Friday, February 27, 2015

Catching Up On Reviews

Get Even by Gretchen McNeil
Series: Don't Get Mad #1
Genre: Contemporary / mystery
Pages: 320
Publication date: September 16th, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Goodreads Description: 
The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars in Gretchen McNeil’s witty and suspenseful novel about four disparate girls who join forces to take revenge on high school bullies and create dangerous enemies for themselves in the process.

Bree, Olivia, Kitty, and Margot have nothing in common—at least that’s what they’d like the students and administrators of their elite private school to think. The girls have different goals, different friends, and different lives, but they share one very big secret: They’re all members of Don’t Get Mad, a secret society that anonymously takes revenge on the school’s bullies, mean girls, and tyrannical teachers.

When their latest target ends up dead with a blood-soaked “DGM” card in his hands, the girls realize that they’re not as anonymous as they thought—and that someone now wants revenge on them. Soon the clues are piling up, the police are closing in . . . and everyone has something to lose.
Source: I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher exchange for an honest review. 

For the most part, I really liked reading Get Even! I had a good time reading it and was left wanting more after I finished.

The mystery was pretty good. It got really interesting towards the end, so I'm anxiously waiting for a chance to read the sequel. I really wanted to know who the killer was what his/her motives were. There was a Pretty Little Liars feel to it that I loved. Also, I loved the bits of romance! I was rooting for John and Bree the most. I also loved the romance that Margot had. She was my favorite, I think. 

There were two things that I didn't like about the book. Sometimes, I had to push myself through reading it. I didn't feel sucked in by what was happening. It was also a little hard to distinguish characters from one another. I was able to tell them apart easily in the second half, after I gathered info associated with each character, but it was all just so much in the beginning. There were so many details and characters, so I got confused. I ended up really liking the characters and feeling sympathetic for them when things went wrong, though. 

Overall, Get Even was a nice read with mystery, drama, secrets, and romance mixed in with its story. The ending left me needing the sequel. What will happen next? Who is the killer? What's in store for DGM? I really want to know!
2015 challenges this book counts towards:
105 Challenge

Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez
Genre: YA mystery/thriller
Pages: 432
Publication date: October 7th, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Goodreads Description: 
Valentina Cruz no longer exists.

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.  
Source: I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Kiss Kill Vanish was a surprise. When I first discovered it, it looked so good! However, after reviews started coming in and the book had been on my Kindle for awhile, I kinda lost interest. I'm glad to say that when I finally got to reading it, I got REALLY into the story. I really liked reading the book! Intrigue and the mystery and the drama and scandal--it was all so great!

The romance was the thing that kept me reading. I was always hoping for something to develop between Valentina and a certain guy. I was on the edge of my seat, looking for signs that the two characters were attracted to one another. As for the characters, I loved Marcel. Despite his jerkish behavior at times, he was one of my favorite parts of the book. He had a soft side that I couldn't resist. Valentina didn't feel like a solidly built heroine. She seemed a bit . . . scattered. All over the place. I liked her, but she didn't stand out as a great character. Emilio--ugh. I never liked him. I didn't like his and Valentina's relationship. It was too love soaked--too passionate-in-a-bad-way. 

The story is dark with bursts of dramatic color--just like the cover. It was a thrilling book! I was almost always on the edge of my seat and feeling nervous about what would happen next.

Overall, Kiss Kill Vanish was an exciting ride. I'm glad that I decided to pick this one up. It was fun!

2015 challenges this book counts towards:
105 Challenge

A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

Series: The Madman's Daughter #3
Genre: YA historical fiction
Pages: 400
Publication Date: January 27th, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Goodreads Description: 
After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity.
Source: I received an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A Cold Legacy was a decent conclusion, but it was the weakest installment of The Madman's Daughter series for me. It was missing . . . something. I wasn't nearly as drawn in by this book as the previous two. I didn't feel connected to the story or very interested in what was happening. It was like that certain special aspect of of the series wasn't there anymore. However, I still loved teh characters and the themes. I was impressed by Lucy because she seemed to grow and take on a much more important role. As for the themes, I loved the one of deciding your own fate. It helped make the ending a satisfying one.

Overall, I was a little let down by A Cold Legacy because it just didn't interest me as much as the rest of the series did. Nevertheless, I still liked certain elements that I liked in the first two books. Also, I was happy with how the entire story was concluded.
2015 challenges this book counts towards:
105 Challenge

When My Heart Was Wicked by Tricia Stirling
Series: standalone
Genre: YA paranormal
Pages: 192
Publication Date: February 24th, 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Goodreads Description: 
"I used to be one of those girls. The kind who loved to deliver bad news. When I colored my hair, I imagined it seeping into my scalp, black dye pooling into my veins.

But that was the old Lacy. Now, when I cast spells, they are always for good."

16-year-old Lacy believes that magic and science can work side by side. She's a botanist who knows how to harness the healing power of plants. So when her father dies, Lacy tries to stay with her step-mother in Chico, where her magic is good and healing. She fears the darkness that her real mother, Cheyenne, brings out, stripping away everything that is light and kind.

Yet Cheyenne never stays away for long. Beautiful, bewitching, unstable Cheyenne who will stop at nothing, not even black magic, to keep control of her daughter's heart. She forces Lacy to accompany her to Sacramento, and before long, the "old" Lacy starts to resurface.

But when Lacy survives a traumatic encounter, she finds herself faced with a choice. Will she use her powers to exact revenge and spiral into the darkness forever? Or will she find the strength to embrace the light? 
Source: I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I have almost zero reaction to When My Heart Was Wicked. I didn't connect to the characters or the story or ANYTHING, yet I kept reading because I didn't want to DNF such a short book. What I can say, though, is that I felt confused and disconnected. There didn't seem to be enough development, and attempts at development didn't work well for me. The magic was . . . weird. There didn't seem to be much of it (at least, much of anything really interesting) and the bits that were there confused me. Lacy didn't seem to change that much--or, at least, not become as dark as I thought she was going to become. The book was just a letdown. When I finished, I wondered what the point of it was, which is the biggest reason I gave this book only one star.

2015 challenges this book counts towards:
105 Challenge
2015 Debut Author Challenge
Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
Series: standalone ?
Genre: YA fantasy
Pages: 352
Publication Date: February 24th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen

Goodreads Description: 
Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.
Source: I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.

There wasn't enough to A Wicked Thing to make me want to finish the book. There was little plot development and it felt like there didn't seem to be much of any importance happening. By the time it felt like something was occurring (or starting to occur), I was so disconnected from the story that the new development felt sudden. It seemed to come out of nowhere to me. That was near 50 percent, and I decided to move onto other books shortly after that point.

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