Review | A Not So Merry Christmas

32320925

Kindle Price: Unavailable*

Official Rating: 2/5

Synopsis:

“Elves are dying in the North Pole, and none of their scientists can find a cure. They believe it’s a virus, unleashed by a powerful enemy. All signs point to Jack Frost, who’s been biding his time from afar. Watching. Waiting. Plotting. One brave elf, to save his kind, will venture out to meet evil in the eye. But he uncovers a mystery more dangerous than he could have ever imagined. Now Lucian must join a group of warriors and fight. Fuego; a flame-wielding pyro. Tiktok; a brilliant bomb expert, Yuriko; a deadly ninja assassin. And Bullets; a hot-headed gun aficionado. These unlikely heroes must learn to work together and defeat the rising evil. Or Christmas will soon be lost…forever.”

My Review:

If you saw my updates on Goodreads, I started off liking The Elf. Then, around 63%, I wasn’t liking it too much.

I’m not pleased with Lucian, the elf and main character of this story. I felt that he was one-dimensional, impulsive, and not much of a character. The main part of him was his relationship with Lily and weak anger towards Jack Frost and a few others. I just wasn’t convinced of him.

The only character I really liked was Jack Frost, I think he had the most (if the only) depth in the entire book and I liked his quirkiness and retorts.

Continue reading

Sixty-Seven Salamanders by Jeff Joseph (Review)

29757210

(credit)

Kindle Price: $0.99

Official Rating: 2/5

Synopsis:

“Adin Anderson lives in a small town where the stagnant flow of time is considered peace and quiet, but that isn’t good enough for him. He may not be a big believer in fate, but something bigger has to be out there for him. And the day he receives a random letter from an unlikely source may be it.”

My Review:

There are some times when I’m reading a book and I realize, It has potential, but right now it needs heavy editing and that’s how I feel about Sixty-Seven Salamanders.

I was chatting to my good friend Maggie (check out her article on Book Blurb Blacklists here!)about Sixty-Seven Salamanders (which I could conveniently abbreviate to SSS) and she said that based on my description, Sixty-Seven Salamanders sounded more like a prequel than an actual book. And she was right. Sixty-Seven Salamanders would be better off as a prequel, rather than the first book of a series. The reason being is that, the entire plot is focused on Adin’s development. There are many actions scenes, situations where he makes serious decisions (that will no doubt affect him later on), and overall moments where he experiences growth. So, it would be wrong for me to say that there was no substance to Sixty-Seven Salamanders, because there is. You are shown how Adin is growing, experiencing, and learning from predicaments along with his friends/team and that’s important. However, that isn’t how you begin a series. As aforementioned friend said, “In general, it [the first book in a series] should have its own self-contained plot, but it can also hint at a larger plot line that spans the series. So…it can be read as a standalone book, but it’s also open ended enough that it can be expanded on in later books.”  

Continue reading

Ataxia and the Ravine of Lost Dreams by Rachel Barnard

21942436

(credit)

Kindle Price: $0.99

Official Rating: 2/5

Synopsis:

“As the U.S. government prepares to take over the world, MC infiltrates one of their elite academies that trains future leaders. MC must rise to the top in the Cube training grounds in order to be placed high up within the government so she can stop them in their takeover.

It is not until her fourth and final year at the academy that her top-student status is threatened by the sudden arrival of Li, the new transfer student. MC is completely focused on her self-created mission until she gets sidetracked by Li, who might be bad news in more ways than which she bargained.”

My Review:

I’m no stranger to imagination. In fact, I partake in imagination through my day every day. And it is infinitely easier to imagine that you’re on a different planet when you’re creating the scenes in your mind, than it is to write a book about those very scenes. Even so, I was still disappointed with Ataxia and the Ravine of Lost Dreams.

I couldn’t quite place my finger on what I was feeling until I was on the last four minutes of the book. But it was that I felt like the story wasn’t real.

Now before you raise an eyebrow at me, let me be clear. I know that fiction means none of what I was reading was real. But I expect it to feel real. I expect to be so enthralled in a story that I forget that I will eventually return to reality. And Ataxia just didn’t pull through.

Meet MC. No, that doesn’t stand for Main Character and even if it did, that would be unbearably foolish on Barnard’s part. You never find out what her actual name is and frankly, I didn’t care. She’s supposed to be the main character, but I wasn’t buying it. Nothing about her made me believe that she was a heroine, a brave person, or capable of doing even the simplest of tasks to save a cat from a tree, much less people from a government. Not to mention that she was terrifyingly naive. If someone tells you that you’re somehow involved in a super secret society that you didn’t know about and this society needs to find the government, what would your response be? Certainly not: Okay! That sounds amazing, I’m totally in! And even though I don’t trust you, I will listen to all the information you give me and even follow you blindly to a location I’m unfamiliar with. At least, I hope that that isn’t what your response would be.

Continue reading

Solving for Ex by LeighAnna Kopans

18207105

(credit)

Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 2/5

Synopsis:

“1 crush on your best friend +
1 gorgeous, scheming new girl +
1 Mathletics competition =
1 big mess

SIMPLIFY.

Ashley Price doesn’t have much in life after being bullied so hard she had to leave her old school to live with her aunt and uncle in Pittsburgh. But the camera she borrowed from her best friend and secret crush Brendan, and her off the charts math abilities, make things a lot more bearable. Plus, since Brendan is the captain, making the school Mathletes team should be easy.

But when gorgeous new girl Sofia rolls in and steals Brendan, Ashley’s place on the team, and her fragile foothold on the Mansfield Park Prep social totem pole, it’s on. Sofia is everything Ashley left her old school to escape. The only thing Ashley didn’t count on is Sofia’s sexy twin brother Vincent.

Vincent is not only the hottest boy in school, he’s charming, sweet, and he’s got his eye on Ashley. He’s also not taking no for an answer. There’s no real reason Ashley shouldn’t like Vincent, but with the
battle lines being drawn between her and Sofia, Ashley’s not sure which side he’s on. Or which side she wants him to be on.

She does know Sofia is trouble with a capital T, and she’s determined to make Brendan see it.

SOLVING FOR EX is a YA contemporary romance that remixes Mansfield Park as Clueless meets Mean Girls in a crazy mix of high school society, mathletic competition, and teenage romance.”

 

My Review:

Honestly the ending of Solving for Ex made my heart fall to my pinkie toe. It absolutely destroyed the entire book for me. I don’t know if it’s justified, but it made the whole thing feel superficial to me.

It was great at first; it was cute. Mathletes and love! How adorable is that? But the ending was just so disappointing that I went from “Would Recommend” to “I don’t know if I would suggest it..”

The characters were cool, make no mistake. Ashley, Brendan, Vincent, and Sofia had the main focus and Kopans obviously planned/thoroughly created them. Each had their own personality and specific view on life. I also noticed that Kopans didn’t veer off the highway and take the ramp to Easy Street and make Sofia the stereotypical evil queen bee that rises to power and makes everyone miserable. I was confused with her motive sometimes and I would agree that she was a jerk, but she was still her own person.

Continue reading

Exalted by Tara Elizabeth (Exalted Series)

16035282

(credit)

Kindle Price: $0.99

Official Rating: 2/5

Synopsis:

“After the fall of mankind, the Exalted became the protectors of the people. As an Exalted trainee, all Mena ever wanted was to be strong, to serve and to fearlessly protect the people of the United Republic of the Saved. All Exalted feel the same. In fact, that’s all they feel. Only when Ryker, an outsider, crashes into Mena’s life, does she learn that people are meant to feel much more.
In this bleak future, set in what’s left of the southern United States, the trainees must compete in three Trials to earn their position amongst the strongest Exalted. In these Trials, female is pitted against female and male against male in demonstrations of weaponry, fighting and survival skills. The outcome: the United Ceremony, pairing trainees together for life based on how they place. The ultimate hope is to breed stronger Exalted and even better protectors.
Upon learning from Ryker that the supplement she’s taken her entire life is actually an emotion-blocking drug, her path takes an unexpected shift. Without the veil of “The Pump” blocking her emotions, Mena struggles with competing in the Trials and with her new, confusing love life. She’s experiencing new feelings with not one but two different guys, will Mena choose to leave with Ryker and be free or stay with her childhood friend, Ethan, and be United?”

My Review:

I honestly already knew that Exalted wasn’t going to be a book I would enjoy. After reading the synopsis, I was mildly curious, but after a chapter or two in, I knew the plot and guessed almost everything that was going to happen.

Mena doesn’t have it all that bad. Her life isn’t a bleak as it seems and compared to all of the other dystopian or post-apocalyptic novels I have read, Mena has the easiest life of them all. Can you imagine living without ever feeling love? Never laughing, smiling, feeling fear, blushing, or feeling infatuation? Mena’s life consists of never feeling infatuation/love, fear, and some other emotions. That is the type of life she and the other Exalteds are familiar with.
Although she can still feel pride, anger, and embarrassment/shame, Mena enjoys her somewhat lack of emotions. As someone who knows what infatuation and such things as that feels like, n
ever having felt love seems like a horrible fate. So excuse me when I say that while I can’t ever imagine not having dreams of the future or the occasional butterfly in my stomach, I don’t know if her situation is as angry-mob worthy as it seems. The “Pump” as it is (clichely) called, does exactly what everyone is promised it will do: make you stronger. By taking the Pump, the Exalteds don’t fear, have a common goal in mind, don’t have any risk of getting pregnant (there is no lust among them, or attraction in general), no one is distracted by looks, and the overall general teenage hormonal confusion and identity crises are gone. The Exalteds are mentally and emotionally stronger, but they are only physically stronger because they’re solely focused on building physical strength. Now, by no means do I condone taking away such emotions someone without their consent, but I am trying to see the situation, given the circumstances, from both my perspective and Mena’s.

Continue reading

Without You/Unending Love (Unbreakable Love series) by Yesenia Vargas

Unending Love (Unbreakable Love Series Book 2)

(credit)

Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 2/5

Synopsis:

“It’s the senior year of high school. Ariana has a second chance at love, and this time, with a much better guy, Lucas.
She also sends off her application to her dream college knowing Lucas can’t afford to go anywhere but the community college in their hometown. If she can get in and afford to go herself (and that’s a big if), Ariana will have a tough choice to make.
Attending community college with Lucas or leaving him and everyone else behind to head off to the University of Georgia.
Which regret will she choose? Not going to the school of her dreams or possibly ruining her relationship with the guy of her dreams? Meanwhile, Ariana’s brother, Jimmy, and best friend, Mayra, contemplate the idea of giving each other a chance.”

My Review:

If I have to read the word ‘groan’ one more time, I may scream. I’m disappointed in Without You. I had no expectations for it after reading the synopsis and seeing the cover, that is to say, I wanted to see what Vargas had to offer. Vargas unfortunately didn’t offer much. I guessed the plot once I had reached the one-third mark in the story and from there I lost interest. Even the title, “Without You,” didn’t seem to tie in with the story.

I don’t quite know how I feel about Ariana because there were parts of her missing. All I knew about her, for sure, was that she wanted to go to University of Georgia, she had some kind of terrible experience with a mystery guy named Carlos, she speaks Spanish, is rather selfish, she curses when it’s not necessary, makes poor decisions, allows herself to be pressured into things, and she’s rather okay with lying to her parents and keeping serious secrets from them. I’m not sure about her hair color, eye color, her personality, why she’s the main character, or any of the basic things that make up a character. Ariana needed to be developed into a more interesting and wholesome character before she would have resembled a teenager in my perspective.

The other characters were in the same situation. I didn’t know their personalities, their interests, what they looked like, and they all (except for one!) freely lie to their parents. None of these teens are role models.

Continue reading

Germination (Feast of Weeds series) by Jamie Thornton

24998247[1]

(credit)

Kindle Price: $2.99

Official Rating: 2/5

Synopsis:

A group of runaways. A horrifying virus.

Mary knows how to thrive on the street. She makes it her mission to keep other kids away from everyday monsters. But when she’s attacked by a crazed man clutching a bloody heart she realizes—there’s a new kind of monster in town.

A single drop of blood, and now Mary’s one of the infected. Unless she can stop the virus and save her friends, the new monster in town might just be her.

A post-apocalyptic Young Adult series where the runaways are the heroes, the zombies aren’t really zombies, and you can’t trust your memories—even if they’re all you have left.”

My Review:

If I had two words, I would describe Germination with “possibility” and “little.” Now if I had, say, a whole blog post to describe Germination, this is what I would say.

It wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t an awful novella that lowered my expectations for other novellas, but it wasn’t great. I wasn’t on the edge of my seat, despite the action that takes place on almost every page. Nonetheless, I saw a sound plot which is why Germination received a two star rating.

Mary was a different pre-heroine. She wasn’t different because she was more special than the others (she wasn’t from what I could tell) nor was she different because she was the “only” one in the world that distrusts the government. Mary was different because she was poor and homeless. In a numerous amount of stories, the heroine is usually saying “We never have a lot of food on the table, but we’re happy because we’re together as a family.” or something along those lines. What made Mary stand out is that she has a family, yet she ran away, embraces her homelessness, and made a new family/tight-knit group with a few other homeless kids on the street. There wasn’t enough of the novella to really understand much more about Mary. You are brought to an understanding about her that she is loyal to her new family and that she writes a blog giving advice to other teens who might want to run away. Besides that, there isn’t much to go on.

The plot was fascinating, or rather, hints to being fascinating. That was what Thornton lacked in Germination: Plot building. She had successfully built the characters and gave them a backstory, albeit a small piece of a backstory, but it sufficed, she had completed the world building, and her description skills are admirable. Unfortunately, Germination didn’t have a chance to develop the upcoming plot. As a reader, I was left with a large amount of action, little information, and a bit of indifference towards the characters.
Germination isn’t worth almost three dollars; the price isn’t practical, especially when you consider the fact that it’s only ninety-two pages. It wasn’t a bad novella as I said, it had a glimmer of promise in its pages, but it just didn’t strike me as a riveting read.

I received a copy of this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Sophie’s Secret (Whisper series) by Tara West

21577852[1]

(credit)

Official Rating: 2/5

Synopsis:

“After shedding 30 pounds of baby fat, Sophie Sinora has grown into a pretty, but insecure, teen in bloom. To make her life more complicated, Sophie can sometimes read minds.
Sophie’s BFFs, AJ and Krysta, are also ‘gifted’ with paranormal abilities. Keeping their gifts secret proves difficult, as their powers are strengthening, making them feel more and more like freaks.
When Sophie falls for Jacob, she hopes he’ll ask her out to the Freshman Formal. But when she’s forced to cheat and lie for him, she wonders how far she’ll have to go to make him like her. Add to her growing list of problems – her teacher’s suicidal thoughts, a locker bully who wants to kick her butt, the hot school flirt who won’t stop teasing her, her pregnant sister who boots Sophie out of her room, and the growing tension between Sophie and her best friends.
Sophie’s got issues. Hopefully, she can fix them in time to save her teacher’s life and her social life.

My Review:

When I opened this book, I didn’t have access to the internet so I couldn’t double check what the synopsis was on goodreads. Everything that was in the synopsis occurred in the book, but it was very watered down. I was expecting the book to be more about the supernatural powers that Sophie, AJ, and Kyrsta have. Instead, I got bits and pieces about their powers and mostly learned more about Sophie’s her pregnant sister, depressed teacher, her rather small issues with her friends, and her romance life.

Sophie is the main character and the whole book is from her perspective. It was interesting to see things through her eyes and read other people’s minds, but she insulted people too much for me to enjoy it. While yes, a teacher that picks his nose is very gross, to call him “Pick-and-Flick” isn’t very kind. Nor is calling Cody Miller “Grody Cody” polite either. Sophie uses her power to try to understand a few people better, but only if it benefits her. For example, Frankie (spoiler) who she uses her telepathic powers to figure out if he likes her or her favorite teacher or her new best friend, Lara. Yet, not with Mr. Dallin or Cody. Why doesn’t she want to know what those two are thinking? Surely they know about what people call them and I’m sure their feelings are probably hurt. Everyone is dealing with something, being ridiculed by the “entire” school can’t help. But Sophie doesn’t care because she has already labeled them and therefore doesn’t want anything else to do with them.

The rest of characters were just as okay. They all felt 2D and I didn’t connect with any of them. Sophie’s best friends, Krysta and AJ, didn’t really do very much, especially Krysta. AJ only served to give the plot a bit more “trouble in paradise” between friends. The only interesting part in the whole book was the issue between Sophie and her sister, Rosa Marie. I would have like to have seen more bonding between them, but it just didn’t happen.

The plot was rather interesting, but it didn’t hold up because of the lack of anything that actually had something to do with the three main characters’ powers. In order for me to have even thought about the sequel, there had to be more than a few obscure hints about the girls having an increase in power. There had to be more to the plot and I was disappointed that there wasn’t.

V is for Virgin (V is for Virgin series) by Kelly Oram

perf5.250x8.000.indd

(credit)

Official Rating: 2/5

Synopsis:

“When Val Jensen gets dumped for her decision to stay a virgin until marriage, the nasty breakup goes viral on YouTube, making her the latest internet sensation.

After days of ridicule from her peers, Val starts a school-wide campaign to rally support for her cause. She meant to make a statement, but she never dreamed the entire nation would get caught up in the controversy.

As if becoming nationally recognized as “Virgin Val” isn’t enough, Val’s already hectic life starts to spin wildly out of control when bad boy Kyle Hamilton, lead singer for the hit rock band Tralse, decides to take her abstinence as a personal challenge.

How can a girl stay true to herself when this year’s Sexiest Man Alive is doing everything in his power to win her over?”

My Review:

To be totally honest, I didn’t really like this book. I liked the concept, a teenage girl not being afraid to stand up for her opinion on abstaining from sex until she was married. Her cause and purpose was admirable, I wouldn’t disagree with that. But there were a few other aspects in the book that made me uncomfortable.

The first issue I had was that there was no obvious character development. People can always improve, people in real life and characters in books. Always. There are perfect characters, but they aren’t realistic. What does an author have to do in order to make them realistic? Give them flaws and gradually develop the character(s) as they start to realize their issues and try to fix them. I didn’t see any development in Valerie, but plenty of flaws. When “Virgin Val” becomes public and her campaign “V is for Virgin”, starts to become more popular, she starts to blow off her friends. The first person being her best friend, Cara. It was honestly disappointing how their friendship turned out in the end. Valerie made it seem like everything was Cara’s fault. While I do agree that Cara was very selfish in some of the decisions she made, Valerie wasn’t a saint either. She ignored Cara and started to make new friends, casually leaving Cara behind and then blaming it all on her. Then Valerie does maybe two things to try to “patch” the relationship and when it doesn’t work out, she storms off as if she had be bending backwards trying to make things work. But in all honesty, she wasn’t. All Valerie did was “fit” Cara into her schedule and she barely even did that. There was no change in Valerie’s perspective on the situation nor her actions, even though she was wrong.

Continue reading

Breaking Rules (Breaking series) by Tracie Puckett

20754848[1]

(credit)

Official Rating: 2/5

Synopsis:

“Sometimes, the lessons of childhood are damaging enough that, by eighteen, you’ve figured out some rules so you don’t repeat your parents’ mistakes. For Mandy, that meant finishing her last year of high school, going to college, and then returning to small-town Sugar Creek to live a solitary life as a writer.
That was the plan, and her main rule for avoiding complications and staying on track was to never, ever, EVER let someone get too close.
That was before she met Gabe.
And when Gabe starts to awaken emotions she’s never experienced, Mandy suddenly begins to question every belief she’s ever had.
She can’t be falling in love, can she? That would be the biggest mistake of her life, wouldn’t it? Could she break one of her most important rules—for Gabe?”

My Review:

First if all, ugh. This does NOT, I repeat in bold lettering, NOT need to be a series! It doesn’t need to have a sequel! There’s no need! None! Everything could have been cleared up in the first book without the vague mysterious ending. There was barely any plot as it was in the first book. What could the second book possibly have as a plot (based on the ending)? Is Gabe being pursued by the Mafia and is also tied in with the CIA and he has a limp because there’s a microchip in his knee that Russia uses to track him with? I would read it if that was the case and I had better tag this review as a huge spoiler.

Mandy has a list of rules. If these rules are kept then her heart will not be broken and she will live a life of solitude in content. Until one day, Gabe comes along and suddenly she’s breaking one rule…and then them all.

Continue reading