Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Review: The Immortals

The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

1.5 Stars

This started out really strong with interesting characters, an intriguing mystery unfolding, funny quips and situations to keep me reading.

And then it just changed and I was left wondering what the hell just happened to the promising book I'd originally started reading.

I'll start with Selene. I thought she was selfish, spoiled, stubborn and naive. The entire course of the novel has her making demands of people and getting angry when she wasn't obeyed. She made excuses when the truth was staring her in the face. She ran away from any situation that forced her to care because she couldn't handle true emotion. She dove into situations without thinking them through and got angry when others tried to help her despite the fact that she needed the help. She got jealous when she didn't have the right to be.

And last but not least, Selene made excuses for the villain once they were revealed, saying things like she'd explain why what they were doing was wrong and then they'd understand and change their actions for the better. Which was ridiculous when she was ready to destroy the person she'd originally accused. I hate when the protagonist makes excuses like that. Just because they want to make the world fit their beliefs does not change the fact that sometimes evil people choose to destroy others. A calm discussion with them about right and wrong will not change a villain no matter how much you wish it would work like that.

I know other readers feel like Selene was strong and a protector but I couldn't support what she did throughout the book. She'd say one thing and then quickly change her mind about that decision. She only saved women because she was obligated to as a "protector of the innocent". It wasn't a choice and more than half the time she didnt give a damn about the women she saved. Selene didnt even care all that much about the women she'd known in the past, the ones that had called her a friend.

The entire novel had Selene talking about how she kept herself apart from human interactions, leaving me waiting for her to finally wise up for a life changing lesson that never arrived. She didn't have any real growth until the last 20 pages and even then it felt hokey because there wasn't enough build-up to make me believe that she'd learned anything. I didn't really like Theo either because of all the decisions he made at the expense of himself all thanks to Selene. I hate when guys are willing to throw themselves at the mercy of a woman they just met and hardly know. When Theo said Selene was a friend, Selene actually wondered when that had happened, them becoming friends. At that point, I was wondering the exact same thing myself. It was that kind of situation with them the whole time.

The book was filled with weird situations that just gave away too much for me in terms of figuring out where the mystery was going. I saw too much of it coming a mile away. I made myself finish reading it just to be sure that it didn't have some awesome twist that changed the whole book for the better. It didn't and now I can be sure that the sequel is not something I'll pick up in the future.

My rating on a scale of 1 to 10 Stars: 2.5 Stars

I really wasn't impressed with this book.

Review: The Girl from Everywhere

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I don't remember how I heard about this book but I was determined to give it a try. However, I feel that the story took ages to get anywhere with the development. I got to a plot detail around the 100 page mark and I thought, "Wait, it took that long to get info like that? If I'd had some of that from the start, maybe I wouldn't have been so bored all this time!"

That's the sad part of this for me. The book was a long, extremely drawn out family drama that was essentially boring. Nix wanted to be a strong character but she made mistakes because she didn't know enough which frustrated me. As a reader, I was expecting her to know more considering her background but she made a lot of fumbles for the sake of the plot that made me grumble.

The love triangle was an unnecessary plot point and the guys involved were a just okay, there for the sake of making Nix question her future. The Captain was both pitiful and horrible considering the driving force behind his actions.

I almost feel like the story is incomplete. As if there were excerpts cut out or something in the editing process. There wasn't enough meat to this story and as a result, I'm not particularly hungry to get the next book.

My rating on a scale of 1 to 10 Stars: 3.5 Stars

My forgiving mood came with an expiration date so this book is only getting this many stars. I'm leaving this review alone before I start thinking of taking more stars away for just how disappointed I still am about what this book turned out to be.

Review: Riders

Riders by Veronica Rossi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

More like 2.5 stars

In the end this turned out to be a fast read. The idea of the Four Horsemen being 4 teenagers from around the world was intriguing and the demons that went after them were definitely an interesting aspect to the book.

One of my quibbles was the characterisation of Gideon and the constant fighting he got into. I understand that he's War but it was ridiculous how quick he was to start a fight. His constant need to compete was really eye-roll worthy as well. It was a lot of things like, and I'm paraphrasing here, "Gideon has a sword but hey, the other guy has a bow and arrow, that's so much cooler, in fact, the sword actually sucks. Why couldn't Gideon have a better weapon?"

Dude, seriously, quit with the whining! A sword is just as badass of a weapon as anything else. Get over it!

My other quibble was the framing device of the narrative. I never felt any real anticipation during the course of the book because I knew where Gideon was as he related his story to us. That kept me from being really invested in the story until some time in the later half of the book.

Last, but not least, the sudden devoted romance. I didn't buy Giedon's need to protect Daryn, the young woman set with the task of gathering the Four Horsemen together. If this is intended to be a series, perhaps that development could have had some time to grow in later books.

Still, overall the book was interesting and the other characters kept my attention even when Gideon was acting like a moron. I might read the next one in the series when it's released.

My rating on a scale of 1 to 10 Stars: 5 Stars

I'm in a forgiving mood. I'm giving it 5 Stars because I'm optimistic and if the library orders it, I'll read the next one when it's released.

Review: The Forbidden Wish

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was one of those kids that grew up watching Disney's Aladdin to the point that I still know all the words to the soundtrack by heart. However, this is the story I wish young girls would be told.

This was the story of a powerful jinni, a girl enslaved to a lamp for thousands of years, forced to serve countless masters. Zahra will do whatever she can to gain her freedom while learning the truth about what makes her strong and what makes her free. But it's also the story about a young princess, Caspida, and a handful of warrior maidens who fight to change a city for the sake of the people and for each other.

Everywhere you turn in this book, there are powerful women working to make changes happen and it was wondrous to behold. Seeing the story of Aladdin shift to become this tale of warrior women taking charge of their lives was brilliant. I had no idea going into this that the story would evolve into that but I'm so grateful that it did.

Zahra was a poignant narrator, and the story has her speaking to her Habiba, Roshana, her previous master and dear friend, detailing the current adventure and struggle she's on to gain her desire to become free. Aladdin was charming and reckless and motivation all rolled into one. Caspida and her Watchmaidens were a driving force, their strength and devotion to each other an uplifting angle to the story. Even Roshana was given enough development to allow the reader to understand the loss and regret that Zahra still feels after losing her friend hundreds of years before the events of this story.

The writing was detailed, flowing with enough snark, humor and charm to make the characters breathe and shift and grow as the story reached its end. I'm looking forward to reading more books by Jessica Khoury in the future.

Rating on my scale of 1 to 10 Stars: 9 Stars

I plan to add this to my personal library as soon as possible. And once I have it, I'll read it again, just for fun.

Review: Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was sold on this book the moment our main character Sam, real name Samhain, explained that his name was pronounced Sowen, despite the fact that everyone calls him Sam. That there cemented this book as a great read for me.

I loved the development, the friendships, the risks taken for family. Because the characters were so well-crafted it was easy to care for the situations, to understand their strife and to root for the good guys to win.

My only qualm comes from a certain extra point of view that I didn't really care for. It didn't help me care for the character or understand their motivations because there wasn't enough actual feeling in their narration of their past and current situations for me to give a damn about them. I understand that the character is detached from emotion but if the point was to draw sympathy, it needed something to make me care for that particular person. Instead, I was just glad when the end, whatever end that was because I don't want to spoil it for others, came for that point of view.

Despite that, overall this was a great book. The world is interesting and I have book 2 ready to read. My only concern before I read it is that it looks like there's nothing more to read in McBride's Necromancer world after that and that fact saddens me.

My rating on my scale of 1 to 10 Stars: 8.5 Stars

Review: The Dark Days Club

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I'm giving this 2 stars because I have to respect an author that puts so much effort and detail into their book. However, I can't say that I liked this book. In fact, I found it really boring and just a little tedious to get through.

My main complaint is Helen. I know a lot of reviewers believe she's the best part of the book but I felt that she spent too much time allowing other opinions to change her own. She was too quick to take the words of others as truth instead of making the choices for herself. As for the Dark Days Club itself, she kept going back and forth about whether to embrace her destiny or turn her back on it and the Club, right to the very end of the book. Maybe it wouldn't have bothered me so much if the choice she'd ended up making hadn't been the result of the situation she'd found herself in. The choice was practically made for her and I can't help feeling it was a bit of an easy out for Helen.

But I guess I can't be too hard on Helen because it seemed that she came from a terrible family. I thought her brother Andrew had a tendency to sulk (honestly, it seemed like every time he appeared it was to look at Helen with disappointment), and her Uncle was a horrible, disgusting bully. Lord Carlston seemed to fit the mysterious suitor parameters but aside from that, nothing truly interesting or personal was ever given in the book to really develop his character. The man is suspected of a horrible crime and Helen never managed to ask him about it. She asked other characters about it but not him and that just feels wrong, especially when you take into account that Helen has to decide whether she trusts Lord Carlston over the course of the book and the answer to that question could have put everything in a different light. Helen just takes the others at their word, decides it wouldn't matter even if she did ask because she couldn't be sure if his answer was the truth, and then forgets about it for the rest of the book. Good grief, that drove me nuts.

The rest of the characters received the same treatment, tiny details to explain their current actions but not enough to make anyone a true standout in the story. For a book that nearly came out to 500 pages, I feel that the only character we really came to learn anything about was Helen and since I really didn't like Helen, the whole book was disappointing. And the monsters were weird. Just their descriptions of what they looked like and what they could do. It was all very simple but at the same time almost underdeveloped. I expected more threat but they seemed almost tame, which didn't help to make the story interesting.

I have no idea if I'll try reading the next book. I can only hope that the sequel actually delves into each of the characters, explaining their choices and how they came to be part of the Dark Days Club, while at the same time really exploring the threat that the Club is meant to fight. That's a book I would be interested in reading, a story that explores the true details of the world that Goodman only gave glimpses of in this book.

Rating on my scale of 1 to 10 Stars: 2 Stars.

What do you know? My scale still worked with this one.

Review: Starflight

Starflight by Melissa Landers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm one of those readers that gave the Alienated series a shot but didn't quite like them as much as I wanted to. One thing for certain is that I truly believed that Landers was a talented author, so I waited for a book release to prove that and I'm happy to say that Starflight is that book.

The development for this book worked and the characters were well-rounded and grew over the course of the story. Each member of the crew was charming in their own way and their dynamic together provided some of the most heartwarming scenes in the book. Even the romance turned out to be one of the strongest points of the story because it took a believable amount of time to shift and develop.

The plot was interesting and the pace moved with enough momentum to make this a fast read. Nothing dragged or felt out of place, and I definitely agree with the comparisons to Firefly. This book was entertaining and fun and, without a doubt, I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

My rating on a scale of 1 to 10 Stars: 9 Stars.

I just loved this crew and the slow-burn romance and I want the next book now but I have to be patient.