Book Review: The Ring and the Crown by Melissa De La Cruz

18296016The Ring and the Crown by Melissa De La Cruz

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Genre: Historical Fiction and Young Adult

Release Date: April 1, 2014

Pages: 384 (Hardcover)

good good

Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.

But even with the aid of Emrys’ magic, Eleanor’s extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen’s Guard.

Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie’s face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she’s always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she’s always dreamed of–the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor’s court: trust no one.

First of all, I would like to thank the public Relations coordinator, Annie Jackson/Small Girls PR for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

This book, right here, is one the reasons why I stay far, far away from historical fiction books as well as books about princesses. They are always predictable, there is no (or barely anything) real talk about wars, enemies, etc. It’s all just romance and scandals and who’s fucking who or who wants to fuck who but not allowed to. I honestly felt like I was reading about the girls in my high school rather than an empire on the verge of collapsing. The characters are so one-sided and superficial that I had to skip a few chapters for one character because her life consists honestly, of only money and romance. That’s it. Nothing else. In fact, this is all the main characters care about, romance. Not about anything important.

The novel starts off with a lot of description. Aelwyn returns to the palace after four years. The bad thing about this novel is that it’s all fluff. Like I mentioned before, all the characters are one-sided, especially Ronan (the idiot who care only about money and romance). I could not, for the life of me, give two shits about the ridiculous shit that she goes through. More than once, I had to skip her chapter because I knew that I would give no fucks about what she has to say.

Despite the fact that just about everything important annoyed me, once I shut off my brain, I actually started to enjoy The Ring and the Crown a bit. I really enjoyed the ending, it’s so shocking and exciting. The writing is all right, I didn’t necessarily despise it, it’s well down with the palace and I liked a little French that’s put in it here and there. I also liked the magical aspect of the story although I would have loved it even more if there was more of it, more back story to it.

The Ring and the Crown is can be fun if not thought about at all.  I recommend this one only if you’ve read and enjoyed historical fiction with royalty and enjoyed all the scandals and romances and whatnot. There’s not very much meaning to this story and is solely for entertainment and I was really upset reading this and I don’t know if I’ll read any of De La Cruz’s other series. Though I might finish this series in the hopes that these characters grow the fuck up and decide that life isn’t all about stupidity.

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

 

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Book Review: Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

16179216Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: April 1, 2014

Pages: 368 (Hardcover)

good good

Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
Rule Two—Be careful.
Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
Rule Five—The letters are the law.

Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.

But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Katherine Tegen Books for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion
Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer is a sinister psychological thriller.

description

I don’t know who wrote that blurb but they obviously didn’t read the same novel as me. Dear Killer is laughable at best.There isn’t anything sinister about it. It lacks common sense and has such a childish feel to it. The writing style made me want to claw my eyes out, it’s more obnoxious than The Situation from Jersey Shore and just as disgusting.

I am not a killer. I could never kill anyone, and even if I had to for self-defence, I would feel horrible about it, like most people. Kit is a killer. Has been since like, nine or something. From this age, and a mother like hers, I would expect her to keep everyone at a distance despite the fact that she’s a teenager. I would expect her to get a fucking grip and not cry just because her mother is upset with her. She is so unbelievable, she thinks she’s a great actress yet the only reason she isn’t caught is because they are far too stupid to realize anything (the police).  I also expect her not to be smitten with her enemy which, by the way,makes for one of the worst romances I have read about that has minimal insta-love. Moreover, the murders aren’t even well explained. She seems to just use some karate kicks and then that’s it. Nothing else. Even Kit’s alter ego is thrown in with no back story whatsoever! There’s no build up nor any foundation for anything. It’s so bad that I had to laugh. Don’t read this book. Don’t even look at it, just keep walking.

Nothing about this book is good. Nothing.

Dear Killer is bad. So bad that even a night of drinking couldn’t make it any better. The characters are all half-assed and there’s no common sense. Just because the carpet is black, Kit believes that the police won’t see it which is not true. But in this book it could actually be possible since they’re so unbelievably stupid. Don’t read this, it’s not only a waste of time and money but a waste of imagination. Nothing is explained, nothing is realistic, and nothing is properly executed. No. Just, no.

1 Lonely Cloud

1 Lonely Cloud

Book Review: Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

17934493Book Review: Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Genre: Dystopian and Young Adult

Release Date: April 8, 2014

Pages: 373 (Hardcover)

good good

 Divided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.

Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

I am so sick of romance in Young Adult novels. It’s all insta-love or something close to it. Romances more often than not take over the story but in Plus One there’s barely any romance until about 70%! I’m not kidding! It’s flipping amazing! The build-up, the relationship, perfection! Okay, except that D’Arcy totally insta-loved Sol at the beginning, but it didn’t bother me. My biggest problem with this has to do with the world building and the flashbacks. The whole night and day thing is awesome but flawed.  I also hated that the flashbacks felt more like ways dump info on readers. But as a whole, Plus One is awesome and just what I needed! And yeah, the ending is cheesy and shit but whatever.

Despite how much I really liked Plus One, there are a lot of holes and weak spots in it. One of the weak spots is the world building. Not much of this is explained which is sad because I really enjoyed the aspect of the whole Day/Night divide, all there is on it is that the division started sometime during the Spanish flu.There’s some talk about a rebellion but it’s so small that it feels like it’s put in there just to end ties with some things. I also didn’t like the flashbacks because, although they’re a nice way for readers to know more about the characters, there’s just too much info in those few pages that it feels more like an info-dump than anything else.

I’ve never read a book with such a slow burn romance but now that I have, I want to read more of them! They’re just so realistic in this aspect and they actually focus on the plot! It shows that the plot doesn’t need a romance to get stuff done. Although it’s obvious that D’Arcy is in love with Sol almost instantly because he’s constantly risking his life for her, I enjoyed that Fama doesn’t let Sol take too much advantage of this nor does she let Sol get her feelings for him in the way of her mission. The characters are really strong and well done. They’re all mysterious and I loved reading about them, especially Sol and Jean because they’re both flawed but really do try their best. Another thing that I loved is the French, it’s amazing. It’s not too much that people who don’t understand French will get confused and well done that the French feels right to be woven into the story and I enjoyed that Fama told the meaning of the words/phrases in English so that readers could fully understand it.

Overall, Plus One is a fun novel that has great characters, tons of actions, and a bit of romance. Even though the world building is flippy-floppy and close to nothing about the division is explained, I liked it a lot. I recommend this one to anyone who’s also sick of all that insta-love/too much romance stuff that seems to be taking over YA books now.

3.5 Interesting Clouds

3.5 Interesting Clouds

For quotes from this book, click, here.

Album Review: Unearth by John Bassett

Unearth-Album-CoverUnearth by John Bassett

Record Label: Stereohead Records

Genre: Folk/ Alternative Rock

Release Date: March 31, 2014

Songs: 10

good good

John Bassett is a multi-instrumentalist, singer songwriter, producer primarily known for writing the music and producing the critically acclaimed albums of Progressive Rock act “KingBathmat”. He has so far released seven albums since 2003 and self released them through the record label Stereohead Records. This winter 2013/2014 will see the first release of an acoustic themed album under his own name.

First of all, I would like to thank the record label, Stereohead Records for giving me a copy of this album to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

John Bassett has such a creepy voice. It’s smack in the middle of Patrick Watson and Copeland with his soft yet strong voice that reaches those high notes. Unearth starts off with such a unique style that, at first, might make listeners do a double take (I know I did!) and really listen to what music is playing around them. Nonetheless, I like this album. It’s great on its own but it also would be great in tv shows to give that emotional edge that Comedian has.

However, nothing is more disappointing than when an intense feeling starts to wear off. I love the haunting feel that comes during the beginning of each song, but somewhere in the middle, that effect wears off fairly quickly especially in Survival Rate, Tv is God, and Keep Dear. After this, the songs get a bit boring and repetitive.  Another thing that I have a problem with is that although all the songs are well done and go together nicely to make a coherent album, the songs sound a little too similar at times and makes it hard to distinguish each song from the other.

Still, I really like this record. Stay Away From the Dark reminds me so much of Kiss from a Rose by Seal just with the medial sound and the mood . Unearth is perfect. I absolutely love the overlapping vocals that give off an echoing effect as well as the creepy lyrics about sacrifices. I also love the guitar riffs, they’re simplistic yet memorizing in Unearth, Comedian, and Nothing Sacred. For an instrumental, Kylerhea is very well done. The guitar is brought out nicely but still doesn’t overpower the rest of the instruments like the soothing drums. The mood is so relaxing in this song, like a beautiful spring day.

Unearth should be called Unearthly haunting because I feel the need to watch as many beautifully done horror movies and tv shows as possible. Like Hannibal. Or something equally as elegant and odd. Off of this album, my favourite songs are: Stay Away from the Dark, Unearth, Kylerhea, and Comedian. I recommend this album to anyone who enjoys folk and alternative rock as well as some Patrick Watson.

3 Sexy Treble Clefs

3 Sexy Treble Clefs

Songs on the Album (Since this album isn’t out yet you can listen to Stay Away from the Dark as well as a the album trailer here.)

1. Stay Away from the Dark-4:35

2. Survival Rate

3. Nothing is Sacred

4. Unearth

5. Pantomime

6. Kylerhea

7. Tv is God

8. Keep Dear

9. Something that’s More Worthwhile

10. Comedian

Book Review: Skin and Bones by Sherry Shahan

18378832Skin and Bones by Sherry Shahan

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: March 1, 2014

Pages: 259 (Hardcover)

good good

 

Sixteen-year-old Jack, nicknamed “Bones,” won’t eat. His roommate in the eating disorder ward has the opposite problem and proudly goes by the nickname “Lard.” They become friends despite Bones’s initial reluctance. When Bones meets Alice, a dangerously thin dancer who loves to break the rules, he lets his guard down even more. Soon Bones is so obsessed with Alice that he’s willing to risk everything-even his recovery.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Albert Whitman & Company for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

Eating Disorders are something that I know a lot about because they have impacted my life in such a harsh way. So I expected to be able to relate to Jack’s story yet I couldn’t at all. It all felt very flimsy and rushed, nothing is properly explained and the characters are so choppy with the ever-present insta-love. Nonetheless, I liked the ending solely because it’s not necessarily a typical one.

Skin and Bones biggest problem has to be how unrealistic it is. The ICU unit in this is really relaxed and don’t seem to care about anything until Jack’s first weigh in. He exercises and no one’s there to watch him like a hawk his first few days there. This is actually mandatory pretty much everywhere no matter what is wrong with a person, there should always be a nurse watching especially on the first few days to get them to stop their horrible habits.Like I mentioned before, the characters are a bit flimsy and barely have a back story except for their parents. Jack doesn’t seem like an actual boy either. He’s like a girl trying to be a boy because of how emotional and stuff he gets. It’s very hard for a female writing to create a realistic male voice and Shahan didn’t capture it at all. Another thing that I didn’t like is the romance between Alice and Jack because it’s too forced and odd especially at first. It never really progresses and just suddenly ends just as the foundation was sloppily being built.

The story is fairly short and the chapters are short so it’s an easy read. The ending isn’t typical and I wasn’t expecting that which is why I’m bumping this book up to two stars.

Although Skin and Bones isn’t an original story and it felt more like a pamphlet rather than a story that could happen to anyone, it’s an easy enough read that some people, who might have to try pretty hard will enjoy. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys these kinds of novels but beware, it isn’t something new.

2 Clouds

2 Clouds

Book Review: This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready

18038539This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: April 1, 2014

Pages: 384 (Hardcover)

good good

Everyone mourns differently. When his older brother was killed, David got angry. As in, fist-meets-someone-else’s-face furious. But his parents? They got religious. David’s still figuring out his relationship with a higher power, but there’s one thing he does know for sure: The closer he gets to new-girl Bailey, the better, brighter, happier, more he feels.

Then his parents start cutting all their worldly ties in to prepare for the Rush, the divine moment when the faithful will be whisked off to Heaven…and they want David to do the same. David’s torn. There’s a big difference between living in the moment and giving up his best friend, varsity baseball, and Bailey—especially Bailey—in hope of salvation.

But when he comes home late from prom, and late for the Rush, to find that his parents have vanished, David is in more trouble than he ever could have imagined…

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Simon Pulse for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

I’m not a religious person and I highly doubt I will ever become one. I think that this is one of the reasons why cults interest me so much, they explore different kinds of religions, mashing them up and manipulating people to believe complete nonsense and stealing their hope and faith, some of the last things they have to offer. The idea of cults in this story is a lot different from the ones seen in documentaries and that’s what first interested me. I was looking for something different and well explained however,  This Side of Salvation isn’t that novel, it lacks depth and a solid back story but I liked it enough. It also doesn’t hurt that the cover is fucking beautiful.

The Rush pretty much takes up the whole story and although I loved reading about it, it makes everything else suck. All of the relationships between David and a family member is floppy and not well done. What makes it all worse is the relationship they all had with John is barely discussed until the very end. There’s no story there, there’s no emotion, and I felt like he was just shoved into the story to get the book to go in the direction of grief. Moreover, I didn’t like the style this book is written in with the past/present tense. Not a fuck was given about the past because all it told me was how the romance between David and Bailey came to be and odd David’s family started acting after John’s death.

This Side of Salvation has a really great idea. I’ve only read one other cult like novel and I didn’t enjoy it at all. I liked how Smith-Ready went with this and made it as mellow as possible but still keeping the parts after the Rush really interesting. It’s not the typical cult where people are completely cut off from the world, there’s a  few children brides, and some gore/abuse. David, for the most part, is a strong character because he’s really flawed yet he tries his hardest to be a good person and readers get to see him grow as a person. I loved how willing he is to give up everything he’s worked so hard for to become closer to something he believes in even if it’s just for the sake of his parents. The religion is really kept to a minimum throughout This Side of Salvation, I didn’t feel overwhelmed by it and I actually learned a few things about it.

Anyway you look at this, it’s still disappointing how This Side of Salvation is executed. I mean, I’m glad that it’s not the typical cult like stuff and the first chapter is really well done, it’s exciting and gritty and had my attention instantly but the story has huge holes in some crucial places like the characters themselves and their relationships. Nonetheless, I would still recommend this, mostly to anyone who’s looking for something a bit different to read about and don’t mind some boring characters.

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: Cold Calls by Charles Benoit

cold callsCold Calls by Charles Benoit

Publisher: Clarion Books

Genre: Mystery and Young Adult

Release Date: April 1, 2014

Pages: 288 (Hardcover)

good good

Three high school students-Eric, Shelly, and Fatima-have one thing in common:

“I know your secret.”

Each one is blackmailed into bullying specifically targeted schoolmates by a mysterious caller who whispers from their cell phones and holds carefully guarded secrets over their heads. But how could anyone have obtained that photo, read those hidden pages, uncovered this buried past? Thrown together, the three teens join forces to find the stranger who threatens them-before time runs out and their shattering secrets are revealed . . .

First of all, I would like to thank the Publisher, Clarion Books for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

This is probably the only story I’ve read where I really enjoyed the third person telling. It fits the story really well and the mysterious caller isn’t easy to figure out and I liked that. My biggest problem are the characters and how one-sided they are. It seems that their secrets are their whole lives but even that isn’t well described. I also really liked the moral lesson of how the characters face right and wrong and decide which is which.

Cold Calls has a very exciting beginning but almost instantly in the middle, everything starts to slow down and I felt so damn bored. It’s not intense and the mysterious caller, for the most part leaves them alone during this time and I quickly lost interest in the story all together. However, this isn’t the only reason why my interest left, it was also because of the characters who are, some of the most boring people I’ve ever met.  It seems that they don’t have lives other than their secrets. There isn’t much of a back story of how they were before this secret came to be, especially with Shelly and Eric. What was his relationship with April like? We barely get anything except that they have secrets that they don’t want anyone else to know about. The reason for the revenge seemed really silly and I had a hard time finding it realistic.

Like I said before, I think what gave this story a tense, gritty feel for me is the writing and the fact that it’s in third person which I actually cringe when first realizing it when starting a book. It’s awkward and hard to relate to characters but I really enjoyed it here. I liked how the mystery caller is played out in this. It’s not the typical way to find a stalker and I liked that. It sure had me guessing.

Nonetheless, Cold Calls isn’t a bad book it’s just boring after the initial first pages and it’s not scary whatsoever. Instead of feeling scared, I felt like I was watching a really tacky movie about high schoolers. However I still recommend this to anyone who’s looking for something light that has more to do with karma than anything else.

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

For quotes from this book, click here.