Book Review: Squall by Sean Costello



Synopsis from Goodreads:

Bush pilot and family man Tom Stokes is about to face the worst day of his life. On a clear winter morning he sets out in his Cessna 180 to do some repairs on a remote hunt camp, leaving his five year old son and very pregnant wife snug in their beds.

On the return trip, a squall forces him into an emergency landing and he winds up—quite literally—in the lap of petty criminal Dale Knight. Dale, now a fugitive from the law—and worse, from a merciless drug lord who just happens to be his brother—draws Tom into a web of mayhem and treachery that puts not only his life at risk, but the lives of his wife, son…and unborn child.

My review:

Copeland smiled. “Ed, as always, it’s a pleasure doing business with you. You anticipate my every need. I can’t believe you came out of the same nutsack as that piece of shit brother of yours.” Then the smile was gone…

I picked up this e-book for free on my Kobo, so I didn’t expect too much going into it. I have to say that it took me several days to finish reading it, despite the fact that it’s actually quite short. To be fair, it would be difficult for any book to capture my attention right after reading A Court of Mist and Fury, so I tried not to judge too harshly.

This is a quick-paced story about a drug deal gone wrong. None of the characters are particularly likeable, although one might argue that they are laughable (in a good way, of course). For example, this description of when we meet the notorious Copeland: “The guy frisked him thoroughly, then led him downstairs to a thirty-seat home theatre where Copeland  sat alone, sipping a cocktail and watching a Jackie Chan movie.” Am I the only one that’s amused by this? The characters are so real. They watch Jackie Chan movies and go to Tim Hortons for Iced Capps. That’s right, it takes place in my homeland. Land of the Timmy’s.

Anyways, I don’t really remember much else because things were happening, and then it ended, and that was it.

★★★ (3 stars) because this was just an okay read. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t fantastic either.


Book Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins


Synopsis from Goodreads:

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.

My review:

“Looking back, none of this would have happened if I’d brought lip gloss the night of the Homecoming Dance.”

I had to force myself to keep reading during the first few chapters. I did not like Harper and I did not like her narration. The way I read her voice in my head was so annoying, but perhaps I only have myself to blame for that.

Plot-wise, everything seemed cheesy and it wasn’t working for me. Popular girl, cute boyfriend, cliquey friends, prom… ew. But I persevered, and luckily, the second half of this novel was very good. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that good, but it was a beacon of light compared to the chapters that came before it. I am almost certain that Harper’s voice was less “prom queen” and more average-girl-turned-badass by the end of it. And I approved.

If I had to describe this book in one sentence, I’d say that it’s like an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that takes place at a prom. It could easily be a Disney/Family Channel movie, at least, that’s how I imagined it in my head. That may also be what annoyed me so much about the first half of the book. It lacked grit.

★★★ (3.5 stars) because I am very excited to see where this story is headed. Hopefully the next book is nothing like the first half of this novel though.

Book Review: Notes from the Midnight Drive by Jordan Sonnenblick


Synopsis from Goodreads:

One car crash. One measly little car crash. And suddenly, I’m some kind of convicted felon.

My parents are getting divorced, my dad is shacking up with my third-grade teacher, I might be in love with a girl who could kill me with one finger, and now I’m sentenced to babysit some insane old guy. What else could possibly go wrong?

This is the story of Alex Gregory, his guitar, his best gal pal Laurie, and the friendship of a lifetime that he never would have expected.

My mini-review:

“We’re all free to choose some people to love, and then do it.”

I tried reading this book in January but stopped halfway because it seemed so predictable, and frankly, I was bored out of my mind. This time around (I figured I should give it another shot), I was still bored out of my mind. All that I thought would happen, definitely happened. Love was found. Things were lost. Lessons were learned. There were some strong attempts at humour in this book but it was almost “too much” to be considered funny. The only reason I finished this book was to give it a fair chance, but it just wasn’t for me.

★★ (2 stars) for Solomon Lewis.

Book Review: City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare


Synopsis from Goodreads:

The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her—his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

My review:

“Or maybe it’s just that beautiful things are so easily broken by the world.”

I’m not sure why I am so disappointed with this book. The fact that there was anything written after City of Glass alone was enough to indicate that this would not please me. And I was right, but that does little to comfort me. I had to read this book in so many different sittings. I almost gave up. The only thing that kept me hanging on was the little bit of light I saw at the end of the tunnel. That light is City of Heavenly Fire, which I’ve been told is just as good as, but probably not better than, City of Glass.

The closure and contentment I felt after reading City of Glass was destroyed little by little with each page of this novel. Heaven knows what would compel someone to write this book. Everything was just so unnecessary. Imagine reading a filler-chapter that was 500 pages long. That was this book.

In any case, I will tell you what City of Fallen Angels does have to offer.

We get a lot of Simon in this book. In theory, it’s always nice to read more about Simon. The unfortunate reality is that we are given this extra dose of Simon in the most cliché way possible. I don’t want to spoil anything, but seriously, never has a love triangle been so annoying. No one was even really hurt by it. This was a good example of a terribly-executed plot device. Cringe.

Then we get some cute bickering between Alec and Magnus. I love the two together, but their issues only took up a couple of sentences. Again, this came across as a lame attempt at adding a few extra pages to the book. More than anything it seemed like Clare was trying to remind readers that, “Hey! Alec and Magnus are still a thing but we’re not going to talk about it”. It was unrealistic and underdeveloped, to say the least. Double cringe.

And then we circle back to Jace and Clary. Clary and Jace. Someone please tell me how many ways you can say “I want you but I can’t have you”, because this entire series is basically that. It was okay during the first three books, but now it’s just an overused plot device. How many books can you write about two people who are meant to be together, but keep finding reasons to stay apart from each other? Stop it. Jace, we can only take so much of your self-deprecating behaviour. Clary, get a grip. All the cringes in the world.

The only redeeming aspect of this book was the ending, which was a decent cliffhanger but made me mad more than anything else. If anyone was to return, I didn’t expect for it to be him. I will leave it at that.

Like I said earlier, I’m hanging on by a thread, but that thread is wearing thin.

★★★ (3 stars) because the angels and demons and romance are there, but everything else annoyed me.

Book Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

My review:

“The universe is seeming really huge right now,” he told me. “I need something to hold on to.”

I didn’t care much for this book. At first, I honestly didn’t realize how hyped up it was because I was getting used to seeing it everywhere. I mostly decided to read it because of John Green’s praise on the cover. I assumed Green was a good “judge of story”. I was kind of wrong. Once again, this is one of those books that had potential. I’m always curious about books that make you question the truthfulness of the narrator (at least, that’s how I felt while reading), but there were a few things that bothered me. The premise was interesting enough, granted you try not to think about all of the cliché types of characters. The writing style seemed intentionally done to prove a point. To be artistic? Poignant? I don’t know. I appreciated the attempt but it was a failed one at that. I will say that, going into this book, it is best if you have no idea what you’re actually getting into. Fortunately, I had no previous knowledge of the book, but others hinted at a plot twist. And there’s nothing worse than going into a book knowing that there will be a plot twist.

★★★ (3 stars) because some things could have been done better. This book could have been really great. I’m a little surprised it was a Goodreads 2015 winner.