Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

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Genre: Young-Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 409
Series: The Raven Boys #1
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Date Read: January 31, 2016

3 Stars

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The time I wrote the review, I had a headache so I wrote it in bulletin form. Right now, I have about 15 minutes before I go back to studying for my exam, so I’m not changing the format. I will write a synopsis though.

Blue Sargent lives in a house full of psychics: palm readers, clairvoyants, the works. She herself isn’t a psychic but she’s been told one thing about herself. That she will cause her true love to die when she kisses him. Then one night, she sees a spirit of a future dead. He says his name is Gansey, who she later discovered is a rich boy who goes to a private school, Aglionby. All the boys from Aglionby are referred as Raven Boys. The thing is though, the only reason a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve is if she’s his true love… or if she killed him.

Freaking love that synopsis. It gets to excited and gives you something to dread. Very eerie too. Like the novel is. Onto my bulletin-point review:

  1. The plot of the book is interesting and quite unique, but it can get really confusing at times. For example, I’m still not sure what ley lines actually are or where they come from.
  2. The characters are complex and well-developed (not all of them, unfortunately) and I like most of the protagonists. There is one I don’t like and no one else seems to see that the characters sucks ass; Adam, the self-obsessed, prideful bastard.
  3. The writing of the book is okay, but at the same time, it’s a bit too cryptic/mysterious. I believe the exact words I used in the Buddy Read thread were, “The writing is a bit too formal sometimes, isn’t it? I get wanting to write mysteriously, but could you ease off on the almost-cryptic, twisty lines, Charlotte Bronte?”
  4. Talking about writing, the style also interfered with the connection to the characters. The writing, like it often happens, lacked emotional depth. With all the “I wanna use big words and complicated sentences in the narration” thing the author had going, she missed the part where the book flows and the readers feel stuff.
  5. The pace is a bit slow and the amount of things that went on in the book weren’t enough. It seemed more like a prequel than a first book. It lacked individuality. If this was just one book, it wouldn’t stand at all since almost nothing is answered. I know this was planned as a part of a series, but it should also be able to stand on its own.
  6. And since I had to think for two minutes to remember what the grand finale was, it’s clear that it wasn’t grand, to say the least.

And yeah, with all the bad things I’ve said, it might seem like I hated the book or something. I didn’t. I liked it. It was the kind of book that pulls you in from the beginning. It’s not perfect but it’s not bad, and I will be reading the next one. (Note from the future: I read the next one. It’s so much better.)

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Review: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

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Genre: Young-Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 307
Series: None
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Date Read: January 26, 2016

2 Stars

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Majorly unpopular opinion upcoming because, and I’m sorry to have to say this, but this book is ridiculous.

The idea behind the novel is great. It’s about a girl, Maddy, who’s allergic to so many things that she can’t go outside her house. Ever. Because the moments she does, she’ll face severe allergic reactions and probably die. It’s not the most eventful life but she tries to be okay with it. Until a new boy moves next door and they start e-mail interactions. He makes her realize that she wants more.

The plot is very interesting. Not ridiculous at all. But the book itself… *sigh* I don’t know what gave the author the idea that the shit that happens in this novel would be believable. She was clearly wrong.

At first, the only thing wrong was the writing. This isn’t a well-written novel. The prose lacks details, thoughts, imagery, etc. Basically, it’s a whole lot of ‘I said’, ‘she said’, ‘I did’, ‘she did’ and ‘ooh! an email!’ It didn’t work. We got almost zero insight into any of the characters. They were very one-dimensional. Maddy was childish and inconsiderate. The male protagonist we barely know anything about. Maddy’s mom… not touching her. There was also nurse who was terrible at her job.

It all made for a book that was more of a detailed report on a sequence of events, rather than something you can be emotionally invested in. Soon other problems arose and the book was heading to one star. Something near the ending salvaged it a little, but not much.

The plot was a lot of far-fetched things without explanation and there was a severe case of insta-love. At one point, I thought the book was a joke.

I can’t even say the format was good. I liked the illustration, the little art spread throughout, and thought they were cool but we never got to know why they were there. Did Maddy like art? Did she collect printouts? Was she computer-savvy? Why did you choose that format?! I get that it’s attractive, but you can’t just shove things into a novel for not reason.

Overall, the book was a disaster. The synopsis was interesting and the book had potential, but it wasn’t good. Yet another case of ‘is my copy of the book different from everyone else’s or something?’.

So I, personally, suggest avoidance.

Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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Genre: Young-Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 352
Series: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children #1
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Quirk Books
Date Read: January 23, 2016

4 Stars

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First of all, the cover of this book is super creepy and I really like it. Now, let’s get on to what the cover is covering.

A young boy, Jacob, is given a bunch of photos by his grandfather, who used to tell them stories of the kids in the photos, ones who has peculiar abilities. Jacob always thought they was just stories. You know, made up. Later it turns out that maybe they weren’t made up and that takes Jacob on a journey to a mysterious island. There, he finds the kids, who are still kids even decades later.

Ominous, right? Coupled with the cover, definitely. Still, I didn’t know what to expect from it. This is a surprisingly good book and quite… different. For one thing, it’s funny. Didn’t expect that.

Jacob is a good protagonist. He is the kind of guy you root for. He works really well as the narrator because of his humour, especially because, otherwise, the book could have gotten too serious. Also, the way he sticks to his decisions and is so stubbornly strong-footed is a great quality of his. And I like his vulnerability, how he doubts himself sometimes but doesn’t let anything hold him back.

The other characters (who I won’t mention because I want you to go into this book knowing as little as possible) and Jacob’s relationship with them is nice to watch. Though I do wish we got to more of Jacob with his mother and with his one friend.

I also really like the writing of this book. At times, it was on the verge of being overly poetic but I don’t think it crossed that line. It’s a little dense regardless, which makes for a slower read than I would’ve liked. But I think it won me over when the color of the sky was described as a “fresh bruise”. I loved that.

The world that the author created is quite unique and, you might say, peculiar. Maybe similar elements have been used before in some other book or series, I can’t be sure. I haven’t read anything like it and I really enjoyed exploring.

The one thing that I think didn’t work was that it was slightly underwhelming. In scenes when there was a lot of danger and we knew the stakes were high, it didn’t feel like the stakes were high. The book didn’t have me at the edge of my seat. The action wasn’t exciting enough. I think, in this case, the poetic prose acted as a hinderance.

Also, the Emma and Jacob romance? Still gross. She dated his grandfather. Ew.

Though I did quite like the ending and I’m very curious about the next book. And, knowing what the book is called, I’m feel a cross between worry and excitement for what’s next for the characters. Finally, I’ll say that I really liked this book. It’s interesting and has a great world to explore, and I recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy and some mystery.

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Message From the Future: It’s been almost two years since I read this novel and I’ve tried reading the sequel, but never got past chapter 2. It felt boring and the characters aren’t as memorable as one might except from people with special abilities. I’ve heard it suffers from Second Book Syndrome. Also, the writing got annoying.

Wrap Up: November, 2017

I don’t usually do these wrap-ups, as you may have noticed from not seeing any wrap-up posts in months. It’s for two reasons. One, I’m lazy; and two, I read a lot of books every month and writing a short review for each one is a major pain in the ass. I find thinking of what to write in the tweet annoying, 15 summaries at once? No thanks.

But in the month of November, I read a grand total of six novels and two novellas. That shouldn’t be much of a hassle. So without further ado, let’s get started.

P.S. Covers linked to Goodreads page and book title to the full review.
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13612968The Silver Mask by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black – 4 Stars

The fourth book of the Magisterium series that follows Callum Hunt’s journey through the Magisterium, a magic school; one that he never wanted to go to in the first place.
This was a fairly good installment. I like it better than the previous and I think it got things on track for the finale in the next novel, but it was rushed and I think both the authors can do better.

 

8419428A Lot Like Love by Julie James – 4 Stars

A standalone romance (but also part of a series) featuring a woman who is roped into helping the FBI on a case to help her brother, and an FBI agent who gets on her nerves.
A really fun novel that has two characters who have very different personalities and lifestyles but bring something new to the table for each other. A sweet and easy read.

 

11235783About That Night by Julie James – 4.5 Stars

A second chance romance of sorts. Also part of the FBI/US Attorney series and a standalone, about a guy who’s recently gotten out of prison for hacking into Twitter, and an Attorney.
This is my favourite by Julie James so far. I love both the characters and the dynamic between them. I loved the story and had a blast with the novel. A cute, funny and lighthearted read.

 

8507379Her Private Avenger by Elle Kennedy – 3 Stars

A romantic suspense and a second-chance romance with Morgan trying to find a killer and a Adam making sure that Morgan herself doesn’t get killed; working together despite their past.
This was an okay read. I liked some things but Morgan wasn’t one of them. I also though the relationship could’ve used some trust exercises.

 

22423795Nights With Him by Lauren Blakely – 3 Stars

The CEO of a sex-toy company has a one night stand and his lady friend later turns out to be his new therapist. But while her status as his shrink doesn’t last, they still try to help each other. With Sex …Which was the problem. Way too much sex. The plot got a little lost in there somewhere. But other than that, things were good. I also really like the female protagonist.

 

10345927A Million Suns by Beth Revis – 4.25 Stars

A YA science-fiction series that starts a spaceship that’s travelling to a new planet, featuring the residents of the ship and a girl who comes out of cryo when someone tries to kill her.
This book was better than the previous book, more put-together. A lot of new revelations and lots of character development. Great plot and pace. But I’m still unsure about the romance.

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The two novellas I mentioned are One Night With Her and Heat of the Night. The former I didn’t write a review for because it was basically a teaser for Nights With Him. The latter I reviewed as part of compilation here. It was a good novella.

And that was how my month went. Very little reading and most of it romance. The second half of 2017 has been a curse for my reading and I’m so fucking glad it’s almost over.

 

Review: Hot and Heavy by Elle Kennedy

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Genre: Adult, Romance, Erotica
Pages: 246
Series: Out of Uniform #2
Release Date: November 3, 2017
Publisher: Elle Kennedy Inc.

Note: This was previously released in 2013, and before that as three novellas in 2010 and 2011.

3.5 Stars

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As promised, this is the review for the next three novellas (previous three here). Lets get straight to it. Also, just so I don’t have to write it every time, all the men are Navy SEALs.

 

1. Heat It Up

Becker and Jane get stuck in an elevator, and I’m totally fine with it. What started off with elevator sex, then continued into a fling. Except both liked each other too much for it to stop there. And I could totally see why they liked each other. Becker was a great guy, if a little confused about what he wanted with his future romantic relationships.

Jane was awesome. I kinda love Jane. She was fun and bold and knew exactly what she was doing and what she wanted. This was one of those special cases where the romance was driven not by the guy chasing the girl, but by equal contribution on both parts. Well, maybe Jane contributed more, which just makes me love her more because girls who take initiative are awesome.

Overall, a very fun read which a great female protagonist.

Rating: 3.75 Stars

 

2. Heat of the Night

Annabelle’s fiance breaks off their engagement because he thinks she’s a prude. So naturally, she makes a list of things she’s interested in doing to prove him wrong. Except the list lands with Ryan after he lands in her bed, thinking she’s someone else.

Annabelle is beyond embarrassed but Ryan is very interested. He offers his help in completing the things off the list. There are a lot of them and they’re all very hot. And between completing their fun tasks, they get to know each other. They know their time is limited because Annabelle is only in town for a few weeks but the time they do have is great. Their relationship is very sweet, and funny. Ryan is a care-free guy. Not much can bring him down. Annie is also great. She’s hella sassy and I love her. The two of them together are very entertaining.

I do wish we could’ve seen them spend a little more time together because honestly, the phrase “I’m in love with you” is starting to lose meaning at this point, with how quick everyone seems to say it. Overall though, great story.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

 

3. The Heat is On

Matt and Savannah meet during a bank robbery, both making fun of the robbers. Matt likes her and since neither of them seem to be interested in a relationship, things are good. A short fling and then they go their own ways. But Matt starts to want more and things get complicated.

This was not my favourite of the stories. Not my least favourite either. I enjoyed Matt and Savannah’s conversations. They have chemistry and Matt’s resilience when it came to getting Savannah to go out with him, that was cute. I also liked the ending. It’s just, Savannah was a little too insensitive for my taste. She said that not everyone understood her sense of humour, and I didn’t. Also, there was something she did near the end that bothered me. It felt douche-y.

It was a good read overall, I just liked the previous two better.

Rating: 3.25 Stars
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That’s the end of the novellas of the series. There are four more book and they’re all full-length novels featuring one couple per story. I’ll review them when I read them. And I am reading them, even if they’re erotic romance novels, because I’m on a mission to read everything Elle Kennedy has ever written. Wish me luck!

Review: Hot and Bothered by Elle Kennedy

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Genre: New Adult, Romance, Erotica
Pages: 233
Series: Out of Uniform #1
Release Date: August 17, 2017
Publisher: Elle Kennedy Inc.

Note: This was originally published in 2012 and, before that, as three different novellas in 2008 and 2009. This is an edited compilation of the three novellas.

2.50 Stars

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So a few days ago, I said that erotic romances weren’t really my thing, with a few exceptions. Elle Kennedy is an exception. Not just because her erotic fictions books are usually novellas, which I can totally handle, but also because I love Elle Kennedy. I know it might not seem like it from the rating of this book, but we all have our ups and downs.

This collection has three stories. I’m going to review and rate them individually.

 

1. Heat of the Moment

This one follows Shelby, who has lusted after Navy SEAL John for over a year but he seems to show no interest in her. Then she overhears him talking to his friends and finds out it’s because he thinks she’s too vanilla. And she sets her mind to showing him how wrong he is.

This was a very quick and easy read. The point was basically sex (a threesome) and potentially setting up a happily ever after. And for such a short book, it did a fairly good job of giving us that story. It’s wasn’t great but it also wasn’t that bad. Elle Kennedy is a lot better with her current work and you can only do so much in 60 pages which have to include a sex scene (it’s an erotic romance, after all). I do wish the conversations between the two protagonist had indicated that they were friends, because their friendship played an important part in the novel. But since they didn’t seem friends, that plot point fell flat.

Overall though, if you have an hour and want to read something quick, this is a good choice.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

 

2. Heat of Passion

Carson is the king of one-night-stands. And it isn’t until he meets Holly that he thinks that maybe he wants more. But Holly has too much on her plate, with her family and her catering business, and doesn’t have time for a relationship. And it’s up to Carson to convince her to give him a chance.

This one was quite a step up from the previous novella. The page count hasn’t increased much but we got to know Holly’s family history and what the problem she’s facing with them is. We also got some good moments between Holly and Carson. We got a reason for the change in Carson’s ways and a fairly good romance, which is more than you’d expect from an erotic romance novella.

I do wish people would stop falling in love so freaking quickly but I’m not too bothered. The book is well-written, hot, fun and again, very short. Took less than two hours. I’m quite happy with it.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

 

3. Heat of the Storm

Was kinda tempted to give this story one star but I love Elle Kennedy and the writing wasn’t the problem. The problem was with the story and the characters.

Will has been in love with Mackenzie for fifteen years. The entire time, Mackenzie knew and returned his affection, but continued to friend-zone him and throw other men in his face because she was afraid that if something went wrong with their relationship, she would love her “friend”. Honestly, I’m not sure how she can claim to be his friend after blatantly using him as her support system for fifteen years.

She wanted someone to lean on so she hurt him for so long. That is beyond unhealthy for a relationship. I understand that she had problems with other romantic relationships due to her profession, but that’s no excuse. The entire time, Mackenzie though about no one but herself.

Then there was the whole thing with visions. Yes, Mackenzie is a psychic. She sees visions about people’s futures. I don’t know about y’all, but I prefer to keep my fantasy away from my real-world stuff. Basically, the two stars are solely for Elle Kennedy. I don’t approve of the relationship at all. Mackenzie did nothing to deserve to be with Will, and Will simply needed to grow a pair and ditch the bitch.

Rating: 2 Stars

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So as you can see, if it weren’t for the total misfire with the third story, the overall rating would’ve been higher. I’ve already read the next three stories (meaning the second collection) and I’ll post those reviews tomorrow. There are only two story collections. The rest of the novels in the series are full length and I haven’t read ’em yet.

Review: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

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Genre: Middle-Grade, Fantasy, Mythology (Greek)
Pages: 381
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5
Release Date: May 5, 2009
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion Books

5 Stars

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After what, to me, seems like a horde of negative or negative-ish reviews (5 in a row!), it was time for something positive. And what could be more positive than an amazing conclusion to an amazing series.

I finished rereading this book just a few hours ago and it made me so sad. I mean, I was really, really happy because the ending is so perfect. But I was also sad because I love this series to pieces and this was the last book. No more books from Percy’s perspective. No more great prophecy about the demigod of the eldest gods, no more wondering about Luke and Kronos. Last time I finished this series, I was a little shell-shocked because I’d marathon-ed the whole thing and I couldn’t believe it had ended. This time, it’s more of a bittersweet feeling.

But enough about that. At the end of Battle of the Labyrinth, Luke’s body got overtaken by Kronos, meaning Kronos is finally out of Tartarus and considering the amount of trouble he created when he wasn’t even there, we know that things are going to get so much worse.

At the beginning of the novel, Percy’s sixteenth birthday is only a week away, and all the campers have been going on missions to try to at least reduce the destruction Kronos is causing and maybe slow him down. They’re looking for the cruise ship because that’s where Kronos is and they’re waiting for the final showdown, the battle with Kronos and his forces. And let me tell you, it is a hell of a battle.

A large part of the novel is actually taken up by it. The fight that we’ve all been anticipating, it’s here and it’s done so well. We don’t often get to read about stuff like this. Two leaders, two armies, battle strategies, reinforcements, patrols… the whole thing. And I can’t tell you how satisfying this was to read. Rick Riordan once again proves that he’s amazing at his job. And I’m not just talking about the fighting. There was so much going on. We finally heard the full great prophecy, the gods were more involved than they’ve ever been, there was an arc with Rachel, with Nico, some really heartbreaking moments, and we got to know Luke a lot better.

The stakes were really high. But more importantly, they felt high. You could tell this was the end. And it was the perfect end.

This series is one of my favourites and if you’ve read the previous four books, which I’m guessing you have or you probably shouldn’t have read this review, I don’t need to recommend this one to you. You’re going to read it anyway. So I’ll just reassure those who are sceptical when it comes to last books of series’ (people like me) that this is a perfect conclusion.