For What It's Worth

Monday, August 27, 2018

monday minis: Unclaimed Baggage, Artificial Condition, The Simple Wild


36949992Unclaimed Baggage by Jen Doll

Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review via ALA18

Doris--a lone liberal in a conservative small town--has mostly kept to herself since the terrible waterslide incident a few years ago. Nell had to leave behind her best friends, perfect life, and too-good-to-be-true boyfriend in Chicago to move to Alabama. Grant was the star quarterback and epitome of "Mr. Popular" whose drinking problem has all but destroyed his life. What do these three have in common? A summer job working in a store called Unclaimed Baggage cataloging and selling other people's lost luggage. Together they find that through friendship, they can unpack some of their own emotional baggage and move on into the future. ~ Goodreads

My thoughts: Told in the alternating pov’s of 3 teens are working at a store that sells the contents on unclaimed baggage from airlines (plus a couple of chapters of a suitcase pov…I know it’s weird but it makes sense lol).  This was a quirky YA novel that felt a little TOO quirky at first but grew on me with an utterly charming cast of characters and setting. It was so refreshing to read about teens that actually enjoy their job and support each other through the tough times.

I liked the unlikely friendships, the depth to some of the characters and how the author touched on religion, racism, addiction and more.

However, the tone was often a little uneven when going from lighter plot lines – like blossoming crushes – to the weightier topics of race and religion. At times it felt heavy handed – as in the author was trying to make specific points – rather than having a natural flow to the story.

But still – a cute summer read.


36223860Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2) by Martha Wells

Source: Finished copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review via ALA18

It has a dark past – one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.
Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.


What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…
~ Goodreads

My thoughts: It took me a bit to get back into the swing of things. The first 1/3 seemed very technical and less snarky than the first Murderbot book. Murderbot almost sounded human instead of a hybrid - but things quickly took off again giving readers a big reveal and while setting up the next installment.

Murderbot is never better than when he’s passing judgement on puny humans while secretly having a soft spot for and wanting to protect them.


36373564The Simple WIld by K.A. Tucker

Source: Purchased

Calla Fletcher wasn't even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born. ~ Goodreads

My thoughts: A spoiled princess from Toronto, a physically and emotionally distant father who is dying from cancer and a sexy but gruff Alaskan pilot set against the rugged Alaska wild made for a very emotional story.

The rebuilding of Calla and her fathers relationship in his final days cut me deep as it mirrored s much of my own relationship and loss of my own dad.

The romance was less successful for me. Jonah, the grumpy pilot that works for Calla’s dad, had every right to be wary of Calla but he was infantile & controlling in the way he treated her at times. It surpassed cute pranks to…this guy worries me. He reeled it back in later in the story and I came to root pretty hardcore for them but it ruined what would have been a 5 star read for me.

A lot of messy, flawed characters and relationships in this one. A powerful story of love, forgiveness and reconciliation.




32 comments:

  1. The Simple Wild sounds absolutely amazing, if a bit heavy. Haha I'll have to check out Unclaimed Baggage when I'm in the mood for something light. Great reviews!

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    1. It's very intense and the Alaska setting is painted so vividly.

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  2. I really must read the Martha Wells series and the latest KA Tucker is a big enticement, too.

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    1. It's so much fun Sophia! And they're all novellas so quick reads too!

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  3. I loved The Simple Wild. I think Unclaimed Baggage sounds cute. I like quirky reads. Great reviews!

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    1. I liked TSW a lot but maybe not as much as everyone else. It was an emotional read for me though.

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  4. I haven't read any of these but the cover for Unclaimed Baggage is cute.

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    1. It is. I totally picked it up just because of the cover lol

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  5. Unclaimed Baggage sure sounds cute. Maybe I'll grab it for an in-between horror reads. The Simple Wild might destroy me though so I'll have to stay away from that one.

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    1. I liked the sweetness of the kids. They had issues but were oddly nice and happy lol

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  6. I do want to try the Murderbot series...I wonder

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    1. I'm not sure if you'll like it. They can be slow at times but are super short and funny.

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  7. Glad your reading the Murderbot series too. I agree Artificial Conditions has a slow start but I really liked the aliens and characters featured in it.

    Tori @ In Tori Lex

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    1. It was maybe more sci-fi-ish at first??? And I'm all about the snark lol

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  8. I felt the same way about Artificial Condition- it took me a while to get going? Otherwise I liked it. And The Simple Wild sounds great.

    Am I the only one that thinks Murderbot and A.R.T. exploring the galaxy together might be kinda fun?

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    1. I hope A.R.T. is in the other books too! At first I was unsure of it but I like dhow it kept correcting Murderbot and making him feel inferior lol

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  9. I enjoyed Tucker's book, and must confess you have me curious about Wells' series. Too bad Unclaimed Baggage wasn't more balanced.

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  10. Oooh The Simple Wild looked so good, I was hoping it was, yay! This makes me more excited about reading it. I agree about Murderbot starting out more technical, too- I found the second book that way as well. Though I do think that part of Murderbot sounding almost human is because... well, they ARE becoming more "human"- certainly more feeling, more emotional, etc. But I do love their snark!

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    1. Yes, he is becoming more human but at first he sounded totally human to me lol So I thought that would limit the conflict but it turned out to be great.

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  11. A suitcase POV? That is interesting! I love Murderbot! I'll be reading the third one next week.

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    1. Yeah - it's weird but makes sense. You'll have to trust me on that lol

      I'm curious to see where Murderbot is headed. Interesting ending in this one.

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  12. Thanks for sharing! I really need to read the Murderbot series. I think that's what interests me the most.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  13. It's almost like you were in my head for Unclaimed Baggage. Totally love Doris, but like you, I thought the author was a bit heavy handed at time, and it really changed the tone of the story. And, whoa! She was really trying to jam in every liberal cause under the sun, and sometimes it didn't seem organic in the story. But overall, I liked it.

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    1. Yeah, the characters were wonderful and so sweet. And it's not that the author isn't right about a lot of what happens but damn...and it felt like more of a lesson with script to follow rather than natural dialogue at times.

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  14. The Simple Wild was such a hit for me. I can understand your thoughts on Jonah, but the romance really worked for me. The illness/loss of her father was tricky because I was reading it just a couple weeks after the loss of my own father (though our relationship, thankfully, was nothing like Calla's and Ren's). But it was definitely an emotional read - and one I loved.

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    1. The suitcase thing went on a tad too long for me. That's just cruel and controlling but I was won over by them in the end.
      The dad stuff though - that mirrored a lot of my relationship with my own dad and I'm still thinking about it weeks later.

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  15. A suitcase POV? I am intrigued. Murderbot sounds like an interesting character. The last one sounds really emotional, glad you seemed to mostly enjoy it, aside from the concerning love interest.

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  16. Hmm... well, I like the idea that the unclaimed baggage has a say in the first book, lol! Thanks for sharing these. Always love to see what you are sinking your teeth into! Xo

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