Monday, July 14, 2014

Book Review: The House of the Four Winds

The House of the Four Winds (One Dozen Daughters, #1)The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey
Rating: DNF
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Source: Review copy from Netgalley in exchange for a review

The rulers of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard have twelve daughters and one son. While the prince’s future is assured, his twelve sisters must find their own fortunes.

Disguising herself as Clarence, a sailor, Princess Clarice intends to work her way to the New World. When the crew rebels, Clarice/Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick, and kills the cruel captain.

Dominick leads the now-outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret pirate haven known as The House of Four Winds. They encounter the sorceress Shamal, who claims Dominick for her own—but Clarice has fallen hard for Dominick and won’t give him up without a fight. 

I thought this one sounded like a fun read, but it just didn't do it for me at all. There is no way I was going to finish this before dying of boredom, so I gave up about halfway through.

I'm honestly a little tired of the whole girl dresses up as a boy thing and fools everyone because she binds her chest and talks in a lower voice. It's overdone, and is also rarely done well.

The writing style got on my nerves a bit too. Most noticeably was near the first when it said the main character asked something curiously. The books (what I read of it at least) was full of adverbs following the words said or asked, or the like. It's just too much. Besides that curiously is redundant, because if you're asking something, it usually means you're curious.

But that's off track a bit. I didn't care for this one for many reasons, but mainly because it just bored me. Even the mutiny was boring. The story failed to capture my interest at any point.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Book Review: The Silver Rings

The Silver RingsThe Silver Rings by Samuel Valentino
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Source: Netgalley review copy

Meet twin sisters, Celia and Alice, whose bid for freedom from their evil stepmother leads them on a hilarious journey through a world of fantasy and imagination. Join the sisters as they encounter a sarcastic fairy godmother, giants, charming princes, an overly dramatic fox, and more! Readers will recognize familiar themes from their favorite tales and read new ones taken from cultures around the world. Author and illustrator Samuel Valentino has cleverly woven together a delightful fairy tale that teaches us resilience and creative thinking pay off in the end.

This was fun in a fairy-tale like way. I started off reading it to my husband and sons while we sat around the campfire on a camping trip. Even though the main characters were girls, and my boys usually want nothing to do with that, they were quite interested in the story. My husband even enjoyed listening to it, and he's not a reader.

But then we had no more campfire time, and I finished it off myself. I will probably finish reading it to them in the future, though. I think this book is definitely aimed more at children with a short attention span, because there really just wasn't a whole lot to it. It moved very quickly, with no real danger to it. Which is perfectly fine for a children's book.

The main characters (twin girls) were fine, but I honestly had no idea who was who. There just wasn't a whole lot of character building, or character distinction between the sisters.

The illustrations looked like they would be a lot of fun and add to the story, but they didn't work well with my Kindle.  They were spread out over three or four kindle pages, which made them not at all as fun to look at.

This had a very Disney movie type feel to it, for me. I could see it playing out as a fun children's movie, and it's a fun read aloud book for the family, but don't go into it expecting great literature.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Book Review: Child of a Hidden Sea

Child of a Hidden SeaChild of a Hidden Sea by A.M. Dellamonica
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: June 2014
Source: Netgalley review copy

One minute, twenty-four-year-old Sophie Hansa is in a San Francisco alley trying to save the life of the aunt she has never known. The next, she finds herself flung into the warm and salty waters of an unfamiliar world. Glowing moths fall to the waves around her, and the sleek bodies of unseen fish glide against her submerged ankles.

The world is Stormwrack, a series of island nations with a variety of cultures and economies—and a language different from any Sophie has heard.

Sophie doesn't know it yet, but she has just stepped into the middle of a political firestorm, and a conspiracy that could destroy a world she has just discovered… her world, where everyone seems to know who she is, and where she is forbidden to stay.

But Sophie is stubborn, and smart, and refuses to be cast adrift by people who don't know her and yet wish her gone. With the help of a sister she has never known, and a ship captain who would rather she had never arrived, she must navigate the shoals of the highly charged politics of Stormwrack, and win the right to decide for herself whether she stays in this wondrous world . . . or is doomed to exile.

I liked the start of this one a lot, but as it went on, I liked it a bit less and less. It all turned out okay, and there were definitely some interesting things. But I guess it didn't go where I thought it would. I didn't care so much about all the political stuff and the like. I would have liked more world exploring and more learning about the history of the world.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Book Review: The Body in the Woods

The Body in the Woods (Point Last Seen, #1)The Body in the Woods by April Henry
My rating: DNF
Publication Date: June 17, 2014
Source: Netgalley review copy

In this new series told from multiple perspectives, teen members of a search and rescue team discover a dead body in the woods.

Alexis, Nick, and Ruby have very different backgrounds: Alexis has spent her life covering for her mom’s mental illness, Nick’s bravado hides his fear of not being good enough, and Ruby just wants to pursue her eccentric interests in a world that doesn’t understand her. When the three teens join Portland County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, they are teamed up to search for a autistic man lost in the woods. What they find instead is a dead body. In a friendship that will be forged in danger, fear, and courage, the three team up to find the girl’s killer—before he can strike one of their own

The characters in this book are well written, and I feel like they all have their own voice, so that part of the story is good. Unfortunately the plot just isn't to my taste. I'm not really enjoying this at all, so I'm going to stop reading, about halfway through.

I've found that I don't really care about the mystery aspect of this, and it's just not my type of book. I feel like those who grew up on Nancy Drew and are still looking for that kind of thing may like it. Or even a new generation who is looking for books about teenagers solving mysteries might like it.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Book Review: The Martian

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Publication Date: February 2014
Source: Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he's stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

So, I went out to my mailbox, which is white. The atmosphere was oxygen, which allowed me to breathe, science science, boring science. I grabbed this book I had received for review. The weight was approximately 1.2 pounds. I couldn't tell the dimensions, but I will say about 7 by 9 inches, because that sounds pretty boring. By the way, science, science, sciencey science. Then I read the book, turning a page each time I had read all the words on the page. There were 300-400 words on each page. You don't really care about that, but I'm telling you anyway. When I finished the book, I closed it, and had never been so happy to be done with a book!

If the style of the above paragraph interests you, you'll probably enjoy The Martian quite a bit. At least half of it was super dry, and super boring. I didn't really care about every minute detail of main character's existence.

There were some saving graces to the novel, though. I liked it a lot better when it wasn't Mark Watney's diary, and was just a regular story with dialogue and more than one person. I'm not the type of person who likes movies like Castaway, or that one with the guy in the coffin for the whole movie. So maybe I'm just not a good candidate for this one.

I'm kind of baffled by how high this is rated on Goodreads, but I'm obviously the odd one out here, and most people will like this. If you don't, however, like to read a diary in the form of a science textbook, or enjoy the previously mentioned movies, you might want to skip this one.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Book Review: The Truth About Alice

The Truth About AliceThe Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Source: Netgalley review copy

Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down.

This was a short, quick read told from multiple points of view. It can be a little painful to read at times. The bullying of Alice is a bit extreme. But it felt true to life, and even though most of the characters will stereotypical, it didn't feel forced or anything.

Most of the characters were not likable at all, but there were a couple that you were able to root for at least. I liked that the plot was told from the POV of a few different characters because it kept things fresh and kept the story moving. I think this would be a good read for teens.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Book Review: The Lost

The Lost (The Lost, #1)The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: May 2014
Source: Netgalley

It was supposed to be a small escape. A few hours driving before turning around and heading home. But once you arrive in Lost...well, it's a place you really can't leave. Not until you're Found. Only the Missing Man can send you home. And he took one look at Lauren Chase and disappeared.

So Lauren is now trapped in the town where all lost things go-luggage, keys, dreams, lives-where nothing is permanent, where the locals go feral and where the only people who don't want to kill her are a handsome wild man called the Finder and a knife-wielding six-year-old girl. The only road out of town is engulfed by an impassable dust storm, and escape is impossible....

Until Lauren decides nothing-and no one-is going to keep her here anymore. 

The plot of The Lost was really original, and I liked the idea of it quite a bit. There were parts that I really enjoyed, but the middle seemed to really drag for me. I liked the characters for the most part, but felt like Peter was almost a little too quirky, and we really knew nothing about him besides that.

The ending was good, and made me want to read more, so I may read the next book in the series when it comes out.

I received an e-copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.