Book Talk: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Book Talk: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn BarnesThe Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on July 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Thriller
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1

Tess has grown up with her grandfather but when her sister, who she hasn’t seen in years, comes to visit and realizes things aren’t what Tess pretends they are at home, she’s suddenly whisked off to DC. She is enrolled in a super private school which seems to be the pulse of Washington as the rich and politically inclined have sent their kids there. She learns very quickly that her sister is famous in DC — she’s a political fixer. Without meaning to, she is thrown into fixing some of her classmates problems and finds herself tangled in a dangerous conspiracy that has implications for her classmates and higher up in Washington.

a2Is this going to be a series because that would be fun??? *scurries to Goodreads*
(There is at least a sequel from what I see but this totally stands on its own)

a4Oh this was fun! It was the perfect read for being on vacation because there was mystery and scandal and a fast moving plot to keep me reading and not distracted on the beach/at the pool. This book was pitched as Scandal meets Veronica Mars and I’d have to say it’s pretty accurate. It’s basically like if Olivia Pope had a little sister who came to live with her and caught up in messy Washington things. I get the Veronica Mars nod with the teens getting caught up in things and trying to solve/fix stuff but I can’t FULLY get behind the VMars comparison there will never be another character like V because she’s so perfectly snarky and charming (even though I rather liked the main character here). So that’s my thought if you saw the comparisons and wondered how it held up!

I got sooo wrapped up in the dramz in The Fixer — the sister drama, the new school drama, the political drama. OH SO MUCH GOOD DRAMA to keep the pages turning. Murder and scheming and political maneuvering, oh man! It was exactly the kind of twisty stuff that I love about an episode of Scandal or a show in that same vein. I loved that it kept me guessing as the mystery got twistier and twistier and the stakes even higher. I kept changing my theories…although I had a nagging suspicion about one thing and turned out to be right and I was like AHHH I KNEW I KNEW IT (but not in a bad way that was like UGH SO PREDICTABLE but in a DAMN THAT WAS GOOD..YOU ALMOST GOT THAT PAST ME).

There’s a whole host of interesting characters and players in The Fixer and I am really delighted that it looks like we will get to know them better with another book. I love romance in most of my books but it was refreshing for there not to be a full scale romance in here because I was ALL about the political thriller-ness that was this book — just maybe some inklings of something something in the romance department later on in the next book?? MAYBE. HOPEFULLY.

TIME FOR SOME SPOILERS:

View Spoiler »

 

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ plot, characters, twists & turns, writing, unputdownable quality
–  Nothing.

Re-readability: Probably not (I don’t tend to read mystery/thrillers again so that’s just a me thing)
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Because it’s not an all time favorite or a book I’d reread, no. But I wouldn’t hesistate to buy it for a gift especially for the teens in my life who like fast paced books.

a5fans of thrillers & mysteries (especially of the political variety), fans of Scandal and Veronica Mars (love when the “this meets this” is actually accurate on marketing material), readers looking for something fast paced and that will hook you easily, people who are looking for a book with basically no romance (but some kind of ~feelings there~ vibes and banter)

a8The Fixer was such a fun, thrilling book. I loved Scandal so I was happy this kind of lived up to that political twisty-ness. Loved that I was constantly changing my suspicions and, even though I had a nagging suspicion about something, that I was still like AH OMG throughout because the stakes were so high and the reveals were so spectacularly written.  If you are in need of a book that will just HOOK you, get this one immediately!

review-on-post-itthe-fixer-jennifer-lynn-barnes

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
What other YA political thrillers are out there? (I’d also totally take great adult ones but asking specifically for YA because I feel like there are barely any!)

 

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien

Book Talk: The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’BrienThe Vault of Dreamers by Caragh O'Brien
Published by Roaring Brook Press on September 16, 2014
Genres: YA Science Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1
Rosie’s whole life has been photography and when she gets the chance to attend the prestigious Forge School there’s no way she’ll turn that down — even if that means being part of the Big Brother-esque reality show based on the school called The Forge Show. Part of the curriculum is that the students sleep for 12 hours to enhance their creativity by way of a sleeping pill. Rosie, feeling overwhelmed by the reality show and the fact she’s at the bottom of the popularity charts that could send her home, decides to skip out on her sleeping pill and discovers things aren’t as they seem behind the cameras — things that seem sinister and just really off.
.

a2WHAT.THE.FUQ.

a4The Vault of Dreamers was one I almost put down because I was feeling impatient even though the premise was KICKASS, became glad that I kept reading in the middle but the ending kind of made me twitchy and the jury will still be out on whether I’m glad I persevered until the sequel (YEA..I thought it was a standalone).  So let’s break it down because it was up and down.

The beginning: I was SO confused because I felt like I was just dropped into this story because it started a couple days into the reality show rather than day 1 or before she arrived at this school. Also we were never told if this was the future or present (but a randomly dropped sentence later on clears that up). I just felt SO confused and really struggled to care about Rosie or really what was going on. I need to care about SOMETHING and the allure of this kickass premise and general intrigue was fading with all the trying to catch up via flashbacks to why Rosie was there and what the deal with the Forge School was.

The middle until the end: HOLY CRAP. HOLY CRAP. I was racing through it. The suspense and mystery, the whole Big Brother element (I am a BIG fan of that show), the craziness of the Forge School, the way it SO COMPLETELY MESSES WITH YOUR MIND. I seriously was like OMGOMGOMG I need to know what is happening at this creepy ass school. I was tense every time Rosie was sleuthing around and audible gasps could be heard. As we get closer to the end I DID NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON. Was Rosie dreaming? Is she going crazy? Is there something sinister? WHO CAN SHE TRUST? WHAT IS GOING ONNNNN? The way that the author was able to make ME so unbelievably unsure of what was going on and the whole elaborate THING happening at the Forge School was so incredibly fascinating.

The ending: I just don’t even know what happened. I just don’t.  It was a confusing blur to me in a way but at least we got a pretty big nod to the WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON HERE question.  My brain was spinning. I’m not sure I even quite understand the ending (CAN SOMEBODY EXPLAIN THE ENDING TO ME TO MAKE SURE I AM ON THE SAME PAGE??). I THOUGHT it was a standalone so it was puzzling and then I was like IT HAS TO BE A SERIES because WHAT EVEN. So then I found out it IS a series or at least a duology. It’s weird because it actually totally COULD be an ending and no need for a sequel but then the other part of me is like WHAT?!?

 

a6RATING-LIKED

factors+ Plot, how I flew through it and couldn’t put it down after the slow beginning
beginning struggles, the ending, some confusing bits, a little bit of indifference to characters

Re-readability: Probably not but I might need a little refresher before the sequel.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Probably not honestly. Most of the books staying on my shelf I have a really deep connection with.

a5people who like interesting science fiction concepts that mix with a psychological thriller type read.

a8The Vault of Dreamers was quite the ride — honestly a bit like a rollercoaster. The beginning was that slow and painful ascent to where THE GOOD STUFF HAPPENS (aka the adrenaline and the stomach dropping panicky-glee thing) and then from there was this exhilarating ride that seemed to be over before I knew it — complete with that neck-breaking stop at the end of the ride. Such an interesting concept complete with psychological chaos. Was definitely a plot driven read for me because once it got good it was GOOD.

 

review-on-post-itThe Vault of Dreamers by Caragh O'Brien

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does this series feel like something you’d be into?
* What did you think about the ending?? (pls mark spoilers!)

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: Gone by Michael Grant

Book Talk: Gone by Michael GrantGone by Michael Grant
Series: Gone #1
Published by Katherine Tegan on June 2008
Genres: YA Science Fiction
Also by this author: Eve & Adam
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads
 Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1

So one day everything is normal and the next….poof. Everyone over the age of 14 is gone without an explanation. Chaos ensues because no adults + no power or internet or anything like that. The teens try to make some sort of order and help the little kids and form a society of sorts in the meantime. They are dealing with rationing food, lawlessness and bullies. Not to mention strange things are happening — mutating animals, some of the kids have some sort of superpowers — and things begin to get a bit sinister. The kids try to stay alive and fight off the rich, dangerous kids who have tried to take control all while they try to figure out what happened to the adults before THEY turn 14 and POOF.

a2I just want to know THE THINGS.

a4This was our book club pick and as a group it was a very mixed bag about this one! It isn’t at all my typical read but I was highly entertained throughout most of it. Definitely reads a bit younger than I typically read though.

1. Gone by Michael Grant was SUPER fast-paced: As I was reading I found myself kind of amazed with how quickly the pages were turning. I was like staring at my hands like WHAT IS THIS? HOW AM I READING THIS FAST? It was easy to jump right into the breakneck speed that this chunkster of a book as events unfold upon the disappearance of everyone over like 14. If you like your books with ACTION ACTION ACTION you might want to cozy up with this one! It’s a book I plan to give my 12 & 14 year old nephews who need to be immediately hooked and wanting fight and chase scenes and CRAZY action! Twist and turns and secrets and surprises are in store if you read this one.

2. I was LOVING it…until about halfway through: Gone was kind of like what happens to me when I run. I start out running like a crazy person all fast and barely breaking a sweat feeling good…and then I hit a wall. A wall that makes me just want to fall down and sleep right where I am. I was so into this book and then halfway through THINGS happened and I was just like UMM WHAT (talking werewolves kind of stuff) and it kind of diminished some of my enjoyment. It also started to get a little muddled and confusing and some action scenes were just jumbly. I would have to reread parts over for clarification…and this is not a difficult book.

3. There is SO much going on in this book: I don’t think I realized what this book would entail. The premise was fantastic right away — WHERE DID ALL THE ADULTS GO? Where did these powers come from? How do we form a society/some sort of order without adults? WHAT HAPPENED. Oh and then there is this thing and that thing that I can’t tell you because spoilers. I felt very intrigued but all at the same time very overwhelmed. Lots of different side stories and people and little details that I’m sure will come together but WOWSA…overload at points. But overall I was just getting more and more sucked into this carefully crafted story that I know is going to be some crazy complex web going forward! So many questions, tidbit of answers.

4. I’m really undecided if I want to continue on even though I did enjoy it enough: Here’s the thing. I was REALLY enjoying it because it was different for me — fast paced, action-y and had all sorts of fun elements to make it addictive. But then, like I said, halfway through it was just MEH. I want to KNOW THE THINGS because there are SO many answers I need + I want to see how this society of no adults continues on but I’m struggling with if all the books in the series are worth the investment. It’s a commitment. They are a big and it’s a long series and I didn’t care about the characters. But I want answers.

 

a6RATING-OKAY

factors+ non-stop action, high enjoyment, cool premise, surprising elements, world-building overall
hitting a wall halfway through, lots of little annoying things, weird elements that made me go EH?, writing just okay, flat characters

Re-readability: No.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? No. I plan to library these if I continue on.

a5readers who like fast paced/action-y novels, people who like a mismash genre-wise, might give it to reluctant readers because it’s easy to get sucked into

a8My enjoyment level was pretty high for this book — minus some annoyances and the second half not capturing my attention the way the first half did. There was a lot of interesting things going on here — people over 14 disappearing, a dome that formed around the town, superpowers, strange things occurring and more PLUS survival, how to create order in chaos and good vs. bad. It’s an entertaining, fast paced and suspenseful and my curiosity wants me to continue on but I’m not sure yet.

review-on-post-itGone by Michael Grant

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
* If you haven’t read it, is it something on your radar or that you think you will read?
* Should I continue on with this series??
*Anyone else get super irritated with the “brah” talk. Too old for that. haha


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Find Me by Romily Bernard | Book Review

Find Me by Romily Bernard | Book ReviewFind Me by Romily Bernard
Published by HarperTeen on September 24, 2013
Genres: YA Mystery, YA Thriller
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

three-stars

 

 

 

After their mother committed suicide and their criminal father fled to allude the police, Wick and her younger sister Lily have been placed in foster care and are trying to leave their life behind. The only thing is that it keeps catching up with them and Wick’s hacking skills don’t help keeping them out of danger. She tries to lay low with it until she receives the diary of a former childhood friend on her doorstep and then she finds out at school that Tessa is dead — a suicide. The Post It with the diary says “Find Me” but Wick doesn’t want to get involved until she finds out something that threatens someone she loves and knows she has to do whatever it takes.

Find Me by Romily Bernard was quite the page-turning thriller and I think that was the type of read I needed to get me out of my weird reading slump I mentioned I was in where I was putting down all sorts of books after 1 or 2 pages.  But here’s the thing, the strong start that kept me panicky and flying through it slowly dissipated for me a little more than the halfway mark. I was feeling super bummed and kept me at a point where I couldn’t say this was the phenomenal read I saw it shaping up to me — just a good one. Still positive feelings toward it — I liked it– but I became a little disappointed by the end.

Find Me opened up real strong for me and really progressed at a rapid pace. We learn about her past and find out along with Wick about the suicide of her old friend, Tessa, along with diary that finds its way to Wick. As the contents inside are revealed I couldn’t stop turning the pages and HAD to know what happened to Tessa and who the older creeper was she had a relationship with that made her commit suicide — especially when we find out who his next target is. I was ready for Wick, who is pretty kickass & a hacker, to start using those skills and find this mega creep. I was ready to get my Nancy Drew/Veronica Mars on with her!

I was flying through this book and it had that perfect amount of mystery to keep you going and thinking up all sorts of theories. But then about half way (or a little more than halfway) it became really obvious where this was heading to me as I started to eliminate people logically and think about certain things. What I was really hoping was that I was WRONG about who it was or that some new suspects would be introduced or a twist or something to at least trick me a little bit or make me doubt myself. Instead, it played out exactly how I thought it would so when the big reveal happened it was a bit luckluster for me and so the pursuit and resolution weren’t as “OMG AH WHAT IS GOING ON??” for me. I just needed a little bit more I think — there was only a certain amount of people and connections that could possibly be introduced. There was nothing too shocking for me. But that’s my dilemma when it comes to these types of books. I AM good at guessing so was it really just the book and the way it was plotted or should I be pursing a career in detective work instead??

Despite the way I thought the story went, I still liked other aspects of it. I really loved Wick and Lily and loved the strong sense of family loyalty between them and how each girl felt about their new family with their past still lingering. There was also an interesting thread in the story that had to do with Wick and Lily’s real dad and showed a lot of their past and you could just see how this transition into a new life would be hard. Wick was a great character and definitely not cookie cutter for me. She was quite sassy sometimes, loved her sister fiercely and was a hacker! I will say, I’m probably in the minority, but I didn’t LOVE the romance in this one but did appreciate that she didn’t become some weak and feeble girl when a boy came in the picture.

Find Me by Romily Bernard definitely was the page-turner I needed to snap me out of my reading slump because it immediately had this MUST FIND OUT mystery element to it. However, it became really predictable in the way it was plotted out, for me, so then the big reveal seemed lackluster because I had ruled out the other possibilities pretty easily. No doubt I enjoyed most of the book but for me to be anywhere other than “just liked it” it would have had to deliver something else that blew my mind. Luckily there were great characters and some familial threads that gave some more meat to this story as well.

Recommendation: If you are one who has read a lot of thrillers, you might end up predicting it early on like I did because there wasn’t much else that made sense and no other possible twists thrown out. If you don’t really pick up thrillers often, I absolutely recommend this because it’s such a page-turner and maybe you won’t read it the same way I did!

Find Me by Romily Bernard review

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? Did you like it more/less than I did? Did you guess who it was?? Or am I just the boring person who apparently guesses everything all the time?? GRR. On that note, does your ability to predict a book effect your enjoyment of a book? I definitely still enjoyed this but the fact it didn’t surprise me at all made it on an OMG MUST READ. But is that MY great guessing skills or the book’s fault? SIGH. What are some thrillers that kept YOU guessing?

three-stars

So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman

So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman
Published by Simon & Schuster on March 2011
Genres: Adult Contemporary, Adult Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
two-half-stars

So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman
Simon & Schuster – March 2011
Adult Fiction

A young girl disappears from a rural town in upstate New York and, when the body turns up five months later, new-in-town reporter Stacy Flynn thinks this story will be the break she’s been looking for and a much needed shift from the story about the environmental impact of the dairy farms that are the bread and butter of this town that she was previously working on. Stacy becomes even more of an outsider when she suspects that it could be someone that lives in the town rather than a drifter like everyone else seems to think. Affected by the death of a peer, Alice Piper, a very smart and unique girl whose family is seen as outsiders for being a bit eccentric, starts trying to come to her own conclusions about who Wendy’s murderer is. Alice must decide if she should get involved to make things right or should she just go about her business like everybody else?


On one hand, this was one of the most psychologically thrilling and suspenseful books I’ve read in a while. And on the other hand, I could not get through this novel. It just took me so long and I found myself not really dying to pick it up. I know this sounds weird but that was the way my experience was.



Firstly, the premise was interesting from the beginning to me. Immediately in the beginning of the story it points to something Alice did in the course of this novel and wanting to know what this big thing she did WAS really propelled me throughout this story. I also, from the get-go, obviously wanted to know who the killer was and what this town was hiding. Those things kept me going and the whole story that unraveled was honestly just a crazy suspenseful ride! The whole ending with Alice was insane and I just could not brace myself during the reading of the last part of the book!


But on the other hand, what kept me from truly getting into this novel was the fact of how confusing it all was. I don’t mind novels from multiple perspectives or that switch back and forth in time (The Time Traveler’s Wife) but this one seemed super disjointed and confusing to me especially in the beginning. It was all over the place…from this character to that character to a character from when she was 5 to now and back again. I seriously could have gotten some whiplash from all the changing perspectives and time periods. I kept getting confused of who characters were and where we were in the story and it was annoying because I felt like I kept having to go back and figure out things that I was reading. For whatever reason, this novel just slowed me down with the style…which is unfortunate because typically this does not happen with multiple narrators or switching back and forth. 


I thought the moral and social issues that arose in this book were fascinating and unsettling. The story truly felt like something that could have been taken from your nightly news which is probably why I found it so disturbing..albeit there was much more drama in this book. I found it to be of much more substance than other crime thrillers that I’ve read and much more “literary” but unfortunately the style really just put a damper on my overall enjoyment. I honestly pushed myself to read through it just so I could find out what the heck happened! Was it worth it? In some ways but I’m not sure I would feel bad if someone would have just told me the ending. Ultimately, it packed quite a punch that I wouldn’t have gotten from someone just telling me what happened.  

 

 



* This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Question: Has the style of a book ever ruined a perfectly good story for you?

two-half-stars
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...