Review of The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

theLongGameThe Long Game
By: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Release Date: June 7th 2016
Published: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Tess Kendrick, teen fixer extraordinaire, returns in a pulse-pounding thriller about a deadly conspiracy at the heart of Washington.

For Tess Kendrick, a junior at the elite Hardwicke School in Washington D.C., fixing runs in the family. But Tess has another legacy, too, one that involves power and the making of political dynasties. When Tess is asked to run a classmate’s campaign for student council, she agrees. But when the candidates are children of politicians, even a high school election can involve life-shattering secrets.

Meanwhile, Tess’s guardian has also taken on an impossible case, as a terrorist attack calls into doubt who can–and cannot–be trusted on Capitol Hill. Tess knows better than most that power is currency in D.C., but she’s about to discover first-hand that power always comes with a price.

My Thoughts:
There’s something about Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ writing that just pulls me in. I’ve read most of her published books and each of them has been a hit for me. The pacing is usually fast and they are exciting and often quick reads. The Long Game was no different. It picks up from The Fixer last year and though I did really like this book I think I liked the other a tiny bit more.

I wasn’t as invested in the characters this round and I think some of that was the absence of Tess’ grandfather. I loved him so, so much in the first book and her struggles with his illness really pulled at my heart. Once again the setting is mostly in the posh Hardwicke School and mysteries and backstabbing abound. It’s really fascinating how many twists and turns are in these books and really it makes reading them so much fun. I caught a couple of the twists but others totally blind-sided me.

Most of the same characters are back for this sequel and we do learn more about some of them (like Henry) and get a better sense of what makes them who they are. I love Asher and his sense of humor. His lightness and flippant attitude really helped to relieve a good amount of the tension for me.

Once again the novel plays on the political schemes within Hardwicke and also in the political realm in Washington. I love how it Barnes focused on both and often they are interwoven. Tess was still a champion for those that need are under-voiced or afraid to stand up for themselves. I felt that the plot was a bit more refined this time and that the major mysteries were more focused in on.

With all the twists this book was very much a thriller and will have readers curious as to what could possibly happen next. The stakes are high- which I loved. You are never sure if everyone will make it out okay or not. This novel was very light on the romantic aspect which also might have pulled from the emotional bit some.

I really had trouble feeling any connections between the characters. I knew Ivy and Tess were working through things but I couldn’t feel it. That was my only real issue with this novel- I really wish I could have been deeply emotionally involved. Regardless, I still found myself eager to pick it up and surprised with how everything played out.

Final Thoughts:
Though I struggled feeling an emotional attachment to the characters I still found The Long Game to be a riveting, thrilling novel that kept my attention. The fast pacing and twists kept me guessing and eager to read more.

TLGPic

Review of The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

THeFixerThe Fixer
By: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Release Date: July 7th 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather’s ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess’s classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for this compelling teen drama with a political twist.

My Thoughts:
I have been a fan of Barnes’ books from before I blogged so anytime I see her name I know I’ll want to read whatever her book is regardless of subject matter. Her books aren’t generally my typical genre but I think she has such a fun, fast paced writing style that always has the ability to addict me.

For me, the main draw to this particular book were the characters. I thought that on a whole the main cast was so complex and well rounded. I will say that I had an emotional response to this story and to the main character especially. Tess’ grandfather was dealing with memory loss. My grandfather passed away recently and he was suffering from frontal lobe memory loss. It was so hard to watch (even from a distance) as he forgot how to speak so I could totally relate and empathize to Tess and her desire to stick with him and hide the truth. I think that this similarity between my life and Tess’ really got me off to a great start with relating and connecting to the main character. I immediately liked her and felt for her.

I of course adored Tess’ grandfather and each scene he was in broke my heart. I was incredibly moved at times and I think enough time had passed since my own loss that it was therapeutic in a way. We also get to know Tess’ sister Ivy fairly well as the story progressed. I found it incredibly interesting watching the two sisters work out their relationship problems. Ivy was a very interesting character because of her political clout and ability to get things done.

As you can tell a good portion of this book focused on family relationships. I really loved that and found that the growth between the sisters was really a highlight for me. I have an older sister so I can relate to Tess here as well. Granted, my sister and I aren’t estranged but it wasn’t much of a stretch to imagine what it might feel like.

There’s something about posh academy life that has always been appealing to read about so Hardwicke Academy and all the students captured my interest. Barnes played into some of the common stereo-types but I felt it was done quite well. Tess won me over yet again by standing up to bullies and being such a loyal friend.

Notice I’m not highlighting much about a romance- that’s because there really wasn’t one to speak of. This novel focused on those other relationships and the mystery and action side of things. Barne’s knows how to write an intense scene. Sections of the book flew by since I couldn’t stop reading. I was also unable to really predict exactly what would happen so that’s always a plus.

Final Thoughts:
I’m honestly not huge into political thrillers (I don’t think) but this book completely captured my interest…that says a lot about Barnes’ writing and characters. The Fixer had wonderful action, intrigue, relationship development and heart.

Stacking the Shelves

Since November there have been a good amount of things going on in my personal life and I keep hoping that things will settle down. Maybe now?

Spring is supposedly on the way though the weather around here can’t seem to decide if it would rather be summer or winter. A good thing that’s come about is that my husband started a new job that he’s loving. So yay to that! This next week is my kiddo’s spring break which I can’t believe. No family plans so I’m hoping we can enjoy some calm and lazy days.

This last week brought me some epic book mail. Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews is a weekly meme where you show what books you’ve purchased, gotten from the library, received from giveaway, as gifts or for review.

For Review (solicited)

  VengeanceRoad

VRmap VRgun

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman.

I am THRILLED to have this in my possession. Look at that cover! The map! The little gun! I can’t express how beautiful this book is. I can’t wait to own the hardcover because if the ARC is this pretty I can’t imagine how the finished copy will be.

wildgirl thefixer

 The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth and The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

I love both of these authors so much I can’t wait to read both of these. I might have danced upon receiving these.

For Review (unsolicited)

anythingcouldhappen
Anything Could Happen by Will Walton.

I don’t know anything about this one but I’m excited regardless. I’m trying to expand my reading horizons so this looks like a good one to try.

Purchased

falconerUK Storyspinnerbook

The Falconer (UK hardcover) by Elizabeth May and The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace

I am so happy to complete my collection of The Falconer. I can’t wait for The Vanishing Throne to release. The Storyspinner is a new favorite and I had to buy the hardcover. I hope to go to the release party next week!

Posts from Last Week

  • My March TBR Pile
  • Blog TourA Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab: Find out which of her worlds she would choose to live in and giveaway
  • ReviewVanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver    star
  • Blog TourThe Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski: Interview and Giveaway

Giveaways

TheWinnersCrimeCover A Darker Shade final for Irene

The Winner’s Crime (or paperback of The Winner’s Curse) by Marie Rutkoski- Ends in 5 Days

A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab + double sided poster (INT)- Ends in 2 Days

How has March started for you?