Hidden (Dragonlands #1)

Title: Hidden (Dragonlands #1)

Author: Megg Jensen

Genres: Fantasy | Romance

Length: 314 pages | 4576 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 1.5/5

Premise:

Tressa’s hometown, Hutton’s Bridge, has been shrouded by a mysterious fog for the past 80 years. Anyone who ventured into the fog has not returned.
However, Tressa must do it now and when she does her discoveries will put everyone she knows in danger.

Review:

He’d seen enough to know he had to suspend disbelief.

Yes, that line is actually in the book and that is exactly what I felt was being asked of me time and time again. Ironic, ey?

The book started with such an interesting premise in the prologue. A 13-year-old kid wakes up to a village where every single adult disappeared and they are now surrounded by fog. However, in general, the book was very disappointing.

It has been a while since I have read something so full of plotholes. The character and world development were just so poor. For instance, we do not even know how big the village is and then there’s this thing where people resent single people for taking up resources but at the same time they want to make babies like mad – in a town where they cannot possibly expand, so what gives? Do they want more people or fewer people? Do they need more resources or are the ones they make enough for the population to increase? How do people survive? Where does everyone live? I didn’t get it, still don’t.

Also, we are introduced to Tressa’s great-grandmother, told what happened to her parents, but not a word about her grandparents, on either side of the family. Instead, we are repeatedly told her great-grandmother is the only family Tressa has left.

As the narrative progressed, I just could not connect to Tressa nor find her story engaging. I could not even think that hey she is a teen, she makes bad decisions because nothing felt true to character. The story moved along as it was supposed to in order to achieve a certain result and, again, suspension of disbelief was required because we never get proper explanation for anything. We are told people are important to her but they just disappear from the story and it does not seem to matter. Adam didn’t even say goodbye and Tessa didn’t notice his absence nor on other occasions even though he was the closest thing she had to a father. Tressa and Bastian would not be alive without Nerak and yet neither gives her a second thought, wondering what happened to her.

It is so difficult to give examples without spoiling the story. I do have to mention that some of the most blatant ones were making Bastian’s wife the most despicable human being to ever walk the face of the Earth only to justify cheating. Also, if it was forbidden to forge weapons, where did all the swords Bastian used to train the villagers come from? There is no mention of it whatsoever. There was just so much more I could mention but I stopped taking notes. It was just pointless.

There is just so much missing from the evolution of the narrative that I could not relate or care about the characters or what happened to them. Bastian did not once show genuine love towards his daughter, much less put her in first place. Only Tressa mattered. Check this out: Tressa:“You have a daughter.” Bastian: “I grew up without a father. So did you.” Seriously?? He only seemed to remember he had a daughter when she was thrown into his arms. Disgusting.

There really isn’t much I can discuss without spoiling the story. I was so frustrated. There was just so much wrong with the book.
I am rating it up because the prose was easy to follow and there were a couple of interesting things but the chopped manner in which things happened added to the clichés and sufferable character and world creation and development made it a very disappointing experience and I for one am not interested in following up on this series.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Oct 16th to Oct 21st, 2016

GR Review

Lolita – 1962

Lolita

Rating: 4.25/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
A middle-aged college professor becomes infatuated with a fourteen-year-old nymphet.

Review:

Having just finished watching this movie I must say I am perplexed and still trying to digest it, as a lot happen throughout it.

At times I was quite confused because everything seemed to move so fast, especially in the beginning. I had hoped the transition to Humbert’s act on his desires would be more gradual and yet in one scene he is agreeing to live in the house and the next he is holding on to Lolita’s hands during a scary movie. The inability to keep track of time is something that stayed with me throughout the entire film.

I am pretty sure everyone knows this story. I did not think it would be possible to translate it to screen without ever being explicit but it was marvellously done.

All performances are stellar. I had not really thought of Lolita this way and it was astounding to see her evolve like that. On the other hand, you can’t help but almost feel sorry for Humbert. And Quilty… Boy, Sellars was truly amazing in that one.

I don’t think there is much more I can say without spoiling the movie but it is classic for good reason. I can’t say I remember the book very clearly after so many years but I do believe the adaptation was well achieved, even if quite lengthy.

As I mentioned I had a few issues with the pacing but I still believe it was well developed and there were a couple of scenes that brought a circular feel to it, which I quite appreciated. The film has depth on so many levels that you cannot help but be swept away by it, despite how deeply disturbing the story is.

The Girl from the Sea

Title: The Girl from the Sea

Author: Shalini Boland

Genres: Contemporary | Mystery | Romance | Thriller

Length: 306 pages | 3237 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 2.5/5

Premise:

Mia wakes up in a hospital after almost drowning and does not remember a thing about herself.
While Mia attempts to recall her formal life while building a new one revelations will be made that neither Mia nor you will be prepared for.

Review:

There are a lot of memory loss stories out there. Not all will be amazing.

The Girl from the Sea was, for the most part, not impressive. I couldn’t take to the main character. Frankly, she sounded annoying, whiny and needy to me. And I have said this before but a character saying they sound annoying, whiny and needy in these situations does not help in my book, on the contrary.
The prose kept me reading but there wasn’t anything there that truly hooked me, that wanted me to know what came next or what was going on because the inner monologues of Mia were just so uninteresting and, well, obvious.

The story needed more mystery, more oomph, more what the heck is going on here? It especially needed more evolution. Instead, it felt flat to me. We have a main character who says she is scared and terrified but I just don’t see it. A character who says in the beginning that she is more concerned about her lack of memory than possible lung infection and I am like ‘Seriously? Who the heck wouldn’t be?’ I would be terrified if I didn’t remember who I was and had to go with people who claimed they knew me and yet I did not recognize in the least.

This is one of those books where everything comes together in the end with a big bang, although I had seen several of the revelations coming from a long way. And although then you understand why those things happen, the fact is throughout practically 90% of the book you have to deal with an aloof character, insta-love and sloppy narrative. For instance, when Mia kicks Piers out of her house I was like ‘wait, aren’t you going to take his keys? He will just come back!’ And then in a later scene Mia says she had taken his keys and I was left wondering why the reader wasn’t told that.

The fact is nothing much happens throughout the book and that makes the ending even more ridiculous in my opinion. Mia goes through places and people who don’t spark the tiniest hint of recognizition other than seeing a creepy woman leering at her and yet when she sees an email everything comes flooding in? How does that make any sense? Or her dramatic personality change

I wish I could give this book a higher rating because the end really was impressive and unexpected for the most part, but I just did not find the evolution interesting or the story believable and those are very important things to me.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Sep 4th to Sep 8th, 2016

GR Review

Made for You

Title: Made for You

Author: Melissa Marr

Genres: Contemporary | Mystery | Paranormal | Psychological Thriller | Romance

Length: 336 pages | 3285 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 4.5/5

Premise:

Eva is part of Jessup’s elite and leads a comfortable, safe life until she is hit by a car. Suddenly strange things start happening and it is up to her and a long time lost friend to figure it out.

Review:

It has been ages since I actually had trouble putting a book down. Made for You surprised me from the get go. It is obviously YA but I read it as a psychological thriller peppered with romance that was the focal point and ended up loving it.

There were a few things off here and there. For instance, the main character and her best friend never really sounded 17 to me, but much older. I just could not get how growing up in such an environment could produce such a mature young woman instead of a totally spoiler brat due to her status, but Eva grew on me. And then when the other voices start adding their input to the narrative things got even more interesting. I mean really interesting. That killer… Wow. And Grace. She became not just the main character’s sidekick but had her own voice.

I did not read the blurb until a few pages in so up until then I had no idea what was going on with Eva and was quite baffled but in a good way. Then it was like oh, that’s what’s happening… Such a shame that some synopsis spoil great event turners.

I figured out who the killer was within a few pages but oddly enough that didn’t ruin the experience for me because the things that are happening are so interesting and his narrative is just so twisted that you cannot help to want to learn more.

There were definitely a few things I felt were important to explain, such as what exactly Eva did to trigger all this and Nate’s change was just too dramatic, I wanted to know exactly why they broke apart and why he said that thing at the party, I felt there was never a proper apology, and their reunion was definitely too sudden. Also, Eva’s ability kind of felt like a prop to the whole story, never really explained. Basically all the things that aimed this book to a YA audience instead of mystery/psychological thriller, but overall this was a pretty amazing read that truly surprised me and I definitely recommend it.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Aug 24th to Aug 27th, 2016

GR Review

Equals

Equals

Rating: 2.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
In an emotionless utopia, two people fall in love when they regain their feelings from a mysterious disease, causing tensions between them and their society.

Review:

The premise to this movie, although not new, was quite promising. A society where emotions are viewed as a disease and people actually do not question it throughout almost the entire movie made me curious enough to watch it.

However, it got overpowered by a romance where I could not even feel the chemistry. Kirsten’s face works well for the robotic layer of her character but when trying to convey emotion, let alone chemistry with her co-star, it just didn’t work.
Also, her excessive thinness and bags under her eyes truly annoyed me. Aren’t these people supposed to look healthy because they are free of pretty much all diseases?

Also, I have to admit, I dozed off from time to time. Granted, a restless night of sleep didn’t help but boy was this movie slow. There wasn’t even a climax, not really, no matter how high the director pumped the soundtrack’s volume up.

The first contact between those two should have been much more intense. Their reactions were pretty muted considering that supposedly they had never even touched anyone up to that point. Just holding hands should have sent sparks all over their bodies, being confined in such a small space and that close and all. Instead there was just a lot of eye, lips and hands close-ups and some panting but no actual emotion or passion that came across.

The development after the plot twist made me bat-crazy. I could not understand why the guy was running around, it just seemed ridiculous.

The ending was a major cliffhanger and did not satisfy me in the least.

I wish I had seen more of the dystopia, the world building, than such a major focus on romance.

It was okay but really, really slow and honestly not that interesting.

Blood, Ink & Fire

Title: Blood, Ink & Fire

Author: Ashley Mansour

Genres: Dystopia | Fantasy | Romance | Science Fiction

Length: 464 pages | 6224 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 1.25/5

Premise:

Noelle is different from everyone else in Fell. In a place where words are forbidden and no one even seeks them anymore, Noelle feels an urge towards them.
When she makes the decision of following that calling, can the ones she loves be safe? What will she find? About herself, about the world?

Review:

I understand many people loved this book so I will try to keep my review as objective as possible.

Blood, Ink & Fire starts out as your average dystopia: a society where individuals are deprived of freedom and has this incredible AI whose purpose is more than meets the eye. Quickly you get the feeling that this is an ode to Fahrenheit and Shakespear and book loving in general.

However, as a work of fiction, to me, it failed to deliver. Suspension of disbelief is taken to an extreme, dialogues and monologues are cringe-worthy and the narrative just doesn’t flow, being obvious at time and not delivering resolution at others.

For example, we don’t even know why people are ‘immersed’ on their 17th birthday. Why 17? Because it is convenient that our main character is that old when all the juicy stuff starts happening?

And the bad guys. They are supposed to be almighty and have full control and all imaginable resources to be anywhere, anytime they want and yet they only show up at convenient times?

Even the names are ridiculous. Why Fell? Other than it is one letter apart from Hell? Obvious much?
And Boolos as short for book lovers? Really?
Forgetsum?
Need I go on?

There is a lot of info dumping and yet no actual world setting. When do these people eat? How can Noelle drive? How can she run for ages, did she get any exercise in her previous life that would justify it? And it goes on and on.

Also, once again, romance completely overpowers the story from a point on. And it doesn’t even make sense. This Ledger guy sounds much too human from the getgo, for someone or something who is not supposed to be one of us. I didn’t even get what he was supposed to be.
There’s a lot of feels and yet I go through the book completely unable to connect to any of the characters, least of all the main one, who everyone seems to love, Lord knows why.

The book had potential. I thought the relationship between Noelle and John was cute, different, and not just because he was blind or they didn’t make romantic moves. Although the fact that they called each other by their initials never made any sense to me but I guess it was supposed to make their relationship more special. Then it just went downhill for me. Things started happening for the sake of happening and I was, quite honestly, bored.

There were, as I said, things left unexplained and others that made no sense like what happened to the twin who deserted the Risers, or Noelle finding herself in a room, alone, with a note explaining that the room only locks from the inside and she can use the key to let herself out. Wha…? Is this a whodunnit book? Nope, it goes completely unnoticed.

There were several interesting concepts, especially the importance of books and the dangers of this new age where people no longer seem to resort to them to obtain information or pleasure – supported by quotes of books at the beginning of the novel whose authors have studied this phenomenon and sadly I have to say that was about my favourite part, the inspiration. The development of the premise just left me disappointed beyond words.

Disappointing does not even begin to describe the ridiculous ending. Is it supposed to be surprising or shocking? It’s not. It’s just ridiculous.
If you are going to introduce a different concept you need to make it work, not just be lazy in the end. You have this guy who isn’t a guy but sort of the memory of books. He has a mission. She has a mission. Find 9 books which will somehow lead to the location of this special, amazing place, although it is never clear what is supposed to be done when it is found. HOW?? How on Earth was that supposed to happen? How does it work? She reads all 9 volumes and something clicks? Are there hidden clues in each of the volume? How??
Also, for a thing that is supposed to be special, there were numerous opportunities to shake the reader with the wonderful act of reading and yet I only even remotely felt it once that I recall and even that lacked a good amount of emotion.

So even though most of this book waived between a 2 and a 3, by the end it just went down to 1. What a total waste of time.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Jun 19 to Jun 24, 2016
GR Review

Broken Skies (Broken Skies #1)

Title: Broken Skies (Broken Skies #1)

Author: Theresa Kay

Genres: Adventure | Dystopia | Post-apocalyptic | Romance | Science Fiction

Length: 276 pages | 3823 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3/5

Premise:

Jax is not going to be Promised to any man. She has a plan. She is going to escape with her brother Jace.
Just when she is about to break the news to him, Jace gets kidnapped by alien fiends. Now Jax has got to do everything in her power to get him back and, for that, she will count on the help of an unlikely ally. In the process, she will learn things about herself she never dreamed of.

Review:

My first impression of this novel was not positive at all. Within the first few lines I asked myself what I had gotten myself into and that feeling increased as I read the first couple of paragraphs/chapters.
I immediately disliked the main character because she struck me as intensely immature. Demanding people to call her by her nickname, the rants, the tantrums, good grief…
Then there was all the flushing and the letting out of breaths she didn’t know she was holding and the stopping what she was about to do because she hadn’t realized what she was doing, etc, etc.

An awkward love triangle forms almost immediately and although its development was out of the ordinary it still felt clichée.
As I was reading, I guessed I was supposed to be moved by the relationship between Jasmine aka Jax and her brother, but the fact is I felt he was just a prop to make the plot advance. Jax was supposed to go on a trip with a mysterious, beautiful looking alien, so let’s make the purpose of said trip saving Jax’s brother, shall we? For the preparation and the journey itself, Jax will feel maddeningly drawn to the alien, but obviously constantly denies her feelings because he is an alien and just so damn rude and obnoxious. Or is he? No… No, he isn’t. She is, though.

As the story develops, Jax remains annoying though there is some growth. For the most part though, her mood switches between hot anger and icy fear – expressions, or variations thereof, which were repeated to exhaustion throughout the book.
Some revelations surprised me, others not at all. The book didn’t get exciting for me up to the last 15 or 20%.
However, the fact is the writing does not give pause for break. It is a fast paced book and although a lot was left unexplained (Why are children, both human and alien, sick? Why was Lir on the clearing? Why did his kitu stop working? Why didn’t the other aliens wait for him before returning to the city? And so much more) or did not make sense (example: if the aliens’ blood was green, why did they blush red and their infected wounds were red instead of dark green?), the fact is I was not bored I got through it pretty quickly.

I realize I am not the right audience for this book and that what I found annoying others may find exciting. Therefore, I recommend it to teens/young adults who enjoy sci-fi and romance; I believe they will find it very entertaining and difficult to put down.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Jun 03 to Jun 05, 2016
GR Review