Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review: Last Regress

Title Last Regress
By Rachel J. Thorne
Genre Adult supernatural/paranormal
Pages 219
Recommended by Rachel J. Thorne

First sentence Five o'clock on a Friday evening is a time that fills most people with a sense of joy, expectation  and excitement.

Alyssa is a skeptical paranormal investigator. She's never had proof that ghosts exist until a dark shadow appears in her room and she's attacked by frightening creatures. And when a handsome stranger appears to save her she begins to question her sanity. Either ghosts really do exist or Alyssa is going crazy.

What it has going for it
Any time an author contacts me to read and review their book I always download a sample first to see if I'm really interested. The first chapters of this book had some fun set up, a snarky character, and some clever writing so I accepted. This book had potential. It really did. It's not as if there was anything we haven't seen before but I love a good romantic ghost story and I was hoping this one would be just that. It started out promising and had an urban fantasy feel to it. I adore urban fantasy. I also liked how sacrificing the characters were. Unfortunately, besides it's potential, this one just didn't do it for me.

What's lacking
This one was lacking a lot and I feel terrible saying anything negative on these independently published books. I know I usually just bash a book to death if I didn't like it but that's because I hold traditionally published books on a higher standard. Anywho, here's what bothered me about this one.

  • Omniscient viewpoint. Not a huge fan. Jumping from one characters head to another without any breaks to show that we're changing heads is just hard to get used to. 
  • For the first half of the book nothing really happened. It was just a repetitive play by play of whether Alyssa was crazy or not. 
  • Insta-love. Not a fan. This one wasn't completely instant but pretty dang quick.
  • Cain. No not the character; the name. What a horrible name to give a character. I guess if you're not a bible reader you might not get that but, yeah. 
  • The sex chapter. Yep, that's right, this one got not just a scene but a chapter. What bothered me wasn't the sex scene it was actually pretty sad and understandable but it felt like it came out of nowhere! 
  • I really would have liked to see more of the city and Alyssa's work. There just wasn't enough world building.
  • Telling not showing. I can easily overlook this fault but it got a little tiresome in this one.

Favorite moment
When Nathaniel comforted Cain. Very sweet

Yea or Nay?
With a little bit of work this one would have been quite good. Without it, I just don't know if I can  make a recommendation.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Review: The Scarlet Pimpernel

Title The Scarlet Pimpernel
By Baroness Emmuska Orczy
Genre Adult Classic
Pages 204
Recommended by Book club

First sentence A surging, seething, murmuring crowd of beings that are human only in name, for to the eye and ear they seem naught but savage creatures, animated by vile passions and by the lust of vengeance and hate.

Armed with only his wits and his cunning, one man recklessly defies the French revolutionaries and rescues scores of innocent men, women, and children from the deadly guillotine. His friends and foes know him only as the Scarlet Pimpernel. But the ruthless French agent Chauvelin is sworn to discover his identity and to hunt him down. (From Goodreads)

What it has going for it
You can always tell how much I "liked"  a book when I just copy and paste the Goodreads synopsis on my reviews instead of taking the time to write one out myself...Well, that's now entirely true. Sometimes I just can't put a book's synopsis into words. But with this book, the former is the culprit. While that first LONG sentence may turn you off, this one was actually a very easy read. The plot moved along quickly which made the story...tolerable. 

What's lacking
As I told my book club: The three things wrong with this books were 1) Marguerite. What a useless character! She was used as a plot device. There was all this set up like she might actually be of some help but she never was. So freaking infuriating. Plus, she was just whiny and over emotional. 2) The writing. The above mentioned plot device trick is just plain annoying. Sure the story moved along and there was a lovely passage about the ocean I enjoyed, but it just seemed amateurish for a classic book. 3) The author used the word literally when she did not mean literally...twice. Ugh!  

Favorite moment 
When Percy kissed the ground where Marguerite had been...NOT! Yuck! 

Yea or Nay?
Meh. No, but if you wanted to don't let me deter you. It was an easy read and everyone else at my book club seemed to like it.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Predictability: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

I've been whining about books that are predictable lately and so, in an effort to defend myself, and to blog more, I offer this post.

Predictability in a book. Yes, it happens and usually depends on the reader. Some people are great at seeing that shocking twist long before it happens and others...not so much. Why some people are great at this and what type of person is better is not the subject of my post so let's not go there. I just want to talk about when predictability is good and when it's bad...and when it's just plain ugly.

(All these opinions are simply my own and should not be taken too seriously)

The Good
Yep, I have examples and everything. ;) Some books aren't kidding themselves. They don't try to pretend they are so dang mysterious that you'll never see that twist ending coming. If it's obvious??? Who cares. Your're usually so invested in the characters that you really don't care. And speaking of characters: When predictability is done right, the characters aren't complete morons. Meaning you're not screaming at them for being so dang stupid! Rather than ramble on and on, I suggest you read this lovely book here for a better understanding on what I'm saying. If you haven't already.

The Bad
 Uh, yeah, remember that yelling at the characters thing? I can't tell you how many times I rolled my eyes, slapped my forehead, and screamed at these characters. Well, mainly I screamed at the author. The characters were so badly written I didn't have the heart to yell at them. It's not their fault they're so freaking stupid. Books that flounce around pretending they're so complex and suspenseful and that you, the reader, will never guess what's going to happen next...Well, they're about as obvious as they claim NOT to be.

The Ugly
Yeah, and then there's the books where absolutely nothing happens! It gets so bad you start making up all this crap in your head where the story COULD go just to spice things up. But does it ever happen? No! You read hundreds of pages and then just sit there staring at the book thinking, what the hell? Where's the story?! Nothing happened! There was nothing TO predict!

So, what's your opinion? Have you ever noticed the difference between the good and bad of predictability in book, or do you actually have a life? ;)  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

January Wrapup 2013

Not only was January a horribly slow reading month for me but I'm way late doing this wrap up post. Sigh!

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Very good but a touch more set up to the rest of the series than I like.

 The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Meh, I didn't hate it but I was expecting better. Something less predictable.

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
So refreshing reading an adult book. It was funny and sad and just plain beautiful.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
*points finger gun at head and mimics blowing brains out* 'nuf said.

Favorite of the month was...Hmm, probably The Raven Boys but The History of Love was so refreshing! Least favorite? Um, I'm going to go with the book that made me want to blow my brains out.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Review: Across The Universe

Title Across The Universe (Across The Universe 1)
By Beth Revis
Genre YA Scifi
Pages 398
Recommended by Me

First Sentence Daddy said, "Let mom go first."

Amy's decision to join her parents on the Godspeed, a ship headed to a new planet, was the hardest one she's ever had to make. Committing to be frozen for 300 years till the ship lands doesn't seem too bad but that's before she's unfrozen years ahead of schedule.

Elder has never know anything but the ship he's been born and raised on. His life is already set before him. He's to be the leader of the people on the ship, but the ship hold more secrets than Elder is prepared for.

What is has going for it
Oh boy, I blame it on my life situation and the fact that formula following books are seriously getting on my nerves but this book really didn't have anything going for it. Let me explain.

What's lacking
First off, read that first sentence again. Daddy? Daddy?! This book is supposed to be YA but the two main characters acted like they were eight! I totally get the immaturity with Elder, look at his upbringing, but Amy acted like a eight year old too. Then you've got the Season which, sure, was disturbing but what really bugged me was how graphically it was explained. Dude! Your characters are acting like they're are  eight and then you've got these seriously graphic "grown up" situations going on...Just didn't mix well!  Then came the painfully predictable plot...People, I'm not a freaking genius who always sees what's coming but this one was so eye rolling-ly obvious I wanted to punch someone. As usual, I really am sorry. I know people really liked this one, it just wasn't for me.  

Favorite moment
When (can't remember his name cause that's just about how much I cared) dies...aka kills himself. Not because I was glad he died but because it was sad and managed to evoke a tiny bit of emotion from me.

Yea or Nay?
Once again I feel like the last person on the planet that has read this one so I guess my opinion doesn't matter but I wouldn't recommend this one. Far too predictable.