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elenalikesbooks

Elena Likes Books

I am an avid reader of YA, fantasy, and romance, a librarian, and a writer of fantasy short fiction.

Currently reading

Cut & Run
Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Shel Silverstein
The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius
John Joseph Adams
The Thousand Names
Django Wexler
The Duchess Hunt
Jennifer Haymore

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All the Truth That's in Me - Julie Berry 4.5 stars. That was intense. Review to come.
Kitty Rocks the House (Kitty Norville) - Carrie Vaughn 3.5 stars. Review to come.
Omens - Kelley Armstrong 3.5 stars.It's bad enough when bored, wealthy socialite Olivia Taylor-Jones finds out she's adopted. But it turns out she's the birth daughter of some of the country's most famous serial killers, and when she's discovered by the media, the resulting shitstorm results in Olivia being more or less exiled to the tiny, insular community of Cainsville. After meeting her birth mother in prison, Olivia teams up with ambitious, hotshot, doesn't-play-by-the-rules-unless-it-benefits-him lawyer Gabriel Walsh to look into her mother's claims that she and Olivia's father are innocent.Whether you enjoyed Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series or her YA Summoning series will have little to nothing to do with whether you enjoy this book. While there's still a paranormal element here, the overall tone of the book is very different--much closer to a mystery/thriller than to urban fantasy. I think this would be closer to a Dean Koontz or Stephen King book than, say, a Patricia Briggs or a Charlaine Harris. Paranormal? Yes. Urban fantasy? No. But it's not exactly horror either... I honestly don't know how to classify it.Most of this book was a fairly straightforward investigation into decades-old murders. There are clearly some strange folks in Cainsville who know more than they're letting on, but for the most part, the paranormal doesn't play a role in Olivia and Gabriel's investigation. I am curious to see how future books play out, because it seems inevitable that the paranormal aspect will become more central.One thing that I have always appreciated about Kelley Armstrong's books is the way she writes relationships. Not just romantic relationships (though those are certainly her forte), but familial relationships and friendships and rivalries. I had read that this book was more thrilleresque than Armstrong's usual, but I just hoped that meant she had applied her relationship-writing skills to another genre. That...was not really the case. Relationships of every type take a backseat to the procedural of the investigation, and that is why this book isn't the 4-star read I was hoping for.Still, I'm intrigued enough to pick up book two. I think book two might have more of everything I want: more paranormal, more relationships, less of Olivia stumbling around in the dark about the paranormal aspects. Overall, while this is far from my favorite Kelley Armstrong, I'll wait to pass judgment on the series until I see how it progresses.
The Price of Freedom (Pirates of the Caribbean) - Ann Carol Crispin *blinks* I...okay. This could be either really awesome or really awful. I've heard great things about Ann Crispin (RIP), so I'm hoping for "awesome."

The Sum of All Kisses

The Sum of All Kisses - Julia Quinn When I pick up a Julia Quinn novel, I always know exactly what I'm getting into: pure, undiluted fluff. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. In Julia Quinn's case, it's not a bad thing at all. She writes some of the best pure-fluff HR being published (if you're looking for a another great one, I recommend [a:Tessa Dare|2752928|Tessa Dare|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1242150259p2/2752928.jpg]). Julia Quinn books make me laugh, make me sigh, and make my heart melt just a little.This book is, in my opinion, one of her better ones. True, I always wish for a little more plottiness than she delivers, but whereas I'm often bored when I read romances where nothing exciting happens, my time flew by as I read this book. Hugh was a great character, with just the right amount broodiness tempered by wry sarcasm, and though Sarah was eye-rollingly dramatic at times, overall she was a heroine I could root for. She was so great during the extremely memorable climactic scene that I almost cheered aloud. (Extremely mild I love it when the heroine is the one who does the rescuing..)Overall, I highly recommend this to romance readers who can appreciate lighthearted fluff.Note: Thanks to Avon and Edelweiss for providing me an advance copy.
Flirting with Disaster  - Ruthie Knox 3 "it's not you, it's me" stars. If you're into contemporary romance with a high steam level, this will be your perfect book. I'm not hugely into contemporary, and the plot wasn't thrillerish enough to hold my interest, but it was certainly well written, and people whose taste in books leans toward this genre will eat it up.I do really appreciate that the hero was a bit atypical--a computer hacker with a severe stutter (and mommy issues). That said, there was a weird amount of geek shaming going on, with Katie teasing Sean about being a geek, and Sean being really defensive and embarrassed about it. Apparently Ruthie Knox hasn't gotten the memo about geeks being cool these days? I felt like I was reading a book set in the '90s during those bits.In the end this book wasn't for me, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a lighthearted and steamy read.

The Cursed

The Cursed - Alyssa Day 3.5 stars. I wanted to love this book more than I did. I gave it a .5 star bonus for delightful nerd culture references that made me giggle. Overall, though it had all the elements of a successful PNR, somehow I just didn't give a crap by the time I was about halfway through. Figure out the mystery...or don't. Hook up...or don't. I would have yawned either way. Can't quite put my finger on why I didn't connect with this one, but, well, I didn't, and the nerd references just weren't enough for me to bother picking up book two.
All Our Yesterdays - Cristin Terrill 3.5 starsI went into this with high expectations, considering all the love I've been seeing all over Goodreads. This book seems well-poised to be The Next Big Thing. I can see it happening. But alas, though it was enjoyable enough, this book isn't my Next Big Thing, personally.The book follows Em and Finn as they race to go back in time to kill a bad guy before he invents time travel and uses it to make the world a really shitty place. The complications: The bad guy is their former best friend, and their past selves, who have no idea that he's going to turn out evil, are naturally going to do everything in their power to protect him. We also follow Marina (Em of the past) and past!Finn as they cope with tragedy and crushes and figuring out who to trust. A fast-paced time travel thriller, this book might appeal to fans of [b:Divergent|13335037|Divergent (Divergent, #1)|Veronica Roth|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1328559506s/13335037.jpg|13155899] or [b:Unraveling|12157365|Unraveling (Unraveling, #1)|Elizabeth Norris|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1337474732s/12157365.jpg|17128227].I actually almost DNFed this halfway through. I was bored. I felt like I'd read this story before. I think I only kept going because of all the glowing reviews I'd read. I figured there had to be something more than what was there in the beginning.I'm actually glad I continued. I really enjoyed the second half of the book, once the past and future versions of Marina, Finn, and James (best friend/bad guy/crush) started interacting. The pace picked up, there were more cards on the table, and shit got complicated.In the end, this book was solid but not amazing. I'll keep it in mind to recommend to the teens who want to read The Next Big Thing after Divergent--they'll probably enjoy it more than I did.Note: Thanks to NetGalley and Disney Hyperion for providing me with an advance copy of this title.
Game - Barry Lyga Fair warning: This may be the goriest novel I've ever read, adult or YA. If you have a weak stomach, steer clear of this one.Dear Jasper,You weren't as stupid as your friends in this book, so I'll give some of the stupid things you did in this book a pass. You at least comprehended some of the possible outcomes and, y'know, looked before you leaped, at least marginally. I still love you.Dear Connie,WTF. Just. Seriously. What the fuck? I thought you had some brains, and your handling of your relationship with Jazz was actually pretty intelligent and cool. I liked you. But then. THEN. What on earth possessed you to think that going on a serial killer's scavenger hunt could possibly have a result that wasn't neatly delivering yourself--literally--to the serial killer in question? SERIOUSLY. I am this close to saying that you deserved what you got. Because really, come on.Dear Howie,Dear G. William,You only got two very brief scenes in this book, which is probably why I still think you're dope. Keep on being awesome, last sane character in this series. You are probably the rest of the cast's only hope for survival in book three.Dear Mystery Plot,You were actually kind of badass! The game was very clever, actually, and when Jazz made his big leap into revelation territory, I was impressed. It was tricksy enough that I hadn't caught on miles ahead of the characters, and it was one of those reveals that makes you go, "Oh my God, that makes so much sense!" and not one that makes you scratch your head because the logic leap just didn't track. Your logic tracked. Much

Saga, Vol. 2

Saga, Volume 2 - Fiona Staples, Brian K. Vaughan Holy fudge this series is brilliant. BRILLIANT.Though someone--the illustrator, the writer, or both?--really has a penis obsession.
Wild Justice - Kelley Armstrong Holy crap, she finally wrote a third Nadia Stafford book?! SCORE. Time to reread the first two.
Fables, Vol. 18: Cubs in Toyland - Bill Willingham Holy crap, that was bleak. Well-written, but DUDE. Fables has gone to the dark side. I don't think I like it.

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell This is not my kind of book. If I wrote a blurb about this book and showed it to my past self, my past self would raise a skeptical eyebrow (my past self has powers I don't, apparently) and wonder what on earth inspired my future self to even bother with this book. It is so not my thing. Before I read this, I thought I would hate it, or at least find it boring. But I had to read it for book club, so I heroically took on the task, starting well in advance so I could take as many breaks to read better books as I needed....150 pages later I emerged blinking into the real world in shock. I loved it. But I stopped after that 150 pages because I was totally, 100% convinced that the second half of the book would ruin it for me. I lived the next week in dread of needing to pick it up again. Then I finished it. And...still loved it. SERIOUSLY. I couldn't believe it. When I turned the second to last page (more on that later), I was in complete awe of Rainbow Rowell and Eleanor and Park and this book because it was amazing. Somehow. Even though this kind of book really isn't my thing.This book is a boy meets girl story. There honestly isn't much else there. But it is a great boy meets girl story, one that will bring back vivid memories of high school (for better and worse) and make you ache for the wonderful, flawed, real characters and their wonderful, flawed, real relationship.The thing that killed me about this book is the very. last. freaking. sentence. (Mild spoiler ahead, so... It was one of those "open to interpretation" endings that drive me absolutely bonkers. JUST TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS, DAMN IT. I hate it when authors do that to me. They think it's all artsy, but from my perspective, it's just a huge cop-out. Like they tried to write an ending but it all came out horribly awkward (and I can relate, believe me), so they decided to just cut out the last paragraph and maybe people would think them artsy and creative and not realize that the author just sucks at writing endings.)I would recommend this book to everyone, simply because I have no idea who this book would appeal to. I wouldn't have said it would appeal to me, but there you have it. Read three chapters. If you're not hooked by then, the rest of the book will probably leave you unmoved. But if you're like me, you won't even realize when you breeze past the end of the "trial" third chapter, so engrossed in Eleanor and Park's story that you will totally lose yourself. Enjoy.
Ascension: A Tangled Axon Novel - Jacqueline Koyanagi "Queer female neuroatypical protagonist of color"? IN SPACE? I am so in.

Born to Darkness

Born To Darkness - Suzanne Brockmann I was pleasantly surprised by this book's relative unformulaicness. Most romance novels are totally predictable, but this one wasn't at all. It was also really disturbing--this book is not for the faint of heart. It's sort of a superhero thriller romance. And you get three romances for the price of one! (Well, mostly.)Born to Darkness follows a whopping seven characters as they race to rescue a thirteen-year-old girl who has been kidnapped because her blood--and her terror--are valuable in the manufacture of a street drug that grants superpowers to their users--at least until the users "joker" and turn into crazed killers. The Obermeyer Institute is a facility that researches people who come by superpowers naturally ("Greater-Thans") and help them achieve their full potential, and its top three Greater-Thans, with the aid of a new recruit who's a former Navy SEAL, the OI's medical chief, and the missing girl's older sister, will stop at nothing to rescue the girl, who may be an unprecedentedly powerful Greater-Than. And in the midst of all the action, they must also navigate their emotional hangups and relationship issues as they find themselves developing feelings for each other (in neat little pairs--no love triangles here, thank God!).This book's blurb puts all the emphasis on the relationship between OI operative Mackenzie and former Navy SEAL Shane, but the book gives nearly equal treatment to the other two couples. My favorite was the absolutely adorable relationship between OI operative Stephen Diaz and Doctor Elliot Zerkowski. I love them so much, both separately and together.Disappointingly, I wasn't a very big fan of the two female romantic leads, Mackenzie and Anna. Mackenzie was an idiot and Anna was just boring. But there were enough characters in this book, and enough action, that my dislike of the supposed primary heroine didn't really detract much from my enjoyment of the book.The plot was really super intense--much more intense than I'm used to from a romance novel. Honestly, I think people who aren't really into romance would still enjoy this, as long as they're okay with the occasional brief side trip into sexytimes (and with three couples, this happened more than a few times).I'm confused and disappointed that there's no sequel to this. There were quite a few threads left dangling, both plot-wise and relationship-wise, and I would love to see them resolved in a second book.