[ARC REVIEW] Gone by Elisabeth Naughton

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REVIEW: Reflection by Lynn Yvonne Moon

22542230Title: Reflection
Author: Lynn Yvonne Moon
Release Date: June 1st, 2015
Genres: YA, Romance
Source: NetGalley
Format: Ebook

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Journey Elizabeth Gordon has always been different from other girls her age, and never really fitting in. Frilly dresses and heavy makeup is just not her style. When her mother dies, her life shatters as she and her little sister leave for their father’s secluded cabin deep in the mountains of Colorado. A father the girls have not seen or heard from in over six years. Journey believes she’ll never be happy again, until one morning when a strange man suddenly appears on their doorstep. With this stranger, Journey’s life takes an unexpected turn into the bizarre. Journey’s father tries to help her accept new world. Journey is no longer in South Carolina, but living in the Fornax galaxy billions of light years away from Earth. But then she meets the dazzling exotic boy, Takoda. Takoda is a Sweetacha from the blue sister world, Traveler. His skin is lightly colored, his hair is a deep auburn, and his eyes are amber, just like hers. Her heart pounds and her mind goes blank when she sees him. But any relationship beyond friendship is forbidden by law. A law established by her family many generations ago through the Council of Elders. A law, Journey has decided to change. Through Takoda, Journey is introduced to his culture and his people. An exciting world of ancient ruins and hidden secrets that shed an ominous light on her ancestors. Her heart grows daily for Takoda and through that love they enter the forbidden world of racial tension and a forbidden love. Together they struggle to understand the past while piecing together a future they can share and love. A love that would mean instant death if her Council family should discover the truth.

Rating: 2/5 Stars
★★✰✰✰

      Reflection is in interesting tale about aliens, universes, planets, and forbidden romances. In it, we follow Journey as she discovers a whole new way of life with her father after her mother dies.

The plot and the overall premise of this story had so much potential. I had no expectations when I started reading, and so through all the flaws, I still found enjoyment. There were some great descriptions, build-ups, action scenes, and there were a lot of points where I had hope for character development. I didn’t feel the urge to never put it down, but I still liked reading, even if it was only because I wanted to know how it would end and if anything would be solved.

The author came up with some wonderful twists. I never saw some of them coming. There were situations full of angst and fear, and while they usually ended up with our MC having a temper tantrum, they were still enjoyable to read. The different emotions and experiences are probably what saved this book from a DNF. Each new place Journey and Takoda explored had something interesting happen in it, and while it may not have ended in anything overly spectacular, it was still intriguing made the book more enjoyable. I loved learning about the other planets and species, the different foods and cultures and beliefs. I just wish we had more on that.

Journey’s family stuck by her through everything. That was a key point for me, because I knew that no matter what happened, she would still be supported and loved. I ended up predicting a lot of things that never happened, and one of them was a war of sorts that ended in many deaths. Another was that Journey would be Queen and take care of her people, but had to leave her family without a word to do so. Neither happened, but if they had, it was nice to know that she would have a family who loves her no matter what.

However, I had a huge problem with this book. Many twists and situations happened that I love, they were built up well and I definitely couldn’t wait to see how they would be solved. But that’s just it. Nothing gets solved. Every problem or troublesome twist they experienced was essentially ignored. Journey’s romance with Takoda is forbidden (and instant), and they fought it at first (barely), but once they stopped fighting it’s like they didn’t even care any more. Their family found out, people at their school probably figured it out, people on other planets knew, and yet they aren’t reprimanded, they aren’t tortured or punished or killed for breaking one of the most important laws. Instead, Journey’s family decides a simple way to solve it, even though they never actually did it: change the rule. Boom. Problem not solved. They go to another planet to do some work and what happens? They find things out about the ancients and the oppressed, but they ignore it because they realize they’re not supposed to know about it. They literally do nothing but claim to want to make things better, while ignoring all the important problems. These problems were well executed, well written, and were serious issues that I enjoyed reading about so much that I wanted them to be solved and freed and fixed. But the solutions never came.

Journey annoyed me. At first it was okay because with all the screaming and the crying and the tone of her character, I thought she was 10 or 12. Nope. She’s 16. She yells a lot, cries and screams and demands, she’s not very understanding, and she’s rash and impulsive. At first, it seemed like she had a kind heart and like she could connect with anyone, considering her time at the graves. But after realizing a few important things, she demands answers and threatens people to get them. How can she think that’s alright? How can they be okay with her treating them as such and act as if she’s the loveliest person in the world? She also runs from literally every argument or embarrassing situation unless she’s alone with Takoda.

Overall, Reflection had a lot of promise, and it did not shy away from problems or twists. But with no solutions and an annoying character, it fell flat.

REVIEW: Submerging Inferno by Brandon Witt

18337479Title: Submerging Inferno
Author: Brandon Witt
Series: (Men of Myth #1)
Date Published: August 19th, 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Fantasy, LGBT
Format: Ebook
Source: NetGalley

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A Men of Myth Story

Brett Wright and Finn de Morisco come from vastly different worlds. Disowned by his family for being gay, Brett builds both a life on his own terms and walls around his heart. But nothing can prepare him for the evil that stalks him in the night or from discovering the dark secrets of his heritage.

The youngest of a doting family, Finn lives a sheltered life that allows him to trust easily and makes him quick to jump to the rescue. While using his knowledge of the supernatural world to help Brett uncover the truth of his ancestry, Finn learns neither his magical life nor falling in love is as simple and risk-free as he believed.

New knowledge comes with a price—one that may prove too high for them to pay.

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
★★1/2

“No matter what memories came flooding back, the ocean could never be tainted.” (1%)

      Submerging Inferno had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, it fell a little flat. The beginning had so much promise! It was a great start, intriguing and it had a great flow to it. But then an attack kick-started a path to overwhelming sadness and a romance that is almost completely instant.

      My main problem with this book is the plot. At first, it seemed like it could lead to great things, and I was really excited and ready for epic action and mind blowing discoveries! But that didn’t happen. After the initial attack, Brett stayed with Finn and his family, learning more about the supernatural (lots of information all at once, tbh), about the dangers in the world, and about himself. And then someone got killed and he landed in a depression of sorts. And then he got out and was always mad, but trying to focus on his relationship. And then someone else got killed and he took off, suddenly so sure of who he was. Basically, romance was #1, full of Brett being angry and happy and then scared, and #2 fell to the vampire who appeared what? Three times in the entirety of this book? Where is the plot, the buildup, the epic battles?!

      More on the romance now. There was honestly no real development for it. Brett and Finn hardly know each other. They know they’re supernaturals, Finn’s insecure, Brett’s gorgeous, and Brett has killed anyone even though he should have by now. The romance wasn’t even all the exciting anyway. Since there was no real development or buildup, I didn’t really care about it. Plus, it was hard to tell the difference between the two a lot as well, since the tone set them so similarly.

      As for characters, other than being all so similar, they were also called brave, selfless, and strong, though we were told that, not shown. Which didn’t really prove anything and made them seem  underdeveloped. They didn’t develop or grow much either. I was disappointed, to say the least.

      The writing however, was really good in multiple parts of the book though. The mystery/intrigue in the beginning was well done. It’s one of the main reasons why I had such high hopes at first. It sucked me right in and I loved it.

“He had green eye. Emerald-green eyes. Clear as glass. Bright and shiny as glass. I couldn’t tear myself away from his eyes. I wanted to, but they held me, denying me the right to choose.” (9%)

“A scream cut through the night. Pure terror and anguish laced the sound. Wave after wave of emotions washed over me. His fear was increasing to a level that was nearly impending my ability to move.” (12%)

The descriptions for Brett’s sadness were well worded as well. There was a point where I was actually in love with hearing how he put certain things together. It was one of the only times where I could really tell the difference between Finn and Brett.

“I knew that if I stood up, if I lifted off the blanket, if I unwrapped my arms from around my torso, that my chest would rip open, my heart would crush into thousands of pieces and fall out in a cascade of ashes onto the floor.” (47%)

“The sobs wracked my body until it felt as if not only would my head splinter, but my entire being would fragment, every particle splitting and ripping asunder.” (47%)

      So while the plot and characters and romance could have been better, the writing made it enjoyable.

REVIEW: Mad About The Hatter by Dakota Chase

Title: Mad About the Hatter
Author: Dakota Chase
Date Published: August 20th, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Retelling, LGBT
Format: Ebook
Source: NetGalley

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This isn’t his sister’s Wonderland….

Henry never believed his older sister, Alice’s, fantastic tales about the world down the rabbit hole. When he’s whisked away to the bizarre land, his best chance for escape is to ally himself with the person called the Mad Hatter. Hatter—an odd but strangely attractive fellow—just wants to avoid execution. If that means delivering “Boy Alice” to the Queen of Hearts at her Red Castle, Hatter will do what he has to do to stay alive. It doesn’t matter if Henry and Hatter find each other intolerable. They’re stuck with each other.

Along their journey, Henry and Hatter must confront what they’ve always accepted as truth. As dislike grows into tolerance and something like friendship, the young men see the chance for a closer relationship. But Wonderland is a dangerous place, and first they have to get away with their lives.

Rating: 2/5 Stars
★★✰✰✰

“It’s named that because many parts of it are wondrous, but also it’s a wonder anyone ever survives some of it.” (39%)

      At first glance this books sounds like a dark read, which is why I picked it up, but it’s not.  Mad About the Hatter is a cute, light read full of kisses, cookie wars, and a place called Drawrof where everything is backwards. It’s where Henry and Hatter explored multiple places in Wonderland on their way to the Red Queen’s castle, and explored even more as they tried to get away from her clutches. She’s quite evil you know, so much so that everyone in Wonderland is affected by her reign of terror and chopped heads.

“There was a decidedly pink cast to this guard, as if he’d spent far too many years outside patrolling the Queen’s borders, his color slowly bleaching out under the brutal kiss of the Wonderland sun.” (1%)

“He wondered is the other guards’ red heads were still attached to their red bodies, or gracing a series of pikes decorating the Queen’s croquet lawn.” (1%)

      While the Queen is made out to be some vicious, horribly violent person who kills at the littlest incentive, there’s really not much to back that up. Yes, she continuously cries out about chopping off heads, and her subjects are terrified of it, but we don’t actually witness it. We don’t see this incredibly dark side of her, just a side that seems like a petulant child who wants one thing and one thing only: heads to roll. Cat easily persuades her not to, though, so even that lacks real threat. I suppose it only made her people dislike her more, and it was a bit of a disappointment because the fear and darkness she could’ve brought would have made this story so much more engaging!

“If she grew any angrier, Hatter worried her head might explode. Not that it would necessarily be a bad thing, thought Hatter, but she’d make a horrific mess, and I’m in the splash zone. (8%)

“No one explains anything to the Queen. She’s built of nothing but maliciousness and stubbornness held together by a few threads of narcissism and a nice big helping of conceit.” (46%)

      The caterpillar was high whenever he was in a scene, which is why he spoke in confusing riddles and made essentially no sense at all. He was entertaining, especially when his pipe is taken away, but that’s about all he was good for. He was a pit stop, just another look at Wonderland and how odd it truly is. That, and he did something at the beginning that kickstarted another little pit stop. I won’t spoil you though.

      The romance was almost instant, though no action was taken until further on in the book. The romance is okay overall, but it lacked the proper buildup, it sometimes took place in the worst spots, and it was too cute and light which just seemed a bit overboard with how cute and light everything else already was. It was still enjoyable, but it had a lot of potential.

“How is it, with war raging so close by, with chocolate malt cannonballs flying and icing guns firing, that I can be thinking of kissing him?” (43%)

      The writing was a bit odd in a few places, using strange slangish word choices that just made the passage seem childish or just… wrong somehow. Also, for the plot, there wasn’t much going on. Henry and Hatter never actually got injured, and the Queen didn’t really make much of an effort to go after them, even though she sent her guards. The creatures and deadly places they went to? They somehow got through all of it unscathed, and even when you think they’re about to be eaten and have to fight for their lives, they merely find a simply solution of turning their backs. It made the story less exciting, because there wasn’t much to look forward to when you’re an action junkie like me.

“Ditto for the sun;” (74%)

“Cat tended to make everything more complicated and confuzzling than it needed to be.” (93%)

      I did like the strangeness that Wonderland held, though. It was incredibly imaginative and with all the magic infused in the story, it was great to read about. I just wish there had been more danger in the places Henry and Hatter explored, because then they would’ve been more ominous with deadly traps popping up at every corner and hill! There was so much potential! It has the basic structure for a dark tale, which I enjoyed, but then it takes a twist to cute kisses and simple solutions.

      Overall, it was an okay read, but it wasn’t for me.

REVIEW: Lumière by Jacqueline Garlick

19448543Title: Lumière
Author: Jacqueline Garlick
Series: (The Illumination Paradox #1)
Date Published: December 12th, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Steampunk
Format: Ebook
Source: NetGalley

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One determined girl. One resourceful boy. One miracle machine that could destroy everything.

After an unexplained flash shatters her world, seventeen-year-old Eyelet Elsworth sets out to find the Illuminator, her father’s prized invention. With it, she hopes to cure herself of her debilitating seizures before Professor Smrt—her father’s arch nemesis—discovers her secret and locks her away in an asylum.

Pursued by Smrt, Eyelet locates the Illuminator only to see it whisked away. She follows the thief into the world of the unknown, compelled not only by her quest but by the allure of the stranger—Urlick Babbit—who harbors secrets of his own.

Together, they endure deadly Vapours and criminal-infested woods in pursuit of the same prize, only to discover the miracle machine they hoped would solve their problems may in fact be their biggest problem of all.

Rating: 4/5 Stars
★★★★✰

      This book is wonderful. It’s full of creative trinkets, adventure, mystery, hope, and the writing is lovely! I was hooked from the beginning, lost in the delicate descriptions of steampunk creations; metal birds that are sensory to guard the gates, an elephant, a living cycle with wings, the Illuminator! It had a sense of magic, science, and creative imagination. I could picture everything, and I love how imaginative the author was with her descriptions because it made everything seem more elegant and admired. In short, the descriptions weren’t just descriptions, they were the entire story entwined with the narrative to make everything fit; a brand new puzzle finished, fun to put together.

“Frantic, the carny pulls back a tusk, and the mechanical beauty trumpets, sounding a little bit tinny, yet magically –elephant! Its mouth opens wide, showing off a ruby-crested tongue and a row of splendid ivory teeth.” (1%)

“Father’s promised to fix me. And he will. As soon as he perfects the machine.” (1%)

      While the book is about how Eyelet searches for her father’s machine, the illuminator, it has a sense of adventure. She’s running from dangerous people and instead of hiding, she goes after her father’s machine and jumps on a stranger’s carriage when she sees he has it! And she hangs on, too. She meets Urlick, a man with pink eyes! And with him, she sets out to find the mystery of the machine in hopes of curing herself, and a few other things. And with this sense of adventure, mystery plays a hand. What happened during the black out, what happened to the machine after it was sold off, what is behind the strange discoveries? Where do the mad go? What happens when you’re cast out? What will become of Eyelet if they ever find out her secret?

“I remember the looks on their faces in the windows, the bone-jarring pitch of their screams.” (5%)

      I’m not a big fan of romance. Action is more my thing, full of battles and blood shed and crazy adrenaline. A lot of times I like the romance in books, maybe enjoy it a little. But there are rare cases where I adore the romance, where I see the connection and everything feels right and I want more of it because I love it. This is one of those rare cases. The romance is slow coming, a gradual connection between the two, and even after they acknowledge it, they don’t get lost in the fluffy pink clouds and forget about the importance of their missions. No. They just protect each other a little more fiercely, and try a little harder to stay alive. They’re friends at first, being there for each other such as when he danced with her during her first vapour attack to calm her down a bit. And they don’t declare their love for each other, nor do they become a couple, they kiss, and they protect, and they try to survive. It pulled at my heart strings without even trying, and I loved every minute of them being together. The romance is barely developed in this book, and I’m already loving it, so I can’t wait to read the second book, to have some more of their romance and see how it develops!

“Together, we spin in tight, safe circles, inside the storm, as if nothing else in the world existed.” (52%)

Did she just-?
She did just, didn’t she?
She kissed me.
She did!” (80%)

      The characters were well-written, as well. I love Urlick and Eyelet, but also Iris and C.L. and Cordelia. They were all odd, misfits in a way, but they were all lovable and good and I felt for all of them. Especially C.L. because of where he’d been before. And Cordelia because of her condition and what Urlick’s father was supposed to do. Smrt was a deceiving little power-hungry professor, and I don’t like him much, but at the same time he brings humor and chaos to the story and some of the things he says are truly hilarious! In fact, a few of the characters said some pretty funny things, they were so ludicrous.

“You’re standing in the presence of a living demon, that’s what…” (7%)

“She used her wicked powers to still the babe’s lungs.” (7%)

      Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. I recommend it to you lovers of steampunk, romance, and maybe even adventure.

 

REVIEW: The Veil by Megan Chance

25169896
Title:
 The Veil
Author: Megan Chance
Series: (The Fianna Trilogy #3)
Date Published: August 25th, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal
Format: Ebook
Source: NetGalley

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Great stones crack and split. Storms will tell and the world is changed…

Seventeen-year-old Grace has found the archdruid who can teach her to use her power as the veleda—the priestess prophesied to save Ireland. But nothing is as it should be. The archdruid is a dangerous fairy, and Grace can’t learn the spells, no matter how hard she tries. Something is wrong…but what?

Meanwhile, gentleman Patrick Devlin and warrior Diarmid Ua Duibhne both struggle with their love for Grace, their duty to their warring brotherhoods, and their support of Ireland. And New York City is in chaos with protests, immigrant gangs, and police crackdowns. The only hope for the future is the ancient ritual, just weeks away, in which Diarmid must take the life of the girl he loves.

Secrets, legends, and prophecies collide in an explosive finale that will save the world—or destroy it.

Rating: 4/5 Stars
★★★★✰

      Everything is different. Nothing was the way they thought it would be, and with all the twists and surprises leaping around every corner, how can Grace do what she needs to?

      The Veil  really challenges Grace, and I loved it because she develops more than she did in the first two books. This is because while she’s still thinking of love and hope and helping her family, it isn’t her main concern anymore. Yes, she does love someone, and yes she does want to do all she can to help her family, but she knows she has to search for the answers herself because she can’t let love decide for her. She’s challenged in an abundance of ways, and my favourite is her time spent with the archdruid and the sidhe. Iobhar gives her the oddest tasks, and leaves her with vague sayings that she has to figure out to help make her stronger. Each time, she fails or she doesn’t. And each time, she grows more determined.

      We don’t learn more on the history and Celtic legends unfortunately, other than the fragments we get from Patrick. That however, is only because the book is so focused on the present. Grace goes missing (poor Diarmid practically lost his mind with worry), everyone goes crazy looking for her (both sides search everywhere, because they need the Veleeda for the prophecy), she’s untouchable (except by those she’s with), and then she’s back. We learn more about who Patrick is to her, what her powers are, and what the prophecy entails. It’s all in a mix of chaos and worry and twists we never saw coming.

      The romance wasn’t doing it for me in the first two books. In The Veil however, that changes. It’s not the main concern anymore, and so the romance turns sweet, and heart breaking, and powerful. I agreed with the choices Grace made, but at times when he was with her… I just wanted them together again, because it was so painful. But it worked out in the end and I can’t say I’m disappointed.

      The action is great. Police are everywhere looking for Grace and Diarmid, with wanted posters and the likes, but he still puts himself in danger to look for her. He walks the streets, breaks into a house, and he goes crazy with worry. He gets into fights, and they stage break ins in hopes of finding Grace, and it’s so cleaver how they trick people! The author has a way with making the tricks and manipulations seem so clever and witty, and I truly enjoyed reading them.

      The plot is fantastic. I wasn’t sure where it was going at first, but I can honestly say that I like how things turned out. The prophecy played out in a way that I never saw coming, though it feels like I should’ve because it felt so right. The sacrifice and the split, it was all woven together to make a great action packed scene.

      However, the ending fell a little flat for me. I won’t mention what happened, but I don’t really like how it took months to get to a decision, and then one word with someone and suddenly everything changes. You realize things, sure, but not so quickly. And you especially don’t act on them right away when you’ve spent months denying it.

      Overall though, this trilogy was fun and enjoyable to read!