Review | Defy the Stars: Lust ≠ Love

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Kindle Price: $0.99

Synopsis:

“I’d always wanted to leave small town Illinois, I just didn’t know I’d leave it for the stars. I needed to get into Columbia College. I’d do anything to get in. With no other choice, I had my dad help me get an internship at Circe Operations Center. Only it’s not an ordinary operations center. Getting attacked on my first day on the job wasn’t exactly stellar, but staring into the eyes of the dark eyed boy who saved me, made me re-think every single thought I’d ever had. But when things like war come up, I don’t know how far I’m willing to defy everything I’ve ever known for a future that is anything but normal.”

My Review:

Do you know why I finished this book? I can tell you, it’s alright. I finished this book for the sole purpose of being able to review it.

If you’re looking for:

  • Action/Adventure
  • Great Romance
  • Realistic Characters
  • Intelligent Adults
  • Interesting Sci-Fi

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Review | Segregated Proms & Fake Love

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Kindle Price: $10.00

Official Rating: 1/5

Synopsis:

‘It’s not like I never thought about being mixed race. I guess it was just that, in Brooklyn, everyone was competing to be unique or surprising. By comparison, I was boring, seriously. Really boring.’

Culture shock knocks city girl Agnes “Nes” Murphy-Pujols off-kilter when she’s transplanted mid–senior year from Brooklyn to a small Southern town after her mother’s relationship with a coworker self-destructs. On top of the move, Nes is nursing a broken heart and severe homesickness, so her plan is simple: keep her head down, graduate and get out. Too bad that flies out the window on day one, when she opens her smart mouth and pits herself against the school’s reigning belle and the principal.

Her rebellious streak attracts the attention of local golden boy Doyle Rahn, who teaches Nes the ropes at Ebenezer. As her friendship with Doyle sizzles into something more, Nes discovers the town she’s learning to like has an insidious undercurrent of racism. The color of her skin was never something she thought about in Brooklyn, but after a frightening traffic stop on an isolated road, Nes starts to see signs everywhere – including at her own high school where, she learns, they hold proms. Two of them. One black, one white.

Nes and Doyle band together with a ragtag team of classmates to plan an alternate prom. But when a lit cross is left burning in Nes’s yard, the alterna-prommers realize that bucking tradition comes at a price. Maybe, though, that makes taking a stand more important than anything.”

My Review:

I don’t think you all even know how difficult it was to write this review. There was just so much I wanted to rant about that I didn’t know where to start, what to include, what to leave out (for the sake of length), and gosh, this was just difficult.

If this book was two and a half pages, it would still be too long for all of the irrelevant and unnecessary discourse that Reinhardt put in Rebel Like Us. This is going to be a doozy everyone, protect your books, I’m about to rip some pages.

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The Labyrinth Wall by Emilyann Girdner

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Kindle Price: $3.99

Official Rating: 1/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Araina’s isolated teenage life is forever altered when she witnesses a man emerge through a rippling wall into the dark labyrinth she calls home. As a result of the stranger’s arrival, Araina’s Creators have unleashed a series of magical attacks using the labyrinth against its inhabitants. Now Araina must decide if she will trust potentially deceitful allies in order to reach safety on the other side of the labyrinth wall.”

My Review:

I requested this book from Netgalley, say, three or four days ago and I finished reading it on Wednesday. The synopsis made the book sound awesome, the book’s cover made the book seem awesome, even the Goodreads rating made it seem awesome. The Labyrinth Wall was not awesome.

In truth, I was extremely bored. If I had to sum it up in one sentence, I would say: “The Labyrinth Wall is simply a book about traveling.” And I wouldn’t be wrong. The entire book is about Araina and where she’s walking/running/escaping to or from.

Speaking of Araina, she’s not a special character. If you’ve been following my reviews for a while, then you know I am 100% against the whole “I am not special, but wait, I actually am! More special than special has ever seen!!” Ariana is told, once, by some guy who’s been stalking her (he doesn’t call it that, but it was stalking), that she’s special because of some flimsy reason. Ariana, however, wasn’t special at all. Of all the other heroines I’ve read, they were the “special” trope, and then the author gave them something special about them. Your main characters need something that makes them even a tiny bit different from the average Joe (or Mahk in this case). Ariana got nothing. Ariana was an unforgettable character, to the point that I forgot her name and had to look it up. She was, horrifyingly, a plot-pushing character in a book where she was the main character.

The rest of the characters were plot-pushers as well, insignificant in all aspects.

The plot was somewhere outside of the book I actually read. The Labyrinth Wall is literally just a book about traveling and that doesn’t interest me. I wanted adventure, cracking codes, a mystical labyrinth with winding turns and scary dead-ends, and heart-squeezing, lung-pumping, wide-eyed events to take place. Instead, I got 305 page long book about Ariana’s experience with two places she’s never gone before. There were no epic battles, instead there were small fights that I would guess were supposed to be epic, but fell flat. Every “terrifying” event that took place always had a convenient escape route and of course, Ariana would stumble upon some super philosophical realization about herself that was cliche that I didn’t care about. There was no suspense, no drama, no wonder, no awe, I just found it meh. The ending was ridiculous too. The absolute least this book could have given me was an actual ending, instead of a cliff-hanger that wasn’t even doing its job: leave me hanging in such suspense that I want to read the next book.

The writing left me confused and lost and most of the time I didn’t know where Ariana was and I didn’t feel like knowing. There was no overall purpose of Ariana’s goals and we weren’t given a backstory. I was told a vague description of how the Mahk people are made and then I’m hurried along into the next random scene. While I can agree that the Mahk people are suffering, I wasn’t given a reason to care. I didn’t connect with any of the characters because they lacked the humanity I can relate to. Each character was detached and distant, the most genuine relationship I saw was between Ariana and her pet, and even that’s a stretch.
Would I recommend The Labyrinth Wall? Unfortunately, no, I’m afraid I wouldn’t.

I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Roadrunner Cafe by Jamie Zerndt (Review)

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Kindle Price: $4.99

Official Rating: 1/5

Synopsis:

“One year after his father’s suicide, Carson Long feels cheated. He hates his father for leaving him and his sister, Georgie, alone. He hates him for turning his mother into a young widow who hasn’t left the house in months. And he hates his father for leaving behind his stupid tree. Four of them are planted outside the restaurant, one for each family member. That is until Carson’s mother, no longer able to stand the sight of the tree, hires a local landscaper to remove it in the middle of the night. This seemingly unremarkable act soon sets in motion of series of events in the small Colorado ski town that leaves more than just young Carson groping in the dark for answers.

The Roadrunner Café is a unique novel told from multiple points of view about loss and the lengths some will go to heal the human heart. Ultimately, it is a story about what it takes to go on living even when everything in the world might be telling us it isn’t possible to.”

My Review:

Have you ever cracked open a can of your favorite soda, or a soda you enjoy in general, and took a real long swig, right after you got finished munching on something spicy? That awful taste that bubbles in your mouth and you try to hurry up and swallow, is the taste The Roadrunner Cafe has left in my mouth.

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The Lake by AnnaLisa Grant (Review)

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 1/5

Synopsis:

At 17, Layla Weston is already starting over. Having lost both her parents and grandparents, and with nowhere else to go, Layla is moving from Florida to a small town in North Carolina to live with the only family she has left: her estranged uncle and aunt.

The last five years of Layla’s life were spent appeasing her lessthan-loving grandmother, followed by being her grandfather’s caretaker. Growing old before her time, Layla lost her identity. Now she must learn how to allow herself to be the one cared for and loved.

Life takes an unexpected turn when Layla meets Will Meyer. His breathtaking good looks are enough to catch her eye, but his sincerity and passion are everything she needs to find the strength and confidence she lost — and lead her into love.

When tragedy once again strikes Layla’s life, her hope is all but completely crushed. Through it all, Layla learns what it means to truly love and be loved.”

My Review:

I have read many books in my lifetime. And I have read many books just in the (almost) year and a half that I’ve had this blog. I’ve encountered great books, awful books, mediocre books. I’ve met complex characters and simple characters…but never have I met such an awful character as Layla Weston. It isn’t just her either…this whole book was just bad.

I’ve got to talk about Layla first. I hated her. At first, I felt kinda bad. She’s had a hard life, not too many rays of sunshine came her way, but she was still pushing on. Then, it all went downhill.
Her grandparents die, which isn’t a spoiler, it’s in the synopsis. Layla goes to live with her aunt and uncle, who she calls Claire and Luke, without the “aunt” and “uncle” prefix, respectively. The reason for this wasn’t disrespectful, as Layla explains to Will, but just that it would feel weird to call them Aunt and Uncle when there’s really no real relationship among them. That wasn’t my issue. My issue with Layla is that she is the most selfish, most disgusting, most annoying character in this entire book and quite possibly in all the books I’ve read so far.

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Watched by Michael August (Review)

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 1/5

Synopsis:

“A short tale of suspense set at Pembrook High and exclusively available for Kindle.

Everyone expects Brianne Pratt to plan the scariest Halloween dance ever, but she’s facing a few challenges. School authorities want to keep the theme too tame. Her folks don’t like her college boyfriend who’s coming back for the evening, and worst of all, someone’s watching.

Someone’s spying on Brianne, sneaking messages into her locker and placing strange phone calls that make it clear her secret admirer won’t give up easily.

Even if she can navigate the treacherous waters of school politics and pull off a wild and exciting Halloween event, she’s worried she could be the real focus of the horror on the big night.”

My Review:

I’m not sure what I expected, but this was the weirdest short story I’ve ever read. Thirty pages worth of “What?” “Really?” and “Wow, okay.”

The story is only thirty pages long so really, how long can a review for it be, but we’ll see.

I’ve seen piece of paper that’s thicker than Watched’s characters and plot. Brianne was disrespectful towards adults and it was completely distasteful. I don’t even remember any of the other characters. There was so little suspense that it completely surpassed zero and went into negative infinity. I never even guessed who the stalker was and I didn’t care when it was revealed. There was nothing scary about him, just creepy. It wasn’t a mixture of a creepy stalker with a terrifying plot with a eerie setting, it was just “No thanks, this is weird.”

Honestly? The scariest part of this story was how everyone didn’t care about the stalker.  (spoiler)He actually manages to kill a fellow student just because they were going to attempt to stop the party and was nearly going to kill Brianne. No matter what awful things the stalker did, the people who find out who the culprit is don’t seem to care. Instead, they’re concerned about how realistic Brianne’s boyfriend looks in his wolf costume.
Would I Recommend Watched? No, definitely not.

The Last Orphans by N.W. Harris (Review)

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 1/5

Synopsis:

One horrifying day will change the life of sixteen-year-old Shane Tucker and every other kid in the world.

In a span of mere hours, the entire adult population is decimated, leaving their children behind to fend for themselves and deal with the horrific aftermath of the freak occurrence. As one of the newly made elders in his small town, Shane finds himself taking on the role of caretaker for a large group of juvenile survivors. One who just happens to be Kelly Douglas—an out-of-his-league classmate—who, on any other day, would have never given Shane a second glance.

Together, they begin their quest to find out why all of the adults were slaughtered. What they find is even more horrifying than anything they could have expected—the annihilation of the adults was only the beginning. Shane and his friends are not the unlucky survivors left to inherit this new, messed-up planet. No, they are its next victims. There is an unknown power out there, and it won’t stop until every person in the world is dead.

A spine-tingling adventure that will have you gasping for breath all the way until the last page, The Last Orphans is the first book in an all-new apocalyptic series.”

My Review:

This was just poor quality. The Last Orphans is completely devoid of substance, conviction, development, and logic, while overflowing with poor writing, poor characters, and a poor plot.

Shane Tucker is a seventeen year old kid and, I was actually interested in reading about him. Harris gives you a glimpse of Shane’s life and the daily demons he wrestles with before he whips that view away and thrusts you into the action. And it left me a very disappointed reader.

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Anathema by Megg Jensen (Review)

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 1/5

Synopsis:

“Forget prophecy. Make your own destiny.

Reychel is a slave girl surrounded by magic, lies, and manipulation. Her best friend disappears in the middle of the night leaving Reychel to face her fifteenth birthday, the day her master burns his brand into the back of her bald head, alone.

Sheltered from the outside world and without any hope for escape, can Reychel learn to believe in herself?”

My Review:

Maybe I’m getting old. Perhaps that’s why I often find myself guessing the plots of YA novels and essentially ruining it for myself. It’s very disappointing, but also inescapable. How do you tell your own mind “No spoilers!”?

Anathema has been on my “want to read” list for quite some time. “Quite some time” meaning since January 9th (2015), when I bought it. Why did it take me so long to read it? I can’t give you a solid reason, but from what I read, I wasn’t missing anything.

The synopsis lured me in, but the writing and plot let me down. Let’s talk about why.

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Voyage of Defiance by S.E. Smith (Review)

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Kindle Price: $4.99

Official Rating: 1/5

Synopsis:

An act of defiance that will either kill her or change her life forever…
Sixteen year old Makayla Summerlin enjoyed one thing in her crazy, messed-up existence: hanging with her friends at school. Her life is uprooted when she suddenly finds herself forced to live with the grandfather she barely remembers.
One act of defiance will change her life forever when she sets sail in her grandfather’s old sailboat after she has trouble adjusting to her new home. On a journey that will challenge everything she has ever believed about herself, Makayla must overcome her fears if she, and a surprising stowaway, are to survive.”

My Review:

This was an embarrassing book to read. I found it to be poor in writing and in content which is a shame because the synopsis and the cover are what drew me in. It looked fairly good and thus is how I was misled.

I couldn’t stand Makayla and that’s a huge issue. But it’s not my fault, she didn’t attempt to get me to like her. Makayla was rude, irrational, judgmental towards people she doesn’t know, insensitive, disrespectful, disobedient (but it is praised as defiance), irresponsible, and severely lacks the required skills to make good decisions. And it’s all wrapped up in an “I didn’t have the best childhood” bundle which, of course, gets everyone to excuse her behavior.
Don’t get me wrong, Makayla doesn’t have a great childhood. She’s gone through a lot and some of her behavior is understandable. However, the entire reason for her defiance is to prove that she’s better than her circumstances, but I didn’t buy it. Firstly, Makayla doesn’t understand how an addiction works. In many cases, it’s difficult for the person who is addicted to go cold turkey or stop in general. It’s difficult and stressful and it takes lots of support and encouragement from those around them. Instead of at least attempting to understand this, Makayla angrily demands that they choose ‘her’ instead of the drugs that have rendered the person unstable in a heated moment where it is obvious that the person in question is in no shape to make such a decision. It’s an addiction, Makayla. The addict is suffering too, this isn’t all about you and how you “obviously aren’t [wasn’t] good enough…” On top of that, when that person goes to get help and is improving, Makayla insists that she should be able to go back to her hometown to be with them. She doesn’t take into consideration that maybe that person doesn’t want her there right now so that they can focus on getting better. Instead, Makayla focuses on how she feels and how she’s suffering instead of trying to understand other perspectives. I won’t say that Makayla hasn’t gone through a lot because of this situation, but I still found her to be very selfish and insistent on thinking about herself no matter what.
Secondly, as I said, she’s just so rude. First, she insults Henry’s (her grandfather) home seconds after he finished saying how he considers it to be paradise. Then, once she gets it into her head that she desperately needs to go home, when another character approaches her and says he wants to work on the project they were assigned, she tells him she isn’t doing it and that “I just don’t care.” Even after hearing that he needs this project to be good so that he can graduate, she still blows him off. Makayla is stuck in the attitude that the world revolves around her and I found it tasteless.
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Rarity by D.A. Roach

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Kindle Price: $3.99

Official Rating: 1/5

Synopsis:

“Brogen Mathers can’t deal with teen drama…
As an empath, she is constantly bombarded with other people’s energies. Despite coping techniques taught by her psychologist mother, it’s often too much to bear, forcing her to avoid most activities a typical high school junior would enjoy.
Jay Wilken won’t let his past define him…
A dead mother and an alcoholic father brought Jay to Stanton, but he doesn’t want pity. His good looks, charisma, and friendly nature quickly win over the whole student body, but he has his eye on one girl…Brogen.
Brogen can’t believe anyone could be so genuinely nice. It has to be an act, right? But when Jay literally saves her from deadly jaws, she has to admit he’s exactly what he appears, and he’s worth risking the potential emotional upheaval.
“Drama” might as well be Becca Grant’s middle name…
Another newcomer to Stanton, Becca’s blonde beauty and abundant attitude shoots her straight to the top of the popularity charts—and she believes Jay belongs right there beside her. Accustomed to getting exactly what she wants, she launches a relentless mean-girl campaign to shake up Brogen and claim Jay for her own.

Everything changes with a devastating diagnosis…

When Jay learns he has a rare and potentially fatal disorder, he keeps it secret and begins to push Brogen away to spare her future pain—which is exactly the sort of opening Becca is waiting for.
As Jay’s well-meaning deception unravels,  Brogen realizes there is much more than her heart at stake…
But how far is she willing to go to fight for someone she loves?”
My Review:

First and foremost, I want to say that Roach really did her research. I don’t know anything about Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (vEDS) besides what was presented in the story, but I think it is more than safe to say that this wasn’t an “Hmm, what’s a pretty bad disorder I can use to spice this story up? vEDS? Sounds cool.” kind of situation. Based on the dedication and how the disorder was handled in the actual story, as well as the information included afterwards, I believe that Roach has had actual experience with vEDS. I wanted that to be acknowledged since many times, authors use serious illnesses as a way to make a plot “more interesting.” An author who doesn’t do that, should be noticed. That being said, let’s talk about Brogen.

I’m curious as to why Roach chose the name Brogen for the main female character. I conducted a tiny bit of investigating and apparently, ‘Brogan’ (not ‘Brogen’) appears to be the name of Saint Peter’s nephew and scribe. In addition, Wikipedia says that it also means “sorrowful, sharp-faced, sturdy and strong.” It’s a shame really because I found Brogen to be selfish and incredibly rude. She focused on herself when it came to everything. The guy I like isn’t interested in me? It’s Becca’s fault! She gets all the guys because she’s blonde! Argh! The guy I like is sick? I need to get upset when he distances himself from me because he’s dealing with a lot! (And note, I don’t mean distancing because he’s trying to spare her feelings, this was the distancing when he just needed space.) The vibe I was getting from her was that she was only concerned for herself and how the issues in everyone else’s life would eventually impact her. The empath part of her didn’t add anything to her personality or story. In the beginning, it was talked about and brought up frequently, but after she met Jay, it was ignored until it was needed, then it faded away again. I had honestly forgotten she was an empath until I was reading my notes.

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