Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Review: The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

The Female of the SpeciesTitle: The Female of the Species
Author:  Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publishing Date:  September 20th, 2016
Pages: 352
Genre: YA Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Series:  Stand Alone
Source: Audio
Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.
I have seen very few reviews for this book. I am not sure if it's because not many have read the book that I follow or if it's just because this is one of those books. The books that are hard to review. I loved this book but I do have a love/hate relationship with this book. It was a great read. Full of emotions, touch issues, a bit of mystery and suspense. I don't even know how to categorize the genre on this one. It is, however, a really hard one to review. I loved it, yes, but it was a hard book to get through and love at times, but well worth it. It is a book to be well appreciated for the topics, the direction, and the writing. 

This is a story about a girl, a boy, another girl, and unthinkable crimes and violence. Alex is a girl who lost a sister, a father, and pretty much her mother. She has killed and she believes she would do it again. Jack is a good boy, well he tries to be good. He has a good life in and outside of school. A good family home. He has it under control until he falls for Alex. Peekay is a bit of a wild child that still has somewhat of a good moral compass. She loses her boyfriend to a bad girl and in the process of healing befriends Alex. All three are tied together now. Powerful bonds lead to a powerful downward spiral. This is the story of their lives in a small town where bad things happen.  

So this was one of the hardest books I have read in a very long time. I still don't know how exactly I feel about it. I just know I so enjoyed it. I was glued to every page. I didn't want it to end and I did want it to end. At one point I was afraid to get to the end. I didn't feel I was prepared for it. 

This book address so many issues among teens that get overlooked. The difference in the way boys and girls are treated differently. It explores the after effects of sexual assault and violence. Among those issues, all different types of relationships are reflected on. Friendship, love, just sex, family and even strangers. So many issues and topics that should be thought over and spoken about.. but are often shied away from. 

I did like that these topics were explored in this book; however they were explored in a very dark way. Darker than any other book I have read. There is so much dysfunction in this book it was really hard for me to gauge my own moral compass. I could see the reasoning behind decisions made but I knew that it really was the moral way of doing things. This is where my dilemma developed. I didn't know how I was supposed to feel, who I was supposed to feel for. 

Behind all the ugliness there was great writing, great character devolvement, and a real good story. Not a feel good story, but a good story and it was so enjoyable... If you don't mind crossing over to the dark side just for a bit. 

There was romance which was okay. I wasn't really invested in it because it was Alex... She was a bit hard to get a feel for. She was almost robotic at times. This was a character flaw that was created for a reason and it fit well into the story... but it made for a tough romance. Towards the end of the book, I did enjoy it more and felt more. Once Alex went through some growth spurts in her emotional health, I was able to enjoy her relationship with Jack.   

My favorite character by far was Peekay. I just adored her and felt for her so much it hurt. In the beginning of the book, I was afraid I wouldn't like her. Once her story started, I fell hard for this girl. Her relationship with her parents, with her friends, and especially Alex, was pretty awesome and pulled hard at my heart strings. 

The ending was hard but the journey to get there was good. After I read the last page, I just froze up with tears in my eyes, doing my best to catch my breath. I had to collect my thoughts before I could carry on with my life. This book affected me greatly and I am so glad I chose to read this book. This author.... for sure on my must read everything by her... which I have and love. 

 A treasured read filled with so much love and hate wrapped up inside a very awesome cover. 

Mindy McGinnisMindy McGinnis is a YA author who has worked in a high school library for thirteen years. Her debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, a post-apocalyptic survival story set in a world with very little freshwater, has been optioned for film my Stephanie Meyer's Fickle Fish Films. The companion novel, IN A HANDFUL OF DUST was released in 2014. Her Gothic historical thriller, A MADNESS SO DISCREET won the Edgar Award in 2015. Her newest release, THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES is available now!

WOW: Midnight at the Electric Jodi Lynn Anderson

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Jenn's Pick: I Can't wait for:

Midnight at the Electric
Midnight at the Electric 
June 13th, 2016

Kansas, 2065 Adri has been handpicked to live on Mars. But weeks before Launch, she discovers the journal of a girl who lived in her house over a hundred years ago, and is immediately drawn into the mystery surrounding her fate. While Adri knows she must focus on the mission ahead, she becomes captivated by a life that’s been lost in time…and how it might be inextricably tied to her own.

Oklahoma, 1934 Amidst the fear and uncertainty of the Dust Bowl, Catherine longs for the immortality promised by a professor at a traveling show called The Electric. But as her family’s situation becomes more dire -- and the suffocating dust threatens her sister’s life -- Catherine must find the courage to sacrifice everything she loves in order to save the one person she loves most.

England, 1919 In the recovery following World War One, Lenore tries to come to terms with her grief for her brother, a fallen British soldier, and plans to sail to America in pursuit of a childhood friend. But even if she makes it that far, will her friend be the person she remembers, and the one who can bring her back to herself?

While their stories spans thousands of miles and multiple generations, Lenore, Catherine, and Adri’s fates are entwined in ways both heartbreaking and hopeful.

This book looks just sounds so amazing. I am not sure how it will all come together but it sounds great. little sci fi maybe and a little historical fiction too. love it. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

It's Monday, What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme to share our reads. Just in case you are curious about what book is in our hands and waiting on our shelves.

Last week I read:

The Ghost Files 2 (The Ghost Files, #2)The PossibleThe Cresswell PlotThe Shadow Queen (Ravenspire, #1)Vengeance RoadAnd Then There Were NoneBang

Currently reading/listening 

Lost in WonderlandBionicCold SummerWildflower (Wildflower, #1)

This I will be reading next. 

That Thing We Call a HeartThe UnlikeliesStarfall (Starflight, #2)The Hundred Lies of Lizzie LovettDark MatterA Taste for Monsters



Thursday, May 4, 2017

Review: Dreamfall by Amy Plum

Dreamfall (Dreamfall #1)
Title: Dreamfall 
Author:  Amy Plum
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date: May 2nd, 2017
Pages: 288
Genre: YA Science Fiction Horror
Series:  Dreamfall #1
Source:  ARC
Cata Cordova suffers from such debilitating insomnia that she agreed to take part in an experimental new procedure. She thought things couldn’t get any worse...but she was terribly wrong.

Soon after the experiment begins, there’s a malfunction with the lab equipment, and Cata and six other teen patients are plunged into a shared dreamworld with no memory of how they got there. Even worse, they come to the chilling realization that they are trapped in a place where their worst nightmares have come to life. Hunted by creatures from their darkest imaginations and tormented by secrets they’d rather keep buried, Cata and the others will be forced to band together to face their biggest fears. And if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.
I was really excited for this book. Everything about this book called for me. The title, the summary, the cover. It just screamed, "I am creepy and scary read me!" I also really enjoyed reading The Revenants series by Amy Plum... so I was ready to grab this up. I did enjoy it but there were a few things that fell flat for me. Mainly the characters and the pacing of the book. The plot was interesting and I loved the idea. I just didn't feel it was executed very well. 

There this group of kids that suffer from insomnia of some kind. They all go in for an experiment that should help them get some sleep. Something happens and the kids get stuck in the dream world, with each other, and they work together to figure out what is going on and how to get out of the nightmares. 

I absolutely love the plotline in this story. I think the idea is scary, realistic, and just has so many angles to explore in a story. I would be terrified to be stuck in a nightmare. I mean I think we have all been in that place where we felt we were stuck in a bad dream. The idea that it happens during a sleep study just made it more realistic. This could happen. I can say just the idea of this is scary and holy moly horrific. This is what kept me reading this book. I wanted to know what happened, how it happened, and how in the world are these kids going to beat this. 

Another thing I really loved about the story... the alternating chapters between the dream world and the real world. As the reader, I was able to enjoy seeing what was going on in the kids' heads and what was going on in the lab. Both worlds were full of nothing but panic. I also enjoyed that in the dream world each nightmare was someone's own personal hell and in the real world the kids' pasts were explored to see why they might be having that nightmare and what in life has possibly caused them to have these sleep issues. 

That is about all I really liked about the book. Now I still did enjoy the read and will continue the series because I must know what happens.. but I was a bit disappointed. 

The book felt rushed. I love my horror and thrillers fast paced, but this one needed to be slowed a bit. I felt I was confused a bit on what was going in the dream world. Everything was happening too quick and not fully explored. There was not suspense or spine-tingling moments. 

The characters felt flat to me. I think partly because I felt rushed in their scenes of the dream world and because there were so many. I never felt that I was able to really get to know any of them. The lab scenes were a bit easier and I was able to feel some of those characters, but just a little. I really needed more character development. 

The ending left me a bit mixed up. I wanted more because I want to know what happens, but really I felt the entire book gave me no answers.I felt no resolution at all. So that was a little bothersome too.  I really feel this could have been a bit longer and more developed and it would have been awesome. 

I think this would have been better for me on audio too. So when the second book comes out. I may reread on audio and see if it's better. I am sure I will need to reread before the second one comes out.  I know it sounds like I  had a lot of issues but the story really was good and it was a fast easy read. I just wished there had been more. I am hoping the second book will have more. 

Enjoyed the concept but the execution was a little lackluster for me. However, I did enjoy it enough to get to the next book and give it a try. 

Amy Plum

Amy Plum is the international bestselling author of the DIE FOR ME series (Indie Next List pick, Romance Times top pick, and recipient of a starred review from School Library Journal). The books have been translated into thirteen foreign languages. The trilogy is accompanied by two eNovellas entitled DIE FOR HER and DIE ONCE MORE and a compendium entitled INSIDE THE WORLD OF DIE FOR ME.

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