Book blitz: Infini by Krista & Becca Ritchie

When I was eleven, he told me that fucking anyone who works for AE is like swimming in a “polluted pussy ocean”—his ineloquent way of saying: extremely dangerous. And in some cases for our careers, fatal.

I didn’t listen to his advice.

I usually don’t.

I straighten off the door frame. “Speaking of that other roommate…” I can’t even say her name. I think of B. Wright and all of my muscles tense.

Don’t miss Infini (Aerial Ethereal #2) by Krista & Becca Ritchie!  Krista & Becca are two of my favorite authors, and I am so excited for their new release!

Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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“Don’t have a best friend that’s a girl” — this was the advice from my older cousin. I didn’t take it. Because he followed with, “friends don’t f*ck friends. And you’ll want to f*ck her.” It was terrible advice. My cousin should’ve told me that being best friends with Baylee Wright — since she was twelve — would be the best and worst decision of my life. He should have told me to protect her from what was coming. He should have told me that when a darkness crawled towards us, there’d be no safety net. Now I’ve signed back on to the same Vegas acrobatic show as Baylee, working together for the first time in years. And she tells me that she’s having trouble in a certain “area” of her life — because of our past. “You can help me fix it,” she says. And then she hands me a list.

About Krista & Becca Ritchie

 

Krista & Becca Ritchie are New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors and identical twins—one a science nerd, the other a comic book geek—but with their shared passion for writing, they combined their mental powers as kids and have never stopped telling stories. Now in their early twenties, they write about other twenty-somethings navigating through life, college, and romance. They love superheroes, flawed characters, and soul mate love.

They are the New Adult authors of the Addicted series and Calloway Sisters spin-off series, and you can find them on almost every social media, frolicking around like wannabe unicorns.

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ARC review: You Don’t Know My Name by Kristen Orlando

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Seventeen-year-old Reagan is your typical teenage girl. She’s in high school, trying to decide where to go to college. She goes to parties and gossips with her friends. She’s got a crush on the boy next door. Oh yeah, and she’s also a highly skilled Black Angel operative-in-training. While most teenagers head home from school and watch tv, hang out with their friends, or do their homework, Reagan heads to intensive training sessions. She practices Krav Maga, runs several miles, and has target practice on a shooting range. Then she can go back to her normal life.

This has been Reagan’s life for as long as she can remember. Both of her parents are Black Angels, and they go where the danger takes them. One day they can be happily living in New York, and the next thing Reagan knows, they’ll be packing up to move to Ohio. But Reagan’s getting to a point where she no longer wants to put up with this constant inconsistency. She wants to live somewhere permanently. She wants to have long-term friendships. She doesn’t necessarily want to follow in her parents’ footsteps, but it’s not so much of a choice as an assumption that she’ll do just that.

I’ve read a few of these “secret teenage spy” books, and I think that You Don’t Know My Name is one of the better ones. It’s not perfect, for sure (see my three-star rating), but Reagan came across as believable and her actions, though annoying at times, seemed realistic for a teenage girl. As I would expect in a YA story of this nature, there isn’t a lot backing up the action. The reasons for certain tactical decisions aren’t really thought out, and it’s often up to Savior Reagan to rescue the pitiful adults from their incompetence. (I thought they were internationally-renowned secret agents!) I can’t really hold this against the book too much, though, because like I said, this is a 320-page YA spy thriller and not one of those massive 1000-page thrillers that patients are always leaving in my waiting room.

The story is generally pretty fast-paced, making it a fairly quick read. There are sections that fumble a bit in the middle, but overall, I had more desire to find out what happened next than I did to put it down. Kristen Orlando certainly didn’t dial down the drama and violence for the YA audience, with some pretty shocking scenes toward the end. Keep that in mind if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing.

I don’t know that I’ll read the next book in this series, but You Don’t Know My Name was a worthwhile use of my time.

Final rating: ★★★☆☆

Thanks to Netgalley and Swoon Reads for the ARC.

ARC review: Gilded Cage by Vic James

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IN A WORLD WHERE… everyone in Britain just accepts that they’re going to be slaves for ten years and literally doesn’t even think about revolting.  Wait, what?  Let me try again.

Gilded Cage takes place in a futuristic dystopian society where not much about the world has changed, except for the fact that commoners are required to spend ten years enslaved to the magical aristocrats.  (Because this is a fantasy book, we’re required to capitalize Random words to show their Importance, so magical = Skilled, and aristocrats = Equals.  Gotta get the slang defined before I start my review!)  Why must everybody be a slave for ten years?  I’m not really sure.  And how’d the aristocrats get magic?  Also not really sure.  Why do these magical people need slaves to do their laundry and fix their cars when they literally have MAGIC?  Who knows! But let’s go with it anyway.

The Hadleys seem like any normal family that you might find living down the street from you.  Abi, the eldest daughter, is studying for med school.  Luke, the middle child, is a hardworking, good guy.  Daisy, the youngest, enjoys having dance parties with her friends.  All seems normal until their parents announce that they’re packing up the family to do their slavedays.  No big deal.

I think I read a different book than everyone else.  Every review I’ve seen so far has been absolutely glowing, going on and on about how unique the plot was, how intricate the world-building, how thrilling the plot twists, how entirely unpredictable everything was… I don’t understand.  At all.  Because this book, like many other recent dystopias, just felt flat.

I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about this book, so I think a bulleted list is probably best.

Dislikes, questions, and problems:

  • The romance.  It’s a mess, really.  I get why Abi might fall for Jenner.  And I get why Jenner might fall for Abi.  But their whole “romance” felt really forced, probably because after Abi has known Jenner for all of about twelve seconds, she’s basically announced that she’s going to fall in love with him.  Foreshadowing and blatantly telling the reader that something will happen are not the same thing.
  • There are way too many POVs for the length of this book. Each character gets, what, maybe five chapters, and then we’re done. This isn’t enough time to establish their feelings, their motivations, to give their actions a purpose.  It just makes everything feel rushed.
  • The pacing was so uneven. There were stretches of this book where I was just so bored and then there’d be a couple really exciting chapters in a row.  It took me forever to read the book because of this.
  • Everyone acted like the Equals were so scary, but most of them were just normal.  Even Gavar, who literally everybody was terrified of, is super nice to Daisy, is a puddle of emotions when it comes to his daughter, and is never actually evil without reason.
  • The magic didn’t make a lot of sense to me.  These capital-S-Skilled guys can just do pretty much whatever they want.  Mind control.  Memory wipes.  Dreamwalking.  Creating doors out of nowhere.  Poking around in someone’s head to find their true intentions.  Growing trees out of nothing.  Killing deer with their minds.  Preventing people from sharing secrets.  Making pre-furnished magical buildings rise up out of the ground.  Instantly healing injuries.  How and why?  Unimportant, I guess.  Also, the characters (un-Skilled) act like they have no idea what the Equals can do, but at the beginning of the book, Abi is literally reading a romance novel in which the hero does many of these things???
  • Finally, this book is just really depressing.  Everybody just goes along accepting their sad lives, not caring that their fingers are probably going to get chopped off in some shady factory in a slave town, their children will probably be beaten within an inch of their lives by some overzealous guard, and that they’ll probably have nothing to their name and their former skills will be outdated when they finally get out of the hellish slavedays.  Aside from Luke’s gang of friends, nobody really cares about changing things.  I mean, imagine The Hunger Games if Katniss was the only one who saw a problem with little kids fighting each other.  What would be the point?

And the good:

  • I was actually really interested in the premise of the rebel club.  I do wonder how, out of all the people in Millmoor, there were only like six people who questioned the status quo.  But it was really cool how they banded together and combined their talents to help those who needed it and bring attention to the reality fo their situation.
  • I think this was definitely an interesting and unique premise, and it’s possible that the galley I read will be edited to better explain the magic system (or maybe that will happen in later books in the series).  If there were a better explanation for why exactly all of Britain one day just decided they were okay with being slaves for ten years at a time, losing their jobs, their livelihood, their homes, and their health for literally nothing in return, I might have an easier job accepting everything.

Clearly, a lot of people have enjoyed this book.  Maybe I’ve read too much dystopia in my life and I’m just jaded, but I really did not see the point of the hype here.  (And, honestly, I should know to stop reading them by now.)  The small chunks of the book that made me feel anything other than apathetic just left me feeling uncomfortable.

But please, don’t forgo this book just because it wasn’t my cup of tea.  Like I’ve said before, plenty of other readers have really loved this book.  It all comes down to personal preference, and this just wasn’t mine.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.

Final rating: ★★☆☆☆

Book queue

It’s been a great week for galleys!  I just finished Jamie Howard’s The Feeling of Forever, which was amazing and will live on in my heart for a long time.  (My review will be up soon.)

Next up are these six from Netgalley:

I’m excited about all of these titles, but particularly Madly (I absolutely adored Knox’s Truly when I read it two years ago) and Seven Days of You, which I had listed on my top ten anticipated debuts of 2017 list.

ARC review: Royal Scandal by Marquita Valentine

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After their parents are murdered in a royal coup, Prince Colin Sinclair and his siblings flee to the United States in exile.  Barely old enough to raise himself, Colin assumes the role of patriarch and sets the family up with a new life in rural North Carolina.  There they live, uninterrupted and anonymous, until Parliament decides that Colin should return to rule his country – but only if he marries a woman of their choosing.  Colin can avoid this arrangement if he very quickly finds another woman to marry, but the only woman he knows is his best friend and neighbor, Della.

Colin and Della have been secretly pining for each other for years.  Both good-looking people, both perpetually single, and both blind as a bat when it comes to seeing what’s in front of them.  Della has no idea that Colin is royalty, and Della’s occupation (she’s a maid) is sure to ruffle some feathers in Parliament.  When the two decide to enter into a marriage of convenience, the lines between friends and lovers begin to blur.  But can Della handle a royal life?  Can Colin juggle his new wife and his new responsibilities?  What happens when their marriage contract expires?

This isn’t my first book my Marquita Valentine, but it is my favorite so far.  Despite the three-star rating, I did really enjoy this book.  I read it while on vacation, and I’m pretty sure that laying out on the beach while enjoying zero responsibilities helped me to enjoy the book more.  Colin and Della were great characters, and their chemistry was off the charts.  (These are some of my favorite steamy scenes in recent memory.)  I love romances where the characters start off as best friends, so this was right up my alley.

Unfortunately, the book suffers from the typical cliches of romance novels.  The characters, although best friends, hide things from each other.  There are misunderstandings that could easily be avoided if they had just talked like normal people.  There seems to be unwarranted angst for angst’s sake, and that doesn’t float my boat.  The ending also seemed rushed after so much time spent hemming and hawing.  Keep in mind though that I did read an ARC, and it’s possible that some of this will be edited by the time the final publication date rolls around.

I will say that I am very excited for the next book in this series!  I loved Charlotte, although we only got a few brief glimpses of her throughout the book.  I can’t wait to read her story next.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.

Final rating: ★★★☆☆