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review 2017-09-14 12:49
A very young Young Adult or kids fantasy
The Mansion's Twins (At the Crossworlds Book 1) - Rose Channing

You know that feeling of uncertainty, the mixed emotions and the flat feeling of lack of excitement?

uncertain face

Well, that's how I feel about this book. It has a lot going for it - a unique and twisting landscape and world for its characters (of which there were many), magic and mayhem in equal amounts as well as an unusual plot. 

What didn't work for me was the level the story was pitched at. We have so many young adult books about magic that this felt like it didn't fit, even for all it's unique qualities. This felt too juvenile to be considered Young Adult and felt more squarely pitched at children, not just those who enjoy the young adult genre. 

description

A few things I noticed:

31% - Anyone who grows to(o) close to them will breath(e) in the magic...
32% - "Shouldn't you (delete massive space) two be out...
52% - "There's a trapdoor her(e),"

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review**

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review 2017-09-14 11:42
Review: Bad Girl Gone
Bad Girl Gone: A Novel - Temple Mathews

 

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

Oh dear. This was a hot mess of a book. I really didn’t like it much at all. For the post part it was okay, but then something at the end made me really want to throw something at it.

 

This book tells the story of teenager Eileen “Echo” Stone. Echo has a pretty decent life. She has two loving parents, and her boyfriend of 2 years, Andy, practically worships the ground she walks on. Then one day Echo wakes up in a mysterious location after blacking out, a sort of boarding house/orphanage surrounded by weird and mean kids of various ages and a strict matronly type lady over seeing everything.  

 

Echo is very confused and tries desperately to convince everyone she’s not an orphan. So with the help of the good looking Cole, the only person being nice to her, Echo manages to escape and runs home. Only to discover to her shock and horror – a car passes right through her. She’s dead. And has no memory of how she died or the last few months of her life.

 

The plot of the novel revolves around Echo solving the mystery of her murder and coming to terms with her memories of her life – she’s not the good sweet girl she seems to think she was.  She also has to learn how to be a ghost. The place she’s stranded in is a sort of a half way point, the other kids staying there are all ghosts like her, who have been murdered. They have to find their killers and dole out justice before they can “pass over”. Each ghost has a unique ability. Echo learns this quickly on her first revenge outing with the other ghosts. Echo’s power is (unsurprisingly) the rare and unique ability to take over human’s bodies and learn their memories and secrets. Only one other ghost has been able to do this in the last ten years or so.

 

The plot doesn’t actually sound too bad. The different abilities of the other ghosts and their backstories were mildly interesting. The actual story telling came across to me as kind of bland and rather boring. And I can’t actually say I liked any of the characters. Echo was a brat. She came across as moody and entitled and more often than not I found myself wanting to slap her. Granted, it can’t be easy seeing people you used to know and discovering you’re not as well liked as you thought, and discovering disturbing things about yourself you had forgotten. But I really just had no sympathy for this girl.

 

The boyfriend was madly in love with her and is understandably heartbroken. Echo is watching him go through this, she can’t communicate with him. And his parents and everyone else are already telling him she wasn’t so great – get over it. Hard to do when you’ve been crazy in love for some time. And of course the really popular mean girl who snubbed Echo has her sites on him and Echo is jealous. Again, understandable. But after two or three interactions, she finds herself enamoured with Cole.

 

At the same time she’s feeling very guilty about it. You can sort of see why she might feel conflicted. She’s had the same boyfriend for years, he’s still alive and grieving, but she’s sharing smoochies and new experiences as a ghost with a hot new guy. It’s a fairly interesting predicament, love triangle with a paranormal twist. Problem for this reader is I just hated the characters and as I said earlier due to my severe dislike of Echo I had little to no sympathy for her.

 

The actual plot itself as Echo uncovers what happens to her, is quite intriguing and to be fair, quite surprising and disturbing when the truth about what happened is revealed. I didn’t actually guess or see it coming. The investigation is really what kept my interest as Echo and Cole with the help of the other ghost kids dig into Echo’s past and look at the suspects.

 

This is a bit of a big spoiler for the end of the book but it really pissed me off and I want to rant about it.

 

After solving the murder, Echo still hasn’t moved on. She’s decided she needs to say goodbye to the people who loved her. Mom and dad and boyfriend Andy. Okay. Makes sense. However, she’s decided the way to help Andy move on without her is find him a new girlfriend. Not to say her goodbyes, leave him alone and let him grieve, hopefully in his own time he’ll accept things, deal and move on. It’s only high school, he has his whole life ahead of him. No, Echo decides that he needs a girl to help him. He’s been flirting tentatively with Dani, the mean popular girl. So Echo decides she’s going to “help” them get together with her ghost powers.

(spoiler show)

 

Dani and Andy have a date. Dani has a more out-going style of dress and makeup tastes than Echo. So Echo spies on Dani as she’s getting ready. Dani’s really excited – but Echo knows Andy likes her to dress a certain way, do her make up a certain why. This really really pisses me off to no end. Why should any girl have to change their appearance to suit what their boyfriend likes if they like things done a bit differently? If he doesn’t like the way she dresses or how she does her make up, then it’s his fucking problem and he can deal with it or find someone else.

(spoiler show)

 

 

 So Echo hides the clothes and makeup she knows Andy won’t like. And Dani doesn’t seem to freak out or anything. She goes on the date in the clothes and the subtle make up Echo left for her. And it’s a success. So successful that Echo with her ability of possessing people has finally hit on the idea of possessing Dani so she can be with Andy again.  Why this didn’t idea didn’t circulate before in Echo’s mind is a bit beyond me. Especially since she’s been possessing people throughout the story to learn their secrets. Which would have made for a more interesting plot, with the moral implications of this decision. Which she deals with fairly rapidly.

(spoiler show)

 

 

This particular part made me really hate the book, which I already didn’t like much. It was definitely an interesting idea, the story and characters just didn’t work for me at all. It’s concluded but left with a possibility that it could be a series. I certainly wouldn’t read any more of this.

 

Not for me at all.

 

Thank you Netgalley and St Martin’s Press for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2017-09-13 23:55
Great sequel!
Jessica Rules the Dark Side - Beth Fantaskey

I loved the first book and the second one lives up to it (thankfully!) what I really liked about this one while reading was Jessica’s development as a character grows up. Dramatically. Considering she now has to rule and take Lucius place due to the circumstances she had to learn how to take control and she does it gracefully.

 

The plot itself wasn’t so bad although there could have been more substance to it. The reader already has a hunch as to who is behind the entire plot - a little mystery would have been appreciated and would have kept the plot a little more exciting. So the predictability of it sort of dampens the enjoyment of the book.

 

Nevertheless it’s the characters that keep the book going. Jessica and Lucius still have that great chemistry together. It’s the light banter Lucius has with Raniero that was also fun to read throughout the story.

 

Fun to read and it’s light, worth the time - from what I know there’s no more after this one. So to give the duology a nice closing, it’s a good one. (A story about Mindy would be great though.)

 

Bonus points to the cover. Love it!

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review 2017-09-12 19:33
Alice in Zombieland (would definitely be the first to die)
Alice in Zombieland - Gena Showalter

Sorry this review is late in coming, but this was a buddy read for August and I wanted no spoilers. 

 

So...this book...yeah....NO. JUST NO.

 

Ali is everything a Mary Sue can be. She's pretty in a painful Arian way. She's stupid in short-bus, first to die, trip her and save yourself ways. She has no redeeming qualities. She is also the kind of girl that falls for the abusive asshole just because he's pretty. She makes me sick.

 

Cole is your typical handles-everything-with-his-fists guy. He's gorgeous, of course. But you cannot pretty up this guy's insides. He's just nasty. He gets his way at school by glaring, rage and fear. Him and his posse don't even seem to know what a dress code is, wearing chains and sleeves of tattoos. And ankle monitors. Wtf? He says terrible things to people, he's bossy, and he's grabby if you attempt to walk away. He will also stick you in his car and drive you around but not tell you where you are going. Yes, folks, he's kidnappy. 

 

Now, the "zombies" in this book are the weirdest imagining of them I have ever come across. Soul eating ghost things that can only be seen by special snowflakes. Of course Ali is one. And of course she ends up being like and Alpha zombie hunter with uber super powers the likes of which have never been seen. 

 

Yet I swear she never sleeps. She should be dead. It's just not humanly possible to go that long without sleep, folks.

 

And with everyone in her life dying, what does Ali learn? To "live life", or in Ali speak, fuck her boyfriend, the abusive, two-faced, half-the-time-I-hate-you Cole. Her friend says she has kidney failure and the ONLY thing Ali learns is "I need to get busy with Cole because we may not have much time". Man, her priorities. Totally ignoring the fact zombies are coming out of the woodwork every night to eat her and half her loved ones are now buried. She needs to bang. God, she was sickening in her shallow one-dimensionalness. Like, Bella Swan shallow. 

 

The plot was lacking and stupid. The only character I liked was her terminally ill best friend. There was a guy named Frostie. Yes, that was his name. Did we ever learn his real name? No. Because that's just how stupid and juvenile this whole adventure down the rabbit hole was. In no way was this a Wonderland tale. It was a poorly written, cliche teen drama that makes The Vampire Diaries look deep. 

 

Ugh. I cannot believe I bought the trilogy.

 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-09-12 00:10
Great for the first half, slow last half, with the last 50 pages with explosive action
Siege and Storm - Leigh Bardugo

***Spoilers ahead, you have been warned***

 

You’d have to read Shadow and Bone to read and understand Siege and Storm. Otherwise you’d be pretty lost as events follow up right after the first book.

 

The first half of the book was at a great pace and filled with lots of action, bombs, explosions, fighting, magic, all sorts of goodness you would expect for the second book to follow up for an excellent start in the first. It slows down in the second half of the book where preparations for encountering The Darkling are made and you have this whole drama with Alina and Mal going on;

 

Okay I was wrong about The Darkling. I was torn apart when he ended up being jackalope of the year and I was holding a banner of love for Alina and Mal.

 

Then Nikolai steps in.

 

Handsome, charismatic, swashbuckling, people sway to his beat Nikolai. I loved reading about him whenever he came into the picture. It’s like when your school crush comes into the classroom and you realize you’re going to share a table with him. That kind of giddiness is what Nikolai brings to the book.

 

I saw the chemistry with Alina and Mal in the first one, and it just falls apart here in Siege and Storm - understandably so as the dynamics have changed a lot and Alina has climbed up in the ladder of importance and Mal has suddenly fallen off the grid and is just considered a lowly guard of Alina the Sun Summoner. Which is pretty good right? You’re near the person you love and care about, you’re standing guard and you’re close by.

 

No. Can’t be that easy right? First Nikolai steps into the picture and is suddenly looking like a much better prospect and the drama with Alina looking for the Firebird to amplify her powers even more - the point where she becomes obsessed with it changes her personality and makes her more darker, assertive, and she’s not the girl we all once knew in the first book. I really love this personality change in her. There’s a slight whiny voice to it but she really steps up and grows exponentially as a character.

 

So I can see the romance aspect of the book falling apart, but at the same time you ask yourself is it really necessary? I can see the attempt at a love triangle with Mal and Nikolai with Alina in the middle but from what I see, she gets along fine with both of them, but does she really need one or the other as a love interest? I don’t see the chemistry there with either of them.

 

Sure, Alina still cares a lot for Mal but everything’s changed and it just seems like she doesn’t need romance..not yet anyway. Instead, the attempt at the romance is seen as two whiny people who can’t get their own way and they take it out on each other by indulging themselves on the road to self destruction. Again, that’s a very human trait and good on portraying that. The whininess though, I could do without. It caused unnecessary drama in the book, and endless of pages in the second half where the plot doesn’t seem to be moving forward or anywhere. It feels like an unnecessary filler.

 

The last third of the novel though did pick up the pace (did not make up for the whiny drama though) and provided a lot of the explosions and action you had in the first half. Not really featuring a cliffhanger ending, but it’s making me look forward to what I have to see in the third and final book of this series.

 

PS: My heart bled for Genya.

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