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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Clockwork Angel | Book Review

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)

Written by: Cassandra Clare
Number of Pages: 480

Average Rating: 4.33/5 stars
My Rating: 4/5 stars

Published: August 31, 2010
Read in November 2017

Summary According to Goodreads

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters - including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them.

My Thoughts

I didn’t love this novel as much as everyone told me that I would. I think my expectations were just too high.

I really liked the characters and how there was so much less focus on teenage angst, just because of the time it was set it. From reading this novel, I have discovered that I love Victorian London! I don’t tend to read historical fiction, but I was so in love with the language, the mannerisms, the technology (or lack thereof), just the whole atmosphere of the time.

Seeing Magnus Bane again and hearing the names of all these characters we met in the Mortal Instruments, made me so excited to get back into the world. A big issue that I had with this story, is that the general plot seemed very similar to that of the Mortal Instruments. A girl discovers the world of Shadowhunters through searching for a missing family member, she is stuck between two stubborn boys who are opposite personalities, and although she didn’t know this world until a week ago, she is suddenly a crucial part of a revolution. 

I couldn’t rate this a five stars, because it wasn’t perfect. I was able to put it down in favour of another novel, and not miss it terribly. At no point was I kept on the edge of my seat, nor was I surprised by any of the plot twists. Once the plot got going it was a quick read, but mostly because of Cassandra Clare’s smooth writing style.

Overall, this novel didn’t blow me away. I found it very slow to get into and again very similar to Jace and Clary’s story. I’m anxious to continue on with the series and the world to see how everything develops, but I am not as hooked as I’d hoped to be!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

We'll Never Be Apart | Book Review

We’ll Never Be Apart

Written by: Emiko Jean
Number of Pages: 280

Average Rating: 3.84/5 stars
My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Published: October 2015
Read in November 2017

Summary According to Goodreads

Murder. Fire. Revenge.

That’s all seventeen-year-old Alice Monroe thinks about. Committed to a mental ward at Savage Isle, Alice is haunted by memories of the fire that killed her boyfriend, Jason. A blaze her twin sister Cellie set. But when Chase, a mysterious, charismatic patient, agrees to help her seek vengeance, Alice begins to rethink everything. Writing out the story of her troubled past in a journal, she must confront hidden truths.

Is the one person she trusts only telling her half the story? Nothing is as it seems in this edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller from the debut author Emiko Jean.

My Thoughts

I think I may need to take a break from novels surrounding mental hospitals, because this one was not in my taste. I was hooked at the beginning and captivated to see where the story was going to go, but once I figured out the plot twists I lost interest. The synopsis gripped me from the very beginning, and I’d taken it out from the library before deciding to purchase my own when I saw it on bargain. I am a sucker for psychological thrillers, but this was yet another to lead to disappointment. I was definitely expecting something much creepier, and instead found myself sucked into teen hormones. 

Although this novel needed to be driven by its characters, I felt that they were a little too flat. Alice is an unreliable narrator as her memory of what has landed her in the hospital is hazy. I appreciated her diary entries to gain memories, as well as the way she was very guarded but manic, as it represented her issues well. Above all, Chase was a nice character to read. He is foreshadowed as the “bad boy” but is more rounded than he seems at first glance. I liked his big heart and that he wasn’t afraid to say what he was thinking. He was my favourite character, no doubt about it.

I have a very hard time believing that the hospital staff were naive enough to let Alice get away with everything that she did. From my experience, the staff are highly trained, know many warning signs, and are constantly around observing. So how was she able to leave the hospital undetected? They also prohibited physical contact between patients and steered away from relationships, so the lack of reality made it hard for me to enjoy.

I also have to give credit to Emiko Jean, because I found it hard to believe this was a debut novel. The structure was there, the writing style was there, and the characters were there, it was just a plot that’s been done too many times. The base of this novel was so solid, all of these areas just needed to be expanded and strengthened a little bit more. I can only hope that her next work will show an improvement and be much stronger!

Overall, this was just very plain. I cannot say that I hated this novel, but I didn’t love it either. If this is your first time in this genre, you would probably enjoy this as you wouldn’t know what to expect, and would find more suspense than I did. For me, it was just an easy-ish read that made my breaks at work pass by faster. It followed the same general plot lines, and the characters were not anything unique, just an un-original story. If this author ever publishes another novel I would likely check it out, but for now I’m in no rush.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Love Interest | Book Review

The Love Interest 

Written by: Cale Dietrich
Number of Pages: 375

Average Rating: 3.16/5 stars
My Rating: 2/5 stars

Published: May 2017
Read in November 2017

Summary According to Goodreads

There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets. 

Caden is a Nice: the boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: the brooding, dark-souled guy who is dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose the Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be - whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.

My Thoughts

This novel was one that I was beyond looking forward to, but if I had to summarize my reading experience in one word I would say: disappointment. The plot seemed like one that I would really enjoy, even though it had been a while since I’ve read something dystopian-ish. 

The plot seems very contemporary, but unfortunately it was more angst and drama than romance. I am struggling trying to find the right words to describe this, but it was just so poorly done. There was no action or thrill, even when we got to the climax of the story it was boring. I was captivated by the idea that teenagers were being trained as spies and having people fall in love with them to learn their secrets - for me it totally went against the cliche romance story - but it was not realistic. The main girl, Juliet, is a shy science nerd with only a couple close friends and has never been on a date. But suddenly two hot guys show up at her school in the middle of the semester and are smitten with her? Only in young-adult literature. 

The characters were so dramatic, so cliche, and so unrelatable. One of my biggest draws into picking up this novel was the idea that the two boys end up falling for each other, and I am still so angry at the hot mess that scenario became. I was so aggravated by that “twist” that I put the book down for a solid 24 hours and even then struggled to pick it back up and finish. I don’t want to give away what this moment was, but I felt as though it downplayed the importance of an LGBTQIA character, while also making it seem like a joke. As I say in almost every review, the most important thing to me in a novel (especially contemporary) is characters, and I didn’t care what happened to any of these characters. The society they worked for could have killed them all off, and I wouldn’t have batted an eye. 

I think this novel could have been stronger if it was about 100 pages shorter. There were so many scenes or expanded dialogue that added absolutely nothing to the overall story, and slowed down the pacing. There is also a short epilogue at the end of the novel, which I also found unnecessary. Reading it I could tell that it took on a different tone, not in the way that our character grew but that it was written later as a last-minute addition. The characters felt different and the atmosphere was different, it just didn’t add anything redeeming. 

Overall, this is a novel that had potential to be great, but was just poorly executed. I hate that this review sounds so negative, but I was so sure this would be on my favourites list for the year. I give a little credit to the fact that it is a debut author, and I like the uniqueness of the spy-lovers plot line, but there was a lot of room for improvement. This is definitely not the first spy/contemporary novel that I would recommend, but I didn’t hate it enough to say it isn’t worth the read. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The 100 | Book Review

The 100 | Book Review

Written by: Kass Morgan
Number of Pages: 320

Average Rating: 3.56/5 stars
My Rating: 3/5 stars

Published: September 2013
Read in November 2017

Summary According to Goodreads

Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth’s radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents - considered expendable by society - are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life… or it could be a suicide mission.

Clarke was arrested for treason, though she’s haunted by the memory of what she really did. Wells, the chancellor’s son, came to Earth for the girl he loves - but will she ever forgive him? Reckless Bellamy fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And Glass managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.

Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind’s last hope.

My Thoughts

I have recently gone through all of the old NetGalley arcs I had been approved for, but never got around to reading - and this was one of those books. This was very hyped for a while, and was definitely on my radar even before the TV show was released. I’m not sure if it was my high expectations, or lack of interest in science-fiction, but this didn’t blow my mind.

Although this was a very quick read, I never felt completely engaged in the story nor was I able to connect to the characters. As I mention often in my reviews, being able to relate to a character or at least care remotely, is HUGE in my ability to enjoy a novel - but I couldn’t have cared less if they’d all died on their way to Earth. I think the majority of disconnect for me was the four alternating perspectives. It was the best way to tell this story, especially since we are able to know what is happening back on the ship, but these perspectives were told in third-person so the reader isn’t able to feel how the character feels, if that makes sense? I think that even if we did get that connection, I would have still been weary on them just because none of them had redeeming qualities and were instead whiny, annoying, and dramatic. It was also frustrating to be reminded of the teen angst, and slight love-triangle, but that was minor enough that I could see past it. 

I don't read a lot of sci-fi, so I really appreciated that this one was very simple and didn't go too far over my head. It was more action/thrilling than science fiction, but a good transition novel for anyone getting into this genre. It is shelved as young-adult, but I would say it reads quite young even though majority of the characters are in their late teens. 
 I originally wanted to read this novel because of the plot, but now feel disappointed because it wasn't anything spectacular. It was very reminiscent of Lord of the Flies, or even the TV show "Lost" (both of which I am a fan of). I was not at all surprised by the big twist at the end, but I did like that it wasn't dragged out to the point of being completely obvious. It was acknowledged, like an "ahh" moment, and then the story ended. Was it a cliff hanger? No. Was it enough to get me to read the sequel? Maybe.

Overall, this was nothing special but also not something I regret picking up. It was a fun audiobook to listen to while at work, and I’m happy to have crossed another off of my NetGalley list! I think I might watch the first episode or two of the show, and if I pick up the sequel I would expect more action and less drama because it weighed this one down for sure.