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review 2017-07-31 11:48
Review: When I am Through With You
When I Am Through with You - Stephanie Kuehn

I received a copy from Penguin First To Read

 

I really loved the last book I read by this author, and was really looking forward to this new one. After reading it, initially I gave it a four star rating, I really liked the main character, but found the twist in the novel quite disappointing. And after thinking about how to review it for more than a week after I finished, I realised I just didn’t like it that much at all. So I’ve lowered the rating to a two star.

 

The main character Ben is in jail for killing his girlfriend Rose. There’s something really compelling about Ben’s voice. He makes no apologies for his actions. He’s quite blunt in some respects, but in others almost quite passive and pessimistic. Calls himself a realist, but it’s almost quite depressing. He’s from a small town he never sees himself getting out of. He spends most of his time taking care of his mother who suffers from injuries from a car wreck and depression. He doesn’t see much prospect of ever getting out of his small town, thinking he’ll be stuck taking care of his mom for the foreseeable future and being stuck with minimum wage jobs.  Though you do get the impression he could be quite intelligent if he puts his mind to it.

 

When he meets a girl called Rose who decides she’s going to be his girlfriend, things change for him. Can’t say I really liked Rose much. She’s a drama queen who has to have things her way. When this book started I had plenty of ideas for how he may have killed her and the why was almost understandable.

 

The bulk of the story is a camping trip gone wrong. Ben and a group of other students heading up to a local mountain range. Ben suffers from debilitating migraines as a result of the same car accident that injured his mom. There’s also hints of something he did to cause the accident, also that he killed his step-father. This is all explained in context as the novel progresses. It goes to explaining some of his pessimistic personality.

 

There’s a handful of other kids on the camping trip, two stoners/drinkers, Rose and her brother, a girl Ben is sort of friends with, a few others and a nice teacher who seems to be the only adult encouraging Ben to do something with his life. At some point while separated from the main group Ben, the other girl and the two stoner/drinkers stumble across another group of campus. A creepy old man and two weird women with him. Someone’s heard a story about escaped convicts and boat loads of hidden cash. The weather is getting worse.

 

And things start going wrong very quickly. But it takes an incredibly long time (or it seems like) for anything to actually happen. It’s very slow and when things finally start happening, it’s…like…eh. The actual killing of Rose was nothing like I had been picturing when thinking of the start of the novel. It felt rather anticlimactic.

 

Despite Ben’s shifting personality from pessimistic to passive aggressive, I did find his tone of voice incredibly compelling. Even though the story was gloomy and rather boring, there was something about Ben’s telling of it that made it a quick read to want to know what happened but in the end it was all rather disappointing.

 

Looking forward to the author’s next book, but didn’t really like this one much.

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text 2016-12-16 15:44
One Was Lost
One Was Lost - Natalie D. Richards

I received a copy from Netgalley.

The premise of this one sounded interesting enough, a group of teens on a senior field trip wind up stranded in the woods, spooky things start happening, teachers go missing and they're being stalked by an unknown figure who writes strange things on the arms of four of the kids. Dangerous. Darling. Damaged. Deceptive. With no clue what's happening, stranded from their classmates by bad weather, and suspicions mounting, the kids must pull together and figure a way to get to help and safety.

Kind of reads like a cheesy teen survival movie. It's certainly got all the right elements, and the plot was fairly fast paced. Only once it got to the reveal it was more eye rolling than shocking, at least for me anyway. The other problem I had with it was there are no depth to any of the characters. The main character Sera is sensible enough with a snarky tone, and clearly has some sort of a past with one of the boys on the trip, Lucas. Rich boy Jude has a clear attitude problem, ditzy Melanie and Hayley seem to be into drama, and quiet Emily doesn't seem to say much at all.

But there's no real reasons explained for anyone's attitude. We get a little insight into Jude as the novel progresses and there are a few flashbacks as to what happened with Sera and Lucas, some sort of a potential romance that didn't go very far, and Sera backed off. All that's mentioned is something to do with her mother and not wanting to repeat her mistakes.

More questions than answers. Once the spooky things started happening, the suspicion and tension builds fairly quickly, though it seems everyone is quick to point figures without much evidence. And while they're trying to figure things out with scary shit going down Sera and Lucas seem to be inexplicably drawn to each other. Cue more eye rolling from the reader. The romance felt forced and unnecessary, though in a way I can understand wanting someone to cling to in an increasingly dangerous situation.

There is a fair bit of background on Lucas's character, but almost nothing on Sera herself. Though to be fair, stupid romance decisions that can be blamed on teen hormones aside, Sera is pretty logical and fairly sensible for the most part.

Spoilers, but these bits really irritated me

 

There was one stupid scene where she hears something at night whilst in the tent and thinks it might be bears in their camp. And she goes OUTSIDE in the pitch DARK to see what's going on. Leaving her tent-mate Emily asleep inside the tent. For fuck's sake.

 

One teacher is missing, presumed dead after an icky find and the other is alive but appears ill, and all they want is a grownup who can help get them sorted, so it becomes all about waking the teacher and getting him on his feet. Sensible, no? Though once the teacher is awake enough to get his bearings and not being sick, once he doesn't immediately believe every word they tell him they start thinking he's the one responsible.

(spoiler show)

 

There's also a story about a girl who died in the woods many years ago on a trip similar to theirs.  Deemed an accident when kids went partying in the woods, but there are hints there may be more to the story. Never really explored until the end.

Which in typical teen horror movie fashion, turned completely stupid. At least, it did for me.

Kind of a blah read for me in the end. Interesting premise, not so great execution. Would have liked some more character depth and background info filtered into the story.

Thank you Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2015-12-08 11:33
Review: This is Where it Ends
This Is Where It Ends - Marieke Nijkamp

I received a copy from Netgalley.

This was something I got from Netgalley with one of those read it now for the first 500 members for a limited time only things. I'm not exactly sure what to make of it. It was certainly very fast paced, once I got past the first 20% I finished the whole thing in pretty much a couple of hours. Couldn't put it down.

Given the subject, I can not even begin to fathom being trapped in such a terrifying situation, and by the end of the novel there was certainly an emotional impact. But something was missing and I can't quite put my fingers on what. I think for me, it was the characters. There were a LOT of characters, lots of different view points and even short interludes of characters on their social media - a blogger and someone's Twitter feed. But something was still missing.

There were only two or three characters that particularly had any impact - Tomas and Claire who were both outside the auditorium when the incident happened and Matt, Claire's brother one of the trapped students. My main concern was really for all the people trapped in the auditorium and how awful those who weren't trapped felt being able to do very little to help.

I was not that invested in the people who felt like the main focus, Autumn and Sylvia. Autumn came across as almost selfish through most of it, at least for this reader. Her main focus was dancing, she wanted out of her small town and focused on nothing but her dancing as her ticket of her situation. Understandable, given her sad family history, but I just didn't like her as a character.

Sylvia had a bit more to her, but it was all kind of vague and all over the place. Torn between her feelings for Autumn, her problems with Tyler, and her family drama there was a lot going on for her. Though in such a short space of time and the focus being on the shooting, and survival and with so many other character's POVs added, I can understand why there wasn't a lot of deep character background.

The villain of the piece, Tyler was so flat and eye roll inducing it was almost laughable in a horrible way it was so over dramatic.

One thing I will applaud - diverse characters, and Audrey and Sylvia were in a relationship which was a big part of the plot. Sylvia came from a large Spanish family though she kept breaking into random Spanish and it got very frustrating and jarring to the narrative. I get that its probably very realistic in terms of how you imagine someone in Sylvia's situation would act, but as a reader who speaks no Spanish, even if I can get the gist of what was being said, it was a little annoying especially since there was no translation.

The points of view kept changing to those trapped in the auditorium with the shooter and those outside and how terrified they were for their friends inside. Despite the somewhat flat characters, I did find a lot of the narrative to be very engaging and certainly by the end of the book there was a great deal of heart breaking emotional trauma. I didn't love the book, I think my main issue was too many characters and while I like multi POVs, it was all a bit overwhelming. Though it was certainly an engaging and emotional read.

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review 2012-07-31 00:00
Survival, a YA Paranormal Romance (The Guardians of Vesturon Series, Book #1)
Survival - A.M. Hargrove Originally posted on my blog:

Behind a Million and One Pages




4.5...

First of all, I love how the book is broken up into 4 'mini' books. Bringing with it a change in perspective, as well as with every few chapters the change in P.O.V. We have a set of characters for each 'book' that it can change P.O.V to, it does include setting changes as well.

While we are in the protagonist, Maddie's point of view, we get left with her either speaking formally as the Guardians do, or in her usual American slang. It's weird to switch formalities so many times. it is random as well, sometimes she feels as if she needs to speak formally, whereas others it seems like she lets go the control out of her tone and language that she can actually be herself and not ahve to speak as mature as she is, especially without her parents we see her desire to prove she is mature. However, it is her actions that defines her as this, not so much as by the formality in her tone. (Yes, there is some, but her use of American slang does not diminish this.)

Another thing I love about this book is how, even though we mainly see and know more than Maddie, we expect everything that happens as well as come to more understanding when she finds out, as we are given more information about certain topics in the book when she finds out about it. Although not much of a big fan of the unexpected seeing as we know most things that happen, but I love the way that we are hanging onto the information we already know and try to guess for it to strike Maddie's life. This also includes the meaning and story behind the occurrence.

When we are in the brothers' perspective, we see that Maddie starts to get annoying with everything that she does to try and help. It brings light to the story as well as the added laugh, and is there as a bit of fluff (if you get what I mean), yet the fluff is not particularly noticable, we would miss this bit of it were taken out. This brings a new side to Maddie's character that we start to discover along with the brothers.

We feel sorry for Rayne and Maddie and their complicated relationship. Awww, forbidden love! it will never cease to exist (well, it does make for a good story). Sometimes, however, we feel that everyone in the book only cares about looks and calling each other "hot" and "drop dead gorgeous", which does annoy me because to me they are terms that don't express or convey any actual feelings and emotions like for in the context it was brought into.

Like I previously explained, the book is majorly predictable (although this is without being shown/told the information/situation). Yet it still doesn't quite annoy us as much as many others do because there are other elements brought into the scene that still make it interesting to read and push through.

At the end of the book, a lot of questions are still left unanswered, making us anxious to read the second novel. The cliffhanger at the end makes me suspect that book 2, could lead onto 'mini' book 5?
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