Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Top Ten Words/Topics That Will Make Me Not Pick Up A Book (8)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish

I haven't done a Top Ten Tuesday in a while, but this topic caught my attention, so I decided to do it. I tend to be quite open in what I read, but there are a few things that will cause me to put the book down and give up on it altogether.  

1) Male POV/male protagonists: Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against guys, but if a female author is trying to portray the thoughts of a male character, I'm a bit hesitant. But if the author is a guy, then I would be fine with that. In my experience, most female authors fail in portraying male characters *cough* Ethan from Beautiful Creatures *cough*

2) The synopsis contains the word "mysterious guy/girl": More times than not, I've found that when this phrase is present in the synopsis, the author is just trying to cope out of character development. I mean, just as long as the person is mysterious there really is no point in developing that character, right? /sarcasm Example: Daniel Grigori from Fallen

3) When an author I don't like blurbs on the cover of the book.

4) One word: Werewolves. I find them gross and icky and not something I want to read about.

5) Character X moves to a new town because of recent tragedy: Come on. This is getting pretty old, and if authors think they are catching our attention by doing this, they are incorrect. And usually, if a book contains an unoriginal element like this, the rest of the book will probably be just as unoriginal.

6) Love triangles: Don't even get me started on this.

7) Set solely in high school: I already have to deal with the drama associated with high school every day. I don't find it very enjoyable to read about it in a book.

8) Dystopias set in the future but are actually romances: I cannot stress enough how much I hate these. It's like, I want a dystopia, but I end up with a book full of drama and little to no action and worldbuilding. *Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi*

9) Survival stories: Excluding The Hunger Games, I don't have a great history with survival stories. Namely, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Hatchet, and The Sign of the Beaver.

10) Characters are under 14: I know this is weird, but I don't like reading about characters that are much younger than me. Probably in a few years I would, if I wanted to go into the mind of a ten-year-old and relive my childhood.

Make sure to link to your TTT post so I could check it out!    

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Review/Rant: Forbidden: Discover the Legend, by Tina Smith

Forbidden: Discover the Legend (Wolf Sirens, #1)


Title: Forbidden: Discover the Legend
Author: Tina Smith
Genre: Paranormal
Pub. Date: July 20, 2012

When Lila unwillingly moves to the country town of Shade, she can’t imagine the life-altering events that lie in wait for her. Shade has a curfew and has always been surrounded by myths. A central feature of the town is its famous statue of Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt, whose spirit is said to protect the innocent.

Lila falls in with a group of intriguing teenagers with luminescent eyes and soon she is drawn into the shadowlands of fantasy and reality, where destiny collides.

A mysterious local girl, Cresida, warns her to stay away, but Lila is drawn to them like a moth to a flame.

Cresida knows their fatal secret and she is honour-bound to protect those who are endangered. But she underestimates Lila’s passion for the mysterious and charismatic clan of youths. Lila begins to feel a call she cannot ignore. Yet her heart is filled with vulnerable desires that begin to turn the underworld upside down, for both hunter and hunted, as she learns they have been waiting for her…

Inspired by the legend of the mythical femme fatale, Wolf Sirens is an intimate tale of unrequited and forbidden love in the underworld, a masterpiece of romance fantasy. -Goodreads



Putting it concisely: This book was a sloppy, horrible mess.

This book leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I have never read something like this before, and not in a good way. I don't want it to seem like I'm hating on Forbidden: Discover the Legend for the hell of it; it truly is this terrible and it's hard for me to conceal my anger towards this.

First and foremost, I want to put it out there that I was only able to bear about 65% of the book; the rest, I skimmed. I rarely skim books, which just displays how much this was a pain to read.

The Writing
The writing was amateur at best, childish at its worst. Filled with run-on sentences, unorganized paragraphs, and spelling and grammatical errors, I felt like I was reading a story written by a 12-year-old. It made the novel a million times harder to follow, in addition to the confusing plot.

Not only that, but Forbidden was jam-packed with unneeded mental questions the narrator/MC was aiming at herself. It got repetitive and tedious. Sometimes, there were paragraphs consisted entirely of mental questions.

C'mon, all these errors shouldn't be done by an author. It's all Writing 101.

Don't believe me? Here are just a few examples:

"I didn't pry further. I hoped as she had the key, that it wasn't stolen and she didn't seem the type. I wondered who had been pissed off enough to have keyed it. I learnt Giny was short for Giane--even though it was the same length, she told me with a laugh." And that is all in one paragraph, might I add.

"Hers were the deepest brightest blue I had ever seen and we weren't in the sun, but they sparkled."

"I was so pale I was green." Uh-huh. I never thought green would be classified as "pale".

Lila- The Main Character
Moving on to the MC with no personality, Lila. Or, if you consider being a snob as having a personality, I guess you could say she has somewhat of a persona. A shallow one, nonetheless.

Anyway, Lila, who the author wasn't bothered enough to have developed, was a judgmental snob. I like to describe her as a hypocrite, since she goes around judging people before she gets to know them and magically knows all their bad qualities-- qualities that she undeniably possessed.

Now, I want to make it clear that I don't have a problem with flawed heroines. In fact, I prefer reading of those than of Mary-Sues. But her. She is a different story altogether, It was downright irksome to have to be in her head for so many pages. That girl gave me a major headache. *takes ibuprofen*

Here's a quote that displays her judgmental self:

"She had a small gap in her front teeth which gave her more character than she appeared to possess before as she smiled widely at me."

Look who's talking about having no character! Besides this being judgmental and hypocritical, it makes no sense whatsoever.

And another great exhibition of her personality:

"As I gazed at him I unfortunately knew then that I found his friend, Sky, far more attractive, but if he was seconds, then I sure couldn't compromise."

So looks are far more important than personality? How could you be so shallow?

Oh, and my favorite:

"I was decidedly more like Giny, maybe slightly looking I supposed, otherwise he would date her, although he wasn't with Lily or Bianca either, and as far as I could tell they weren't otherwise taken. Perhaps I'd underestimated myself and I liked that thought."

Perhaps you are in dire need of a reality check to fix your shallowness, hon.

"The thought of becoming a werewolf appealed to me, not for Reid or the eternal life, or anything- but the possibility that then I would be beautiful enough for Sky."

I sincerely hope that there aren't actually people like this. I really do.

I won't even go into the under-developed supporting characters. I hate all of them. And I hate the plot, too.

Furthermore, why was Artemis even brought up in the Prologue? I'm really curious. It's not like she was mentioned at all in the rest of the book.

In the past, I have only read one other werewolf book prior to this, and that is Shiver by Maggie Steifvater. While Forbidden has nothing on Shiver, I didn't exactly like Steifvater's novel. So, I've learned my lesson. I won't be reading anything by this author, nor anything on werewolves.

1 star

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Books I Regret DNF'ing

There are some books that I am glad I did not finish, but others, I painfully regret not finishing them. I feel like I didn't give some of these a fair chance, and even though they had promising storylines, I still ended up giving up on them. Here I some books I wish I had finished:

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, #1)

Etiquette & Espionage
Author: Gail Carriger
Genre: YA steampunk
I've read the synopsis for the upcoming second book, and it really sounds interesting. I remember reading this back in March, and I didn't have a good reason for not finishing this. Maybe I'll try this again one day!




Shades of Earth (Across the Universe, #3)

Shades of Earth
Author: Beth Revis
Genre: YA sci-fi
I enjoyed reading the first two books of the Across the Universe series, and I'm not quite sure why I didn't finish this last installment. I feel like I'm a disgrace to this series since I consider myself a fan of it. 



Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky, #2)

Through the Ever Night
Author: Veronica Rossi
Genre: Sci-fi/dystopia
I gave up on this second book of the Under the Never Sky series due to the fact that the author didn't explain things very well in the first book, so I was a bit confused at the beginning of this one. Based on my friends' reviews, it seems that the author actually explained everything, and it started to make sense. Plus, most of my GR friends gave this book 4 or 5 stars.

What are some books you guys wish you didn't DNF, and you feel like you didn't give it a fair chance?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (4)


I've got a pretty awesome haul this week, if I do say so myself. And since it's summer vacation, I'll have plenty of time to read with no distraction whatsoever! *does evil laugh* So here's what I got:

Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)Thieves Like Us: RejacketedMythologyFriday BrownLooking for AlibrandiThe Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse, #1)The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1)
From top left:
1- Siege and Storm, by Leigh Bardugo
2- Thieves Like Us, by Stephen Cole
3- Mythology, by Helen Boswell
4- Friday Brown, by Vikki Wakefield
5- Looking for Alibrandi, by Melina Marchetta
6- The Assassin's Curse, by Cassandra Rose Clark
7- The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness

From Netgalley:
Forbidden: Discover the Legend (Wolf Sirens, #1)Sworn to Raise (Courtlight #1)Grasping at Eternity (The Kindrily, #1)

1- Forbidden: Discover the Legend, by Tina Smith
2- Sworn to Raise, by Terah Edun
3- Grasping at Eternity, by Karen Amanda Hooper

What's on your Stacking the Shelves post?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Review: Slumber, by Tamara Blake

Slumber

Title: Slumber
Author: Tamara Blake
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. date: July 16, 2013 
Once upon a time, Ruby believed in magic…

When Ruby volunteers to take her mother's housecleaning shift at the gothic Cottingley Heights mansion, she thinks it's going to be business as usual. Clean out the fridge, scrub toilets, nothing too unusual. But nothing could prepare her for the decadent squalor she finds within. Rich people with more money than sense trashing their beautiful clothes and home just because they can. After the handsome Tam discovers her cleaning up after him and his rich friends, Ruby has never felt more like a character from her sister’s book of fairy tales.

Tam sees beyond Ruby’s job and ratty clothes, and sweeps her off her feet, treating her like a real princess, but Ruby is sure this beautiful boy is too good to be true. And as one tragedy after another befalls Ruby and her family, Ruby painfully learns that magic is all too real, and it always comes with a price. -Goodeads


I've read quite a few books on the topic of Fae- although this book is different from the others. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, I’m not entirely sure, as my feelings for this book are very mixed.

Slumber is a novel that is categorized as fantasy, and rightfully so. But, I found values in this book strangely reminiscent of a coming-of-age novel, stressing the importance of family, going into the nature of relationships, and displaying the growth of a teen girl.

While I appreciated this, it kind of took away from the fantasy feel of the novel I was looking forward to. I’m not saying I don’t like these kinds of teachings in my novels, I just wish the author handled it better and somehow made a balance between the two. As a chiefly fantasy reader, I was missing that magical feel these types of books tend to have. To be more specific, I was hoping that Ruby would venture into the actual world of the Fae, instead of merely having a glimpse into it.

Which brings me to my next point. The Fae weren’t very developed, and I didn’t learn much about them. The author didn’t exactly delve into this, unfortunately.

The third person POV, I felt, was unsuitable for this novel. I’m used to books with first person POV, and I’m glad for the change, but it didn’t really fit this book very well.

Personally, I wasn’t terrified of Violet. Sure, she was pretty mean, but that’s not the only trait villains have. She’s kind of pathetic and I just couldn’t take her very seriously.

The protagonist, Ruby, is a heroine I greatly admire. She actually uses her brain. She doesn’t easily fall for Tam, is not unbelievably na├»ve, and actually has a lot of strength. But what I find most interesting about her is her devotion to her family, which I find quite lacking in most other characters in books. At first, I was scared that Ruby would fall head-over-heels for Tam the moment she set eyes on him, but thankfully, that didn’t occur. It was easy to sympathize with her, and I didn’t find that she was too whiny or anything.

At first glance, it may seem like I have many more complaints about this book than likes, but as a whole, Slumber was pretty good. A solid debut, and while I was confused for a majority of the book, it still managed to entertain me. This is perfect for anyone looking for a short, easy fantasy read. In fact, I even think that lovers of contemporary would enjoy this book.

2.5-3 stars

Book Blitz: Rush, by Eve Silver




Rush (The Game #1)
by Eve Silver
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen

Summary from Goodreads:

So what’s the game now? This, or the life I used to know?

When Miki Jones is pulled from her life, pulled through time and space into some kind of game—her carefully controlled life spirals into chaos. In the game, she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures. There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Miki has only the guidance of secretive but maddeningly attractive team leader Jackson Tate, who says the game isn’t really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival, and the survival of every other person on this planet. She laughs. He doesn’t. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.

Available from:
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png  photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg  photo 111AD205-AA04-4F9E-A0F4-C1264C4E9F30-1855-000001A1E8CEB6D7_zps9b730b94.jpg   photo KoboIcon_zps515cdc1a.jpg

***Excerpt***

There’s a flash of light, blindingly bright. Colored haloes obscure my vision. They dance and flicker and then disappear, leaving only a rectangle of light boxed in by the dark doorframe.

I see then that the door’s gone and in front of me are people. No…they aren’t people. They have limbs, hair, faces, but they aren’t human. After the first glance, they don’t look even remotely human. They’re pure, painful white, so bright they throw off a glare. They look like they’ve been dipped in glass, smooth and polished, but fluid. And their eyes…they’re a silvery color, like the mercury in the antique thermometer that my mom used to have at the side of the front porch.

When I was ten, I knocked that thermometer off with my wooden kendo sword, shattering the glass. The little blobs of mercury went all over the porch. I was a kid. I didn’t know better. I touched them, prodding the little balls until they joined the bigger blob. My mom swooped down on me and snatched me away, telling me it was poison. It could kill me.

I stare at the things in front of me: the Drau. I can’t look away.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember Jackson talking about Medusa.

Don’t look at their eyes.

Their mercury eyes.

They’re poison.

They will kill me.


Copyright © 2013. Eve Silver. All Rights Reserved.




About the Author

Eve Silver lives with her gamer husband and sons, sometimes in Canada, but often in worlds she dreams up. She loves kayaking and sunshine, dogs and desserts, and books, lots and lots of books. Watch for the first book in Eve’s new teen series, THE GAME: RUSH, coming from Katherine Tegen Books, June 2013. She also writes books for adults.



Author Links:
     

***GIVEAWAY***
Signed copy of Rush, US and Canada only.



Hosted by:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (9): A Darkness Strange and Lovely

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly, #2)


Title: A Darkness Strange and Lovely
Author: Susan Dennard
Genre: YA Steampunk
Pub. date: July 23, 2013

Following an all-out battle with the walking Dead, the Spirit Hunters have fled Philadelphia, leaving Eleanor alone to cope with the devastating aftermath. But there’s more trouble ahead—the evil necromancer Marcus has returned, and his diabolical advances have Eleanor escaping to Paris to seek the help of Joseph, Jie, and the infuriatingly handsome Daniel once again. When she arrives, however, she finds a whole new darkness lurking in this City of Light. As harrowing events unfold, Eleanor is forced to make a deadly decision that will mean life or death for everyone.

I completed Something Strange and Deadly (review here) about a week ago, and I cannot wait for the second installment to come out!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Mini Reviews (1): If I Should Die & Something Strange and Deadly

If I Should Die (Revenants, #3)

Title: If I Should Die (Die For Me, #3)
Author: Amy Plum
Genre: YA Paranormal
Pub. Date: May 7, 2013

I will not lose another person I love. I will not let history repeat itself.

Vincent waited lifetimes to find me, but in an instant our future together was shattered. He was betrayed by someone we both called a friend, and I lost him. Now our enemy is determined to rule over France’s immortals, and willing to wage a war to get what they want.

It shouldn’t be possible, none of it should be, but this is my reality. I know Vincent is somewhere out there, I know he’s not completely gone, and I will do anything to save him.

After what we’ve already fought to achieve, a life without Vincent is unimaginable. He once swore to avoid dying—to go against his nature and forsake sacrificing himself for others—so that we could be together. How can I not risk everything to bring my love back to me? -Goodreads

My Rating: 3 stars
Truthfully? I'm unsure why I continued this series. With the first two books full of cheesy love declarations, an immature plot, and a protagonist that can almost be called a Mary Sue, the last book was bound to be as disappointing as the first two. But, peculiarly, it was not as bad as I thought it would be.

It's obvious Amy Plum has grew as an author. Her writing improved greatly, she expanded on the nature of Revenants, and she added in subplots to make the overall plot more complicated. If you look at book 1 and compare it to book 3, the improvements are astonishing.

But, not everything was answered in this last book. There was no epilogue, leaving the reader feeling a bit unsatisfied due to the lack of closure. However, if you're willing to put yourself through the pain of the first two books to read this somewhat good book, then go ahead. If I'm being honest with myself, it really wasn't worth it.
Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly, #1)


Title: Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1)
Author: Susan Dennard
Genre: YA Steampunk/ Paranormal

The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance. -Goodreads

My Rating: 4 stars
Both these books, If I Should Die and Something Strange and Deadly, deal with zombie-like creatures. Undoubtedly, this book handles the topic much better than the former. 

The complicated story-line was confusing at the beginning, but gradually, it became easier to understand. At times I felt that the author was trying to shove too much into one book, though I did enjoy it. The author used the steam-punk setting to her advantage to give the story a very distinct and vivid setting, which is easily my favorite part of the novel. I loved all the characters, namely Eleanor. She's not overly strong, nor too "beautiful", she's flawed and I liked that.

This is probably the most creative paranormal I have read in a while, and it most certainly stands out amidst the abundant cookie-cutter paranormals. It is obvious this novel is setting up for something more coming in future novels, which I can't wait to begin reading.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Review: Scarlet, by A.C. Gaughen

Scarlet (Scarlet #1)


Title: Scarlet (Scarlet #1)
Author: A.C. Gaughen
Genre: YA Historical fiction
Pub. Date: February 14, 2012

Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

You know, I was so tempted to write a review consisting entirely of ZOMG's and using caps lock to emphasize how much I love this book. But I know that will either a) bore all of you to death or b) embarrass myself. Now that I can think clearly and trust myself to write a readable review, I shall continue.

Scarlet is a retelling of the much-loved story, Robin Hood. The author's take on this story is nothing short of brilliant and unique. Robin Hood's infamous companion, Will Scarlet, is actually a girl -- who is the main protagonist.

Actually, what I appreciated most about this story was how A.C. Gaughen took each character and molded them to give each a distinct personality of their own. There's flirty John Little, sweet Much, and heroic yet sometimes moody Robin Hood.

Scarlet

"I weren't the sort to have people to go with, people looking after, and I were fair sure I didn't want to change that none."

Scarlet is independent and strong, while at the same time, flawed in her own ways. Namely, in the romance department. Some may have problems with her character, as she can be a bit on the abrasive side at times, but given her past, I find it easy to overlook. Her mysteriousness at the beginning of the book had me hooked and interested to know more of her character.

Robin Hood

”He were handsome, God knows that. All soft wet-wheat hair, eyes that were gray blue like the English Channel, and a jaw that were strong enough to take a few punches.”

The Robin Hood in this book is still the heroic, kind-hearted one we all know and love. But little did we know that he's also a love-stricken man who is hopelessly in love with his best friend. He tried not to let his love get in the way of his work, resulting in him pushing away Scarlet at several points in the novel.

There were plenty of action scenes to keep one entertained throughout the novel. They kept me engaged and were definitely one of my favorite parts. The unexpected plot twist caught me off guard and was not one I anticipated.

Because I was so desperate for the next installment, I began obsessively searching for when the next book will be released. And then I began to search for historical fiction books to keep me busy until then.

Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever read a retelling of Robin Hood. But I say this with full conviction; this is one of the best retellings I have read in a while. And that’s saying something.

I never thought I would be falling hard for Robin Hood and his story. I guess I was proven wrong, thanks to A.C. Gaughen’s debut novel. With just enough tension, action, and romance, this one is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

5 stars!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Feature & Follow (3)

Happy 4th of July to those who celebrate it!

Increase Blog Followers

Preferred Follow Method: Bloglovin'

Question: 
Today’s is the US’ Independence Day. Share your favorite book with a war in it, or an overthrow of the government.

Answer:
Here are some favorites of mine:

Chains (Seeds of America, #1)The Book ThiefBetween Shades of Gray


1- Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson: This is my favorite novel on the American Revolution, told from a young slave's POV.
2- The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak: A beautifully written novel on a girl living in Germany during WWII.
3- Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys- Another favorite on mine set during WWII and following a Lithuanian girl and her family forced out of her home and her journey through the USSR.

What are your favorites?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (8): Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted my Jill at Breaking the Spine

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Between, #1)


Title: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Between #1)
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Genre: Fantasy
Pub. Date: August 15, 2013

You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town…until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery...who makes you want to kiss back. Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

Blending faded decadence and the thrilling dread of gothic horror, April Genevieve Tucholke weaves a dreamy, twisting contemporary romance, as gorgeously told as it is terrifying—a debut to watch.

The synopsis definitely got me hooked. So thrilled to get this one!