I received a copy of Branded from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Publication Date: 28th June 2014 Publisher: Abby and Miss Books ISBN: 97809I received a copy of Branded from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Publication Date: 28th June 2014 Publisher: Abby and Miss Books ISBN: 9780989527408 Age Group: Young Adult 13-17 years Genre: Dystopian, Romance, Adventure Source: Netgalley Lootability: Did Not Finish
Unfortunately, sometimes a book and a reader do not suit. I was very excited by Branded by self-publishing début authors Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki; I received an advance copy through Netgalley and got stuck in straight away. My excitement did not last and I did not finish the book. The novel has a great premise – after the last World War, the Commander came to power and is forcing the populace to live under a stern set of rules – anyone who commits one of the seven deadly sins is arrested, branded and forced to work in the Hole. There’s a lot more to it (or so I assume from other reviews) but I only made it 33 pages in.
I have two reasons for putting down Branded: The heroine, Lexi, is melodramatic from the beginning – everything is harder and scarier for her, but she is superior to all the everyone around her in both understanding and strength. Or so she keeps telling us; I’m not interested in hearing Lexi’s thoughts on how wonderful she is, or how she has to be strong through this awful time. I want to see Lexi prove her strength by reacting to her tragic circumstances, it’s not enough to tell me that she can and then have her ‘lose it’ repeatedly. There is a big difference between the styles of every author and as a reader you accept some styles are better than others. The writing styles in Branded did not suit me. This is a self-published novel, a brave undertaking but one that can leave your book open to flaws. There are a lot of problems with the phrasing: “The door is partially covered, but it exists.” – This is not the Matrix – a spoon is just a spoon. You can’t hide something that doesn’t exist. “I squint my eyes” – Really? By definition squint refers to your eyes – what else would Lexi be squinting? My problem with Branded, publishing in its second edition on 28 June 2014, lies in the potential I see. Lexi could be a strong and passionate character with a little work. All those sentences that make me cringe could be fixed if they pushed their editor a little harder.
A self-publication like Branded is a wonderful achievement and I applaud Ketner and Kalicicki for their hard work and ambition. It’s wonderful to see the authors re-releasing the book with improvements but I’m disappointed that I’m not seeing the best work they can produce.
I may try this book again in the future – perhaps being in a different mood will help – but Branded has a lot of potential and I think it will be very well received....more
The Awakening of Miss Prim was the first galley in my attempts to read a wider range. It turned out to be a good choice, despite not being the easiestThe Awakening of Miss Prim was the first galley in my attempts to read a wider range. It turned out to be a good choice, despite not being the easiest read. Awakening of Miss Prim is a delightful story of a young woman growing into herself and learning to understand and appreciate the opinions around her.
Miss Prim is not an immediately likeable character. She is stubborn, condescending and unsympathetic; Miss Prim shows a proud and rather haughty front when she disagrees with the actions and opinions of her employer - the mysterious Man in the Wingchair. Prudencia Prim regularly lets opposing opinions hurt her feelings instead of allowing the conversation to become a friendly debate. The Man in the Wingchair deliberately baits her, hoping to encourage more liberal thinking from Miss Prim who believes herself to be correct in all her assumptions due to the extent of her education.
The Awakening of Miss Prim is not an easy read. It requires an extensive understanding of literature, language and philosophy to feel comfortable settling down and understanding the story. Unfortunately, I was left feeling confused, unsatisfied and a little insulted by the presumptuous of the author. I doubt it was Fenollera's intention to leave the reader feeling unworthy, but the constant referencing of classic and complex philosophical materials was a little overwhelming. The sheer amount of material detracted from the plot - a shame considering the beautiful background characters Fenollera introduced us to.
The community of San Ireneo de Arnois is full of unconventional people who have escaped city life to live peacefully and eccentrically amongst others who share their lust for a quiet life. The people of the community are unusual - the feminist association believe in strong woman with careers of their own, but believe there can be no stronger position in life than a working woman with a husband to support her independence. A big city journalist is baking pastries, the school teacher is chosen for her simple intelligence and young children can quote the classics from memory. Fenollera creates a lovely image of a quaint but forward thinking society more interested in supporting each other than themselves.
Miss Prim's Awakening comes about when she is forced to look at herself and her relationships through the eyes of others. Can she change herself to find love? Can she expect another to give up their beliefs to be with her? Miss Prim must learn the consequences of stubborn and unrelenting opinions and the community of San Ireneo are the right people to teach her to unwind and learn more about the world around her.
I found The Awakening of Miss Prim to be an enjoyable reading experience with likeable characters and a thrilling, if slow, adventure...more
What a surprise! This always looked like an interesting story but I never suspected I would enjoy it this much. Rémy Brunel, trapeze performer and jeweWhat a surprise! This always looked like an interesting story but I never suspected I would enjoy it this much. Rémy Brunel, trapeze performer and jewel thief, and Thaddeus Rec, underdog policeman, team up to steal back the rare Ocean Light diamond and save London.
I loved Rémy’s attitude – I’m 16 and I know best – it suited her age and her upbringing in the circus. She was full of bravado, well-earned pride in her skills and an abundance of compassion. Confronted with the consequences of her actions as a jewel thief, Rémy does not back down from the realities of righting matters herself – especially not with the frustrating Thaddeus Rec, and the charming street urchin J, on her side. Thaddeus is a well-intentioned, observant young policeman with an eye to the future. His devotion to the police force, and his street origins, do little to endear him to the rest of his station but Rec is determined to be the best policeman he can be.
These unlikely companions must team up to save London and return the Ocean Light to its rightful place – all while trying to save Rémy and her circus family. The book was surprisingly high-tech and supernatural. Unexplained powers were at work on both side and I would have liked to learn more about the mysterious power of the stones – Rémy’s opal and the diamonds, especially.
I was impressed by the romance – it happened quickly but sweetly. It was well suited to the intended audience – adolescents who want a romance but don’t need the adult dilemmas of lust and sex to cloud the story. I appreciated Gosling not pushing the romantic angle too much (yet! There is a sequel) and allowing the reader to walk away and draw their own conclusions. The Diamond Thief used a charming example of bookending – Rémy’s performances beginning and ending the story were skillfully used to draw the reader into Rémy’s world.
This was a wonderful read and I’ll be looking forward to finding a copy of the Ruby Airship to read more adventures from Rémy and Thaddeus....more
Publication Date: October 2012 Publisher: Carina Press ISBN: - Age Group: Young Adult Genre: Steampunk Source: NetgRead more reviews on Raiding Bookshelves
Publication Date: October 2012 Publisher: Carina Press ISBN: - Age Group: Young Adult Genre: Steampunk Source: Netgalley Lootability: ***
About the Book The Gaslight Chronicles are a series of (steamy) steampunk novels about finding love while keeping the supernatural aspects of life under control. In Moonlight & Mechanicals little Wink Hadrian steps up to play. Now 24 years old and employed as an engineer for the Order (of the Round Table), Wink delights in a chance to aid the Knights, including her foster brother Tom and his best friend Connor. Better yet is Wink’s latest mission, searching for people missing from the poor areas of London, which has given her a chance to work alongside Liam McCullough, the sexy werewolf Inspector she has been in love with since he saved her life eight years ago.
Moonlight & Mechanicals is more than just a love story. It is a steampunk thriller, complete with remote control robots, vampires and treason. The love triangle is just a bonus for the romantic in us all.
My Thoughts Moonlight & Mechanicals is book four in the Gaslight Chronicles and has more danger than the previous two books, leaving me with the belief that the Hadrian family attracts more trouble than most Knight families. I really liked Wink, she was a delightful handful as a teenager but as a woman she was spectacular. She had control of her life and was willing to look at what she wanted and work for it, even if she thought she would fail. The insight into her past was sad but gave her character depth, and her determination to make Liam see her, and to help her old friend, made her an extraordinary protagonist.
Liam had less charaterisation, and yet the detail given to his animalistic side, his jealous, protective and covetous nature as a wolf guarding his desired mate made up for any lack of background.
My biggest complaint with the Gaslight Chronicles, and one I still have with Moonlight & Mechanicals, is the stories are too short. Things progress fair too quickly, and they’re so full of delightful steampunk elements and characters that I wish they could be two or three times longer.
Moonlight & Mechanicals was published in October 2012, and I encourage everyone to start reading the Gaslight Chronicles. Cards and Caravans, I’m guessing it’s Connor’s story but there is no information posted as yet. ...more
I was disappointed by the lack of real story. It felt like Abby Wood was compromising the story in order to overload the reader with erotic. It just fI was disappointed by the lack of real story. It felt like Abby Wood was compromising the story in order to overload the reader with erotic. It just felt silly....more
Publication Date: November 13th 2012 Publisher: Tor Teen ISBN: 0765332450 Age Group: Young Adult Genre: Science FiFind more reviews at Raiding Bookshelves
Publication Date: November 13th 2012 Publisher: Tor Teen ISBN: 0765332450 Age Group: Young Adult Genre: Science Fiction / Dystopian Source: Provided by the Tor Teen Lootability: ***
Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law. But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster. Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all
About the Book Renegade is the troubling story of Evie, Daughter of the People, as her world crumbles around her. Evie lives in Elysium, an underwater Utopia where a lucky few were chosen to escape from the violence and destruction of the Surface World. She is the adopted daughter of Mother, the revered wise woman who rescued the people of Elysium and now rules over them. She governs who may Couple (marry and breed), allocates designations (jobs) and keeps the city running, with a nearly perfect genetic population. "My life is just about perfect."
This is the German cover. I'm not sure why her hair is black but I like it better. Yet not all is right in this genetic safe haven. For reasons known only to those with more scientific and biological know-how than myself, or with a mind warped by the path to perfection, this utopia is populated only the blonde and the blue eyed examples of human specimen (sounding familiar to anyone yet?). These models of Aryan perfection are submissive, behaved and routinely punished for displaying any their flaws. "It will ensure only the best are born in Elysium." Those who know their mythology will know Elysium as the afterlife of those chosen of the Gods, the heroic and the righteous. This is achieved in Renegade through a combination of physical, genetic and mental manipulation.
My Thoughts The story progresses in fits and starts, suited in a way to Evie's mental struggles, but which can leave the reader feeling distanced from the characters and the story. Evie herself is a mess, and I've yet to decide if her ditzy and forgetful behaviour strengthened or weakened her story. The underwater setting was evocative but somewhat lacklustre. I would have liked more time spent extolling the visual beauties of Elysium and less on repeating its history. I understand why Sounders presented this the way she did but I couldnt help wanting some more substance in the world building. My other problem came from the relationship between Evie and Gavin. Everything just happened, like it was...programmed into her to fall over herself for the Surface Dweller. She took him at his word about everything. Why was she so trusting?
I never really got drawn into this story, though I did like the premise. Too few questions were answered to any satisfaction and I find Gavin highly suspicious. However, I do intend to continue reading the Elysium Chronicles in order to discover more about who Evie really is. ...more