Tag «good concept poor execution»

Trilogy Termination: The Chemical Gardens by Lauren DeStefano

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Spring 2017

Trilogy Termination Blitz: I finally finish some trilogies I started years ago by reading the final book! But don’t let my delay in finishing them deter you from picking them up…or should it?

Miss the Introduction Post? Read it here!

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Wither (from Goodreads):
By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape–before her time runs out?

Together with one of Linden’s servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Cover Love
Series: Chemical Gardens Trilogy
Author: Lauren DeStefano
# of Books: 3 (Wither, Fever, Sever)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance, Science Fiction
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: March 2011 – February 2013
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover; eBook (Sever)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I can’t remember how Wither crossed my radar all those years ago. I might have been browsing my library’s new catalogue items when the cover caught my attention. These covers are some of my all time favourites…well, not Sever so much but they are beautiful.

For Wither and Fever, I was the first one to read them at my library. I made sure my name was first on that holds list and I pretty much read them on their release date. But my not so great experience with Fever stopped that trend when it came time to read Sever the following year.

The Concept / The World:

As a scientist myself, the whole premise is what drew me to this story.

A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years.

Talk about intriguing!

It adds a layer of desperation to this series. There is nothing more thrilling in a novel than watching what happens when people are pushed to their extremes. It also creates the potential for a great villain (which we get here!).

And while this series doesn’t focus too much on the science of it all (not really until the last book), the premise itself creates a unique backdrop for this story.

The Plot:

Don’t go into this series thinking it is more science fiction than it is romance. While the romance isn’t the primary focus, it drives the plot more I find than the science of the world (which acts as a backdrop more than anything). It’s hard to pinpoint the main genre of this story.

And I think that might be this series problem: it’s hard to define.

I really enjoyed Wither for its unique premise: a girl thrust into a dire world she desperately wants to escape. Learning about Rhine’s world was probably my favourite aspect of that book.

But Fever has a completely different feel–it’s darker and lacks the romanticism underlying in Wither. But it also had a plot that seems to lack direction other than the passing of time. Sure, you get little bits and pieces of information but nothing is really done with it all. I found myself getting bored; especially when I was so absorbed in the world I had seen in Wither. It was a big disappointment for me.

Sever has that same slowness to it as well. I thought with the intense ending of Fever that it would continue that thrilling pace…but not so much. I would have DNF’d it if it wasn’t for it’s decent page count and my desire to see how this was all going to wrap up. Sure, it had its surprises but by that point I was past caring.

I think what this series needed was a more definable overarching plot-line. Perhaps it is just a result of me reading these books over the span of the course of years (thus missing the finer details), but I felt like each book was its own plot and world, only briefly linking to the one before it. There isn’t a complex plot to this series–or at least one that gets teased enough to keep you interested. I suppose the “cure” is the complex plot but it takes such a backseat for 80% of the series that it doesn’t contribute much to the notion.

The Characters:

Rhine doesn’t do much for me as a main character. It’s hard because you do learn a lot about her and her circumstances; I just wasn’t finding myself rooting for her throughout the series. She’s jaded and even though I understand why, she was just so “blah” to me as a character.

I think my biggest problem with Rhine is that she lets everything happen around her. And yes, she does have some pretty difficult situations and circumstances to navigate. Vaughn sure doesn’t make her life easy. But unless it was to save her own butt, she takes the meeker approach and that bored me. I just wanted some tenacity and not “meh”.

Truthfully, Linden was probably my favourite character. I’m not particularly sure why but I really felt for him as the series progressed.

The Romance:

This one didn’t do much for me. I’m sure my dislike of Rhine contributed to me not enjoying her romances. Not that she really had any. I suppose a better way to phrase the romance would be “love interests” that potentially could go somewhere.

But I wouldn’t suggest reading this series if all you wanted was a romance. There are much better science fiction romances out there if that is your main draw to this series.

Series Rating: 3/5

Wither 4/5 | Fever 3/5 | Sever 2/5

overall

This series is one of those missed opportunities for me. It has a cool premise but the execution just falls short for me. Perhaps, seek out a second opinion because I feel like I am in the minority. But if you want a science fiction novel that isn’t overly complicated, this is an interesting series to try.

Read if You Like: jaded heroines, light science fiction
Avoid if You: want more romance, want a more complicated plot

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Thanks for tuning in for this review blitz! I hope to have another one in the very near future!

Series Review: Supremacy by Christin Lee

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Supremacy Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Supremacy (from Goodreads):

Kate Parker, is a 17 year old senior living in Texas. She’s on the swim team, has two incredible best friends, and a passion for saving animals. She falls hard when she meets a mysterious and fascinating guy named Lucas. He has a sexy accent and a killer smile. However, she sees unexplained pain and anger in his dark brown eyes. He claims he’s a foreign exchange student from Spain who is attending the local University—Kate knows there’s more to his story than that. She works hard to discover who he is—what he is.

breakdown

Series: Supremacy
Author: Christin Lee
# of Books: 1+ (Supremacy)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 2, has yet to be published
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: June 3, 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eARC

disclaimer

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to reflect my conclusion to DNF this series. It will not be further updated.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When Christin contacted me about reviewing her book, I was willing to give it a shot. It has been a LONG time since I read an urban fantasy novel where everyday human meets some “unknown”. I’m a sucker for a good twist and while I had my ideas (before I even read the novel) about what Lucas’ hidden nature was, I was eager to see what the big secret was.

What I Liked:

–Lucas’ Secret–

Honestly, I never saw this twist coming! I thought it was a cool and unique premise; definitely something I had never encountered before. It gave this story an edge that separates it from your typical YA Urban Fantasy Romance.

–Kate’s (Lack of) Angst–

Kate seems to be pretty perfect when it comes to family life and school. She also seems to have a good heart and genuinely care for people (and animals)–you’re all-round American Sweetheart. I was worried that she would become unnecessarily angsty thanks to her overprotective family and their views on her relationship with Lucas, but she never did. Instead, she kept a level head about her and didn’t create a whole lot of “rebellious” teenage angst. I really liked that, because “forbidden” relationships can often make the heroine an unbearable character to read about **coughcoughBellaSwancoughcough**

What I Didn’t Like:

–Slow Start–

According to my Kindle, nothing really happened for the first 30% of the book or so besides Kate meeting Lucas. And even then, that wasn’t overly thrilling. It was your standard normal girl meets mysterious stranger; girl’s BFF encourages her to date him while others tell her to stay away; girl does research to find out boy’s secret. It’s your typical script for anyone who has encountered this premise before and I found it to be dull.

While it does a good job establishing the characters and building the basis for Lucas and Kate’s relationship–I wanted something exciting to happen. Once the “big reveal” happens, things get more intriguing but it was a slow start.

–Lucas’ Alpha Tendencies–

Lucas, Lucas, Lucas…sigh–and not in a good way.

I’m really torn on this to be honest. Thanks to the character development, I understand why Lucas has the personality and tendencies that he does. But they are rather violent, very anger-filled tendencies and they are more than a little terrifying. It makes the relationship between Kate and Lucas seem very unhealthy but almost in a glorified way. Like it is normal to be fearful of your partner because of their anger. While it was never that extreme, I felt like it was leading there at times. Though by the very end of the novel, thanks to the reveals and twists, I kinda got where this all stems from.

Perhaps I’m over analyzing or making a mountain out of a molehill but as I get older, sometimes I really wonder about the relationships that are presented in YA fiction and how young girls read them. The relationship here is definitely not the worst I’ve seen but it did make me concerned at times, even if I did understand the source.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Supremacy ended in an interesting way that has me curious to know what the future holds. But those twists were a little too late I think, and I’ve opted not to pick up the rest of the series.

My Rating: 2.5/5

Supremacy 2.5/5

overall

As the years between my high school graduation grow, I find myself not enjoying certain YA tropes as much as I used to. I think if I read this 6 years ago, I would have enjoyed it more. I think it is a great introductory novel for the Urban Fantasy world for those who are looking for something new. But unfortunately for me, it was a little too slow with the plot and I just didn’t bond with the characters.

Read if You Like: slower stories, urban fantasy, unique world
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more excitement, dislike insta-connections

similarreads

  • Falling Under by Gwen Hayes (Falling Under Series #1)
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (Twilight Saga #1)
  • A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies (A Beautiful Dark Trilogy #1)

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Single Sundays: Dangerous to Know and Love by Jane Harvey-Berrick

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Dangerous to Know and Love (from Goodreads):
Silence is only skin deep.

Nineteen year old Daniel Colton is the guy all the girls want to date, and the man all the guys want to be. Moody, with an explosive temper, closed off and sullen, he’s also beautiful, tatted in delicious ways, with a pierced eyebrow and spiky black hair. It’s rumoured he has piercings in other places, too. Is he really mad, bad and dangerous to know?

Daniel lives with his older brother, Zef, and their home is party central. You want drugs, a good time, liquor, no questions asked? Colton’s is the place to go.

When Daniel and good girl Lisanne Maclaine have to work together on an assignment, Lisanne finds there’s a lot more to the college’s bad boy than his reputation. He’s intelligent and funny and good company. And then she discovers his secret, why he’s so closed off to everyone, and determined to keep people at arms’ length. But being his secret-keeper is harder than she ever dreamed.

breakdown

Author: Jane Harvey-Berrick
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 13, 2013
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

This book had been on my Kindle Wish List for a very long time and one day I randomly decided to check and see if any of the books I “wished” for had dropped in price. Turns out, this one had by quite a bit and I still had a gift card to use so I immediately grabbed it.

The Concept:

This book was really refreshing to read in terms of its concept. Unlike a majority of New Adult reads, this book focused on the current struggles in the protagonists lives–and by that I mean that there isn’t some mysterious event that happened in the past that explains why the character acts like they do. Well, there is…but it’s really hard to explain what exactly is happening (I try to write spoiler free reviews in every sense of the theory!). I guess what I’m trying to say is, I haven’t come across Daniel’s secret in any other book so I really liked that.

The Plot:

I really got sucked into this book; though I think the fact that I should have been studying / reading another slower book at the same time contributed to my slight addiction to this one. But I think the biggest reason was that I wasn’t sure where it was going to go and I wanted to know.

But I felt like it never really went anywhere. It really was a day by day thing with these characters in the sense that it was mostly about them trying to find out where their relationship fit in with their lives. Nothing really exciting happens and it got a little tedious to read; especially when they started acting childish about certain things.

The Romance:

Pair that with the fact that the exposition was wayyyyy to long. It took a good number of pages to get to some character interaction and with romances I really like the sexual tension ASAP. And then when we finally got some sexual tension, it felt like everything accelerated very quickly. I’m not a fan of love at first sight books and in that bracket I include books where the L-word is dropped within two weeks of dating. Just sours what was a nice romance to me–but that is more of a personal preference.

The Narration:

My last comment about the writing is that the third person narration isn’t my favourite. I don’t mind third person, though I prefer alternating first person, but I don’t like when the thoughts of the two characters aren’t separated by page breaks. When I read third person, I like that each character has their own section and for that section you only follow that character from their perspective. With this book, it was jumbled a bit so I really had to focus to make sure that I was getting everything straight.

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

I really liked the concept of this book, but not so much its execution. It just needs some polishing and some fine-tuning and it would be a great read. If you want a new adult read with a bit of a different spin on it and don’t mind longer books, this one might be worth your time. However, don’t be expecting a some super dangerous bad boy. Daniel definitely has his bad boy touches but he isn’t super “dangerous” per say.

Read if You Like: unique stories, longer reads
Avoid if You: want a true bad boy
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