Review: There Once Were Stars

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There Once Were Stars by: Melanie McFarlene

My Rating: 1 of 5 Stars

Peace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of the dome. Now Nat wants answers. Is there life outside the dome and if so, what has the Order been hiding from everyone?

Beware spoilers ahead!

I had heard about this book through Twitter. There was a blog tour going on at the time. It sounded interesting so I added it to my shelf. I came across some reviews that mentioned cluttered writing style. Rather than buy this I downloaded a sample. I didn’t enjoy it. 

The book begins with Natalia’s 18th birthday. Her parents died when they exited the dome due to the radiation. Since then Nat has been living with her grandparents. Now that she is officially an adult she has to start working.

Behind everyone’s back she sneaks out and spies on the outer edge of the dome. She wants a better understanding of what happened to her parents. She falls asleep and wakes up to seeing strangers roaming outside of the dome. This shouldn’t be possible because of all the radiation.

This was a case of ‘It’s not you but me’. When I started reading this it felt off. Yes the writing style was a bit of a mess here-and-there. But for some reason it felt really weird to read the sample. I wasn’t interested in knowing about Nat’s life so I ended up skimming a lot of it. I also found it somewhat boring. I never felt any anticipation when she fell asleep and woke up to strangers. I felt nothing the whole I read and skimmed it. I could not bring myself to read more. 

Overall this book was not for me. But I still recommend it. I think it would actually be a good Sci-Fi. 

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Review: One Tiny Lie

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One Tiny Lie by: K. A. Tucker

My Rating: 1 of 5 Stars

Livie has always been the stable one of the two Cleary sisters, handling her parents’ tragic death and Kacey’s self-destructive phase with strength and maturity. But underneath that exterior is a little girl hanging onto the last words her father ever spoke to her. “Make me proud,” he had said. She promised she would…and she’s done her best over the past seven years with every choice, with every word, with every action.

Livie walks into Princeton with a solid plan, and she’s dead set on delivering on it: Rock her classes, set herself up for medical school, and meet a good, respectable guy that she’s going to someday marry. What isn’t part of her plan are Jell-O shots, a lovable, party animal roommate she can’t say ‘no’ to, and Ashton, the gorgeous captain of the men’s rowing team. Definitely him. He’s an arrogant ass who makes Livie’s usually non-existent temper flare and everything she doesn’t want in a guy. Worse, he’s best friends and roommates with Connor, who happens to fits Livie’s criteria perfectly. So why does she keep thinking about Ashton?

As Livie finds herself facing mediocre grades, career aspirations she no longer thinks she can handle, and feelings for Ashton that she shouldn’t have, she’s forced to let go of her last promise to her father and, with it, the only identity that she knows.

Beware spoilers ahead!

DNF

I heard about this book through GR. I’d seen that a couple of friends had read it and given it good ratings. I saw that it was in my local library so I put it on hold. Unfortunately I did not enjoy this book. 

The book begins in June. Livie is talking to her sister Kacey. Kacey mentions that Livie is too perfect and she feels responsible for robbing Livie of a proper childhood. Kacey says that she’s talked to her therapist about this and that he’ll be calling Livie soon. Livie doesn’t think she needs any sort of help but gives in because of Kacey.

Much to Livie’s surprise the phone calls continue. The therapist (I forgot his name) puts Livie through some weird stuff. She actually speed dated over the summer. One the first day of college Kacey helps her move in and encourages her to drink in order to let loose. 

The reason I didn’t finish this book is because I didn’t agree with Kacey and the therapist way’s to get Livie out there. You don’t just insistently get a life and friends by speed dating and getting drunk. Once college came she could’ve just joined some clubs and had some group study sessions. That works as well. And honestly Livie wasn’t even that bad. I found her to be focused and she reminded me of Harper from Rebel Belle

Overall I did not enjoy this book. But I still recommend it to fans of NA contemporary. 

Review: Wolf by Wolf

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Wolf by Wolf by: Ryan Graudin

My Rating: 1 of 5 Stars

Her story begins on a train.

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball in Tokyo.

Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.

But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

Beware spoilers ahead!

DNF

This book was recommended to me by my dear GR friend Chantal! Click on her name to read her review. 

I had been hearing about this book for quite a while. I never paid attention to it. It wasn’t until I came across Chantal’s review that I decided to give it a go. Unfortunately it wasn’t for me.

The book begins in the year 1944. Yael and several other Jews are being transferred to a death camp. Everyone around Yael is either screaming or crying. Once they reach their destination the men and women are separated. Yael sticking to her mother comes across a very peculiar man. He continues to stare at Yael. Eventually he tells one of his people to get Yael sent to a lab for experiments.

The reason I couldn’t finish this book is because of the experiments. Yael was 6 when she was experimented on. To me it was horrifying. I kept on cringing when I read the first chapter. I should’ve known that I wouldn’t be able to finish this because of the experiments.

Overall this book was not for me. But I still recommend it to fans of dystopia and sci-fi.  

Review: Teen Idol

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Teen Idol by: Meg Cabot

My Rating: 1 Star

High school junior Jenny Greenley is so good at keeping secrets that she’s the school newspaper’s anonymous advice columnist. She’s so good at it that, when hotter-than-hot Hollywood star Luke Striker comes to her small town to research a role, Jenny is the one in charge of keeping his identity under wraps. But Luke doesn’t make it easy, and soon everyone—the town, the paparazzi, and the tabloids alike—know his secret…and Jenny is caught right in the middle of all the chaos.

Beware spoilers ahead!

DNF

I had read this book back in September 2015. I was going through a Meg Cabot funk and I was really excited to read this. Unfortunately I did not enjoy this.

The book begins with a piece from Dear Annie.  A girl was having a dilemma with her grandmother. Her grandmother thought that everything said girl had an interest in is going to send her to Hell. The girl has no idea what to do. Annie responds saying that her grandmother is crazy and that she’s already in Hell, it’s called high school.

We are then taken to the first chapter in which Jenny is in class. A couple of the boys want to play a prank on their teacher so they steal her favourite doll and go to hide it somewhere. This upsets Jenny because she knows how important that doll is to her teacher. Jenny tries to express her concerns to her best friend (I’ve forgotten her name). But said best friend brushes it off claiming that the teacher will be fine.

That’s about as much as I read. I found it surprising that Jenny was nice whenever you interacted with her for example she really did care about that doll, but when she was Dear Annie she was absolutely rude. I know that in media they portray high school as such, and while it isn’t rainbows and sunshine, it’s not like Hell. I just found that stupid. And yes that girl’s grandmother was weird to consider everything her granddaughter liked Hell worthy, that still doesn’t mean you have the right to call someone’s grandmother nuts. Even if it’s true she doesn’t right to say that.

Overall this was not a good book. I cannot bring myself to recommend this.

Review: Once Upon a Dream

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Once Upon a Dream by: Liz Braswell

My Rating: 1 of 5 Stars

What if the sleeping beauty never woke up? Once Upon a Dreammarks the second book in a new YA line that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways.

It should be simple–a dragon defeated, a slumbering maiden, a prince poised to wake her. But when said prince falls asleep as soon as his lips meet the princess’s, it is clear that this fairy tale is far from over.

With a desperate fairy’s last curse infiltrating her mind, Princess Aurora will have to navigate a dangerous and magical landscape deep in the depths of her dreams. Soon she stumbles upon Phillip, a charming prince eager to join her quest. But with Maleficent’s agents following her every move, Aurora struggles to discover who her true allies are, and moreover, who she truly is. Time is running out. Will the sleeping beauty be able to wake herself up?

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC via Disney Hyperion and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

DNF

I have read one of the authors books The Nine Lives of Chloe King. This was before I started reviewing and blogging. I ended up DNFing that book. You can imagine my surprise when I found that the author was writing dark fairy tale retellings for Disney. I saw this book on Netgalley and read the synopsis. It sounded interesting so I requested it. But unfortunately I did not enjoy it.

The book begins with a prologue in Phillips point of view. He has just defeated Maleficent. He has no idea where the dragon’s body is but assumes that someone must have double checked for it. He makes his way to Aurora’s tower. He begins to explain that for the most part he has no idea what’s happened. Phillip was in a cell when the 3 fairies saved him. They told him to kill the dragon and wake up Aurora. He’s reached the tower and kisses Aurora. Then he starts to get dizzy and realizes that no one checked on the body.

A few years before Aurora’s birth her parents got married. Together they ruled the land. But they were greedy and terrible people. They spent a significant time of their ruling eliminating good witches and fairies.

Once Aurora was born they invited everyone who was evil and the whole kingdom. When the guests started arriving the Queen immediately requested Aurora’s presents. The three evil fairies arrive. Two of them give Aurora a gift (singing and a good heart) and third fairy promises the King and Queen an army of monsters. They also mention that once Aurora turns 16 they would take her. Maleficent arrives and is shocked that the King and Queen have made a deal with the evil fairies. Maleficent’s a good fairy. Before she leaves she promises to save Aurora.

For the next 16 years the King and Queen neglect Aurora. They instead chose to focus on conquering their fellow neighbors. At this point the King and Queen have messed up epically. Their land is dying  and so are their people. When the fairies arrive to take Aurora they demand their help. The fairies deny helping them mentioning it was the King and Queen’s fault for making a deal with them. Before Aurora is taken away Maleficent arrives. She now has enough power to save Aurora and the land. She saves the people and becomes queen.

I’m starting to realize that I don’t enjoy fairy tale retelling’s. I was amazed at the amount of changes that were done from the Disney movie. I couldn’t imagine the King and Queen being awful and the fairies being evil. I loved those fairies! I also couldn’t imagine Maleficent being ‘good’.

Aside from that I really didn’t like the writing style. It felt choppy and misplaced. And there were more words than necessary to describe something. When I read the authors previous book it was written in first person. Whereas this book is written in third person. I think had this book been written in first person it would’ve sounded better. If it had just been because it was different I would’ve written it of as ‘It’s not you but me’. But that’s not the case.

Overall I did not enjoy this book. But I still recommend it. It would definitely be interesting to read about Maleficent being a Queen and that for being a ‘good’ fairy she still puts the sleeping curse. And how with all these changes Aurora meets Phillip. I would recommend it to fans of dark fairy tale retelling’s and fans of the author.

Review: And I Darken

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And I Darken by: Kiersten White

My Rating: 1 of 5 Stars

This vividly rendered novel reads like HBO’s Game of Thrones . . . if it were set in the Ottoman Empire. Ambitious in scope and intimate in execution, the story’s atmospheric setting is rife with political intrigue, with a deftly plotted narrative driven by fiercely passionate characters. Fans of Victoria Aveyard’s THE RED QUEEN, Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING, and Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES won’t want to miss this visceral, immersive, and mesmerizing novel, the first in a trilogy.

NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes the first book in a dark, sweeping new series in which heads will roll, bodies will be impaled . . . and hearts will be broken.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC via Random House Children’s and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

DNF

When I saw this on Netgalley I was surprised that it was there. I had heard about this book last year September. I decided to request it because while it didn’t sound like my cup of tea, I wanted to try it. Unfortunately I didn’t like it.

The book begins with Lada being born. Her father is waiting impatiently and is not pleased when he sees that his wife has given birth to girl. He names after himself and hopes that at least Lada will be pretty so that he can have her married off.

The year after Lada’s brother Radu is born. At this point their mother does not care for either of her children and has the nurse raise them. Much to their fathers disappointment Radu is far too sensitive. And much to everyone’s surprise Lada is fierce and intimidating.

Over the next few years the siblings are raised together with their Nurse. Lada keeps surprising everyone meanwhile Radu is forgotten. They don’t really have much of relationship. As Lada doesn’t really understand emotions. Then one day their father sends them off as a means of creating a treaty. He never comes back for them.

The reason I didn’t enjoy this is because I found it extremely boring. Despite being compared to Game of Thrones this book has no magic element. Instead it has politics and religion. While Lada was somewhat refreshing to read about she was pretty stupid. And Radu was a little more sly than his sister was always wallowing about the fact that he was the useless sibling. Other reviewers are right about the fact that the author focuses on the characters weaknesses.

I really did not like Lada and Radu’s relationship. The synopsis makes it sound like they would be close. But they weren’t. They did  care for each other. But Lada did not seem to understand how to express her love for her brother. Meanwhile Radu didn’t want to step on her toes.

This book was also utterly boring. I spent most of the time skimming it. Then eventually that became work so I dropped it altogether. Most of the book was spent with politics and Lada trying to rebel against those who tried to control her.

Overall I did not enjoy this book. I cannot bring myself to recommend it.

Review: Grayling’s Song

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Grayling’s Song by: Karen Cushman

My Rating: 1 of 5 Stars

When Grayling’s mother, wise woman Hannah Strong, starts turning into a tree, Hannah sends Grayling to call “the others” for help. Shy and accustomed to following her mother in everything, Grayling takes to the road. She manages to summon several “others”—second-string magic makers who have avoided the tree spell—and sets off on a perilous trip to recover Hannah’s grimoire, or recipe book of charms and potions. By default the leader of the group, which includes a weather witch, an enchantress, an aspiring witch, a wizard whose specialty is divination with cheese, and a talking and shape shifting mouse called Pook, Grayling wants nothing more than to go home.

Kidnapping, imprisonment, near drowning, and ordinary obstacles like hunger, fatigue, and foul weather plague the travelers, but they persist and achieve their goal. Returning, Grayling finds herself reluctant to part with her companions—especially Pook. At home she’s no longer content to live with her bossy mother, who can look after herself just fine, and soon sets out on another journey to unfamiliar places . . . possibly to see the young paper maker who warmed her heart.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC via Houghton Mufflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

DNF

When I first saw this on Netgalley in December I fell in love with the synopsis! It sounded really sweet and I love Middle Grade fantasy! You can imagine my excitement when I was able to request this. Unfortunately I did not enjoy this.

The book begins with Grayling doing some chores for her mother. They don’t really have the best relationship as her mother makes it point to tell Grayling that she’s no good. After completing some chores for her mother she goes home. Her mother is a doctor and will be having some patients. Grayling will have to babysit one of the patients children.

The next day Grayling is daydreaming when her mother calls her in to come immediately. Grayling still lost in her own head doesn’t go right away. Her mother shouts for her again. Grayling goes to her house thinking of why can’t she get a moments peace.

When she reaches her house she sees that it’s on fire. She runs to find her mother. Much to Grayling’s relief her mother is alive. But her feet are rooted to the ground and she is about to become a tree. Grayling freaks out and is unsure of what to do. Her mother tells her to get everything that survived the fire and to get the ‘others’.

The reason why I didn’t like it is because of the writing style. The way Grayling and her mother spoke to each other was weird. She actually called her mother by her first name. I could barely understand what they were saying. It seems that the author has written in some old type of language. I’m not really sure how to describe it. Some of the narration was alright but again hard to understand.

Overall I really did not like the writing style. I cannot bring myself to recommend this to anyone.