Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Books I've Had Trouble Reviewing

Do you ever intend to write a longer review for a book but struggle with getting the words to fit together in a way that accurately reflected your thoughts on it? *raises hand* I have! That's why I'm going to talk briefly about those books instead of writing out a longer, more formal review. I know I'm still technically writing reviews, but it feels easier in a way. It's a break from the normal style that I write in.

*I received advanced copies of each of the below books in exchange for an honest review.

The Good: I liked the cast of characters! Well, I didn't like them as people since many stooped to very low levels in order to get what they wanted and that damaged them quite a bit. They were so FAKE, too. That was to be expected from this story, though. I really liked how the main characters' stories intertwined as the book progressed and forced the characters to interact with one another. 

The Meh: This book was like an opened bottle of soda that has been sitting in the fridge for a tad too long. I liked it, but it felt flat. There should always be that extra OOMPH to scandalous books like this, but I spent a long time waiting for something *big* to happen. I was waiting for twists! Three quarters of the way into it, though, the big stuff FINALLY started happening. It didn't make make the book much less flat, but it helped make it a tad bit more exciting.

Will I Be Reading the Sequel? Yes! I hope to. There was a twisty ending that had me wanting more!

Overall, Unrivaled was an enjoyable read despite being falling flat in the scandal. 

The Good: 
The book started off really well! It was easy to get caught up in the story. It was exciting and quick paced. The characters seemed fine. The romance seemed like it would be REALLY good. I do have to say that the ending was an okay one, though. 

The Bad:
Once I wasn't caught up in the addicting pace, I had so many problems with the book. I spent the last quarter of the book realizing how many flaws it had.
  • There didn't feel like there was a lot to the story. It felt like a pretty simple plot, actually.
  • There was a lack of depth. The conflict between the two sides of the was was so ugly, but I didn't feel like it was explored enough. I could tell it was ugly because that's what I was told, but I didn't feel that deep hatred, despite the horrible events that took place. 
  • There was a lack of world building. I knew enough about the world to understand what was going on, but it still didn't feel like I had much information. The richness was missing from the fantasy world. It was nothing special either!
  • There was a lack in real emotion. I didn't get hit in the feels. Some devastating things happen to the characters, but their reactions felt watered down. There should've been rage and pain and determination, but I only got the barest hints of them.
Will I Be Reading the Sequel? I don't plan to.

Overall, Ruined started out as an exciting read, but I ended up being disappointed in how the book was executed. I was caught up in the addicting pace in the beginning, but I ended up being caught up in the flaws more.

The Good:
  • It sure was fun! There was especially some hilarious moments as Cedric reacted to the new world around him.
  • The concept was cool. Characters from a fantasy world were stranded in L.A. and needed to find a way to get back home and save their home from the antagonist. It was very Thor-esque.
  • There was some natural chemistry between Cedric and Liv, which made me like the beginning of the romance.
  • It got INTENSE in the middle because there was more and more danger. 
The Meh:
  • The fantasy world wasn't complicated--it seemed pretty simple, actually.
  • Even though I really liked the concept, the execution wasn't anything special.
  • I wished for more bonding between characters--evidence of their strong, week, strained, etc. relationships
  • This was one of those books that was easy to disconnect from when I hadn't read any of it for a day or two.
  • The romance felt flat in the second half. I didn't sense as much of that chemistry as I did in the first half.
Will I Be Reading the Sequel? Well, there's no sequel confirmed as I'm writing this, but if there's one, I might read it. It's low priority, though.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read with a neat premise! Not much of it stood out to me as "WHOA, HOW COOL," but the book was decent.

The Good:
  • Maguire was relateable and easy to connect to. Or, she was to me, at least. We didn't have a lot in common, but I was still able to connect with her.
  • I loved Maguire's family!! It made me very happy to see her have good, healthy relationships.
  • Maguire's POV changed and became more relaxed as the story progressed. It was a good way to exhibit the growth she was undergoing.
  • The writing was very well done. It felt like Paula Stokes' best work so far! I really liked how descriptions were phrased and how impactful the short, poignant sentences were. Some powerful quotes could come from this book.
  • It was very, very therapy friendly. There's an openness and acceptance that I found important to this aspect of the story. 
  • So. Much. Was. Built. Into. This. Book. Well-crafted feels like a word that suits it well. This book was full of life because of everything that was added to it

The Meh:
Since it's been awhile since I've read the book, I can say that it's impact didn't linger with me as much as I thought it would. The only negative that I noted right after reading it, though, was that it may have been a bit slow in the beginning. 

Overall, Girl Against the Universe is a well-crafted, touching contemporary! It was the most solidly written book I've read by Paula Stokes so far.

The Good: 
  • This book is Bad. Ass. It reminded me of the Iron Fey books, but with more violence, a pixie, and bits of clockwork. Oh, and no love triangle.
  • The fae were vicious and not watered down like I've seen in many of the other books I've read. 
  • There was pain and blood and destruction. There was especially a lot of those things in the beginning, which kicked this sequel off with intensity.
  • The characters in general leapt off the page.
  • More characters were added to the cast. Kiaran's sister was HILARIOUS. She's one of the funniest book characters I've met in 2016.
  • The parts that focused on Kiaran and Kam or a battle or the history of the Falconers were the type that had me hooked!
The meh:
I wasn't a fan of the plot. It was mainly about interest level and not the quality of the story, but still. I found myself skimming some parts then having to go back to read them again because I was bored with with the main conflict involving power. (I don't even remember what it was about...) I was way more interested in seeing how Kiaran changed or learning about other characters or reading the action scenes.

Will I Be Reading the Next Book? YES. I MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.

Overall, The Vanishing Throne is a badass sequel to The Falconer! I had lukewarm last impressions of the first book because the ending was a "oh, it's over?" moment for me, but the ending of the sequel hurt like hell. It was a solid ending to a very strong continuation of an awesome fae series!

Phew, it feels good to post my thoughts on these! Happy Reading! ~ Kaitlin 😃

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