Wow, that was so much better than the first book in the series. Minus the overdone and too-detailed sex scenes, I enjoyed all of this. If the author cWow, that was so much better than the first book in the series. Minus the overdone and too-detailed sex scenes, I enjoyed all of this. If the author can keep this up, I might even consider myself a fan. Oh, and this is definitely *not* YA; it's New Adult or better yet, just good, commercial fantasy....more
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
While an easy read, the story was just too light and empty of character development for me to become truly engaged or invested in the story in any mea While an easy read, the story was just too light and empty of character development for me to become truly engaged or invested in the story in any meaningful way. The plot also seems much too reminiscent of other, better YA novels out there to be anything new or noteworthy....more
This is the fifth title I've read (or attempted to read) by one of the independent or self-published authors I met at the 2014 UtopYA conference, and This is the fifth title I've read (or attempted to read) by one of the independent or self-published authors I met at the 2014 UtopYA conference, and every single one has disappointed me to the point of my not being motivated enough to finish the story.
I support independent authors and am excited by the significant changes that women authors have created in the publishing industry in the past five years, but we must still expect stories to be polished, well thought out, and intentionally planned. That can be done, even with independently-published titles. Indie authors must just slow down and take the time, money, and resources to do it. ...more
Unoriginal tale, but it will still likely pull in many readers
RED QUEEN follows Mare, a rough teenager who has no skills of her own but instead reli Unoriginal tale, but it will still likely pull in many readers
RED QUEEN follows Mare, a rough teenager who has no skills of her own but instead relies on pickpocketing to help her impoverished family. Like those who live around her in the slums, Mare is a Red, a person with no special powers who bleeds red. The Reds are oppressed by the Silvers, a class of people whose Silver blood gifts them with formidable powers and places them in the middle and upper class. Through a series of unlikely events, Mare finds herself living in the Silver palace as the betrothed of the younger prince and faking her way as a Silver. All the while, she is plotting ways to overthrow the Silvers and help the growing Red rebellion. Unexpected alliances form, and Mare finds herself pulled romantically between the two princes.
In the publisher letter that accompanied my review copy of RED QUEEN, the title was described as being "wholly original." Describing anything that way in a very dangerous proposition these days, but it was especially so with this book. I found nothing original about RED QUEEN, but in that, I think, will lay its success. It is a hodgepodge of character tropes, plot points, and themes that pulls from popular YA: strong, female heroine who's rough around the edges; love triangle (or, in this case, love quadrangle) with different boys; story of strife and power struggle between the haves and have-nots; and a bit of rebellion, fighting, and secret alliances. I found that the book struggled to be anything different, new, or more exciting than what I've read before, but I'm sure that many people, teens and adults alike, will love it, even though I did not.
On the positive side, Aveyard's writing is better than most I've read recently in the young adult genre. In addition, the story has the aforementioned elements that will pull in many readers: class struggle, fight scenes, the primary love triangle between the two princes, and visually-compelling descriptions of the various settings. Even so, I found the first 60% of the book incredibly slow, with little forward action in the plot or in character development. When things did start to happen and the intrigue increased, the pace picked up, but my interest level remained low. Many of the events that happened seemed implausible or ridiculously orchestrated, and I found myself frustrated with the main character for being so oblivious to when she was being tricked or manipulated. When the big twist and betrayal was revealed, I was still unmoved and unaffected.
In future books in the series, I hope that the author works to break free of the genre tropes she incorporated into this first novel and brings something new and original to her tale.
Note: This reviews refers to an advance review copy....more
Unbelieveable plot & weak writing make this a poor read
After being less than satisfied with the two other Nicholas Sparks novels I have read ove Unbelieveable plot & weak writing make this a poor read
After being less than satisfied with the two other Nicholas Sparks novels I have read over the years (A Walk to Remember and The Choice), I read THE BEST OF ME in anticipation of the film adaptation that's being released in October 2014. When I read Sparks' other two books, I was one of the many readers who knew she/he was being manipulated emotionally but who still cried anyway. For this one, I was expecting much of the same: schmaltzy scenes with serviceable but unimpressive writing to back it up. I experienced something far less enjoyable than that, however.
Never before have I encountered such a ludicrous and unbelievable plot. In Sparks' attempts to add some mystery and paranormal happenings to his typical storyline, the author created a tale with no feeling and no logic. I have never before flipped to the end just to get through something, but with this novel, I did. And, when I got there, I literally exclaimed about how ridiculous the resolution was and how unrelated it was to the first two-thirds of the novel. The two main characters themselves were supposed to be sympathetic, but they seemed incredibly immature for their ages, and the villains and other townsfolk were simplistic caricatures who were hard to imagine as real people. In addition to the failed plot and hasty characterization, the writing was incredibly pedestrian and flip-flopped between narrators (in third-person limited point of view) too often to maintain any type of narrative flow.
With this experience in mind, I think I've had my fill of future or past Nicholas Sparks novels. I'm glad that many other people enjoy his work, but his style and plotlines are not a good fit for me as a reader....more
Sci-fi light at its lightest. This title, a tie-in with the CW show of the same name, masquerades as a science-fiction/post-apocalyptic title that isSci-fi light at its lightest. This title, a tie-in with the CW show of the same name, masquerades as a science-fiction/post-apocalyptic title that is simply a teen romance. There were hints of worldbuilding and conflict that could have been built into an engaging plot, but the romance aspect and the characters' ridiculous decisions regarding their relationships took away from that....more
Not as bad as expected when you read the entire thing, but the middle third was full of nothing but romantic angst that almost did me in. This is not Not as bad as expected when you read the entire thing, but the middle third was full of nothing but romantic angst that almost did me in. This is not the strong female story that the blurb claims it to be, but instead it is a romance sandwiched in between typical fantasy/adventure events....more
This book had the potential for an interesting set-up with a young woman studying abroad in Italy, but the love-triangle dilemma between the protagoni This book had the potential for an interesting set-up with a young woman studying abroad in Italy, but the love-triangle dilemma between the protagonist's step-brother and an almost-priest was too unbelievable to be taken seriously. Poor writing (quite frankly some of the worst I've ever encountered) and uninspired sex scenes also left me unmoved....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 slow in the middle with an unnecessarily drawn-out love triangle, this tale’s very Gothic mix of mystery, romance, and the grotesque makes it a Though slow in the middle with an unnecessarily drawn-out love triangle, this tale’s very Gothic mix of mystery, romance, and the grotesque makes it a winner. Not for the faint of heart, though, as Dr. Moreau’s cruel experiments are described in detail more than once. ...more