Minute Reviews [12]

Posted November 2, 2016 by Kim in 4 Stars, 5 Stars, In Review, Minute Reviews / 1 Comment

You know the drill… I’m behind on reviews. It’s time for a new Minute Reviews post. There might be more than one this week. (Or in the next few days anyhow.) I’m trying to get back to being a “good blogger” again.

And if you want to do reviews like this REALLY easily, check out the Ultimate Book Blogger plugin! It’s amazing. Seriously.

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Minute Reviews [12]The Remedy by Suzanne Young
Series: The Program #0.5
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian, Romance
Publication date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: eARC, 320 pages
How I got it: Edelweiss
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
My rating:

Quinlan McKee is a closer. Since the age of seven, Quinn has held the responsibility of providing closure to grieving families with a special skill—she can “become” anyone.

Recommended by grief counselors, Quinn is hired by families to take on the short-term role of a deceased loved one between the ages of fifteen and twenty. She’s not an exact copy, of course, but she wears their clothes and changes her hair, studies them through pictures and videos, and soon, Quinn can act like them, smell like them, and be them for all intents and purposes. But to do her job successfully, she can’t get attached.

Now seventeen, Quinn is deft at recreating herself, sometimes confusing her own past with those of the people she’s portrayed. When she’s given her longest assignment, playing the role of Catalina Barnes, Quinn begins to bond with the deceased girl’s boyfriend. But that’s only the beginning of the complications, especially when Quinn finds out the truth about Catalina’s death. And the epidemic it could start.

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In Review My Thoughts

Can someone please, PLEASE tell me why in the world I waited so long to read this prequel novella? I loved The Program and The Treatment. The world Suzanne built was so easy to get lost in, totally wrapped up in. I was ridiculously excited to learn there would be more in The Program series, but for some reason, I just never got around to reading them until a couple months ago. I could seriously kick myself, too, because this was… something. Holy cow.

I’m going to keep this super short and sweet because, honestly, I have no clue how to review a book like this without giving away everything that makes it unique and special. This was a total mind-f**k of a book. I’ve come to expect that from The Program series though — and I appreciate that. It’s part of the reason why I love this series so much. The concept of the closers is so freaking creepy to me that it literally made my skin crawl. I can’t imagine being the person who does that for another… and I can’t imagine being the loved one who needs that type of closure. It’s such a messed up concept, yet it fit perfectly into the world Suzanne created. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I had to know what would happen next. I never would’ve in a million years guessed all the twists and turns, however.

What a fantastic addition to a series I was already obsessed with. I loved the characters and I couldn’t get enough of them or their story. And that freaking cliffhanger? I swear a little part of me died with that revelation. I couldn’t wait to start the next book.

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FAVORITE QUOTES

“Admit it. You’re a life klepto. You keep pieces of them like some whacked-out serial killer.”

I’m a patchwork of other people’s memories, but somehow they feel truer than my own. Maybe it’s because these items are tangible: I can touch them and know they’re real.

Ever since I was a child, I wanted to belong to somebody. I could always take care of myself; that wasn’t the problem. But to have a real family, people invested in your outcome, well, that’s something completely different. I wanted to be loved.

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About Suzanne Young

Suzanne Young is the New York Times bestselling author of The Program series. Originally from Utica, New York, Suzanne moved to Arizona to pursue her dream of not freezing to death. She is a novelist and an English teacher, but not always in that order.

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Minute Reviews [12]The Epidemic by Suzanne Young
Series: The Program #0.6
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian, Romance
Publication date: April 19, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: eARC, 384 pages
How I got it: Edelweiss
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
My rating:

In a world before The Program…

Quinlan McKee has spent her life acting as other people. She was a closer—a person hired to play the role of the recently deceased in order to give their families closure. Through this process, Quinn learned to read people and situations, even losing a bit of herself to do so. But she couldn’t have guessed how her last case would bring down her entire world.

The only person Quinn trusts is Deacon, her best friend and the love of her life. Except Deacon’s been keeping secrets of his one, so Quinn must set out alone to find Arthur Pritchard, the doctor who’s been trying to control her life. The journey brings Quinn to Arthur’s daughter, Virginia, who tells Quinn the truth about Pritchard’s motives. The former closer will start to see that she is the first step in fighting an epidemic.

But Quinlan doesn’t want to be a cure. And with all the lies surrounding her, she realizes she has no one left to rely on but herself—even if she doesn’t know who that is anymore.

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In Review My Thoughts

It wasn’t long after finishing The Remedy that I decided I had to jump into The Epidemic. I just had too many questions to wait. So, as annoying as it is that I waited so long to revisit this series, at least I got to binge these two prequel novels. That was good because, honestly, I think I’d have lost my mind if I had to wait more than a few hours. I’m not so good with the waiting thing. But I digress. Back to the book.

The Epidemic was a wonderful conclusion to the storyline of Quinlan and Deacon that began in The Remedy. I had a ton of questions going into this book. I didn’t know who I could trust. I worried that certain characters weren’t who I thought they were and that it would wind up breaking my heart when it was all said and done. I was all twisted up. I breezed through this book because it was as addicting as the others and, well, I needed answers. I was totally invested in the characters — Quinlan most of all, obviously — and since you can never feel secure in the fact that everything will work out positively in a dystopian, I knew I’d be on edge until I finished it.

So, you could totally read The Remedy and The Epidemic separate from The Program and The Treatment. And you could totally read The Program and The Treatment and never pick up the two prequel novels. But, don’t. In fact, I would recommend reading them in the order they were originally put out, too. There’s something to be said about the experience of having the story of The Program/The Treatment and then going back and reading The Remedy and The Epidemic. It’s amazing the connections that are made and how things tie together. This is just a top notch series all the way around. I don’t read a lot of YA these days and I read even less science fiction/dystopian, but The Program series is one of the best of the best.

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FAVORITE QUOTES

“You take up my whole world, Quinlan. It makes you easy to spot.”

And now this is our world. People are killing themselves for no apparent reason other than the loss of hope. Or maybe there is another reason. Maybe we’ll never know the actual truth. 

We’re free to go where we want, but we don’t have to find a place right away. Home is with the person you love, the person who loves you back stupidly and completely. Home is the space of peace in your heart.

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About Suzanne Young

Suzanne Young is the New York Times bestselling author of The Program series. Originally from Utica, New York, Suzanne moved to Arizona to pursue her dream of not freezing to death. She is a novelist and an English teacher, but not always in that order.

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Minute Reviews [12]First & Then by Emma Mills
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Format: eARC, 267 pages
How I got it: NetGalley
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
My rating:

Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them: first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In Review My Thoughts

First & Then is another book I honestly should’ve read far before I did. It’s about football. It’s a Pride & Prejudice retelling. Most of my friends loved it. It pretty much had my name written all over it, but it still got shoved aside on my shelf. That’s sad and all, but I’m still glad I read it when I did — in that awkward time right before football season starts up again and I’m in the mood for ALL THE FOOTBALL THINGS.

This was a super cute, swoony book. It did start off just a little slowly for me, but once it picked up speed, it was totally worth the stumbles in the beginning. I do love a good grumpy hero, which I suppose is why P&P is my favorite of Jane Austen’s books. It’s also why I liked Ezra as much as I did here. There was so much more to him than met the eye. If I was the type to find fictional high school aged boys crush-worthy, he’d be near the top of my list for 2016. Oh, wait… I’m exactly that type. Don’t judge. I adored Devon as well. I found her fairly relatable, despite the age difference, and I loved watching her grow and really come into her own, figuring out which relationships were the best and which needed to be left behind. It doesn’t hurt that Devon and Ezra together were too freaking cute for words.

My only complaint about First & Then was that it ended far too abruptly for me. I’m not saying I need to know if they lived happily ever after, because they are teenagers and all, but what I would’ve liked was an epilogue. Even a short one. Honestly, it was a wholly unsatisfying ending after a book that I found otherwise totally adorable, charming and swoon-worthy. It was a great debut! I’ll be looking for more from Emma in the future!

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FAVORITE QUOTES

When I was a freshman, I had braces and more pimples than I could count. I didn’t wear makeup. I didn’t own short-shorts. I had never tasted alcohol, and I certainly didn’t know how or why you would ever want to blow anything.

“The star football player’s supposed to be all charming and winning and stuff. Not surly and mean-spirited.” 

Football was something everyone had in common—like a mutual religion. We all believed in touchdowns and field goals. We were all baptized in the floodlights. 

“I don’t know how to talk like they do,” Ezra continued after a moment. “But… I feel about you they way they feel in those books. The way those guys feel about those girls that they don’t always deserve.” 

A thousand electric cars could run on how you feel when you know that the person you like likes you back. It feels incredible. Like it shouldn’t be possible. Of all the happy coincidences to ever exist, it’s one of the happiest. 

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About Emma Mills

Emma Mills is a debut author better known to her subscribers as vlogger Elmify. She is also co-creator and co-host of the "life skills" channel How to Adult.

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Minute Reviews [12]Chasing Truth by Julie Cross
Series: Eleanor Ames #1
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Publication date: September 27, 2016
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Format: eARC, 400 pages
How I got it: NetGalley
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
My rating:

At Holden Prep, the rich and powerful rule the school—and they’ll do just about anything to keep their dirty little secrets hidden.

When former con artist Eleanor Ames’s homecoming date commits suicide, she’s positive there’s something more going on. The more questions she asks, though, the more she crosses paths with Miles Beckett. He’s sexy, mysterious, arrogant…and he’s asking all the same questions.

Eleanor might not trust him—she doesn’t even like him—but they can’t keep their hands off of each other. Fighting the infuriating attraction is almost as hard as ignoring the fact that Miles isn’t telling her the truth…and that there’s a good chance he thinks she’s the killer.

In Review My Thoughts

So, mystery/suspense isn’t one of my go to genres, but when I heard one of my favorite authors was writing a series that was Veronica Mars-esque, I knew I had to read it. It was a long book, so I was slightly intimidated in the beginning, but it was interesting and engaging enough that it was a quick read regardless.

I’m not even gonna lie, I totally read Chasing Truth picturing Kristen Bell as Eleanor. She had the same type of sass, smarts and strength, and it was easy to picture the storyline as one that would’ve happened on Veronica Mars. I think that’s part of what engaged me most in the book — well, that and the fact that I just plain love Julie’s writing. Eleanor was totally likable. Miles was hot and mysterious. The romance? Totally swoony. I loved the chemistry between Eleanor and Miles.The mystery kept me guessing and the suspense kept me on the edge of my seat. There were plenty of twists and turns along the way as well. I won’t say much more than that because I don’t want to spoil anything for you.

In short, Chasing Truth was a little bit Veronica Mars, a little bit Pretty Little Liars and a whole lot awesome. I can’t wait for more books in the Eleanor Ames series!

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About Julie Cross

I live in Central Illinois with my husband and three children. I'm a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA. I'm a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres. Outside of my reading and writing credibility, I'm a committed--but not talented--long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict.

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