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Review: May Contain Spies by J.A. Cipriano

May Contain Spies (Meet Abby Banks Book 1) - J.A. Cipriano

NOTE: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.




First thought on reading the synopsis: the heroine's name is Abby! Finally, an Abigail I can actually admire. Not like the evil Abigail fromThe Crucible  or, even worse, Taylor Swift's friend Abigail from her song "Fifteen". Any friend of Taylor Swift has officially lost my respect. (You know I'm looking at you, Lorde.)


Unfortunately, Abby wasn't quite as kick-ass as I wished she was. Sure, she thought about saving herself whenever she was captured by her super-evil mother, but who ended up doing all the saving? Abby?


As if!


Apparently, only heroes (or in this case Stephen) can be the ones to swoop in and save the poor damsels in distress because the weeping damsels are just incapable of saving themselves. Also, this is a small thing, but do we really have to mention Stephen's blue eyes so many times?

  1. "when I stared into Stephen's sapphire eyes, I wondered if I wanted to be a good girl." (Kill. Me. Now.)
  2. "staring at me with those piercing blue eyes of his."
  3. "the look in his sapphire eyes"
  4. "His blue eyes filled with such depth, such hurt, that I knew he wanted to comfort me, only he didn't know how." (Apparently the only thing he knows how to do is save damsels in distress.)
  5. "I stared deep into his sapphire eyes, and a wave of sadness washed over me." (Sigh...)
  6. "He turned toward me, and his blue eyes fixed on me."
  7. "His eyes were so blue and deep that, for a moment, it felt like I was drowning as he led me toward the back of the room." (Drowning. Something I kind of wish she was doing right now.)
  8. "His brilliant blue eyes sparkled, lips curling into a smile as he leaned in toward me."
  9. "he whirled around, eyes like oceans of sapphire as he took hold of my hands and stared at me." (Oceans of sapphire? Dang, I wish I were that rich! Yes, I am resorting to taking a metaphor--or is that a simile?--literally to escape the pain of reading about Stephen's blue eyes one more time.)
  10. "he said, glancing at me with eyes like an ocean storm as I followed him." (into the bedroom, where they did what bunnies do, to quote Ingrid Michaelson. Or at least that's what I wish they'd done so they could just get it over with!)


So why three stars? The plot made up for the lack of character development. As smart as I flatter myself into thinking I am, I would never in a million years have guessed the ending. That and the super-spy tools. Reversing gravity with a ring? You have to admit that's pretty darned cool. And the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy joke definitely improved my opinion of Cipriano.


"[Abby asked Donovan] 'What's going on with me, my mom, and everything?' Donovan sighed so loudly that it could have awakened the dead. 'I was hoping you were going to ask an interesting question, maybe "why are we here?" or "will you make out with me?" then I would have had a good answer.' He waved his hand as if blowing me off. 'Yours is barely worth the effort. I'm half-tempted to just answer with forty-two.'"


Donovan should just have said "42. The answer to life, the universe, and everything." That would have made my life so much better.

Promises Hurt

Promises Hurt - Elle Brooks UNPOPULAR OPINION TIME!

From all the 5- and 4- star reviews, I was expecting this to be a book about promises (obviously) and how three can't keep a secret unless two of them are dead. What I got instead was…well, I don't know. What's the point of putting the characters (and the readers) through all this teenage angsty sh*t? What's the message in this book? And where’s the plot? Because don’t tell me that those lame “secrets” that anybody could have predicted are the PLOT. Also, that ending was just a cheat. There was literally NOTHING happening in the book, and suddenly it ends with a cliffhanger? Puh-lease.

NOTE: I got this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, Elle!

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs I was expecting a creepy tale that would keep me awake at night, but what do I get? A book with a predictable plot, cardboard characters, and a totally unbelievable romance. *sigh*

Actually, I take that back. There was one thing creepy about this book: the romance. Emma was a lover to both Jacob and his grandfather? Jacob himself admits that it's kind of like incest! Um ... ew?

Time travel plots also have a history of being nonsensical (look at Edge of Tomorrow or X-Men: Days of Future Past), and this is no exception.

Also, Riggs didn't do a good job of incorporating the pictures into the story at all.

Such a disappointment.

Anna Dressed in Blood

Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake This book actually didn't scare me (too much...), and there were a few things that kept this from a five-star read. One time where I think the author may have confused Saturday with Sunday, which confused me, so I'm taking off a star. You don't like it, Blake? DEAL WITH IT.

Honestly, it's just because there were a few too many loose threads at the end. But the difference between this and, say, [b:Insanity|18910286|Insanity (Mad in Wonderland, #1)|Cameron Jace||26915698] is that the plot actually makes sense and was still gripping, even with the loose threads. And yes, Cas could be a bit of a jerk sometimes, but I think after all the stuff he's been through, he has a bit of a right to be a jerk. Also, can someone please come up with a ship name for Thomas and Carmel? So then I can just say it 24/7? Please?


Insanity - Cameron Jace Everything about this book annoyed me.

Okay, fine, not everything. The cover's actually pretty cool.

And ... actually, that's it. The plot was completely nonsensical. I did find it interestingly nonsensical at the beginning, but a whole book of unexplained and, frankly, absurd events is not my cup of tea. Also, why does Alice suddenly feel the need to protect Constance after about 1 second? And why does Jack keep popping up everywhere? Why does he even like Alice? And why is he such a creeper? Nothing makes any sense.

NOTE: I got an electronic copy of this book from the author for an honest review. Thanks, Cameron!

Darkfever (Fever #1)

Darkfever (Fever #1) - Karen Marie Moning DNF at 121 pages

The characters were basically piles of shit. That's about all the characterization they got. The world-building wasn't even good enough to convince me to finish it.


UnSouled - Neal Shusterman Ah, Shusterman. This COULD have been 5 stars, but alas. You messed it up. Congratulations. First problem: love triangle. Seriously? I just wanna say that I did NOT sign up for this. Second, Grace does not feel low-cortical at all. Other than the fact that people describe her as vague, she's the smartest friggin' person in the whole group! And it's not even like an autistic savant or anything. She's just smart, so don't make her low-cortical! But despite those two problems, you still get 4 stars. Why? Because I can't imagine rating this trilogy anything lower than 4 stars. Duh. But also, the ending. Proactive Citizenry is so smart. Funding both ads promoting unwinding of teens AND ads against unwinding of teens but for unwinding of adults? Goshdarn it, PC. Also, I honestly didn't know what Sonia and Janson's device would be, but that was smart. I never said Shusterman was bad at plot twists!

Also, Bach étude for piano? Really? I don't think so.

The Distance Between Us

The Distance Between Us - Kasie West It started out as a 3 or 4 star read. Then I got sick of the one-liners. (Savor this moment while you can, because I will never say that again.) So it was cruisin' along at a solid 3 stars, until Caymen started overreacting at every. single. darned. thing. Also, there was a sentence in the book that was dangerously close to "I'm so glad a man is here so he can take care of all the important things! Women are just not smart or shrewd enough for that sort of thing!" ... no. Let's not go there.

The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel

The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel - Alice Hoffman so. boring. and practically no plot too. the only little mystery was resolved with about 100 pages to go till the end. really? and there was ... wait for it ... INSTA-LOVE! probably the bane of my existence. just ... ugh.

Front and Center

Front and Center - Catherine Gilbert Murdock For some reason, DJ just got on my nerves this time. Maybe I'm just not in the right mood, and I'll probably come back to this one at some point, but I'm leaving it DNF for now.

Night of Cake & Puppets (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2.5)

Night of Cake & Puppets (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2.5) - Laini Taylor Zuze and Mik are just so perfect together ... ARGH WHY CAN'T I HAVE A MIK!

EDIT: Just couldn't resist reading it another time! *sigh* Mik ... why can't he be real?

The Mysterious Benedict Society

The Mysterious Benedict Society - Trenton Lee Stewart, Carson Ellis hmm. other than the fact that I could predict the plot twists a few pages before they happened, I also felt like the characters were a tad cardboardy. I mean, is Constance ever not grumpy? exactly. but I liked it.

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass)

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass) - Sarah J. Maas that was actually so much better than [b:Throne of Glass|7896527|Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)|Sarah J. Maas||11138426]. Not perfect: some of the plot reveals seemed rather obvious after the first clue was dropped, but she usually reveals the surprise a few pages after she drops the first clue. Also, at least Celaena keeps going back and forth between Chaol and Dorian for valid reasons! Unlike some books ... *cough* [b:The Selection|10507293|The Selection (The Selection, #1)|Kiera Cass||15413183] *cough*. And I think Maas did a pretty good job justifying every character's actions--even the villains. No, it[s not perfect, but it's pretty darn good. But the ending reveal ... holy shit. Same problem with the early guessing, but after I guessed that Celaena was the heir I was like "wait. no way. can't be. Celaena herself said Aelin wasn't alive! How can she be Aelin?" But then she was. And I was like "... shit. oh shit. shit shit shit shit shit. shit. shit. oh god. shit." no, I'm not even kidding.


UnStrung - Neal Shusterman, Michelle Knowlden The background isn't as developed as [b:Unwind|764347|Unwind (Unwind, #1)|Neal Shusterman||750423] or [b:UnWholly|13545075|UnWholly (Unwind, #2)|Neal Shusterman||13096117], but I still liked learning more about Lev. And it also made me realize just who Cam's hands belonged to. I actually got so mad when Unwholly mentioned that Cam's hands belonged to a talented guitarist; I was like "and one who deserved to live, you bastards! he loved his fiancée, and everybody loved him, and he was going to become famous, but you TOOK HIS LIFE FROM HIM! WHAT RIGHT DO YOU HAVE TO DO THAT?!" So yeah, I was just a bit mad.


UnWholly - Neal Shusterman In the intro, Shusterman writes something along the lines of "I hope this is a terrifying, sleep-depriving book!"

Yeah, thanks Shusterman.

Yes, some of the new characters do feel a bit like those from [b:Unwind|764347|Unwind (Unwind, #1)|Neal Shusterman||750423], but I don't really mind more of them. And the one that's different ... well, let's just say that he's VERY different.

The best part has to be the plot. It's a bit hard to follow at times, but once you get it, everything falls into place and it's just perfect in its horribleness. If that makes any sense. Which I doubt it does.

Just read it, okay?

Mrs. Mike

Mrs. Mike - Benedict Freedman, Nancy Freedman read a long time ago. from what I remember, only made it to the halfway point because Ms. Melissa recommended it to me. boring.

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