Friday, November 17, 2017

Land Locked by Jessica Gunn

Land Locked by Jessica Gunn
Published September 12, 2016
Summary on Goodreads
Review:
So I read the first book a while ago and had received this e-ARC a while ago as well.  I thought the first book was decently written and was entertained.  However, I seriously struggled with the second book.  I’m not sure if I simply wasn’t as invested in the characters or the plot but something felt off because I honestly dragged my feet in reading this.  It honestly took me a few weeks to finally finish it and for someone who can usually finish a book in a few days at most, that is saying a lot.

I also read the novella that is set prior to the second novel which wasn’t too bad and it definitely set the book up because it took place between the first and second book.  And again, I thought the novella was fine – I got reacquainted with the characters and the story again.  Yet, as stated, something just felt off with the second book that I simply couldn’t get into it.

I did find the relationship with Trevor and Chelsea a bit draggy in the second book.  I already understand why there’s tension due to the incident in the first book but with Trevor’s puppy eyes to Chelsea and Chelsea just wanting to have some space, their interaction got boring very fast.  However, in a way, I am still rooting for them to be together just because I did enjoy reading about their relationship in the first book.  So when a third person came along, even though I did enjoy that character, I was a little shocked because I thought that they could still work things out.  Well, maybe not all hope is lost for the two of them.

The plot was also incredibly slow.  I thought things moved at a much slower pace.  Even though there were a lot of action and progress in the storyline, the pacing of each scene was drawn out to the point that I wanted to put the book down at every other chapter.   I also felt that there were a few questions that were left unanswered – perhaps the author will answer them in the third book.

Overall, this series is fine but this second book was just such a drag that I doubt I will pick up the rest of the books.  I believe that there are four books to this series so maybe it will get better.  I still think that the overall premise was enticing especially with the whole Lemurians and Atlanteans and the whole long-lost colonies.  Unfortunately the execution was just not the greatest for the second book. 
Rating:

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Video Review: The Diplomat's Daughter by Karin Tanabe

The Diplomat's Daughter by Karin Tanabe
Published July 11, 2017
Summary on Goodreads

Review:
Check out our new Video Book Review that I did on our new YouTube channel, Shut Up & Read.  You will see that we 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


Monday, November 13, 2017

Pink by Lili Wilkinson

Pink by Lili Wilkinson
Published February 8, 2011
Summary on Goodreads
Review:
I actually really liked this book.  I thought it was a refreshing read and I enjoyed reading about the characters and the obstacles that Ava was facing.

I would categorize this book as a coming-of-age novel because Ava was really learning about who she was and what kind of person she was.  There was definitely a lot of identity issues that she was having difficulty figuring out and the book really followed her path in learning who she really was.

Ava isn’t your typical character, at least, not in my world.  She’s an emo gothic lesbian girl and is surrounded by really liberal parents.  However, she’s really not that into being emo/gothic.  In fact, apparently she adores the color pink and would occasionally find the opposite sex to be appealing.  But because her parents actually encourage her to go out and be different (in her case: emo, gothic and lesbian), she was kind of intimidated to really be herself.  Or at least her deep inner self.  So this book struck out to me because it felt like the world was in reverse.  Usually YA novels have incredibly traditional or strict parents and the kid wants to break out and have more freedom.  Whereas in this case, Ava already had tons of freedom and choices but she wanted to be more “normal”.  Anyways I thought this struck me as irony at its finest.

Other than Ava, I did enjoy the secondary characters a lot.  I really liked the interactions between the stage crew members and even though they were all a little quirky in their own ways, they accepted each other and were clearly very loyal to each other.  That’s the type of friendship that is rare these days.  Even the “popular” girls were decent to read about as well.  In a way they were your stereotypical private school popular girls – gorgeous, rich, smart, etc.  However, they were also incredibly nice (except to the stage crew) which I found refreshing in a way.  They weren’t at all mean or rude.  Even for the stage crew members, they weren’t necessarily mean to them – they just avoided them and didn’t really want to associate with them.  So for all of the characters, I did enjoy reading about them.

If there was one thing I could criticize for this book was the fact that everything ended in a fairytale-like manner.  There weren’t any obstacle at the end and it was unrealistic how things all worked out in such a seamless fashion.  I was expecting more resistance or more issues to crop up but it was all figured out in an instant that it actually kind of put me off a bit. 

Anyways other than that issue, I did enjoy this book thoroughly.  I thought the pacing was great, the characters were clearly fun to read about and the plot was intriguing.  I would recommend this book to those who enjoy reading about figuring one’s identity or a coming of age novel.
Rating:

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Last Shadow Gate by Michael W. Garza

The Last Shadow Gate by Michael W. Garza
Published March 3, 2017
Summary on Goodreads
Review:
I had received this book a while ago from the author and just finally had the chance to read it.  This book is deceivingly long – it didn’t seem that long but in reality, the book was quite lengthy and took me some time to finish it.  The book is definitely more geared towards MG so there were a few elements that I found a bit young for me since I tend to stay in the YA/NA category.  However, overall I did enjoy this book.  The plot was entertaining and kept me guessing as to what would ultimately happen.  Naomi and Gavin were relatively well-developed and were more or less realistic.  The world-building casted a wide array of characters and cultures that worked well in this book.

The Last Shadow Gate is heavily in the fantasy genre so if you’re into that then you might enjoy this book.  I thought the whole concept about the gates and how it leads to different worlds very intriguing.  I really appreciated the world building in the alternate world and how varied the characters/creatures were there.  It was certainly imaginative on the author’s part.  I always think that fantasy is a difficult genre because the author usually has to create a completely different world and has to make sure that everything was structured and worked.  So I thought that the author did a relatively good job on this aspect.

The two characters, Gavin and Naomi, are step-siblings and while I couldn’t really relate to them as the older one, Naomi, was only 15 and Gavin was only 12 (a bit too young for me to relate with now), I did find their interaction relatable and somewhat realistic.  I also have siblings and their arguments and conflicts were exactly like what I had with my two younger sisters.  However, the one thing I didn’t find so believable was the fact that at 12 years old, Gavin was making decisions that I don’t think he’s really mentally capable of.  Yet at times, he truly acted as if he was 12 so sometimes I thought it wasn’t entirely consistent. 

I believe this book is part of a trilogy though I may be wrong but I do know that the author has already planned for 3 books.  To be honest though, I do not think I am that invested to finish the rest of the series mainly because while I liked the book overall in a general way, I am ultimately not too interested in the rest of the plot.  The story and the characters were interesting but they weren’t attention-grabbing.  But like I said in the beginning, I tend to veer more towards YA/NA and the author had mentioned that this was a YA novel but in reality, it really isn’t.  So I would recommend this book to those who enjoy more MG fantasy books.   
Rating:

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Video Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Published August 16, 2011
Summary on Goodreads

Review:
Check out our new Video Book Review that I did on our new YouTube channel, Shut Up & Read.  You will see that we 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


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