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review 2018-03-07 18:38
Review: "Gagged" (The Clipped Saga, #3) by Devon McCormack
Gagged - Devon McCormack


~ 2.5 stars ~


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review 2018-02-08 16:23
Review: "Bound" (The Clipped Saga, #2) by Devon McCormack
Bound - Devon McCormack


~ 3.5 stars ~


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review 2018-02-03 16:24
Review: "Clipped" (The Clipped Saga, #1) by Devon McCormack
Clipped - Devon McCormack


~ 4 stars ~


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review 2018-01-20 20:45
Undercover Princess
Undercover Princess (Rosewood Chronicles) - Connie Glynn

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

There were good ideas in there, and I was fairly thrilled at first at the setting and prospects (a boarding school in England, hidden royals that looked like they’d be badass, etc.), but I must say that in the end, even though I read the novel in a rather short time and it didn’t fall from my hands, it was all sort of bland.

The writing itself was clunky, and while it did have good parts (the descriptions of the school, for instance, made the latter easy to picture), it was more telling, not showing most of the time. I’m usually not too regarding on that, I tend to judge first on plot and characters, and then only on style, but here I found it disruptive. For instance, the relationship between Ellie and Lottie has a few moments that border on the ‘what the hell’ quality: I could sense they were supposed to hint at possible romantic involvement (or at an evolution in that direction later), but the way they were described, it felt completely awkward (and not ‘teenage-girls-discovering-love’ cute/awkward).

The characters were mostly, well, bland. I feel it was partly tied to another problem I’ll mention later, namely that things occur too fast, so we had quite a few characters introduced, but not developed. Some of their actions didn’t make sense either, starting with Princess Eleanor Wolfson whose name undercover gets to be... Ellie Wolf? I’m surprised she wasn’t found out from day one, to be honest. Or the head of the house who catches the girls sneaking out at night and punishes them by offering them a cup of tea (there was no particular reason for her to be lenient towards them at the time, and if that was meant to hint at a further plot point, then we never reached that point in the novel).

(On that subject, I did however like the Ellie/Lottie friendship in general. It started in a rocky way, that at first made me wonder how come they went from antipathy to friendship in five minutes; however, considering the first-impression antipathy was mostly based on misunderstanding and a bit of a housework matter, it’s not like it made for great enmity reasons either, so friendship stemming from the misunderstanding didn’t seem so silly in hindsight. For some reason, too, the girls kind of made me think of ‘Utena’—probably because of the setting, and because Ellie is boyish and sometimes described as a prince rather than a princess.)

The story, in my opinion, suffers from both a case of ‘nothing happens’ and ‘too many things happen’. It played with several different plot directions: boarding school life; undercover princess trying to keep her secret while another girl tries to divert all attention on her as the official princess; prince (and potential romantic interest) showing up; mysterious boy (and potential romantic interest in a totally different way) showing up; the girls who may or may not be romantically involved in the future; trying to find out who’s leaving threatening messages; Binah’s little enigma, and the way it ties into the school’s history, and will that ever play a part or not; Anastacia and the others, and who among them leaked the rumour; going to Maradova; the summer ball; the villains and their motivations. *If* more time had been spent on these subplots, with more character development, I believe the whole result would’ve been more exciting. Yet at the same time all this gets crammed into the novel, there’s no real sense of urgency either, except in the last few chapters. That was a weird dichotomy to contend with.

Conclusion: 1.5 stars. I’m honestly not sure if I’ll be interested in reading the second book. I did like the vibes between Lottie and Ellie, though.

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review 2018-01-11 19:41
Last Ragged Breath
Last Ragged Breath: A Novel (Bell Elkins Novels) - Julia Keller
The story began and ended with Golden, one of the many dogs that belonged to a man named Dillard who started his own life with a traumatizing event. While out on a walk, Golden discovers in the water, a body. Dillard is glad the guy is dead but he claims that he didn’t kill him. All the evidence points to Dillard and as Acker’s Gap’s new sheriff Harrison and prosecutor Bell build a case, Dillard sits in jail. This case is too nice and neat, it just doesn’t make sense.
There are many other avenues to this novel. Let’s glance into Dillard’s past. As a baby, Dillard was saved from a tragic event which took the lives of his parents. Dillard was living a secluded life until he got arrested, was his present lifestyle shaped because of his past? Dillard owns property which is needed for the future site of a multi-million-dollar resort which is being built in Acker’s Gap. Eddie has been harassing Dillard to sell the property but Dillard refuses. It was Eddie’s body that was found in the water. See, too nice and neat.
The individuals on this case also have their own issues that they are dealing with as they tie the ribbons on this nice case. I was hoping something would crack before they put Dillard in prison. I liked having Bell back (I thought in the last book she wasn’t in her game) as she had her inner turmoil’s back and she was off and running dealing with this case and her own personal issues. I liked this case and I liked how things flowed at the end. I can’t wait to get the new novel.


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