Review of ‘True Born’ by L.E. Sterling

True Born (True Born Trilogy, #1)True Born by L.E. Sterling

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

True Born is your typical, dystopian YA read. It has all the stereotypical elements that you’d expect, including that of a “special” girl, “insta-love”, and the world going to hell in a handbasket.

I mean, did you really expect anything less?

Let’s first start off with our “special” snowflake.
Lucy Fox and her sister Margot are identical twins who came into this world conjoined. Now, if you’re thinking that make this book all the more interesting…well, you’re kind of right, and you’re kind of wrong. They’re separated not long after birth, so conjoined they do not stay (how cool of a story would that be?!). But one thing about them, is they’re basically written to have that psychic connection that twins seem to have, and can essentially feel the pain that the other is being submitted to. Kind of cool, yes, but then things begin to go south.
This book is told from Lucy’s POV, so it’s her descriptions we’re taking in. And though these two girls are supposedly identical twins, she’s quick to say how much, basically,
more
…her sister is than her. She’s more beautiful. She’s more brave. And she’s more in that she’s their parent’s favorite. But it’s not long after the book starts that Margot goes through a traumatic experience that ends up causing her to retreat into herself and lose that more that we never really got to experience–except for maybe an early moment when she’s cutting class, big whoopty doo!–thus leading to her character turning out to be a bit on the boring side. When you read how Lucy describes herself in comparison to her sister, you don’t really expect much from her, so it’s kind of funny that she ends up being the more outspoken/brave one. Definitely contradictory to what you expect of the girls when you’re first introduced to them. Then again, I guess that’s what makes a character “special”, huh? I actually didn’t mind Lucy as the MC, but it did get annoying to hear her worrying about Margot, all. Of. The. Time. Really, I understood it the first time she mentioned her worry…and the million times after. I might seem unfeeling, cause yeah, it’s her sibling and she has a right to feel worried about her, but I’ll admit that I get annoyed pretty easily, so I didn’t really care for her obsessive worry.

Now, for the insta-love aspect.
Standard YA trope would call for there to be a love triangle, but blessedly, we’re not being subjected to one here. (This is book 1 of a trilogy, so that could change.) We are, though, subjected to love (lust?) at first sight. Lucy is drawn to Jared at their first meeting, and though she’s initially going on about how irritating he is and all that yadda, she’s pretty much smitten from the start. And yes, this continues on and on. Yay. (Please note that that is a sarcastic ‘yay’.) I’m still not sure what I think of their “romance”, really. Shrug.

Finally, the world going to hell in a handbasket.
What would a dystopian YA be without the world essentially coming to an end in some form or other? In this book, it’s the human race that is the victim here. A plague has erupted at some point in history, and that leads to people being classified into three different categories: Splicers, Lasters, and True Borns. I’m not going to go into detail describing what each of these are–because you should read the book yourself if you’re that curious–but let’s just say that each leave different marks on the world, and yes, that includes survival of the fittest.
You’ve probably already guessed, but of course Lucy–and by twinly association, Margot–is a significant piece in all these goings on, though exactly what role she plays is the biggest mystery.

In conclusion, though I found this book interesting enough to finish it (and probably will read the next one at some point), it’s definitely not one I’d care to recommend.

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Review of ‘By the Book’ by Julia Sonneborn

By the BookBy the Book by Julia Sonneborn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Though it happens to be a loosely based, modern-day adaption of Jane Austen‘s Persuasion, By the Book is entertaining with its fun, comedic timing, as well as a premise that had me engaged from beginning to end!


My Synopsis:

In By the Book, Anne Corey is the contemporary version of Persuasion‘s Anne Elliot, with a bit more ambition to fit in with the modern storyline. Like the latter, she’s still single after having allowed herself to be persuaded to break off an engagement with this story’s Wentworth, Adam Martinez some years earlier. But while she’s working on retaining a position as a professor of the college she’s currently employed with – as well as writing her first, full-length novel – she’s startled by the reappearance of her ex, who also happens to end up being the school’s newly appointed president… Though Anne feels she’s moved on, what with a new romance and all the busyness in her bustling life, with Adam in her sights, she can’t help but find it hard to ignore him and wonder if maybe he feels the same way, too.


My Thoughts:

By the Book really was an easy, entertaining read, and a lot of that definitely has to do with the fact that the characters were so well-written! I loved reading about Anne’s past with Adam, as well as her current romance with the suave, Rick Chasen. Obviously, I couldn’t help comparing events and peoples to those found in Persuasion, but I feel like Julia Sonneborn did a good job with putting her own spin on things, and I can’t even begin to say how much I loved Anne’s best friend Larry!!! He was hilarious, and brought with him some new elements that helped with the modernization of Jane Austen‘s story.

Another thing I personally liked, was that this Anne’s father wasn’t so unlikable. I found myself detesting Anne Elliot’s father because of how pompous he was and his narcissism, but this Anne’s father seemed to have more reasoning behind his actions and words, even if they didn’t end up bringing the outcomes we wanted to see.

I could go on with the things I liked about this book – for instance, all the hilarity involving one Jack Lindsey – but I think I’ll leave the rest for you to discover when you read this book, because yes, I do recommend it!

Thank you to Gallery Books, via Netgalley, for giving me this copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘Fir’ by Sharon Gosling

FirFir by Sharon Gosling

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Fir is either my fourth or fifth book from the Red Eye horror collection, and so far, probably my least favorite – not that I would really classify it in the ‘favorites’ category, but you get my point. For starters, this book took forever to do just that, start. A good quarter of the book was some nonsense about trees needing to be harvested, children running around, and a particularly nasty housekeeper, but I honestly can’t say I remember if there was really anything actually going on to allude to this being a horror novel in this particular section of the book (besides the housekeeper, maybe). Then again, my being unable to remember could probably just be because this book never quite pulled me in…so, there is that.

Anyway, when this book finally starts to roll along into the horror aspect, I find that I’m already pretty detached from the story and its characters. The MC was alright, but there were also a lot of moments that had me wanting to shake some sense into her. And her parents? One is mostly absent throughout the novel, while the other chooses to either ignore MC’s concerns, or shut them down completely as nonsense. The only other character to really mention is the housekeeper, but she was more so nasty than scary to me, so it was hard to get any genuine horror from her, because I was more so annoyed with how horrible she was to the ones employing her.

So, besides a dislike for characters, I didn’t really care for the “scare tactics”. This book just did not scare me, and that has to be one of the biggest disappointments for me. I kept hoping for something, but even with the potential of creepy children, this book was just not scary. Even mentions of an old Scandinavian folklore plaguing the forest around the MC’s home ended up doing nothing for me. I feel like there were so many interesting ideas introduced, but maybe there just wasn’t all that much time for them to be executed, because apparently, what we needed more was “character development”, and to see the family’s day to day life before things begin to happen.

At this point, I think it’s safe to say that I didn’t like this book. The only reason it’s a two star for me is because I still find myself intrigued by the folklore, and wouldn’t mind looking into it further at some point.

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Review of ‘Strange Weather’ by Joe Hill

Strange WeatherStrange Weather by Joe Hill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve decided that I’m going to sort of break down each novel into somewhat separate reviews, and give them each their own rating, since I definitely liked certain ones more than the others.


SNAPSHOT
– 2.5 stars
This one had to be my least favorite. I was very interested in the idea of a camera that steals away memories every time a picture is taken of someone, but I was so disappointed by how the story wrapped up. I feel like it could have either gone into more details explaining the camera’s origin, or maybe not have shown what was powering the camera at all, because it ended up leaving me unfulfilled. The story in itself was interesting enough, but the ending just ruined it for me, so this one is probably the one I liked the least.


LOADED
– 4 stars
Anyone who follows the news these days (even those who don’t necessarily do so by choice) will likely hear about some sort of shooting happening. For those of us who live in the US, we’re quite familiar (sadly) with such aggression, so this novel felt like it hit close to home. Loaded starts out with an experience that is so similar to that of Stephon Clark, that I couldn’t help but feel emotional reading it. It continues on with another shooting happening at a later time, though this one involves more casualties-one of which was super hard to read about-it instead is mostly centered on the man who becomes a media sensation for stopping a mass shooter. But this man is not as heroic as people think, and his murky mind definitely gave me the chills. This novel in general is a hard read, and I can’t say that I loved the content, but it’s enlightening and well-written.


ALOFT
-3.5 stars
This one was an interesting one for me. I found it to be a pretty unique story, as well as just plain strange. The MC is a young man who happens to go sky-diving with a group of friends, only to chicken out when it’s his time to jump. He’s forced to jump anyway, thus landing on the cloud that becomes the main setting of this story. The cloud begins a strange understanding with the MC, creating things for him out of its mist, but one cannot live without the necessities to sustain one’s life, so obviously his relationship with the cloud becomes strained, and he desires to leave it. While he’s on this cloud, he happens to think back on his “relationship” with the girl he likes and it seems that he also slowly comes to understand his role in her life. I wasn’t a big fan of this novel because I really didn’t like the MC. He didn’t seem to understand boundaries, and I felt overwhelmed by his eagerness to be close to the girl he likes. I think it’s mostly because I myself would have a hard time being around such a person, that I didn’t like him.


RAIN
-5 stars
This was my favorite novel in the book. I really liked the MC, Honeysuckle, and really, the whole sequence of events! Imagine that it rains one day, but instead of the normal rain one’d expect, the rain is literally made up of thousands of needles, and is even described as “ripping people apart”, the casualties from the first rain (yes, this type of rain happens more than once) are tremendous. Honeysuckle suffers a significant loss straightaway, and she has several journeys that have her coming across all types of things and peoples, leading to such an entertaining read!

Overall, I liked this book more than I didn’t. The two novels I rated higher far outweighed the two I found to be lacking. I’ll be glad to recommend the two I’d liked, and as for the other two…they weren’t bad, they just had something that ended up bothering me personally, so I can’t say if you’d feel the same.

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Mini Review of ‘The Woman in Cabin 10’ by Ruth Ware

The Woman in Cabin 10The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Mini Review Time!

I wasn’t—and am still not—sure what to rate this book. I didn’t find it to be as awful as I’d been thinking it’d be, but I also just couldn’t get past my complete dislike for the MC. She was so determined to find out what happened to The Woman in Cabin 10, that she ends up looking crazy. I don’t know why, but I’ve always disliked characters who go above and beyond in matters that only end up blowing up in their faces. I tend to feel a bit anxious when I think of things getting worse, due to one person’s need for “truth”.

But I digress.

So, you now know that I wasn’t Lo’s biggest fan, but honestly, that’s probably the worst of it for me. I had no problem getting into this book and keeping up with it. I did figure out a few things before they came to fruition, but I can’t say it bothered me all that much.

Anyway, being that I couldn’t stand the MC, I find it hard to recommend this book.

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Review of ‘There’s Someone Inside Your House’ by Stephanie Perkins

There's Someone Inside Your HouseThere’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Synopsis provided by publisher:

Love hurts…

Makani Young thought she’d left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She’s found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn’t far behind.

Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.
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Okay, so though I’m a fan of horror, it tends to be more along the lines of supernatural. I love me a good, ghostly thrill! But when it comes to slashers, I’m not really the biggest fan. Most of my experience obviously comes from films involving teens being murdered by either the undead, out for revenge, or by other teens, who also may be out for revenge. If I were to pick one slasher film series I’d enjoyed, it’d have to be Scream, and that’s likely showing how inexperienced I am when it comes to slashers.

So, knowing this about me, I’m not sure I’m the best judge when it comes to this book, but I’ll go ahead and give the reasons as to why I didn’t really care for this one.

1. The Main Character:
Makani has to be the one of the most boring/annoying MCs I’ve had the (dis)pleasure to read about, ever. She’s brought forth as a biracial girl from Hawaii (check out her name! It’s Hawaiian! *please note the sarcasm) with a dark past, who ends up in cornfield-ridden Nebraska. While I appreciate that Perkins introduced an ethnic girl as the MC of this novel, I just didn’t really end up caring about her all that much. I didn’t feel like enough was given in regards to character-growth (and that could have been intentional on Perkins’ part, due to wanting to give the story a sense of right now in terms of the plot), but this ultimately led to my not really feeling compassionate for her, in her tumultuous times.

2. The “dark past”:
Seriously, when I find out the reason Makani moved to Nebraska, I couldn’t help but feel like it just didn’t really make sense. Sure, what happened was wrong on many levels, but I was sort of expecting something…different. I can’t really say more without giving anything away, but I will say that what happened just feels disappointing, and not really menacing enough for a slasher.

3. The reveal of the serial killer:
I’d made it maybe 70% of the way through the book – and the killer is revealed.
I’ll admit I had no idea who the killer would turn out to be, but I feel like it could have possibly been more suspenseful if the reveal had been put off till the end. Then again, I’m not sure that would have really made a big difference, since I wasn’t impressed with the reveal in the first place…

4. The murders:
Okay, so yes, we have the stereotypical stabby deaths, but the way the serial killer menaced the victims was really cheesy. Like, for example, the first victim, who is unsettled by an egg-timer (yes, an egg-timer), because not only is she finding it in strange places, but it’s described as ‘smooth, white, and innocuous’…obviously I find this description to be so terrifying! (Insert eye roll here.)

And finally:

5. The stupid romance:
I didn’t really care for Ollie, and didn’t find him to be all that interesting, though the way he’s described, I feel like we’re supposed to feel that he’s interesting. Because yeah, dyeing your hair pink and having a lip ring is really all it takes to be edgy these days.

I think it’s safe to say at this point that I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book. It wasn’t the worst I’d read, thus the generous rating of 2 stars, but it was just not what I’d hoped for when it comes to a slasher/thriller. Besides the descriptions of each of the murders – and the moments leading to each death – there really aren’t any true, horrifying moments in this book. And honestly? I’m not sure the murders were all that scary, either.

I will not be recommending this one.

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Review of ‘This Darkness Mine’ by Mindy McGinnis

This Darkness MineThis Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary provided by publisher:
Sasha Stone knows her place–first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her oxford-wearing boyfriend. She’s worked her entire life to ensure that her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved.

But suddenly there’s a fork in the road, in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, her skin misses his touch even though she’s never known it, and she relishes the smell of him–smoke, beer, and trouble–all the things she’s avoided to get where she is. Even worse, every time he’s near Sasha, her heart stops, literally. Why does he know her so well–too well–and she doesn’t know him at all?

Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending another’s: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. But that doesn’t explain the gaps of missing time in her practice schedule or the memories she has of things she certainly never did with Isaac. As Sasha loses her much-cherished control, her life–and heart–become more entangled with Isaac. Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she’s willing to do–and who she’s willing to hurt–to take it back.

Edgar Award–winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a dark and gripping psychological thriller about a girl at war with herself, and what it really means to be good or bad.
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This is going to be hard to review! So many of the things I want to mention are spoilers, but because I’d decided a long time ago I wouldn’t post them, even if they are hidden, then I will have to review this book the best that I can without giving away anything crucial.

So, I will start off with our MC, Sasha Stone. As you’ve already learned, she is pretty much as perfect as one could get without getting Biblical, and initially, her “perfection” and “high standards” just come off as annoying. She’s such a snob, and she forces her ideology onto anyone who dares to speak to her. All in all, she sounds like a real winner when it comes to the MC lottery, am I right?? Well, she doesn’t become likable or anything close to that, no, it’s all in the fact that her character became more interesting to me. I still hated her guts, and would likely have pushed her into the path of a moose or bear if I needed a distraction to save my life (I live in Alaska, so, yes, this can be relevant), but I became more intrigued by this idea that she’s missing time, and happens to find out she’d absorbed her twin in the womb. Now, I hope you’ve Sherlocked your way into realizing that these various hints mean that because she’d absorbed her twin, she absorbed everything from her…including her personality. And if you hadn’t figured that out and think I’ve given away a spoiler, then I don’t think this book is for you…
Anyway, so because of this “introduction” of a twin to this story, Sasha definitely began to interest me more, leading to my enjoying this book way more.

Then there are the people in Sasha’s life. I’ll only mention some of them, because to say anything about the latter few will be too telling of a something big that happens, so henceforth, vague I shall continueth to be!

Where was I again?
Oh, people in Sasha’s life, right.
Okay, so there exist her parents, a mother and father each. Each have their roles, though neither seem to impart the warm and fuzzy feelings that come with being a family, they seem to be good enough people and take care of our annoying MC as well as parents can.
Then there are her two friends, Brooke and Lilly. Brooke is way more interesting than Lilly, and I think it mostly has to do with her fascination of morbid things. In comparison, Lilly is milk toast. She’s boring and I’m not really sure what she brought to this trio’s friendship?? Besides that, she does exist in this book for a reason, and that I do understand.
Finally, we have Isaac (there does happen to be a “perfect” boyfriend, named Heath, but I don’t really feel there is any need to talk about Señor Douchelord, so I won’t). Isaac is the “bad boy” who is thrown into the mix because that’s what you do in YA books. You have to have a guy who “sees what others cannot…who brings out the best in you” and all that yadda yadda, so of course he’s introduced as a possible romantic interest, because wouldn’t that make the book more interesting?!
But, of course.
I liked Isaac and have nothing bad to say about him, though I did question his thought process when it came to a few things…a few things I won’t be mentioning… (Again, cause as the fantastic River Song would say, ‘Spoilers’.)

I really feel like this book kept me hooked. I was surprised when I’d read so many reviews in which people either did not like this book, or chose to DNF it, because once I’d started it, I was committed to finding out what Sasha’s deal was, and more about the absorbed twin. And the more I kept reading, the more I realized where this book was going. And the ending? I LOVED it! I really wish I could say why, but I will say that it helped reinforce my dislike for Sasha, and if you read this book to the end, you’ll likely see why.

Honestly, I’m not sure you’ll like this book, judging by how many seem not to, but I really liked it and just found it to be really entertaining! So if my review interested you at all, then you should definitely read this book and let me know what you think of it!

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