, because it was hard to put down!
Things I Didn’t Love:
- I had some trouble keeping all the survivors straight. Clover, obviously I knew. I kept getting confused in regards to the rest though, and that was hard. So when the focus was on the internal workings of the group, I got a wee bit bored.
- The pacing was a bit off in the middle. This leads back to my last point, because when there was a lot of discussion about the group in general, or infighting, I was kind of lost and my eyes were glazing over. It started out so action-packed, and ended up that way too, that the middle just felt a little underwhelming in comparison.
Bottom Line: A dark and enjoyable end-of-the-world book featuring a ton of diverse characters and some very good twists!
Ok I totally want to read Last Of Her Name now!! I sometimes get stuck on sci-fi and don’t always click, but I looove retellings. And OMG I’M SO EXCITED FOR THE JEFF ZENTNER. ?His first two books wrecked me (very nice of them…so kind) so one that’s laugh-out-loud funny will be excellent too.
Not a bad run of books. R & D made me love Zentner even more, and like you, my first love was that friendship between Delia and Josie, but there were SO many other things that delighted me, and there were also a LOT of feels.
Yay! I’m glad Jeff Zentner’s new book is good. I loved The Serpent King. Great reviews!
I’ve been seeing Rayne and Delilah everywhere, but I kept getting distracted by the pretty cover! Now that I know what it’s about and that it’s funny to boot, I just might check it out! (If I can tear my eyes away from that beautiful cover for long enough that is.)
I also am intrigued by Jessica Khoury’s new book. I really enjoyed The Forbidden Wish, so I’ll have to check out Last of Her Name when I’m in the mood for a space romp!
I have Zentner’s latest on hold at the library so hopefully I’ll have it in my hands soon. I loved your review and Sam’s, but then this afternoon I saw a Booktuber give it a scathing 1 star review. It was her most anticipated book of the year and she gave it one star. Gah! I’m trying to pretend I never saw her review now.
Glad to see you loved all of these. I really want to read Jeff Zentner’s book. It sounds amazing.
Nice to hear that Rayne and Delilah’s was good. I’ve seen a few middling reviews so now I feel more comfortable with it again. You know, if I ever get around to reading it lol. Nice about the Khoury book too- I’ve read a few of hers but her last couple haven’t really appealed to me? Still, good to see a review.
The Last 8… hmm. They’re like literally THE last 8 people? Dang. Sounds like Praimfaya all over again, sadly.
Lovely reviews, Shannon! <3 I'm glad you liked Rayne and Delilah's! I have read The Serpent King by the author and really enjoyed it, I've been meaning to read more from him, I really should check out that one 🙂
And Last of Her Name! I love Jessica Khoury's The Forbidden Wish and have been SO curious about this one, so happy you liked it too ahhh, you made me so excited to read it now 😀
I’m super excited about Last of Her Name! I remember it having another title for a while… do you remember what it was? Although, I love the way Last of Her Name Sounds! And the cover is amazing! I cannot wait to read this one for myself. Lovely reviews, Shannon!
Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? ?
I’m so glad you enjoyed Last of Her Name! I had a ton of issues with it, but I do agree that the space adventures were great! This is the second good review I’ve seen for Rayne & Delilah so I might have to check that out!
Wow! Great reviews. I need to read a Jeff Zenter book already because they honestly all sound so amazing and I want to be able to laugh like that too 😀 The last space based Anastasia retelling I read was Heart of Iron and I didn’t like that so maybe Last of Her Name will be a healing process for me to read it. The Last 8 sounds like it could be even better if it was adapted for film 😀
I am so impressed by your ability to review everything on time, always. For you, past due is like a couple of days. I wish I could say the same.