Book Review: Dreamfall by Amy Plum

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Publisher: HarperTeen
Published Date: May 2017
Genre: YA, Horror, Science Fiction
Series: Dreamfall series #1
My Source: Library E-book
Links: Goodreads
Review Also On: Goodreads and Amazon

Goodreads Summary:

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.

Review

Horror is not my typical genre for reading (or movies, or television…basically any sort of media), but I have to say I really enjoyed this one. I’ve been seeing this book pop up on Amazon and Goodreads, so I thought I would try it. I’m always interested in stories where the characters are stuck inside a different reality and dying in that world means you die in real life.

The story is told through three points of view and has a fast pace. So for those looking for a fun quick read, I would recommend this one. While reading, there are some nice twists that I didn’t see coming, including with a character I wasn’t really fond with and it changed my perspective on that character. Lots of action and tons of moments for the reader to try to figure out what’s really going on.

The worst part was the ending, and that’s only because I thought it was standalone and  I was left with a cliffhanger. So, that’s really not a con for this book. It’s good! I thought I was reading something that would have a conclusion and when I realized it was part of a series, I was both heartbroken and elated. So I will definitely be reading the sequel that came out last year.

Rating: 4 STARS ~ Oh man, this was a great book. Will be recommending.

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Book Review: Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer

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Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Published Date: August 2016
Genre: Contemporary, YA,
Series: Stand Alone
My Source: Own Copy
Links: Goodreads
Review Also On: Goodreads and Amazon

Goodreads Summary:

“Katelyn Ogden was a lot of things, but she wasn’t particularly explosive, in any sense of the word.”

Mara Carlyle’s senior year at Covington High in suburban New Jersey is going on as normally as could be expected, until the day—wa-bam!—fellow senior Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period pre-calc. Katelyn is the first, but she won’t be the last senior to spontaneously combust without warning or explanation. The body count grows and the search is on for a reason—Terrorism! Drugs! Homosexuality! Government conspiracy!—while the seniors continue to pop like balloons.

Mara narrates the end of their world as she knows it with tell-it-like-it-is insight as she tries to make it to graduation in one piece through an explosive year punctuated by romance, quarantine, lifelong friendship, hallucinogenic mushrooms, bloggers, ice cream trucks, “Snooze Button™,” Bon Jovi, and the filthiest language you’ve ever heard the President of the United States use over Skype.

***Note: I finished this book in January and wrote some key notes about it, but I didn’t sit down and write my review until February. Days after the Parkland tragedy. I contemplated whether I should post this review for this kind of book so soon after this event. And because I was going back and forth, I didn’t publish the review until now. While it’s not about a shooting, it is a story focusing on high school students dying. This book is a comedic coming-of-age piece, but current events can make this book difficult to read. I will leave my original review below because overall I still feel the same way about it. The book while frustrating at first, I really enjoyed. But I do want to take this moment to say that you may wish to wait to read this book if you need more time to process things that have been happening recently. It does get a bit graphic and I just wanted to give a friendly warning.***

Let me start this review by saying I have the most confused feelings about this book.

Mara was definitely a character that I had to get used to. At first, her sarcastic personality was annoying me because she was sarcastic ALL THE TIME. And when I was getting some pretty important exposition, she would make a sarcastic comment and I just wanted to shush her. There are also times when she jumps from one thing to the next. There is a character Dylan who shows up. On one page, he’s barely mentioned. Thirty pages later, he comes back and he’s important. I wish I got the confrontation/conversation between Mara and Dylan that led to him becoming an important character. I was just sort of forced to accept Dylan in the story. Still, even with these issues, I grew to like Mara more. Do I have major love for her? I wouldn’t say that, but she became a better character for me as the story continued.

There’s so much I want to talk about with this book, but I don’t want to spoil anything. I was frustrated with this book, but I’m okay with that. I didn’t get all the explanations I wanted, but I’m also okay with that. I’m still trying to figure out if this book was showing that friendships don’t last forever, or if it’s saying you have to work harder to make them last. Or both?

So, I’ll give this fair warning. Don’t expect to come out of this book with everything solved, explained, and pretty with a little bow on top. It ends with a lot of uncertainty. Maybe that’s to symbolize how life is uncertain. You’re not sure what will happen, so you have to live the best life you can. The last few pages ends on a heart-wrenching scene though. Alone or left behind…I’m not sure which is worse.

I want to give this four stars, but I feel so much and I don’t know what to think. Would I read this again though? Yes.

3.5 or 4 Stars (I don’t know okay!!) ~ A good book that has a nice YES factor to it. / Oh man, this was a great book. Will be recommending.

Monthly Recap! (February…and January)

Hi everyone! I can’t believe it’s already March. Two months have already flown by, and I’m still not sure about all my goals I want to accomplish this year.

Anywho, here’s a recap of the books I read the last two months!

January

Roomies by Christina Lauren
Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

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February

#Famous by Jilly Gagnon
Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde

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Total of Books for Beat the Backlist Read: 4
Reviews Written:  1

I know! I know! “Nicole, why haven’t you written and submitted your reviews yet?” Well, I’ve written them, but I just haven’t edited and posted them up yet. I also am hesitating about putting up my review for Spontaneous because of the nature of the book and what’s been going on lately. I’d love your opinion on if I should put up the review. I don’t wish to seem insensitive at this time, posting about a humorous book of high school kids dying/exploding. I do have a disclaimer as part of the review, but again, still hesitating. Thoughts?

Anywho, I’ll be sure to update this page with the links to my reviews once I post them. Goodreads links are with the book covers.

How are you doing with your reading goals? If you’re part of Beat the Backlist, how is that going for you?

Until next time, my fellow adventurers!