Bite Sized Books // The Lost ARCs I Forgot To Review

08 July 2016

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Welcome to my Bite Sized Books post for those ARCs I requested and couldn’t find enough words to devote dedicated reviews to.

Published: 28th June 2016
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
My Rating:
Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn’t know why she can do this and remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from.
When marauders raid her town, Maire is captured and sold to the eccentric Allemas, who enslaves her and demands that she produce sinister confections, including a witch’s gingerbread cottage, a living cookie boy, and size-altering cakes.
During her captivity, Maire is visited by Fyel, a ghostly being who is reluctant to reveal his connection to her. The more often they meet, the more her memories return, and she begins to piece together who and what she really is—as well as past mistakes that yield cosmic consequences.
From the author of The Paper Magician series comes a haunting and otherworldly tale of folly and consequence, forgiveness and redemption.
I don’t have as much to say about this book as I thought I might. I continually return to the writing of Charlie N. Holmberg because I really liked her first book, The Paper Magician. Unfortunately, none of her works since have managed to quite match up to my enjoyment of that book. It’s sad, but sometimes that is the way it goes.

What went wrong for me with this book then? I liked the concept, and I loved the small literary references to things like Alice in Wonderland and the whole concept of how magic was working in this book (although, it most definitely could have done with greater explanation). The premise was solid, but it just didn’t click for me. Maybe the main character was a bit bland, Maire just didn’t connect with me. She said she wanted to know about her family and her past, yet seemed completely unwilling to properly pursue it when she had an opportunity. She seemed far happier just drifting in her ‘normal’ life and I found that boring.

I don’t know, this book just came across a bit meh in the end. It wasn’t offensive to me, it didn’t annoy me, I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t have strong good feelings toward it either, which may be worse.

Published: 2nd June 2016
Source: Netgalley
Genre:Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
My Rating:
America’s most famous pop star flees the spotlight to recover from her latest break-up in Maine – only to fall for a local boy and be faced with an impossible choice at the end of the summer: her new guy, or her music.
Multiplatinum pop icon Lily Ross’s biggest hits and biggest heartbreaks (because they are one and the same):
1. AGONY. (That feeling when her ex ripped her heart out of her chest and she never saw it coming.)
2. GHOSTS. (Because even famous people are ghosted by guys sometimes. And it sucks just as much.)
3. ONCE BITTEN. (As in: twice shy. Also, she’s never dating an actor or a musician ever again.)

But this summer’s going to be different. After getting her heart shattered, Lily is taking herself out of the spotlight and heading to a small island in middle-of-nowhere Maine with her closest friends. She has three months to focus on herself, her music, her new album. Anything but guys.
That is… until Lily meets sweet, down-to-earth local Noel Bradley, who is so different from anyone she’s ever dated. Suddenly, Lily’s “summer of me” takes an unexpected turn, and she finds herself falling deeper and harder than ever before. But Noel isn’t interested in the limelight. She loves Noel-but she loves her fans, too. And come August, she may be forced to choose.
First off, you will be picturing Taylor Swift when you read this book. It is unavoidable. I don’t even recall the description of Lily Ross because my mind had already transplanted the image of Taylor as soon as I read about her writing about being in love and breaking up and having a chain of boyfriends.

Did I like the the book? It was alright, but I unfortunately read it after a long YA contemporary binge that meant I didn’t it enjoy it as much as I could have. I could see the potential, but I wasn’t  connected to the story. My brain was always somewhere else when I was reading, and isn’t that the the worst feeling when you read a book? To feel disconnected from it.

I would recommend it for people looking for a fun contemporary read which has a bit more meat to it. It might some like a typical YA contemporary, but it’s not. It’s less about Lily’s journey falling in love with a boy and more Lily’s journey falling for a boy, rediscovering her friends, and beginning her journey to learn who she is and what matters to her. I mean, you can tell it’s touching upon Lily’s identity as a single woman when she is continually defining herself as part of a relationship. It deals with keeping secrets from your best friends and basically figuring out who you’re going to be.

I did find the last line of the book was apt, though. I think it summed up the authors intent with the book as a whole:
Falling in love isn’t everything.

Every Exquisite Thing – Matthew Quick
Published: 31st May 2016
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
My Rating:
From Matthew Quick, bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook , comes a heartfelt, unconventional and moving novel for readers who love John Green and Annabel Pitcher.

Nanette O'Hare is an unassuming teen who has played the role of dutiful daughter, hard-working student, and star athlete for as long as she can remember. But when a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bubblegum Reaper - the mysterious, out-of-print cult-classic - the rebel within Nanette awakens.

As she befriends the reclusive author, falls in love with a young but troubled poet, and attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, Nanette learns the hard way that sometimes rebellion comes at a high price.

A celebration of the self and the formidable power of story, Every Exquisite Thing is Matthew Quick at his finest.
This book I really liked. Enough that I probably should have made it’s own post, but then I’m really struggling to make sense of why. It’s partially the writing and partially the characters. You’d think being able to identify those two reasons I would be why, but I can’t identify why exactly.

The writing was fantastic, I expected that from Matthew Quick, though. But the characters he wrote were also great. He has these characters who probably feel older than they are, but are explained very well. They are probably more mature then the characters around them, at least that is how it’s written.

My only complaint about this book is that it is very abrupt. Everything in it is sudden and it switches gears very quickly. It keeps you on your toes, but not everyone will like that. I did feel continually a bit on edge and I was all disbelieving of the changes. It did definitely cloud some of my enjoyment of it.

I think this may be a marmite book, people. Some will love the writing and the fact the characters aren’t white-privileged children complaining without recognising their privilege, instead they are white privileged children trying to figure out why they don’t feel lucky when they know how lucky they are. Others will view it as pretentious. It just depends what kind of person you are, I think.

Have you read any of these books? Does anyone else find they can’t find the words to explain their feelings about a book?
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