Joint Review of Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Never Never When I first saw Never Never on Goodreads with its short, simple, intriguing, and confusing synopsis, I marked as to-read immediately. When I saw Rachel at Confessions of a Book Geek and Brandie at Brandie is a Book Junkie were talking excitedly about it on Twitter, I jumped in their conversations and they invited me to live tweet it with them. Of course, I decided to join in, and I really enjoyed talking to them about it. We were so excited, we decided to do a joint review, and so, without further ado, here’s our review!

[Rachel is R, Brandie is B, and I (Stefani) am S – should be obvious, but better to point it out just in case]

The Beginning:

R: The first thing I need to talk about is the start of the book – because I knew it was Colleen Hoover, I stuck with it knowing/expecting it to get good, but I struggled with grasping the first couple of chapters because you’re just thrown in the deep end and it’s all a little muddled (which is probably how the characters feel!), but after a while I settled into it and really started enjoying the story.

B: I agree that you’re thrown in immediately, but that suspense of not knowing what the hell is going on is what hooked me. It forced me to keep reading, trying to figure it out. I loved that!

S: For me, the beginning was really awkward and strange. It took a few chapters to find its rhythm, but once it did, I was HOOKED.

The Genre:

R: I haven’t read anything by Fisher yet (but after this I plan to), and I’m loving the fact that CoHo is trying out this new genre – the mystery and suspense elements were evident, and for a 140 page book I thought that was pretty impressive! That ending – Gah!

B: Fisher is known to be kinda dark with her stories. The Opportunist series is one of my favorites – I highly recommend you start with those! That’s why I was nervous about them teaming up. CoHo books usually have happier endings and I wasn’t sure how that would work with Fisher’s style. And now with that wicked cliffy – we won’t know for a while! Lol.

S: I haven’t read anything by either of these authors so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I know a lot of people (like Rachel) LOVE CoHo, so I was hoping I’d like it. I love mystery and suspense, so that was one of my favorite parts of Never Never.

The Swoons:

R: I’m totally loving, Silas? Please tell me it isn’t just me? I love delving into the story to find out more about what these two characters once meant to each other, and what they might mean to each other again one day. I don’t know how much I like the sound of past, Silas, based on what we learn about him, but I can’t wait to read more about these two.

B: Oh, I totally agree about Silas. I liked him immediately. It doesn’t sound like he was likable before whatever this is happened to him.

S: I don’t think I like the sound of either of them before whatever happened, but I definitely like Silas now. I like what Rachel said about delving into the story to see what they meant to each other and might mean to each other again.

The Story:

R: One word. WUT?! I’ve no idea what’s going on and I’ve no idea where it could possibly be going. I read this book pretty quickly but from around 90% I was speed reading like a demon hoping something​ would be resolved in this instalment. Alas, Hoover and Fisher like to torture their victims, ahem, I mean readers.

B: I love all of the little clues playing out and the discoveries along the way. This is the best kind of suspense! The fact that I’m totally clueless makes my reading experience even better. I’m not one who enjoys figuring out the conclusion before they tell you – that ruins a book for me. This was so well written, even for such a short amount of pages. It packed a serious punch!!

S: WHAT IS HAPPENING? – This is pretty much what I said at least ten times while reading. And I loved that. I loved not knowing what the hell was going on or what is going to happen. I hate when a book is predictable (but I am usually able to figure out what’s happening), so having absolutely no idea what’s going on is so fun! And HOLY CRAP, that ending. Wuuut?

The Cover:Never Never part 2

R:love the cover for this book, and really want to own it in hardcopy! The cover for book 2 was released this week. And there’s only one hand on the cover. Guys! Why is there only one hand on the cover?!

B: LOL, right!?! Even Fisher made that comment on one of her social media posts – something about the fact there’s only one hand… ha ha. Killing me!!

S: I hadn’t seen the cover until just now and NOOO. WHY IS THERE ONLY ONE HAND? Oh man.

R: I enlarged and examined it up close (because I’m weird like that) and I can’t tell which hand is male and which is female to try and figure out who is missing off the cover. CoHo and Fisher just loooove messing with me.

The Series:

R: I’m obviously going to be buying the eBook instalments of this series, but then I’m imagining the final story may be released as a hardcopy bind-up? In that case, I will want to own it as a full novel, but I do feel a little cynical and wonder how much of this is a fabulous marketing ploy… Hmmm…

B: Colleen commented on someone’s Facebook post about how many books there is going to be. She said it had something to do with her publishing contract only allowing so many pages per book. And this story was going over that number, so they made the decision to break it up. They aren’t sure if it’s going to be 2 books or 3, yet. All I know is that doesn’t matter to me. If it’s CoHo, I’m going to read it!! And definitely buy it in paperback, however it’s printed.

Normally I get really annoyed with cliffhangers and marketing ploys to have multiple books in a series. But reading Colleen’s reasons about it showed me it’s not a ploy and she’s not trying to make people upset. It’s just how it worked out and she still hopes people give it a chance.

I loved it so hard. Can’t wait for Part Two in May!

R: That makes sense. Who knew publishers put so many restrictions on their authors? I’m imagining the publisher will see how amazingly successful this is and then kick themselves and release it. At least, I hope that’s what happens. How do we start a petition??? 😀

S: I don’t even care if there’s going to be like seven of these. I want them all, and I want them right now. That ending was one of the biggest cliffhangers I’ve read recently, and I just couldn’t believe it was over. It might be a marketing ploy, but either way: Hurry up, May!!

Predictions and Theories:

R: This should be fun. OK, CoHo has never let me down (sorry Fisher – I don’t know you well enough yet!), but I’m worried that the build-up and suspense is SO great, that the ending of the story could be a bust. What if it takes a weird turn, or makes no sense?! I’m holding on to my faith that this will be amazing, but the seed of doubt is there. So, at first I thought they were maybe dead and were ghosts, but there was too much human interaction going on for that to be true. Then I thought it was maybe a dream… I’m still not sold on that one. But that leaves utter confusion, because unless there is a paranormal element of some description, I really don’t know what’s going on. My prediction is as follows – their families conducted some sort of experiment on them, like in Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, to make them forget about what happened in the past between the two families, and to make them forget about each other, but their love was so strong, that it left lingering memories that’s resulting in them beginning to piece it together… Hence, Never, Never – as in never forget…​

B: I try not to predict or think about a book too hard. Because if I DO figure out what’s happening before the big reveal in the book, I feel like I cheated myself. That being said, I did think about the ghost thing, but like you, quickly dismissed it because of all the interactions with other people. I’ve also considered it to be a dream. But that was where I stopped dwelling on what it could be and just focused on enjoying reading it. If I get too caught up in my head, it just ruins the reading experience for me. I prefer to be blissfully ignorant! LOL.

As for the ending, I have total and complete faith in Colleen Hoover. Whatever happens and however they decide to end it, I am 99.9% sure I’m going to be okay with it. She hasn’t disappointed me yet!

S: Like Brandie, I try not to predict too much. I usually end up doing this anyway, and when I figure it out, I get annoyed at myself and the book. Lol. SO, with that in mind, I didn’t really think about Never Never too hard. I tried, in the beginning, to figure out what the heck was happening, but then just let all of that go and fell headfirst into the story and let it pull me along with it. As I’ve never read either of these authors, I don’t have faith that it’ll all work out in the end or will be explained, but, somehow, I’m totally okay with that. I just want to see what happens!

Never Never: Part Two comes out in May, and we plan on doing another joint review then! Make sure you go follow Confessions of a Book Geek and Brandie is a Book Junkie because they’re both bookishly awesome. 🙂

Book Review: Coin Heist by Elisa Ludwig

Coin HeistTitle: Coin Heist

Author: Elisa Ludwig

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery

Publisher: Adaptive Studios

Publication Date: June 10, 2014

eBook: 225 pages

Stand alone or series: Standalone

How did I get this book: NetGalley

NOTE:I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Adaptive Studios for letting me read this.

This book is available as an eBook on Amazon HERE. It will be released on June 10th.

Let’s start with a brief synopsis:

The last place you’d expect to find a team of criminals is at a prestigious Philadelphia prep school. But on a class trip to the U.S. Mint – which prints a million new coins every 30 minutes – an overlooked security flaw becomes far too tempting for a small group of students to ignore.

United by dire circumstances, these unlikely allies – the slacker, the nerd, the athlete, and the “perfect” student – band together to attempt the impossible: rob the U.S. Mint. The diverse crew is forced to confront their true beliefs about each other and themselves as they do the wrong thing for the right reasons.

Elisa Ludwig’s Coin Heist is a fun, suspenseful, and compelling thriller, told from the revolving perspectives of four teens, each with their own motive for committing a crime that could change all of their lives for the better—if they can pull it off.

What I thought:

The Netgalley page for this title promised this book was “The Breakfast Club meets Ocean’s Eleven”, which is why I requested it. I LOVE both of those movies, so a book that was a combination of both? Sign me up!

Other than the fact that Coin Heist mentions Ocean’s Twelve at one point, I wouldn’t say this book is anything like it. I was bored throughout the whole thing. Honestly, the only reason I finished it was because I kind of felt obligated to as I received it for free.

Alice, Jason, Benny, and Dakota are four kids who go to the same private high school but they aren’t friends. They run in different circles, but after the school loses most of its money, they team up to rob a US mint. The novel switches between each of their perspectives with every chapter; I know this was an attempt to hear the story from these characters’ points of view and to find out why they were agreeing to do something like this, but none of the voices were unique. Each chapter felt like it was being told by the same character. When I read a book that changes perspectives, I expect to be able to know which character is narrating without the author having to tell me. I couldn’t tell in this book. Their voices were not original or unique, which made for a pretty bland experience for me. None of their emotions were true and I couldn’t relate to them at all. Their emotions were all flat and were described kind of clinically, and I just didn’t feel any of them. I could tell that the author tried to make them distinctive occasionally: Alice is the brain and a few times she comments on what’s happening through “social math” (describing life events and situations through math); Benny is Hispanic and once or twice he uses a Spanish word in his inner monologue instead of an English one. But neither of these things happened enough. Benny only does this about two times in the whole novel, and Alice’s “social math” isn’t really explained or used enough to make sense. I think that if these had been expanded upon, it could have made their voices really unique.

And then there’s the plot. Wait, what plot? This book is about a coin heist, right? Nothing actually happens until more than 75% of the way through! I was just bored. I will say that it was a really light read and I read it really quickly, so that was a plus. But other than that, I didn’t like this book. I thought the idea behind the book was super cool, and I was excited for it, but it just didn’t live up.

The bottom line:

This book was bland and boring, and it was pretty close to being a DNF for me several times. The characters’ perspectives were not distinct and the plot was practically non-existent.

Rating:  3 – Horrible; why am I reading this?

Reading next: The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder