Category Archives: Series

Game On

Finished Game On by Michelle Smith. I received a copy for review.

I hate sports but for some reason, I love sports movies. I learned recently that that also extends to sports books and Michelle Smith’s duology about a baseball team in Lewis Creek is just delightful. 
Bri and Eric have been next door neighbors forever. They were each other’s first kiss (at 10) and now they don’t really talk. She’s dating a jerk and he’s a player. But of course things are about to change. 
Baseball and the small town they live in are almost characters in this novel (baseball in a good way; the town not so much). I love the way Michelle Smith paints this vivid picture and makes me wish I were in the stands with a box of Cracker Jacks and a soda the size of my face. (No small feat because sports and I are not friends.)
And oh the love story. I had the goofiest grin for most of Game On. 
I hope there are more stories set in Lewis Creek. (Maybe a soccer spinoff with Becca? Please?)

Rise the Dark

Finished Rise the Dark by Michael Koryta. 

This is the second in Michael Koryta’s series about Markus Novak. If there is not a third book, I think I will die. That is not an exaggeration. 
If you read his novels, you know what to expect: a book so tense, I stopped breathing at least five times.

This is the rare second book that’s even better than the first. And oh that cliffhanger. 

You need this book. And all of his others.

Highest of all possible high recommendations. 

Finn’s Choice

Finished Finn’s Choice by Darby Karchut. I received a copy for review. 

It breaks my heart that this is the last Finn Finnegan book. This series has been such an absolute delight and, while this book was everything I could’ve possibly wanted, I am not ready to say goodbye to Finn or Gideon. 

It helps that there’s a little crossover between both of Darby’s other series…but it doesn’t help that much because I will probably never read a new Finn story again and frankly, that’s unacceptable. 
If you are looking for a fantastic MG series that features one of the best father/son relationships ever plus Irish folklore plus strong characters, read these four books. You’ll thank me later.
Highly recommended. 

Red Right Hand

Finished Red Right Hand by Chris Holm. I received a copy for review. 

This is the second book in the Michael Hendricks series (after The Killing Kind). Hendricks is a hitman who takes out other hitmen. Now he’s trying to keep a federal witness alive–the catch is that a lot of people believe he’s already dead. He’s also trying to bring down the Council, a shadowy group that’s tried to kill him. 

This book is insane in the best way. I couldn’t stop reading it and I was very nervous, hoping Hendricks and his associates would stay alive. (The Council is scary, guys!)
I hope there are more books and either way, I hope Chris Holm has a new book out soon. He’s one of my favorites. 
Highly recommended. 

A Torch Against the Night

Finished A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir. I received a copy for review. 

I am so in love with this trilogy (this is the second book). 

This is going to be impossible to review because there is SO MUCH going on. Sooooooo let’s just say that I need book three immediately. And if you haven’t read this series, you need to start. 
The world is amazing and terrifying; the characters are wonderful and awful. It’s sort of what I imagine Game of Thrones to be (all these warring factions) but I don’t watch/read GoT so don’t take that as gospel. 
Just read the books. Highly recommended. 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. 

I’m not going to discuss the plot at all, beyond the fact that this starts with the epilogue from Deathly Hallows. All you need to know is that the children from the first seven books are grown up and have children of their own, and they are now Hogwarts-age. 

So probably you already know if you want to read this or not; most of you probably have already finished it. 
But if you are nervous because this is a play and not a novel, don’t be. It’s different but it’s still magic. It’s still the people we love having a new adventure. 
Highly recommended. And I want to see the play. 

Perfect Fifths

Finished Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Old flames are reignited in the fifth and final book in the New York Times bestselling Jessica Darling series.

Captivated readers have followed Jessica through every step and misstep: from her life as a tormented, tart-tongued teenager to her years as a college grad stumbling toward adulthood. Now a young professional in her mid-twenties, Jess is off to a Caribbean wedding. As she rushes to her gate at the airport, she literally runs into her former boyfriend, Marcus Flutie. It’s the first time she’s seen him since she reluctantly turned down his marriage proposal three years earlier–and emotions run high.

Marcus and Jessica have both changed dramatically, yet their connection feels as familiar as ever. Is their reunion just a fluke or has fate orchestrated this collision of their lives once again?

Told partly from Marcus’s point of view, Perfect Fifths finally lets readers inside the mind of the one person who’s both troubled and titillated Jessica Darling for years. Expect nothing less than the satisfying conclusion fans have been waiting for, one perfect in its imperfection. . . ”

It’s the fifth (and, according to the author, final) book in the saga about Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie.

This is possibly the only series that I’ve been reading since the first book came out, and I’m really sad to see it end. (I am, however, pretty happy with the way it ended.)
Anyway, Jessica and Marcus (another couple in the tortured love category) run into each other–literally–in the airport. Much talking ensues. (Much anxiousness on my part also ensues. Will they finally, FINALLY! get it together?)
I can’t really explain (at least based on this book) why I love the Jessica Darling books so much. I think the best I can say (and it’s a blurb from someone else) is that it’s Judy Blume meets Dorothy Parker. And how can you not love that combination?
So yeah, I’m hoping that Megan McCafferty changes her mind.

Fourth Comings (mini-review)

Finished Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty.

Summary (from Goodreads):

At first it seems that she’s living the elusive New York City dream. She’s subletting an apartment with her best friend, Hope, working for a magazine that actually utilizes her psychology degree, and still deeply in love with Marcus Flutie, the charismatic addict-turned-Buddhist who first captivated her at sixteen.

Of course, reality is more complicated than dreamy clichés. She and Hope share bunk beds in the “Cupcake”—the girlie pastel bedroom normally occupied by twelve-year-old twins. Their Brooklyn neighborhood is better suited to “breeders,” and she and Hope split the rent with their promiscuous high school pal, Manda, and her “genderqueer boifriend.” Freelancing for an obscure journal can’t put a dent in Jessica’s student loans, so she’s eking out a living by babysitting her young niece and lamenting that she, unlike most of her friends, can’t postpone adulthood by going back to school.

Yet it’s the ever-changing relationship with Marcus that leaves her most unsettled. At the ripe age of twenty-three, he’s just starting his freshman year at Princeton University. Is she ready to give up her imperfect yet invigorating post-college life just because her on-again/off-again soul mate asks her to… marry him?

Jessica has one week to respond to Marcus’s perplexing marriage proposal. During this time, she gains surprising wisdom from unexpected sources, including a popular talk show shrink, a drag queen named Royalle G. Biv, and yes, even her parents. But the most shocking confession concerns two people she thought had nothing to hide: Hope and Marcus.

Will this knowledge inspire Jessica to give up a world of late-night literary soirees, art openings, and downtown drunken karaoke to move back to New Jersey and be with the one man who’s gripped her heart for years? Jessica ponders this and other life choices with her signature snark and hyper-intense insight, making it the most tumultuous and memorable week of her twenty-something life.”

I think this is probably everyone’s least favorite book in the series: Marcus proposes, Jessica says she needs to think about it and over the course of a week, we learn more about them and at the end, they aren’t together. 

BUT there’s also a lot to be said for this book. It’s the first one that’s more about Jessica’s other relationships and I think I like her best with Hope, with her parents and sister and especially with her niece. 
This is also the first book where she seems more like an adult than a kid, so there’s also that. 

Charmed Thirds (mini-review)

Finished Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Jessica Darling’s in college!

Things are looking up for Jessica Darling. She has finally left her New Jersey hometown/hellhole for Columbia University in New York City; she’s more into her boyfriend, Marcus Flutie, than ever (so what if he’s at a Buddhist college in California?); and she’s making new friends who just might qualify as stand-ins for her beloved best friend, Hope.

But Jessica soon realizes that her bliss might not last. She lands an internship at a snarky Brooklyn-based magazine, but will she fit in with the uberhip staff (and will she even want to)? As she and Marcus hit the rocks, will she end up falling for her GOPunk, neoconservative RA . . . or the hot (and married!) Spanish grad student she’s assisting on a summer project . . . or the oh-so-sensitive emo boy down the hall? Will she even make it through college now that her parents have cut her off financially? And what do the cryptic one-word postcards from Marcus really mean?

With hilarious insight, the hyperobservant Jessica Darling struggles through her college years–and the summers in between–while maintaining her usual mix of wit, cynicism, and candor.

I am so in love with this series.  Jessica is slightly less likable in this book (endless sarcasm plays less well in college, I think) but I still completely love her.

This series is so relatable though.  I think we’re all Jessica Darling, or at least know someone just like her.

Just read this series.  I love it.  :)

Second Helpings

Finished Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“Jessica Darling is up in arms again in this much-anticipated, hilarious sequel to Sloppy Firsts. This time, the hyperobservant, angst-ridden teenager is going through the social and emotional ordeal of her senior year at Pineville High. Not only does the mysterious and oh-so-compelling Marcus Flutie continue to distract Jessica, but her best friend, Hope, still lives in another state, and she can’t seem to escape the clutches of the Clueless Crew, her annoying so-called friends. To top it off, Jessica’s parents won’t get off her butt about choosing a college, and her sister Bethany’s pregnancy is causing a big stir in the Darling household.

With keen intelligence, sardonic wit, and ingenious comedic timing, Megan McCafferty again re-creates the tumultuous world of today’s fast-moving and sophisticated teens. Fans of Sloppy Firsts will be reunited with their favorite characters and also introduced to the fresh new faces that have entered Jess’s life, including the hot creative writing teacher at her summer college prep program and her feisty, tell-it-like-it-is grandmother Gladdie. But most of all, readers will finally have the answers to all of their burgeoning questions, and then some: Will Jessica crack under the pressure of senioritis? Will her unresolved feelings for Marcus wreak havoc on her love life? Will Hope ever come back to Pineville? Fall in love with saucy, irreverent Jessica all over again in this wonderful sequel to a book that critics and readers alike hailed as the best high school novel in years.”

This book was billed as Judy Blume meets Dorothy Parker and that is the most true sentiment ever.

I am a huge fan of Jessica Darling and the decision to re-read the series was honestly my best one in a long time.

This book is incredibly snarky but it’s also really sweet.  Like Veronica Mars, Jessica Darling is a marshmallow.  (I like it even more than Sloppy Firsts.)

I hope you give this series a chance, if you haven’t already. It’s pretty awesome.  Highly recommended.