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Honesty and snark at their finest.

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Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Sever (The Chemical Garden, #3)

Sever by Lauren DeStefano
My rating: 1.5 of 5 stars

My Rating: 1.5 Stars

It was hard for me, at first, to figure out why everyone seems to love the second and third books in these series and the first one got awful reviews. Because, to me, all three of them were pretty awful.

Then it hit me.

The first book was so bad, that only the diehard fans read the sequels. And then me.

The writing in these books is beautiful. If Lauren DeStefano wanted to write a sappy romance novel, she would probably hit it off pretty big. The thing that brings these books down to the level that they are is that there is absolutely no believability in this world. A dystopian future where girls die at 20 and boys die at 25 (exactly). On their 20th and 25th birthdays respectively, their body somehow succumbs to a virus that kills them. This is just so ridiculous. Maybe if they had been suffering from this virus their whole lives, and then around that age their body’s normally gave way, but it can’t be exactly. You can’t live to be 19 years and 364 days old and then drop dead from a disease.

These books also feature polygamy. I didn’t find this part so hard to read, like over reviewers. The thing that stunned me about this was that we are expected to believe that in this day and age, we have digressed enough to the point where, once again, men are considered the superior gender and women are only useful for child-bearing. We are supposed to believe that women just sat down and took this and didn’t fight it at all.

The biggest fault of believability in these novels was the idea that North America was the only continent left in existence. The polar ice caps melting and World War 3 has left everyone but NA underwater. First, the main part of the novel takes place in Florida. If this were true, Florida would be one of the first areas in North America to sink. Secondly, what happened to the higher altitudes? The Alps just sunk underwater? North America is still on the surface while Sweden is at the bottom of the ocean? Seriously?

Now I know this whole North America being the only thing left thing is explained away by the end of the series, but the fact that so many reviewers didn’t believe it leads me to believe that maybe, just maybe, the Americans wouldn’t believe it either. Maybe some people in America aren’t so gullible that they’ll let their president take away their history books and replace them with his own ideas? Maybe some people in America aren’t so gullible as to blindly believe that North America is the only place left standing? Maybe, just maybe, all American’s aren’t complete idiots.

The one other quam I had with these books was that each book took one step forward and two steps back. In the first book, it took Rhine the entire novel (and the timeframe of a year) to finally escape. That time was filled with images of pretty wives, dresses, candies. In the second book, Rhine finally escapes and by the end, ends up exactly where she started. In the third book, she escapes again, and once again, ends up exactly where she started. These books are less about Rhine’s adventures and more about her changing her mind and not doing the things she is so set on doing.

This is not a post-apocalyptic adventure, it is a distorted vision of a gifted author’s sad fantasy.

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Filed under Sever Lauren DeStefano Wither Chemical Garden Fever 1.5 Stars beautiful writing horrible plot

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Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

Generation Dead (Generation Dead, #1)

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This review can also be found at The Title Page

My rating: 2.5 Stars

I really wanted to like this book, because I loved Break My Heart 1,000 Times and because so many people seemed to love it too. I just couldn’t get into this book.

I was worried that it would be Twilight-esque, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t a horrible book, I just really didn’t enjoy it.

I tried, I really did, but by 3/4 the way through I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t force myself to love something that was so undeserving.

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Lets start of with the warped romance in this book. I get it, you want the weird goth girl (let me just pause for a second… goth… smh) is in love with a dead guy.

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Okay, dead guy, zombie, whatever. Let’s just think about this… I know these are teenagers and they’re in high school, and they’re so innocent and pure and yada yada yada. And what typically happens the first time little teeny boppers get sexual?

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But this kid is dead. DEAD. Would things even function down there?

Nope, let’s not think about it.

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Can I just start off mentioning that Phoebe (the main character; don’t think I ever mentioned that) goes from knowing who this kid was and being in the same english class, to full blown, head over heels, love at first sight bullshit. Where did this come from? Did her feelings wait until the book began to show up? I don’t… I just don’t.


OK, for serious though, this book dragged on. Nothing really happened until the very end. Even the beginning was slow as shit, so I should have known before I started.

I don’t HATE this book. I just hated it… for me, you know? Daniel Waters, I loved your new novel, you should have waited until you were good to debut.

Cause…

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Filed under Generation Dead Daniel Waters 2.5 Stars Gifs

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A Shimmer of Angels by Lisa M. Basso

A Shimmer of Angels (Angel Sight, #1)

A Shimmer of Angels by Lisa M. Basso
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

DISCLAIMER: I received A Shimmer of Angels as a publisher ARC through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This review can also be found at The Title Page

Rating: 3.5 Stars

I wanted to review A Shimmer of Angels while it was still fresh in my mind. I finished the book yesterday and have mixed feelings about the title.

I have to admit, I went into this book expecting it to be just another high school novel, I feared it would be on par with Marked and I would be putting it down before I let too many of my brain cells rot.

Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised.

Ray is a refreshing take on the teenage girl. Having lived three years of her life in a mental hospital, she isn’t the standard high school teen queen. Of course, there is the typical love triangle, which seems to be standard among YA novels these days. (let me tell you now girls, you’ll be lucky to ever have one perfect guy falling head over heels for you, the chances of two would be slim to none.)

The writing leaves much to be improved on, I got the feeling that the author was trying too hard to sound like a teenage girl. The dialogue Ray used did not match her thoughts. She was emotionally more mature than a normal 16 year old would be because she had gone through so much more than most teens. It should reflect in the way she speaks along with the way she processes information.

I love Ray’s ‘descent into madness’ throughout the beginning of the books. I put this in quotes because it’s not so much a descent into madness as an ascent from madness. The best part of the novel is the section where Ray comes to terms with the fact that she is not crazy.

The author would use filler sentences that didn’t make too much sense, which gave me the feeling that she was trying too hard. She’d use words like…

"Have a seat," the waitress invited, her voice sharp with sarcasm."

or

He might look my age, but sometimes, when he said weird things like that, I couldn’t shake the feeling he was much older.

The first qualm I had with these was trying to figure out how one would sarcastically tell someone to take a seat for a job interview. I spent a few minutes trying to figure that one out. As for the second quote, you’ll probably need some context. She says this about Cam, a person she’s known for approximately 2.5 minutes and said 3 words to.

This is what I’m talking about, a good editing and this would be a really great book.

I like the topic, fallen angels, guardian angels, angels from hell. This all interests me, but I’d have to say I haven’t read many novels on the subject. This is because I’m writing my own angel-based novel and don’t want to be influenced by any other work.

I took a chance with A Shimmer of Angels and I’m glad I did. I’m not sure I’ll read the following 2 novels, but that is to be discovered.

Favorite character: Kade
Least Favorite Character: Cam
Recommended for: Young readers, readers interested in angel/demon work.

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Filed under A Shimmer of Angels Lisa M. Basso 3.5 Stars angels devil lucifer high school mental

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Nexus by Ramez Naam

Nexus (Nexus, #1)

Nexus by Ramez Naam
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

DISCLAIMER: I received Nexus as a publisher ARC through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This review can also be found at The Title Page

Rating: 2.5 Stars

I’ve read a fair bit of Angry Robot books lately, the publisher really knows how to find amazing sci-fi work. I eagerly applied for the ARC for Nexus on NetGalley and added it to the top of my to-read pile.

There were plenty of reviews present before I read it and I really thought I would enjoy the novel based on them. Unfortunately, I’m just not seeing why people think this novel was so amazing.

It wasn’t a bad book, it just wasn’t amazing.

The book dives right in to the science as if the reader has a standing expertise in technological programming. As you go through the novel, the technological lingo starts to make more sense, but in the beginning I was obtusely confused. I work with computers and technology in both of my jobs and I was still immediately lost.

The explanations of how Nexus works, and plenty of other programs, were not simply given to us. They were mixed in as interview transcriptions and discussions. A daring angle for the author to make, but one that, sadly, felt short. By reading transcriptions, the reader is completely separated from any emotional attachment the character had to their work. These characters are supposed to be completely involved in their life’s work and be deeply attached to it, but I just didn’t get that feeling in reading the novel.

The character’s were boring and unobservant. For people who are supposed to have a deep understanding of the technological underworld of the future, they seemed overly idiotic. They had issues putting two and two together, and I feel like the author did this to help the reader figure things out for themselves. It left me feeling like the author thought I was stupid and needed a fun little detective game to keep me interested.

There were two redeeming qualities of this book, the plot and the antagonist.

The plot was very intriguing. Technological genius turned double agent in a battle for his friends freedom. We follow Kade as he struggles to figure out what is right or wrong, and Sam who has an equally powerful struggle against what she’s always been trained to believe. While both main characters were annoyingly dry, the plot was able to string them together enough to make a respectable attempt.

The antagonist in this novel is up to the reader. You decide who’s side you are on, because it does bring up some very good points for either side. The main characters’ internal struggles accent the debates against right or wrong in this novel.

Having the ability to communicate with other humans through only the connections in your minds, it can be used for a plethora of good in the world. The danger is the misuse of the technology, to control people and bend their will. Is it worth the risk?

You decide.

Favorite character: Sam
Least Favorite Character: none, no clear antagonist
Recommended for: Sci-fi fans with a basic understanding of computer technology

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Filed under Ramez Naam Nexus 2.5 Stars technology biology futuristic

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A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz

A Conspiracy of Alchemists

A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

DISCLAIMER: I received A Conspiracy of Alchemists as a publisher ARC through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This review can also be found at The Title Page

Rating: 3.5 Stars

A Conspiracy of Alchemists follows air-pilot, Elle, and her warlock companion, Hugh on a quest to find her kidnapped father. Elle discovers that she holds powers she never even imagined in this adventure that takes place in a magical, historical, alternate universe.

This book starts out interestingly enough, pushing us straight into this universe with no explanation. I was able to pick up enough from the setting and character description to figure out some of the mythology going on throughout the book, but it took a while for me to fully understand what was going on. I ended up googling different mythology just to get an image in my head of certain characters.

The characters were very in-depth, I enjoyed the people I was reading about. Consistency could have been better. In the beginning of the novel, Hugh was a hardened gentleman with a snarky attitude but by the end of the book he had turned into a useless boy pining for a girl’s love.

Everything seemed to move slower in this world too. Elle is determined to find her father (who she fears may be dead), but only after she’s had her breakfast. Hugh and Elle travel to Venice to speak to the only people who can help them, but the first thing they do is check into a hotel. Once Elle is kidnapped, Hugh visits a few friends and checks into a hotel for a few days before finally freeing her. They just seem really calm in the situations they’re in. Panic should be their first reaction.

And then, of course, in the end we have the inevitable ‘bad guy reveals entire plan because, hey “you’re going to die anyways”’ cliche, that I did not enjoy from such an original novel. And we wouldn’t miss the Prologue designed only to set up for the next novel. (which I really think it could have done without. This book would have been a great standalone novel, I fear the sequels will only bring it down.)

I was not overly impressed with the novel, but I didn’t hate it. The world building was fascinating, if not a bit overwhelming. It’s a good read, but not the top of my list.

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Filed under A Conspiracy of Alchemists Liesel Schwarz steampunk

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The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke

The Mad Scientists Daughter

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This review can also be found at The Title Page

Rating: 4.5 Stars

The blurb for this book is a bit misleading, not so much in a bad way. Don’t expect a book from the point of view of an android, that’s not what this is about. This book is about a young girl’s growth from adolescence to adulthood. It follows Cat in her journey to find herself and figure out who she is in the midst of normalcy.

Catarina Novak is a tangled woman cursed with the burden of beauty and an icy heart. Living a life of denial and empiness, she struggles between being happy and doing what society demands of her. She acts out to make herself feel human in a world running rampant with robots.

She’s the daughter of two scientists, raised so that she discovers herself instead of having someone else discover who she is for her. She is tutored from age six by Finn, an android her father has attained. Finn is more realistic than any other androids, and has the ability to think and feel.
Cat spends her life as if floating through a dream, she conforms for the sake of conforming. She considers the opinions of her parents before her own, and it ultimately leads her into situations that knows she will regret.
It isn’t until Cat is almost 30 that she discovers what it is that she really wants, and decides to pursue happiness.

I do not like romance books. If I had known before I read this that it was mostly a romance novel, I never would have requested the ARC. I can’t believe how close-minded I can be sometimes. This book was amazing, it was better than most science fiction, dystopian, or romance novels put together.
It had me pulling my hair out, crying, and laughing with joy.

There are two things I want to point out before you pick up this novel that accounts for the half a star less than perfect on my rating.

1. This book is very slow. It takes a long time for anything to happen, but that in no way means that it is boring. I enjoyed every minute of it, but it can get frustrating waiting for the obvious to happen.
2. Catarina is frustratingly selfless. To the point where it was hard to believe she would sacrifice so much of her happiness to make her parents and society happy.

I loved Cat’s character. She was ballsy, and she stood up for those she loved. She is impulsive and stubborn, but she never really knew what she wanted. As the reader, of course I knew what she wanted, but we had to watch Cat figure it out, and she also had to figure out that it was okay to be different in order to be happy.

This novel is a beautifully written, incomparably powerful love story. I loved and hated it for how it made me feel. My heart broke (along with Cat’s) multiple times. The perspective throughout the book as Cat ages is impeccable. In the beginning, I felt like I was reading through a five year old’s thoughts, in her teenage years, I felt exactly as I did as a troubled young girl, and in her older years, I felt her passion and contempt for the life she had chosen more powerfully than anything I’ve ever felt about my own life.

This books contains sexual situations, I don’t recommend you let your 9 year old read it, but it’s a great Science Fiction novel (though lacking a bit in the actual sci-fi department, it doesn’t take away from the story at all). If you love romance novels, and want romance with a twist, it’s a must read.

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Filed under The Mad Scientist’s Daughter Cassandra Rose Clarke 4.5 Stars future robots romance