Bite-Sized Reviews of Waking in Time, Redux, Confessions of a High School Disaster, Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and Mutant Mantis Lunch Ladies

March 22, 2017 Reviews 19

I’ve gotten a lot of new books for review lately, and I’ve decided to do bite-sized reviews of some of them, so I don’t have to post every single day of the week for forever. Hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!


Bite-Sized Reviews of Waking in Time, Redux, Confessions of a High School Disaster, Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and Mutant Mantis Lunch LadiesWaking in Time by Angie Stanton
Published by Switch Press on March 1st 2017
Genres: New Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
Pages: 362
Source: The Author
My content rating: NA (Characters have sex, but it's not shown)
My rating:
4 Stars

Still mourning the loss of her beloved grandmother and shaken by her mysterious, dying request to “find the baby,” Abbi has just arrived at UW Madison for her freshman year. But on her second day, she wakes up to a different world: 1983. That is just the first stop on Abbi’s journey backward through time. Will is a charming college freshman from 1927 who travels forward through time. When Abbi and Will meet in the middle, love adds another complication to their lives. Communicating across time through a buried time capsule, they try to decode the mystery of their travel, find the lost baby, and plead with their champion, a kindly physics professor, to help them find each other again ... even though the professor gets younger each time Abbi meets him. This page-turning story full of romance, twists, and delightful details about campus life then and now will stay with readers long after the book’s satisfying end.

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I’m a huge fan of time-travel stories, so when the author offered this one up for review (at an event I attended) I had to snatch it up! I’m glad I did because it turned out to be a great read!

The story follows Abbi, who wakes up one morning and it’s suddenly 1983. Everyone seems to know her, but she doesn’t know anyone … or know how or why she’s traveled. This would be bad enough, but she keeps heading backward further and further—she’s never sure how long she’ll be in one place or why she’s ended up in the times she does. She soon starts to see that there are certain people and situations that seem to tie her to the times she travels, though, including another time traveler who claims they’re in love. But Abbi wonders what will happen if she keeps traveling back in time forever.

I enjoyed trying to unwind the time travel mysteries—why Abbi’s traveling, what’s pulling her to certain people, the mystery that her grandmother presented to Abbi just before she died, Abbi’s family background—all of these were intriguing to me and kept me turning the pages. I also loved the romance once it came into play, but it took about halfway through the book before it really got underway, and unfortunately Abbi didn’t spend much time with Will until pretty late in the book due to their time travel paths not connecting. I was worried that I wasn’t going to even care if they got together by the time they met for the first (second?) time, but Stanton managed to pull me into their story after all.

Overall, I found this to be a quick and engaging read and I give it 4/5 Stars.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of Waking in Time, Redux, Confessions of a High School Disaster, Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and Mutant Mantis Lunch LadiesRedux by A.L. Davroe
Series: Tricksters #2
Also in this series: Nexis
Published by Entangled Teen on March 21st 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Pages: 428
Source: NetGalley
My content rating: YA (Some violence; Characters have sex, but it's not really shown)
My rating:
4.5 Stars

The domed city of Evanescence is in ruins. With nowhere to go, prodigy hacker Ellani “Ella” Drexel and a small band of survivors flee to the Undertunnel below their city.

To escape the wasteland she unknowingly created.
But sanctuary is hard to find. With malfunctioning androids and angry rebels at their backs, the group hopes to press on for the neighboring city of Cadence. But Ella’s chosen path is challenging…life-threatening, even. Worse, the boy she loves is acting distant, and not at all like the person she first met in Nexis.

But then Ella learns a secret…and it changes everything.
Ella knows she needs to turn back and make a stand to reclaim her home. She’s determined to bring a new—and better—life to all who’ve suffered.

Or die trying.

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This second book in the Tricksters Series was possibly even more intense than the first. In this book, Ella and company are fleeing the city, but things don’t go as planned. Ella still struggles to figure out her role in the revolution—both what it was meant to be and what she wants it to be. And she finds that her relationship with Gus isn’t simple now that they’re in the real world. Add to that the fact that the legs that Ella has been given have been damaged, leaving her feeling less than whole once again and the fact that pretty much everyone wants to kill them … it’s a bumpy ride.

There’s a major revelation in this book that completely threw me, even though it made complete sense once I knew. I’m incredibly pleased with the way that things played out in the romance department, despite the fact that I was more than a little unhappy in the beginning. And Nexis comes back into play (somewhat), which I was happy to see as well. This book puts poor Ella through the ringer and makes her dig deep and decide what kind of world she wants to live in—the answers aren’t as easy as she once imagined.

This is an exciting sequel that reminds me why I fell in love with this concept to begin with. I’m looking forward to more! I give this book 4.5/5 stars from me.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of Waking in Time, Redux, Confessions of a High School Disaster, Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and Mutant Mantis Lunch LadiesChloe Snow's Diary: Confessions of a High School Disaster by Emma Chastain
Published by Simon Pulse on March 7th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 352
Source: The Publisher
My content rating: YA (Some sexual situations and lots of talk about sex; Drinking)
My rating:
4 Stars

In the tradition of Bridget Jones’s Diary, a lovably flawed high school student chronicles her life as she navigates the highs and lows of family, friendship, school, and love in a diary that sparkles with humor and warmth.

I’m Chloe Winter, and my life is kiiiiind of a disaster.

On the plus side, I got the lead in the musical!
On the down side…
1. I’m a kissing virgin (so so so embarrassing). 2. My best friend, Hannah, is driving me insane. 3. I think I’m in love with Mac Brody, the most popular senior guy, whose girlfriend is so beautiful she doesn’t even need eyeliner. 4. My dad won’t stop asking me if I’m okay. 5. Oh, and my mom moved to

Mexico to work on her novel. But it’s fine—she’ll be back soon. She said so.
Mom tells me everything is copy. So I’m writing down all the horrible things that happen to me in this diary.
This is the worst year of my life so far, unless maybe it’s the best.

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This is the type of book that baffles me because I really enjoyed it even though it has a lot of elements that normally frustrate me. Chloe isn’t always the most likable character and she makes a lot of very poor decisions—but she’s only 14 and, more importantly, she actually reads like a 14-year-old. So, I found myself giving her a lot more leeway than I usually would. She’s very young and naive, but she so wants to feel more mature—she’s at that age where she’s sure she’s missing out on something and just needs to grow up faster. So when an older boy starts paying a lot of attention to her, she can’t help but feel flattered and excited—even if he does have a girlfriend. I think another reason I was willing to give Chloe a bit of a break is because I was charmed by a boy in a very similar manner when I was just a bit older than her. While I didn’t respond to things in the same ways that Chloe did, I could definitely empathize with her. This book brought back a lot of memories for me—both good and bad. Because of this, I found myself turning the pages quickly despite some frustrations with the way Chloe dealt with her situation.

I loved Chloe’s two best friends, who are sort of opposites and both helped Chloe understand herself a lot better. But I wasn’t a fan of the way sex was depicted in this book—for a 14-year-old, Chloe seemed a little too obsessed with it and I’d kind of wished her best friend had stayed true to herself more when it came to that area, especially considering their age. Still, I know I’m probably a bit out of touch when it comes to teens and sex, and this is probably more true to our society than I’d like it to be. I give this book 4/5 stars, because I ended up really enjoying this book, even if I didn’t always agree with Chloe’s thoughts and actions.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of Waking in Time, Redux, Confessions of a High School Disaster, Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and Mutant Mantis Lunch LadiesSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
on April 7th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Romance
Pages: 320
Length: 6 hrs and 45 mins
Source: Library
My content rating: YA (Some talk of sex, Language)
My rating:
4.5 Stars

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

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This is going to be a teensy-tiny bite-sized review because everyone’s already read it but me and you all already know how amazing it is. I listened to the audiobook, and I thought that Michael Crouch was a perfect Simon. Everything about this book is adorable, from the mysterious romance (I kind of guessed who it was, but I’d had other guesses as well) to the musical theater side-plot (I’m a sucker for musical theater) to the family dynamics. This easily gets 4.5/5 stars from me.


Bite-Sized Reviews of Waking in Time, Redux, Confessions of a High School Disaster, Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and Mutant Mantis Lunch LadiesMutant Mantis Lunch Ladies! by Bruce Hale
Series: Monstertown Mysteries #2
Published by Disney-Hyperion on March 7th 2017
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Mysteries
Pages: 208
Source: The Publisher
My content rating: MG (Some MG violence and gross-out humor)
My rating:
3.5 Stars

How well do you know the lunch servers at your school? Sure, they seem like nice people, but what if secretly they are something much, much weirder? Best friends Carlos and Benny, who just saved their teacher from becoming a were-hyena, have been called upon to investigate the strange goings-on in the cafeteria. Why are the lunch ladies suddenly so grumpy? Why are the girls' meals different from the boys'? And what was that thing seen scuttling around the kitchen wearing an apron? It's going to require a lot of courage--and more than an industrial size can of Raid--for the boys to avoid extermination in this buggy adventure.

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This book is pretty much perfect for the audience it’s written for—middle grade boys. It’s full of crazy monsters, daring escapades, elaborate fight scenes and gross-out humor. Then of course there’s a bit of the middle grade version of the battle of the sexes and a mystery involving giant bugs. Along with all of this there’s some nice diversity and an exploration of family dynamics. The book seems perfect for reluctant readers because it’s a goofy, quick and easy read. As an adult, I wasn’t always a fan of the gross elements (one scene in particular made me turn up my nose in disgust), but I’m guessing middle grade boys will love it! It’s a bit too advanced for my youngest (who has reading delays), but I’m setting this one aside for him and hoping he’ll be able to handle it with help soon (I might check to see if it’s coming in an audiobook version so that he can listen and read along.) I give this book 3.5/5 stars.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

19 Responses to “Bite-Sized Reviews of Waking in Time, Redux, Confessions of a High School Disaster, Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and Mutant Mantis Lunch Ladies”

  1. ShootingStarsMag

    Mini reviews are great sometimes. I’m glad you MOSTLY liked all of these, and yay for loving Simon Vs. Such a favorite of mine – and I can’t wait for the movie!!

  2. Sam

    I really liked Royally Lost, and am looking forward to Waking in Time. I kind of love that it takes place in the 80s (when I was a teen). Glad to hear you liked it.
    Sam @ WLABB

  3. Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

    nope! not everyone. weirdo me creature that likes to live under rocks has not read the Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda! Now that I see you gave it 4.5 stars I want to read it so badly. What is wrong with me???? I think I want to read Chloe Snow’s Diary too! I love when kids book sound authentic. Great review 🙂

  4. Amanda @ To Read or Not To Read?

    Great mini reviews, Nicole! I especially love your addition of content ratings, because I’m super picky about content. Now I know I’ll give Waking Up in Time a chance -it sounds fantastic, but I generally avoid New Adult. I’ll have to remember Monstertown Mysteries for recommendations!

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