Sunday, September 13, 2015

Review: Run Away Charlotte by H. M. Shander

My rating: 1/5 stars
Original language: English
Series: -
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Abuse
Published: December 2014 by Createspace
Pages: 324 (Paperback)
Source: Received from author

Links: Goodreads 

Summary (from Goodreads)
Trusting and depending on others has never suited nineteen-year-old Charlotte Cooper, who believes she’s unworthy of a happily ever after. She’s fiercely loyal to one - her BFF Joe. Afterall, Joe’s the only one who knows everything about Charlotte and he’s sworn to protect her heart, and her deep dark secrets. 

Until Andrew Wagner walks into her life. 

Despite his attempts to court Charlotte, she pushes him away, believing he can’t handle her past shadows. After a horrible accident, she slowly learns to trust and depend on him. As she shares her darkest secrets, he falls in love with her. Several incidents thrust the young lovers together, and Charlotte falls hard, giving her whole being to Andrew. While trying to be everything he can for Charlotte, he struggles to find the balance between family, school, love and commitment.

However, their different definitions of love and what it means to love unconditionally come to a head after Andrew spends a summer abroad and Charlotte crosses a line. His reaction sends a devastated Charlotte into the arms of Jack, an older man who can successfully balance what Andrew failed to do. He puts Charlotte first, treating her like a princess while capitalizing on her vulnerability. He gives her everything her heart desires… except Andrew.

When it comes to matters of the heart and mind, which direction do you follow? Love or Logic?

My Thoughts

I’m not a writer myself, but a lot of people told me that if I ever wanted to write a book I should try to stay away from adjectives as much as possible. Most of these people were writers, so to be honest I remembered that sentence pretty fast and made it one of my golden rules. You know, in case I ever write something myself.

Therefore, when I started reading “Run Away Charlotte” I was not only a bit irritated. There are adjectives everywhere. Sometimes one in a sentence and in the very next sentence there is another one and sometimes even two or three in a row. For the first time I understood why these people told me to stay away from them (although I do tend to use not only a few adjectives in an essay myself): I got bored really easily and it took me ages to even get into the book and still, after I got interested in the story the slow pace and the writing scared me off well enough to decide not to finish this at 60%. Another thing was that everything felt really far away and even though the characters’ decisions may have been realistic they did not feel realistic. They felt as if I already knew them, had already seen them a thousand times. It was the same with some of their situations and problems.

 There were too many difficulties. Maybe that’s just what I think and everyone else doesn’t see that as a problem or as weird but it’s just so much to deal with. I can’t imagine one person who has to suffer through so many things. At the same time the characters keep talking about her bad phases - so how come that during these phases where she has a bad time and is sad etc. the story is never from her point of view? It was only how the other people (mainly Andrew, who was called “Drew” all of a sudden) felt about those times. And the next scene – boom- everything was okay again and the biggest worry was whether he talked to her all the time or not.

Some of the chapters were mainly dialogue with little else and others were just descriptions and thoughts that tended to be a little random and slowed the story down. Oh and talking of the dialogues: So many times when she talked to Joe somewhere in the dialogue she either looked or thought about the green deepness of his eyes. And he’s her best friend. The funny thing was that there weren’t nearly as much descriptions of Andrew as of Joe

Although the point of view was from the third person singular it always felt like the first somehow, perhaps because of the many thoughts and feelings, but I’m not sure. And then all of a sudden the point of view would change in the middle of a dialogue without any kind of marking or switching the chapter (which obviously would have been impossible in the middle of a dialogue as well.) and that usually left me blinking at the page blankly.

All in all I do not recommend this book to anyone, even though I did notice that quite a lot of people gave it four or five stars. Sorry, but to me it was just not convincing enough to get me to give it more than one or two stars.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Mini Reviews: Ethereal by Addison Moore, Those Girls by Lauren Saft

1. Ethereal by Addison Moore, downloaded for free on 1 star 

This book just kind of bored me. Not that it didn’t have an actual plot or some action, the writing just seemed hollow to me. It didn’t make me care about the story or the characters at all and to be honest it also felt too familiar. Like it was a story I had already read a gazillion times. And I do not mean this as a compliment in the “I found THE ONE”-way, it just didn’t interest me and I felt like everything was just way too predictable.

Just another thought: The idea of moving to a lonely island, which turns out to be very “mysterious” didn’t exactly strike me as super-original as well. And how is it possible that apparently so many people move to lonely islands? If there actually were that many people they would not be lonely at all…

Anyway, I hope other people enjoyed this book more than I did.

PS: In case you didn’t already guess it: this is a DNF-review.

2. Those Girls by Lauren Saft, ARC from Netgalley: 1 star

This book was really not what I expected, unfortunately more in a bad way. First of all the cover is nice to look at and practically screams ‘high-school gossiping’, which is very entertaining sometimes (No, Gossip Girl is still not my thing) but not in most cases and sadly this is one of most cases.

The characters just seemed too well known and even though the book was written in three view-points they seemed quite a lot like the same person: annoying and way to focused on a good reputation and on seeming cool.

And even though the writing style was very fluent to read and actually sort of nice it was not interesting enough to continue reading or to make up for the characters.

So, well, I would not recommend this book.

Wow, those were some negative reviews. But I do think I'll have some positive ones soon, so stay tuned!
And to all the regular readers of you: I sincerely apologize for going MIA for three months. I am very, very sorry. But I hope that I'll manage to get back in the game fast and write even better reviews (wish me luck!)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Review: Half Bad by Sally Green

My rating: 4/5 stars
Original language: English
Series: The Half Life Trilogy #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy (Urban Fantasy), Paranormal, Witches, Romance
Published: March 4th 2014 by Viking Books for Young Readers
Pages: 394 pages (Hardcover)
Source: Received via Netgalley

Links: Goodreads 

Summary (from Goodreads)
Wanted by no one.
Hunted by everyone.

Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world's most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan's only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it's too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?

My Thoughts

I’ve been meaning to read Half Bad for ages now but every time I was ready to buy it it was either
a) not there or
b) I was on the book buying ban (Thank God that’s over)
But then, one day, I saw Half Bad on Netgalley and decided that I was finally going to read it. I am quite happy I did. Sure, it had some flaws, the main one being the very lengthy mid of the story but other than that it was definitely pretty interesting (And I also suspect this is one of the cases where the story gets better with each book).

The reason for that is, like I said, the book being very slow at times. Actually, the only scene which actually felt like a convincing action scene was one of the last ones. But, hell: That scene was freaking great! But the rest of the story… Well, the first 150 pages or something like that were his complete backstory and the story of how he ended up in the cage. Kind of interesting, but not enough for 150 pages.

The very beginning of the book though is still in the present and there is no other way of describing it but unique. The book starts when the protagonist is already in the cage but you don’t know his name because it is all told in the second person singular. And then the backstory starts, you get to know Nathan and his family better and of course how he got into the cage.

As I already mentioned, the writing is obviously unique and really fascinating: The character somehow shines through all the words, giving you a feeling of who he is before he is properly introduced.
Just one little thing: There was one time that they spoke of Marcus, the big-bad witch, as “you-know-who”. Am I wrong or does this sound weirdly like Voldemort? Maybe it’s just one of these jokes I don’t get…

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Review: Wayward Volume One: String Theory by Jim Zub

My rating: 4/5 stars
Original language: English
Series: Wayward #1-4
Genre: Comics, Graphic Novels, Fantasy (Urban Fantasy), Paranormal, Cultural (Japan)
Published: March 25th 2015 by Image Comics
Pages: 144 pages
Source: Received via Netgalley

Links: Goodreads 

Summary (from Goodreads)
Rori Lane is trying to start a new life when she reunites with her mother in Japan, but ancient creatures lurking in the shadows of Tokyo sense something hidden deep within her, threatening everything she holds dear. Can Rori unlock the secrets of her power before it's too late?

My Thoughts

Wayward is a nice breath of fresh air in the big group of Japan-themed comics and Graphic Novels (Not even mentioning manga, but they are usually Japan-themed). The drawing was a mixture of comic and manga which suited the setting and the main character, who was half Irish perfectly.

The story starts when Rori moves to Tokyo to her mother after living with her dad alone for more than a year. She gets kind of lost but when she wants to ask someone where she has to go there is some kind of pull to follow a red line in the air and she just knows it’s the right way. (Actually it was pretty weird seeing these red lines, it reminded me of the Avatar – The Last Airbender where there was this killer-mole who could see everything with his nose and always saw Aang as a red line. What I want to say with this is that my theory was that she did not see these lines but rather smelled them, like a cat or something).

The pace is quite good –Too fast at times so it became a bit confusing and there could have been more focus on the characters in some scenes instead of the big fights. But, well I guess when the book actually is about fighting you should expect to find some.

Anyway, I am really anticipating the next book in the series because the ending was just… I can’t actually tell you anything, so you will have to read it but it was pretty incredible!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

ARC Review: From the Ashes by Shelby K. Morrison

My rating: 5/5 stars
Original language: English
Series: Legend of the Liberator #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy (High Fantasy), Magic
Published: May 3rd 2015 by Shelby K. Morrison
Pages: 274 pages (ebook)
Source: Received from author

Links: Goodreads - author website 

Summary (from Goodreads)
For eighteen years Aia Wynnald has lived a lie. Raised as a highborn in the Kingdom of Tharien, she’s filled her days with tutors and archery lessons. But simmering beneath her polite surface is a dangerous gift, one which she must keep a secret. Aia is a Bender. And in Tharien, Benders are feared and hunted.
When her unruly power breaks free with dire repercussions, Aia’s lifelong goal of independence shatters. As she scrambles to piece her life back together while evading capture, she disturbs a vengeful force intent on destroying the kingdom.
Now, with the help of an unlikely ally, Aia will decide the fate of Tharien. To rescue those she cares about will require accepting what she is. But can she risk becoming the monster she’s dreaded to save the very citizens baying for her blood?

My Thoughts

Basically this is about bending – sadly, not really like in Avatar, with the four elements etc. but umm. Different. They can bend what is around them, for example trees or even buildings.

From the Ashes is compelling from the very first page on and it does not lessen throughout the whole book, so that led to me saying “’Kay, at the beginning of chapter three I will stop reading and go to sleep. Wait: This is already the beginning of chapter seven? Noo, that can’t be. I just started the book!”

It was a bit like watching a movie: You didn’t feel like reading or actually doing something - At least, not in this world. The City was so realistic, the hate and mistrust tangible and still it was comprehensible. People had their reasons and it actually wasn’t completely their fault, since they were raised this way. It just meant that they probably weren’t brave enough to question what they were taught.

My favorite things about this book are the characters: Almost every time when I thought: “And now she’s going to do something.” She did not. And then I assumed she would do it later and she did not. She did something completely different. It surprised me every time.

And the characters all had reasons for their actions. No one did anything out of sheer spite, but rather out of loss, shock or self-protection. I think it’s very important; to teach that there is no good and bad in the world.

I love this cover! Yes, I am one of those people: I judge books by their covers. In this case I chose to read it before it even had a cover (Yeah, I’m proud.) and I must say: This cover is clearly living up to the book. Okay, maybe not clearly: The book is still a little more awesome.