Book review: Alphas Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie

⭐ Goodreads ⭐ Amazon ⭐

Maverick, know-it-all bodyguard Farrow Keene knows publicly dating American royalty comes with a great cost. Everyone wants a piece of their relationship. And as a protective boyfriend, he’s not here for the malicious hands that grab at their love life and seek to rip them apart.

But Farrow is confident — he’s confident that he could’ve never prepared for the storm to come.

Keep him safe.

Maximoff Hale isn’t a big fan of change. And to regain the charity CEO position he lost, he agrees to a task that he’s always rejected. One that could uproot his unconventional world.

But Maximoff is afraid — he’s afraid of the consequences that could destroy his boyfriend and his family.

Keep him safe.

Changes are on the horizon.
Big.
Messy.
Complicated.
Changes.

Maximoff & Farrow will fight for their forever. And with every breath, they promise that their love story won’t end here.

I adore Krista & Becca Ritchie. They make me feel a lot of emotions and I always find myself overly attached to their characters. I’ve given five stars to six of their books. I absolutely devoured Damaged Like Us and Lovers Like Us. I wanted to love Alphas Like Us. I went into it fully expecting it to be another five-star read. But it wasn’t. I feel like the actual worst right now, but this was my least favorite KBR book in recent memory.

I guess it’s inevitable that your favorite authors will put out a book that you just don’t click with every so often. I mean, this was still a solid book. It’s a strong 3.5 from me and I thought the ending was pretty great, so I rounded up to 4. But it’s just not what I expected. I didn’t expect to just like this book. I expected to be floored. Blown away. Speechless.  I have a documented history of this problem when I’m too excited about a book.

I want to keep this review spoiler-free, so I’m not really going to get into any of what happens in the course of this nearly 500-page novel. Strangely, it both feels like a lot happened and absolutely nothing happened, which is another reason that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d expected. The book is very heavy on the attraction between Moffy and Farrow, which made sense at the beginning of the series but felt a little forced here. I’m glad that they’re happy and enamored with each other, but does it really need to be repeated on every other page?

One thing that I did really enjoy was how much we got to see the other Hale, Meadows, and Cobalt children. I don’t know if I really want all the children to end up with their bodyguards (KBR will really have to do some finagling to make that seem natural) but I am really and truly feeling the Lunnelly and Thane vibes! This morning, as I casually sipped my Wawa coffee, I found myself thinking about Donnelly and his rather… unprofessional comments toward Luna. (It’s okay, I loved it.) Then I got to thinking about Jane and Thatcher and how excited I am for Tangled Like Us, and then I told myself to get back to work because I’m unfortunately not paid to think about fictional characters.

Side note: KBR mention in their note at the end that they’re planning on returning to Moffy and Farrow’s story in the future. I’m honestly not sure how I feel about that since there are so many other kids to be writing about! I hope that when they decide to release another book, it’ll be more like a novella or a Some Kind of Perfect-style series ender.

Final rating: 3.5, rounded up to ★★★★☆

#mm18: travel the world

Book review: We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

⭐ Goodreads ⭐ Amazon ⭐

Henry Denton has spent years being periodically abducted by aliens. Then the aliens give him an ultimatum: The world will end in 144 days, and all Henry has to do to stop it is push a big red button.

Only he isn’t sure he wants to.

After all, life hasn’t been great for Henry. His mom is a struggling waitress held together by a thin layer of cigarette smoke. His brother is a jobless dropout who just knocked someone up. His grandmother is slowly losing herself to Alzheimer’s. And Henry is still dealing with the grief of his boyfriend’s suicide last year.

Wiping the slate clean sounds like a pretty good choice to him.

But Henry is a scientist first, and facing the question thoroughly and logically, he begins to look for pros and cons: in the bully who is his perpetual one-night stand, in the best friend who betrayed him, in the brilliant and mysterious boy who walked into the wrong class. Weighing the pain and the joy that surrounds him, Henry is left with the ultimate choice: push the button and save the planet and everyone on it…or let the world—and his pain—be destroyed forever.

Grief is an ocean, and guilt the undertow that pulls me beneath the waves and drowns me.

The last book I read by Shaun David Hutchinson was The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley. It knocked me over with the intense emotions and I could hardly put it down. Let’s just say the same thing happened here. You should see my notes while I was reading this book.

  • “I’m going to start crying. Sobbing. I can’t.”
  • “I just want to hug Henry.”
  • “I hate Marcus. I hate him so much.”
  • “I can’t cope with this.”
  • “I love Shaun David Hutchinson.”

I honestly don’t know how Hutchinson does it. He has this way of writing characters that tear my heart out. First Andrew Brawley and now Henry Denton (and, hey, let’s just include Diego Vega, too) — I just want to protect them with everything that I have. Every character in this book was well-developed. This book is about alien abductions and yet everything felt so realistic.

I don’t give a lot of books five stars. To be honest, I usually don’t go higher than four since I reserve five-star ratings for those few books that absolutely blow me away. But this book absolutely blew me away. I can’t give it anything less than five stars. It was so good.

You can’t live in the past. You can only visit.

Final rating: ★★★★★

Top Ten Tuesday: Common words in New Adult titles

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is a little different than the usual: ten words that are frequently used in ____ titles. We can choose our own age group or genre, so I went with new adult since I felt like that was the genre with the most predictable titles. I copied every single new adult title I’ve read over the last five years into the wordclouds generator and let it do the work for me. The result was actually sort of surprising because even the most common words weren’t used more than five times!

image

Anyway, the top ten words in the new adult books I’ve read are:

  1. addicted
  2. little
  3. royal
  4. kind
  5. sincerely
  6. something
  7. allure
  8. dirty
  9. heart
  10. long

Did you participate in today’s theme? If so, what words were the most prevalent in the genre you picked?

Book Tag: 20 Questions

I love book tags and I love being tagged in things, so I am so excited to bring you the twenty questions book tag today! I was tagged by gwalsh1985 @ The Book Nook UK. Thanks so much for tagging me! Please be sure to check out her blog. Without further ado, here are my answers.

How many books is too many books in a book series?

I actually don’t have a set answer for this. I’m equally happy with standalones and long series as long as the plot keeps moving and everything wraps up nicely. I’ll read a fifteen-book series if I’m enjoying it, but not if it just keeps going on and on and on for no reason.

How do you feel about cliffhangers?

One of the best ways to keep me reading is a nice little cliffhanger at the end of every chapter. But to end the book on a cliffhanger… I don’t like that. I especially don’t like it if I have to then wait for the next book in the series to be released! (And it better be released! You can’t leave me in suspense forever!)

Hardback or paperback?

I’ve moved a lot over the last ten years, which means that I’ve had to keep my physical shelves pretty sparse. I generally buy ebooks unless I want some preorder swag or the book isn’t available for Kindle. Preorders are usually hardback — and the book subscription boxes I got for Christmas always contain hardbacks — so I guess that’s my answer. Hardback.

Favorite book?

Um. Yikes. I honestly read so many books that I could easily rattle off a list of twenty or thirty or fifty favorite books from the last five years. I know I’m going to forget some absolute gems but off the top of my head…

Least favorite book?

This is a really hard question! One book that I had a really viscerally negative reaction to (though the writing was absolutely beautiful) was Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places. A book that I thought was just really poorly written was Something Great by M. Clarke. (Bonus: Something Great has what’s probably the rantiest review I’ve ever written, so enjoy that.)

Love triangles: yes or no?

Love triangles were such a thing a few years ago. You couldn’t escape them regardless of the kind of book you were reading. I was really fed up with them, but now they’re becoming less common and I’m… cautiously okay with them. As long as there’s a point. I mean, don’t just have every boy falling over your heroine for no reason, but I’m okay with a well-executed love triangle.

The most recent book you just couldn’t finish?

I DNF so rarely that I had to go check my Goodreads for this one. The last book I DNFed was Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami, through no fault of its own. I just really couldn’t get into it and it was due back at the library, so I moved on to other things. I still might come back to it in the future.

The last book that I rage-DNFed was Next August by Kelly Moore and I don’t even feel bad about it. I wrote a scathing review of the first 20%.

A book you’re currently reading?

I’m currently working on three books!

Last book you recommended to someone?

Let’s see, the last book I recommended to someone that was NOT on the internet was probably In the Blood by Lisa Unger, which I recommended to one of my friends when she said she was looking for a good thriller.

Oldest book you’ve read (by publication date)?

According to Goodreads, that honor goes to Utopia by Thomas More (published 1516), which I read for a lit class in college. If we’re talking books that I read for fun, probably Kallocain by Karin Boye (published 1940).

Newest book you’ve read (by publication date)?

As of right now, it’s The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo, which releases on May 8, 2018. (My review will be posted next week.)

Favorite author?

If you would’ve asked me a few months ago, I probably would have said Krista & Becca Ritchie. I still really love their work, but I’m getting more into contemporary YA recently, and Jenn Bennett is at the top of my list right now.

Buying books or borrowing books?

Definitely borrowing books — see my point above about moving around a lot. It also helps my bank account.

A book you dislike that everyone else seems to love?

Maybe The Maze Runner? I honestly didn’t think it was that great and I didn’t understand where all the hype came from.

Bookmarks or dog-ears?

Bookmarks. I could never disgrace a book by dog-earing the pages! I remember my mom telling me to respect the books I read when I was very little and that’s always stuck with me.

A book you can always re-read?

I really don’t re-read very often, but one book that I can see myself continuing to come back to is Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I have so much love for Becky Albertalli and that book.

Can you read while hearing music?

Depends on the day, really. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me and sometimes I need total and utter silence.

One POV or multiple POVs? (POV = Point Of View)

In general, I like multiple POVs. That said, it can be unnecessary and confusing in some books, so it really depends on the genre and what’s going on with the plot.

Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?

Most books take me two days to finish. That said, if I get really into it (or if I have a deadline) I might finish it in one day. If I’m really not into it then who knows. I’ve been reading The Quantum Labyrinth for like two weeks now.

A book you’ve read because of the cover?

The answer to this is… a lot. Some off the top of my head:

Results were mixed.

I tag…

Of course, no obligation to participate.

Book review: Dear Ijeawele… by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

⭐ Goodreads ⭐ Amazon ⭐

Teach her that if you criticize X in women but do not criticize X in men, then you do not have a problem with X, you have a problem with women.

When Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s friend gave birth to a baby girl, she reached out for suggestions on raising a feminist daughter. The result is this book, a list of fifteen suggestions that should apply not only to your daughter, but also your son and any child that you come into contact with.

I read We Should All Be Feminists last year and was blown away. I was equally impressed with this book.  I hope that I can pass on these suggestions, many of which seem to be common sense, to all the children in my life, and the children of my own that I will hopefully have someday. If all children were raised with these fifteen simple suggestions in mind, I think it’s safe to say that the world would be a better place.

Final rating: ★★★★★

#mm18: diversify your reading
#readtherainbow: violet

(Sorry that it took so long to post this review! I read this book on January 28, 2018.)