The Labyrinth Wall by Emilyann Girdner

18813006

(credit)

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.

Slip by David Estes

23645690

(credit)

Kindle Price: $2.99

Official Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

“Someone must die before another can be born…

As sea levels rise and livable landmasses shrink, the Reorganized United States of America has instituted population control measures to ensure there are sufficient resources and food to sustain the growing population. Birth authorization must be paid for and obtained prior to having a child. Someone must die before another can be born, keeping the country in a population neutral position at what experts consider to be the optimal population. The new laws are enforced by a ruthless government organization known as Pop Con, responsible for terminating any children resulting from unauthorized births, and any illegals who manage to survive past their second birthday, at which point they are designated a national security threat and given the name Slip.
But what if one child slipped through the cracks? What if someone knew all the loopholes and how to exploit them? Would it change anything? Would the delicate resource balance be thrown into a tailspin, threatening the lives of everyone?
And how far would the government go to find and terminate the Slip?
In a gripping story of a family torn apart by a single choice, Slip is a reminder of the sanctity of a single life and the value of the lives we so often take for granted.”

Review:

Alright Estes, no need to beg on your knees, I’ll write a review for the first book in the Slip trilogy. (Merely a joke to do with his message to the reader)

Slip took me on a fascinating, but often confusing journey through yet another dystopian world. The United States, now renamed Reorganized United States of America, has a new population control method that, according the statistics, works flawlessly. Unless…until, there is an UnBee, or Unauthorized Being, or, even worse, a full-blown Slip.

The rabbit hole never seems to end in this book. There is so much secrecy, so many lies, so many hidden motives and identities, that sometimes I would just be plain lost. Why is this guy like that? Who has this name? Why do they have the same name? Wait what? But by the end, “all was revealed” and every loose end, every unexplained mystery made painful perfect sense. Like many books that I enjoy, I won’t give away any spoilers and even names would actually give away a large piece of the plot so forgive me for being vague.

Continue reading

Forbidden Mind by Karpov Kinrade

20748351

(credit)

Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

“49% of Americans believe their government officials are honest. I don’t know these officials, or their supporters, but I know their secrets, and 49% of Americans are wrong.
My employers pay me well to be right, to know things others can’t. But I don’t know why they brought that boy in, strapped to a stretcher, barely conscious. He asked me for help when I could give none.
I’m a wealthy spy, a talented artist, a martial arts black belt, and a prisoner. They tell me that on my eighteenth birthday, I will be released, free to go to the college of my dreams. It’s my eighteenth birthday, and a man in black is at my door. I know he’s not here to free me.
I know, because I can read minds.
My name is Sam, and this is my story.
So begins the tale of Sam and Drake–from the time they link minds, forging a bond that leads to an unconventional romance–to their fight for survival against the corrupt, twisted organization known as ‘Rent-A-Kid.'”

My Review:

I was pleased with many aspects of Forbidden Mind. The romance, the characters, the plot, even the writing. It wasn’t a hard book to read and although I always try, I couldn’t find anything to truly gripe over.

Sam was a great female main character. You do have to wait a couple of chapters before she develops as a character, but it’s worth the wait. It was well placed, well written, appropriate, and I loved it. She ignored the consequences that may arise, even to her immediately physical health, and pushed until she did what she thought was right. That is true character development. I respected her after seeing that and it truly was the stepping stone for all of the growth that would take place. She didn’t cry much which was rather nice. Sure there were tears and sobbing every now and then, but overall she kept herself focused on the many tasks at hand without having a mental breakdown every two minutes. Would I blame her if she had had mental breakdowns? Nope. But the fact that Kinrade didn’t make her have three million in the course of five chapters was awesome. The way she handles her powers are amazing, there is constant self-control and it’s evident throughout the plot. As Sam learns things about the place that she has been for the past 18 years, which the she and the students call “Rent-A-Kid,” she doesn’t immediately believe that she must be everyone’s savior. There was no: “I am the only one who knows. I must save everyone.” or “I sobbed for the loss of my innocence. I now knew something so great, so powerful, that I had to do something. The task was completely and solely up to me and I felt the weight on my shoulders.” Nope. She included people (the ones she trusted) and didn’t try to save her world all on her own. That is a characteristic of a leader.

Continue reading

Wink by Eric Trant (Review)

17378109

(credit)

Kindle Price: $3.99

Official Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

“In this thriller set in a rural Gulf Coast town, twelve-year-old Marty Jameson finds refuge in the attic from his mother’s abusive rages. But only during the day. At night the attic holds terrors even beyond what he witnesses in his home. With a family made up of a psychotic mother, a drug-dealing father and a comatose older brother withering away in the spare bedroom, Marty feels trapped.
Next door, wheel-chair bound Sadie Marsh obsessively watches Marty’s comings and goings from her bedroom window, despite her mother’s warning about the evil in that house. Evil which appears to Sadie as huge black-winged creatures.
Marty, emotionally torn by the violence and dysfunction in his family, is drawn to Sadie and her kindly mother. But if he is to save his new friend from the supernatural horror threatening them all, Marty must transform himself from victim to hero. And to do so, he must first confront what lurks hidden in the shadows of his attic.”
My Review:

Books in the thriller section can be pretty terrifying or nerve wracking. But you know what I found out today? They’re much more terrifying if you aren’t even aware that it’s a thriller novel.

Yes, I picked up Wink thinking it was a ‘normal’ story about the friendship between a boy who suffers from domestic abuse and a girl who is paralyzed from the waist down. I had hoped that it would end with the boy, Marty Jameson, escaping the daily nightmare that resides in his home, and living ‘happily ever after’ with the girl, Sadie Marsh, and her mother. Instead, an entirely different door of horror was opened and I was sucked in without a chance to protest. While I am not completely clear on if Wink is a Young Adult novel, there’s no doubt that it is definitely meant for teenagers and up.

Surprisingly, I did enjoy Wink. Thrillers aren’t my favorite type of genre, but Trant made the plot really easy to get lost in. Trant’s tone of voice for the story written in an omniscient third-person perspective helped to bring each character, both human and otherwise, to life. The tone that was set for Wink, reminded me of the man who reads in the Narnia Audiobooks, if you have ever listened to those, but with a much eerier feel. Not quite soothing, but you could listen to him for hours. The descriptions were flawless to the point that I felt physically sick during a certain scene.

Continue reading