Book 39: Downtown Devil

Book: Downtown Devil by Cara McKenna
Goal: 39
Rating: 4/5

It’s funny, in the moment, I always love CM’s books, but then she goes and writes an even better book so then I realize maybe that I didn’t like the previous book quite as much because this one is just so much better. I love how even though she has very similar themes in this series of books, each character and situation is different; it’s so refreshing. I was fully expecting a similar ending to the last book but I was pleasantly surprised as to where all the characters ended up and it felt so fitting.

Book 38: Every Breath

Book: Every Breath by Ellie Marney
Goal: 38
Rating: 3.5/5

I’m going to round up on goodreads this time, but I thought that the 3.5 rating I gave it last time was dead on. What really makes this series is the chemistry between Mycroft and Watts and I just spent the whole book waiting for them to finally be together.

Book 37: Girl Against the Universe

Book: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes
Goal: 37
Rating: 4/5

I have to say, Paula Stokes writing has made a huge improvement from Art of Lainey. I thought her first person, present sense POV was flawless. And I couldn’t believe how light hearted this book was considering the subject matter and I think that is a testament to Paula Stokes’s writing. Aside from that, I also enjoyed the rest of the book! Paula Stokes writes the most charming characters. I loved Maguire. And Jordy was the sweetest, I was glad that she didn’t recycle the mis-communication issues from Art of Lainey. I was little peeved that Jordy just gave up on Maguire after she turned him down but he quickly realized that that was dumb and did a 180. I thought it was sweet how open Jordy was with her, that he’d prefer that she just ask him about his past, and throughout the whole book when she was thinking about the girls he’d been with I was basically shouting at her to ask him about it. The scenes with Maguire’s step-dad were great. It was sweet to see how difficult of a time he was having trying to be her step-dad and how involved, or not involved, he should be.

Also, that cover.

Book 36: All In

Book: All In by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (The Naturals #3)
Goal: 36
Rating: 4/5

I think it’s pretty safe to say that this is my favourite book in the series so far! Cassie’s relationship took a back seat now that she has made her choice. Cassie still feels like her normal independent self and having a bf hasn’t changed her which is great. We learned A LOT about Sloane – that poor girl! And we got some very interesting information regarding Cassie’s mom and I can’t wait to see where this goes in the next book. And perhaps what I loved most was the message that home is where the heart is, and now her home is with Dean, Michael, Lia and Sloane. There were a lot of teenage bonding moments going on during this book and I absolutely loved it. Reminds me of the delinquents from The 100 at the drop ship which was my favourite part of the show. Also, Judd. He’s just the best.

I do have a pet peeve of adding in “I thought” after the italics of her thinking. It feels really redundant. I thought the book was a little repetitive but that’s probably because I’ve binge read all three books back to back. But JLB writes such good mysteries, I can’t get enough of them. So exited to read the next book and learn about the 7 Masters, The Pythia and Nine. Thankfully I only have to wait until November instead of a full year, but on the other hand, I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL November 😦

Book 35: Killer Instinct

Book: Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Goal: 35
Rating: 4/5

There’s so many things to like about this book. First, I loved how affected Cassie was about the events of book 1. Super realistic (I would guess.) I love the mystery in the book. I knew from reading two other JLB books I wouldn’t be able to guess who the real killer was and of course I wasn’t able to. The ending was so engaging I stayed up late just to finish the book. Agent Sterling really grew on me, I’m glad she’ll be around in the next book and I thought her relationship with Dean was really interesting. Actually, I thought her relationship with everyone was really interesting.

I’m really mixed on the love triangle, I feel like it took up too much of the book. And I’m mixed on who to pick! On one hand, I really like Michael, on the other, I really like the connection that she has with Dean. Dean always reassuring her with a hand on her neck. The fact that they just instinctively know the other person instead of Cassie always just guessing about Michael is feeling. Out of the two, Dean is surprisingly more open with her. With everything except for his feeling about her! And I read through the passage where Michael asks if she would have picked him if he had shown up and I think Cassie doesn’t know either. But more to the point, Michael didn’t show up, Dean did. Dean was the one who thought to put himself in the car, not Michael, so I feel like it was a fair win. I feel like these relationships are too mature though, especially the things that Michael has been saying to Cassie. It’s very respectable of him but these are 16 year old kids, and as advanced as their instincts are, I’m not as sold on the fact that their emotional capacity has advanced so much. I wanted him to be a little more selfish.

I still want to see more of Sloane, I feel  like we know very little about her. She’s almost like an afterthought. Which was especially evident when they didn’t take her to the university with them. Hopefully she’s more of a star in the next book since they’ll be in Vegas.

I was going to rate this a 3.5 but I’ve decided to fully round up to a 4 on account of this being a step up from The Naturals.

Book 34: First & Then

Book: First & Then by Emma Mills
Goal: 34
Rating: 3/5

Hmmm. I really liked parts of this book, sometimes Devon was really funny and witty and other times she was just boring taking about the day-to-day of her life. I felt like this book should have resonated with me more; I totally related to the unextraordinary life of a high schooler but it just didn’t hit deep enough for me. It felt like it just skimmed over everything that would have made it a truly memorable book. And I kind of wish that there were more books about when girls don’t don’t get the guy. Because it was definitely not my high school experience that the girl got the guy. I really liked her relationship with Foster and I thought that was more interesting than any of the love stories in the book. Also I liked Ezra’s interest in Foster. I was expecting to see more of her and Ezra in an actual relationship after her comment in the beginning of the book. It would have been nice to see them together.  It wasn’t bad but I wanted to like it a lot more than I did.  It had potential though, and I will happily check out Emma Mills’s next novel.

Good thoughts here.

 

Book 33: The Naturals

Book: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Goal: 33
Rating: 3.5/4

You know what I like about JLB books? They’re surprisingly realistic. You know, for books about crime fighting teens that is.  One minute, I’m thinking, why on earth would the FBI be trying to poach children and the next minute she gives you a reasonable explanation. Because “natural aptitudes… peak in the teen years. Formal education, college, the wrong influences, could all interfere with the incredible raw potential you have now.” Well, ok then. I’ll accept that.

I didn’t find the Naturals quite as engaging as The Fixer. It was good, and enjoyable, but I thought there was too much focus on the love triangle. I also didn’t care about the supporting characters quite as much as I did in the Fixer. I think Sloan is adorable but I also wasn’t as curious about her backstory as I was about Emilia.

A note on The Fixer: It’s like the author read this review of the Naturals and “fixed” (haha) all the issues in her next series. Insta love/love triangle? Gone. More fleshed out side characters? Yes. Excellent mystery? Still present. More day to day stuff? Yes! In this case, school instead of training.