Review: All We Can Do Is Wait

All We Can Do Is Wait

 

 

I borrowed this from my library with no knowledge of what it was about and without reading any ratings/reviews. Maybe that was the best way because it allowed me to form my own opinions. However, it seems I agree with a majority of other readers when it comes to this particular story. It was one long “What the heck?” story.

Short recap: A massive tragedy has happened in Boston – a bridge has collapsed in the middle of the day and hundreds, maybe thousands, of people could be hurt or worse. Six teens find themselves in the waiting room of the hospital to find out the fate of their loved ones, and at the same time find out how their own lives intersect.

Here is my big question for this story: What was the actual plot? It seems like such a simple question and also necessary. The entire time I was listening to this story, I kept wondering what the overall plot was. Yes, it was a tragedy that such an event would happen. Yes, it was awful that children were waiting to find out the fate of their parents and loved ones. But what was the actual plot? We know that the bridge collapsed. We know that people are waiting to find out what happened to their loved ones. Outside of those two items, there is no real theme or point to this story. The teens in the waiting room all have a story about someone they are waiting to hear about, but that is it.

As I stated, there are multiple teens which meant the story is told from multiple POVs. The worst part of that is that the voices all sounded the same. What was even worse than that was that one POV was told in SECOND PERSON. What the actual? There was no transition from present to past so I was constantly confused as to when the story was taking place. I cannot go into more detail than that because I cannot remember any of the character names. They did not leave any lasting impression on me at all. They were completely forgettable, just like this story.

I think I know what this book was trying to do but it is hard to actually figure it out. The author missed the mark so bad that all I can do is shake my head and move on. Do I recommend? Not one bit. This was hard enough for me to sit through, I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through that.

 

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DNF Review: Beasts Made Of Night

Beasts Made of Night

 

This had been on my radar for a while before it became available through my library. Once I started it, I quickly discovered that it was not for me and I DNFd.

Short recap: I’m going to guess here. The MC is a magical person who is able to “eat sins” of people before they die. As a result, they are branded with a tattoo-like image on their skin.

That still sounds like a great premise since this story pulls from Nigerian storytelling and mythology. I just wish I could have connected to it or even gotten into it. Instead it never grabbed my attention. I found my mind wandering as the story continued, zoning out more and more. That is when I decided to DNF and cut my loses. The actual story telling is what caused me to not pay attention. I think I know what the author was trying to accomplish but I’m not entirely sure. The writing style itself lacked a sense of structure. Everything felt choppy and forced, nothing was actually fluid.

I couldn’t figure out the actual plot of the story so how could I force myself to sit through the entire story if I didn’t understand what it was all for. The characters were not explained or properly introduced. I know that the MC is a person named Taj but that is all I really know. I don’t know anything of substance about him and that bothered me.

This will not be a super long DNF review, but you get the idea of why I stopped reading. I tried so hard to listen and absorb what was going on but it didn’t work for me. This story did not work for me. I never connected, the plot and pacing were bad, the characters were nothing more than cardboard cutouts. If you read this story and liked it, please let me know! I am not trying to trash on the book, I’m just pointing out why I walked away from it.

 

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Review: Twelve Steps To Normal

Twelve Steps to Normal

 

I struggled to get through this book. I know some readers will really connect with it and sing praises but I won’t be one of those readers.

Short recap: Kira has been living with her Aunt for almost a year. She was sent to live with her Aunt after her father’s drinking problem escalated and lives were in danger. She moves back in to try to work on fixing the relationship with her dad and get her life back.

Whoa howdy, this was a tough book. I don’t mean “tough book” in that it was emotionally draining and made me cry, I mean “tough book” in that I wanted to smack Kira constant for being a bitch. Her character was horrid. She was self centered, self-absorbed, nasty, negative, whiny, and just all round mean. There was no true redeeming quality to her. Her time in this book was spent plotting ways get her old life back by making a twelve step plan. That felt incredibly insensitive in my eyes. The Twelve Step program addicts go through is incredibly personal and serious, not to be used and mistreated the way Kira did. She spent time trying to get the attention of her ex-boyfriend, who was now dating one of her best friends. What kind of sick person does that?! Kira could not leave it alone! She was the one that broke up with him before she left! She also chose not to keep in touch with her best friends because she was embarrassed that her dad was an alcoholic. This girl was Satan’s spawn or close to it. What a nasty, ungrateful child.

When she wasn’t plotting to get her best friends back and her ex-boyfriend back, she was plotting ways to get her dad’s roommates (who were also recovering alcoholics) kicked out of the house. She never tried to get to know them even though they were nothing but nice and caring towards her. She was always making rude comments about how they needed to get jobs and move out. Apparently, sweetie, you don’t know how adulting or the real life works. Now granted, I will take a step back and say that Kira did not have an easy childhood as she spent most of her time hiding her dad’s drinking problem. Why she was never enrolled in ALANON after she was taken from her father’s care is beyond me. It was clear that she never offered treatment nor did she receive any type of counseling. I do believe that would have helped her tremendously. Instead she chose to be a bitch the entire time thinking she could just take back what was hers before and slide back into her old life.

That being said – told you I had a rant – Kira was the worst character. The other characters were actually pretty enjoyable: her dad’s housemates, her best friends, and former friends. They all tired so hard to look past Kira’s meanness and forgive. Sadly, it was not enough to overshadow a fraction of the mean that came from the MC.

I wish I had DNFd because I was not excited to read this story once I got a clear picture of the MC and her motives. I get that she wanted her dad back but c’mon! I found myself just rolling my eyes a lot and groaning with anger. Don’t be like me – if you feel the need to DNF, stop the book and move on. I wish I had. Just thinking of this book is upsetting me again.

 

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Review: The Traitor’s Game

The Traitor's Game (The Traitor's Game #1)

 

 

I am finally finding my way within the YA Fantasy genre. I know what I like and don’t like in my fantasy story and that makes me happy. Hence the reason I picked up The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen. It sounded like everything I wanted to read but sadly it fell incredibly short of what I was expecting.

Short recap: Kestra and Simon grew up together when they were very, very small but they drifted apart after Kestra was sent away for her own safety. While gone she was taught how to defend herself. After being gone for many years, Kestra returns to her home land to discover that she and Simon find themselves on the opposite sides of the political battle that has engulfed her family. See, Kestra is from the royal family and was sent back only so she could be betrothed to someone on behalf of her father. The entire time Kestra is trying to seek out the infamous blade that would help find the one person foretold to end the terrible times the land is going through and bring peace.

I know that recap is choppy but it is okay because the story was too. The story is told from two POVs: Kestra and Simon. No big surprise there. What did drive me nuts was that the voices of these characters sounded the same. There were many times when it sounded like the same voice telling the story when it was supposed to be the other one. It was an utter disappointment. I don’t feel these characters were flushed out enough to make me like them at all. Nothing about these characters impressed me. Not even the side characters! They were just as terrible.

I did not care what happened because everything fit into a ton of tropes and was just predictable from page one. You want a princess that was hidden away for her own protection but yet taught how to fight? Done. You want instalove with the long lost boy the princess spent time with? You got it! You say you want predictable bad character that you know for a fact is faking to be good but really bad? It is right here! You want a special snowflake that turns out to be the mysterious hero but play coy with it? Look no further.

The world building felt sub-par. Nothing was explained properly. There was supposed to be magic but it was rarely talked about and if it was, it was vague. The character kept talking about a huge prophecy but it seemed the only person who could truly understand it happened to be Kestra. No surprise there as she is the Special Snowflake of the story. You cannot honestly expect me to believe that she was able to solve everything in a few hours when people hadn’t been able to wrap their heads around it after a decade? Give me a break.

The biggest disappointment of this story, besides the tropes, instalove, lack of descriptions, and rather boring overalls story – the painfully terrible romance. I have already mentioned instalove but it was just cringe-worthy reading. It was awkward and not believable. I found myself skimming those paragraphs. Simon was always thinking about Kestra and vice-versa but it did not feel romance-y at all. It felt like a crush that never moved out of being a crush.

This was my first Nielsen book and I’m now scared to read the previous series. I know I won’t continue with this series. I don’t have enough of an interest to find out what happens because I do not care. I don’t have a dog in this fight anymore. I’ve washed my hands and am moving on. I know some people will probably enjoy this but sadly I am not one of those people.

 

 

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Platform Dwellers: Book Review and Giveaway

PLATFORM DWELLERS

www.rockstarbooktours.com

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About the Book:

9781945654107Title: PLATFORM DWELLERS

Author: Katarina Boudreaux

Pub. Date: May 8, 2018

Publisher: Owl Hollow Press

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 268

Find it: AmazonGoodreads

 

On the remnants of oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and Dauphin Island, Joe is a typical Nob Platform teenager, except that her Mom left a year ago for a more social Platform, and her Dad sometimes forgets she exists. But she knows she wants a career in Communications, so her high school senior project “See-Saw” focuses on long-distance underwater connections. Drayton, Joe’s best friend, discovers lights moving on Land at the same time Joe picks up SOS signals with her See-Saw.
Though Land has been silent since technology was destroyed during the Moralist Revolution, Joe and Drayton discover that the Platform Planning Commission (PPC) seems to be ultimately responsible for the Bone Virus that precipitated the Revolution. They enlist the help of Flox, a debunked scientist, to take them to Land to investigate the remnants of human Land society—before the PPC can stop them. What they find on Land will forever change the course of their lives and the lives of all Platform Dwellers.

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Review:

YA dystopians will always be my jam. I really was blown away by the amount of thought, detail, and description that went into this story. I won’t give a huge review but enough to wet your whistle.

I loved all of the characters within this story! They were well developed, complex, and beautifully flawed. The protagonist, Joe, and her friends were fearless and I loved reading about them. I enjoyed reading the character arcs and seeing how much they grew over the course of their adventures. There is a bit of a romance with a handsome boy thrown into the story but as I promised – I won’t give anything away. It was well done and just enough to keep you hooked. Thankfully it was not the focus of the story and therefore more enjoyable to read. 🙂

The world building and overall plot were brilliant. I found myself completely sucked into this story and had a hard time leaving. The story was over before I knew it and that made me a little sad. There were plot twists that I didn’t see coming, which was the sign of a great writer.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to everyone! Give it a chance and let me know your thoughts. I believe Boudreaux did a masterful job with this story and I cannot wait to read more of her work.

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About Katarina:

KatarinaKatarina Boudreaux is a writer, musician, composer, tango dancer, and teacher—a shaper of word, sound, and mind. She returned to New Orleans after circuitous journeying.

Her chapbook “Anatomy Lessons” is available from Flutter Press.  Her play “Awake at 4:30” is a finalist in the 2016 Tennessee Williams Festival. Her novel “Still Tides” is a semi-finalist in the 2016 Faulkner-Wisdom competition.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

 

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Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a finished copy of PLATFORM DWELLERS, US Only.

  Rafflecopter link:

 http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2733/?

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Tour Schedule:

Week One:

4/23/2018- Laura Holt Reads and Writes– Review

4/24/2018- Sincerely Karen Jo– Excerpt

4/25/2018- TMBA Corbett Tries to Write Interview

4/26/2018- Lauren is Reading– Review

4/27/2018- Colorimetry– Excerpt

 

Week Two:

4/30/2018- FUONLYKNEW– Excerpt

5/1/2018- Two Chicks on Books– Interview

5/2/2018- A Gingerly Review– Review

5/3/2018- The Reading Life– Spotlight

5/4/2018- BookHounds YA– Review

 

Review: Spinning

Spinning

 

I have always liked graphic novels but always struggled to find good graphic novels. Spinning by Tillie Walden is new this year and I was surprised at the end to find out this was a memoir.

This graphic novel is beautifully illustrated. There is no doubt that Tillie Walden is talented. What did bother me about this was the overall story. There where HUGE themes that were never expanded upon or addressed properly. The themes I am talking about are attempted physical assault by an adult, physical assault by a minor, bullying, family neglect, and more. There are some heavy topics that the author/illustrator went through but they felt brushed over. Tillie was advanced upon by an adult that was her tutor – yet she never told anyone nor did she do anything about it. She was also bullied by a fellow classmate/skater to the degree that physical things happened but, again, Tillie never told anyone. Her parents were in a rocky marriage and Tillie paid the price. She wanted to continue skating but chose to be a bitch to her parents about the entire thing. They sacrificed so much for her to continue but she came across ungrateful for what they did. She was stand-offish to her friends and worse to her teammates. All of these topics/themes really could have or should have been expanded upon more. The author/illustrator had the perfect opportunity to speak to her audience about the dangers and what should be done but nothing like that happened. Now I know this is a memoir about her real life and real life isn’t always pretty, but I just wish she had given an epilogue or something about who to contact or that people should speak out if these things happen.

 

This is a quick read but it is not an easy read. Tillie is not always nice to the people around her. The only person she really connects to is a fellow skater that she develops a crush on and realizes that she is gay. She started a relationship with this girl and for the first time I saw her happy. But things happened and they were not allowed to be together. Maybe that is where some of the bitterness came from but still, it was never again talked about.

Would I recommend this? Eh, maybe? If you do read this, do not go into it thinking that it is just a book about ice skating. The MC clearly wanted to skate by herself and win but she did not want to go to the training. She whined about getting up at 3 or 4 every morning yet threw a fit if she couldn’t continue skating. It felt inconsistent at times. Then with the mature themes I mentioned, it is not for the faint-hearted. I had to put the book down a couple of times and walk away. It was even too much for me to read.

 

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Review: Anna and the Swallow Man

Anna and the Swallow Man

 

I have been hesitant about this WWII story since it was published. There are so many out today – and that’s wonderful! – but I personally feel that not all of them are knock-it-out-of-the-park great. Certain ones like Salt to the Sea or Shades of Grey  or The Girl In The Blue Coat have set the bar high in my eyes. Sadly, this one fell a little flat for me. I don’t believe it lived up to the expectation I had in my head.

This is a relatively short story so it was over quickly, but the path it took was a bit odd. The MC, Anna, was very young when she was kicked out of the store where she usually waited for her father. Her father was a linguistics professor so she grew up learning and speaking many, many languages. She quickly discovers she is on her own until she chooses to follow a man that can talk to swallows. He is only known as Swallow Man and chooses to take care of young Anna. He protects her as if she is his own daughter. Over the years and throughout their constant travels, he teaches her everything he knows – including how to be mindful of surroundings and how to survive in a country that is at war.

I am finally starting to have a deep appreciation for historical fiction stories, I felt this one was devoid of an actual plot. I wanted to know why Anna and Swallow Man were constantly on the move? Why was Swallow Man so secretive of his former life? What was the necessity of taking the pills from the brown glass bottle? What illness did he have? What happened to everyone at the end? I had so many questions that were never answered. I also wanted to know why the author felt the need to give so much description to things that really did not help move the story along, yet left out details on items that needed clarification. An example was when it was noted what happened to Anna’s father. All I was told was that he died. It really was mentioned as a short sentence. That was it. I’m not saying I needed a full account of what happened to him, but maybe something more than, “and then he was found dead.” Kind of abrupt, no? I was given more detail about what happened to the clarinet playing guy than Anna’s father. That bothered me in a way that really is hard to describe.

I had a hard time connecting to this story. Mainly for the above reasons. I was not given a lot of insight or detail about the characters. Again, I don’t feel there was a lot to the plot either. There were too many holes in the story that left me wondering what was going on. Especially that ending. What in the ever loving crap was that all about. It wrapped nothing up at all. It could have meant a plethora of things, none of which I’ll ever get answers to. It could also be seen as a weak-ass ending or a cop out.

I’m not upset that I read this story but it certainly wasn’t memorable enough for me to tell people to read it. I don’t feel it was as noteworthy as some people say it is. It is one book I have checked of my want to read list and I’m moving on. Will I recommend? No, not at all. There are certain scenes that are far more detailed and gruesome than they should have been. I would caution people before they pick this up, if they do choose to pick it up. There are much better WWII books out there.

 

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