ARC Review: 27 Hours

27 Hours (The Nightside Saga, #1)

 

I have had this book on my TBR from the moment it was announced. I’m sad to say that it took me far longer than it should have to finish it because … well… it was a struggle.

Short recap: Five teenagers fight against rebel gargoyles who are trying to take back the planet that humans “stole” from them.

You read that correctly. GARGOYLES. That’s the big take away, right? That’s the part I was hung up on. Gar. Goyles. Even though there is a very diverse cast of characters, I couldn’t get past the mythical creatures from folktales that sit upon rooftops and steal children in the night. This book was entertaining yet bad at the same time. There was so much potential but I feel the story fell short of what it could have been.

First, the characters. When I say there is a diverse cast of characters, I mean diverse. Almost to the point that it felt like too much. There were several bisexual teens, a pansexual, an asexual, a deaf character, and probably more that I missed. In a way, it felt like Wright was going above and beyond to include as much diversity as she could, like she was checking boxes on a list. These teen characters also told the story, meaning there were four different points of view – three boys and a girl. It was hard to connect with any of them as they were driven by their hormones more than anything. The three boys, Rumor, Jude, and Breadon, were the voices. Rumor was bi, Jude was gay, and Braedon was asexual. They all made it a big deal to discuss several times what their sexual preferences were. I still fail to see how that added to the overall story. I didn’t care who was trying to get it on with who in a dark alley between battles. Let’s not forget the females – Nyx and Dahlia. Nyx was the deaf pansexual and Dahlia was the bi. Nyx was the female POV throughout the story. She would not stop going on about her instalove with Dahlia. That took away from the story in my eyes. I was in this for the dystopia battle for a planet, not hormonal teenagers. OH! Did I fail to mention that within this band of merry characters, three of which possessed special gifts? That’s right! I won’t ruin what they are but know on top of everything else, you had to keep straight who could do what. Confused yet? I know I still am. The way each of these characters were written and the way the POV switched so quickly and so often made me not connect with anyone. Plus, they felt flat and underdeveloped for me. Soon I couldn’t tell who was narrating the story.

The world building. Now when it comes to a sci-fi dystopian action story, world building is key. This is the foundation in which a story is made or broken. In this case, broken27 Hours is set about 200 years-ish in the future and everyone lives on “a moon”. On this moon there are 27 hours of light, and 27 hours of day. Not that far of a stretch but ok. Humans colonized this “moon” many centuries ago while it was already inhabited by a race of gargoyles. Still with me? The humans simply took over the planet and killed a huge chunk of the gargoyle population. Hence the battle that takes place. While the humans continue to thrive it is noted several times that there is no race, no discrimination, one common language, and everyone works in harmony. What did not jive with me is that even though this group of humans is only two or three generations removed from living on Earth, they suddenly all forget their heritage? They all forget where their ancestors came from? You want me to believe that they all forgot their entire  family history while living on Earth? Get out of here with that noise. Instead of these teens knowing where they come from, they are noted as being “Half Nigerian and Half Portuguese”. Well, isn’t that convenient. How can they still be “half and half” when their parents were clearly born on “the moon”? I’m so lost.

On top of that, Wright expects me to just buy into the fact that this race of humans that took over a planet just overlooked the cruelty they inflicted on another race? The humans blocked a river to created a giant lake which caused several tunnels to flood and killed countless gargoyles. You can’t really expect me to believe the humans didn’t know what they were doing. The gargoyle population was on that moon eons before humans showed up so why not try to make peace with them instead of teaching kids “shoot gargoyles on sight”?

The last thing that I had issue with was pacing. Holy moly was the pacing off. The big massive battle that starts the war within the story starts within the first five pages of the book. No lie. I don’t mind action starting early but not that quickly. I would have prefered some lead up or character/story explanation before jumping right into battle. All I knew was that Rumor was forced to fight a gargoyle to save his life and the life of his dad. I didn’t know anything about the history of the planet, the characters, the weapons being used nothing. BAM! Fight scenes, blood, death, and destruction. Books that start with action right out of the gate usually cannot keep that pace going and that is what happened. There was so much hurry up and wait. All of the back and forth with the pacing caused me to lose whatever connection I had with the story. I will also admit to you, my lovely readers, that I skimmed a good majority of this story. If it was a descriptive or internal monologue paragraph (or five), I skimmed until I found dialogue. Let me tell you this – it worked. I didn’t miss anything by skimming/skipping those paragraphs. It’s the only thing that got me to the end.

Overall, I wanted so much more from this story. It did set up for book 2 but it didn’t set it up in a way that I will be foaming at the mouth to read. If it comes available from the library then I may give it a chance. I will not actively seek this series out. It had so much potential but it was just too much. Too many things were going on and it became overly crowded. I couldn’t figure out where I needed to give my attention: the hormonal teenagers without adult supervision, GARGOYLES, humans living on the moon, what? I get how some readers consider it an important and necessary book because of the diversity of the characters. Know that I am not dismissing this book on that basis alone, I’m saying do not base your entire want of reading this story on that notion alone. Borrow the book from a friend or the library before spending your money on this one.

 

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Traitor’s Hope Blog Tour: Book Review and Giveaway

TRAITOR'S HOPE

www.rockstarbooktours.com

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About the Book:

New CoverTitle: TRAITOR’S HOPE (Blade’s Edge #2)

Author: Virginia McClain

Pub. Date: October 14, 2017

Publisher: Artemis Dingo Productions

Pages: 284

Formats: Paperback eBook

Find it: AmazonBuy The Paperback, Goodreads

 

Traitors lurk around every bend. Mishi’s mind is betraying her, and she fears her kisō and katana will betray her next. Taka’s heart abandons her for a person she cannot possibly trust. Now that the two friends are obliged to help re-establish peace in the land of Gensokai, the only question is where the next betrayal will come from and if Mishi and Taka will have the strength to survive it.

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Review:

This book was such an enjoyable read! It is the second in a series so don’t go into it thinking this is a standalone or first of a new series. I had not read the first but that did not stop me from really liking what I read. It was easy to follow and figure out as I kept reading. The overall story itself was very intriguing, thoughtful, and action packed. It really does not read like a second book so it doesn’t have that second-book syndrome. The characters were so thought out and well developed that it was easy to connect with them. I felt like I was on the journey with them and I couldn’t wait to see how everything ended. I was in this for the long haul.

There are only two small grievances: some character’s names were too closely spelled the same and as a result I sometimes got them confused. AND some of the POV chapters were so short – only a page or two – that it left me wondering why it was included. But please know this did not take away from the overall story. I still kept reading and I still liked this in the end.

Please, give this a try and you won’t be disappointed!

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About Virginia:

V and ArtemisVirginia thinks dangling from the tops of hundred foot cliffs is a good time. She also enjoys hauling a fifty pound backpack all over the Grand Canyon and sleeping under the stars. Sometimes she likes running for miles through the desert, mountains, or wooded flatlands, and she always loves getting lost in new places where she may or may not speak the language.

From surviving earthquakes in Japan, to putting out a small forest fire in Montana, Virginia has been collecting stories from a very young age. She works hard to make her fiction as adventurous as her life and her life as adventurous as her fiction. Both take a lot of imagination.

She recently moved to Winnipeg with her husband (a Manitoba native) and their dog.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Giveaway Details:

 

1 winner will receive a signed paperback set of BLADE’S EDGE & TRAITOR’S HOPE, US Only.

3 winners will receive eBook sets of BLADE’S EDGE & TRAITOR’S HOPE, International.

 

Rafflecopter link:

 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2646/?

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Tour Schedule:

 

Week One:

10/9/2017- Two Chicks on Books Interview

10/9/2017- Blushing Bibliophile– Review

 

10/10/2017- Arvenig.it– Guest Post

10/10/2017- Bibliobakes– Review

 

10/11/2017- Kati’s Bookaholic Rambling Reviews– Excerpt

10/11/2017- Ashley M. Delgado– Review

 

10/12/2017- A Dream Within A Dream– Excerpt

10/12/2017- Don’t Judge, Read– Spotlight

 

10/13/2017- BookHounds YA– Guest Post

10/13/2017- Adventures Thru Wonderland– Review

 

Week Two:

10/16/2017- Novel Novice– Excerpt

10/16/2017- Nick Bryan Dot Com– Review

 

10/17/2017- Books at Dawn– Guest Post

10/17/2017- YA and Wine– Excerpt

 

10/18/2017- Fire and Ice– Spotlight

10/18/2017- A Gingerly Review– Review

 

10/19/2017- My Nook, Books & More– Excerpt

10/19/2017- Jena Brown Writes– Review

 

10/20/2017- Seeing Double In Neverland– Interview

10/20/2017- Ramblings From An Alternate Reality– Review

 

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ARC Review: Dear Martin

Dear Martin

 

This. Story.

THIS. STORY.

This is needed. This is current. This is relevant. This is NEEDED.

Short recap: Justyce McAllister has not had an easy life but he is brilliant. His mom has sacrificed a lot to put him in the best school that will give him the best opportunity to make it far in life. The one problem? Justyce is a black teenager. He is constantly profiled by the police and faces racism on a daily basis. Justyce writes letters to Dr. King Jr as he has started a project – Be more like Martin. Can Justyce do that? Can he be the bigger person when so many people still judge him based completely on the color of his skin?

This debut novel left me speechless. I read it in one day and I wish I could read it again for the first time. DAMN. This was raw, emotional, needed, and masterfully done. Nic Stone is an author that everyone needs to remember because she will do great things, has already done great things.

Reading this book, I felt a wide range of emotions: anger, hatred, disgust, fear, sorrow, and hope. I was screaming, shaking, and sobbing as well. It takes a powerful story to do that and that was exactly what I found between the covers of this book. Stone hit it out of the park. This felt real. I felt as if I was standing right beside Justyce the entire time he was going through everything. I knew there were a lot… a lot of injustices out in the world but this story felt like Stone plucked me out of my cozy suburbia home and put me right in the middle of Justyce’s story. She broke my heart and opened my eyes at the same time. I don’t know a lot of authors that have that much control with their words. Stone must have some hidden magic she isn’t tell anyone about.

I feel she captured the teenage experience, struggle, and daily battles with grace. Justyce was a brilliant teenager trying to get into the best college possible so he can overcome his upbringing. He was fully submerged in his studies and after school activities. He was also surrounded by a wonderful circle of friends. I think that made a big difference. Justyce had a great support group that he could always reach out to for help. Hands down he was my favorite character because he stayed true to himself no matter what.

I feel like I’m tripping over my words here. I don’t want to give too much of the story away but I want everyone to read it. Know that a major life changing event happens that throws Justyce’s world on its head and it will shatter your heart. It will make you scream in anger, cry in sorrow, and weep with hope. Please, add this to your TBR if you have not already. Read this story and come back to tell me your thoughts.

 

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Review: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl (The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, #1)

 

I recently featured this book on my weekly meme “Books Left Unread”. I stated I had been putting it off because of the “Based on the YouTube web series phenomenon”. I am not a fan of watching YouTube series so I didn’t know anything about this other than it was supposed to be about a haunting. This, my dear readers, was anything but a scary book. It will not haunt you, nor will it keep you awake at night.

Short recap: Sunshine (yes, that’s her name) moves with her mom to Washington State. The house they move into gives Sunshine the creeps and soon, weird things start happening. A ghost starts playing games with Sunshine but her mom doesn’t believe her. Can Sunshine help the ghost and figure out what is going on?

Well, that’s the book in a nutshell. I will state again – this is not scary, creepy, or even eerie. It felt too fluffy and light-hearted to be a true horror-type story. I found myself quicking wishing I would DNF this story but I was stubborn and stayed with it. Oh what a fool I was. It got worse the more it continued. Everything was just all over the charts and not in a good way.

Apparently Sunshine’s character was supposed to be “adorkable” and to that I laugh. AHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA! HA! She was not “adorkable”, she was a struggle. The girl felt like a type of manic pixie dream girl and that means I instantly cannot stand her. She was the dutiful daughter that did whatever her mother wanted in order to make her happy. She never caused trouble, never snuck out of the house, never argued with her mother, and she never cussed. That’s right! She said phrases like, “gosh dang it” and “Jeezus Loueezus” and “Good golly!”. *sigh* I wanted to slug her. She was also that character that was trying too hard, like a special snowflake. She dressed different, in vintage clothes she found at a thrift shop, she was a book nerd. she had specially different eyes, and collected unicorns of every color. WHO. CARES. That did not make me like her, that made her into a female trope. Give me a break.

Her character never developed or got better as the weak story continued. She did catch the eye of the super cute edgy guy (Nolan) at school that no girl has gotten close to before. gag See, girl trope. Even her mom was forgettable. She was in the story for an obvious reason if you read it but she didn’t add anything as a character. Neither did Nolan. He brooded around in his grandfather’s original leather jacket and drove his grandfather’s car. Whooptie freaking doo. Get over yourself already.

The overall story was grossly underwhelming. If this was such a huge sensation on YouTube then why wasn’t this… better? It was not flushed out, developed, thought through, or hashed out. This didn’t even read like a YA book, it read like a MG book.  As for the ghost within the story? Weak. Sauce. Again, do not go into this expecting or even hoping that you will be scared because it won’t happen. The ghost is supposed to tie to this spooky overall mystic plan that is tied to Sunshine but it doesn’t make a lot of sense. The way it was presented was odd because it was done by an alternate POV male voice (according to the audio) that gives zero information as to what is going on. It did nothing but confuse me further. It was not a huge surprised when the mystery announced who they were, I saw it from the first time he was introduced.

Not hard to realize that I did not like this book. I am a fool for thinking this would be better than what it was. It felt more like a Scooby-Doo episode rather than a scary story. I wanted to like this more than I did because I really like the author and think she is a marvelous person, but this story just was not. I won’t be reading the rest of the series or even checking this out on YouTube. I don’t care enough for that.

 

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ARC Review: Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2)

Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #2)

 

Oh Wadsworth and Cresswell. How you two have a part of my heart.

Short recap: Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell have been accepted to participate in an exclusive forensics training, which happens to be the former home of the one and only Prince Dracula. A strange series of deaths takes place and this famous duo springs to action to try to solve the mystery of what is really happening.

I thought Maniscalco hit it out of the park with Stalking Jack the Ripper… I was wrong. She only made the series better with her second book in the series! Hunting Prince Dracula was bloody brilliant. I thought I loved Wadsworth and Cresswell in the first book but this story made me love them more, if that is even possible. This story starts just weeks after SJTR. Audrey Rose is still shaken by the events that took place in book 1, but she has her faithful partner, Thomas, with her to keep an eye out for her. Both characters were deeply developed and wonderfully complex. They grew so much from the first book to this one…. and they continued to grow! Even their romance continued to grow and it was magical to witness. Thomas still had his undeniable charm and Audrey Rose tried to ignore his advances. The way they were together, no matter what the situation was, was amazing to read. They could be in a forensics class cutting up a dead body or waltzing around a castle – the chemistry was just there and it was hot. It had me blushing at times and that’s saying something. Thomas was such a smooth talker that I wanted to claim him for my own book boyfriend. (Is he claimed yet? I want to claim him.) Thomas was not without his secrets and they are revealed in this story. They just made me like him even more.

The plot of this story was marvelous. Maniscalco did a wonderful job of researching and it showed in this story. The entire thing flowed like honey. It was a pleasure to read and I never wanted it to end. I was fascinated with the story of Prince Dracula and the way Maniscalco weaved her tale surrounding the Prince. Was he coming back to life? Was he the one responsible for killing the people and draining them dry of blood? You know I won’t give anything away but you will not be left wanting at the end of this one. Oh who am I kidding – you’ll definitely want more Wadsworth and Cresswell action.

I swear, Maniscalco must have some hidden magic up her sleeve because when she writes, I am transported to the world she has created. I never wanted to leave. I wanted to follow Wadsworth and Cresswell long after the story finished. I felt as if I was with these characters in the castle during those cold and blustery nights. I believed I was in those dark and frightening tunnels with this duo. I just could not put this story down, it had me from the first word. I swear, this author has magic in her words. Be warned – you won’t want to put this down once you start. You might forego meals, work, and even sleep just so you can stay in this world just a little bit longer.

I’m making my proclamation here and now – Kerri Maniscalco is now an instabuy author for me going forward. I promise that if she publishes her grocery list, I’ll buy it. If she writes a recipe for apple pie, I will own a copy. I will forever read whatever she writes because this author is gold. I hope I have done a small bit of justice to this story. Bottom line – bloody brilliant. Everyone needs to borrow/read/own this story so they can experience Maniscalco’s words. You won’t be sorry.

 

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Review: Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles #1)

Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles, #1)

 

Books like this give me trust issues. The cover gives the impression that the story inside the covers will be badass, while the blurb promises a gritty dystopia thriller. WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.

Short recap: Felicia has died and finds herself in a place considered “Level 2” – essentially a stop between Heaven and Hell. She fights to help uncover the truth of the evil plan of the angels that are keeping people trapped in this Level 2.

Uh… what. The blurb itself talks about Felicia spending her days in a white, pristine place doing nothing but watching her old memories all day. Everything is turned on its head when Felicia discovers another girl dead (how can that happen when everyone is already dead?) but nobody knows who Felicia is talking about. It is as if the girl never existed. Sounds kind of … sci-fi and right up my alley. But this story was anything other than good. What I read was a gushy, sopping pile of instalove with a side story of Heaven vs. Hell and angels being bad guys. It was all over the place. I almost needed a map to be able to figure my way around. There were just so many things that hit me wrong about this story and that irritated me. It left me confused, as if I just wasn’t smart enough to figure out what was going on. I’m not a stupid person, this story just did not make sense to me.

The overall plot. Let’s start there, shall we? Anyone that knows me knows I love a good dystopia. This was not a dystopia story. I’m not even sure what it was. It tried to be too many things and ended up failing at all of them. Apparently, in this story, when someone dies (not murdered, mind you) they go to a place called Level 2. As I mentioned, it is considered an ‘in-between’ place. Everyone that is in Level 2 is completely clueless why they are there and spend their days rewatching their past memories. That’s right. That’s all they do. OH, and people on “The Net” can rent these memories and pay a small fee. The person that owns the memories can choose to keep some private, not release for public viewing. I could keep going but it just gets weirder and more pointless. There were so many things happening but together they made zero sense. It left me confused on what the actual plot was supposed to be – these trapped souls in Level 2 trying to escape to see what happens next. None of that is really discussed until the last half of the book. The first half is all about Felicia reliving her memories. YAWN.

There was also a severe lack of detail throughout this entire book. The author had one job: create a world that pulls the reader in and keeps them there until the end. That did not happen here. I was not able to connect to the world or picture what was going on because too much time was spent in Felicia’s memories – none of which had anything to do with the overall story. Sure, they were probably there for backstory but 75% of the book cannot be her backstory. Also, this was the type of story where things magically happened because it was just easier for the story. Felicia is supposed to be addicted a drug from pods she watches her memories in but suddenly she isn’t? In a very short amount of time she is able to simply manifest anything she wants like a pro?  That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

Now the characters. I strongly disliked Felicia in a way I haven’t disliked a character in a while. She was weak and immature and I could not ever connect with her. How was she supposed to be one of the main people fighting the angels to get into Heaven? (see, that just sounds so bizarre.) All she wanted to do was relive her memories with Neil, her instalove, and Julian, a boy she liked but acted like she didn’t. groan She kept hinting at something “super awful” that happened in her past so I guess I was supposed to believe she was a megabadass? Not going to happen. She was too meek and fragile to do harm to anyone or anything. I could not stand the way she did nothing but pined over Neil and she wanted nothing more than to save him. Honey, he did nothing for you so why risk it all for him?

I was not aware this story had such a heavy religious tone to it. If I had known, I honestly may have skipped it. This isn’t a cram it down your throat religious book but it was pretty bad. Felicia’s character was very active in her church and we, as readers, are forced to relive them. It shouldn’t be that bad of a topic but the way it was portrayed in this story made me a little uncomfortable. Felicia was dating (instalove) the head church boy and he didn’t want to get physical with her. She was upset by this. UH, why is this even brought up? What does this have to do with anything? Felicia herself was playing two boys at the same time so she really shouldn’t be casting stones. What I’m getting at is that the heavy use of religion in this story was out of place and probably not necessary. I didn’t need to relive the memory where Felicia goes to a sleepover in the church and they play a game where Roman soldiers were hunting down the Christians. Pointless.

As you can tell, I did not enjoy this book. It caused me to rage in a way I haven’t in a long time. I thought I knew what I was getting into when I started this but I was so very wrong. This was a long, boring, pointless story that simply tried too hard to be something it wasn’t. In fact, it was such a mess that I don’t think it knew what it wanted to be when it grew up. The author just tried too hard to put so much into this one story that it messed it all up. I will not pick up the second book, nor will I ever recommend this to anyone. In fact, I’m going to try to forget I read this one.

 

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Review: Shadowshaper (Shadowshaper #1)

Shadowshaper (Shadowshaper, #1)

 

I feel this story hit me out of nowhere. I was not prepared for the world I was pulled into. I don’t remember hearing a lot of hype or any talk of this before I borrowed it from my library. I was absolutely blown away by the tale Older weaved. Before I knew it, it had a hold on me that still will not let go.

Short recap: Sierra Santiago is a street artist, meaning she paints street murals. One day she swears she sees a mural move, a mural of a deceased neighborhood man. Anxious to find out what is going on, she tries to ask her grandfather for guidance. All Sierra is able to understand is the word “Shadowshaper”. What does this mean?

This was a solid and very well developed story. It is not a “message fiction”, whatever that might mean. This was a great story about a confident teen girl who discovers that she is more than she knew possible. That is how this story should be remembered. Family values, staying true to yourself, friendship, and hard work – those are the items represented in this story.

The protagonist, Sierra, was just damn good. I loved reading about her character’s story, growth, hardships, and accomplishments. She hasn’t had the easiest upbringing but she was raised right. She has a gift for painting murals throughout her city. Things start to change after she meets the new cute boy, Robbie. They quickly discover they have an awful lot in common other than art. Robbie admits that he knows what the Shadowshapers are when Sierra is just learning about them. Together they both set off to discover just what is going on and learn they are tied to something bigger than themselves. These two characters just worked so well together that it felt real and natural… almost organic. The way the characters were portrayed was refreshing. Sierra was a POC teen in a white-dominated society. She experiences some mild racism, but it was still addressed in a positive way. The worst coming from Sierra’s own aunt. I adored how Sierra stood up to her aunt and let her know exactly how the unwanted comments on body image, “natural hair”, and skin color were unwelcomed and racist. I wanted to high five Sierra for standing up for herself! Scenes like that don’t happen often enough.

The actual story itself blew my mind. I’m not one for magical realism and thankfully this did not feel like one of those stories. This felt like a wonderfully light fantasy story, if that makes sense. There was just enough fantasy and magic to make it an outstanding adventure. It was fast paced, action packed, and full of twists and turns. There is a touch of romance sprinkled in but it did not take center stage. Older still focused the story on family values, which I appreciated.

This is the first book in a new series by Older and it was brilliantly done. I loved everything about this story and cannot wait to start the second book.

 

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