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?

Review of A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

AStudyinCharlotteA Study in Charlotte
By: Brittany Cavallaro
Release Date: March 1st 2016
Publisher: Harper
Format: E-ARC
Source: Edelweiss

My Rating:
star

Summary:
The last thing sixteen-year-old Jamie Watson–writer and great-great-grandson of the John Watson–wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s enigmatic, fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who’s inherited not just his genius but also his vices, volatile temperament, and expertly hidden vulnerability. Charlotte has been the object of his fascination for as long as he can remember–but from the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else.

Then a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Holmes stories, and Jamie and Charlotte become the prime suspects. Convinced they’re being framed, they must race against the police to conduct their own investigation. As danger mounts, it becomes clear that nowhere is safe and the only people they can trust are each other.

My Thoughts:
Oh, how I love all the Sherlock themed young adult novels. I new the moment I saw A Study in Charlotte I was desperate to read it. I really enjoyed this novel and found it to be a very fast paced and entertaining read.

We follow the story from Jamie Watson’s point of view and as always the Sherlock’s character is played by a stoic, cold type but in this novel it was a girl. Yay! I loved Charlotte’s characterization and felt that she was very well executed. It isn’t often that the female lead is more closed off than her male counterpart. I loved that this novel switched these roles.

I did expect a tad more chemistry and romance in this book though it wasn’t needed. The flow, pacing and prose were all wonderfully done. There was a chemistry between Watson and Sherlock but I felt it centered around their respect and friendship more than a sexual tension.

Another interesting thing about ASIC that made it stand apart was that Watson and Sherlock are the relatives of the famous duo. These two know the history between their families which added another unique spin to the story. I liked that there were many references to the original works. You can tell that Cavallaro is well versed in Sherlockolgy. Her knowledge adds so much to the overall feel of the novel.

The mystery these two explore was interesting though I wasn’t overly needing to know the outcome. What drove my interest in this novel was the relationship between Jamie and Charlotte. I loved the little bits they shared and deduced about each other. It was very easy to feel the emotions between these two and though it didn’t really veer into the romantic much it was touching and beautifully done.

Final Thoughts:
A Study in Charlotte is a great addition to the Sherlock reworks that have been released lately. I felt that this one was much different than the others I’ve read. I’d highly recommend this book to any Sherlock Holmes fans or anyone that likes a good mystery.

Review of The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

TheShadowQueenThe Shadow Queen
By: C.J. Redwine
Release Date: February 16th 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

My Thoughts:
I was eager to read The Shadow Queen because of the Snow White retelling element. Snow White has always been a favorite of mine and I was excited to see how Redwine would morph the story into a more fantasy setting. Once I started reading I was even further excited to realize that this was fantasy WITH dragons! Hooray! Well, my excitement didn’t last too long. Sadly, I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. The writing, pacing and characters fell a bit flat to me and I was never able to get invested.

I really, really wanted to love everything about The Shadow Queen and I believe that a good amount of readers will enjoy this reworking of Snow White. For me, I found the writing to be a bit simplistic and I was unable to really sink into the words. I had trouble immersing into the world or feeling anything for the characters. I felt that the author provided enough insight and description of the world to allow me to visualize the setting and understand what had driven the characters to their actions. Though I had all the information what I lacked was feeling.

You know, you’ll read a book and not connect and you honestly can’t pin-point why exactly and that’s how I feel about this book. When I look at all the elements, dragons, Snow White retelling, strong female main character, romance, and fantasy in general these things equal to all the things Kristen loves. But, for some reason, it didn’t mesh for me. From the start I struggled with getting into the story and pushing myself to read. For a bit in the middle I found myself enjoying it much more and thought I’d finally gotten into it and would fall in love. The further I read though-my interest waned. It became more and more a struggle for me and I could clearly see where the book was headed.

As I said earlier- I did really love the concept behind the book. Some of the imagery Redwine employed (especially in regards to the evil queen, Irina) were amazingly graphic and SO CREEPY. I loved that she created a heroine that was strong willed, brave and heroic. And who am I kidding- there were dragons so that was pretty damn awesome.

Final Thoughts:
Sadly, The Shadow Queen, wasn’t a hit with me due to my lack of becoming invested in the story or characters. I did appreciate the creative reworking of Snow White and the fact that Redwine incorporated dragons and some incredibly gruesome/disturbing elements in regards to the evil queen.

Blog Tour- Early Review of Tell Me Three Things

TellMeThreeThingsTell Me Three Things
By: Julie Buxbaum
Release Date: April 15th 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago—the closest place she has to something like home—she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

The thing is, Jessie does need help. It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live in LA with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

My Thoughts:
I”m usually not a huge fan of contemporary but this book really grabbed my interest with the summary and I’m so, so happy I took a chance to read it. I loved it. The characters were so relatable, the story was really wonderful and fast paced.

The strongest element in this book for me was Jessie. She had recently lost her mother and been relocated to a new state and school. Her life had fallen apart and her mourning and coming to terms with how things would be now without her mother was amazingly well done and heart wrenching. Though the novel touched on this sad topic the book itself had a very positive vibe and didn’t at all make me feel bad. I honestly fell in love early on and found it difficult to stop reading.

I loved that Jessie had to take a chance on interacting and taking advice from a mystery emailer. I thought Buxbaum handled it in a realistic fashion and I never questioned Jessie’s motives (or the mystery person’s either). I thought it was really impressive how much chemistry these two had via email. Trying to guess who the person sending the emails was fun too and kept me that much more involved in the story.

A lot of times high school dynamics can be a miss for me since I’m an older reader of the genre but not so in this book. There was some high school politics and mean girl stuff but it all hit fairly realistic and somehow didn’t feel like too much drama. Somehow Buxbaum took all these topics I normally wouldn’t really be into and made them incredibly palatable for me.

Final Thoughts:
I’m so happy I took a chance on reading Tell Me Three Things. I was swept away with the story and honestly found it to be a really heart-warming and fun read. I’ll be reading much more from Buxbaum in the future.

Thought Provoking and Action Packed

WolfByWolfWolf by Wolf
By: Ryan Graudin
Release Date: October 20th 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

My Thoughts:
I really didn’t know what to expect from this book because the premise was very intriguing to me but the time period and subject matter was sensitive and could go wrong very easily. Thankfully, I felt this book was very well executed and the topics of World War II and the horrible treatment of the Jewish people were treated with care and respect.

This novel was incredibly fast paced and I found it easy to form an emotional attachment to the characters. Yael was a marvelous character who was bold, committed and though she had been through so much and had the ability to skin-shift she was still easy to relate to. I loved that Graudin added the paranormal element of skin-shifting and mixed it with alternative history. Her explanation to how Yael came about her ability was well thought out and plausible. I was worried this mix of alternate history and the paranormal might not work for me but it did.

The motorcycle racing element to the story added such a tense and suspenseful atmosphere and really had me flying through the pages to see what would happen next. In many action packed books the characters are sort of forgotten but not so in this novel. I was as drawn to the secondary characters as I was to Yael. The story flips from Yael’s present to her past. This gave the reader insight into her experiences prior to the race and really added to the story. I was heartbroken to read about her past but also so drawn to her struggles and rooting for her to succeed.

Because her success hinged on the downfall of others it caused me to really question her actions and what my thoughts were on how she was set to succeed. I loved this element of the book and felt that it added so much to Yael’s character. I was as mixed in emotions as she was- to see kindness from some of the contestants but to also not know their motivations. Be prepared though this book ended on a hell of a cliff-hanger. The type of cliff hanger where you are staring at that blank page after the end not believing that there aren’t words…how could that really be it? Give me the next book NOW PLEASE.

Final Thoughts:
Wolf by Wolf was a thought-provoking, action packed emotional read that left me wanting more. I felt that the subject matter was handled well and the characters were well developed and intriguing.