I received a copy via the author in exchange for an honest review
Where Life Takes You by Claudia Y. Burgoa is an adult contemporary novel that I was actually kind of excited to read. With a high rating, excellent reviews, and a promising premise, I expected great things from this one. But one of the big no-no's I've learned as a reviewer is to not put too many expectations behind a book. Though I received this book for reviewing purposes (thank you, Claudia), I can't say that I liked it. If you do get the chance to read this, be prepared for the drama, the over-the-top characters, and an ending so ridiculous that you'll wonder why you read the book in the first place.
The reason why I'm not giving this a one star rating is because Rebecca, the protagonist, faces so many dramatic moments that it was entertaining in how much of a disaster it was. I couldn't put it down, just like you sometimes can't look away from something that you know isn't all that good for you. I'm not a fan of writing these kinds of reviews, but bear with me.
Let's discuss the characters. There are so many characters that it's kind of hard to differentiate them. The main issue however, is Dan, Rebecca's best friend. This man is the kind of guy that controls everything you do, say, and think and will still justify it as a way of loving, protecting, and taking care of you. I give props to Rebecca for telling him off regarding his protective stance, but take the props back when she immediately regrets it and misses his controlling nature. There are just so many issues with Dan's character that I just couldn't even deal with him. He listens in on her conversations, makes decisions for her, uses money to control those around her, and even tells her what to do at work. Yeah, no thank you.
Rebecca herself is a pretty weakly written character. She let's everyone walk all over her and when she does grow a spine, it immediately disappears since she can't deal with the consequences of standing up for herself.
The other minor characters that enter into Rebecca's life are also unbelievably cruel. I have honestly never seen such horrendous characters. Openly insulting Rebecca in front of others, undermining her to her face, and being all around ridiculous--these are just a few of the things these characters do. The cruelty is to such a level that it makes me wonder if this book is testing just how dramatic people can be.
The dialogue is also frustrating. Almost everyone calls Rebecca "baby" and Dan calls her "Little One". Um, does anyone else see this as incredibly condescending? Every time he called her this, I wanted to say something incredibly rude to him (you know, if he was real.)
This book, in all honesty, offers no closure. Yes, there's a second book, but I'm not going to be reading it. It could have easily ended after just one book, but that conclusion left me more mad and annoyed than anything else that had to do with this book. I lost sleep over this, hoping that after all of her struggling in such a cruel world, Rebecca would finally be aware that she has people around her who care about her, but nope. Silly me for wanting something undramatic about this book.
The issues raised in this book (abuse, in all its forms, and depression) are important ones that should always be approached with care because there are so many readers that can relate. I actually felt bad for Rebecca when she finally shared her experiences, but I found that this book just made everything way too dramatic.
I think I'm still stuck on the conclusion of this novel and just can't get over this whole thing.
If you like drama, controlling men, and verbal abuse towards the protagonist then you'll like this one. However, I'm hoping that I don't encounter something like this again. I'm not a big fan of female protagonists being treated as toys and seeing other characters act out because the author wants the protagonist to be viewed as the victim. There are other, less dramatic ways of going about this.(less)
I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Indelible is Dawn Metcalf's second young adult novel and while the ideas behind her novels are incredibly original, I fail to connect with her story telling. I won't lie, I was super enthusiastic to read this one--I mean, look at that cover and that description! Who wouldn't want to read something that both looks and sounds so appealing? And while Indelible will definitely be loved by many readers, I unfortunately found Metcalf's novel to be disappointing and weakly written.
The beginning shows a lot of promise, what with the mysteriously handsome and dangerous boy, the fun and youthful setting, and the idea of magic within the folds of reality.
Joy, the protagonist, starts off as an interesting character who has gone through some seriously dark stuff. At first I felt compassion for her--after all, here's this girl who is terrified, but has no one believing her. But then, I started to get annoyed. Not just with her character, but with nearly every character in the book. First you have the meddlers, then the naggy characters, then you have the very frustrating and slightly creepy love interest and protagonist. Let's just say that after a while, every character got on my nerve.
Okay, I understand where some of the characters are coming from, and perhaps my reaction to how they acted towards Joy might be biased, since my personality would never allow for people to treat me the way they treat Joy, but come on. If a girl doesn't want to talk about something, that's her business. This felt like a huge issue in the novel, as if Joy was fending off people telling her to tell them this or that, which drove me nuts and was a total turn-off. I find it very hard to connect with characters who are either very indecisive throughout a novel, or who let others push them around (without speaking up by the end of the novel).
Like I said before, the beginning of the novel is the redeeming quality, so naturally I enjoyed almost every aspect of it. The pacing was well done, since we're immediately brought into the heart of the situation where Joy's life changes forever. I like that Metcalf doesn't dwell on the mundane at the beginning, since her novel is full of creepy and fast-paced moments. She also creates a dark and uncomfortable tone by using effective descriptions and metaphors.
But as the novel progresses, the story begins to unravel like a badly knitted sweater. The pacing, once comfortable, becomes jerky, the storyline starts to take a few too many twists, A LOT of new information is introduced, which is very overwhelming.
Joy is frustrating because she never quite knows what she wants, the romance in the novel feels forced and lacks that raw power that is usually evident in great romantic novels, and everything just feels like one big mess.
Honestly, I don't know what to make of the novel. The beginning shows a lot of promise, but from the middle to the conclusion, it's almost like Metcalf is trying to make her story more original and more complex, so as to have a reason to write a sequel.
If you like original stories and very stubborn characters, then give this one a read. I may not have enjoyed it, but I know that others certainly will--mainly because of the magic, romance, and adventure. I wasn't a huge fan of her first book, but those who were, might end up loving this one.(less)
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. (less)
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 s...moreReview 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. (less)