Archive for January, 2014


Defy by Sara B Larson

defy Defy by Sara B. Larson

Published January 7th, 2014 by Scholastic Press

Buy this book at: Books a Million / Book Depository / Amazon / B&N

 

Synopsis:

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king’s army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince’s guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can’t prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she’s sworn to protect?

 

Rating: 3 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Scholastic!

Where oh where did this story go wrong? It had everything that a good story should. Wars being waged, girls being kickass soldiers, sorcerers, loyalty, honor, revenge, and betrayal! And it started off so well, I just don’t understand what happened in the middle.

So let’s start at the beginning. I liked Alexa, she was interesting and brave. I liked everything I saw from her. Okay fine, so she tended to blush and quaver when an attractive male was around. But since that would most likely just make her fellow soldiers think she was gay…well, no big deal in the end I guess. But she was smart and brave and loyal to a fault. The story was also very interesting in the beginning to. The prince was clearly up to something but I had no idea what. I had suspicions but I wasn’t sure exactly where it would go.

Now let’s skip to the end. I also really liked the end….mostly.The part where Alexa has to convince the king to allow her near him during the battle, it was a good bit. And then the actual battle was excellently written and I enjoyed it a lot. I didn’t even mind the ending too much, though it fell short after the excellence of the battle scene.

Here is where I hated this book, the entire middle. Alexa was supposed to be this big kick ass fighter and she was…at times. And then as soon as the prince gave her the side eye she got all wussy and pathetic! In that moment she became every pathetic, cliched YA heroine ever. She cried, she quavered, she had a heart that flip flopped around in her chest. I was flummoxed! What happened to the Alexa from the beginning of the book? Where on earth did she go?! She didn’t return until the very end and even then she started slipping back into it a little bit. Her character became an utter disaster.

My other big problem and the biggest reason behind just 3 stars was the constant use of rape as a plot measure. They have breeding houses, aka rape houses, and yes that’s exactly like it sounds. Apparently girls captured in war are repeatedly raped so breed new soldiers. Okay, here the huge logic fail here. The war has only been going on for just longer than 17 years…so maybe 20 years. How exactly are these babies helping the army? You could only have had maybe one generation, how the hell does that even work?! And then the king has a son conceived in rape, and that one served no purpose either. I will not accept author’s using rape just as a device to say “hey look, he’s a bad guy!”. It’s lazy and it’s disgusting.

I was disappointed because this book had so much potential. Some of it was realized and some was not.

 

Advertisements

Restoration by Elaine D. Walsh

?????????????????????????????Restoration by Elaine D. Walsh

Published September 18th, 2013 by Barks Out Loud

Buy this book at: Amazon / B&N / Books A Million / Book Depository

Synopsis:

When your life is shattered you can live damaged or repair it.

With a signed death warrant and final appeals running out, Tess Olsen anticipates the execution of the man her mother deserted her family for thirteen years ago. Randall Wright s death will expel his disturbing legacy and return her mother to her; it s as simple as that, or so she believes. But Wright robbed her life of more than just her mother and like a splinter slowly and painfully working its way to the surface, those stolen pieces begin emerging.

Working as an art conservator in New York City, Tess keeps an emotional distance from co-workers. She has no close ties since isolating herself during her teen years when the tale of Wright s crimes, trial, and marriage to her mother was published in a Pulitzer Prize winning article. She yearns for the family she had and is unable to accept who they are now.

Tess is dating Ben Elliot, an art critic for the New York Times. The relationship both intrigues and unnerves her. Unlike men she s dated in the past, he is more interested in her than her physical attributes and any sex she can offer. Although drawn to Ben, she is more comfortable with men like Kenyon LeMere, a brazen artist Ben introduces her to who has a reputation for translating his sexual liaisons into art.

Restoration chronicles Tess Olsen s challenge to restore her life, relationships, and dreams back to the promise they held before Randal Wright.

Rating: 4 star

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. This did not affect my opinion of the book, thank you Barks Out Loud!

This book was not long but every word served its purpose perfectly. This little tome follows Tess. Her mother married a serial killer when she was a young girl. She used to be a painter, but she isn’t anymore because she feels that her new stepfather has ruined her gift. She doesn’t speak to her mother and she avoids closeness at all costs. Randall is about to be executed and Tess is overjoyed that she can finally move on with her life. Tess is a very damaged woman who is clearly living in the past, this is obvious to the reader but not to Tess.

I was not exactly sure what to expect when I started this book. Yes, I had read the synopsis but I still didn’t know just what kind of story I was getting into.It was an emotional ride. My heart broke for Tess. I cried for her. I wanted to help her. I hurt for her and wanted to protect the little girl that she used to be. I followed her journey to figuring out some of her issues and felt the pain right along with her.

This story though is not about Tess and her acceptance that Randall’s execution won’t fix her life. It’s about her and her relationship with her mother. It was about Tess realizing that her mother was much more responsible for ruining her childhood than Randall. Because her mother consciously made the choice to let evil into her children’s lives and did nothing to stop it. The book is about realizing the part that her mother played in all of the things she blamed Randall for. I could sympathize with Tess on this front. We don’t want to believe that our parents are flawed and make mistakes, and sometimes they choose evil over their children. It can be a very painful thing to finally make that leap in your mind. But it is incredibly freeing once you finally get there.

The biggest complaint I had about this book was the Francesca storyline. While I liked Francesca as a character, I didn’t like what the author did with her story. I realize that they were trying to parallel Tess and her mother with this one, but I just didn’t get it. In fact I thought that the resolution to that story was a bit selfish on Tess’ part and Francesca’s part. So I just didn’t get it, nor did I agree with how it was handled. But this small complaint aside, this was a great read.

night harvest Night Harvest by Michael Alexiades

Published September 26th, 2013 by Turner Publishing

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Book Depository / Books a Million

 

Synopsis:

A riveting debut thriller from one of New York’s most eminent surgeons, Night Harvest follows the bizarre disappearance of patients from a Manhattan hospital into the murky underground of the city.

Fourth-year medical student Demetri Makropolis has been assigned to cover orthopedics at Eastside Medical Center, one of New York City’s finest hospitals. Just as his surgery team begins to operate on New York’s leading drama critic, F. J. Pervis III, the patient suddenly goes into cardiac arrest. The team fails to resuscitate him, so the corpse is moved to the hospital’s morgue. But before the autopsy is even performed, the body vanishes from the morgue and mysteriously reappears a day later—with the brain surgically removed. Even more disturbing is the medical examiner’s discovery: Pervis was still alive when the ghostly craniotomy was performed.

With their reputation at stake, the hospital assigns NYPD’s Detective Patrick McManus to the case; meanwhile, Demetri learns of an eerily similar century-old unsolved mystery that leads him to an enigmatic figure lurking in the bowels of the medical center. With Pervis as his experiment, the perpetrator initiates a chain reaction of chaos and murder in Manhattan.

A gripping tale filled with ambition, romance, jealousies, and black humor, Night Harvest is a thrilling ride that culminates in the long-abandoned elaborate network of subterranean rooms and corridors that still lie beneath present-day Manhattan.

 

Rating: 2 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Turner! Past this point this review contains spoilers.

 

This book was kind of boring. The idea was that this medical student gets involved in the plot of a serial killer when a local celebrity dies on the operating table only to have his body go missing. Then later they find out he wasn’t dead at all and was killed later. Other people go missing, medical student plays detective and we all know how it proceeds from there. I wouldn’t really call this one predictable, because it was just so random. But, I present you the pros and cons of this book.

Pros:

Writing – The writing is not bad. It is adequate for a story of this type, although I felt like it tended to ramble a little too much without really going anywhere. But largely I have no complaints about the writing, it accomplished what it needed to accomplish.

Characters – Again, no complaints but nothing truly spectacular. The characters were decent and not too cookie cutter like. I did really like Demetri and McManus, I would have preferred that the POV was strictly kept between the two of them. The other characters I didn’t really care much about either good or bad. They were just set pieces for the greater story.

 

Cons:

The Bad Guy – This was just weird. He kills because he has found the secret to immortality, but then he alternately kills other people and rapes them just because. He seemingly has no preference for male or female victims to rape, not even seems to care if they are alive or not at the time. This is so out of synch with everything that makes a sexual predator what they are, they have very specific preferences. It just, I don’t know. Oh yeah and did I mention that he is supposedly like 100 years old? Weird.

POV Jumping – We spent time with at least 6-7 different characters and we seemed to jump between them every 2-3 pages. It was so confusing. I still don’t think I know who half of the characters are and how they related to the story. And it seemed like the author wanted to give every character a back story, so it is just a long line of one page of plot and one page of backstory then on to a new character. I found that I learned absolutely nothing about any of the characters as a result.

Plot – Meandering and aimless. I wasn’t sure what the actual point was except to just set us up for a sequel at the very end. Nothing really was accomplished. And I found that I cared less than I should.

Overall it was not a bad book but it was not very well executed. It needed a lot more work before being put on the market to really tighten up the story and characters. So I would rate it as slightly less than average.