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 Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell

MechanicaMechanica
by Betsy Cornwell
Release Date: August 25th 2015
Publisher: Clarion Books
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

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

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn’t want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

My Thoughts:
I love retellings so I was very eager to read Mechanica (and that cover!) and overall I did enjoy it. I loved that Cornwell took the classic Cinderella story and added some feminism. Nicolette- Nick for short- was a strong character that had mechanical skills like her mother before her. I thought that her mechanisms were interesting and for the most part easy to visualize. Jules, the mechanical horse her mother created, was adorable and he was my favorite character in the story….until View Spoiler »

Mechanica didn’t revolve around the romance but when the romantic elements were present they weren’t my favorite. There was some insta-love but it did help that the character was aware that they were feeling things a little quickly. The idea of being in love with the idea of someone rather than their true self was present and was a believable approach since that happens often in life. I never felt any chemistry between the characters. Not one little bit. The scenes felt pretty typical for the most part and were less swoony and more annoying.

As I mentioned above, Nick was a strong character and I loved that she was set on helping herself and creating a new life with her mechanical skills. She had a goal and worked towards it even with many obstacles standing in her way. I thought that was a great twist to the Cinderella story. No prince needed to save her. The only issue was that somehow it all fell flat regardless? I’m not sure exactly how or why but there were parts of the book that felt slower and yet the ending sequence felt rushed. Things sort of fell into place and were a tad too easy.

Final Thoughts:
Though the idea behind Mechanica was strong the execution fell flat for me. Nick was a strong character though not overly relatable and I never did feel chemistry between any of the characters. I wanted to have an emotional investment into Nick’s story but I never did. I though the mechanical elements added a great deal to the story and like I said it was based on a great twist to the typical Cinderella story.

Review of Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

VRVengeance Road
By: Erin Bowman Release
Date: September 1st 2015
Publisher: HMH 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:
When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Red Rose Gang for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there’s room for love in a heart so full of hate.

The Story:
I loved that Bowman chose to have her story set in the old west. This latest trend (still rather small trend but I hope we see much more) of western stories is very welcome. I find this book to be incredibly enjoyable and refreshing since I’ve not read many western style novels. I will admit that at first the writing was a tiny bit hard to get into. Bowman used grammatical error in dialog which was fitting to the story and characters but reading it took a bit to adjust too. My mind had issues trying to correct the grammar rather than get immersed in the story. I was able to get over this after about a chapter so no biggie. I wanted to put it out there though in case you are like me.

The book was set in Arizona, the descriptions were rich and made it so easy to visualize. I could easily see the scenes playing out like a movie as I read so that was really wonderful. Vengeance Road is a standalone novel so we get a full story with closure all in one book. I could see a ton of potential for companion novels so I’ve got my fingers crossed for those to happen. The pacing starts out lazy just like you’d expect a hot Arizona day but things ramp up as the story progresses.

The last third of the book was incredibly fast paced and I was happy to be surprised by some of the twists and turns. In the author’s note Bowman talks about where the inspiration for the story came as well as how she interwove her story into a legend about the location. I never skip acknowledgements or author notes but if you tend to I’d recommend you read this one.

The Characters:
Bowman did such an excellent job with these characters. Her main character, Kate, was driven by hatred and revenge which made her such an intriguing point of view to read from. I loved watching her come to terms with her grief and since I’ve just lost someone I deeply loved I could relate to her pain. I love that she was in no way a good or bad person. She fully fell in the middle ground and did good things and bad things. You can easily sympathize with her one page and then be shocked by her grit on the next.

The secondary cast was very well done. Kate goes on her journey with two brothers, Will and Jesse who are dealing with their own grief and pain. I think that the author did an exceptional job in showing how difficult life would have been in the old west. I appreciated the vast amount of growing up these teens had to experience in such a short amount of time. And for those curious- this book had no love triangle.

Final Thoughts:
Vengeance Road exceeded my expectations with a realistic depiction of the old west, complex characters and twists I didn’t see coming. This book was exceptionally well done and I highly recommend it and I’m holding out hope for a companion novel.

Vengeance Road goes on sale September 1st but you can pre-order this book now for under $10.

Abandoned- Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel

PalaceofSpiesPalace of Spies
By: Sarah Zettel
Release Date: November 05, 2013
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift- thank you Regina!

Made it to page 195

Summary:
A warning to all young ladies of delicate breeding who wish to embark upon lives of adventure: Don’t.

Sixteen-year-old Peggy is a well-bred orphan who is coerced into posing as a lady in waiting at the palace of King George I. Life is grand, until Peggy starts to suspect that the girl she’s impersonating might have been murdered. Unless Peggy can discover the truth, she might be doomed to the same terrible fate. But in a court of shadows and intrigue, anyone could be a spy—perhaps even the handsome young artist with whom Peggy is falling in love…

My Thoughts:
I’m not sure I’d ever have picked this one up because I’m not drawn to the cover and I’m horrible at reading books if I’m not attracted to how they look. I know this is awful but I can’t seem to help myself. I received the sequel unsolicited and was told by a friend that the book was great. Said friend (Regina) gifted me the paperback so I wasted no time in starting this one.

The beginning of Palace of Spies was promising due to the unique storytelling Zettel utilized. I really enjoyed the chapter titles and how they summarized the events of the chapter, “In Which Our Heroine Learns Much That Is Unexpected, Finds Hope Unlooked For, And Shares A Sad Confidence With An Old And Trusted Friend.” The book had a humoristic approach and yet seemed accurate in its historical depictions. I zipped right through the first few chapters and though I couldn’t connect with the characters on a deep level I was still interested in what was occurring.

The further I read though the less interested I became. I started to get bogged down by the details and I hoped for a splash of romance or something to keep me invested. Sadly, my review schedule started to call so I put this aside to focus on the books I needed to read and this book sat on my bedside table for a long time before I remembered it was there. Now I keep glancing at it not really feeling the drive to pick it back up.

That all leads to this evening and my decision to abandon it for the time being. Did this book have potential- yes. I think I could really enjoy it if I had more time and was in the right mood for it. I hope to give it another go at some point.

My question to you- have you read this book? Have you wanted to or is this the first you’ve heard of it?

Review of Unmade by Amy Rose Capetta

UnmadeUnmade (Entangled #2)
By: Amy Rose Capetta
Release Date: January 13th 2015
Publisher: HMH 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:
Cadence is in a race against time and space to save her family and friends from the Unmakers, who are tracking the last vestiges of humanity across the cosmos. As the epic battle begins, Cade learns that letting people in also means letting them go. The universe spins out of control and Cade alone must face the music in the page-turning conclusion to Entangled.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed Entangled but wasn’t blown away–but reading Unmade I was riveted. I think the biggest draw for me was the relationship between Cade and Rennick. I shipped them so much and there little shared moments kept me reading even through the slower parts of the story (which weren’t all that common). These two characters had such a strong chemistry and I loved their dialog and aspects they brought out in each other.

As introduced in the first book- Cade, the main character, had a special ability where she hears the music others exude. This all works similar to an aura but Cade hears it rather than sees. I thought this was such a clever touch to the series and an interesting ability for the main character to have. Because of this, music plays a large part in the story line.

The other characters are beautifully developed and diverse. I loved that Capetta showed a variety of human relationships as well as a cast of other species. She never made any of her ‘aliens’ comical or silly. They all seemed realistic and elegant in their own way. As mentioned above, I have a special spot for Rennick-an aloof, handsome alien that tends to keep to himself but when push comes to shove he’s a brutally efficient fighter.

One of the problems I had in the first book was the language used. The author chose to give her world its own slang and it detracted from the story for me. In this book either it was less present or I’ve gotten used to it because I wasn’t nearly as bothered and it actually seemed to flow easier.

The action scenes were wonderfully vivid and easy to picture even taking place in space. I adore the new characters introduced and felt that they helped fill in any gaps in the cast of characters from the first book. Another aspect I really enjoyed about this series was the space sickness that humans suffer after spending time in space.

Final Thoughts:
Unmade was the sequel and conclusion of this two part story and I felt that it wrapped things up very well and had a satisfying conclusion. I continued to love the characters and felt that the storyline was well executed.