ARC Review: The Reader (The Reader #1)

The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold, #1)

 

I’m not sure where to begin with this book. The premise makes the book sound amazing, but this is a story where there is just too much going on. There are too many characters, too many settings, and too many stories. It did not work for me.

From Goodreads:

“Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.”

I wasn’t able to write the blurb about the book myself because I didn’t see this story the same way. I didn’t see it in a positive light. It is no secret that I was disappointed by this book, which was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016. This story was just confusing and left me with more questions than anything. I had was thrown by how quickly the POVs changed and how many POVs there were. Four POVs usually isn’t a terrible number, but it did not work for this story. Each POV started to sound like the same character, the voices just did not sound different enough. If you are able to get through to the end of the book, things come together. Well, enough that it leaves the storyline open for book #2. It just was not enough to save the story in my eyes.

Sefia and the other characters were so basic and interchangable that I am not really able to remember specifics about them. They all felt like they were confusing while trying to be mysterious but instead had a ho-hum backstory and I just never connected with any of them. There wasn’t anything for me to hold on to in order to keep my attention.

The pacing of this story did not work for me. There was so many flash back and flash fowards that I was getting whiplash. More than that, I simply had no idea what was going on. A new POV would start and apparently be talking about something that happened many, many years before the present day but the reader had no idea until the chapter was almost over. I kept checking the audio tracks to make sure I wasn’t accidently playing my tracks on random.

I did not enjoy this story. There was too much crammed into this story and none of it worked for me. I believe I should have DNFd this story instead of pushing through until the end. After I got into the story I was not excited to continue reading it. I still gave this story 2 stars and that is because it was an interesting concept but the execution was just not done well.

 

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Review: P.S. I Like You

P.S. I Like You

 

Kasie West has written another adorable story. I’m pretty sure she cannot write a bad book. (Kasie, if you are reading this, that is not a challenge.)

The protagonist of the story, Lily, wants nothing more than to be a songwriter. Playing her guitar and writing lyrics are the two things that give her absolute peace in her crazy world. She is the second eldest daughter in a very busy family with four kids and two parents with unsteady jobs. Lily is relied on heavily to take care of her younger brothers, which means her alone time is usually short and very rare. One day in Chemistry class, Lily starts doodling on her desk when she sees a note from another student… it happens to be song lyrics. Lily cannot resist and writes the next line in the song. This is what starts the friendship between Lily and her mystery writer. They soon start leaving notes for each other, revealing more and more of themselves. Lily is beside herself trying to figure out who the writer is because she has started to develop feelings for him. Could this person be the perfect match for Lily? Is the writer the guy she has had a crush on for the longest time or is he someone she cannot stand?

I read this book on my flight back from NYC. I read the entire thing before I landed home in Texas. West’s books are so well written that they are nothing but page turners. I couldn’t put this book down. With that being said, this story line felt predictable to me. I knew from the beginning  who the mystery writer was going to be. I like how there were some curve balls thrown in to try to throw the reader off, but it didn’t change that you just knew who it was. I was more envolved with how the story unfolded and how everything came together. I think that is one of West’s true talents is how she weaves a story together. It all flowed beautifully.

I liked the characters in this story, but I didn’t love any of them. The only reason I can think of as to why I didn’t love these characters is because they felt stereotypical to me. Lily is the teen who isn’t popular but isn’t an outcast, she isn’t trendy but has her own style. She has her best friend that supports her and knows exactly what to say in any situtation. Cade is the popular jock in school. Everyone loves his jokes, even when he is making fun of other people. He feels he can get away with anything because he usually does. Lucas is the smoking hot musician that is super mysterious and every girl dreams of him. He’s soft spoken and carefree because he’s just that cool. It felt like they all just had a mold to fit: somewhat nerdy girl – obnoxious jock that makes fun of people – mysterious guy that loves to play guitar. See what I mean?

I really don’t want to spoil anything with this review, that is why it is kind of vague. What it boils down to is did the obnoxious jock write the notes, or was it the mysterious musician?  Who has Lily fallen for? And does that letter writer know that Lily is the girl writing him letters? I can’t go into more detail without giving everything away.

It sounds like I didn’t like this story but I did. I just didn’t like it as much as West’s other stories. I didn’t feel the swoons because I didn’t connect to the characters like I have in other books. I saw the ending coming a mile away so there was no huge reveal or shock factor for me. It was a super cute read but nothing I haven’t read before. I do recommend this as a light, super sweet summer read but it isn’t my all time favorite West book.

 

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Waiting on Wednesday: Love and First Sight

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

 

Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist

 

Love and First Sight

 

From Goodreads:

In his debut novel, YouTube personality and author of We Should Hang Out Sometime Josh Sundquist explores the nature of love, trust, and romantic attraction.

On his first day at a new school, blind sixteen-year-old Will Porter accidentally groped a girl on the stairs, sat on another student in the cafeteria, and somehow drove a classmate to tears. High school can only go up from here, right?

As Will starts to find his footing, he develops a crush on a charming, quiet girl named Cecily. Then an unprecedented opportunity arises: an experimental surgery that could give Will eyesight for the first time in his life. But learning to see is more difficult than Will ever imagined, and he soon discovers that the sighted world has been keeping secrets. It turns out Cecily doesn’t meet traditional definitions of beauty–in fact, everything he’d heard about her appearance was a lie engineered by their so-called friends to get the two of them together. Does it matter what Cecily looks like? No, not really. But then why does Will feel so betrayed?

Told with humor and breathtaking poignancy, Love and First Sight is a story about how we related to each other and the world around us.”

 

Are you interested in reading this? Let me know!

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different theme for bloggers to post their top tens about, and this week I’m listing my…

 

Books On My Fall TBR

 

Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven

Holding Up the Universe

 

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

Our Chemical Hearts

 

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

The Sun Is Also a Star

 

Nemesis by Anna Banks

Nemesis (Nemesis #1).

 

First Blood by Elly Blake

Frostblood (Frostblood Saga, #1)

 

Blood for Blood by Ryan Grudin

Blood For Blood (Wolf By Wolf, #2)

 

Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross

Whatever Life Throws at You

 

Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember

Unicorn Tracks

 

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes, #2)

 

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train

 

You may notice that not all of my Fall TBR books are ARCs or even current, but they are books I am determined to read this fall. What is on your Fall TBR?

 

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eARC Review: Transcendent

 

Transcendent

 

I received a copy of this eARc through Penquin’s First to Read program. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to read and review. This will be a short review as I did not enjoy this story as much as I wanted to.

This is the story of Iris, a teenager who discovers that she may be the one divinely chosen to save the world. All of this comes to light after major events start to happen all around Iris, such as major land marks being blown up by terrorists. When she is approached on the streets of Brooklyn and told she is the one who can save the world, everything changes. The press catches wind of this and starts to air stories of Iris and her “special” status across the planet. Soon, strangers are pinning their hopes on this seventeen year old girl, including Zane, another teenager who has lost his way and lost his hope. Can Iris be the savior the world needs her to be?

When I started this book I thought it would be more adventureous and suspensful but it wasn’t. This felt more like a story about relationships and self-discovery. You could certainly pick up the YA aspects of this story – such as Iris deailng with very teenage things – but it felt like the overall topic of religion/God/Jesus/faith was too heavy, too serious. The topic of religion usually makes people squirm. It is a very personal thing. There were times it felt like the author was trying to shove religion down my throat and make me believe in a higher power. I don’t know about you but I don’t like that. I don’t like a preachy book and this book felt that way. I believe this story will hit a home run with some readers but certainly not all YA readers.

The characters themselves were a bit on the bland side. I did not connect with any of them, nor did I find myself cheering them on. They felt like your average characters. I know that is incredibly vague but that is how they came across to me – nothing truly memorable and nothing that made them stand out in my mind.

Overall, this book was just ho-hum. It wasn’t anything that blew my hair back and it certainly did not make me want to scream this author’s name from the roof tops. Instead, it made me uncomfortable with all of the religious talk (only because I believe that is a personal choice and nobody should try to sway me to one side or the other). I finished this book pretty quickly only because I started skimming the pages. Just nothing stood out to me. I cannot recommend this to anyone as I did not enjoy it enough to push it on others.

 

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Sunday Street Team: ARC Review of A Shadow Bright and Burning

 

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Welcome to September Sunday Street Team! This month we are reviewing the debut by Jessica Cluess – A Shadow Bright and Burning!

A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, #1)

 

Goodreads Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23203252-a-shadow-bright-and-burning?ac=1&from_search=true

 

Synopsis (GR):

I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she’s brought to London to train with Her Majesty’s sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she’s the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?

 

About the Author:

JESSICA CLUESS is a writer, a graduate of Northwestern University, and an unapologetic nerd. After college, she moved to Los Angeles, where she served coffee to the rich and famous while working on her first novel. When she’s not writing books, she’s an instructor at Writopia Lab, helping kids and teens tell their own stories.

 

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Review

A Shadow Bright and Burning was only my TBR right after it was announced. This sounded like such a fantastic novel that I couldn’t wait to get my greedy hands on it. I’m happy to say that this book lived up to the hype. It was a quick read but an amazing read. I laughed, I gasped, I was on the edge of my chair, I was all over the place because the book is just that good.

Ancients, horrifying beasts with magic powers and unnatural talents, are plaguing England and only a special team of highly trained fighters can defeat them. Henrietta Howel finds herself thrust into this team of sorcerers carrying the burden of being “The Chosen One”. Henrietta fits the ancient prophecy of being the first female sorcerer in a hundred years. She is able to burn without being hurt and this is the advantage England needs to win the long battle against the Ancients. Henrietta trains and learns to fight along side the male sorcerers. She becomes very skilled at her craft. But as it turns out… Henrietta is not the chosen one. She plays a very dangerous game and walks a very thin line. She discovers the hard way that not everything is as simple as it seems, everyone has secrets to hide, and nothing is what it seems.

This debut novel by Jessica Cluess is brilliant. It is so much better than I could ever put into words. I hope the bookish world is ready for Cluess’ to be around for a long time because she deserves to be. My love for this story is so big. This story includes, but not limited to exciting displays of magic, horrifying beasts, first loves, uncovering of family secrets, complex characters, and so much more. This book really is the total package. This book hooked me from page one. I could not put this down until I reached the very last page, where I proceeded to cry because I would now have to wait for the next book in the series.

Our protagonist, Henrietta, was so complex and wonderfully developed that I wanted to be friends with her in real life. She was so well written that I couldn’t get enough of her. The rest of the characters were just as great. The male sorcerers that she trained with were hard not to love. Each one was so well thought out with distinct personalities that it is difficult to not have a favorite. The one thing I really enjoyed about all of these characters is that none of them were painted as either good or evil – it is left up to the reader to make their own decisions on that front. The character’s histories and pasts were given without showing favoritism. In the end, the reader is left stunned and wondering (in the best way possible) what is going on.

It is hard for me not to give spoilers for this book. So in order to not slip, I won’t say much more other than you need to read this book. I know if everyone reads it, they will enjoy it and understand what I am talking about. This story will grab you and never let go. Please, add to your TBR, borrow from a friend, beg your library to have it available, whatever you do – read this book.

 

 

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Books Left Unread #44

Wallpaper-Books

Books Left Unread

Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.

This week’s post is dedicated to:

Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross

Whatever Life Throws at You

 

Have you read this one? It is sitting pretty on my shelf right now but I can’t seem to start reading it.😦

 

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