Thursday, July 12, 2018

Geronimo Stilton: Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye by Elisabetta Dami


Synopsis:
Who Is Geronimo Stilton?
That's me! I run a newspaper, but my true passion is writing tales of adventure. Here on Mouse Island, my books are all best-sellers! What's that? You've never read one? Well, my books are full of fun. They are whisker-licking good stories, and that's a promise!

Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye
It all started when my sister, Thea, discovered a mysterious map. It showed a secret treasure on a faraway island. And before I could let out a squeak of protest, Thea dragged me into her treasure hunt! In no time at all, we'd set sail for the island. It was an adventure I'd never forget....
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Earlier this year, I read a Geronimo Stilton book. Unfortunately, I didn't like it. It was disappointing because that used to be one of my favorite book series when I was a kid. I decided not to give up on the series though. I wanted to try one more Geronimo Stilton book, Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye. I'm glad I did. It had everything I loved about the series when I was younger.

Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye took me back to my childhood. It brought back a lot of feelings of nostalgia. It had everything I remembered that made a Geronimo Stilton book great. It had a lot of the witty sarcasm and puns that I remembered. A lot of the cheese puns made me laugh. It was also action-packed. While it didn't keep me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next, I'm sure it would have if I was younger. The only complaints I have is that I forgot how annoying Trap can be. He's definitely my least favorite character. I also found the book to be predictable, but that could be because I'm not the intended audience.

I'm so glad that I decided to give this series another chance. It makes me happy that I can read it with my nephews and nieces, and inspire a love of reading in them similar to what I had as a kid. I'm not sure that I will go out of my way to pick up these books because as I previously said, they are definitely out of my age range. However, if I do come across one, I will pick it up and read it with my nephews and nieces. Hopefully they will pass it on to their friends, and Inspire a new generation to love Geronimo Stilton.

I give Geronimo Stilton: Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye: 4/5.

Want to know more about the series?

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Gender Game by Bella Forrest


Synopsis:
A toxic river divides nineteen-year-old Violet Bates's world by gender.

Women rule the East. Men rule the West.

Welcome to the lands of Matrus and Patrus.

Ever since the disappearance of her beloved younger brother, Violet's life has been consumed by an anger she struggles to control. Already a prisoner to her own nation, now she has been sentenced to death for her crimes.

But one decision could save her life.

To enter the kingdom of Patrus, where men rule and women submit.

Everything about the patriarchy is dangerous for a rebellious girl like Violet. She cannot break the rules if she wishes to stay alive.

But abiding by rules has never been Violet's strong suit.

When she's thrust into more danger than she could have ever predicted, Violet is forced to sacrifice many things in the forbidden kingdom ... including forbidden love.

In a world divided by gender, only the strongest survive...
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Back when Kindle Unlimited first became available, I read the first 10 books in Bella Forrest's Shade of Vampire series. I loved them but sadly never got an opportunity to continue on with the series. I've had one of her other books, The Gender Game, on my TBR for a couple of years now. I recently read it, and did not enjoy it.

When I first started reading The Gender Game, I was really into it. I was loving Violet, the amazing female main character. She was incredibly kick-ass, and didn't let anyone bring her down. I thought she was a strong, empowering female character. I also liked the action in the beginning. It kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering what was going to happen next and how Violet was going to get herself out of the situation she was in.

However, right around the time that she sneaks out of the bathroom window, things drastically changed for the worst. The plot became very slow and boring. At about halfway through the book, I was only reading 10 or 15 pages at a time. I kept putting it down because it wasn't holding my interest at all. Violet started doing dumb things that went completely against what her character was about, and that made me mad. Towards the end, the plot did pick up and get exciting again. At that point though, I didn't even care what happened to the characters.

All in all, The Gender Game just wasn't for me. The beginning of the book gave me high expectations, but then it fell flat rather quickly. Even the crazy cliffhanger ending of this book couldn't make me care enough about the characters or the plot to continue on with the series. I will probably try more of Bella Forrest's books in the future because I do like some parts of her writing style. I just won't be finishing this series.

I give The Gender Game: 2/5.

Want to know more about the author?

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

DNF Review: Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell


Synopsis:
Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
Rule Two—Be careful.
Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
Rule Five—The letters are the law.

Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.

But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.

Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer is a sinister psychological thriller that explores the thin line between good and evil, and the messiness of that inevitable moment when life contradicts everything you believe.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Recently I've been trying to read more of my books that I've had for a long time. I've been walking every day, so I've been borrowing them as audiobooks from my library. I've just been going through my list in the order that it's in on Goodreads. I recently tried to read Dear Killer. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish it. I didn't enjoy it at all. 

My biggest problem with the book was that it made no sense. When I started listening to the book, I was actually enjoying it. I thought it was interesting hearing the main character's thought process, and why she did what she did. However, as the book went on, I started to hate it. The main character started making stupid decisions that went against everything she had been taught as a trained serial killer from the time she was a child for no apparent reason. It drove me crazy, and finally, it got to a point where I just couldn't take it anymore. I didn't even finish the book, but I can almost guarantee that I can tell you how it ends because it was becoming so predictable once she started making mistakes. 

Dear Killer was just one of those books that wasn't for me. It was almost painfully frustrating to watch the main character make so many mistakes that went against who she was. It's like the author decided part way through the book to write about someone completely different. The book was also incredibly predictable in the way it was going to end. I don't think I'll be reading anything else by this author again.


I give Dear Killer: 1/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Blog: http://katherineewell.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KateEwell
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6590818.Katherine_Ewell

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Elusion Duology by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam


Synopsis for Elusion:
Soon, Elusion® will change the world and life as we know it.

A new technology called Elusion is sweeping the country. An app, visor and wristband will virtually transport you to an exotic destination where adventure can be pursued without the complications—or consequences—of real life.

Regan is an Elusion insider. Or at least she used to be. Her father invented the program, and her best friend, Patrick, heir to the tech giant Orexis, is about to release it nationwide. But ever since her father’s unexpected death, Regan can’t bear to Escape, especially since waking up from the dream means crashing back to her grim reality.

Still, when there are rumors of trouble in Elusion—accusations that it’s addictive and dangerous— Regan is determined to defend it. But the critics of Elusion come from surprising sources, including Josh, the handsome skeptic with his own personal stakes. As Regan investigates the claims, she discovers a disturbing web of secrets. She will soon have to choose between love and loyalty…a decision that will affect the lives of millions.

Suspense, thrills, and romance fuel this near-future story about the seductive nature of a perfect virtual world, and how far one girl will go to uncover the truth behind the illusions.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 


Synopsis for Etherworld:
In this sequel to Elusion, three teens fight a virtual reality program that threatens to destroy their minds. Dangerous secrets and lies add up to a thrilling futuristic fantasy with an Inception-inspired twist.


Elusion was hailed as an exciting leap in technology—until users began to disappear amid rumors of addiction. Regan’s search for the truth led her and her new love interest, Josh, to Etherworld. Etherworld is a dimension hidden deep beyond Elusion's firewall, where players can hide, and ultimately fight back. Regan's father and others are here working to destroy Etherworld, but the longer they stay the less likely they'll be able to return to the real world alive.

Escape means attacking Elusion from within the program. It's dangerous and it’s a puzzle. And even if they manage it, how will they be able to stop Orexis from distributing Elusion to the masses when the people who run it are corrupt?

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Recently, I have decided that I want to try to listen to more audiobooks. Some authors are starting to release their books on Audible before ebook or print. Therefore, I would like to try to get used to audiobooks. I checked it what my library offered via Overdrive, their online audiobook and ebook service. I saw that they had the Elusion duology, which I've been wanting to read for a while, and decided to give it a try. I thought it was an enjoyable series to read. 

The first book took a little while to get into. Elusion wasn't fully explained, which made everything a little confusing at first. However, once I got the gist of things, I found myself really loving the story. The way the plot of Elusion flowed, it was almost like listening to one of those old-time radio shows. It kept me on the edge of my seat. When I thought the series couldn't get any more exciting, Etherworld began and everything I thought I knew was flipped upside down. I loved all the twists and turns throughout the series. It was action-packed right up until the last few minutes of the book. I had no idea what was going to happen in the end, and I loved every second of it.

Maybe it's because I was listening to the duology on audiobook, but my biggest problem with the series was that I felt incredibly disconnected from the characters. I'm not used to listening to audiobooks though, so it could have been because of that instead of the writing. Either way, it kept taking me out of the storyline. The best way I can describe it is that it was like watching a play, where are the actors overact their characters. It felt very fake and forced. Once I would start really liking one of the characters, that feeling would come back again. It made it hard to fully immerse myself into the story, and get emotionally involved in the characters. By the end, there were a couple of characters that I really liked. However, for the most part, I didn't really care who lived or died.

Despite not liking the characters, I did find this book enjoyable to read. The plot was fast-paced, and kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. I greatly enjoyed the futuristic setting in our world. I hope that the author continues to write dystopian books. I will gladly read anything else she releases in the future. Unfortunately, I can't find anything on Goodreads about her writing another series. If she does, now that she has more experience with writing, I'm sure I will love her next book even more.


I give the Elusion Duology: 3.5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.claudiagabel.com/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Claudia-Gabel-133423863340307/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/claudiagabel
Tumblr: http://claudiagabel.tumblr.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/claudiagabellindvall/

I received this duology from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell


Synopsis:
Stories don’t know everything.

When Sand wakes up alone in a long-abandoned castle, he has no idea how he got there. The stories all said the place was ruined by an earthquake, and Sand did not expect to find everything inside torn in half or slashed to bits. Nothing lives here and nothing grows, except the vicious, thorny bramble that prevents Sand from leaving. Why wasn’t this in the stories?

To survive, Sand does what he knows best—he fires up the castle’s forge to mend what he needs. But the things he fixes work somehow better than they ought to. Is there magic in the mending? Or have the saints who once guarded this place returned?

When Sand finds the castle’s lost heir, Perrotte, they begin to untwine the dark secrets that caused the destruction. Putting together the pieces—of stone and iron, and of a broken life—is harder than Sand ever imagined, but it’s the only way to regain their freedom.
(Synopsis from Goodreads).
My Thoughts:
I read Merrie Haskell's The Handbook for Dragon Slayers several years ago when it first came out and loved it. In fact, it became one of my favorite books that I read that year. It made me even more excited to read her newer book, The Castle Behind Thorns. I got a copy before it was released, but just now found the time to read it. I wish I hadn't waited so long. Once again, the author did not disappoint me. I greatly enjoyed the book.

I will admit, I found the beginning of the book very slow-paced. I think it's because the reader learns alongside with the main character what is happening. It can make things confusing at first. It was also hard to figure out how much time was passing in the castle during the book. However, once I got a couple chapters into the book I found myself loving it. I couldn't put it down. I love the way Marie Haskell weaves a storyline. It was like pure magic. It brought back a sense of nostalgia from reading some of my favorite medieval fantasy books when I was a kid. She brought back a sense of wonder that I haven't had while reading a middle grade book in quite a few years.

I also loved the characters in The Castle Behind Thorns. I love how smart and creative Sand was. He didn't just lay in the fireplace and give up, which I'm pretty sure is what I would have done in his situation. It shows younger readers that if you just use your imagination, you can persevere through anything. At first, I wasn't sure about Perrotte. However, by the end of the book, I loved her as well. Even after everything she went through, she was able to adapt to change and learn new things. I love when middle grade books have strong characters, and both of these characters are some of the strongest I've read in middle grade fiction.

Even though the book had a rocky start, I ended up loving it. From the incredible magic system to the strong characters, the book pulled me in and didn't let me go. I think I might have even liked it more than The Handbook for Dragon Slayers. I can't wait to see what Merrie Haskell comes out with next. Whatever she writes, it will definitely be at the top of my reading list. I recommend this book to children, teens, and adults alike. I think anyone that loves a great medieval fantasy book will love this.

I give The Castle Behind Thorns: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Happy Endings Book Club by Jane Tara


Synopsis:
This Christmas, the women of The Happy Endings Book Club are about to uncover a world of love and magic as they discover how to have their own happy ending or beginning, as they’re often the same thing.

Once a month, seven very different women come together to discuss books. They all love a happy ending, but have lost sight of how to get their own. Paige misses glimpsing the magic in the world. Sadie doesn’t see the beauty inside people. Amanda wonders what she ever saw in her ex husband. Tilda literally can’t see herself. Michi can’t bear looking at her family, while Clementine is blind to what’s right in front of her. And Eva looks for romance in all the wrong places.

But things are about to change …

Meet the women of The Happy Endings Book Club as they celebrate Christmas, and themselves, in London, Paris, Vienna, New York, Sydney and in love.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
Recently, I've been trying to read more contemporary books. It's not usually a genre that I read a lot of. For whatever reason, I am much more likely to pick up a fantasy book. However, I have decided that I'd like to broaden the genres that I read. Therefore, I picked up The Happy Endings Book Club by Jane Tara. I thought it was an okay book. Honestly, I found it a little disappointing.

My biggest problem with the book is that I found the title to be very misleading. Although the book does mention the book club, it wasn't really about the book club. In fact, the book doesn't really talk about books very much at all. Instead, the book was about the ladies of the book club. Due to their ages and the things they were going through, I couldn't relate to them at all. It made me feel very distanced from the story itself. The book should have taken me about 24 hours to read because it was a small book. Instead,  it took about three days because I just didn't care about any of the characters. Then when I did start to care about the characters, their storylines were never finished. It would switch to a different character story which made me angry. It made the book feel like it was a jumbled mess.

There was something that I did like about The Happy Endings Book Club though. One of the character's storylines had magical realism in it. I really liked that. It shocked me and surprised me, but in a good way. It was the last thing that I expected to read in a book like this. Out of all of the women, it was the only story that felt complete. I almost wish that the author would have just focused exclusively on Paige's storyline. I think I would have liked the book so much better. She could have still use the other characters but made their storylines minor, like side characters. I also liked how the author ended the book. I had never seen an author write their book into a book before. I thought that was so cool.

All in all, I found The Happy Endings Book Club to be very disappointing. I had high expectations for it but my expectations fell flat. I just wanted so much more, and never got it. The magical realism in the book is probably the only reason that I even finished it. I do own Jane Tara's other book, Forecast. I do plan on reading it eventually, but after how disappointed I was in this book it will be a while before I get to it. If you do decide to still read this book, I recommend going into it with low expectations.


I give The Happy Endings Book Club: 3/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.janetara.com/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Roadmancebooks?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/janetara
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/roadmance/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1080134.Jane_Tara

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

On the Fence by Kasie West


Synopsis:
For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
I have heard a lot of great things about Kasie West's books. I have owned a lot of them for a while, but never picked them up because I have to be in the right mood to read contemporary books. Around Valentine's Day, I decided to read some contemporary to get into the spirit of the holiday. Therefore, I decided to pick up her book On the Fence. I thought it was just an okay book.

On the Fence was a cute, fluffy contemporary. There wasn't a real depth to it, which drove me crazy. Don't get me wrong, I did like the book. However, it was a bit too predictable for me. I think how fluffy the book was made it a little too hard to be believed. Certain scenes, like the one between the main character and her boss Linda, were resolved too quickly for my liking. I think there should have been a more in-depth conversation about what the main character did to Linda. Instead, she brushed it aside like nothing happened. When the book finally did get some depth towards the end, it went really dark, which I appreciated. What is revealed towards the end was completely unpredictable. I didn't see it coming at all, which is one of the things I really did like about the book.

I think the thing that I disliked the most about the book was that the main character was unlikable. She was a complete jerk to everyone around her. In fact, I almost dnf'd the book at the beginning after she said something terrible to her friend. I couldn't believe she said it. Towards the end of the book, she started to get a different attitude and became much more tolerable. However, I never really did end up liking her. Even after she became more tolerable, it seemed like she didn't learn her lesson. She still had a crappy attitude towards a few people around her.

Even though I didn't enjoy everything about On the Fence, I did think it was an okay book. It was one of Kasie West's first contemporaries. I have several of her other books. Even though this book wasn't one of my favorite contemporaries, I hope to read her other books soon. It should be interesting to see how her writing has evolved. I hope the books that she has written recently have more likable main characters than this book did. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick read to get a couple hours of entertainment.


I give On the Fence: 3/5. 

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.kasiewest.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kasiewest
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5027236.Kasie_West

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.