Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Steampunk Chronicles by Kady Cross

Steampunk Chronicles by Kady Cross
Published between 2011-2014
Review:
I can definitely see what the hype was all about a few years ago when this series came out.  I remember adding these books to my TBR list but didn’t really get a chance to actually pick them up until now.  And damn, these books were intense.  The characters and the plot all got to me and I enjoyed every minute of reading these books.

Even though the book clearly followed Finley as the main character, I felt that there were incidences where she took the backseat in terms of the role of a lead protagonist.  This was especially true in the last book where I felt that she shared the lead role with Mila.  I would have enjoyed it more if there were a bit more consistency in terms of the roles that everyone had.  In the last book, I definitely felt as if the story was split up between saving Griffin and the romance between Mila and Jack Dandy.  They were so at odds with each other that honestly I was a bit confused as to why the author didn’t simply separate the two obvious major plots into two books rather than stick it all in one.  For me, it made things more convoluted that could have been easily avoided.

However, other than the above mentioned incidence, I did thoroughly enjoy all of the books.  I liked how each of the books sort of focused on a separate couple but still clearly had Finley as the main person to follow.  The plot was clearly defined and I enjoyed the adventures from saving someone from an American gang in NY to defeating an evil ghost-like person in this supernatural element.  There were definitely a lot of intrigue and nail-biting on my end.

Out of all of the characters, I actually liked Jack Dandy the most.  There was just something about his character that really enticed me.  Probably just his bad boy self… But really though, I thought Jack Dandy was probably the most interesting character because he was the most mysterious.  He was somehow always able to help them in times of need yet also ran his own criminal operations.  He was also somehow always a gentleman yet at the same time, he really wasn’t.  He was just a lot of contradictions which was why he was the character that stood out the most to me.

I enjoyed reading about Finley and everyone else but in a way, they were more 2D compared to Jack.  They were all straight and narrow and even though I did find them all well developed, I didn’t think they had an overwhelming depth to them.  They were always willing to help each other out and that actually made them a bit predictable because I was always able to guess what their next steps were.

Anyways, I really enjoyed the world building as well – the whole steampunk genre really appeals to me because they seem much more modern than they really are since they’re all technically in the Victorian era.  I especially enjoyed reading about the Aether world as well as the organites in the real world.  The one thing that really stood out to me were the automatons and how life-like they were.  It’s like the AI in our current world.

Overall, I like the series – I thought that the characters and plot were well-written for the most part.  This would be a good series to those who enjoy steampunk with a dash of supernatural elements.
Rating:

Monday, December 11, 2017

OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy

OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy
Published May 10, 2011
Summary on Goodreads

Buy Links:
Amazon | Book Depository
Review:
For some reason, I thought that this was a MG novel.  The writing style and the book cover seemed to indicate that it’s MG rather than YA; however, the content revealed that it was definitely more YA.  Anyways, enough with my own inner ramblings about this book.

I thought this book taught a very important lesson: learning to be true to yourself.  It’s a lesson that I don’t think that many people are taught these days especially with the media and the digital world.  It was especially interesting to see how religion played a part in this book as well.  I don’t really read too many books these days where the focus is religion so I was intrigued to pick this one up mainly for that.  It was also interesting for me specifically because I grew up Christian and for a brief moment in my life, I went to a Jewish private school where I had to follow the traditions and customs.  It was especially odd since I’m Asian and Asian people aren’t exactly known for being Jewish so I stood out so much more because of that.  And even though I went to this private school, I didn’t really think that there were that many differences between the two religions.  So I found it fascinating to read from Ellie’s POV where she discussed about it. 

Ellie was an engaging protagonist.  I found her likable and relatable especially with her struggle to identify herself.  She grew up mainly in a Jewish setting but was technically half Jew and half Lutheran.  She never really struggled with her religion but once faced with scholarship’s benefactor and her stigmatism against Jewish people, Ellie was forced to reconsider everything and figure out how to stay true to herself.  The reason why I found her relatable was because religion is something I think everyone struggles with whether or not it’s an active struggle or a passive one – everyone has to believe in something or simply believe in nothing which is still considered as something aka agnostic.

The plot itself was also fun to read.  I found the oratory aspects of the story to be quite entertaining.  I am never one for public speaking so it was interesting to find a whole camp dedicated to public speaking for teenagers and see all of the assignments given with a lot of them only given minutes before to prep.  I don’t know about you but that sounds incredibly intimidating to me. 

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book.  I found it entertaining and light-hearted which is perfect when you just want something fun to read and enjoy. 
Rating:

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Rites & Wrongs of Janice Wills by Joanna Pearson

The Rites & Wrongs of Janice Wills by Joanna Pearson
Published July 1, 2011
Summary on Goodreads

Buy Links:
AmazonBook Depository | Audible | Audiobooks
Review:
There are pretty much only two reasons why I managed to finish this book: I listened it to it via an audiobook and it was only 3 hours so it wasn’t long at all.  If it weren’t for these two reasons, I honestly would have given up this book ASAP.

Janice, the main character for this book, was probably one of the obnoxious and self-absorbed person I have ever “met”.  She was consistently negative and was so pessimistic to the point that I wanted to throttle her.  It was no wonder why even her best friend was getting tired of her.  There’s only so much negativity one can have in their life and clearly Janice was by far more than enough for anyone.  It’s not that she was a depressing person but she never looked at the brighter side of things.  She always thought the worst for herself and for everyone around her.  And it’s one thing if she kept it to herself but she also lacked motor control for her mouth so she would always blurt out the truth.  Blurting out the truth isn’t necessarily a bad thing but coupled that with negative honesty was just so painful to listen/read to. 

Another aspect of the book that could have been done so well sorely lacked a well-done execution and that was the whole topic on anthropology.  The idea of anthropology is quite intriguing but because Janice, the one who is so interested in this topic, was so negative, reading about her “observations” was more like reading about someone who is always petty and looked for the worst in people.  Anthropology is all about observation from a third party but Janice took it too far.  She didn’t realize that observing and taking notes and observing and commenting are two completely different things.  One is observing from afar and the other is usually coupled with their own opinions.  And since Janice was so negative, her observations was also riddled with pessimistic comments such as comparing someone to the stench of dead animals.  Every time she spoke, I just wanted to shake my head.  There are things you can say and things you really cannot say and Janice knew no boundaries.

I can’t even say that she learned from her mistakes at the end of the book because she really didn’t.  I mean, I think she learned a little bit but that was because she was forced to since her best friend no longer wanted anything to do with her.  I don’t believe she learned anything because she honestly wanted to. 

All in all, I can truthfully say that this book was executed poorly with subpar characters, specifically Janice, and lackluster plot.
Rating:

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Snared by Jennifer Estep

Snared by Jennifer Estep
Published April 25, 2017
Summary on Goodreads
Review:
I can’t believe that this is already book 16 in this series – when is this ever going to end?  Unfortunately (or fortunately) I don’t see it ending it anytime soon since it seemed as if Gin just fell into a huge pile of secrets that will take another 10+ books to solve.

Honestly, I can’t believe I am still sticking with this series.  It’s not that it’s bad or anything but it has dragged on long enough.  However, I actually did enjoy the latest in the Elemental Assassin series.  I feel like after solving this huge issue, things might actually finally end so I’m still debating about whether or not to continue to stick with this series and see where it goes.  

Moving on to the actual review of this book – I actually really enjoyed it.  The characters haven’t changed too much – there’s still not that much of character developments but overall, they were adequate and did their job nicely.  The plot was what drew me in.  I liked the mystery and the suspense.  Even though the general gist was always obvious especially after 16 books of relatively similar storylines, I did find a few plot twists that kept me entertained and on the edge of my seat.  The book also wasn’t too long that it only took me a few hours to finish.

Overall, there’s not too much to say other than this book was pretty decent and it’s clearly the starter for another story arc.  If you are willing and prepared to read a shit ton of books for this series then have at it.  It’s a long ride but certainly an entertaining one.
Rating:

Monday, December 4, 2017

Video Review: The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh

The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh
Published August 1, 2017
Summary on Goodreads

Review:
Check out my new Video Book Review that I did on my YouTube channel, Shut Up & Read.  You will see that I have already published a few videos that are all book related from book reviews to compare & contrast and more!

SUBSCRIBE HERE: https://goo.gl/7oAl9f

Holed Up In A Book © 2015