Review: Contagion

Contagion (Contagion, #1)

 

If anyone knows me, they know dystopian/sci-fi books are my JAM. This? Well… I wanted it to be my jam but sadly I had the toughest time connecting with any part of the story.

Short recap: This is the story of a mining ship crew responding to an SOS sent from what appears to be a deserted planet. The crew had no idea what kind of horrors they were heading to. They quickly discover the planet is full of lies, deceit, and very dark things that go bump in the night.

I have been struggling with this review because finding the right words to properly describe why I couldn’t connect to this story are escaping me. Maybe it was a combination of everything – less than mediocre story of space zombie mixed with an oddly placed love story. You read that correctly, everyone. There’s a love story trying to bloom while the crew of the ship is trying to fight for their lives against zombies. I mean, sure, it could happen but the timing really doesn’t work. I don’t believe I need to go into more detail.

The other thing about this story that made it difficult for me to enjoy was the amount of POVs. The story itself is told in a third-party voice but there are just far too many POVs. There are no less than six individual voices throughout the story, along with random short chapters from the POV of the zombie creatures. There are countless chapters like this so that means the number of POV chapters increase. If you want to talk to me about absolutely unnecessary and pointless, you come talk to me about those chapters. I did not care one iota about a 30 second narrative from someone that was bitten and going through The Change.

I do adore the author and she can typically write compelling characters, but I could not find them within this book. There are plenty of characters to be had here. The cast of the ship was very diverse and only somewhat interesting to read about. There was nothing that stood out nor was earth shattering. Everything about them came across as predictable at best. Their voices never truly sounded distinct so they all sounded the same after a while. That made it even harder for me to connect to anyone. I fell into my usual pattern of not caring what was happening to this cast of misfit crew members.

The overall plot was an interesting concept but the execution fell short of the intended mark. This was not a thrilling or gripping story for me. I was eye rolling more than anything because most scenes came across as campy rather than chilling. While the gore and bone-chilling terror were lacking from this sci-fi novel, the action was not. I will not and cannot fault Bowman’s ability to write a good action scene. Because I was unable to connect, the thrill that was necessary to make me feel this story never hit home with me. I wanted so much more from the story Bowman gave me. She hinted only at political intrigue and corporate conspiracies, but they felt like barely spoken words overheard while walking by someone. Only enough to make you think you heard it but no way to know for sure. I do hope Bowman expands on these in the next book because I really wanted to know the WHY behind the events that took place.

Sadly this book did not do it for me. I kept waiting for my hair to be blown back and goose flesh to happen. I’m still waiting, in fact. I am still undecided if I will continue with the series because this felt like a lack-luster series starter to me.

 

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Review: Sea Witch

Sea Witch

 

I am so sad. This book gave me a sad. Why? Because it was disappointing. This was not what I was expecting from this book. This will probably be a short review as I don’t have a lot of good things to say. I won’t speak ill of anyone or outright be mean, I’m going to state my reasons and move on.

I won’t give a recap because I don’t remember enough to tell you what it was really about. I know it was supposed to be a bit of an Ursula backstory but I’m not entirely sure. We’ll just go with that.

Here is what really made this story a tremendous struggle: The first two-thirds of the book were as slow as molasses in the winter. I was bored to tears. When I get bored with a book, I zone out and don’t pay attention. That is never a good sign. I will never understand why authors wait until the last 100 or less pages to actually do something with their story.  Because this book was slow as the day is long, I never connected with any part of this story. I didn’t connect or even remember anything about the characters. Great detail was put into large scenes that had nothing to do with anything. I didn’t need such in depth descriptions of dresses or meals, I wanted development of characters and movement of plot. Those were severely missing from this book.

I want to give the author credit for attempting an Ursula backstory but the execution missed the target by a country mile. This was nowhere close to an engaging or thrilling story. I forgot everything I read before I finished the book. Do I recommend this? Not in good faith, no. This was one of the biggest disappointments of 2018 for me.

 

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Review: Fake ID (Hunted #1)

Fake ID (Hunted, #1)

 

This is an older book but it was recently recommended to me through Audible. I’m sad to say this was a weak attempt at a mystery/suspense/thriller story. It was not very engaging or suspenseful.

Short recap: Chasity and her mother have constantly been on the move for as long as Chasity can remember. She doesn’t know why they are always moving but she does her best to adjust. On Chasity’s 16th birthday, her mom disappears. Suddenly Chasity has a very limited amount of time to locate her mother or the local police will put her into foster care.

Just writing the recap made me shake my head. There were so many things about this story that were either convenient or were just not believable. The premise itself promised mystery as a daughter tried to find her mother. What I read was completely different. Allow me to explain: the characters were poorly developed, the plot was weak and held no water, and the overall story was not believable.

First, Chasity isn’t even the daughter’s real name. Apparently she and her mother assume new identities every time they move. Chasity prefers to by “Chass” and rudely reminds everyone calls her by her her fake name. Rude. Second, I didn’t like Chasity’s character at all. She was whiny and “woe is me!” most of the story while trying to act all tough to find her mom. She swore she could find her mom better and faster than the police. Uh, you’re 16 with no formal training on anything. Calm down before you get yourself hurt. I never bought her tough girl routine and it got old really quick.

I am not a fan of things just conveniently falling into place for characters. I believe the author does it to help move the story along but it is never believable. Sadly it happened here and it was bad. Chasity seemed to have the best luck the entire story. Oh, your mom is missing but you suddenly remember a secret code you two have! That’s right! It just so happened that these two had a plan in place in case her mom went missing! Was this mentioned before it was convenient to move the story along? NOPE. Why would it be? Also, Chasity goes on the hunt for a very obscure, random, nondescript store in the middle of Nowhere America to purchase a fake ID and finds it on the first try. Get out of here with that nonsense. Do you know what made that scene worse? The random person who was at the store remembered her. Seriously stop. This girl could do no wrong and she found everything she was looking for. I could not stop rolling my eyes at the absurdity of it.

The overall story and reason behind why these two moved so much should have held merit but it was just so weak. Or perhaps it was the way things were revealed at the end that made me cringe and beg for the hours back I spent reading this book. Either way, it was just not good. This is one of the few books I have finished that makes me wish I hadn’t read it. This did nothing for me and I will not recommend to anyone.

 

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Review: Catwoman Soulstealer (DC Icons #3)

Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons, #3)

 

I went into this book with as much hesitation as one can. I had several reasons for being nervous about this story: 1) This would be my first Maas book ever; 2) I was afraid the MC would purrr a large chunk of her dialogue, and 3) I was afraid the storyline itself would fall flat. I was oh so correct on numbers 2 and 3. *le sigh*

Short recap: Selina Kyle has not had an easy life. Being forced to illegally fight was certainly not what she envisioned for her life. But Selina’s little sister has a terrible medical disease that is very expensive and their mom is a drug addict that left a while ago. When the authorities swoop in to take them away, Selina chooses to escape Gotham City and train to be an elite fighter. After she returns to Gotham City, she finds there is a new protector over the city – Batwing, who happens to be the very eligible (and rich) bachelor, Luke Fox. Can Selina and Luke deny the attraction they have for one another? At the same time, can Batwing bring down Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy before they take everything from Gotham City?

There was a lot going on in this story and not all of it worked. I did finish the story but I promise you that as soon as I was done, I forgot about it. There was not outstanding or marvelous about this story. Nothing stood out as an “OH MY GOSH!” because it was meh at best, or perhaps just fanfic that was published. I know that DC comics do not have the same following as Marvel but that doesn’t mean that as a comic book nerd I don’t know both universes. I’m sorry to say that this version of Catwoman was just all wrong. Maybe someday DC will get it right but it won’t be with this one.

Selina’s character was a big reason I never connected with this story. She felt flat and oh so one dimensional. There was no character arc for her. She started out fighting and conveniently knew gymnastics so could do elaborate flips, jumps, and whatnot. That was the beginning of things just working out in her favor. Give me a break. She left her sister behind knowing she would be taken care of only to return two years later to pick up the same cross she laid down and forgot? PFFFT. I don’t buy that. I get she wanted to take care of her sister but there had to be better ways of doing it. Leaving everything you know and love behind for a life of crime is never the answer (queue After School Special theme music). Instead of being a super awesome badass feminist protagonist, the character’s story line was pushed forward by abuse and PTSD. Both were absolutely not handled well within the pages of this book nor should they have been used as a well to propel a story.

Luke Fox was the other POV voice within the story. Was his voice necessary? No, not at all. I didn’t care for him nor was I interested in his spoiled rich boy is bored so he rides the coattails of his brilliant daddy story. I did not care that he and Selina started fooling around without know the secret identity of the other. The way he was tied into the overall DC Icons plot was absolute weaksauce – he trained with THE Bruce Wayne. Who freaking cares. Moving on because I cared so little for Fox that I don’t remember anything else about him.

The other major DC characters found within the story are Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Both were a complete let down and just as forgettable. It felt like they were written into the story simply to name drop. I don’t remember these characters ever teaming up in comics, movies, or cartoons but what I do I know as stranger things have happened. Both Ivy and Harley had the opportunity to be breakthrough characters but instead they were written in as page fillers. They were convenient so they were added. Maybe Maas could have expanded upon Ivy being an open lesbian but in true fashion, it was glazed over. So sad.

The biggest thing I did not enjoy about this story was the horrid representation of PTSD. Both Luke and Selina mention (very briefly) how they have PTSD. Apparently Fox was a marine that was recently discharged (it is never said why he left the military so don’t go looking for a reason why he left) and Selina claims it was from her abusive mom. Either way, Maas did a terrible job of portraying it within this story. Fox openly admits to Selina that he has PTSD and Selina proceeds to one up him by talking about HER PTSD. Sorry, honey, PTSD is not a game where you try to outdo the other person. Having PTSD myself, and not from military service, I can only speak to what I know. And what I know is that it was poorly executed and I was offended by most of what was said about it.

There was not anything redeeming about this story. The overall plot was weak, the pacing was off, the dialogue rivaled that of George Lucas when he wrote the third Star Wars movie, and the world building was nonexistent. There was nothing that made me ever want to reread or recommend this. I was not sure I could be this disappointed by a story but I I was wrong. Will I continue the series? Sure, I have already pre-ordered Superman as I will need a complete hardback set for my library. Will I go into it feeling like it will be a weak attempt to save the series? Probably. No matter what, I hope it will be better than what I read for this character that had so much potential.

 

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Review: The Beauty That Remains

The Beauty That Remains

 

I really struggled with this one. I wanted to love it like so many other readers but it just wasn’t for me.

This is a novel of three stories of how three individual people are affected by grief yet their overall stories are actually connected. Autumn has lost her best friend to an accident; Shay lost her identical twin Sasha after a long battle with leukemia; and Logan became a heavy drinker after his ex-boyfriend committed suicide. The one thing all of these teens have in common, the one thing that is keeping them somewhat sane is the band Unraveling Lovely.

There was a great deal of time put into properly developing each backstory and painting relationships. I did feel loss for each character losing someone so very important to them. There were the classic questions of, “Well… if only I had…” peppered throughout the entire story. Those questions always hurt, no matter what. What did start to wear on me was how thoroughly and extensively Woodfolk exhausted nearly all ways a person could grieve for the loss of someone. It felt like the story started to heavily repeat itself and I quickly became uninterested.

While the story tried to continue in the best way the author could do, I had a realization: It seemed really far fetched for me to believe these three random strangers have a band in common, and that is what helped them through their grief. In the same breath, and before you attack me, I understand how something that could seem unassuming to one could actually be life giving to someone else. I made my statement simply based on the characters, emotions, and story found within the pages of this book. I believe the author was trying too hard because once the basis of the stories was explained and resolution was achieved, the story turned into family drama and romance. The overall plot was lost and the momentum was gone.

This has probably been one of the toughest reviews I’ve ever written simply because I have been struggling for the right words. I have lost loved ones and grieved as if there was no end in sight. I know that pain and I would not wish it on anyone. That is also why I struggled to express my thoughts and feelings with this story. In the end, it was not for me. The beginning was much better than the end. I’m not upset that I read this but it was not what I was hoping to read. This is always going to be a tough topic to cover, I don’t care what author writes the story.

 

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BOY IN A BAND Blog Tour – Book Review and Giveaway

BOY IN A BAND

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About the Book:

Boy In A Band CoverTitle: BOY IN A BAND

Author: Lisa Loomis

Pub. Date: July 2018

Publisher: Lisa Loomis Books

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 458

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonTBD

 

Living on a quiet dead-end street Morgan Mallory is like any other thirteen-year-old girl growing up in a progressive time full of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. That is until one rainy night in a dark California neighborhood the lives of two young teens will be altered forever.

Morgan tagging along with her mother for a day is pressured to make one last stop at a friend’s house. Annoyed to be there in the first place Morgan is mortified when her mother’s friend, Ann, insists she met her son who is playing guitar in his room.

As Mathew O’Conner yanks open the door Morgan is completely taken aback by the blond haired, blue eyed, young man in front of her. When Ann leaves Morgan nervously standing in the hall alone Mathew invites Morgan in where he further mesmerizes her with the sound of his guitar. Completely and utterly unnerved by his stunning good looks and talent Morgan feels something she has never felt.

Is this her first innocent crush or something much bigger?

One thing is certain, this moment will send Morgan on an emotional journey she could have never anticipated.

 

BOY IN A BAND will be ON SALE  for .99 August 29th-31st!

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REVIEW:

You know I work with these types of reviews… I want to give you just enough info so you’ll want to read the book. I’ll start with this – this was so much better than I thought it would be. Once I got into the story, I was absolutely hooked.

The characters in this story – Morgan and Mathew – were very well developed and executed. They felt very complex but in the way that made them seem like real people, not made up for the sake of a story. Both had their traits that made me want to strangle them while giving them a hug at the same time.

The plot was one I could not get enough of. Don’t get me wrong, it was not all sunshine and rainbows. There were times I wanted to put the book down and be done with it but there was just something that told me to keep going. I’m so glad I did. These two characters were just meant to be together but they had a heck of a journey to go through before they made it. I was right there beside them. Their fight became my fight.

I’m trying (albeit very badly) to say that this was a story I didn’t know I needed. I was so invested in this outcome that I ignored everything going on around me to find out what happened. I hope you will give this a try because I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.2950337_orig

About Lisa:

Lisa+Loomis+BW+photoLisa Loomis was born in Oakland California and raised in San Jose until she was a sophomore in high school. Her father then took a job in the San Diego area where he moved the family to Escondido, California (or hickville as she called it). She finished high school at San Pasqual High then went to junior college at Palomar JC, ultimately graduating from San Diego State University with a BS in Finance.

Lisa started a career in mortgage banking in San Diego, California, briefly shifted to a corporate job as a territory sales representative, and then back to mortgage banking in 1996 when the family moved from the San Diego area to Park City, Utah. The move to Park City was prompted by a desire for a lifestyle change. Both she and her husband Dennis wanted to raise their two children in a smaller town environment that was still close to a large city.

In Park City, Lisa not only ran a mortgage branch but simultaneously helped Dennis run a successful construction company, Loomis Construction. Working full time, running a construction company in off hours, and raising two children was never easy but Lisa seemed to handle it all pretty well until the financial meltdown of 2008. That is when the wheels came off…completely.

Finding both her career in mortgage banking and the family business almost vanish overnight Lisa went back to a passion she’s always had, writing. It took Lisa almost four years to write “Boy In A Band”, stopping and starting, telling herself she couldn’t write a book. Once it was written Lisa foolishly thought the hard part was finished. In the last ten years, Lisa has continued to help her husband with their construction business as well as spends time writing.

Lisa’s currently lives and writes in Park City, Utah. She has been married for twenty-nine years and enjoys spending time with their grown children who live in Salt Lake City. You can find her self-published books on Amazon.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | BookBub | Amazon |  Goodreads

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Giveaway Details:

 

3 winners will win a paperback of BOY IN A BAND, US Only.

2 winners will receive an eBook of BOY IN A BAND, International.

Rafflecopter link:

 http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2790/?

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Tour Schedule:

Week One:

8/27/2018- sleep vs read– Review

8/27/2018- BookHounds YA– Interview

 

8/28/2018- A Gingerly Review– Review

8/28/2018- Smada’s Book Smack– Excerpt

 

8/29/2018- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

8/29/2018- Lisa Loves Literature– Excerpt

 

8/30/2018- Patriotic Bookaholic– Review

8/30/2018- Book Briefs– Interview

 

8/31/2018- Parajunkee– Excerpt

8/31/2018- Two Chicks on Books– Guest Post

 

Week Two:

9/3/2018- Malanie Loves Fiction– Review

9/3/2018- Jaime’s World– Excerpt

 

9/4/2018- Sweet Things– Excerpt

 

9/5/2018- Discerning Couch Potato– Review

 

9/6/2018- Twirling Book Princess– Excerpt

 

9/7/2018- Two Points of Interest– Review

 

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ARC Review: Finding Yvonne

Finding Yvonne

 

If there is one thing I know about Brandy Colbert, it is this: She. Can. Write. Colbert is masterful with her words. The story found within the cover of this book will stay with you long after you put the book down.

Short recap: Going into her senior year, Yvonne is becoming unsure of what she wants her future to be. She has always played the violin and is really good at it, but suddenly starts to question if she is good enough or even wants to play professionally. Continuing to question other parts of her life leads her to ask questions about what really happened to her mother and even start relationships with two boys, which is something she never would normally do. Will she be able to make it through this teenage life crisis?

While this is a quick read, it is a powerful one. The entire story is raw, gritty, and real. The events that Yvonne goes through were believable and I felt for her. This girl was simply trying to figure herself out and what she wanted her life after high school to be. She was by no means down on her luck and scrounging for scraps. Her father did very well for himself, and by extension did well by his daughter. He could have been more attentive father but he did the best that he could. The same goes for Yvonne’s best friend. They had their fair share of arguments and disagreements, but in the end they were sisters from another mister.

The main thing that I truly loved about this story was how Colbert wrote Yvonne’s character to never be ashamed of her choices or decisions, no matter how impulsive or irresponsible they may have been. Yvonne was also unapologetic about her sexual choices – that was so refreshing to read. This is something that we need more of in YA lit. Teens should not be ashamed because it is going to happen, regardless of what adults/parents may think.

I hope you can sense how much I’m trying not to give too much away because I still want people to read this story if they have not already. This was a wonderful coming of age story where a teenage girl finds herself and strength in those around her. She finds out who truly cares about her and what is most important in her life. If that doesn’t make you want to pick up this book, then I’m not sure what else I can say without ruining the entire book. I could do that! Don’t tempt me! But, again, I want you to give this a chance. Colbert’s writing reached another level of amazing in this book. I wish I could buy a copy and put it in the hands of all YA readers.

 

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