Category Archives: 3 stars

REVIEW: The Fever

cover41424-mediumStars: 3/5

Format: Kindle ebook via NetGalley

Read: June 14, 2014

The Fever centers around what happens when mass hysteria breaks out as girls at a small town high school start dropping like flies with a mysterious illness that seems to manifest with just slight differences in each new girl.

I have to start out by stating that a major detraction of this story was the amount of sex. Not the act itself, necessarily, but flashbacks and talking about it and ruminating about it and how awkward it feels afterwards. Even during the mass hysteria, sex plays a major role in this narrative. The frustrating part was, sex had literally nothing to do with the illness or discussed out loud with anyone. It was a bit strange that this entire town, one way or the other, had sex on their minds. Maybe I grew up differently, but I never thought so much about sex in so much detail.

Now that I’ve gotten the major issue I had with this book out of the way, the rest of the book was fascinating. The reader gets to follow right along with Deenie, her brother, and her father as they begin to see that how people portray themselves doesn’t necessarily mean there’s not something festering- literally and figuratively- inside them.

This tale is full of suspense and leaves you hanging and partially blind to what is happening until the last page. Narratives like this can be a whole lot of fun, but I think the author had a little too much suspense, because I found myself growing just bored enough to talk myself out of reading and going back to studying for the MCAT.

Overall, the star rating dropped down to a three because there was just SO.MUCH.RUMINATING on sex. The narrative was drenched in it. I wanted to beat my head against the wall during some parts. But if you can get past that, there is a very good story that twists you uncomfortably to read in all the right ways.

I received a free advanced reader copy from NetGalley and in no other way was compensated for this review.

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Filed under 3 stars, advanced reader copy

Review: HUMAN BLEND

 Stars: 3/5

 Format: Paperback

 Read: March 14, 2012

This book had a catchy title, a promising synopsis, and an interesting promise of science and healing. The major problem, however, was the writing.

Had this book been written by a more mature writer, I would have raved and gushed over it. As it is now, however, I am reluctant to buy its sequel because I cringed as I made my way through the pages. Much of the book was telling instead of showing, with choppy sentence structure, characters that were so close to being rounded that it made you cringe with the promise of it all, and terrible dialogue.

The writing would not be an issue if it was a middle grade book. However, it is most definitely not a middle grade book what with the amount of cursing and the adult circumstances dealt with called for a higher caliber of storytelling. I can overlook the semantics of a book if the plot is especially riveting and engaging, but it just wasn’t and I had a hard time ignoring the flat “He said”, “She said”, and “He thought”. Hardly engaging dialogue words, to say the least.

The other main problem, though not quite as prominent as the writing, is the fact that the perspective changes so frequently and unexpectedly that it throws you for a loop. You’re reading about one character and mid-thought you’re reading about another character. Then you double take, make sure you haven’t just read the entirety of the scene with the wrong character in mind, and you get lost.

Being a scientist, I also have a problem with the “biology” portion of this book. It’s hard to explain this without spoiling anything, but you go through the book thinking one thing and, out of the blue, the conclusion is totally different, a very illogical jump with nothing solid to back it up. That was completely frustrating to me and I wanted to shake the author and plead for better transitions and science. It’s fine and dandy to create your own laws, but at least make them more consistent. The law of physics can be ‘bent’, but there’s a (mostly) reasonable explanation as to why. Pescatore’s laws always clashed with each other and often cancelled each other out.

I gave this book three stars because of its promise, but honestly I don’t recommend reading it unless you have high hopes and are able to silence the writer portion of your brain.

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Review: THE DEATH CURE (Maze Runner 3)

 Stars: 3/5

 Format: Hardback 

 Read: December 22, 2011

The good parts: The premise of this book is good. It was creative and executed fairly well. The world and problems of this story were well thought out and consistent. The main character was someone that most teens could identify with. I didn’t feel like reading this series was a waste of my time. But there were enough bits about this book that rubbed me wrong for me to ever really like it more than a fleeting nod to the author’s writing style.

So with (some) relief, I finished this book in time for Christmas. I am so happy I didn’t buy this for myself. It’s a very disjointed story and I felt a little dragged by my lapels down a maze of confusion not unlike the feeling I had when reading the last Hunger Games installment. The characters never did develop very much at all. I’d venture to say that all the “development” happened in THE MAZE RUNNER. And people are dying, living, getting shot at, running, escaping mostly, with a dash of mystery (that was more like flat soda compared to the earlier books in this trilogy) that instead of urging me onward, pushed me to care less and less.

The book was a good conclusion to the series, but I never was crazy about THE MAZE RUNNER to begin with. I think it ended up with me praying the story would take off and waiting with bated breath, lightheaded oxygen deprivation, and finally gasping to relieve my aching brain when nothing ever happened. It was like THE MAZE RUNNER was the grand finale that appeared before its time; after that, nothing really crescendoed at all. Sure, I sometimes have very high standards and I am aware of that, but I also try my very hardest to find pieces of books to like when the story falls flat. I could not feasibly find anything I even half way liked about this series.

Yes, this is considered a “young adult” (ages 12+) book, but it is also true that I can name more several young adult books that surpass this series without even trying. And the “made up” curse words were just like saying “what the fudge?” when everyone disregards the editing and reads what was meant. They just really bothered me. Lots of teens curse, I am highly aware of that (my mom is a teacher after all) but come on, the world doesn’t need more incentive and encouraging on the matter.

So all in all, if you loved THE MAZE RUNNER and got through THE SCORCH TRIALS, read this and you might actually enjoy this. I will edit this review with what my younger brother thinks as well (he’s 15) once he’s done (and it might be a long while, so get comfy!).

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Filed under 3 stars, Review

Review: HOLLOWMEN and THE FAERIE RING

Stars: 4/5

 Format: Kindle Book

 Read: November 13, 2011

I’m sad to say I didn’t love this as much as the first book. It starts 6 months after Hollowland ended, and started fairly well. And then everything went to pot.

So they end up having to move, like usual, because no place is truly safe. I get that. Remy has to find her younger brother, so they take a detour to Arizona and I get that too. Remy is kind of emotionally damaged, so stuff isn’t quite so engaging for the reader. That’s fine. And then the author begins picking off characters. Which is also fine. However, the fact that Remy has basically turned into a flat, monotonous character that expresses few emotions and all shallowly is what bothered me.

When people begin to die, Remy doesn’t engage. I felt like I was reading the story through a fog, where everything was dampened and not always in a good way. I know she’s emotionally damaged, but I felt like this was an extreme that wasn’t plausible. So my favorite character is gone, there’s a whole slew of new characters, and other characters are mentioned in passing as dying. The whole story is very removed from Hollowland in a way that didn’t connect well at all with me.

I didn’t feel the characters at all. In fact, I went from Hollowland being my favorite to mourning the characters and story prematurely in Hollowmen. Because whatever spark that was in the first book, was gone from this one. I might also be overly disappointed because I had anticipated this sequel for so long that I sort of built a fairly large expectation, but even looking at it from a neutral stand point, I just did not connect with this book.

However, I will read any subsequent books in this series and hope that Remy will find her way back to us.

 Stars: 3/5

 Format: ARC Book Won

 Read: October 18, 2011

After so much hype and a gorgeous cover, I deeply wanted this book. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC, only to be highly disappointed by the book itself.

The characters are fascinating, if a bit slow to develop, but the plot was the main problem. It felt that the author was overenthusiastic about writing and pours out several plot threads at once, most of which having nothing to do with the main agenda of the book. Tiki steals to care for her family, oh wait she has a mysterious birthmark-tattoo on her wrist, on wow she happens to be inside Buckingham palace and happens to have a ring fall right in front of her, she takes it… and then the writing changes completely. It’s like two different writers tried to fit the same book idea and characters into one novel. The writing starts declining from “mediocre” to “childish” to “high schooler trying to write a book and make it big with no regards to prose or character development”. It wasn’t too bad, until everything is resolved. Then everything magically turns out okay; all that was missing was “and they lived happily ever after”. Which, you know, is fine in some circumstances, but felt like silk tacked on to a burlap sack. It just doesn’t fit together, no matter what you do.

Even the lore was weak, if nonexistent, to the point where I had no reservations on whether or not the agent even read any faerie books before taking this one on. I wanted to love it so much, even just like it, but in the end I just couldn’t. It was a rocky “oh well this is getting better” only to turn to the next chapter and have it decline again.

It was just painful to read, having so much potential gradually get burned to dust. You’re welcome to try it, but don’t expect too much or your soul will cry a little.

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