The other day, I was having a conversation with a friend about really crappy book synopsis. I tend toReview also appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The other day, I was having a conversation with a friend about really crappy book synopsis. I tend to not read them because I don't want to either spoil myself, or dissuade myself from reading the book. When she told me the full synopsis for Janet B. Taylor's Into the Dim, after I'd already started reading it and disliking it, I started to seriously rethink my whole stance on not reading a book's synopsis before reading the book itself. Maybe then I would have noticed the signs. In honour of me actually really, really disliking a book, I'm going to make a part of this review a brief examination of the synopsis itself.
When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton.
Already, there's a problem. If Hope were a "fragile" character, I would expect someone sickly, or someone with intense phobias that are actually crippling her, not someone who thinks she's a "loser" (that's, by the way, an actual self-analysis she tells the reader when confronted with a boy issue) and who is kind of a bitch. I'm guessing they describe her as fragile because she's afraid of flying and small spaces and because her life really, really sucks. Just because you have a phobia, is it fair to call yourself fragile?
Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland
Girl didn't agree to shit. In the most ridiculous and dramatic way possible, Hope is basically shrugged off onto someone else because her father, who has already moved on to a new girlfriend, has decided to conveniently go on a trip and leaves her with two extreme choices: either stay with the (surprise) cruel grandmother, or go spend the summer with people you don't actually know. Great parenting after a death in the family. The drama in the very beginning of this book should have been a sign.
Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers
Okay, this actually sounds pretty cool. I loved Passenger by Alexandra Bracken and the Ruby Red trilogy by Kerstin Gier, so you can understand why I was so excited for this book. The explanation of the whole time travel thing was a little anti-climatic, especially after the build up to it and all the hushed conversations. I feel like the explanations could have gone better, rather than just a brief moment of fangirling over Nikola Tesla and his brilliance. Which leads me to the point that Hope lived a life of being interrupted. Every time she tried to ask about her mother or whatever, the dash symbol was her best mate. I get that it was all secrecy and stuff, but it was too much. Granted, I have an ARC, so maybe that's been edited out (if so, lucky you, future readers!)
Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time.
Oh no's! A spoiler, in the synopsis. That's why I avoid them.
Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing.
I shit you not, Hope meets one of the guys because he is basically STALKING her (not a spoiler because it happens pretty early on and they make one of the twists pretty effing obvious--remember, cliches everywhere) and after a couple (2) of chance encounters, she feels a connection strong enough to him that she compares it to a couple that's been dating for years. She often has dreamy thoughts about him and can't stand the idea of him potentially betraying her or hurting her.
Love, it's so simple and quick.
The other dude she meets is your typical asshat who treats her like crap most of the time, but has freckled moments of kindness that he quickly shakes off. But it's okay, because at least she has one boy who will scoop her up when she feels faint, and another who will watch her with his Crayola eyes.
That's my analysis of the synopsis.
Other things that bugged me in this book that could (hopefully) be changed in the final book, are the amount of times people say "You see" or "See" to preface or end a sentence. It felt so unnatural and awkward that I rolled my eyes every time someone said it. Sometime later in the book, the characters trade in the see's with hmm's. One of the characters says, "And just how was I supposed to do that, hmm?" and I couldn't stop thinking about this GIF:
Which I know is terrifying. I'm sorry.
Hope is also this character that's supposed to have this incredible memory, but I feel like it was just a personality filler. A random fact that was used sometimes in the book and despite her supposed intelligence, she's treated like someone less than intelligent--it also doesn't help that she really didn't act any different than the "empty-headed girls" her mother warned her about. It was such wasted potential. Also, she's got the smell of special snowflake about her. I can totally see it happening in the next book.
I think that what really irked me, overall, is how addicting this book is until you snap yourself out of it. I hated the fact that this book was definitely not for me, but I kept reading anyway until that line about her and this boy. Into the Dim has so much potential, but I feel like it fell into the trap of having so many tropes and so many cliches and so much drama that it just lost steam before it began. Maybe I had too many expectations for it. I hate it for it's lost potential and how much I really wanted to like it. Oh well.
Wow, I haven't disliked a book like this in a long time.
Best quotes, because it's too hard not to do this part:
"Every girl of good family should sit a horse well." (Said by a woman in the 21st century.)
"In my sixteen years on this earth, no guy had ever, ever flirted with me. The redneck hometown boys where I was from preferred girls like my cheerleader cousins. Size two. Blond. Busty. Brainless."
"Bran's sleek black eyebrows drew down over those Crayola eyes."
"And, to add icing to my crap cake, just when the world was falling out from under me--again--I meet a guy. A regular guy, who I thought might like me. I started to wonder if maybe I wasn't such a loser after all."
Sigh. I need to move on now.
P.S. Forgot to add that this is an ARC and all the quotes were taken from a review copy and may change in the final copy. ...more
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Hidden Gates by D.T. Dyllin is one of those booksReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Hidden Gates by D.T. Dyllin is one of those books that has a gorgeous cover, a thrilling premise, and just an intense amount of promise. But it all falls short for me, especially since it feels like the novel focuses more on the sexual tension between the characters than the really, really cool idea behind the book. Sure, there were some instances at the beginning where I was hooked, but near the middle of the book, everything just sort of fell apart.
P.J. is one of those characters that's a little naive, thinking that she is equal to those around her; that no harm can come to her. I didn't grasp the intensity of her naive nature until one particularly disturbing scene near the beginning of the novel that changed my view of her completely. I'm not a huge fan of her, and though there are instances where she stands up for herself against her love interest (which I admit is rare in a female character caught in a similar situation), she quickly falls back into the fragile female character that she is.
I know this is a New Adult novel, meaning that sex runs rampant throughout the pages. But honestly, sometimes I think this novel was just written with the purpose of getting extremely sexy men naked. P.J. complains about her love life, then remembers that, oh yeah, the world is in danger. I know I sound like a prude--trust me, I enjoy a sex scene or two, but these characters act like people who have nothing else to do but screw.
I love the idea of the different types of paranormal people hidden within our non-paranormal society. It is totally cool, plus the little twist Dyllin includes regarding P.J. is REALLY neat. This story just took on a life of its own and escaped Dyllin's grasp, but not in the best way.
The relationships between the characters are also weak and kind of cruel. P.J. is a horrible friend. Though her best friend is kind of creepy with how she knows everything about her, P.J. is rude and outright bitchy.
I don't think I'll be reading the sequel, simply because I don't want to encounter P.J. and her sexual adventures. I want to read about the paranormal happenings in her world, not how jealous, controlling, and possessive the men in her life are. ...more
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Kiersten White's Mind Games adopts a recently popuReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Kiersten White's Mind Games adopts a recently popular style of writing that I'm not the biggest fan of. This style in particular uses prose as something more than simple storytelling, but as a means of emphasizing the protagonist's emotions. Though the story is exciting, new, and an interesting take on the powers of the human mind, the prose is not my favorite.
Fia, the protagonist, is an impressive character that somehow withstands a lot of mental and physical abuse for her blind, but psychic sister, Annie. At first, I was frustrated that her sister, being the older one, was so oblivious to the dangers of her new world without their parents. I think it was because of her immaturity that it took me a while to figure out that she is the older sister.
As the story progresses, the reader is taken back and forth between the past and the present. Sure, I learned a lot more about the characters because of this technique, but it was also frustrating because I just wanted to see where the story was going in the present time.
It's undeniable that White has a talent for creating original stories. Her Paranormalcy series is a fun paranormal adventure and it showcases her strong writing style. Mind Games, however, is one of those novels that is either a hit, or miss. Some readers will enjoy it, while others will walk away frustrated and/or confused.
I will admit that the writing does help the reader experience how hectic Fia's thoughts are, but it also feels forced and unnecessary. Viewing the world through Annie's permanently dark stare is unique and enthralling, and the mystery behind her and Fia's world is promising. The writing was just something that impeded on the power of the novel.
I would recommend Mind Games to readers who liked Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi--simply because the writing style is very similar. Both authors use words and sentence structure in a dramatic way. They emphasize their characters' troubling thoughts and emotions through repetition.
Though a relatively short read, Mind Games will make the reader work for the answers. White succeeds in making her reader sympathise with Fia, especially since the novel is full of emotionally triggering experiences and disturbing revelations....more
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting is the third novel in the Body Finder series, which has anothThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting is the third novel in the Body Finder series, which has another installment set to release sometime in 2013. If you haven't read the previous two books, I suggest you do so (preferably The Body Finder; the first novel and the namesake of the series), since this book wasn't in the same league as the first book. When I first read The Body Finder, I fell in love with Derting's writing and the story she had to tell, when I read the second book I felt like she'd done it again (though not as strongly), and some say third time's the charm.
Yeah, not so much.
Sorry Derting, but though I did enjoy The Last Echo, it could have been so much better.
"In the end, all that's left is an echo...
Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet's talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individuals—including mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafe—it's Violet's job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice. When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by "the girlfriend collector" she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new "relationship" and Violet may have caught his eye...."
Okay, ignoring the fact that this synopses basically tells you all the events that happen in the previous two novels (Major Spoilers above), this synopses hints to us that this book is going to be another mystery that Violet tries to solve, while somehow catching the eye of the killer. I have some issues with what this novel promises and with what it actually gives me.
By the way, Derting's first two novels were devoured by me in less than two days, while this one I had to keep putting down because it just wasn't that addicting.
1. If you've read my review for Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi then you know what my biggest (and only) complaint for that novel was. The ending of Derting's novel must be the new offspring of cliches. The whole "mysterious antagonist" threatening the protagonist into pursuing something that is against their will is overkill, and I'm sorry, but for a novel that isn't as strong as its predecessors, this was a weak move. I get the whole wanting to have something to write about in the next installment, but not only was the unfolding of the conclusion predictable, but it was just plain annoying and frankly, I'm iffy about reading the fourth book.
2. Spoiler to those who haven't read the previous installments and want to in the future, The Last Echo BARELY touches on Jay and Violet's romance, which was the cutest thing ever (best friends in love type of deal, which I admit is a cliche as well) in the first two novels. Instead, we have the protagonist frolicking around with her emotions and this new "Rafe" character that registers as a big no-no for Violet. Plus, this whole "electrical shock" thing between the two characters whenever they touch is annoying. I understand that Derting is trying to create tension between her characters, but this is yet another cliche: the love triangle.
3. Violet kind of pissed me off in this one. She was immature and kind of dense. How does she not see what's right in front of her? Of course, she's always been a bit slow when it comes to understanding that she shouldn't throw herself in the way of danger, but Violet was dumber than usual in this installment.
4. This is just a personal question I want to ask to those who have read The Last Echo: Are you excited to read the constant reminder of the jewelry box music in the next installment?
I'll give you a hint: I'm not.
I know it sounds like I hated Derting's novel, but though some things annoyed me, I still fairly enjoyed it.
1. I'll hand it to her: Derting knows how to creep her readers out. Perhaps the strongest aspect of her novel is the murderer's perspective. Dark and delicious; it gave me the willies reading that at night.
2. Though I disliked the character of Rafe, it was cool to learn a little more about him and the rest of the team.
3. Derting may be flirting with cliches, but her writing is still fluid and imaginative, which makes her novel a quick read.
4. I disliked how this novel barely focused on Violet's relationship with Jay, or even Violet herself, but when Derting does bring up scenes with Jay they are just as fantastic and romantic as ever.
For some reason I feel like Derting's Body Finder series is going downhill. The series started so strongly, producing a similarly powerful sequel, but this third installment made me pause. I'm almost wary of what the fourth book will be like because I can kind of predict it as I write this review. The ending says it all: this author is running out of ideas. Of course, the one certain constant is the creepy factor of her antagonists, and if I could I would just read the excerpts from the points of view of the murderers in the future novels....more
Review first appeared:Book Addict 24-7 I am leaving Why We Broke Up, just like The Night Circus. I don’t know why people hype up books so much. It’s sReview first appeared:Book Addict 24-7 I am leaving Why We Broke Up, just like The Night Circus. I don’t know why people hype up books so much. It’s starting to get really annoying, since hyping up a horrible book makes it really difficult for us readers to know if the book is legitimately good or not. If you don’t believe me about this one, then I would recommend you give it a gander at your bookstore or library. Don’t buy it unless you are 100% sure you want to read it. Trust me.
Want me to give you an example of how the writing looks in this book? Okay. Here:
“And it wasn’t just us. It wasn’t that we were high school, me a junior and you a senior, with our clothes all wrong for restaurants like this, too bright and too rumpled and too zippered and too stained and too slapdash and awkward and stretched and trendy and desperate and casual and unsure and braggy and sweaty and sporty and wrong. It wasn’t just that Lottie Carson did not look up from where she was watching, and it wasn’t just that the waiter was holding a bottle, wrapped in a red folded napkin, tilted high over his head, and it wasn’t just that the bottled, iced with a rainy sheen on the neck, was filled with champagne. It wasn’t just that” (Handler 46).
Yeah, if you stopped reading halfway through I don’t blame you. And it is pretty much like that throughout the pages I’ve read, and I’m up to page 65. Basically the protagonist , Min, is writing a letter for her ex telling him why they broke up. Not only is her writing voice horribly annoying, it is fraught with repetition, confusing references, and the same sentence: “This is why we broke up” at the end of chapters.
I was hoping for so much from this one. It looked so neat, but then, we ARE taught to not judge books by their covers (or in this case, their outward appearance). I think, and I may be wrong, but since Peregrine’s success, authors have been capitalizing on the merging of art and writing, sometimes relying mainly on (badly) drawn pictures, rather than on the story itself. Sadly, I believe that this is what happened to Why We Broke Up. Handler focused so much on the objects within the box, that he overlooked how flawed his story was. This had so much potential, but at the end of the day, a reader is left wondering, “So what?” who cares about this breakup if you’re not making it feel important? Sure, Min did write a letter and put everything in a box, but the way the characters interacted (oh god, don’t get me started on the dialogue) left me thinking, “How did this get past the editors?”
Look, I understand what Handler was trying to do. In any other case, with more editing and a lot less overuse of the style of repetition to emphasize emotion, it would have been more successful. Also, if this hadn’t been written in the voice of a teenager and geared towards the Young Adult audience, then maybe it would have been more successful.
Honestly, I started writing this with the idea of keeping things brief. I was considering giving the book another ten pages or whatnot, but alas, I don’t think I can do it. Instead of wasting my time on a book that I know I will never like (I disliked it from the moment that the writing style became evident), I will try reading something that I will actually enjoy.
Read at your own risk and if you like it, hey, it’s okay. That’s your opinion and maybe I’m just being too harsh, but I think I’m just angry at the fact that over-hyped books keep making their way onto my shelves and that they sit there, collecting dust and waiting for me like a ticking time bomb. ...more
I read All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin a while ago, but I've been putting off thiThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I read All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin a while ago, but I've been putting off this review because of all the things that bugged me. There are a few redeeming qualities about Zevin's novel, that's why I'm not giving it one star. I'm not even going to write my own summary for this one, I'll just copy and paste the one from Goodreads.
"In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family."
Zevin had such a cool premise for her story. Her novel could have easily been one of my favourites this year, but she wasted it by including pointless tangents, way too many religious references (hey, I believe in god and all, but I don't advocate books that keep reminding the reader of what a "good catholic" girl is), and disconnected emotions.
1. As I've already mentioned, the religious commentary. There were moments where Anya would simply start talking about what made her a good catholic girl and how she should behave. I'm okay with characters commenting on their religious beliefs because it helps the reader construct the characters in his/her mind, but I don't like it when authors drill their ideas into the reader through their words in a book.
2. The chapter titles drove me crazy. I understand the whole hinting-at-what's-going-to-happen thing, but Zevin full on tells the reader what's going to happen. For example: "VIII. i am sent to liberty; am also tattooed!" Ugh, please.
3. The dialogue drove me insane. Especially after the second half of the novel (where the storyline goes down the hole). Zevin adopts the tactic of telling the reader things, rather than showing him/her what's happening. Here's an example: "I told him I'd rather not," (Zevin 292). I know some of you might not find this a problem, but insert the above example into various points in the novel where dialogue can easily be used to "show" rather than "tell" what the protagonist is thinking.
4. I really, really disliked Anya. Her attitude and her actions drove me insane. It was like looking into the mind of a child or a naive woman. I understand why she did some of the things that she did, but her mentality was just annoying to watch unfold.
5. The novel had so much potential! I was so engrossed in the story for the first half that I could barely put the book down, but then Zevin kills it. She stuffs the plot with needless tangents like Anya's messy romantic life, which by the way, takes up a good chunk of the second half of the novel, completely overriding the idea of mob life and the illegalities of chocolate.
I'm basing these on the first half of the novel.
1. This was an intriguing story that had me wanting to know what would happen next.
2. The writing was fluid, even with the religious doctrine.
3. The story showed potential, until (view spoiler)[Anyawas released from prison (hide spoiler)]. If Zevin had worked on this part of the novel more, then she would of had a kick-ass novel, but instead it was like the story flew out of her hands and took a life of its own, and not in a good way.
Just writing this review tired me out, imagine how I felt after reading the novel.