DNF Review for Ruined By Amy Tintera

RuinedRuined
By: Amy Tintera
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

DNFed at half way point.

Summary:
Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed Reboot by Tintera and I was so excited to see her venture into the fantasy realm with Ruined. I didn’t know what to expect but happily dove right into reading this book. I noticed pretty quickly that this might not be for me but I really wanted to love it so I continued to the half-way point. I finally just decided that I’d stop there and maybe come back to it at a later point according to how other reviews are.

I felt that for the most part the writing felt simplistic which stood between my connection with the characters and storyline. I felt virtually nothing for any of the characters. I wanted to be at the edge of my seat. I wanted to feel the chemistry between characters but alas, I did not. I didn’t feel a whole lot of anything.

The world was interesting though I didn’t feel I got a lot about it but I’m positive it’ll be further explained as this book continued as well as the series. I think my biggest problem with this book was that it didn’t feel much different from many books I’ve read before. The plot wasn’t all that original- girl hides identity to avenge the murder of her family. Girl is set to marry Prince and he’s not nearly as bad as she expected and she even might have feelings for him. There’s nothing wrong with these plot points and honestly they can be twisted and reshaped to create a unique storyline. I really wished the writing or characters could have grabbed me and kept me invested.

Have you read Ruined yet? If so, did you enjoy it and should I go back and finish it?

DNF Review for We’ll Never Be Apart by Emiko Jean

WellNeverBeApartWe’ll Never Be Apart
By: Emiko Jean
Release Date: October 6th 2015
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher
Format: Print ARC

DNFed at page 50

Summary:
Murder.

Fire.

Revenge.

That’s all seventeen-year-old Alice Monroe thinks about. Committed to a mental ward at Savage Isle, Alice is haunted by memories of the fire that killed her boyfriend, Jason. A blaze her twin sister Cellie set. But when Chase, a mysterious, charismatic patient, agrees to help her seek vengeance, Alice begins to rethink everything. Writing out the story of her troubled past in a journal, she must confront hidden truths.

My Thoughts:
I was initially drawn to the cover and typography of the title. Look how beautiful it is. After reading the summary I was positive I wanted to read this book. You have murder, revenge and the main character in a mental ward- all these things seemed like a winning combination for me.

Things started off very well- I really felt the writing was compelling and found myself loving the fast pacing. Sadly though, as I read on, I started to see where the story was headed. It seemed so obvious to me so I decided to flip to the end of the book and…yep…I was correct. I pondered if I should keep reading though I clearly saw the twist. I put it aside and haven’t picked it back up so I’m not sure I will.

I’ve read a few thrillers and so maybe that’s why the ending was so obvious to me? I’m not really sure. I think if you can read this one and not predict the outcome you’ll enjoy it and probably find it to be a very enjoyable read. It was just hard for me since it seemed so obvious and predictable.

Have you read this book? Did you find the ending to be completely obvious too?

DNF Review of Public Enemies by Ann Aguirre

PUblicEnemiesPublic Enemies
By: Ann Aguirre
Release Date: August 4th 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

DNFed at 39%

Summary:
Through a Faustian bargain, Edie Kramer has been pulled into the dangerous world of the Immortal Game, where belief makes your nightmares real. Hungry for sport, fears-made-flesh are always raising the stakes. To them, human lives are less than nothing, just pieces on a board.

Because of her boyfriend Kian’s sacrifice, she’s operating under the mysterious Harbinger’s aegis, but his patronage could prove as fatal as the opposition. Raw from deepest loss, she’s terrified over the deal Kian made for her. Though her very public enemies keep sending foot soldiers–mercenary monsters committed to her destruction–she’s not the one playing under a doom clock. Kian has six months…unless Edie can save him. And this is a game she can’t bear to lose.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed the first in this series, Mortal Danger, fairly well. I had a connection with Kian and Edie and some of Aguirre’s descriptions were incredibly creepy. I figured Public Enemies would be more of the same so I was eager to try it out. Sadly, even from the start, I was afraid this book wasn’t going to work for me. I had lost connection to the characters- maybe a reread would have helped. I didn’t really care about Kian and Edie’s relationship any longer. The writing wasn’t nearly as strong as it was in the first book. I felt that there was a lot of telling so I was unable to really get into the storyline.

I only read up to 39% so I’m not certain how things concluded but there was a more in depth look into a character, the Harbinger, (I honestly can’t remember how much this character was mentioned in the first book) that felt really stereo-typical to me. I felt that I’d read this same character many times before. He was a dangerous yet charming guy, misunderstood perhaps and I could see it going into love triangle territory. I have NO CLUE if it actually did since I didn’t finish. I could be completely off base there. The saddest part though was that even though his character felt done before he was the most interesting part of what I read.

Final Thoughts:
I maybe should have stuck this one out since Ann Aguirre is such a wonderful writer. As I neared the mid-way point and was still not enjoying it I decided I’d move on to something else. If you’ve read it let me know what you think. Did I make a mistake in giving up?

Also, what do you think of the change of pace concerning the cover art?

DNF Review- The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz

IsleoftheLostThe Isle of the Lost
By: Melissa de la Cruz
Release Date: May 5th 2015
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Format: Hardcover
Source: McDuffie Communications

A copy of this book was sent to me by McDuffie Communications in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:
Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon and made to live in virtual imprisonment on the Isle of the Lost. The island is surrounded by a magical force field that keeps the villains and their descendants safely locked up and away from the mainland. Life on the island is dark and dreary. It is a dirty, decrepit place that’s been left to rot and forgotten by the world.

But hidden in the mysterious Forbidden Fortress is a dragon’s eye: the key to true darkness and the villains’ only hope of escape. Only the cleverest, evilest, nastiest little villain can find it…who will it be?

Maleficent, Mistress of the Dark: As the self-proclaimed ruler of the isle, Maleficent has no tolerance for anything less than pure evil. She has little time for her subjects, who have still not mastered life without magic. Her only concern is getting off the Isle of the Lost.

Mal: At sixteen, Maleficent’s daughter is the most talented student at Dragon Hall, best known for her evil schemes. And when she hears about the dragon’s eye, Mal thinks this could be her chance to prove herself as the cruelest of them all.

Evie: Having been castle-schooled for years, Evil Queen’s daughter, Evie, doesn’t know the ins and outs of Dragon Hall. But she’s a quick study, especially after she falls for one too many of Mal’s little tricks.

Jay: As the son of Jafar, Jay is a boy of many talents: stealing and lying to name a few. Jay and Mal have been frenemies forever and he’s not about to miss out on the hunt for the dragon’s eye.

Carlos: Cruella de Vil’s son may not be bravest, but he’s certainly clever. Carlos’s inventions may be the missing piece in locating the dragon’s eye and ending the banishment for good.

Mal soon learns from her mother that the dragon’s eye is cursed and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She’ll just need a little help from her “friends.” In their quest for the dragon’s eye, these kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain’t so bad.

My Thoughts:
I really didn’t know much about Isle of the Lost other than it was going to be a TV show on Disney channel. I was a bit hesitant since I didn’t know if this was fully YA and honestly it didn’t really feel like it to me. It felt more tween and because of this I wasn’t really into the story, writing or characters. I think the premise was cute and I think it’ll make for a great show but I’m not the target audience.

I thought that the premise was really interesting–looking at the children of villains of our favorite Disney movies. I love the latest trend in highlighting the villain of the story and I think this book was a fun approach. Really, my disconnect came with the age this one was written for. I think if you are more open to middle grade or tween fiction you’ll enjoy it! If the premise grabs you give it a try.

Have you read Isle of the Lost? If so, do you think I should have stuck with it and finished?

DNF Review of The Novice by Taran Matharu

TheNoviceThe Novice
By: Taran Matharu
Release Date: May 5th 2015
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

Made it to page 148

Summary:
When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.

My Thoughts:
First, I absolutely love the cover of The Novice. That was what drew me in and I’ll admit I requested it based on that alone. I figured it leaned towards fantasy and so had really high hopes. I also hadn’t noticed the little lizard on the guy’s shoulder until I was about 20% into the book!

I enjoyed some aspects of what I read. The beginning started fairly strong (if not a tad slow paced) and I thought it would be a great read for me. I didn’t love any of the characters but I saw potential. Once Fletcher made it to the Academy things sort of started to fall apart for me. It felt typical of other middle grade fantasy I’d read but I enjoyed the addition of the demons the students had as their battle partner/pet. I’ve not done much with Pokémon but it did bring it to mind.

I think I would have been okay with the story pulling from some typical fantasy tropes if the writing would have gripped me a bit more. I felt that a lot of the story and dialog was just telling me and not showing me. I had very little emotional connection to the story progression.

I’m not opposed to picking this one back up at a later date because it did have elements that I enjoyed.

Have you read The Novice? And had you noticed the little critter on his shoulder?