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.

There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane: Book Blitz & Giveaway!

 

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Stars.jpgSynopsis:

“Peace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of the dome. Now Nat wants answers. Is there life outside the dome and if so, what has the Order been hiding from everyone?”

 

 

Kindle Price: $3.82

Official Rating: 3.5/5

 

My Review:

McFarlane, please forward my apologies to your co-worker, Ms. Kahla Dombowsky, for I am stealing her quote: This is so good!

There Once Were Stars was predictable, but unpredictable, and that’s not only possible, but also enjoyable.

Here’s what was predictable: Government of some sort is bad, inevitable love triangle, female main character with brown eyes and brown hair, lies, lies, and more lies, the main character getting upset when everything she knows is a lie, a smirking love interest, an I’ve known you my whole life and you’re sweet and comfortable love interest.

Here’s what was unpredictable: The government, the love triangle, the main character, the main character’s reactions to lies, the smirking love interest, and the comfortable love interest.

Are you interested now?

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Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors by H. L. Burke

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Kindle Price: $2.99

Official Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

“Nyssa Glass is a reformed cat burglar turned electrician’s apprentice, settled into a life repairing videophones and radio-sets. However, when her past comes calling, she finds herself forced into one last job. No one has entered Professor Dalhart’s secluded mansion in almost a decade, at least not and returned to tell the tale. If Nyssa wants to ensure her freedom, she’ll brave the booby trapped halls and mechanized maids. Nyssa has skills, but this house has more than its share of secrets. As she steps into the cobwebbed halls lined with dusty mirrors, she has to wonder. Is the House of Mirrors really abandoned?”

My Review:

Oh my. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh my. I liked this book. I bought this last month because the synopsis had me interested and wow, Burke didn’t disappoint me. An excellent blend of adventure, mystery, and romance. Oh, I am swooning.

I THINK I’M IN LOVE WITH A COMPUTER. That’s all I can say about that, no spoilers, sorry. 😉

Honestly, I hate a lot of 5 star books. Do you know why? Because I love them. And because I love them the review isn’t as fun because a) I didn’t write any notes because I didn’t have any complaints so I am totally writing by memory, b) it’s a lot more fun to write a negative review, and c) I never like to write 5 star reviews because it just kinda taints the book for me. Not really in a bad way, but just in an “it’s over” way. But no matter, I will write about this wonderful book.

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The Deepest Red by Miriam Bell

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Kindle Price: $0.99

Official Rating: 0.5/5

Synopsis:

“In a destroyed world of abandoned towns and haunted memories, Millie Daniels lives protected behind the constrictive fences of a long forgotten prison. Her entire life she has longed for two things, to discover the truth behind her mother’s death and to understand the mysteries kept shrouded among the surrounding forest. However, she can not do either alone.

Faced with tragic circumstances in the decaying lands of the red zone, Millie must learn to fight for her survival. Along the way, her reality intertwines with cryptic dreams and dangerous obstacles threatening her life and those she loves. Only a skillful outsider, Connor, born deep within the red zone can help her unlock the buried truth and teach her how to stay alive against the oncoming threats.”

My Review:

POP QUIZ!

What is a NECESSITY to survive?

  1. Water
  2. Food
  3. Shelter
  4. All of the above

 

OH, I’m sorry. If you chose 4), that is incorrect. The correct answer was 5) Sex.

Do I have your attention now? Good.

The Deepest Red was awful. I’m talking if I was grading a book on how awful it was, it would get a A++.

First of all, I can’t stand Millie. What was her problem? She was always panicking about something, the word panic was used 19 times to describe how she felt. Millie was always snapping with anger, and it would somehow give her the ability to do the near impossible. If you’re thinking, Paige, adrenaline is an amazing thing! Yes, that is true, but any time it was convenient, suddenly Millie was super angry about something and she’d become some “amazing” whirlwind of power. I call bull. Her bedside manner was atrocious too. Whenever someone died, Millie would go up to another person and just go “Name is dead.” No words to soften the blow, no sympathetic smiles, literally just “Yeah. Your loved one is gone lol.” She even says it to one guy just so that he’ll do a task faster. How rude!

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Into the Dark by Brian Spangler

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Kindle Price: $4.99

Official Rating: 3/5

Synopsis:

When Emily heard the first scream, she became concerned.
When she heard a second scream, she grew scared.
When she heard the third scream, she was struck with terror.
But it was what Emily could not hear that frightened her the most.

Emily wakes to find that her world has plummeted into darkness–the clouds have spilled out of the sky and taken the sun.
And there is more to the mist than just the dangers of being blind–the fog is poison, killing everything in its path. Their home is no match for the caustic fog, and her family is suddenly running for their lives.
But when she learns that the machines built to save the world could be the cause of the accident, Emily turns to her father–the original architect–with the hope that they can stop the environmental catastrophe. ”

My Review:

Meh. I don’t know how I feel about Into the Dark. This is book 3 of my #MakeMeRead It Readathon (even though it’s only supposed to be for a week). I made very few notes because it was just that kind of book. I can already feel in my reader bones that this review is going to be short, but let’s get started.

Emily Stark is our main character, our female protagonist. Now, notice that I did not say heroine, because truly, there is no “hero(ine)” in this book. I kind of liked Emily, but I wasn’t rooting for her either. I appreciated that Spangler made sure that survival was the first thing on her mind. When she sees the love interest, she questions if she’s allowed to feel infatuation, if it’s wrong given the circumstances. I liked that, because that’s realistic. I feel as if I don’t really know Emily. Sure, we’re in the middle of an apocalypse, so she wouldn’t be thinking about things that don’t really matter anymore, so it’s understandable. Even still, though she isn’t a cardboard character, I don’t really know her.

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Tainted by Alexandra Moody (Review)

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

“The ARC: the world’s last chance for survival, but this underground fallout shelter is the last place you want to be.

At the tender age of two Elle Winters lost everything, when the day of impact transformed Earth’s surface into an icy, desolate wasteland. Fifteen years later, all she has ever known are the cold, artificial confines of underground fallout shelter, the ARC. Under the Council’s rule, ruthless officials roam the hallways and community comes first. Everyone lives in fear of failing their annual testing and those that do are deemed tainted—taken away without any warning or a word of goodbye.

No one has been taken in over six months and the remaining citizens of the ARC have slowly begun to forget the danger. Elle remains wary, but even she is beginning to wonder if it’s finally safe to succumb to her feelings towards her closest friend, Sebastian.

But, no one is ever truly safe in the ARC. Elle is about to experience her own personal apocalypse and with nothing left to lose, she will finally attempt to uncover the truth about the tainted.

Will she find what she’s looking for or are some secrets better left buried deep underground?”

My Review:

Yikes. Tainted took me by surprise. Thank you, Moody, for reminding me that no matter how many books I read, I still don’t know everything.

I’ve been dealing with some pride lately. The other day someone told me, “I’m a quick reader and this book is taking me a long time. I don’t think you can finish it in a day.” Well, my blogger pride was injured and I haughtily thought, Oh yeah? Well I’ve read books in one day and written a review for them! So don’t tell me how long it’ll take me to read a book. Oh my, right? At least my response to her was civil. Meaning I didn’t reply. But why am I telling you that? Because even though I haven’t even reviewed one-hundred reviews yet, and even though I haven’t been blogging for a year and a half yet, sometimes I feel like I already know everything. I judged Tainted and figured I knew everything that Moody had to offer, and thus set my expectations low.

My notes are littered with sarcastic predictions that were, to my surprise, proved to be wrong. Well now.

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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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#GirlRogues: Braggadocio by Zizzi Bonah (Review)

#GirlRogues: Braggadocio

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Kindle Price: $4.99

Official Rating: */5

Synopsis:

“”They’re dangerous to love, more dangerous to loath – which girl are you?” Zizzi Bonah’s collection of Phem Phant Noir short stories and verses are for those with minds as broad as braggadocio, and nerves hard enough to rival a diamond from the first water. There’s the writer who murders words that press upon her page, and serves up a word-corpse poem… There’s the optician who extracts salt crystals from her clients’ tears, and dashes them on her fish and chips… Not forgetting, the lady who blinks a truth-moment into a picture, she is a living camera… HEALTH WARNING: This book is rather like surviving your renegade’s cooking, and should therefore be taken in small bites. For that reason, it comes with no letter of recommendation!

My Review:

Well. I’m sure you noticed that there’s no rating, but instead a star. The reason being is that as I read the book, I realized that this isn’t the type of thing I enjoy. (This was my first time trying out something like this) Therefore, I felt that it would be dishonest and unfair for me to give it a rating, since I’m severely biased. I don’t want my rating to be because of the genre of the book and not the content of the book. I had read the synopsis and the book did, of course, fit all my requirements/criteria for reviewing a book, but I just didn’t know what to expect.

It isn’t written in the “traditional” form of a book (like chapters and consistent characters and such things), so I was caught off guard. It took me maybe two short stories to get the hang of things and then I was okay.

I liked the writing, honestly. Bonah has a talent/gift/skill for details and I really enjoyed the tone of voice. It was somewhat a dainty kind of tone (the kind of voice one would imagine a ‘high-society’ lady would use when she’s at a tea) and the details that Bonah provided made the words come to life. Whenever a book has phrases that I really like, I highlight them in red via the Kindle app and it’s pretty safe to say, #GirlRogues: Braggadocio is pretty well highlighted.

There are a few short stories I liked the best. I liked “A Treasure” the most and “Queen Glitch,” but the others didn’t catch my fancy as much.

I would speak about a plot, but each short story has their own mini-mini plot so it’d be kind of difficult, but there is obvious structure in each story. Some stories take a bit of re-reading so that you can catch the full meaning of certain events, but Bonah did take time to create them.

 

Would I Recommend #GirlRogues: Braggadocio? I don’t know if it’s fair for me to say yes or no. I am biased, I will admit it. I personally didn’t enjoy it as much as other books because I don’t think this is a genre I like, but I did want to try out new things and I was interested. If this is the kind of thing you enjoy or you want to try out a new form of writing, I would recommend it. But I don’t know if I would pay $4.99 for it.

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

Flotilla by Daniel Haight (ARC Review)

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Kindle Price: $2.99

Official Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

“Flotilla is a book for young adults and fans of Juvenile Dystopian Fiction about the world that is coming to our oceans. Jim Westfield is a messed-up kid thrown into the anarchic community his father lives on where they raise fish on the ocean when they aren’t breaking the law. This is a world filled with strange and dangerous characters that threaten Jim and his family’s lives when a terrorist attack hits Los Angeles. Now Jim must rise above his past if he wants to survive his future.

This whirlwind experience over two summers paints a vivid picture of risk and hardship. It takes a deeply moving look at the impact of sustainable technology on some hilariously dysfunctional characters.

Readers and reviewers are calling Flotilla ‘highly original, ‘intense and action packed’ and ‘for anyone who loves adventure.'”

 

My Review:

Today, everyone, history has been made. I remember mentioning my short attention span (at least I think I remember) a couple of times, and yes, it’s definitely still a piece of me. It cackles its way around while I’m trying to focus and oh look! If I enter this giveaway, I could win $10. But wait! Look! Here’s three more giveaways to enter, instead of completing your responsibilities! And that cycle has slurped up a good 5 hours (yeah…5 hours) of my day before. (And no, I haven’t won anything yet.) My friends roll their eyes when they send me a video and I groan, How long is it? Do I have to watch all of it? I suppose it’s pretty funny, considering how many hours I spend reading and working on this blog of mine. But, nonetheless, you didn’t click on this book review to hear about my attention span, so here’s why I mentioned it.

Flotilla took me about (and I used that word loosely) 4 hours or more to read. *Gasp* *Scream* *Evident shock!* I know, right? All the times I’ve complained about a book dragging itself across my eyes as I begged for it to speed up, and I spent 4 hours or more reading one book? And get this: The pace is slow.

Okay. Okay. These aren’t bad things, in case it came across that way. It was just a shocking revelation for me that I stuck with Flotilla. So, why did I stick with Flotilla?

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