Fiction Friday Round-Up – June 5th, 2015

This was a pretty busy week; among other things, Jane and I launched our new pop culture website, Mind the Gap (which you should totally check out because we have a lot of great content!). But I also managed to completely catch up on the Flavia de Luce series, and finished a couple of ARCs. As always, please click the titles for the full review!

  • As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust – Alan Bradley: “The series is no longer simply a collection of unrelated mysteries; it started to hint at the bigger picture and Flavia’s role within that larger narrative.”
  • Devil’s Daughter – Hope Schenk de-Michele and Paul Marquez: “It had a great plot and some interesting moments but, while it had an open ending, I’m not tearing down the house in anticipating for the sequel. Definitely a good change from most of the other angel-based YA out there, though.”
  • Grunge Gods and Graveyards – Kimberly G. Giarratano: “If I was trying to pitch this book, I’d say it was a combination of Melissa Marr’s Made for You and Elizabeth Chandler’s Kissed by an Angel but with more ghosts and, well, grunge (those are all good things, by the way).”

Last week, I read a truly disappointing ARC:

  • Beyond Clueless – Linas Alsenas: “I’m sure there’s an audience for it, but this is one of those rare cases where I feel too old to read this and I think it would be better received by readers aged 12-14”.

But I also read a great female-centric comic book, so it sort of evened out!

  • Rat Queens Vol 1: Sass & Sorcery – Kurtis J. Wiebe: “There are also light, funny moments in between all the fighting; whether it’s Betty packing candy and drugs for dinner again or Dee being anti-social i.e. reading a book at a party, you get a good glimpse at the queens’ personalities.”

ARC Reviews – May 2015

This month, I’ve read four ARCs – one of which was for a blog tour – and just started a fifth. Here’s a round-up of what I read! (please click the titles for a full review)

  • Sing for Me – Gracie Madison: “I have complicated feelings about this book. It wasn’t bad per se, I just didn’t really enjoy it. I read the whole thing, though admittedly I started skimming at about 30%.” (2 interrobangs)
  • The Rearranged Life – Annika Sharma: “This book read like a cross between Bend it Like Beckham and My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and it was definitely interesting to read the descriptions and think about the differences between cultures…a cute summer read.” (3.5 interrobangs)
  • The Blooming Goddess Trilogy – Tellulah Darling: “I really enjoyed this series: it was fluffy at times but still had a strong plot. The writing was funny and compelling, and if you like contemporary takes on Greek mythology, you’ll love Sophie’s world.” (4.5 interrobangs)
  • Beyond Clueless – Linas Alsenas: “I’m sure there’s an audience for it, but this is one of those rare cases where I feel too old to read this and I think it would be better received by readers aged 12-14.” (2 interobangs)

I just started reading Devil’s Daughter and it’s interesting so far – hopefully I’ll have a review for it up next week!

What ARCs have you read this month? Anything I should look forward to?

ARC Review: Beyond Clueless – Linas Alsenas

Beyond Clueless – Linas Alsenas

24795908Marty Sullivan’s life ends, basically, when her parents enroll her in a private high school. A private, Catholic, girls-only high school. Meanwhile, at their local public school, her best friend, Jimmy, comes out of the closet and finds himself a boyfriend and a new group of friends. Marty feels left out and alone, until she gets a part in the school musical, Into the Woods, and Jimmy and his new crew are in it, too! Things start looking even better when Marty falls for foxy fellow cast member Felix Peroni. And Felix seems to like her back. But the drama is just beginning. Can Marty and Jimmy keep up their friendship? And is Marty’s new beau everything he appears to be? Or is Marty too clueless to figure it all out before it’s too late?

Release Date: August 18th, 2015

Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

I genuinely don’t remember why I decided to request this from NetGalley, but apparently I did and now I feel silly because I didn’t enjoy this book very much.

On the plus side, it only took a couple of hours to read because I skimmed most of it, so I didn’t waste too much time.

Some mild spoilers ahead, but I blacked out the really spoiler-y bit.

What I liked:

-Oliver was a nice guy. In another book, I’d have probably adored him, but I was pretty “meh” about all the characters, so poor Oliver didn’t really stand a chance of sticking in my head.

-cute cover! Although now that I look at it again, I can’t figure out if this book is supposed to be MG or YA (I personally think it makes more sense as middle grade; more on that in a minute).

-props for diversity, I guess. Jimmy’s boyfriend is Sri Lankan, Marty’s best girl friend is…Asian? I can’t remember where in particular she is from, but yay diverse best friends! And of course, you have a handful of gay characters, so yay, even more diversity!

What I didn’t like:

-pretty much all the characters (except for Oliver). Marty was strongly channeling Mia in the first two Princess Diaries books except more annoying (and Mia was occasionally irritating) and, as the title suggests, was beyond clueless. But not in an endearing “oh, how sweet”, sort of way. More in a “why is she such an idiot??” way. I also couldn’t understand how one minute she was using words like “counterintuitive” and the next, she was whining about being the only one of her friends who didn’t have a boyfriend. Marty is 14. Marty needs to calm her hormones.

Her friends aren’t the greatest either, and seemed very one-dimensional. I think I was intrigued by this title because Jimmy, Marty’s best friend, comes out and I thought it would provide some sort of character development (like Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda), but Jimmy is boring. So is his boyfriend. And all their other friends.

-I could not for the life of me understand the Felix-Marty relationship. Was he just after her because he thought she was hot? What was the whole deal with Jill? Just how “hot” was Marty that it warranted this allegedly attractive guy cheating on his girlfriend? SOME ONE EXPLAIN IT TO ME.

-the Oliver thing. HIGHLIGHT FOR SPOILER

I figured out he had a crush on Marty, but it would have been SO MUCH BETTER if he came out as bisexual because that’s a great way to start the discussion, especially if it’s middle grade, or even in YA, and it would have made most of the book so much better. As it is, it felt like it was tacked on there, and honestly, why didn’t Marty question him about his parents after she found out his mother left?? He clearly mentioned “parentS”, you’d think she’d ask if his dad remarried or something.

-the other thing that confuses me is whether this is middle grade or young adult. On the one hand, this makes sense as one of those “transition-y” books in between middle grade and YA (like on the really young side of YA), but there was swearing and I honestly don’t know what the rules are for cussing in MG.

Basically, this was a disappointment. I’m not even sure why I’m giving it two stars. I’m sure there’s an audience for it, but this is one of those rare cases where I feel too old to read this (and I flippin’ LIVE for YA) and I think it would be better received by readers aged 12-14.


2 interrobangs