Book Review: A Stolen Crown (Stolen Royals, #2) by Kelsey Keating

33299061.jpgTitle: A Stolen Crown
Author: Kelsey Keating
Publisher: Swanifide Publishing
Pub Date: January 17, 2017
Format: Kindle eBook
Pages: 307
Source: NetGalley
Genre(s): YA, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: ★★★
Goodreads || Buy on Amazon

Continue reading

Book Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

8475505

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: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

16034235.jpg

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass—and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

My review:

“Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”

This could have been great. Like, really great. I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy reading this book. I did enjoy it. It just could have been so much better.

Yes, Celaena’s arrogance is annoying, but this behaviour wouldn’t have put me off so much if the assassin was a guy. In fact, it might have made him one of those cute, arrogant jerks. This is why I tried not to let it bother me. I do not want to support a double standard. Although irksome, it was also refreshing to have a YA heroine who is actually sure of herself. That being said, this could have been done without her constantly seeking validation from everyone around her. She knew she was good, but she wanted other people to acknowledge how good she was. Always. And narcissism is an unattractive trait no matter what gender you are. In any case, I got over it.

The basic premise of this book has been done many times over, but that did not deter me from reading it. I just wanted to bear witness to this epic love triangle that everyone flips out about. And I have to say, this triangle can hardly be called a shape. There was no substance. I know that instalove and several males vying for your attention is a commonly used plot device, but usually they are still fun to read. This was so boring. Where was the romance? It just seemed so tame. I’d probably be 10x more satisfied if Chaol and Dorian just ran off together. That would have been less predictable.

I know this may seem like I am writing a negative review, but that’s only because there was nothing very special happening. It was just a good book that didn’t excite me. Another book crushed by hype, perhaps?

In any case, I will be continuing with the series. I’m still not sure if I support the sailing of any of these “ships” though.

★★★ (3.5 stars) because #Chaorian #Doriol.

Book Review: Notes from the Midnight Drive by Jordan Sonnenblick

1962363.jpg

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

24885508

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: Unite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Destroy Me tells the events between Shatter Me and Unravel Me from Warner’s point of view. Even though Juliette shot him in order to escape, Warner can’t stop thinking about her—and he’ll do anything to get her back. But when the Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment arrives, he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner cannot allow.

Fracture Me is told from Adam’s perspective and bridges the gap between Unravel Me and Ignite Me. As the Omega Point rebels prepare to fight the Sector 45 soldiers, Adam’s more focused on the safety of Juliette, Kenji, and his brother. The Reestablishment will do anything to crush the resistance . . . including killing everyone Adam cares about.

My review:

“I’ve never read anything like this before. I’ve never read anything that could speak directly to my bones.”

That awkward moment when Warner’s thoughts seem to be just as annoyingly “purple prose” as Juliette’s. Ew. Don’t do that, Warner.

This was kind of disappointing. I waited a week after finishing the trilogy before I let myself read this, thinking that the words from Warner’s P.O.V. would be very satisfying. It wasn’t. It was predictable. And I didn’t even get the sense of his character. It was like reading Juliette’s thoughts but with a swapped gender role. It was literally a regurgitation from the scenes in Unravel Me/Ignite Me. Oh, and I should mention that I did not care for Adam’s P.O.V. at all. No interest whatsoever. It was bad.

Let’s not forget about Juliette’s annoying journal/diary thing. It is everything I hated about the series when I first started reading it. The repetition repetition repetition and distracting confusing sentences that were crossed out altogether. All in all, it was like sad poetry. And I did not want to read sad poetry. I wanted to read a dystopian-ish YA novel.

Still, I will give this ★★ (2.5 stars). I wanted a little more of Warner, and I got it. It’s just not the parts of him I thought I’d be getting. I think I should have went into this book with lower expectations.

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.

Book Review: The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Robert “‘Cali” Callahan is a teen runaway, living on the streets of Venice Beach, California. He’s got a pretty sweet life: a treehouse to sleep in, a gang of surf bros, a regular basketball game…even a girl who’s maybe-sorta interested in him.

What he doesn’t have is a plan.

All that changes when a local cop recommends Cali to a private investigator who is looking for a missing teenager. After all, Cali knows everyone in Venice. But the streets are filled with people who don’t want to be found, and when he’s hired to find the beautiful Reese Abernathy, who would do anything to stay hidden, Cali must decide where his loyalties truly lie.

My mini-review:

I’m not quite sure how I feel about this book. It had the potential to be really great, I think. Maybe it would have been better as a series. The thing is, I had no clue what it was about when I picked it up and I still kind of feel the same way after finishing it. I suppose I’m trying to figure out what the point of it was. I needed more (from the prince himself). Cali’s character never really materialized for me.

★★ (2.5 stars) because I actually think this could be developed into a pretty interesting television series. It has a Veronica Mars-y vibe to it.