Updated review: Driven by my sometimes misguided sense of curiosity, I decided to finish reading this novella, despite my earlier abandonment of it. U Updated review: Driven by my sometimes misguided sense of curiosity, I decided to finish reading this novella, despite my earlier abandonment of it. Unfortunately, the story, the plot, and the level of the grotesque only devolved the more I read. In approximate order of appearance, the following are used as plot points in this novella of fewer than 100 pages.
- Drug-facilitated sexual assault - Killing and mutilation of chickens - Attempted rape - Kissing and making out following disruption of that attempted rape, complete with rapey thoughts from the male protagonist about how it's hard for him to control himself around her - Poisoning and killing of two horses - Incest between daughter and father, including reveal that said daughter has been seducing father since the age of 13 and blackmailing him since - Reveal that father accidentally raped "good" daughter once by mistakenly going to the wrong bedroom - Killing of litter of puppies by breaking their necks - Threats of one sister to kill the other - Double murder (possibly murder-suicide) - Reveal that "evil" sister had also been sexual coercing plantation workers into sexual acts - Mutilation of a corpse - Suicide
The intent of the novella seems to be to set up the full-length books in the series, but I can't imagine wanting to read more. Before anyone thinks that I am being squeamish or delicate, let it be known that I understand using violence as a way to develop a plot or its characters. However, such violence must serve a purpose in the story. None of this did, other than being used as a weak set-up for a curse that appears in other books. The paranormal aspects of the story don't even appear until the final 10 - 15% of the story, and they are then not even explained or fleshed out. (view spoiler)[It's just, "Oh, her eyes turned black once, and now she's a ghost who can haunt me. What about that weird lady who visited the house? Hmm, no matter." (hide spoiler)]
As the prequel to a YA paranormal romance, I doubt this story will do little to draw in readers. When the love story does appear, it is unbelievable with no build and a substantial focus on the couple's lustful intent toward one another, complete with statements about how the male protagonist can barely control himself around the chosen girl and how she doesn't want him to be able to. On top of all those things, the writing is poor, with frequently anachronistic dialogue and situations, and there is little characterization or world building.
This title comes from a newer digital-first press from Kensington, which makes me think they are more willing to take risks with which books and authors to sign, but this wasn't a good choice, especially as a promoted title on NetGalley. It makes me leery of the quality of their other offerings.
Initial review: DNF at 31%, which is saying something because this novella is only 100 pages in length. Rape or attempted rape was used twice as a plot device in the first 30 pages, the dialogue and behavior of the characters was historically inaccurate, and the story simply doesn't engage me at all. When requesting it from NetGalley, I had not realized that this is a prequel novella for a YA paranormal romance series, but this should be able to be read as a standalone. Despite that, I'm sure the author's and publisher's intent is to entice readers to read the rest of the series, but that won't be the case with me.
Note: This review refers to an advance review copy provided free of charge by the publisher.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Though I should have been delighted with this novel due to its premise (witty banter and butting of heads between a liberal and a conservative leads t Though I should have been delighted with this novel due to its premise (witty banter and butting of heads between a liberal and a conservative leads to romance), the failed execution nearly made this a DNF....more
After avoiding this for 2.5 years as it sat on my Kindle was one of many unread Netgalley downloads, I decided to finally give it a chance and see wha After avoiding this for 2.5 years as it sat on my Kindle was one of many unread Netgalley downloads, I decided to finally give it a chance and see what all the fuss -- good and bad -- had been about. Unfortunately, due to the many ridiculous and offensive components of this text, I didn't make it past the 54% mark.
The writing was basic and full of typos, and the plot was limited to the unhealthy relationship; no character development happened in the first half of the book. I know that many readers enjoy alpha males and stories of a "bad boy turned good," but I couldn't stomach the abusive behaviors shown by the love interest, Travis Maddox, toward Abby, the main character, and all those around him. What on earth could be sexy about a guy who sleeps with women with abandon and openly admits to using them, who has nearly no friendly relationships with other people, and who does nothing but drink, smoke, and punch people all the time? Abby didn't show much personality either, as she simply goes along with everything going on around her and spends the rest of her time slut-shaming the women who want to date or sleep with Travis. Everyone else in the narrative felt like a stereotype at best. Many aspects of the college setting also seemed off and unrealistic, showing me that the author understands little about university life.
While I knew that this book would raise my hackles, I hadn't realized just how much it would anger and frustrate me. Is it too much to ask for a New Adult love interest who's not covered in tattoos and not weighed down with emotional issues or past trauma?
Note: This review refers to an advance review copy. ...more
One of the most poorly-written and poorly plotted things I've ever read. I just can't even begin to describe how lackluster this was. I also don't und One of the most poorly-written and poorly plotted things I've ever read. I just can't even begin to describe how lackluster this was. I also don't understand why this was being marketed as "new adult" when it would be better suited as a young adult title; there was nothing about it, content- or maturity-wise, that would push it into the New Adult category versus YA. ...more
Despite the publisher's attempt to pique my interest in these ten titles, I was turned off by the poor writing, plotting, or characterization in all but three of them. The only three I would consider ever reading further included Wait for You by J. Lynn, Dinner With a Vampire by Abigail Gibbs, and Foreplay by Sophie Jordan. I am admittedly biased toward WAIT FOR YOU, as I have read it before and it is the best New Adult title I've read (though that's not saying a great deal, as I only gave it 2.5 stars). THE DARK HEROINE had a snappy and harrowing opening and was the one paranormal title among the mix, and FOREPLAY seemed like it could be a fun, mindless romance if someone was in the mood for that.
Otherwise, even THE REGISTRY, which I had high hopes for as a dystopian, held little appeal. The excerpts by Carmack and McAdams were especially egregious in their writing, complete with run-on sentences and comma splices galore, and horribly contrived or cliche plots. I would have hoped that these titles, which were primarily self-pubbed before being picked up by HarperCollins, would have been cleaned up before being promoted, but apparently not. ...more
When I requested a review copy of Stealing Harper, I didn't realize that it was a companion novella to an already existing book (Taking Chances). Desp When I requested a review copy of Stealing Harper, I didn't realize that it was a companion novella to an already existing book (Taking Chances). Despite that, I was still able to read it and understand what was going on, but I unfortunately didn't care about the story or its characters. The writing was repetitive and insipid, and the characters had few distinguishing characteristics other than an unexplainable attraction to each other and a noticeable lack of reasoning. Chase wasn't hot; he was emotionally hurtful, sometimes physically abusive, and downright disgusting in his dealings with and perception of women. Harper, his love interest, had no personality other than being indecisive and easily embarrassed. Their interactions with each other lacked authenticity, and the supposed romance between them never held a hint of romance for me; it was merely empty sexual attraction and a lot of repulsive, possessive inner dialogue from Chase about "his princess."
Only recommended to those readers who enjoyed the first book, TAKING CHANCES, and who want to see things from Chase's perspective.
Nota bene: Only 65% of the e-book contains actual content; the remaining 35% is merely samplers for the author's other works. ...more
Though I should be terribly ashamed of this rating, I have to admit that this book was the addictively readable, sometimes swoony stuff that brought mThough I should be terribly ashamed of this rating, I have to admit that this book was the addictively readable, sometimes swoony stuff that brought me into the fold of YA literature. It was rife with anger-inducing sexist stereotypes, unhealthy relationships, and poor writing, but Meyer does weave a tale that pulls the reader in. That doesn't forgive it all its faults, but I admit to being sucked in, all while yelling at the characters (literally) about their foolishness....more
Don't know if I can muster a full review for this one, but it was sadly as bad as many other reviews have reported. A weak plot combined with little tDon't know if I can muster a full review for this one, but it was sadly as bad as many other reviews have reported. A weak plot combined with little to no dystopian elements (though the jacket claims otherwise), weak dialogue and poor writing, and little creativity did little to wow me. Much of the plot was sourced directly from ABC's The Bachelor show to the point that it felt like a paint-by-Bachelor-numbers book: the dresses, the mansion/palace, the mean girls who aren't there for the "right" reasons, the elimination processes, etc. And then it ended with no resolution and no motivation for me to read further. It felt more like the first third of a book, not a complete novel in a trilogy.
N.B.: Lest anyone think I am insensitive to my GR peeps' ordeals (you lovelies know who you are) re: this book, please know that I read it for my local indie who gives me oodles of ARCs in exchange for purchasing recommendations. I went into this with as unbiased an opinion as I can muster, though that non-bias does not extend to certain authors or agents in question. ...more
Though I had a rocky experience with Harkness' first novel, A Discovery of Witches, I began reading Shadow of Night with hopes that its setting in the past would add intrigue and excitement to the unfolding story. Unfortunately, it did not, and the story became more plodding and convoluted in this installment.
Shadow of Night suffered most from its almost obsession-like focus on detailing every aspect of the historical period in which it was set. From particulars about the floor coverings to the convenient inclusion of almost every notable figure of the time, I felt bogged down in the details and the name-dropping. Character development also progressed in fits and spurts and ultimately stalled. Though Matthew and Diana have some "breakthrough" moments in their relationship, Diana remains relatively incompetent and reckless and Matthew continues to be controlling and possessive. Slow pacing made the first 80% of the novel drag, and very little time or attention was given to the threats or worries of the present day. When action or plot movement did occur, it provided little tension or excitement. The couple's impetus to be in the past - to hone Diana's magic and to find Ashmole 782 - often got lost among historical notes and unrelated intrigue. The mythology regarding time travel and Diana's magical skills was also unclear and seemed to contradict itself at times.
Even though Shadow of Night didn't work for me, this book might be an enjoyable read for those who love history and detail. The time spent exploring Diana's magic and her special capabilities was interesting, as was the information revealed toward the end of the novel about Ashmole 782 and its related prophecy; I finished the book wanting to know more about each. The story also provided some insight into Matthew's character and how his past and his family had shaped him. Chapters set in the present day that were interspersed between sections also provided glimpses into what was happening in the present-day world and moved things along for the secondary characters. Of all of the different parts in the book, I enjoyed these infrequent additions the most.
While I can appreciate the ambitious nature of Harkness' series, I left this second book of the trilogy feeling unmoved again by the story or its characters. Even such, I will likely read the final installment when it comes out to see what happens to Diana, Matthew, and all those connected by Ashmole 782. As she wraps up her story, I hope that Harkness provides readers with faster pacing, clearer world building, and more character development.
Note: This review refers to an advance review copy. ...more
**spoiler alert** Predictable & slow rehashing of Meyer's archetypes
I picked up The Host as a summer read. Unfortunately, the book felt like a reh**spoiler alert** Predictable & slow rehashing of Meyer's archetypes
I picked up The Host as a summer read. Unfortunately, the book felt like a rehashing of Meyer's Twilight series with a different setting and slightly older main characters. As her first published attempt at an adult novel, I had hoped for more mature writing, deeper character development, and more conflict, instead of problems being simply fixed in the end. Unfortunately, I didn't get that with this book.
Much like the books in the Twilight series, The Host uses dialogue and internal conflict to move its plot. However, this quickly became repetitive and therefore boring. The book was slow in the first 30 or so pages, but I'm a patient reader, so I kept on. Things picked up, only to slow miserably around page 200. While the writing style is a little more complex and varied than the Twilight series, there were many déjà vu moments. Meyer continues to overuse the words and descriptions of chagrin, hiss, snarl, demanding, reacting in horror, crowing, etc.
The characters are also too similar to her previous works. Most of the characters in this book, outside of Melanie and Jed, are provided little to no backstory and little to no development. The males in the book could easily be compared as Jared = Edward (the dangerous, controlling, but somehow alluring male), Ian = Jacob (the sweet, considerate male who's willing to give his love anything she wants, but who still does creepy things like kiss her when she doesn't want it), Doc = Carlisle (the compassionate, good doctor who couldn't hurt anyone and who's despondent when he does), and so on. The female character of Melanie/Wanda also plays on the same characteristics that Meyer created for Bella in that she's utterly consumed with the man in her life/lives, even when he physically or emotionally hurts her; she's willing to sacrifice herself and die for others and even jabs a knife into her arm willingly to help save someone else (fight scene in Eclipse when Bella slashes herself with the rock shard, anyone?). The main female character is also helplessly carried around by the men repeatedly in this book, much like the Twilight series. It seems as though Meyer's personal ideas about what she considers as a desirable male repeat themselves. There were times I actually put down the book and talked to it, saying, "C'mon, Meyer, are you capable of writing a different story?"
I think that this book could be a decent, mindless read if you have not read the Twilight series previously. It was just too difficult for me to ignore the similarities. I did like that The Host addressed larger themes of love, different types of love, sacrifice, survival, and the balance of the need for peace versus the need for resistant violence. I only wish these concepts could have been explored more deeply. And, just like my experience with the Twilight series (though I am loathe to admit it), I did want to keep reading to know what happened next. In sum, if you liked Meyer's story line and writing style before, you'll probably like this. Just don't expect anything earth-shatteringly different. As is no surprise, everything works out in the end and everyone's happy. Not that you couldn't figure out *exactly* how they would do that about 200 pages before it happens.... ...more