Review: Winterspell by Claire Legrand

Title: Winterspell (Winterspell #1)18475593

Author: Claire Legrand

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Publication Date: September 30, 2014

Summary: The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor’s ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother’s murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted–by beings distinctly nothuman. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they’re to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets–and a need she can’t define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won’t leave Cane unscathed–if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

This was one of those cases where cover lust got the best of me and now I’m regretting it. I’d read many reviews of this book and heard all about it’s flaws and I still went and bought it just because the cover was pretty and there was a map inside; I should have known better.

One of my main issues with this book is that lots of things in it are just… strange, and not really in a good way. Now I knew going into this book that lots of people had laughed over the fact that Clara, the main character, is apparently in love with a statue. I assumed that it was over-exaggerated and she was probably just fascinated by the statue and admired it. But I was so wrong; it was even worse and even more uncomfortable that I had imagined.

The hard lines of the statue’s thighs, belly, chest, scraped against her skin, snagging at the cotton of her chemise and she found herself moving slowly so as to prolong the contact. Molding herself to the metal, she sighed. Her palms slick with sweat, she slid them up the statue’s chest to cup the chiseled, handsome jaw, and pressed herself closer.” 

This goes on for a while, Clara reminiscing about all the times she would rub against it and at night, in her bed, how she would feel need for it. It was honestly just uncomfortable to read about because she wasn’t just fascinated by this statue, she was straight up consumed by lusty feelings for it. And on top of that, she is living in 1899 and struggles with the fact that these feelings are apparently wicked and wrong. Which I get is a part of that time period, but it was another thing that was just weirdly addressed throughout the book. Clara was constantly ashamed but curious of her body, which is understandable, but also would think that she deserved being pursued and forced into things she didn’t want by this one creepy man, because she would wear a revealing dress or he would catch a glimpse of her skin. It was honestly just distressing to read and it was constantly shoved in your face throughout the book.

” And besides, wasn’t it her fault, that he gazed at her so? She could have gone home; she could have stayed dressed. Instead here she stood, obscene, indecent, and as she stared at the floor, flushing miserably, she knew whatever Dr. Victor might do was what she deserved.”

As if that didn’t make the book hard enough to read, there is also the fact that it was just plain boring most of the time. This book was about 450 pages long but it felt like a million and took me forever to trudge though, and now that I’m finished, it doesn’t feel like anything really happened. And a lot of the things that did happen felt really unnecessary, like they could have (and should have) just been cut out and it wouldn’t have mattered. It was hard reading this book and realizing that although there was a lot of filler, the actual plot moved forward at a slug’s pace.

When it came down to the characters, I had just as many issues as everything else. Clara was not likable, she wasn’t strong and she definitely wasn’t anyone I would want to be friends with. At one point, she was going to let a girl on the street get probably raped and killed, telling the other person with her to just sit down and cover his ears and pretend it wasn’t happening because she was too scared to help. But it wasn’t just being too scared or too weak to help, it was the fact that she was okay to just let it happen, which is utterly despicable to me. Besides Clara, we have Nicholas, the long lost prince/statue boy and he was just as unlikable. He lies to Clara constantly, uses her, betrays her, then comes crawling back with apologies and sweet words, thinking it will change everything. I probably disliked him more than Clara, which is really saying something at this point.

Overall, this book really just didn’t do it for me. I will admit that the writing wasn’t awful and certain aspects of the book could have been interesting, but it was hard to even focus on that when I was constantly annoyed or repulsed by everything else going on it the book. I have no problem with sexual situations being in a YA book since that’s part of being a young adult, but this book just crammed it down your throat in so many uncomfortable ways that it was almost unbearable. The characters were all unlikable and their interactions were flat, the plot was boring and uneventful, and I’m honestly amazed I made to the end. When I was finished though, I was very disappointed that I wasted my time on this book.

RATING: 

Advertisements

Review: The Cage

Title: The Cage (The Cage #1) 16071187

Author: Megan Shepherd

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

Summary: When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn’t know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments—tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle, and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures—all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn’t alone.

Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora’s past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer—a handsome young guard called Cassian—appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: Their captors aren’t from Earth. And they have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo—where the exhibits are humans.

As a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be in the arms of her own jailer—though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so . . . what world lies beyond the walls of their cage?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The dreaded love triangle strikes again, ruining what could have been a really unique and interesting story. Okay, actually to be fair, it wasn’t the love triangle specifically that ruined this book for me, it was the weird uncomfortable romance between Cora and Cassian. Cora and Lucky, the other point on the love triangle, well I don’t ship them by any means but at least their romance didn’t make me want to claw my face off.

Initially I was super intrigued by this book. Strangers wake up, trapped in a place with different climates and weird fake towns, games with tokens for prizes, and an alien race that’s keeping them there like pets. I never read about aliens so I was really excited to see an interesting alien culture, evilly imprisoning humans for their own entertainment. So I was a little confused and disappointed when Cora starts babbling about the “angel” she saw, only to find out it’s Cassian, their gorgeous alien jailer. It was literally at this point in the book that I knew things were going to go downhill at a rapid pace. The romance between Cora and Cassian honestly just made me uncomfortable most of the time and then it annoyed me that they were supposedly in love after spending very little time together. Not to mention that he is an alien keeping them all trapped in a cage and messing with their minds for amusement. I found the romance between the two of them completely unbelievable and honestly, kind of hard to read. The romance between Cora and Lucky was only slightly better, but the constant tension between the three of them only added to my annoyance.

On top of the romance, the other thing that I had an issue with is that I really didn’t like or care about any of the characters. The few characters that I liked when they were first introduced, by the end of the book, after all of the changes they go through, I hated. Even Cora, who managed to keep her head on most of the time and had an impressive amount of determination, was driving me crazy by the end. As various bad things started happening to characters, I realized that I just didn’t even really care if anyone escaped or died or anything. I felt no connection or sympathy to any of the teenagers trapped and because of that, I didn’t really care where the story went.

One good thing about this book was that I was intrigued by the idea of all of these different teenagers kept in a zoo. In this book, it eventually becomes sort of a Lord of the Flies situation where most of the teenagers decide to just accept their fate of being kept in the cage, consider themselves lucky, and start going a little crazy. It was interesting to see their minds warped and psychologically, the changes they go through as they simply accept their fate. The only problem I had with all of this is that I found some of the ways that certain characters came to act rather unbelievable. Some of the things they do are just so extreme and absurd that it almost makes you laugh a little, even though it’s slightly terrifying.

The Cage is a book that promised an exciting adventure about teenagers trying to escape their prison and a villainous alien race that took them in the first place. Instead, I got an annoying and uncomfortable insta-love and a love triangle, and characters with little development that I cared nothing about. This book had a few great ideas, with all of the interesting psychological parts and aliens, which are just cool in general, but didn’t build enough on either of those things, instead choosing  to focus on a romance that brought nothing to the story.

RATING: 

Review: Chasing Power

Title: Chasing Power 20613479

Author: Sarah Beth Durst

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: October 14, 2014

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Kayla was born with the ability to move things with her mind-things like credit cards and buttons on cash registers-and she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again . . . which would mean grave danger for them both.

When she’s caught stealing by a boy named Daniel-a boy with the ability to teleport-he needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Together, they embark on a quest to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel’s kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family-and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive . . . or survive.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

This book had a few things with really cool potential, but ultimately fell flat. We have a girl who can move things with her mind and a boy who can teleport anywhere as long as he has seen it in a picture; how could that possibly be boring? Well, let me tell you.

To start off with, Kayla was one of the the most uninteresting heroines of all time. She just didn’t really have anything about her that made her stand out and her personality was flat at best. She jumped between being very calm and collected, to being dramatic and kind of stupid. The thing I really did like though was that her powers were very interesting. She can move things with her mind, but only small things, so it requires her to get creative sometimes and I really liked that. For example, at one point, someone is underwater so she sends bubbles of air down so they can breathe. Or she changes the course of bullets instead of ripping the gun out of someones hands. Because she had to be creative, it made it much more interesting when she had to use her powers to steal things or help in fights.

As for the love interest Daniel, he just made me really mad. I’m getting really frustrated with every boy in YA books being so ridiculously attractive, then having it brought up like every ten pages. It makes me angry that apparently for a boy to be brave or snarky or have superpowers, he’s also required to look like a super model. Or maybe there are so many hot guys in YA books so all the girls reading drown in jealousy because obviously the heroine must be so much prettier and cooler than us to score such a hottie. In which case, I’m even angrier.

Ranting aside, Daniel seemed like an interesting character and his power is awesome, but we never really get any depth. Mostly Kayla just jumps between hating him, admiring how hot he is, then hating him so more. He was kind of annoying at first because he was impulsive and idiotic and didn’t listen to anyone, but it was also kind of sweet to see how determined he was. Unfortunately, just like Kayla though, he suffered from having little to no personality.

Their relationship isn’t even really worth talking about but I’m going to waste my time explaining why it was awful anyways. This whole book is so fast paced and all over the place that I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure the whole thing happened in just a few days. So if Kayla and Daniel are literally confessing their undying love to each other within this period of time, I’m going to have a little problem. Not to mention that through the whole book, Kayla is hating him and thinking about what an idiot he is. Then they are randomly kissing a bunch and in love? Are you kidding me?

As far as the plot goes, this should have been a really interesting book. Kayla and Daniel travel around to try and find some ancient stones, jumping from place to place, racing against bad guys and whatnot. But basically, they did nothing to work together, constantly got screwed over, and mostly bored me to death.The story behind the stones was kind of interesting, but that was only briefly touched upon. Then the clues they were left to hunting down the stones were solved in like five seconds, so there wasn’t even much of a mystery, it was more like just waiting for them to actually get to the place.

And oh my god you guys, the best part of this whole book was how much of it that Daniel spent unconscious. Being able to teleport is kind of an unfair ability in a fight and if Kayla and Daniel could just jump away every time the bad guys showed up, how would the bad guys ever be able to say some cryptic stuff and try to steal the stones? So the author’s solution? Knock Daniel out every five seconds. Seriously. He either teleports too much, overexerting himself and falling unconscious like an idiot so they are stranded in some dangerous place, or the bad guys knock him out in some way. It would have almost been funny if it wasn’t so annoying.

All of the secondary characters were just as boring as Kayla and Daniel and you don’t end up caring about any of them. Kayla’s best friend, her mother, who she calls Moonbeam (yeah, I have no idea), Daniel’s mother, they were all just one dimensional. They all felt awkward and fake, and anything “interesting” about them felt so forced. Even the villains were predictable and their reasons behind being evil weren’t interesting at all.

Ultimately, with the combination of an uninteresting cast of characters and a plot that almost had me snoring, I was amazed that I made it to the end. A few of the concepts were intriguing and the author had a unique take on Kayla’s telekinesis powers, but even that wasn’t enough to keep me focused.

RATING:  

Review: Suspicion

Title: Suspicion 22533415

Author: Alexandra Monir

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Publication Date: December 9, 2014

Summary: Mysterious. Magnificent. Creepy. Welcome to Rockford Manor.

“There’s something hidden in the Maze.” Seventeen-year-old Imogen has never forgotten the last words her father said to her seven years ago, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family’s English country manor.

Haunted by her parents’ deaths, Imogen moves to New York City with her new guardians. But when a letter arrives with the news of her cousin’s untimely death, revealing that Imogen is now the only heir left to run the estate, she returns to England and warily accepts her role as duchess.

All is not as it seems at Rockford, and Imogen quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind the mansion’s aristocratic exterior, hinting that the spate of deaths in her family were no accident. And at the center of the mystery is Imogen herself–and Sebastian, the childhood friend she has secretly loved for years. Just what has Imogen walked into?

Combining a fresh twist on the classic REBECCA with a spine-tingling mystery and powerful romance, SUSPICION is an action-packed thrill ride.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Books like this are always the absolute hardest to review. It’s okay for me to not like a book, and I’m always going to give you an honest review, and personally I think I’m still good at pointing out some good qualities in books I don’t like, just to be fair. I understand that it takes a lot of time and effort to write a book, and I respect anyone that get’s their’s published, so with that, I usually don’t think it’s okay to be unnecessarily cruel or rude when it comes to reviewing books. But when I read a book like this, a book where I honestly cannot think of a single good thing to say, I have a really hard time not coming off as a jerk. But it’s my duty as a book reviewer to give you my honest opinion and that’s what I’m going to do.

I’m going to start this review off by just telling you guys to not even waste your time with this one. Don’t even give it a second thought after you read this review because, trust me, it’s not worth your time. Not even one little bit.

So we have this girl, Imogen, who is actually close to British royalty through some family connections that I’m not going to take the time to explain. As a child, she is visiting her family’s estate, only to preform some sort of magic by making flowers grow, and later than night, her parents and aunt and uncle are killed in a fire under mysterious circumstances. She returns to America and years later, finds out that her cousin Lucy and her grandfather both died, leaving her the last remaining heir. So she returns to the estate, because apparently her lowly peons and the other high and mighty families can’t survive without her there to rule and host dinner parties. Gag.

Let’s just start off with the utterly ridiculous romance. Imogen has been in love with Sebastian for years. And I mean years. So every time some guys tries to get close to her at school, Sebastian’s face pops up in her head, and I’m assuming it’s his ten year old face since that’s the last time she saw him, which is just creepy. Oh did I mention that Sebastian dated Imogen’s now dead cousin Lucy, for like, ten years or something? So she goes back to Britain, finds poor, disgustingly attractive Sebastian grieving over Lucy, and she just can’t stop thinking about how in love with him she is. Imogen is obviously a very selfless young lady *snort*. Anyways, they talk like literally three to five times, and suddenly Sebastian reveals that he and Lucy were mostly for show and he hadn’t loved her in years, but he was falling madly in love with Imogen because it was always her. Convenient, right? I just love how it feels like the author tried to set up the whole romance with Lucy and Sebastian thing, to make us feel hopeless about Imogen ever getting together with him, the throws us the twist of him not actually loving Lucy, so it feels okay for him and Imogen to get together. But actually, it just makes him look like a huge, manipulating, dishonest dirt bag. Nice try though.

On top of the stupid romance, the plot was so boring. It took all of my determination to finish this book and it was so difficult. Imogen moves in to her huge mansion, only to find that the housekeeper and her daughter and both acting all fishy and weird. Then she starts seeing the ghost of Lucy, and hearing voices and other spooky encounters. Which seems pretty intriguing, right? Well the problem was, it doesn’t actually ever feel like anything happens in this book. Imogen does nothing and most of the time just gets answers handed to her or just pulls them out of thin air, with no explanation as to how she even got to that conclusion in the first place. And she is the worst sort of heroine because she doesn’t seem determined or to be proactively doing much of anything expect pining over Sebastian and being uncomfortable with British royalty. For example, before her father died, he told her that there was something hidden in the maze for her to find. And later she finds out what’s hidden and that it could be the answer to a lot of the mystery. So what does she do? She goes into the maze to find it and gives up after like two minutes, then only goes searching again after she really has to. You’d think that would be her first priority, especially since it just requires her to, you know, like walk around. On her own property.

Another disappointing thing was that Imogen’s magical abilities basically just consisted of her being able to make plants grow and shoot water from her fingers. She is an Elemental, so you’d think she could whip up a windstorm or fling fireballs or something cool, but we never get anything more than flowers and sprinklers. And the whole Elemental thing is never really elaborated and Imogen never develops her powers in any way. The magic aspect of this book was actually just a small part of the story and it felt like the author just kind of threw it in to try and add something creative to the story.

Then the author tries to throw in this huge plot twist at the end, and it really was just unbelievable and sort of silly. It was like, out of nowhere, Imogen has this huge epiphany, figures out the plot twist, then the villain just hands her the explanation of everything. Just gives her the whole story so Imogen doesn’t actually have to go through the effort of figuring it out herself. It was beyond frustrating.

I found this book to be mostly just annoying and absurd. The main problem was that everything was so one dimensional and nothing had any layers. Inogen and everyone around her were just bland and boring. The mystery wasn’t exciting and the reveal was anti-climactic. The magical powers were beyond lacking and didn’t really seem to flow with the murder mystery part of the book. And the whole British heir thing was kind of ridiculous and definitely didn’t seem accurate. This was a book that had so much potential and fell flat.

Honestly you guys, there are so many books out there that are way better than this. I’m just sad that the author of Rebecca isn’t alive today to tell Alexandra Monir to shove it for having the audacity to connect this book to hers in any way.

RATING: 

Review: Dortothy Must Die

Title: Dorothy Must Die 18053060

Author: Danielle Paige

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: April 1, 2014

Summary: I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still the yellow brick road, though—but even that’s crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I’m the other girl from Kansas.

I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, and I’ve been given a mission:

REMOVE
The Tin Woodman’s heart,

STEAL
The Scarecrow’s brain,

TAKE
The Lion’s courage,

And then—

DOROTHY MUST DIE.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

I’m going to keep this very spoiler free but I just have to say, it’s books like this that piss me off. Books where the summary or the back of the book itself totally mislead you. I picked this book up, read the back of it which is the same thing as above, and went, “Alright, cool. So Amy is going to have to do kind of this road of trials thing and defeat each of these bad guys, collect their important bits, growing stronger every time, only to face Dorothy at the end as the final boss. That sounds pretty damn awesome!” I mean, isn’t that what you would think?

So imagine my confusion when this whole “REMOVE the Tin Woodman’s heart, blah blah…” was not even remotely mentioned through the whole book. I kept flipping to the back to make sure I’d read it right. Then finally, like seriously five pages before the end of the book, after a whole book with a different plot line than the back implies, Amy is told that those three things have to be done before she can kill Dorothy. I was beyond mad. The book was nothing like it said it would be. Apparently someone accidentally posted the summary for the second book on the first. Either that or they had to rope us in and assumed that the actual plot line for this book would be too boring to do the job.

On top of that, this book was also not what I expected in terms of tone and atmosphere. I’d heard about how this is the dark and twisted Oz, where Dorothy is evil and everything is backwards. I expected it to be really gritty and kind of creepy, maybe a bit like Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland movie. I didn’t like that movie, but he made Alice in Wonderland a lot creepier and disturbing than the original cartoon, which was kind of what I thought would be happening in this book. And the author definitely twisted Oz around, but not in a way that I found effective. Everything to me seemed to silly and kind of ridiculous, in the worst way possible. It was like a lot of things were supposed to be kind of dark or disturbing, but just fell flat. Nothing in this book felt serious or like anything was at stake because all of the characters were just silly and one dimensional and the darker things that Dorothy or her henchmen did were just so at odds with the rest of the tone of the book, it didn’t mesh. I felt like the author wanted to go with a blend of darkness and humor, but to me, didn’t execute it well at all.

Amy to me was a character that I couldn’t really connect with. From the beginning, she felt very one dimensional, lacking the layers and depth that really makes a character shine. As the book went one, I felt like we learned very little about who she was a person. It was almost like the author would use all of these examples of things in Amy’s life that happened to her to explain why she thought or felt certain things, but we never really see it in her. Since I found her to be so bland, it made her whole mission in the book unexciting and a little boring. What sort of growth do we even really see Amy go through, or what do we learn about her as a character? I’ll tell you right now that it isn’t much.

The romance isn’t even worth mentioning. It was barely even a part of the book and the guy she was getting all smoochy with was just a huge jerk and he of course was immediately infatuated with her. Then there was another girl in love with him, that hated Amy and the whole thing was super petty and out of place. Nox, the love interest, and none of the other secondary characters were very memorable at all, and everyone that had a good chance at being semi interesting or likable was killed off. Woo hoo.

I did like the idea of Dorothy being a mega bitch, but again, her character was so flat. Maybe I skipped past it since I start skim reading about 100 pages in, but I don’t see to recall ever finding out anything about why Dorothy turned out the way she was. Amy basically gets told that the movie was true, then Dorothy went home, wasn’t happy with her simply life, then came back to enslave everyone? Uhm, that’s kind of a huge change to just randomly go through. They said that she just wanted more since she was stuck in that small town back home, but that’s kinda an idiotic answer. And she is twisted. That’s not something that just happens to you overnight. Unless you’re sweet Dorothy from Kansas I guess.

Holy crap, and the most freaking annoying thing ever… It felt like every five seconds, Amy would think or someone would be dramatically telling her that she needed to kill Dorothy. I kid you not. But the worst part was, it didn’t seem like anyone actually had a good reason to support their believe that Amy had to kill Dorothy. When asked, they would just throw out some crap about her being from Kansas too and being able to think like her and having potential and power. As I’m writing this out, I’m realizing that there was a lot of stuff in this book that felt like the author kind of half-assed it.

I was really disappointed with this book. I heard so many good things about it and I just didn’t meet any of my expectations. With a cast of bland, uninteresting characters and a predictable, silly story, there really isn’t much good I can say about this book. The land of Oz was not as dark or twisted as I would have liked, and the huge amount of boring going on left a bad taste in my mouth.

RATING: 

Review: Mortal Danger

Title: Mortal Danger (Immortal Game #1)  13508415

Author: Ann Aguirre

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: August 5, 2014

Summary: Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn’t imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She’s not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he’s impossible to forget.

In one short summer, her entire life changes, and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly… bad things are happening. It’s a heady rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil’s bargains, she isn’t sure who—or what–she can trust. Not even her own mind…

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Now if I’m being honest, the only reason I actually read this book was because I heard it was awful. Yes, you heard me right, awful. I was reading a review for this and the girl writing it was so pissed off at this book, that she literally could not calm down enough to get any coherent words out then just decided to rage quit. I was immediately intrigued. And all I can say after finishing this book is that I understand now. Spoilers ahead.

This book was such a big, confusing mess of a story. At least, I think there was a story in there somewhere? In the beginning, Edith Kramer, also known as Edie, fills her pockets with rocks and goes to a bridge where she is planning on jumping and killing herself. But at the last second, the hot hand of a swoony guy stops here, takes her out to coffee, then offers her a deal where she gets three favors in exchange for three favors from her later. Since her life is crap, she obvious accepts and uses this chance to take revenge against the people who drove her to suicide.

That sounds pretty good right? It probably could have been a really interesting book if it wasn’t so boring. This was all about stupid high school drama, a sappy ridiculous love, and lots of random creepy things thrown in. I was so confused by all of these random paranormal and mythological beings that seemed thrown in out of no where, I think I was so bored that I must have skipped an important explanation because my brain did not understand what was going on.

But the absolute worst thing about this book, even worse than the stupid romance which I’ll be addressing next, was just the moral behind this book. So the main character is bullied because she is overweight and apparently ugly, so she tries to kill herself. But when offered a second chance, she chooses to be beautiful. The whole book, all she does is talk about how much she hates pretty people, but then she becomes one and magically she loves herself and all of her problems are solved. It pissed me off beyond words. It’s like this author was basically saying “sucks to suck” to unattractive people. This girl’s life was PERFECT after she turned pretty and she used her looks like a weapon, to an unrealistic degree, people were falling over themselves to do her bidding just because she smiled at them. And the worst thing was that Kian supposedly loved her even when she was ugly, but it doesn’t matter because all we see is them interacting once she is gorgeous and he can say that all he wants but it doesn’t actually matter now that she is a smoking babe. Jesus christ, I’m so mad right now. So sorry to anyone out there that isn’t absolutely gorgeous or has the perfect body, looks like life is going to suck for you.

Then there is stalker guy Kian who was also ugly once so he knows just how tortured Edie is on the inside and watched her through her whole life, but conveniently enough, never approaches her romantically until she is drop dead gorgeous. I can’t imagine what he would have done if she hadn’t chosen a make over as one of her wishes. What a lucky guy. So on top of being gorgeous, he is super deep and complicated and so madly in love with Edie that it makes me feel nauseous.

Also, there is the little matter of Kian’s age. In the beginning, Edie obviously wonders about her age, but later finds out that he is twenty, which is totally acceptable. HOWEVER, let me just point out one thing… We all know that Kian died when he was a teenager but he has been watching Edie for a long time, at least since she was in fourth grade due to the rabbit thing he brings up. So how can he only be twenty? HUH?! That doesn’t seem right, does it? So how exactly does that work?

The one thing that I thought that would save this book was the twisted tale of revenge. Yep. This book was strangely lacking in the revenge department. As in, there was not even a single act of revenge happening at any point in time. Edie turns beautiful, decides to infiltrate the group of pretty people that tortured her, only to discover that most of them are just misunderstood and becomes friends with them. And the few people that she thinks she actually is taking revenge on, she feels so awful and guilty about it that she hates herself. These people roofied her and made her crawl around on a leash and eat dog food, then posted a video of it online for the whole world to see. And she just becomes one of them.

The rest of the plot taking place outside of the high school setting was confusing and weird. Everything to do with Edie’s contract and Kain’s employers and all the weird creature was just freaky and none of it really made sense to me. Edie is supposedly going to create time travel with her father, so her timeline is super important. Kian’s employer (I can’t remember his name) was a cold asshole that threatens her friends, has some creepy Bag Man behead her mother, and tries to have a clown kill her boyfriend. Random students and teachers are supernatural monsters with no belly buttons and lots of people start dying. Edie wastes two of her wishes, so by the end of the book she is totally out, which was literally the one interesting thing about this book. Blah blah blah.

In case you couldn’t tell, I didn’t like this book. Really, there wasn’t a single good thing I can say about this book. I feel like the author could have used this opportunity to create a young girl who doesn’t need beauty to be happy, who is strong enough to challenge all the bullies, to send a good message to young girls and create a much more interesting tale of revenge and character growth. Obviously, she did not and I despise this book for going in the opposite direction, and not even having a good plot on top of weak characters and an awful moral.

RATING: 

Review: Queen of Someday

Title: Queen of Someday (Stolen Empires #1) 22360786

Author: Sherry D. Ficklin

Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing

Publication Date: October 7, 2014

Summary: ONE GIRL WILL BRING AN EMPIRE TO ITS KNEES…

Before she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophie will have to survive her social-climbing mother’s quest to put her on the throne of Russia—at any cost.

Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family—and herself—Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.

Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be.

In a battle for the soul of a nation, will love or destiny reign supreme?

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

I got an early e-book copy of this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This review will be full of spoilers because there is no way to explain my feelings about this book without giving a few things away. You’ve been warned.

Guys, this book was awful. Seriously, I’m going to try so hard to give constructive criticism and not be a jerk, but this was the worst book I’ve read in a very long time. I’m so confused by many of the four or five star reviews I’m seeing, and I honestly can’t understand how people enjoyed a single thing about this book. The characters were so flat and one dimensional, the plot was awful, the writing was not even remotely engaging, and the summary for this book is completely misleading.

To start with, Sophie is absolutely ridiculous. In the first few pages of the book, she kills a couple of bandits with a little knife, one of their guts plopping in the snow in front of her, and is not even remotely phased. Not because she has killed before or anything, but just because. She literally doesn’t even think about it again. Maybe it’s because she literally spends every single second thinking about all the different men she is in love with. She meets three guys, THREE, and falls in love with each one of them withing seconds of meeting them. One insta-love scenario in a book is bad enough but three is just sickening. And that’s all she focuses on. Also, she magically says a speech in “nearly flawless” Russian after learning it for one day. One day. She was one of the most ridiculous and stupid girls that I’ve ever had the misfortune to read about.

Sergei is the first guy, who rushes to save her from the bandits then for some reason, even though he is twenty and sleeping with the empress, falls in love with fifteen year old Sophie and pledges his undying loyalty to her. He is constantly sending her presents, which seems a little forward of him, especially since she is there to marry the prince, and spending time alone with her in her room. Alone, as in unchaperoned. Which I’m almost positive that they wouldn’t allow back then. But after talking to him once, Sophie decides he is the only man she can trust or rely on in this court. Even though she knows nothing about him, except that he is unbearably handsome, a trend you’re going to notice with all of her love interests.

Peter is the prince, the one she is actually supposed to be marrying. He is gorgeous and rich and it’s her duty to love him, even if he is a huge drunk and likes to torture people and sleep around. But looking into his eyes for the first time in years, she thinks she can love him and be the wife he needs. So she sets on her path of wooing him. And for a while, before he reveals his true nature, she wants to be with him… but also two other guys too.

Alexander is a friend of Peter’s and he is dark and mysterious looking. She actually describes him as that. They leave secret notes for each other in poetry and he makes her blood boil with lust. He is so thoughtful and deep and after talking to him for two seconds, she realizes he is definitely the one she loves… maybe?

This next paragraph is going to ruin the whole plot. I’m going to give you all a quick summary of what happens in this book, so you realize exactly how absurd it is. And remember, this all happens in like 250 pages.

Sophie gets to court, starts falling for Sergei. Meets Peter, starts falling for him. The empress loves her and supports their marriage. Sophie meets Alexander, starts falling for him. They secretly meet up and kiss and she knows she loves him. She realizes her duty is to Peter, so she cuts it off. Someone tries to kill her. She magically survives. Peter tortures her would-be-killer and she saves his life. Alexander and her meet up and he asks her to marry her, even though she decided to cut him off. She agrees, and plans to run away with him. They get caught by the empress who threatens to kill everyone that doesn’t obey her. Sophie gets engaged to Peter. Alexander and one of Sophie’s friends get married under the command of the empress, and get ready to have a baby. Alexander and his new wife leave to live happily ever after. Sophie and Peter get married. Peter decides her loves some busty red head, kicks Sophie around, decides to not have sex with her and tell everyone she’s barren and can’t provide a heir so she’ll get sent off to be a nun. She runs to Sergei so he can impregnate her and pretend it’s Peter’s so that doesn’t happen. They bang and she loves Sergei and everything is good.

The end.

I’M NOT EVEN KIDDING, THAT’S THE GODDAMN BOOK.

But on top of that absolutely despicable plot, the writing is absolutely awful. Every character is so one dimensional and flat, we don’t even get to actually know anything about any of her guys except they are all handsome and madly in love with her. There is no depth to anything in this book. Sophie doesn’t grow or become stronger, she lets the empress take away the man she loves, and gives up on everything. There are no good morals to this story. She is beaten and does nothing. True love apparently doesn’t matter in this story because she still gets forced into this arranged marriage with a sadist, and has sex with some guy way older than her because she has no other choice. But actually it’s okay because this guy was there for her in the whole book and he is the only one she truly cares about anymore. And the only reason she puts up with anything is because she let this empress control her and it’s her duty to her family. Why should I like Sophie at all?! She is a weak, naive, pathetic little puppet, with no redeemable qualities or actions what so ever! What a load of absolute crap.

One girl will bring an empire to it’s knees, the summary says. I don’t even know what they mean by that. The empire and the people controlling it bring her to her knees, kick her in the face, and turn her into a submissive, hopeless doll. She does nothing exciting or amazing to help herself or the country, she does exactly what is expected of her. Sure, she tries to run away and gives that up the second her plan is thwarted. Then she bangs Sergei to get pregnant and not thrown into a nunnery, but what else is she supposed to do. She does it to save herself, not to defy the people controlling her, but because it’s her duty for her family to send them lots of money. And they whole things about “traitors and murders lurking around every corner”, it’s one guy who tries to poison her.

This book’s summary gives the illusion of Sophie being strong and making decisions to become the queen she knows she is supposed to be, but don’t be fooled. She only makes the sacrifices she does because she literally has no other choice and refuses to fight back. So if the author decided the story of her becoming a strong queen should come and apparently not even adding it into the book, she made a huge mistake. Because that would mean this is actually a romance book. With the worst, most boring and flat and awful love interests I’ve ever seen. No matter what they author’s goal was in writing this book (which brings up the question of how exactly she managed to get it published), she failed drastically.

RATING: