Mini Reviews [9]

makeitTitle: Make It Last
Series: Bowler University #3
Author: Megan Erickson
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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After graduating from Bowler University, the last place Cam Ruiz ever expected to find himself is his hometown. A bad job as a bouncer and worry over his mom’s health make living in Paradise anything but. There’s only one thing that can make his return any harder—running into the only girl he’s ever loved.

Tate Ellison made a mistake when she was eighteen, one that cost her the best thing she’s ever had. She’s always hoped the regret of losing Cam would fade over time. Too bad it’s only grown. She took comfort in the fact she’d never have to face him again, so his presence in Paradise throws her for a loop.

The pull between them is instant and when the truth of what happened years ago tumbles out, they share a mind-blowing kiss…which leads to more. But the past has a way of repeating itself. When all the cards are on the table, Cam and Tate must decide what they are willing to do to make it last.

Make It Last is another enjoyable and refreshingly low-on-drama New Adult title by Megan Erickson. It’s the last book in her Bowler University series and features a guy I have been dying to know more about. In the first two books Cam seems like your typical player, but we find out that his high school love, Tate, broke his heart by cheating on him. After Alec and Max, it’s finally his turn to find his happy ending, and what a better way than by going back to the beginning?

I am a huge fan of second chance romances. I think they can be so sweet and thoughtful but full of sexual tension and longing and maybe even regret. That’s definitely the case for Cam and Tate. They loved each other in high school but are torn apart in a way that Cam doesn’t even realize. When he goes back home to help his mom, he’s shocked to find out that Tate is still living there and never left for college. It turns out there is much more to the break up story, which is a good thing because Cam and Tate’s feelings for one another still run deep.

I really, really liked Cam. He’s not at all the player-type I was expecting him to be, even on the outside. He’s a loyal and caring guy and will have the backs of those he loves, no matter what. When he thinks Tate is in trouble or hurt, he doesn’t hesitate to help her, even though she broke his heart years ago. I love how natural and easy it was for him to slip right back into her life; he never stopped loving her, and throughout the book he does whatever he can to prove to her that they can “make it last”. Tate I didn’t enjoy as much as Cam, especially because she kept trying to control people’s lives by doing what she thought was the best for them. It took a while for her to catch on, but thankfully she does do her part in the relationship at the end.

Although Cam and Tate fell in love years ago, I didn’t exactly feel a strong connection between them. There’s nothing about their romance that really stood out to me or, as was the case with other two books in the series, made me ship them passionately. Still, I’m grateful that there are NA books like this out there, and I’ll gladly read Megan Erickson’s future books. Apparently she has quite a few this year!

boneTitle: The Bone Season
Series: The Bone Season #1
Author: Samantha Shannon
Rating: DNF
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia, Science Fiction, Fantasy
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The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

DNF @ page 200.

I thought I might go a little bit further, but I’m going to set this aside (for now? for always? not sure yet). As it stands, I’m barely able to read 50 pages a day, and there are other books that I’d rather be spending my time with.

What I liked:
*The worldbuilding is interesting and complex. I certainly haven’t read anything like it before. Samantha Shannon is obviously a talented writer, and I commend her for creating such a unique setting.
*Paige is an admirable heroine. She’s got a toughness about her that I really liked. Despite being in a horrible situation, she manages to use her head and make the most of her opportunities.
*Warden intrigues me. I mean, I was already swooning, but this shocks no one. If I had continued on, I’m sure I would have been shipping it.

What I didn’t like:
*The pacing is sloooooow. And I hear it’s the same with the first half of The Mime Order. I can’t do seven books of that. No way.
*I was confused, a lot. I kept having to flip back and forth and to the glossary. There’s so much to keep track of and remember, and it’s especially difficult if you’re reading it over a longer period of time.
*There was little to no emotional investment on my end. It felt like I was always an arm’s length away from the story and the characters, never truly connecting with either. So much focus was on the worldbuilding, that the writing sometimes seemed dry.

Will I give it another chance? Maybe. I want to see how the romance plays out and if all of the books will be paced like the first two. Then again, I don’t think this is a series I could ever binge, so getting three books behind is terrifying. I may just have to call it a day. Most of my friends loved this book, but it just wasn’t for me.

rebornTitle: Reborn
Series: Altered #3
Author: Jennifer Rush
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Mystery, Romance
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The Branch is in shambles, but Anna, Sam, Cas, and Nick can’t rest easy. Remnants of the organization lurk unseen and the flashbacks to their old lives are only getting stronger–especially Nick’s.

Following scattered memories and clues from his Branch file, Nick sets off alone in search of answers and in search of the girl who haunts his dreams. But the sleepy town where she lives in full of secrets and Nick soon learns that uncovering their shared past may have deadly consequences.

Reborn will probably be one of the year’s biggest disappointments for me. Not only have I enjoyed the first two books in the series, about genetically altered teenage boys, but knowing this focused on one character in particular made my expectations skyrocket. Nick – quiet, brooding, lethal Nick – has always stood out to me; there was just something about him that made me want to know more. Most of his past had yet to be explored, and I desperately wanted to know why he was so angry, what made him tick, and who would be there to heal him. We get that resolution in Reborn, but I can’t say that I’m satisfied with the path it took to get there.

What I liked:
*Being in Nick’s head, finally. Getting the answers. Seeing him overcome his anger and aggression and finding peace. Though I was frustrated with his character for a lot of the book, I still cared about him.
*Dual point-of-view, which I’m almost always a fan of. The voices of Nick and Elizabeth are distinct, though I preferred Nick’s chapters.
*It’s a quick read. Just like the first two books, Reborn is fast-paced and well-plotted, especially in the second half. We learn new history about the Branch, as well as its current goals now that it’s been for the most part dismantled. There were a couple of twists I didn’t see coming.
*Seeing the gang together is a highlight, especially now that Trev is back in the picture. They have great banter and their bond runs deep.
*The ending definitely leaves room for more, and even though I’m disappointed in this one, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up the next. I think Trev and Cas deserve their own books!

What I didn’t like:
*Okay, I really, really, really disliked the first half. I did not sign up to see Nick suck face with every girl he meets. >.< For being such a quick book, I can’t believe how much time is spent in the first half with the main characters kissing other people.
*The character development was shallow; it seemed like more telling and less showing. Which, this being Nick’s book, really sucks. Plus it was difficult to understand what it was about Elizabeth that made Nick want saving. She’s such a one-dimensional character and didn’t seem to have any personality.
*The romance has an intriguing set up, but unfortunately the shared memory between Nick and Elizabeth it relies so heavily on is one that I didn’t find all that compelling. If only it had been more about the pull between the two of them and had less time devoted to random make out sessions with other characters. Maybe then I would have actually felt the supposed connection between them. This series has never been about the romance as much as the action, yet I can’t help but wish Nick and Elizabeth’s had been stronger. It is, after all, the main source of his growth. Normally I’m a sucker for a girl-saves-boy story line, but this one lacked heart.

Writing this review, three stars is starting to feel generous. The first half is such a waste of pages, and though the ending is enjoyable with a sprinkle of swoons, it couldn’t make up for what was already missing. I was expecting much more out of Nick’s book, so this is a major bummer.

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12 thoughts on “Mini Reviews [9]

  1. I actually just purchased The Bone Season a few days ago. I’m only a few pages in but I can already see some of the stuff you mentioned. Because it’s such a different world, there is a lot of back and forth between the pages to understand what’s happening and the dynamics of the story. I’ve heard great things about the first two books though, so I’m going to keep reading and see how it goes!

    – Barbara @ My Bibliophile Mind

  2. I didn’t realize Make It Last was out! I really enjoy that series, so I’ll have to check it out for sure. It’s a shame you couldn’t really feel that connection though. :(

    I’m sad that you didn’t finish The Bone Season, but I completely understand! That book was so complicated. I’ve heard about The Mime Order being the same, so I think I’m going to wait until the summer when I’ll hopefully have more time to read it.

    Reborn doesn’t sound like my kind of book. Ugh. I think I’m going to just skip it! I’d rather not watch Nick suck face with every chick. One or two I would be okay with, but every girl? NOPE!

    Great reviews, Danielle!

  3. I haven’t read any of Rush’s novels but I’m sorry to see her latest was a disappointment for you. I’ve been on the fence about picking up that series of her so maybe I’ll skip it after all. As for Erickson, I can’t say I was a fan of her debut but I’m glad that her New Adult books have been working out for you, Danielle. I’m sorry to see you didn’t finish THE BONE SEASON but I completely understand your reasons as well. I’ll definitely keep you updated on how the series progresses. If it improves in any capacity, I’ll probably encourage you to pick it back up but, for now, with five more novels yet to release in the series and a fuzzy idea of where the plot is headed, DNFing it was likely the best course of action. I hope your next reads are more satisfying than these three, Danielle!

  4. I’ve been meaning to read bone season! I’ll have to see what I think, sometimes I can deal with slow pacing for fantasies…but it depends. I’ll see! Ahh Can! I really enjoyed that series!! You’re right — I totally got annoyed at Tate trying to decide everything but I loved the ending, especially the cameos! :)

  5. I really loved The Bone Season because of all of that heavy world building, but I must admit I found turning back to the glossary all the time really annoying and it was slow. It does get better later on when you get used to it though.

    As for Reborn, it’s such a shame that it was a disappointing read for you! Nick and Elizabeth sound really bland, and you can always tell when it lacks heart.

    Great mini reviews Danielle!

  6. I’m glad the Erickson series has been generally low on drama. I do like second chance stories, but I’m also often not fully satisfied by the apology of the party who left/cheated etc. I’m usually still annoyed at them by the end. Maybe because I experience reading a book in a few hours instead of the years the characters go apart.

    I’m sorry The Bone Season didn’t work well for you, but it definitely contains confusing/complicated world building. If you’re not invested by this point, it’s wise to stop. I’m hoping that book 3 will be so amazing that you’ll be desperate to start over again. Plus Warden is still one of my favorite parts of the series. I’m hoping the romance remains strong.

    I totally agree with your feelings on REBORN. I felt like we got gipped on Nick’s storyline. First it wasn’t really uncovering his past, as we only really learn one small part of it. His past interactions with Anna aren’t even mentioned! I just came away from this wanting MORE – more romance, more character growth, more depth. And the first half was painful. I’m glad Nick and Elizabeth found each other, but I’m not sure I could believe in forever for them, without more growth from them. They’re sooooo different.

  7. HAH! I am so pleased you DNFed The Bone Season, loool (A) I did too, though at page 150. I couldn’t take it any more. Too boring :p But I’m also planning on trying it again. Sometime. Maybe. I’m getting book two, so we’ll see ;p I hope you will try it again sometime :) If you feel like it, that is. <3 Amazing reviews Danielle. You are amazing. <3 I kind of love the cover for the first book, hih :) but not the plot for me. Sigh. I'm sorry you had some issues with it. And aw. Reborn :( I'm so sorry this book disappointed you. That is no fun at all :\ I loved book one, was planning on re-reading it so that I could finally read book two and three, but now I'm not so sure :p But one day. I hope :D Thank you for sharing your thoughts sweetie. <3

  8. Well bummer that you DNF’d The Bone Season. I got that one awhile back but never got to it. Now I’m definitely hesitating…

    I liked Make it Last, so I’m sorry you had trouble connecting with the characters! It happens though.

    As for Reborn… well I don’t like when the main character is off making out with everyone else. A BIG NO-NO. I have this series to read though… hmm..

    Thanks for the reviews Danielle!

  9. I just read Make It Last over the weekend! It made me smile (particularly the cameos), and it also made me want to hug Cam (and potentially never let him go). His relationship with Tate was just so sweet, and so true, and I loved him more for that.

    As for The Bone Season, I really love that series. But I can see why others would find it difficult to read or be unable to form a connection to these characters! Usually the lack of connection is a problem for me too, but in Paige’s case, it just worked out that I could turn a blind eye to it. I hope you give it another shot, but if not, that’s totally okay too.

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