Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! After being in a book slump for MONTHS, it would be J.A. Redmerski to get me out of it. I ordered Killy Sarai because...moreThank you! Thank you! Thank you! After being in a book slump for MONTHS, it would be J.A. Redmerski to get me out of it. I ordered Killy Sarai because, honestly, it was free for my Kindle. And because I've read and loved the author before. And the cover kicks ass. I really had zero idea what it was about... And I was blown away.
I bought Black Box on a whim. I saw a Facebook post that was raving about the emotional intensity of this book, and I just used my handy-dandy "One-Cl...moreI bought Black Box on a whim. I saw a Facebook post that was raving about the emotional intensity of this book, and I just used my handy-dandy "One-Click" buy button via Amazon, and it was in my virtual library. Helps that it was only $0.99...
I really had no idea what Black Box was about. I was going for spontaneity by just diving into a book without any expectations... But I really didn't know what I was in for with this one...
I'll start with what I liked. The writing style. The author can write - you can hear the voices she portrays and it flows... It's just.... everything else I had a problem with.
Mikki goes through a horrific experience. I just... can't... It's awful, and I can empathize with the pain she feels. But she was suicidal way before this tragedy. She's bipolar, which is a major contributing factor to her desire to end her life, but there's one problem. I didn't sense any bipolar-ish qualities in her personality. She was depressed, definitely - but she had zero highs or lows that I could tell. This claim of being mentally ill was not reflected anywhere in her character development. It was just that: a claim.
We get a glimpse of her first suicide note, before she was brutalized, and I really couldn't understand her reasoning. She wanted to kill herself because she didn't like Kim Kardashian or makeup? (I'm sorry, but who really likes Kim Kardashian?) Or because some immature highschoolers made up a rumor about her? It just didn't add up to me... Maybe I'm insensitive, but it just felt whiny and weak.. Honey, not everyone is interested in the same things, and bad shit happens to people, even when they don't deserve it. It's a part of life. Maybe if I was made to believe she really was bipolar, then I could empathize... Otherwise, it just sounded like a couple of really shallow reasons to end your life and leave your family.
Other things that bother me about Mikki:
1.) She keeps saying she wants to die (over and over and over), but she's worried about her sensitive skin.
2.) She still wants to die, but she's smiling and excited about a guy and what he's beginning to mean to her.
3.) She insists on watching Pretty in Pink, but still... you guessed it. She wants to die.
4.) She asks Crush to brush the tangles out of her hair because she can't get to them, but she doesn't care about her life.
The way I see it, if you don't care about your life, why would you care about your hair, sensitive skin, or watching any movie with Molly Ringwald?
This book is basically about suicide, through and through. Just about every single character has this overwhelming desire to end their own life. Far fetched? You betcha.
I wouldn't joke about suicide - it's on the list as one of the most serious subject matters an author could write about. But giving every one of your characters suicidal tendencies? It just isn't believable. And, in all honesty, it makes it seem like suicide is a normal thought for people. Like it happens all the time to almost everyone, that it's easy to feel this way, and that takes away the weight it carries.
The one thing that saves Mikki is love. And just like everything else in this book, it's not believable. Enter the dreaded insta-love. Crush (wtf kind of name is that?) loves Mikki. He saves her, which saves him, and now he's head over heels in love with her. After twenty minutes. With zero conversation. I get being grateful, but love? Annnd the author takes away the importance of that emotion as well.... by making it seem easy.
I did like Crush though, despite my inability to believe how he felt about Mikki. He was sensitive, patient, and had a good sense of humor. He doesn't push Mikki in any way, even when it comes to talking her off the ledge.
But what is the point? Really? Because I don't get it. When I finished the last sentence, I couldn't believe that was it.
I guess it's supposed to be about two people saving each other? But even in the end, Mikki doesn't believe they will grow old together. She still believes they will die young. WTF? - an expression which basically sums up the entirety of my feelings about this book....
Thank you to Curiosity Quills for providing me a copy to review in my honest opinion.
Viola Doyle or an Unconventional Gift was an easy, cute read. Th...moreThank you to Curiosity Quills for providing me a copy to review in my honest opinion.
Viola Doyle or an Unconventional Gift was an easy, cute read. This is a book I would have loved as a young teenager, what with rebellious girls, magical objects, dragons, and a geeky love interest.
Viola, the main character, is strong and stubborn in her beliefs (as any young lady should be) and refuses to conform to the stuffy behaviors that society demands of her. I really liked Viola, and I think she sets a good example for young readers.
The romantic interest in this book is sweet and innocent even if it is predictable. What I liked about it was that Viola, while her feelings for Mikhail grow stronger every time she sees him, won't compromise who she is or what she believes to be right for this new love.
I say the romance was predictable, but the truth is, a lot about this book was predictable. I knew who the villain was the moment he was introduced, who the love interest would be, and ultimately how things would play out. I don't mind predictability, but I would say that this aspect of the novel is what reminds me of something I would have read when I was a preteen.
Probably the only bit that bothered me about this book was the way the climax played out. It happened very quickly and felt rushed. Not only that, but I had a hard time believing all that craziness would play out so smoothly. This is the only part of the novel where I had a problem with the predictability.
The writing style flows and makes reading effortless. The characters are likable and well-developed. The story itself is interesting and brings you to the point that you want to dive a little deeper into the history behind the mythology.
This is a really cute novel with a lot of history, adventure, and mystery. I can't describe it as mind-blowing or the like, but it is a nice, easy, fun read.
Fire & Flood is nothing like Victoria Scott's Dante Walker novels. It's more like a cross between The Hunger Games and The Amazing Race with a lit...moreFire & Flood is nothing like Victoria Scott's Dante Walker novels. It's more like a cross between The Hunger Games and The Amazing Race with a little bit of Pokemon thrown in. It's good - there's excitement, adrenaline, and a little bit of unexpected shock value, but even with all that, I'm having a hard time rating this novel, and here's why:
1.) The main character Tella. She really, really, really got on my nerves. Her good intentions were admirable, but any moment that I felt like "Hey, this girl is finally growing up...," she ruins it with her ridiculous obsession with fashion, makeup, and massages. You're in the jungle/desert fighting for your life. People around you are dying. Your brother - who is also dying - is counting on you. Who gives a flying crap about Nordstrom and Chanel makeup? Tella takes away from the seriousness of the situation by basically being a complete vain idiot.
2.) World-building - or lack thereof. There's nothing. Nothing. We are thrown into this story and BAM, there's a race, a love interest, a bad guy, and a screwed up authority. What time are we in? Why is the Brimstone Bleed still going on?
3.) Character-development - or lack thereof. I could not relate to Tella. She was too all over the place, so you could never really figure out who she was. Was she a survivor? A dependent? A girly girl who only cares about makeup and what clothes she's wearing? I couldn't tell - and as soon as I thought she might be evolving, she'd regress back to being a spoiled little city girl. The other characters were pretty bland and cliche. Guy was the strong, silent type - except, instead of opening up sometimes, he pretty much says nothing at all until the end. Titus was the typical bad guy - except he was all bad. A good bad guy (if that makes sense) should have some kind of quality or past that you can empathize with. This guy was just totally evil, and it didn't make sense given the situation. Everyone is there to save someone they love, but this guy didn't seem like he could love anyone, much less want to save them.
4.) Writing style. I love Victoria Scott - I really do. But I felt like the writing style in Fire & Flood was immature compared to the gravity of the content. It clashed, and as a result, I couldn't take any of it seriously.
On the other hand, there were some pretty awesome, adrenaline-inducing scenes. Twists and unexpected moments. My numbered list above would be enough to add a book to my DNF list, but I couldn't stop turning the pages, and that counts for something. The story is there. It's exciting and has the potential to be an emotional roller coaster.
Key word: potential.
Which is why I'll read the second novel. I'm really, really hoping that things shape up, and Tella grows the "F" up.
I'll give Fire & Flood a hesitant three stars. It has it's issues, but like I said, I still didn't want to put it down.
Odd combination of feelings about this book, but there you have it....
Ummm... So, in the face of all the rave reviews I've read about Pretty Little Things by Teresa Mummert... I'm going to be the honest bad guy and ask.....moreUmmm... So, in the face of all the rave reviews I've read about Pretty Little Things by Teresa Mummert... I'm going to be the honest bad guy and ask... What in the hell did I just read?
There is talent here, let me just say that first. The quotes and emotional thoughts you can take away from this book are countless, and the writing itself has the ability to touch your heart, but this is a novel. Not poetry.
I've never read a book that was so completely rushed and underdeveloped. And what really gets me fired up is that it has the potential to be MIND BLOWING! So much potential.. I can't even... *sigh*...
I couldn't relate to the characters or the chemistry that they supposedly have. Their situation didn't affect me at all, even though it's supposed to be horrid and heart-breaking. There just wasn't enough development in order for me as a reader to connect to anything about this story.
It was almost like I was skimming, except I wasn't. I read the book word for word, and I felt like I was only able to barely break through the surface. Like someone was telling me bits and pieces of a story and it was up to me to put it all together...
Maybe I'm missing something because, like I said, rave five star reviews are running rampant about this book...
I think I've started writing this review ten times, only to delete, delete, and delete again. I really don't know how to start.... I fell in love with Camryn and Andrew, their relationship, their passion and spontaneity, and their fearlessness. The Edge of Never blew my mind, but I'm not sure I can say the same about its sequel.
**There are minor spoilers in this review.
Camryn has a moment in The Edge of Always in which she decides she doesn't want to try to relive great times because it might ruin the initial memory. That's kind of how I feel right now. Like I wish I hadn't revisited Camryn and Andrew and had just held on to the memory of reading a truly amazing book.
“It’s like, you know, it doesn’t matter what you do, even if you try to replicate an experience down to every last detail, it’ll never be the way it was when it happened naturally the first time.”
That's not to say The Edge of Always wasn't worth my time; it just wasn't what I hoped for. I felt like it dragged on, and while the message the book gives is one I can admire and hope to aspire to, it seemed redundant.
The tragedy to which the blurb is referring was indeed that, but it didn't feel like it could have been the main event that put their relationship at risk. It was obvious what was going to happen, and the way it played out made this twist fall flat. I was pretty annoyed with Camryn for how she acted, and while everyone handles grief differently, I felt like Andrew's feelings were totally ignored.
In true Andrew fashion - where all his worries lie with Camryn - he decided to "fix" things on the road where everything began.
“Because this is our life. We met on the road; we grew to know and to love each other on the road. It's where we were meant to be for however long, and it's what we're going to do until it becomes clear that we're meant to do something else.”
This is where I got excited, because it is what I loved so much about the first book. It reminds me of my husband and I and how we took a road trip from Texas to Maine where we settled down. Totally spontaneous, totally the most amazing thing we've ever done. Enter nostalgia again...
We experience some more epic scenes with Camryn and Andrew, but like I said, a lot of it felt redundant. Some of it even irrelevant. There are some major time gaps in which we skip over months, even years, and it made everything feel rushed. Like the author just wanted to get it over with.
One aspect that irked me was how Camryn and Andrew are always saying how they don't want to end up like "those people," meaning people who settle in one spot, work to pay bills, and raise a family in a single location. Yes we all have a choice, but when you have a child, it's not just about what you want to do anymore. Your life isn't over, but money is important if you want to keep the heat on and your baby fed. I'd love to just up and go on a whim when my little man got a little older, but not all of us have a six figure trust fund to fall back on... I guess it just seemed unrealistic and accusatory. (I have a separate post about this topic - Bookish Rants.)
All that being said, I still felt the electricity between Camryn and Andrew and J.A. Redmerski's writing style always gets me hooked, no matter what. I'll always remain a huge fan, but I'm kind of wishing that The Edge of Never was a standalone novel. The Edge of Always is still a great read - the emotion is very real and if you were hooked by the first novel, you won't be able to help yourself - but...it just didn't live up to its predecessor.
Let me start by saying that I wasn't sure how to rate this book. I really like the way Mead thinks, from her world-building to character development t...moreLet me start by saying that I wasn't sure how to rate this book. I really like the way Mead thinks, from her world-building to character development to the surprises she holds in store for Eugenie. But at the same time I'm just kinda like... eh...
Maybe it's because toward the middle of the story I found myself asking..."So what's really happened so far? Hmmm... Not much." It dragged a little, and while it picked up toward the end, getting to that point was a little monotonous. It's because of this monotony that I'm just getting kind of bored with the whole story. Relationships and characters have changed, but as for everything else that's going around them, I feel like Thorn Queen is one of those filler/stepping-stone novels.
I do have to say, though, that I love how Eugenie has evolved and transformed through her experiences. Comparing her to the way she was when we first met, the only thing that's remained unchanged is her strength and sass. Everything else has shifted, and Eugenie is anything but a stagnant and stuffy character.
Her relationship with Kiyo is - and here's that "word" again - eh. Honestly, the guy has never felt right for Eugenie and I could never sense that spark between them no matter how much she said she loved him. Sorry, Eugenie. I'm not convinced.
Dorian, on the other hand... The one guy that Eugenie thought she could never trust seems to be the only one who truly loves and understands her unconditionally. Go figure. You've made me a believer, Dorian, even if Eugenie is too pigheaded to see it herself.
In the way of evil-doers, Mead surprised me with her knack for creating a truly sick and twisted villain - you know the kind who don't even know they are evil? The ones that think they are good and right? I relished at the idea of him getting his ass beat - or worse.
To sum the rambling up, Mead's character development is amazing (even if the one relationship kinda flopped for me). You know these people - they are real within the pages - and you hurt and hope for them (even if you want to clobber them sometimes).
The writing style, as always, is fluid and easy. Eugenie keeps things light even with shit hits the fan and the descriptions do well to build this solid little world that you can see and almost touch with your own two hands.
So while there's a lot of good that I have to say about what gives this book readability, it's just that - "good." Not great or mind-blowing or any of those other adjectives that you'd use with a 4+ star review. I don't really feel that I'll remember much about this story a few months down the road. It's worth reading - don't get me wrong - but, for me, it wasn't anything to glow about.
So, would I recommend? Yeah, sure. If you're looking for some easy reading that'll keep you entertained until your next read. Richelle Mead has definite talent and potential - no argument - I just don't think I'm in a huge hurry to finish the series.
I wasn't sure what to expect from Eros, My Love. It's only around 26 pages long, and that seems impossibly short to fit in an entire story. However, A...moreI wasn't sure what to expect from Eros, My Love. It's only around 26 pages long, and that seems impossibly short to fit in an entire story. However, April Bostic offers a sweet and dramatic surprise.
The one question that bugged me was why Eros would reveal himself to the mysterious blogger and basically drive her into a mental institution. Just passing the time, Eros? He's selfish, as most gods of the Greek or Roman variety tend to be, ruining any other relationship Gabrielle has had, but for her, that's easy to overlook when it comes to the physical perfection that practically knocks you to your knees.
If it were me, I'd have been pissed at Eros for keeping me from happiness because of his jealousy. But when you have a daydream or fantasy about being swept off your feet and away from the burdens you currently carry, nothing can be wrong. And in Gabrielle's case, the fantasy becomes not just a figment of her imagination, but a reality she never would have believed could happen to her.
As a character-driven reader, I was happy to discover my connection to Gabrielle was immediate. I felt like I knew her and could relate to her frustrating situation of feeling "stuck." She felt genuine, and I instantly liked her.
The world building was pretty awesome, especially given the short amount of time the author had to draw us into the story. I read it quickly and was sucked in immediately. I'd love to read one of Bostic's full length novels, because if she can draw me in in only 26 or so pages, I can just imagine how I'll feel with a few hundred to drag me under.
There's a definite talent in the writing style. It's smooth and it flows. The inevitable sex scene had a few eye-rolling moments when it came to word choice, but overall, the writing presents an obvious talent that I'd like to see more of.
Eros, My Love is a fun, sweet, and surprising short story. It leans toward the quality of being a fantasy or a day dream, and I could almost imagine Gabrielle snapping out of it at any moment. I felt like she was waiting for the same thing, but as the reality struck her, how could she possibly go back to the mundane?
If you have a few minutes, I'd recommend curling up with Eros, My Love. It's short and slightly unbelievable, but what fantasy isn't?(less)