Tag Archives: arc

REVIEW: The Dollhouse

cover47401-mediumStars: 4/5

Format: Kindle ebook via NetGalley

Read: June 15, 2014

I was looking forward to reading the Dollhouse, though it seemed out of my normal young adult genre and more of a suspense crime/thriller. I was wrong, in a sense. This book is more paranormal than crime/thriller, though there are definitely overtones of the thriller bit.

I was sucked into the world of Cassie and Ethan as they search desperately for Aisha. The strange alliances that Cassie must make to ensure the rest of their captors don’t starve or get hurt are poignant and dynamic and the dollhouse carnival theme only makes everything more eerie as the story progresses.

Very few books I finish in one sitting, but I just couldn’t tear myself away from THE DOLLHOUSE. I was so invested in the book that when I reached the end, I hadn’t even braced myself for a cliffhanger and was floored and left craving more.

It’s difficult to review too extensively and not spoil anything, but I will say that as someone who gets creeped out fairly easily, I was able to read THE DOLLHOUSE during the evening hours without my fear interfering with the nail biting storyline. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting a crime/thriller without the gore that comes with it!

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from NetGalley and have in no other way received compensation.

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Filed under 4 stars, advanced reader copy, Review

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: Paradigm

ImageStars: 4/5

Format: Kindle ebook via NetGalley

Read: May 29, 2014

This book was interesting in that every other chapter switched the main character narrative. It starts with Alice and the Day the World Ended and then moves on to Carter and the Day His World Began. In this fashion, the book unfolds, each chapter feeding into the next and bridging the 87-year gap. I found myself yearning to continue the story of Alice after her chapter concluded, only to yearn for Carter’s story to return when Alice took over the next chapter.

The story was a bit weak on the world building, Alice’s world being a bit more fleshed out than Carter’s. This was not a major detraction, however, because just as Carter is trying to navigate a world that is not the same one he left, I empathized because I was yo-yoing back and forth between Alice’s world, Carter’s remembered world, and Carter’s actual world.

I really wish that Carter’s story hadn’t dragged the entire time. I suspect it was so close to being outstanding, that I wished for more character building than was probably strictly necessary. However, that just gives more credence to the author and what an outstanding job she did.

I would recommend this book to those who want more of an adventurous and darker dystopian that is not reliant on romance to push the plot forward; especially Alice’s story, which left me wanting to read for hours more.

This ebook was received from NetGalley in exchange for a review. I have only received a free advanced reader copy of the book and have not been otherwise compensated for this review.

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Filed under 4 stars, advanced reader copy

Review: THE DREAM THIEVES

ImageStars: 4.5/5

Format: Kindle ebook via NetGalley

Read: August 18, 2013

I have been in love with Maggie Stiefvater’s work for a long, long time. Not since the beginning, mind you, but since she published SHIVER. I’m lucky enough to have a casual acquaintance with her, I have a picture of her and my rabbit, and I have some doodles in my signed books from her especially to me.

Although this is true, I am not biased. To date, I have not met a book she has written that I haven’t liked. A lot. Her writing style is just so dry-humored and smooth like dark chocolate.

Okay. So back to the review at hand. THE DREAM THIEVES is a wonderful sequel to THE RAVEN BOYS. This book mostly focuses on Ronan with a good dose of Blue and little Adam, and Gansey. There’s an assassin in town that’s looking for a valuable thing that Gansey may or may not possess and will stop at nothing to get it. Plus, Cabeswater has disappeared into thin air and with it, any chance Gansey has to find the king he’s been looking his entire life for.

Maggie’s prose is lyrical, witty, sad, and rings with the truth of consciousness for every one of her characters. She breathes life into the pages seamlessly and grabs you along for the ride until the words run out. I was so, so pleased to get to read this second installment in The Raven Cycle a month early and I will definitely be buying the hardcover when it comes out!

I received a free ebook copy from NetGalley and did not receive any other recompense for this review.

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Filed under 4.5 Stars, advanced reader copy, Review

Review: THAT TIME I JOINED THE CIRCUS

Image

Stars: 4/5

Format: Kindle ebook via NetGalley

Read: August 24, 2013

This was a very light and fun read. I requested it simply because it mentioned the circus and I’m a bit of a shy carnie fan. The beginning was a bit weird, with chapters alternating “present” time and what happened in the past to get to where Lexi is currently.

So Lexi is a typical, quiet girl who likes her books as much as she likes her close-knit friends Eli and a girl she refers to as “Adventure Barbie”; one of those born perfectly and can do anything a man would like from rock-climbing to stunning a night club silent.

So one bad decision and a freak accident (not at the same time, of course), Lexi is homeless and cannot go back to her prepaid prep school without an adult legal guardian. So Lexi is swept to Florida on a Greyhound bus on a wild goose chase to try and find her mother who, when Lexi was eight, left her and her father to run off to the circus. Alright, I could live with that, cool. But when Lexi gets there, her mother isn’t even remembered by the ring master. However, he does give Lexi a job and a home and thus starts her adventure of living with a traveling circus.

I actually devoured this book in a day and a half. The half is because I fell asleep reading it. I think I was really drawn to the light heartedness of the book. Lexi was fairly independent and enjoyable to read, with enough depth to make her interesting. I loved her family dynamics with Lina and Lishka, the daughters of the ring master. It was the tiniest bit disjointed and I wished it flowed better with the change of chapters, but I really had a good time reading it!

I received a free ebook copy of this book from NetGalley and have received no other recompense other than the free text for my kindle.

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Filed under 4 stars, advanced reader copy, Review

Review: STARTERS

 Stars: 4.5/5

Format: ARC from Random Buzzers

Read: February 20, 2012

First off, I hate the cover. Hate it. It has nothing to do with the actual content of the book and though it does catch your attention, it has no meaning. Second, I received this book through Random Buzzers to promote and review. I am not being paid except for the free copy I received.

I really liked this book. It’s 4.5 stars for me, but rounded down to four simply because I didn’t find it as amazing as some of my “most favorite read again and again” books. An average of one book out of every seven I await publication actually are as good as I think they will be. This book was delightfully so. I received it on Friday and tore through it. I would have read it in one sitting, but I had things I had to do over the weekend.

A lot of reviews are going around saying that they liked the idea but hated the execution and so on. I like to read a book at face value. I never expect anything to happen and let myself enjoy the ride. I think this contributed very highly to my perception of the story itself. There were good twists, a thrilling mystery, and enough action for me to have a hard time finding a stopping place to pause reading.

Callie was highly likable. I didn’t adore her, but then do you adore every person you meet? She had pros and cons with more of an emphasis on the pros. Thinking back on my initial impression at the very beginning of the book (street rat, starving, wanting to protect her brother) to her becoming a “donor” she’s very different. There’s a bit of a void in the character development, but I think that is fairly consistent with the aspects of “donating” your body. Unfortunately, aside from the fellow “renters” Callie interacts with, little character development happens with the initial street rat possible love boy who takes care of her little brother alongside her. I do understand why her little brother and Michael would be lesser characters, but they felt a bit like a block of granite with half a face chiseled out. I hope they’ll play a bigger role in the next book, ENDERS, whenever that comes out.

The execution of the plot idea was, in my opinion, handled very well. It was plausible (I hate those dystopians that are very vague about what happened to the population on Earth and why because the foundation crumbles under scrutiny) and was actually a piece of the story itself, not as a result of or in addition to. There were many roads this book could have traveled with many plot threads left hanging, but I felt a sense of satisfaction when I came to the end of the book that only comes from that creative balance of closure and no closure. Am I dying to get a hold of the next book right this moment? No, not really. But I do anticipate its publication and will read it when it comes out.

If you enjoy dystopians that aren’t bogged down with too much emotional distraughtness or complicated jargon that flow fairly consistently, I think you ought to take this book for a spin. You might not be disappointed.

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Filed under 4.5 Stars, advanced reader copy, 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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Filed under 3 stars, 4 stars, Review