Review | Where the Wild Things Are

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Kindle Price: $2.99

Synopsis:

My name is Dahlia but I’m called a Plaguer, a person who survived the Bloody Death. When the virus first hit the world, it ravaged the human race. I thought I was lucky to survive it but survival comes at a cost. Ever since the sickness, I see things and I’m hunted for these visions.

Some seek me out because they want to keep their secrets safe. They don’t want the world to know the truth of what they are. Others, like Dax, want my knowledge. Dax has secrets of his own but as long as he helps me evade the Dark Walkers, he can keep them.

This book is for all the Plaguers, the truth sayers branded and marked as liars, often hunted and sometimes forgotten. This book is for the girl who was right.

My Review:

This book….was nothing short of wild. It was crafted beautifully and I have to give Donna Augustine all due respect for having crafted it.

The plot was unbelievable. I guessed nothing correctly and that is always delicious. Every piece of dialogue, every word of description, every character held purpose. Nothing was wasted on mindless drivel that I didn’t care about. There was a twist I never expected and didn’t see coming until I was basically reading it. On top of that, the ending was wrapped up neatly so that it wasn’t an ugly cliffhanger. Augustine gave us a bunch of questions and “Will this happen and how will it go down?” scenarios and then answered them all. Then, of course, gave us one more question to ponder and left it up to us to decide if we wanted it answered.

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Review| A Bird! No, a Plane! It’s a Dragon!

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Kindle Price: $2.99

Synopsis:

A desperate Knight. An imprisoned dragon. What will crossing fates of the two bring about?

I have slain countless monsters as a Shirai Knight. I have gained great wealth and high status over many years. But so what? If I can’t even protect the one thing I truly care about, then it’s all meaningless.
However, I will not give up. That is not an option. Not when I have one last hope of making things right.
Dragon, I don’t know if you’re ready for me, but I’m coming for you.

“Dragon’s Avatar” is the first book of the “Crossing Fates” series, an action-fantasy story set in a medieval world of magic and monsters created by the author Marc Ingram.
The POV style of writing is inspired by Japanese Light Novels and Visual Novels, so it may seem unique, but western audiences should be able to enjoy themselves as well. This book is for anyone who likes well depicted characters and vivid fighting scenes with tension hanging in the air. ”

My Review:

I’m almost not even sure what I’m supposed to be reviewing, but, as always, I’ll give it my best shot.

I don’t know what or where the plot was? The book just seemed to continue on and on without a real “end result”. There was an end result, but you don’t know what the end result is until you almost finish the book. If I’m not making any sense, it’s kind of like this: In dystopian books, the end result is often a successful uprising and the government is taken down. In sci-fi war books, there’s a war and the good guys win. Even in TV shows and comic books, the Joker is wreaking havoc and we already know that Batman is going to take him down and win. We already know the end result of the plot, it’s getting to the end result that makes the plot so interesting.

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Review | A Not So Merry Christmas

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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.

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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.

Diamond Bonds by Jeff Kish (ARC Review)

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Kindle Price: $0.99

Official Rating: 3/5

Synopsis:

“Era cares only of surpassing his father’s infamy as a master thief – until he stumbles onto a kidnapped girl and promises to return her home.

Dreaming of a quick and easy reward, Era and his thieving partner Jem set off to return the girl to her wealthy father. However, when bounty hunters and elemental mercenaries attack to recapture the girl, her claims of ignorance begin to ring hollow. When the girl’s own elemental talents are revealed, Era begins to question what else she may be hiding.

As Era fights off foe after foe with his untrained earth shaping skills, the temptation to simply collect the reward on her head sparks an inner conflict between his moral foundation and the future he has always wanted.”

My Review:

When Kish emailed me, he (politely) asked me if I would read his book and I calmly replied to his email in the most professional manner I could. Then I texted my friend in all capital letters (in an entirely unprofessional manner) my fears of what would I do if I didn’t like his book. You see, it’s way easier to hate a book when the author is rude. But it’s way harder to hate a book, when the author, this time being Kish, is respectful and polite. It’s always so very refreshing to talk to an author who doesn’t respond with a rather unappreciative tone. Nonetheless, my feelings cannot get in the way of an honest review, which is why I am most relieved to say that I did enjoy Kish’s book, Diamond Bonds.


I’m bound to honesty (how bad was that pun?) so I have to say that Diamond Bonds didn’t really have my interest until 85% or so into the book. That was, in my opinion, when the action truly started, along with a plot twist that quietly surprised me. I say quietly because I didn’t gasp, but was no less surprised.

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The Boy with Words by C.E. Wilson (Review)

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Kindle Price: $4.99

Official Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

“White Frost has only ever known the darkness. Everything outside of her closed society is The Unknown – a strange and dangerous place accessible to only a chosen few. White’s only glimpse of the world beyond comes from her beloved cousin in the form of mysterious collections of words that hint at astonishing wonders. When an accident upends her simple existence, she’s given an unlikely chance to see the truth for herself. What she finds is greater and more terrible than she could have imagined, and before long she is forced to make the most important choice of her life: does she accept her safe, limited world that she’s known or take a desperate gamble in a world not meant for her with the Boy with Words?”

My Review:

The Boy with Words wasn’t what I expected it to be. I wanted to know what the backstory behind the title was, if this was going to be some bad cheesy love story, if White was going to lead some major rebellion or not…so many questions, all of them answered.

Wilson presented our world in a new light and I love how she did it. I was gently caught off guard and pleasantly surprised with her writing ability, the characters she created, and the plot that she wove. For once, there is no huge rebellion led by a severely under-qualified cardboard cut-out heroine. For once, one teenaged girl hasn’t held all the knowledge since she was born. For once, she isn’t unbearably decisive between two love interests. Gosh, what a masterpiece this was.

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The Forever Contract by Avery Sawyer

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Review: 1/5

Synopsis:

In the very near future, the country is plunged into drought and unrest. Scare resources and constant heat are making life completely miserable. Casey doesn’t think she can stand slugging back another gel pack or working one more shift at the wells. Fortunately, there’s a solution: anyone over the age of seventeen can sign the Forever Contract and enter a utopian paradise. While people’s minds take a permanent vacation, their bodies get warehoused and hooked up to a complex array of sensors and feeding tubes. As Casey’s brother says, “You upload your consciousness to the system and you’re free to live as long as you want, however you want. No more pain, no more heat, no more awful dust, no more work. Just pure thought. It’s what our species has always been meant for. Suffering is for philosophers. Not for me.”
Casey’s ready to sign–a permanent vacation is just what she needs. There’s only one problem: her boyfriend James doesn’t trust it.
Told from his and her perspectives, The Forever Contract is a 17,000 word (60 page) novella suitable for readers in grade 8 and above.
Would you sign the contract?

My Review:

The cover of The Forever Contract and the synopsis were both misleading. For the most part, I stay away from books that have covers like that, it usually means certain “special” events occur. None of that happened though, so I’m not sure why Sawyer chose this cover. The synopsis was what pulled me in, but it didn’t quite deliver what I was expecting either. The thought of “upload[ing] your consciousness to the system and you’re free to live as long as you want, however you want.” was intriguing. A unique twist to a dystopian novella. So why didn’t I give it more than one star?

It was completely and totally dull. I was losing my mind trying to get through this novella. Casey, James, and all the other characters were completely one-dimensional. This is one of the biggest issues with novellas: Too complex of a concept crammed into a novella. It almost always leads to poor character development and a poorly delivered plot. If you need more “book time” to develop a solid plot and solid characters than a novella will be able to provide, do not write a novella. It’s unfair to the reader, not just because they may have spent money to buy the book, but in addition, they spent time reading your book only to receive something sub par. It’s equivalent to going to a restaurant and reading over the menu (the books on shelves) and you finally choose something that sounds appetizing (the cover). The chef (author) is making the food in front of you and there are lots of flips and sizzles (the synopsis). Then, your food is finally done and the food is being put on your plate, a little sloppily, but it still looks rather good (the first few chapters). You finally take a bite and your face scrunches in disappointment as your taste buds recoil in horror. It’s undercooked and not what you expected after watching the chef’s grand flips and loud sizzles. But what can you do? You already paid. You wasted your time and money on a chef that did not deliver the service you deserved.

It was honestly a shame because this plot was incredibly amazing. There could have been ocean-deep depth, heartbreaking-ly emotional scenes between James and Casey, gorgeous world-building, and just so much more. There was barely a climax before the ending, the ending just quickly wrapped everything up. It was like those times when you’re having company over soon and you aren’t quite ready and don’t know what to do so you quickly throw things into closets and shove things under couches. I don’t know what happened why Sawyer decided to hastily end The Forever Contract this way but it was inexcusable. It left an appalling amount of uncertainty and was poorly put together. It clearly says “END” in bold letters, but seems to hint at a sequel since it “ends” at a cliffhanger. The Forever Contract has immense potential and I truly mean that. It should definitely not be a novella, but at least a full length novel so that Sawyer can make this plot reach its full potential.

You Made Me by Kelvin Reynolds and Mia Dakin

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Kindle Price: $2.99

Official Rating: 1/5

Synopsis:

“You think you know your mum and dad. But you don’t. My name is Coral and I’m fifteen years old. One photograph changed my life. Without the photo I would never have met Tilly, the nastiest girl in the school or had my first fight. Without the photograph I would never have met and lost Joel, the fittest boy on the planet. Without the photograph I would never have flown an eagle owl or sang in a rock band. And without the photograph I wouldn’t be crouching on a sheepskin rug soaked with blood, looking up into the barrel of a shotgun. And it’s not true what they say. THE CAMERA DOES LIE. This is my story but it could so easily be yours.”

My Review:

I wish I had something to compare this book to so that everyone could understand how painful it was to read it, but I don’t. Hopefully, the rest of my review will clear everything up.

Actually, I do have an analogy. Once, I watched a video where a guy put two-hundred (200) pieces of gum in his mouth and then proceeded to chew it. Not to be too graphic, but there was saliva cascading out of his mouth, he couldn’t close his mouth, and the gum was a disgusting mess. In two words, I could describe two-hundred pieces of gum and this book: Too Much.

The synopsis. Completely misleading, especially this part: “This is my story but it could so easily be yours.” Don’t quote me, but I’m pretty sure that the probability of someone having the same life as Coral in You Made Me “easily” is around a 1/100,000,000,000. Make no mistake, everything in the synopsis does occur in the novel, the issue is that it makes you think this book will be interesting. That’s why it is misleading.

The main character, Coral Matthews, was empty. I don’t mean in the “I feel like I have no purpose” type of empty; I mean the “Is this what is supposed to realistically represent the female teenagers in our society?” empty. The whole truth, and nothing but the truth, is that Coral is one of the worst characters I have come upon. She wasn’t clever, had no brains, “acted out” in the name of being a teenager, wasn’t interesting, was quite rude to multiple people without reason, and was just…awful. I’m not saying she is impossible to love…I just don’t see what reasons the people around her could give as to why anyone could. Is that harsh? Probably. To give an example without spoiling anything, Coral ends up having to leave a place that she’s made many friends in. Instead of talking to said friends or at least thinking about her response beforehand, she responds by lashing out at everyone because “it’s better this way.” (Cliche line, by the way) Or another example, a certain person is told very important information for the first time with Coral present. Instead of thinking to herself, “Wow, I didn’t know you didn’t know that. We’re both in shock,” Coral decides that that certain person has blatantly lied to them. She screams, “You lied to me! I hate you, I HATE YOU!” How does that make sense? If Jane is chatting to Jack about her new dog and Austin walks up and tells Jane that her dog just died, is Jack entitled to call her a liar? What has Jane lied about? How do you lie about information you don’t know yet? Final excerpt from the story, Coral is angry at a certain person for not making the attempt to contact her, even though Coral is the one who has actually done wrong. Coral’s response? “I am still angry, very angry after all these years but I needed to know the truth, you can’t blame me for trying can you?” If I were in this novel, I would most definitely blame her, but instead, the person she’s talking to does not in order to continue this poorly thought out plot.

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Homegrown Terror (Project Forge series) by Steve White

Bit of a hiccup in the normal schedule due to my kindle malfunctioning, but I will post on Friday and continue with the schedule as per usual. 

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Kindle Price: $0.99

Official Review: 1.5/5

Synopsis:

“Kendra is a soft spoken girl at school, and many of her friends would describe her independent and shy. But beneath the surface is a fierce warrior: Kendra is in fact a teen spy. Her “parents” are handlers for the National Security Agency, and she is sent on missions around the country. Her newest mission: a new homegrown terrorist organization has sprung up in the US, and she must tear the organization down. She will come up against more danger than she has ever faced before – will she save her country? Or will she die trying?”

My Review:

I feel bad about this book, it sounded interesting and I was hoping to enjoy it. In short, Homegrown Terror, is terribly boring. I don’t say that in a harsh way, allow me to explain.

Kendra doesn’t really have much to her. She is human, but acts as if she was given emotions, rather than born with them. That isn’t entirely her fault though. The story is told in limited third person, and the writing doesn’t make it work. I’ll get to that later. Throughout Homegrown Terror, Kendra doesn’t seem to feel much. I couldn’t connect with her, she did and felt everything in a matter-of-fact way. For instance, if she was kicked in the shin, her first response wouldn’t be “Ow!” it would be: I see. That hurt. I will say “Ow” now. “Ow!” She was an unrealistic character as well. I wasn’t expecting something extremely realistic, we are talking about a teenager working for the NSA here, but it was difficult to see her as a teenager. The whole book was about her being a teenaged spy, but with a few edits, I would have thought that she was a grown woman with a very small amount of human emotion. Despite all of the book following her adventures, I feel as if I didn’t even read about her. There should definitely have been more of a back-story for her, yet it was quickly glossed over. A teenager working for the NSA needs an epic back-story, especially if throughout the entire book, Kendra silently wishes she was ‘normal.’ It was a short read, yes, but there’s never an excuse for not developing your characters.

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Awakening (Absence of Song series) by C.B. Stone

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Price: Free!

Official Rating: 1.5/5

Synopsis:

Though music is forbidden and could get me in big trouble with the Ministry, I nevertheless often find myself singing softly in spite of the danger. Little do I know just how much hot water my strange compulsion to sing will actually land me in.
What is happening in the world around me? How is it happening? How does the stranger Noah fit into things? And most importantly… why me? I’m no more special than the next person.
So many questions and so many dangers. All I can do is trust that whatever is happening, it is good. I can see that it’s good, and I refuse to let anyone convince me otherwise.

My Review:

This was a weird experience and not in a good way I’m afraid. A world where singing, humming, and music in general is banned is difficult to imagine. It is undoubtedly a horrifying thought. Yet, this is the world that Jaelynn lives in.
I think that maybe Awakening was some sort of a “pre-book,” but there is no excuse for the rather poor quality. It was not engaging, it was not descriptive, it was emotionless, severely under-developed, and drab. Now here’s why.

Jaelynn Rose is the heroine. Why? I have a strong guess, but for now, I don’t know and neither do you. Since neither you nor I know why she’s the heroine, I would assume that Stone would give hints. Maybe try to make it less obscure as to why she decided Jaelynn is the heroine I want to spend some of my limited time on earth reading about. Instead, all I am given is that when she sleeps, she hears songs. Phenomenal. Not to mention, at one point, Jaelynn isn’t sure what her own name is. She introduces herself as Jaelynn and her parents call her Jaelynn, but then she called herself Jaclyn when she was thinking. It happened once, but it was there. I for one would be terrified if I relied on a heroine who forgot what her name was.

I felt that Jaelynn was pretty naive. A few sentences here and there did their best to make her seem intuitive and always questioning things, but it didn’t happen. If anyone’s ever experienced a really long winter with a ton of snow, they know that there are huge potholes in the road and they easily fill up with water. Now, anyone with common sense wouldn’t look at a pothole filled with water and think “Haha! I’m going to jump in, it can’t be that deep.” because that’s just not a good idea. Sadly, that was mostly what Jaelynn did. She had no self-control whatsoever for example: “Whoa! A strange man is approaching? I’m totally safe if this fence is between us. Let’s exchange names! I want to tell you my secret that could get me and my family killed.” or even “I barely know you, but let’s cramp ourselves in this very small room all alone and hope nothing bad happens.” Really? Are you kidding? That is very dangerous, please don’t do that. Her inability to lie to her parents was eye-roll worthy. Of course she can’t lie to her parents, what does she have to lie about? She doesn’t do anything at all, besides a mundane routine and then hears some songs in her dreams. I’m sure this is just a tool to make sure in later books it seems like her “innocence” is being taken away because of the government. I didn’t see a leader in Jaelynn and while it could be a way to show character development throughout the later books, this wasn’t the way to do it. Instead of making me interested in seeing Jaelynn develop, it made me write her off the “Could Be a Heroine” list.

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