1 Star

[Review] Graduation Day – Joelle Charbonneau

Graduation Day (The Testing, #3)

Author: Joelle Charbonneau

Series: The Testing #3

Publication Date: June 17th, 2014

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Number of Pages: 304

Genre: Dystopian, Action, Romance

Source: Public library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

In a scarred and brutal future, The United Commonwealth teeters on the brink of all-out civil war. The rebel resistance plots against a government that rules with cruelty and cunning. Gifted student and Testing survivor Cia Vale vows to fight. But she can’t do it alone. This is the chance to lead that Cia has trained for – but who will follow? Plunging through layers of danger and deception, Cia must risk the lives of those she loves – and gamble on the loyalty of her lethal classmates.

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[Review] 84 Ribbons – Paddy Eger

84 Ribbons

84 RibbonsAuthor: Paddy Eger

Series: None

Publication Date: December 17th, 2013

Publisher: Tendril Press

Number of Pages: 345

Genre: YA, Fiction

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary
The Debut novel by award-winning author Paddy Eger
A young dancer’s realizes her life long dream, if only for a while.
Seventeen year old Marta Selbryth realizes her dream of becoming a professional dancer when the Intermountain Ballet Company in Billings, Montana invites her to join their 1957 season. As Marta’s new life unfolds, she must learn to face not only the successes of dancing in the corps de ballet, but the challenges and setbacks that might crush the dream she’s had for so long.

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Nil – Lynne Matson

Nil

Nil (Nil, #1)

Author: Lynne Matson

Publish Date: March 4th, 2014

Number of Pages: 374

Genre: YA, Romance, Adventure

On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days–to escape, or you die.

Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field.

Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time.


Review

 this displeases me

^^That right there is my reaction to this book.

Warning: This review will use a lot of sarcasm, snarkiness, and two censored swear words.

Nil had such a promising premise. It sounded thrilling, dangerous, something that would have me turning the pages as fast as I could.

On the contrary, it was the complete opposite.

On Nil, victims have 365 years to get off of the island or else they die. No if, and, or, buts about it. It sounds exciting right?

NEWS FLASH

It became a f*cking island vacation romance. It’s like if you mixed together The Lord of the Flies and Lost and then took out all of the suspense and angsty deaths.

There was no sense of urgency. There was a noticeable lack of suspense that this book really needed. They have 365 days to get the h*ll off of that really really dangerous island and they lack the motivation. The forest is filled with dangerous animals like panthers, bears, tigers, etc. I thought the system that they used was good though. It showed how they were willing to work together to help send their friends home.

“Oh! We’re stuck on an island! Oh no! We’re going to die if we don’t hurry up and try to get out!”

*Puts off finding a gate home until there’s a month left*

“Oh no! I have a day left! I can’t find one!”

*Dies*

And they wonder why they can’t get off the island. I understand putting priority on those who have less time left, but you’d think that they’d be smarter about it.

This lack of tone and mood development is only one of the many issues though.

Have I mentioned the sheer stupidity of the characters? Charley, our protagonist, is supposed to be the “smart” one that is confident and “beautiful”. She’s the epitome of a Mary Sue. She has “beautiful hair”, “long legs”, “great friendship skills”, etc. There isn’t a single bad trait revealed about her except for maybe her insecurity over being able to create something like soap.

This logic wasn’t what made me really hate Charley though. What I found absolutely ludicrous was the fact that she was the (highlight to read spoiler) FIRST person to ever consider that the gates appear in patterns.  I can be positive of the fact that if this island were real, she would not be the first, after over FIFTY YEARS, to consider that these gates appeared in a pattern. She can’t just be “beautiful”, she also has to be the “genius” that discovers the gate pattern?

Thad is a Gary Stu. He’s “smart”, “strong”, “a great leader”, blah blah blah. They obviously get together. And it’s the most vomit inducing relationship I have ever read about. Oh and there’s insta-love.

“It was killer, and yet I couldn’t stop thinking about Charley.

Charley, standing on the beach, chin raised in defiance.

Charley, studying my face, ready to bolt.

Charley, lying on the bed, knocked out cold.”

Page 51

At this point, he’s only talked to her a total of once. Oh man, I can definitely feel that chemistry (not).

Oh and then after the insta-love, the way they act together at the end is pitiful. Thad obviously can’t think clearly because of some of the really stupid things he says and does.

AND THEN LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW CHARLEY WANTS TO HAVE SEX.

AFTER THREE MONTHS.

ON A DEADLY ISLAND WITH NO CONTRACEPTIVES.

GUYS, THESE PEOPLE ARE GENIUSES.

They have the motivation to have sex before they “die” but then they don’t have the motivation to make sure they live so that they can see each other on Earth again? What type of stupid logic is that?

you are dumb

It’s like all these characters don’t even care that they might die. Romance is like #1 on their to-do list (before learning how to make soap, surf, and play beach volleyball).

And this isn’t even counting the other couples. About 75% through the book, a couple forms out of nowhere. No buildup, no clever foreshadowing, nothing. Just BOOM. They’re found making out. 100% A+ for that fantastic romantic buildup.

It wasn’t even just the main characters that were badly characterized. I can safely say that I didn’t give a crap about any of the minor characters. Some of them died and I felt nothing partly because of the flatness of them and partly because of the bland writing.

OH YES

THE WRITING

Nil was written from a dual POV. Thad and Charley. Thad was an incredibly unconvincing male protagonist. I could not distinguish who was who in the book at all. They both sounded the exact same and I realized, with a start halfway through, that this was written from first-person POV. It takes skill to make me speed-read the book to the point that I think it’s third-person because of a lack of personality. On top of this, the plot wasn’t even all that interesting. It doesn’t even begin to pick up until in the second half and by that point, I was way too done with these characters to really care. Then I read the ending. The ending made me extremely extremely angry at the book because it took it to a whole new level of cheesy.

I don’t even know if I want to read the sequel. I heard that it’s supposed to answer all of the unanswered questions from the first book, but Nil was such a train wreck that I don’t really feel the urge to.

1/5 Stars

Cloaked – Alex Flinn (DNF)

Cloaked

Cloaked

Author: Alex Flinn

Publish Date: February 8th, 2011

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, YA

I’m not your average hero. I actually wasn’t your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all.

It all started with the curse. And the frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.

There wasn’t a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I’ve ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Keys.

Don’t believe me? I didn’t believe it either. But you’ll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got CLOAKED.


Review

So disappointed by this one.

I read Flinn’s book Bewitched about a year or so ago and I really liked it. Beastly immediately went onto my tbr list and I’ve been looking for a copy of it at the library for a long time now. However, 100% of the times I’ve gone, they’ve only had Cloaked. I finally cracked and picked it up instead of praying that Beastly was there. It probably would have been more efficient to put a hold on it, but I keep forgetting to.

Now this book is classified as YA but I think it’s too childish. I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I had read it three years ago when it came out. The characters were badly developed and as a result, made the book seem more unrealistic. I know that it’s a fantasy and about magic and isn’t meant to be realistic, but what I mean by this, is that Flinn didn’t bring this story to life.

Johnny had potential as a character. He wasn’t your typical teenage boy, and unique in the way that he’s fascinated by shoes and aspires to be a renowned designer.

The problem was that he was so dumb.

He knows that there’s magic and manipulations throughout the story. He uses the magical cloak and headpiece for Christ’s sake! Yet what happens? He is tricked more than once by mirages and tricks of manipulation. People tell him multiple times that he shouldn’t trust everybody. But what does he do? HE TRUSTS PRETTY MUCH EVERY SINGLE PERSON HE MEETS.

“Oh you’re forced to live here and you want to visit your parents in North Carolina? I’ve just met you, but you seem trustworthy. Here’s a magic cloak!”

*gets kidnapped*

“Aw shucks, I shouldn’t have trusted her.”

And then after he gets kidnapped, he resumes to come up with the stupidest plans of escape that I have ever heard. In a real-world situation, they wouldn’t ever work, but since this is book-world, of course it does.

“I don’t stand up. ‘Look, I’ve got a plan. When they get here, they’ll have the cloak, a magic cloak that transports you wherever you want to go. Now that I’ve got your flashlight, I’ll be able to see them. I’ll sneak up in the dark, turn on the light, and grab the cloak. So I’ll wish to be someplace impossible to guess, like the football stadium, and then I’ll be there. I’ll hide out a while. They’ll never find me.'”Page 157

Johnny, ever heard of the fact that your enemies own ears too? His plan could go wrong in so many ways, but naturally, since this is book-world, nothing does.

Aside from how dumb he acts, he’s also extremely flat. All of the characters are. They are painted with certain personality traits, but none of them have depth.

Another problem I have with the book is the relationships. It’s mentioned many many times that Johnny’s best friend is Meg but their relationship is so painfully awkward and so unnatural. The things they do for each other aren’t like best friends would. A real best friend wouldn’t lie to his best friend about his super big adventure and then use his AWOL father to guilt trip her into not questioning him. At one point he feels guilty that Meg doesn’t have sunglasses so he doesn’t use his. Wouldn’t a real best friend offer to let her use them?

What type of friendship is this and how the heck is it supposed to develop into dating?! At no point is there any concrete, emotionally-charged moments where you can see that they are friends.

I stopped reading at about halfway. I could not take any more of Johnny’s stupid decisions and the terrible relationships between the characters.

1/5 Stars

The Here and Now – Ann Brashares

The Here and Now

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Author: Ann Brashares

Publish Date: April 8th, 2014

Genre: Dystopian, YA, Sci-fi

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year


Review

The premise set up by Brashares is a paradox. It doesn’t make any logical sense.

That was one of the things that I really didn’t like about the book.

The other things
The characters are really badly developed. Only two are somewhat developed (albeit, crappily)and those are Prenna and Ethan. I couldn’t connect to any of them. The dialogue was awkward, the characters were flat, and many of their actions made no sense. Might I add that Prenna is one of the dumbest main characters I have ever read about. She has been warned numerous times that changing major things in history could result in bigger consequences than she is aware of. Does she listen? Of course not! She goes on to save a few people from dying, and although it didn’t affect too many things, it was something that really, really bugged me personally. Additionally, Prenna doesn’t seem to ever think about what she does or says (evidenced numerous times throughout the book). The adults in the book were extremely weak. They had no backbone whatsoever. Prenna walks all over them. She’s rude and they don’t do anything about it!

ONTO ETHAN.
This guy. Oh my god. He is supposed to be a normal kid who just so happened to be there when Prenna time-traveled to the past. Instead he can do almost anything, somehow manage to save Prenna (WHO THE CRAP WOULD PUT A TRACKER IN A SHOE? I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU BUT I WOULD RUN FOR THE HILLS IF SOMEONE DID THAT TO ME. DOES PRENNA THINK THIS IS CREEPY? NOPE. SHE LOVES HIM EVEN MORE FOR IT.) every time she does something stupid (which happens a lot). He is also poorly developed but not as annoying as Prenna.

The romance in this book was so forced. One second, Prenna is talking about Ethan like an acquaintance, the next she is referring to how she loves him. It came out of nowhere, had no buildup, and in the end, their relationship still felt the same way that it had at the beginning of the book. AKA, no chemistry.

Plot-wise, the book wasn’t much better. They are trying to save the world and prevent the plague, but then they go on a swim to the beach. A few chapters were dedicated to their trip in which NOTHING OF IMPORTANCE HAPPENED. It did nothing but attempt to develop the already terrible romance in the book. The author added in lots of scenes which had no relation to the overarching conflict but only to the romance (such as Ethan teaching Prenna card games). As a result, the plot was weak and unrealistic. Many plot points were brought up and then quickly ended(which made them really unnecessary as they didn’t help the plot progress at all).

1/5 Stars

 

The Forbidden Stone – Tony Abbott

 

The Forbidden Stone

Author: Tony Abbott

Series: The Copernicus Legacy #1

Publish Date: January 7th, 2014

Genre: Middle grade, Adventure, Sci-fi, Mystery

Summary

The Copernicus Legacy has everything middle-grade readers love-an international adventure, a compelling friendship story, and a mission that draws on history and astronomy. Readers who loved Percy Jackson will be eager to follow our heroes on this six-book, six-novella journey and excited to enter a sweepstakes to participate in a real-life scavenger hunt hosted by Tony Abbott that lets the reader become part of the story.

It all began when four friends-Wade, Lily, Darrel, and Becca-received a strange, coded email from Wade’s uncle Henry shortly before the old man’s sudden death. They set off for Germany to attend the funeral with Wade’s father, Roald, and discover that Uncle Henry left them yet another baffling message that they suspect is the key to figuring out how and why he died.

The message leads to a clue, and the more clues they discover, the farther they travel down a treacherous path toward an ancient, guarded secret. Soon they are in a breathless race across the globe, running for their lives as a dangerous shadow organization chases them around every corner. Their only hope of saving themselves-and the world that they know-is to find twelve magical relics from a hidden past that will unlock the Copernicus Legacy.


Review

Did not like. At all.

I hated the writing. I hated the ellipses. Oh the ellipses. Nobody should ever use that many ellipses in a book. It was awful. Turn a page. Ellipse. Read a paragraph. Another ellipse. THERE WERE TOO MANY ELLIPSES.

“Darrell, on the other hand…” (page 176)

“The tram made another s-l-o-w stop. Three passengers got off. Probably going to sleep. How much longer…?” (page 177)

“‘Are you ready?’ she whispered. ‘This exact kind of dagger is called a pug…pugnale…pugnale Bolognese-‘” (page 179-180)

“Her heart stopped. ‘Yes…?'” (page 183)

“‘Uh-huh. Really? Was anything…I can’t right now, we’re in… we’re out of town. Yes. Yes. Please. As soon as I can. Thank you.'” (page 185)

“‘In case…of what?’ asked Lily.'” (page 148)

“‘This is like…,’ Lily started, then stopped when she flashed her light on the walls below. ‘Uh-oh…'” (page 148)

“‘Oh my gosh,'” said Lily, staring out the window as the station receded. ‘What…what…what are we going to do?'” (page 199)

“‘Don’t get caught?’ Lily frowned. ‘Ohhhh, man…'” (page 199)

DO YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN?! I ASSURE YOU THAT I DID NOT INSERT RANDOM ELLIPSES. THIS IS HOW THE BOOK WAS PRINTED.

Not only this but there are multiple grammatical sentence structure errors throughout the book. It was choppy.

But what I really detested about the book was the characters. Every single one of them was a Mary Sue/Gary Stu. I don’t care if Becca is slightly insecure. She’s still a Mary Sue. Somehow, all of them are smart in some way but then they don’t know what a substitution code is? How old are they? In what universe does a fully grown adult allow children to coerce him into flying all of them to a foreign country? In what universe, will ANYBODY be able to find five tickets on a plane to Europe in ONE DAY? The universe practically revolves around them. Becca was the worst. She knows five languages. She knows all type of history facts. She knows science. She knows friggin’ everything. She’s quiet. She’s nice. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH HER. Lily might not be smart, but she is a “fantastic researcher”. But please explain to me how she can get WIRELESS IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY SO EASILY. DID I MISS THE MEMO ABOUT HOW SHE GOT 4G IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY? IT’S REALLY EXPENSIVE THERE. DID YOU KNOW THAT? WOULD YOUR PARENTS BE WILLING TO PAY FOR WIRELESS? OH YEAH OF COURSE THEY WOULD SINCE THE ENTIRE FRIGGIN’ UNIVERSE REVOLVES AROUND THESE FOUR KIDS. DID I MISS THE FACT THAT SHE SOMEHOW MANAGED TO CONNECT TO WIFI IN A TAXI? I’M FAIRLY CERTAIN THAT TAXI’S IN EUROPE DO NOT COME WITH WIFI. AIN’T NOBODY GOT MONEY FOR THAT. PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME. HOW IS HER LAPTOP OR TABLET NOT DEAD YET? HOW? Wade is annoying. He knows science and is just as smart as Becca, but then he always feel as if she is superior. Darrell isn’t supposed to be smart, but then of course he also knows some of the lovely facts that would benefit them on their journey. It doesn’t make any logical sense. They are said to be smart but then do some of the stupidest things I have ever read. If you are trying to maintain secrecy and “stay off the grid” as you have said, DON’T POST BLOG POSTS ABOUT THE ADVENTURE. I’m pretty sure that if they KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE and WHAT YOUR PHONE AND SUCH IS, the they can PROBABLY FIGURE OUT YOU HAVE A BLOG. Secondly, WHO WIELDS A DAGGER AND TAKES IT OUT IN PUBLIC. AGAIN, SECRECY. If you take out a very expensive-looking, dangerous weapon, what normal person isn’t going to notice? Please gain some common sense.

 photo no_zpsfce4cd3b.gif

The plot is inane. Again, since the world REVOLVES AROUND THESE CHILDREN, they can do anything without getting in trouble. They somehow have endless pockets and can come up with fantastic plans that miraculously work. Paired with the terrible writing, the book dragged to the point that I stopped just past the halfway point. I had to force myself to read it. I applaud myself for getting that far.

Lastly, before I finish this lovely rant, the scientific facts are wrong. I appreciate the research, but use more accurate sources.

1/5 Stars