Posts Tagged: 1 Star

Triangles by Kimberly Ann Miller (Book Review)

July 10, 2013 Book Review, Young Adult 3

Triangles by Kimberly Ann Miller (Book Review)Triangles by Kimberly Ann Miller
Series: Bermuda Triangle #1
Published by Spencer Hill Press on June 18, 2013
Genres: Paranormal
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
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1 Stars
A cruise ship. A beautiful island. Two sexy guys. What could possibly go wrong?

In the Bermuda Triangle—a lot.

Hoping to leave behind the reminders of her crappy life--her father's death years ago, her mother's medical problems, and the loser who’s practically stalking her--seventeen-year-old Autumn Taylor hops on a ship with her sister for a little distraction. When she wakes up in the Bermuda Triangle, she fears she's gone nuts for more than one reason: that loser’s suddenly claiming they're a happy couple... a hot guy is wrapping his arms around her and saying "Happy Anniversary"... and suddenly, she’s full of bruises, losing her hair, and getting IV medication. Autumn visits the ship's doctor, hoping for a pill or a shot to make the craziness go away. Instead, she's warned that these "alternate realities" could become permanent.

She just has to ask herself one question—how is she going to get out of this mess?

The book synopsis poses a question: what could possibly go wrong? Well… sadly, a lot went wrong with Triangles. I rarely take notes while I read, but I had to in order to keep track of all the things I didn’t like. And eventually I got tired of trying to keep track. And honestly, this “bad” review will be one of the hardest ones I have to write because the author is SO nice. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. Unfortunately, the only thing I liked about Triangles was the idea. Triangles was one of my most anticipated books of the summer. I was sold as soon as I read the synopsis, I HAD to have this book. I was SO excited when I received the ARC in the mail and I started reading it as soon as I could. Honestly, though, it was just a disappointment.

2. Autumn is terrible. I REALLY can’t stand her. She is a jerk to everyone (like her older sister, her best friend, and her admirer), she’s unbelievably selfish, and she is a really mean gossip. She says horrible things to people’s faces, and behind their backs. Plus, she is so cocky. She talks about how she looks amazing in her tiny swimsuit, no matter what she eats. She uses Joey, the cute boy she works with that is in love with her. She adds extra “sway to her hips and bounce to her boobs” when a cute boy looks at her, because she thinks she is so sexy. And she is SO shallow! She actually says at one point in the story that she would like to eat her hot pizza cheese off a guy’s chest, before she even knew him. I think that’s gross, not to mention incredibly inappropriate. All she thinks about is sex. I can’t stand her. It has been a long time since I have disliked a heroine this much. And her friend is no better.

3. Then we have the boys: Joey and Marcus. Joey is a stalker, but with sweet intentions. I think his main issue was that he was so socially immature that he didn’t know how else to handle his crush on Autumn. As I got to know him more, he became sweeter, yet dorkier in my eyes. And I wanted to smack Autumn every time she spoke to him, because she was SO MEAN. In the end, I saw him as way too good for her. I have no idea why in the world he took such abuse from her, and the fact that he did actually made me lose respect for him. And then there’s Marcus, who is apparently the sexiest teenager in the world. All I saw in him, though, was a lustful jerk who would prefer all women be naked all the time. And of course Autumn liked him. He’s a terrible flirt, and he seems way too old and worldy. Bah.

4. There was way too much swearing in this book. And yes, that’s common, but more with NA than YA. And this might sound weird, but I can handle it better when the character has a personality to back it up. I felt like everyone was swearing to try to come off as hard, tough, and mature. I wasn’t convinced, though, which made me less tolerant.

5. There were too many unnecessary details. Who cares if the character is eating “generic potato chips” or goes on “5-minutes car rides” in her “used Ford Escort”? I don’t mind details that add to the story, but these ones just made the book longer.

6. Room keys on cruise ships do NOT have the room number printed on them. It’s a security risk! Those keys get lost all the time, so the room number is not printed on the card in case else someone finds it. It works that way in hotels, too. When inaccurate details like this are added in to a story that is supposed to be somewhat rooted in reality, I begin to wonder if any research was done to make those real details accurate.

7. The drama was just too dramatic. Autumn keeps getting thrown into alternate realities, as a result of the Bermuda Triangle. Each reality is so unbelievably dramatic that I just could not handle it. In one, she has a baby. In another, she has terminal cancer and talks about how she is “losing the battle”. Suicides keep happening. Everyone is also super horny in these realities. It was just too much.

8. There were far too many coincidences.

Triangles was ALL over the place, and incredibly frustrating. The drama was off the charts, I hated all but one of the characters, and the detail overload and inaccuracies threw me over the edge. I was hoping for more of a mystery relating to the Bermuda Triangle, but that was not the case. I hardly remembered it was supposed to be the key element of the story. I’m sad to say that I really disliked the book, and I would not recommend it.


The Crystal Princess by Kimberly Norton (Book Review)

April 4, 2012 Book Review, Young Adult 7

The Crystal Princess by Kimberly Norton (Book Review)The Crystal Princess by Kimberly Norton
Published by Tate Publishing & Enterprises on February 9, 2010
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 124
Format: Paperback
Source: Won in a giveaway
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1 Stars
Kelly lives the life of a typical teen in the suburbs of Southern California with her football star boyfriend and loyal best friend. It’s her senior year, and she’s looking forward to her eighteenth birthday. But her life totally changes when she’s abducted by her birth family, a family she didn’t even know existed. Meeting her mother and two sisters for the first time is almost too much for her to handle. Kelly learns she is a witch born from a coven of witches with special powers. She’s called back to help her family fight the evil, power-hungry witch, Victoria, and the Wizard Council, who want to destroy all that Kelly’s family holds dear before the Immortality Ceremony, a ceremony that will seal the girls’ fate and powers for all eternity.

To make things even more complicated, Kelly falls in love with an Indian named Max White Bear. But because of a longstanding tradition, their relationship is a hard sell to the chief of the Indian tribe.

With the war between good and evil looming, Kelly must find the strength to harness her magical powers and summon The Crystal Princess inside her.

I was very excited to win this book! The cover is gorgeous, and the story sounded very exciting and unique. I just never really got into the story, though, and I’m so disappointed about it. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

*sigh*

1. The sentences did not flow together, but were rather blunt, choppy, and sometimes very short, basic bits of text haphazardly strung together. This occurred throughout the entire book, but the most frustrating times were when the author was describing something to us. I found myself running out of breath while I read. I think this main complaint is actually related to every other complaint of mine, so let me give you a few examples of the writing style.

  • “She opened the door, and out drifted the smell of lilies. The walls were light purple, and the bed was white wrought iron. A handmade quilt lay on the bed as a spread. Two large windows let light in from both sides of the room. Lacy curtains framed the windows. A dresser sat next to the window.”

See? The room sounds like it could be lovely, and I bet if the words and sentence structures were arranged and/or chosen differently, I would have enjoyed reading it and savored the image. Instead, I felt like I was being shoved through the description like a tour guide might rush you from one painting to the next at the Louvre.

  • “Hands and faces appeared in the mirrors. The room began to shake. Moans coming from the spirits filled the air. A crystal ball sat in the center of the table. The black velvet cloth covering the crystal ball flew off. A grey mist filled the crystal ball.”

I can think of so many ways I could have rewritten that passage to make it more flowy, eerie, and exciting. Instead, it is just one detail after another again. I mean, three sentences in a row mention the “crystal ball.” Why not add some commas, some more descriptive words, and less use of the word “the”? The black cloth over the crystal ball is not even mentioned until it “flew off”. How did anyone even know there was a crystal ball there, if it was covered by a black cloth? There’s just no continuity or creativity.

2. There was no real storytelling. The events were like a grocery list, with no real continuity between each event. We flew from one thing to the next, with no explanation or elaboration. I guess this relates to my last complaint: that the sentences did not flow together. First this happened. Then this. Then this. Then we had a seance. By the way, you’re a witch. Then she went to sleep. Then she had a dream. Then she woke up. Then her dog talked to her.

3. We were given no room to imagine. Everything was described to the point where no detail was left for me to fill in on my own.

4. The characters were flat and emotionless. I mean, Kelly did not even mourn the loss of her family! She was just like, “Oh, ok! I have a new family now. Let’s forget my beloved family of 18 years. Who cares that I will never see them again?” Really? There was no depth, no development, no feeling, and no real reason given for me to like any of them. I finished the book not even remembering their names, even though every sentence of dialogue either began or ended with the person’s name the comment was directed at. Once or twice would be fine, but it happens very frequently.

  • Example: “Mrs. May, where’s your TA today?”
    “He had a tribal thing. He’ll be back next week. Did you need to ask him about something?”
    “No, Mrs. May, thanks.”

5. This is the biggest instance of insta-love I’ve ever seen. Nothing develops! One conversation is had, and it’s love.

6. The editing was very poorly done. Paragraph breaks are supposed to happen when one person is done talking, and before another one starts. I kept finding lines of text from two different people in the same paragraph, which was very confusing. It happened all. the. time. And then I’d come across too many paragraph breaks, making it look like two different people were talking, when it was really only one person. Also very confusing. There were also many missing words and punctuation marks (where did all the commas go? Seriously.). I’m wondering if any editing was done at all.

  • Example: “What’s your poison? French toast or pancakes asked Isabella?” < That’s a basic editing mistakeone that should easily be found by a good editor. Maybe spellcheck was all the editing this book received, but Tate Publishing lists 31 employees on their editing staff on their website. So… I’m not sure what happened.

7. Everything was very cliché: séances, spells, protective spells, crystal balls, witches on brooms. I felt like the subject matter lacked creativity, and would have better suited a picture book for young children.

Overall, the idea of the story was ok, but it was poorly executed and poorly presented. The writing seemed very basic, choppy, and juvenilelike a child could have written it. It was also way too big a storyline to be the size of a novella. I’m not sure if there was a page limit, or what, but the entire story was rushed and unbelievable. I also needed my inhaler by the end. It just wasn’t enjoyable to read, and I feel so bad to admit this. I wanted to love it, and I wanted to help this incredibly nice author promote her book. Sadly, I would not recommend it to anyone.


Seduction by Brenda Joyce (Book Review)

January 26, 2012 Adult Fiction, Book Review 3

Seduction by Brenda Joyce (Book Review)Seduction by Brenda Joyce
Series: The Spymaster's Men #1
Published by Harlequin on January 31, 2012
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
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1 Stars
Dominic Paget, the earl of Bedford, will do anything to resume spying upon Britain's enemies. Badly wounded, he is put will in the care of a beautiful gentlewoman, Julianne Greystone, only to discover that her sympathies lie with his enemies. Yet he can't help but seduce the woman who saved his life—hoping she never learns of his betrayal.

Julianne is captivated by the wounded stranger she believes is a revolutionary hero. Until she discovers the truth…her "hero" is the privileged earl of Bedford. Devastated and determined to forget him, Julianne travels to London. But when she finds herself in danger, it is Bedford who comes to the rescue. Now Julianne must navigate the intrigues of a perilous city, the wild yearnings of her own heart and the explosion of their passion….

I pride myself on being a pretty versatile reader. I’ve been reading a lot of dark YA dystopians and paranormals lately, so I took a few days to read some lighter romances like Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, and now Seduction. I love my YAs, but sometimes I just need something completely different. Historical romances are another love of mine, so when I saw this on NetGalley, I was excited and intrigued. I love spy stuff and England and France and deception! I was expecting to really enjoy this. Sadly, it fell short for me. And with that, here are my thoughts (I’ve bolded the most important points, just in case you’re a skimmer!):

1. The romance took a back seat to the extremely political discussions and explanations in this book. At 30% of the way through, I knew very little about the characters, but had received a very thorough history lesson on the French Revolution, the Tories, the Jacobins… the battles… the sympathizers and the different thought processes from everyone involved. I started to space and skim through large chunks. I love history, but not this much! I wanted a romance, and there were parts that felt like I was reading a textbook rather than a novel. I felt like the framework of the story took forever to be put into place. It really took away from the romance, which felt like an afterthought. Historical fiction? Yes. Historical romance? Not really.

2. With all that being said, her story was very well researched. I understand that the author wanted her readers to receive all the background information to really understand the story. However, the reader is bombarded with so much! Too much to be enjoyable.

3. I didn’t connect with/like any of the characters. Julianne made the stupidest decisions, and was unbelievably naive and spineless. I like romance novels that have strong women. Yes, she had strong opinions, but she was so naive and clammy that I had a hard time believing they were her own thoughts, and not something she had read in a pamphlet. And she kept getting into trouble! Dom was just annoying. He spent so much time with his nose in the air that he didn’t even see what was going on. He totally lacked common sense. The supporting characters aren’t really worth mentioning. Julianne had two brothers, but they were so similar and hardly ever spoken of, that I had a hard time differentiating between the two of them. Julianne had a maid/servant while staying at Dom’s house that I liked, but I think it was only because she didn’t bug me.

4. Too. Much. Drama. Everyone threw tantrums. Dom deceived Julianne, and she was so mad that she pouted forever! Julianne deceived Dom, and he got so mad he refused to look at her. Can’t we be more adult here, and talk about this? They were on opposing sides of a war. Feelings are bound to be hurt. All of this pouting and cold shoulder business caused pointless misunderstandings. Julianne ends up getting into trouble because of her radical ways, and spends less than 24 hours in a jail cell. She won’t eat. When she gets out, she’s so weak and traumatized that she has to spend a week in bed. Seriously? That’s a pretty wimpy reaction. I kept wishing she’d suck it up.

5. About 3/4 of the way through, things pick up a little. At this point we’ve been given all the info on the French Revolution, so the focus settles on Dom and Julianne and deception. It was a bit more enjoyable, but I felt it was too little too late. There was not enough time to recover, which was disappointing. So much time was spent on historic details and politics that time ran out before I could connect enough with the characters or the story to care how things ended.

6. For so much frustration and confusion, the ending gets wrapped up in a perfect little bow way too quickly to be believable. I was actually worried that things would be continued in the next book (which I won’t be reading), we had so little time left. After all this time of being mad and annoyed and hurt and brooding and pouty, everyone just falls into place and life is perfect. This doesn’t happen! People go from hate to love in the blink of an eye! I’m really glad their story ended with this book, because I would have been frustrated if I had plowed through this one, only to still not be finished.

I’ve read a lot of historical romance. Like I said, it has always been one of my favorite genres. I would not classify this as a romance, though. Julianne and Dominic’s story was so weak, that it just annoyed me. Honestly, I didn’t care if they sorted out their battles. I didn’t like either of them, or their families. Everything took a backseat to the history lesson, which was really pretty boring. I skipped entire pages of history with no dialogue or happenings. It was just history. Now, I have nothing against history. It’s just not what I wanted to be reading when I picked up a romance. I will applaud Ms. Joyce for her impeccable research. It was obvious that she spent a ton of time reading up on the French Revolution and the spymasters. If you like historical fiction, I can see that you might like this. It just wasn’t my cup of tea.


Halo by Alexandra Adornetto (Book Review)

January 4, 2012 Book Review, Young Adult 4 ½

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto (Book Review)Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Series: Halo #1
Published by Feiwel and Friends on August 31, 2010
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 484
Format: Hardcover
Source: Birthday present
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0.5 Stars
An angel is sent to Earth on a mission.

But falling in love is not part of the plan.

Three angels – Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human – are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.

Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong.

The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?

I was expecting these amazingly perfect angels coming down from Heaven to save a deteriorating world. I thought it would be full of action, excitement, forbidden love, and suspense. Was it? Not really. The story didn’t even really pick up until about page 370. This is a 500-page book. Let me list off some of my main complaints that made this book so hard to finish.  I must warn you, this might be the harshest of all my reviews. I feel really bad about it… but I just can’t go without saying this!

1. The writing. Oh dear. Talk about purple prose. There was more flowery writing in this book than actual dialogue! And it did nothing for the plot. Things are described multiple ways and then compared to something else countless numbers of times: “That was the effect he had on me–an explosion of happiness in my chest, scattering like little beads and making my whole body shiver and tingle.” Or… “Xavier’s eyes are turquoise and almond shaped, like twin pools of clear blue ocean.” Every time Xavier’s eyes were mentioned, they were turquoise. The author could come up with nothing else to describe them. Yes, we get it. And his hair was always nutmeg. ALWAYS. Hey, did you know Xavier’s hair color is nutmeg? Oh, by the way… Xavier has nutmeg hair. And he’s hot. Really hot. If you forget, that’s ok. You’ll be told again really soon. At least 3-4 times a chapter, in fact.

Pages were devoted to descriptions of interiors, or places, or outfits, or feelings, or people that didn’t contribute to the plot at all. I’d read some long, overdone description of some nameless character, and then they are never mentioned again! So why should I care about them? I was getting so tired of it. An Amazon reviewer said it best when she mentioned that the plot takes a back seat to the overwritten details and descriptions. Did I mention Xavier’s really hot?

2. Bethany’s “brother” is Gabriel, the archangel. Her sister is a seraph.  Why are such powerful angels sent to a sleepy little town called Venus Cove, where nothing bad is happening? I would think they’d be sent to a war zone or a place with extreme poverty, but no. They get sent to a place where more volunteers are needed to serve at the local soup kitchens. There was no possible way to write in any exciting encounters against evil.

Bethany would offend all actual angels, in my opinion. She’s petty, childish, shallow, and complains about her job in Heaven. Gabriel and Ivy walk around acting very superior and stuck-up—much different than I would expect messengers from God to act. AND… these angels are so dumb! The villain of the story is painfully described to a tee and fits perfectly into the category of “evil”. Every reader in the world knew he was bad before the angels did. A 3-year-old would get it.  It wasn’t until he started doing awful things that the light bulb turned on and they were like, “Oh, I think he’s bad.” Duh! Luckily this is not what real angels are like, because we’d be in trouble if they were.

3. Don’t fall into the plot holes. In the book, angels are described as having no family and not being able to understand human emotions. So why are Gabriel and Ivy referred to as Bethany’s siblings? Gabriel says love is forbidden. He also says that angels don’t feel the way humans do. So… the fact that Bethany is so in love with Xavier makes me question the entire premise of the book.

4. The love between Xavier and Bethany is more obsessive than that of Edward and Bella. I know, right? Is that even possible? Must be because he’s so hot. I did mention that, right? Bethany is willing to turn her back on Heaven for him! That seems really unhealthy, considering it took only a week or two for this crazy, never-ending, undying love to develop. There was no build-up to the love story. They saw each other, he ran into her on purpose a few times, he tells her he likes her, and BOOM. A full-on love explosion happens, and they both go nuts. I didn’t believe it at all, and it really sounded like some little girl’s daydream. And oh my, protectiveness! Xavier actually force-fed a protein bar (airplane noises and all) to Bethany when she wasn’t hungry when he thought she should be.  He compared her to glass and would not let her carry her books. I wanted to gag.

5. Halo is a Twilight knock-off. Vampires have been changed to angels, and the girl is now the supernatural one instead of the guy. The two meet in high school, she fights her feelings for him because the two of them shouldn’t be, then the whirlwind romance happens, she tells him her dark secret after hardly knowing him at all, he is taken in to her family as a trusted ally, the angels are the hottest breed of life known to man, etc. Instead of sparkling, the angels glow. Xavier saves Bethany from a gang of guys who want sex from her. Bethany even takes the train in to the city (Port Circe) to search for prom dresses, but found nothing she liked. Can we just call it Port Angeles, call Bethany Bella, and move on?

6. It was SO preachy! A religion can be written without being preached. This book is laced with mini-sermons and lectures, and should have been marketed as a Christian romance. Readers deserve to know if they’re about to be preached to for the entire book. I have nothing against Christian fiction; I just don’t read it (not because I’m not a Christian, but because there are so many different variations of Christianity and I frequently find things that rub me the wrong way, or teachings I don’t believe in). I understand this is fiction, but I was downright offended by some of the things she said about angels, God, etc. I have a hard time with authors taking liberties with spiritual/gospel-related subject matter. Commercialized Christianity. Not digging it. I hear the Devil himself is referred to as “Big Daddy” in book 2? Oh my. Gag me with a spoon.

7.  The story moved SO slowly. While reading this, I was in the process of painting my living room. I would choose to paint over taking a break to read. Watching paint dry was more entertaining. Now THAT’S saying something.

I guess I should have expected nothing more than I got as soon as I read a quote by Beyoncé on the introductory page of the book. Yes… a lyric from the song, you guessed it! HALO (Baby I can see your halo/you know you’re my saving grace.). How creative. To make matters worse, it was paired with a quote from “Romeo and Juliet.” Sorry, but Beyoncé and Shakespeare don’t go together. I’m having a hard time understanding why this book got a deal. I enjoyed the idea, but not the execution. And I feel bad for the graphic designer who had to waste their beautiful design on such a lackluster book. This is the first book in a trilogy, and I have no interest in reading the other two.

And on that note… Xavier. He’s, like, really hot.

So, have any of you read Halo? Did you like it, or did you feel the same way I did?