Yeah no. The reviews have made me realize just how much of a flopping crappiness this bo...moreOMG THIS IS THE BEST COVER I'VE EVER SEEN.
Edited 26 April 2013
Yeah no. The reviews have made me realize just how much of a flopping crappiness this book is. Another case of the cover being beautiful and the book a rambunctious decree of death on humanity. (*cough* Mara Dyer) But yeah. Noooo. Not reading this. I wish I could have the original cover art to hang on my wall, though, without the title and author. (less)
Actual, full review: Original is here on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Now here we have something intere...more Actual, full review: Original is here on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Now here we have something interesting.
Zombies + Greek mythology? Sounds like an epic tour de force, yeah? That's what I thought, too. But Touch of Death is about as deceptive as its cover--what at first seems like a gorgeous and dark tale is really about a girl, insta-love, plus predictive plots weaving the way. *cues drumroll*
It's not that the book was bad, rather that it was more... bland. It's interesting in the way that a rock might be in a sea of desert sand: cool compared to the unspeakable works of "literature", yet not necessarily a means by which one entertains oneself. A lot of people have geeked out over this book, so maybe it's just me, but let me explain why I wasn't such a big fan first:
1) Jodi Jodi Jodi--Oh, Jodi, where do I start? In the beginning, you were okay. But... WHY? WHY INSTA-LOVE WHEN YOU JUST- *headdesk* No spoilers, folks. Man! I saw this speech once, and the quote that comes to me right now is, "girl, you are so on a rebound." That doesn't even begin to describe the magnitude of her decision. I'm not the character, and I'm not going to say what she should/shouldn't do, but Jodi's actions and voice are often so childish that I just couldn't relate to her.
2) Twists--You're all book-lovers here, or otherwise ya probably wouldn't be reading my blog. I'm going to, therefore, assume that you've read a lot of books. You know how some books sound SO ORIGINAL and then you read it and you're just like, oh, that's great, didn't I just see the same situation happen in that book, that book, and that other one I read just last week? Same old, same old. There are definitely really cool plot elements in the story, but if you're someone who values unpredictability (like me), prepare to be disappointed by the lack of actual twists.
That said, I did finish the book, so it definitely has promise! It's intriguing in the way TNT is fascinating: you don't know whether or not everything will blow up in your face, and you're not sure whether or not you want it to. It's worth the investment of time, I think--lots of people have loved this book.
Just remember, though, that sometimes TNT short-circuits, and as much as you want something cool to happen... well, as the saying goes: "Life's full of disappointments!" (less)
Original will be posted on my blog on January 10th, 2013, here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lo...more**ACTUAL, FULL REVIEW**
Original will be posted on my blog on January 10th, 2013, here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
I'm going to try really, really hard to make this review as gentle as I can let it be. But make no mistake: I did not, at all, like this book.
Let's just discard some misinformation first. That first line in the summary? "An exotic treat set in an entirely original, fantastical world brimming with deadly mystery, forbidden romance, and heart-stopping adventure"? That is not true. At least, not for me. Let me explain.
This book is not exotic, because I felt the writing was very bland. The story was told with a sort of detachment, and no real emotions were really explored. It was very "this happened, now this, now oh look here's something else that's happened, and oh my, this is all very tragic". Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Ms. Forster can't write. Surely she can. But her style was just really not my type. Also, this book is not "entirely original". Sure, it sounds absolutely amazing and original. I thought so, too. But upon reading it, I realized that it utilizes the same variation of court intrigue that Alison Goodman's Eon series does so well, except it doesn't do it so well. It's a flurry of events that do have consequences, but are not developed. It's like watching a movie unfold when nothing seems important to you because nothing connects. Not the two-dimensional characters, not the paper-cut out world, not the misuse of Asian culture, and certainly not the absolutely unscintillating romance.
Romance first: I'm so unsure as to where the whole thing was going. It was a nice tentative thing at first--no insta-love here, and yay, a backstory!--but... it was so flat. I wished I could proclaim what so profoundly breathes life into characters, because then and only then will some people deem me qualified to talk, but as a reader and a blogger/reviewer, all I can say is that I didn't feel anything. It was more "meh" to me than anything else, and the whole thing seemed to be going in a thousand different directions at once (do you see the pun tucked in there?).
I told you this review was going to be negative, so I'll wrap it up with this last bit of complaint that is quite personal and most likely won't affect most of you.
I'm 100% Chinese. I grew up in China. I'm quite sure I'm of enough caliber to analyze my culture, so let's look. I realize that Miriam mentioned somewhere that this book is based off of South Asian cultures, and I also understand the gap in translation. I've gone to enough museums to know that "the green-leafed Spring" is an acceptable, translated painting name, etc. But this book had so. many. of the long-named translations like "in the name of the Long-Tailed Cat" that it was ludicrous. I've never read an Asian-based fantasy that used this many "translations". Most of them didn't even contain any, or just one/two. This whole bizarre use of Asian culture/terminology (whether or not it's Chinese, I've Asian blood in me, and I've studied this whole shebang enough times that I see a book not fully researched when I read it the first time) was just distracting. I could barely focus on the story when the meh writing and misused culture/terminology made me want to just, oh, I don't know, headdesk really really hard.
Overall, you definitely can give City of a Thousand Dolls a try. Warning, though: if you want a good Asian-based fantasy that will rock your socks off, I cannot say that this book is it. (less)
Honestly, I skipped like 100 pages in the middle. I just wasn't interested. :-S The fact that Nikki wouldn't even leave a note for her dad and brother...moreHonestly, I skipped like 100 pages in the middle. I just wasn't interested. :-S The fact that Nikki wouldn't even leave a note for her dad and brother like Jack did, the fact that she was so obsessed (and I understand, I do, but it's just--doesn't her family matter to her, too?)--it just didn't sit very well with me. And then I felt like the writing in this volume was a bit rough, so very passive all the time. It just didn't make me feel much, like EVERNEATH did.
The twist at the end was nice, though. I don't know if I'll read the next book. It will probably be a borrowed read. But I know Brodi Ashton has talent and skill; I'm not giving up on her as an author.
Yet I, as shoved and neglected as the minority often received, cannot say much but that I fear this book suffers the middle-book syndrome.
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
It's always terribly depressing when you ha...moreActual, full review: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
It's always terribly depressing when you have to write a negative review for a book you have been so viciously anticipating, but candidly, in the case of Kill Me Softly, what started out as an intriguing and deliciously creepy dark tale quickly sunk below the level of no-return.
The focal point of my irritation for Kill Me Softly is its main character; when readers say a character can make or break a story, it's true. Mirabelle is blessed with kindness and intelligence--neither of which she turns out to possess. She started out interesting, and she was even acting like how I would've acted in her situation, which made me instantly like her. But though the beginning and end of the novel were strong peaks in a typical genre, the middle was as frustrating as trying to split cement with chopsticks. (Bad example, I know. But hopefully you know what I mean.) She was constantly furious and acted extremely selfish, and was again and again endowed in insta-lust. No, not love, though she repeated the ILY enough times to make me headdesk just twice as much, but she was truly blind to the fact that it was lust she was trapped in. I mean, if you're buying a sexy nightgown the day after you meet a hot guy you don't even know, and then when some... really bad stuff happen, and you discover terrible secrets, you run back to him anyway and scream "I LOVE YOU!", do you call that love? Intelligence? Or perhaps lust and the incredibly narcissistic need to claim someone, even someone infuriatingly evil and insane, as her own?
Speaking of which, here's the other thing that contributed to the trickle-turned-waterfall of my unprecedented distaste: a ferocious passion for possessions that are so obviously dangerous, fatal, and frankly, completely unnecessary. For example: There's a pair of brothers in this book. When Mira falls in "love" with one of them, and then she sees the other one, she literally thinks that he's hers. Which begs the question: is the gift of loyalty truly misplaced in such a conundrum soul as Mira's? And another thing: "kindness." There's an incredibly chivalrous guy in the book, and Mira is a complete... to put it mildly, jerk, to him. And when she insults him in a way that makes me want to punch her, she feels sorry... for herself, because now whatever chivalrous act the boy was going to do for Mira, she's afraid he won't do it anymore. Ah, see, now I'm sick of talking about Mira the Beewitch, so I'll quickly address the last major problem I had with this novel before I go on to explain the one and only redeeming point that let me finish the book. This book glorifies death. Not a few pages go by does it not mention the beauty of death, and here's a direct quote:
"She'd never looked more beautiful, more perfect, than she did when she was dead" -The very first page.
The problem with this is quite simple and moral: the glorification of death is often indirectly influencing the minds of unaware youth--that no, don't worry about death, it will make you beautiful and perfect. Such aggravatingly insinuating thinking just leads me onto one road: the road of not-wistful despise.
Yet through it all, there was one reason that I continued, and it's not my friend's vow that the ending will be worth all the suffering. In truth, I literally stopped and DNFed this book while I was 3/4 of the way through. But my friend urged me and I read on, and I discovered how I held on for so long when the book frustrated and angered me distressingly: the way the story is told. It's a dark fairy tale that rings as true and frightening as the ancient, authentic versions of Cinderella, where the sisters cut off their toes and heels to fit in the shoe, and Sleeping Beauty, who... well, don't read on if you're easily disturbed, but she was raped by the prince.
Yeah. I know. Glorious.
But that's what's truly innovating and solely successful about this book: that it's unapologetically messed up. And so, it's a book I definitely will not recommend for everyone, because not only is the main character a complete pain to force through, but the story is creepy and deadly and gory and brutal.
Yet that's what many seem to appreciate about this book, putting me in the minority. Who knows? You might like it where I failed to see its brilliance, and saw instead its disturbing and potential influence.(less)
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
A promising beginning crumbled by a...more2.5 stars
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
A promising beginning crumbled by a hypocritical yet beautiful ending, Such a Rush is a convoluted novel that's both intense and grilling.
I had hoped to love this book--my friends loved it, and it looked simply amazing. But while the setting shimmered with richness and the characters flared with authenticity, this book ultimately did not claim me a fan. I am probably more disappointed by that fact than imaginable. There are several elements that contributed to my unfortunate distaste:
1) The Writing: Jennifer Echols's writing is smooth and fleshed, but the text was quite redundant. This may very well be only the ARC's issue and will not occur in the final book, but the repetitions emerged so numerously that I realized it was devaluing my experience of the book. I no longer have the ARC with me, but for example: Leah would say something was annoying, then in the next paragraph she would say the same thing, phrased only slightly differently. Then a chapter later she would mention it again, or another character would say the same thing she said. While repetition can be used as a powerful literary tool, I felt like the redundancy dragged the plot in this case and snapped me out of the story. The most prominent example I can think of is the phrase such a rush used at least twenty times, but since the title is Such a Rush, I suppose I should exclude that one. Even then, though, my thoughts still stand.
2) Leah: This is a slightly personal opinion that might not affect anyone else, but I am not a fan of girls like Leah. Let me explain something really quick: she has had a hard, hard life; neglected and used and abused. I understand that, and it makes me incredibly solemn and sympathetic. But she claims to be strong; to be different than the other girls who grow up to be "sluts," who are flaunters and exhibitionists and nothing more than that. Leah believed she was something else.
But while she appeared to be someone stronger, different, ultimately she was not.
She said she hated her mother for the oblivious decisions she made; but then Leah makes those choices herself. And sometimes she realizes that she's acting just like her mother and would be ashamed, but oftentimes she would not. She says she is not one to be a druggy like others; but you do not need drugs to sink into a "slut." I'm using her own word here, because I believe the word "slut" is extremely subjective, but Leah is bold--too bold, too hot-headed, at least in my opinion. EVERYONE tells her how beautiful and sexy she is, and she's just like, what? I'm beautiful? Since when? But then she goes and wears obscenely short shorts and disturbingly flaunting shirts; what do you actually realize, Leah? It was her act of hatred towards things and then doing them--confused and disbelieving truths and then suddenly acknowledging them as if she knew them all along--that made me eventually disappointed with her.
There are things I must applaud Jennifer for, of course. A female pilot? How cool! It's obvious she did her homework on planes and mechanics. The brothers' tension? Talk about realistic. Romance? Steamy as heck. But in the end, despite these uniquely well-portrayed aspects, Such a Rush's aggravating protagonist and a repetitive habit resulted in a sadly unfavorable response from me.
Yet, there is not much ground I hold with my sole opinion; others have loved this book, and I urge you to give its fresh and eccentric atmosphere a try.(less)
Disclaimer: Due to lack of interest, I skimmed through this book. Therefore, any misinformation would most likely be a result of that.
Quick reaction: According to Goodreads, a 2-star is an "okay" read for the reviewer. That's how I feel about this book. It was okay. And I feel, quite admittedly, bad about giving it a mere 2-stars. But man, I just couldn't... connect with Aria. Besides, lately I've been irritated by books more frequently than usual, so any book that doesn't grab me from the start has a heck of a hard job ahead of them. You know, I think the problem I had with UtNS was that the protagonist irritated me too much for me to really immerse in her world. There wasn't anything wrong with Rossi's writing, and I certainly don't think I am in any position to change anything, but I personally felt that, if you're going to use 3rd person omniscient in an action-oriented dystopian novel, you better get close to the characters' heads. Because the thing is, this book was just full of telling.
"She couldn't believe she'd let herself--and Paisley--get into this situation. She'd known going into Ag 6 meant risk, but she hadn't expected this. She had never wanted to be part of Soren's clique, though he'd always interested her." -pg.15
So. Much. Telling. I just feel like this story was told as if someone was watching Aria and Perry and telling their story in the narrator's perspective. There were barely any internalization, and without a completely thorough world-building and thoughts to pull the reader in, I became very quickly agitated by the monotone running rampant throughout this book.
Of course, many of my friends loved this book, so please, don't let my opinion change your mind. I just wasn't a fan.
This review is probably one of the hardest ones I've ever written:
I'm torn. The two sides of my brain have completely different opinions on this book. So I decided that I'm going to... write two reviews. Now, they'll be two reports "condensed" into one, but if you want to hear the opinion of my consciousness, the one that reads a book and just... reads it, without critically analyzing writing tactics, then I suggest you read the report labeled "The Mara side of town." If you wish for a report that delves past the surface of the book and its words, then do read "The Daniel side of town." Or you can read both. But I'm warning you: It will sound like two different people wrote the reviews.
The Mara side of town
First off, isn't the cover just gorgeous? It propelled me to research the book and get blown away by the incredible amount of hype the book's been given. And wow, did it live up to my ridiculously high expectations.
The characters were incredibly well developed. Mara is sarcastic, witty, and held together by the thinnest of thin threads. Her brothers are hilarious, and I loooove Daniel--next time my brother brings a girl home, I'm gonna say, "Pleased to make your acquaintance." And then I'm going to get her phone number and go all Joseph and call it "networking".
Then there's Noah. Holy marshmallow (yes, I say that), Noah Shaw is one guy that will make your blood boil and your heart lurch. He can whip out serious one-liners and, once Mara finally opens up to him (which I love--no insta-love here!), their romance skyrockets and zooms out of space.
And the plot. I went into this book having pretty much no idea what it's about. There were scenes that made me pause and think over, because I had no clue where the story was going. At all. I had ideas, (which turned out to be correct!) but the one question that I had that was never answered, the only thing that left me a bit dumbstruck, was HOW. I have predictions, but, man, that second book couldn't come out any later.
And no, I'm not going to say anything else. Because I want you to dive into this book blind, too. It's one wild ride.
The Daniel side of town
I named this report the Daniel side of town because Daniel's the genius brother. The one that corrects grammar mistakes and is accepted to every school he applies to. The one that will look deep and beyond to the spots that almost no one else looks for.
Mara Dyer left my subconscious a confused mess. The story branched out in all directions and I guessed what Mara could do from the first chapter, so I thought all along the big, surprise ending that everyone was talking about would be the explanation of HOW.
Alas, I was wrong. I kept waiting, waiting, and waiting some more, but it just merely confirmed my suspicions and skidded my predictions to a halt. This is a trilogy, so I understand why that big question was left unanswered. However, I wish that maybe the big WHAT could have been revealed as the surprise ending, then, instead of being hinted at often inconspicuously numerous times. Keep in mind, though, that that's solely my own opinion, since I usually figure out plot twists way early on.
The characters were interesting, but if you look past them, they don't seem very real. The whole story has an eerie feel to it despite its modern setting. Some characters feel like mannequins--there to experiment, but not to actually participate. And the one revelation that did surprise me in the end didn't make me jump out of my seat. Perhaps that is because the character was just a mannequin before.
Overall, I (or maybe just my subconscious) was a bit disappointed. I'll be reading the second book, but I hope it gets better. Or maybe I should just stop over-analyzing everything. I do have the tendency to do that...
And that's it. It sounds like two different people, doesn't it? But it's all me. Can you see why it was so hard for me to write this review now?(less)
Carrier of the Mark is a wonderful blend of mythology, destiny, love, and journey.
I enjoyed Carrier. The characters were very relatable, and the plot definitely hooked me. However, while this book met my standards, it didn't leave a huge impression on me that made me think, wow.
1) There is a lot of back story needed in this book to fully understand Megan and the DeRís's powers. Back story is extremely difficult to execute well, so I'm not taking points away for that, but there were times when I found myself thinking, huh? and re-reading a section because it didn't make much sense. That may be just me, but it is something that took some fun out of reading.
2) The insta-love. There's a reason behind Megan and Adam's instant love. I like that. But often I felt like Megan was the only one who really loved Adam beyond that reason, and that threw me off a bit, because as you can tell from the summary, their love plays a big part in this story. And while I wanted to think that they truly, genuinely love each other, and that all the steamy romantic scenes were authentic, I couldn't help but feel a bit reluctant to accept their relationship.
3) The conflict. I can't place my finger clearly on the conflict here. A lot of things could be accounted for it, but the reason why I find this difficult to analyze is because Megan kind of ignores the conflict, which made me think, oh, okay, so... there's this huge problem and you're not gonna really do much it? Er, okay... This may be just me, but I felt like there wasn't really much conflict at all with Megan, because even while the other characters were striving to overcome the problem, she felt the part, but didn't play it.
But, really, there was very few things I didn't like about this book. It was such a fun read that, honestly, I don't think you'll mind the few problems I mentioned. The story behind Megan and the Mark is immensely interesting, and I would definitely recommend Carrier of the Mark to anyone who enjoys Kiersten White and Alyson Noel. (less)
Disclaimer: I skimmed through this book due to my lack of interest.
Don't get me wrong, I love Colleen Houck. Her b...more2.5 stars
Goodreads Exclusive Review:
Disclaimer: I skimmed through this book due to my lack of interest.
Don't get me wrong, I love Colleen Houck. Her books are awesome--epic, even. But Tiger's Voyage just didn't work for me, mostly because Kelsey annoyed me so much I couldn't even get into the story. She's so... obstinate. She keeps on wishing for Ren's memory to be back, and when it is, she suddenly no longer wants him. Why? Because she can't break the promise she made to Kishan. Oh wait, what was that, Kells? You can't break a promise? Let's see what you said in Tiger's Quest...
(this is to Ren at the Valentine's dance):
"His expression became serious. He kissed my fingers, pressed my hand to his chest, and said intently, “Promise me you’ll never leave me like that again, Kelsey.”
I looked up into his cobalt blue eyes and said, “I promise. I’ll never leave you again.”
Ooohhhh wait whaaaa? (And no, I didn't add the italics. They were there in the text.) So, Kells, you tell me. Yeah, Kishan's a great guy, but maybe love isn't your biggest problem right now, and maybe if you really were so obstinate about what you promise others, you wouldn't even be in this predicament to start with. Ah... but that doesn't make for the most entertaining read, does it? *sighs*
I'm sorry for being snarky, and I'm even more sorry for not liking this book. Please understand that this is in no way me bashing Colleen, since I love her. I just... *shakes head* this book just didn't work for me. At all.
I guess the next one's either a library, borrow, or no read at all... :( (less)