Mini Review of ‘The Dark Tower I : The Gunslinger’ by Stephen King

The Dark Tower I (MTI): The GunslingerThe Dark Tower I (MTI): The Gunslinger by Stephen King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Mini Review Time:

Considering that most of the books I’d read from King has been more or less categorized as horror, this book was completely different from what I’d expected.

There were creepy moments, like Nort the man who ate weed and died with nothing, only to be resurrected by the man in black, resuming his familiar presence in a small-town bar. Or maybe even the Slow Mutants that terrorize the gunslinger and Jake, deep within the dark tunnels that will lead them to the man in black? Yep, just a bit of the creepiness you’d expect from a renowned writer of horror.

But really, though the ideas and the world-building were super interesting, I couldn’t help but feel like this book took a little too long getting anywhere. For example, the gunslinger spent a ridiculous amount of time in the small town of Tull, where he shacks up with a barmaid named Allie, and observes the weird behaviors of the townspeople. Tull is literally the epitome of a redneck town, and even has its own eccentric preacher-woman, who believes herself to be the Bride of God. Craziness abounds, and eventually he does leave the town, though it does involve emptying his guns on the way out.

There’s more world-building, like us learning a bit about the gunslinger’s past, though not much, and we see him eventually meeting the child, Jake, but again, slow-progression, and when the story seems to maybe be getting somewhere, it’s the end of book 1. Yep.

Well, though it took me a bit longer to read this book because of boredom at times, I still found the story interesting enough to read the next in the series, and from what I’ve heard, the series only gets better, so I’m looking forward to that, at least.

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Review of ‘The Epic Crush of Genie Lo’ by F.C. Yee

The Epic Crush of Genie LoThe Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A super funny action-adventure that involves Chinese Folklore, centering around the very modern, teenaged Genie Lo.
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Summary provided by publisher:
The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo’s every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.

Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.

Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined…
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Usually, I like to start off my reviews with the things I didn’t like, but when it comes to The Epic Crush of Genie Lo…I have nothing bad to say, because I absolutely loved this book!

–The Characters–
First, let’s talk about our MC, Genie Lo. I think that Genie will go down as one of my favorite heroines ever! She initially played the role of the stereotypical Asian teen, being the model student, and model daughter. But then, with the arrival of Quentin Sun, she’s suddenly thrust into a world in which Chinese Folklore is real, and something she just happens to play a major part of. But she’s still a teenage girl. So, cynicism and snark abound in her interactions with Quentin, which really had me cracking up at times. I really loved how she does grow more comfortable in her own way as the book goes on, and though there’s no mention of a book 2 on Goodreads (as of the last time I’d checked, that is), I really look forward to more Genie!

Now, for Quentin Sun, I won’t say much when it comes to exactly who he is, because you’ll just have to read to find out. But he’s so endearing, interesting, as well as super-funny, though his funniness stems more from his having to combat Genie’s snakiness. Again, I just loved their interactions together!!

–The Plot–
What an exciting, fantastical story! I know zilch when it comes to Chinese folklore, but the things that were introduced to me in this book were definitely super interesting! Genie’s strength, and the things she has to fight against really make for an even more exciting read!

–The setting–
It seems fitting that this book would take place in San Francisco, considering it is home to the oldest Chinatown in North America, and the largest Chinese enclave outside of Asia (I took this bit of info from Wikipedia, so hopefully it’s right, ha ha!). So, being that a lot of Chinese live in these parts, it’s the perfect place for Chinese monsters, and the like, to blend in, thus, the perfect setting for this fabulous book!

I think I’ve established by now, how much I absolutely loved this book, so obviously I will gladly recommend this book!!!

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

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Mini Review of ‘The Haunting’ by Alex Bell

The HauntingThe Haunting by Alex Bell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mini Review Time!
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Summary provided by the publisher:
Some curses grow stronger with time…
People say that all Cornish inns are haunted, but the Waterwitch’s history is particularly chilling. Built from the salvaged timber of a cursed ship, the guest house’s dark secrets go further back than anyone can remember.
Emma is permanently confined to a wheelchair after an accident at the Waterwitch which took place when she was ten. Seven years later, she decides to return to the place where the awful event occurred. But the ancient inn still has its ghosts, and one particular spirit is more vengeful than ever…
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After having read the author’s previous book Frozen Charlotte, and not feeling like it really lived up to the creep factor I was hoping for, I wasn’t really expecting much from this book. But how thrilled was I when this turned out so much better for me?!

First off, I loved the scares and found it to be genuinely creepy at times. There were plenty of details when it came to several horrific things mentioned in this book, and the entities plaguing the inn.
I mean, how creepy to think that one room houses a ghost who is trying to keep another locked out, holing away from the horror that would be bestowed upon him, should he be caught?Shivers. And when one of the characters pulls a bird feather from her eye? Ew! Icky, but definitely what you’d expect from a horror novel!

Second, I actually liked the characters. Though Emma is supposedly the MC, I feel that siblings Jem and Shell were just as prominent in this story as she was. Jem’s importance is proven by his need to take care of his younger sister, and protect her from their abusive father. He takes her away to the Waterwitch, and there, Shell comes into her own, and pretty much becomes the one I really feel is the MC of the story. She’s the one the most horrific ghost concentrates on, and she’s the one who can see it all happening when others don’t. Not till it’s too late, that is.

Third, and finally, I really found this book to be just good, well-done horror. I really enjoyed it and would be more than happy to recommend it to my fellow horror fans!

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Review Of ‘Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault (Glass Vault, #1) by Candace Robinson

Quinsey Wolfe's Glass Vault (Glass Vault, #1)Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault by Candace Robinson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very interesting story that could have been better with some additional editing.

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Synopsis taken from publisher:

Some see it… Some don’t…

People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among the missing. Perrie, along with her friend August, go on a pursuit to search for them in the mysterious museum. Could the elusive Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault have anything to do with their disappearances?

A book that intertwines horror elements and retellings, with humor and darkness.
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Okay, so first, let’s talk about the things that bothered me.

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The writing.

The writing isn’t horrible by any means, but I feel like this book really could have benefited from some additional editing to improve the flow of the story. Perrie is the MC/narrator, and she was constantly telling us what was going on, as opposed to describing. It was like she was dictating events to a jury, so it did get to be a little much.
Then there was the strange wording that was sprinkled throughout, another thing that could have used some editing. I had already used this example in a status update on my Goodreads, but here it is, August reaches over, and with his hand he pulls apart mine that are clasped. It sounds so weird, and brought to my mind the spoof movie, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, which has a moment in which a character tells his mafia don-like boss, “I will take these cotton balls from you with my hand and put them in my pocket.” (I love the movie, which is why I couldn’t help but remember the line). So the strange wording threw me off a bit, and that did come to mind when I was rating this things.

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Maisie and her stinkin’ eye patch.

Perrie’s cousin and best friend Maisie had and endless supply of homemade eye patches, and did she need them? No, she was wearing them in solidarity with people who only had one eye. Right… When it comes to unique fashion, I could care less, usually, but I couldn’t help but think of the long-term damage that was likely happening to her eyesight. She also drove Perrie to and from school everyday, which seems like it’d be dangerous, but what do I know? I’m just basing this off the fact that she really did have 20/20 vision, but chose to wear a patch for the fashion aspect, and not out of real necessity. So yeah, ridiculous.

And finally:
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Perrie and August’s “relationship”:

August is another person Perrie labels as her best friend, and throughout the story, we’re seeing Perrie describe how she’d started looking at him differently, and in a more romantic way. But as I read it, I felt like it just didn’t make sense, and didn’t like these moments at all. Theirs was not a relationship I cared to read about.

Now, for the good.

I really enjoyed the story itself, and loved the horror aspect of it. Once we get to the real action, it’s so good! There are several well-known stories that are intertwined with the plot, and I really enjoyed how they each played out, as well as the author’s added touches to these stories, making them a bit more morbid or just plain interesting than the originals.
And can we talk about the fact that there aren’t many horror stories in YA, so how cool is it that this book really is centered on it?! I am such a fan of horror, so when I saw the ‘horror’ tag, I knew I had to read it!

Finally, that ending!!! It really surprised me, and now I need to know what happens next, so I definitely will need to read the next book!

Will recommend for fans of horror; just be mindful of a slow start, cause once you get further into the story, it’s definitely worth it!

Thank you to Candace Robinson via NetGalley for giving me this copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘Birthright (Legacy, #1) by Jessica Ruddick

Birthright (Legacy, #1)Birthright by Jessica Ruddick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A cute paranormal romance that had me entertained by its main characters and their witty banter.

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On her 16th birthday, Ava Parks comes in to her birthright, learning that she is a seeker. A seeker’s job is to find people with white auras, because these souls are the ones with the potential to become angels. As soon as she finds these people, she has to submit their names to the Grim Reaper, who then ends their lives. Once a name is submitted, Ava and her mother then move on to another town, where the process is started all over again.
Only, this time the white aura belongs to Cole Fowler, an attractive classmate who tends to infuriate her, but more than once has also come to her rescue. It’s her growing feelings for him that leads to her choosing to save him instead of allowing death to take him, and now it’s up to Ava to make sure to keep Cole safe, all while dealing with the added danger of Cole’s past.
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I enjoyed reading Birthright. Though admittedly, the idea of having Grim Reapers as a plot point is somewhat played out, in Ruddick’s books, they aren’t exactly the main focal point; Ava’s job as seeker is. It’s a horrible position to be in, because then she’s ultimately the one choosing who is going to die, and she has to have their death on her conscience. It’s no wonder when she finally rebels. It’s surprising how grounded she is, really, and I like the way she was able to find some sort of normality in her burgeoning relationship with Cole.

Ava’s “relationship” with Cole actually turns out to be a saving grace, and his influence brings a new sense of responsibility to her life, as well as the need to have someone–other than her mother–care about her. I really liked how he could be snappy (though it was usually in response to her own snappiness), but he looked out for her and helped her out of some scary situations.

Of course there’s danger that comes with cheating death (have we not seen Final Destination??) and of course Ava and Cole will have to deal with whatever comes their way, but all cheesiness aside, at least they have each other… *Gulp*

Though this book can be considerably stereotypical when it comes to all things YA, I still enjoyed it considerably and will definitely be reading book 2.

I’ll recommend it if you’re into stereotypical and cheesy paranormal romances where grim reapers are not the emphasis, but still mentioned.

Thank you to Jessica Ruddick via Netgalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands, #2)’ by Alwyn Hamilton

Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2)Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As if this series couldn’t get any more thrilling; somehow Traitor to the Throne manages to do so!

(Not the most detailed synopsis, for fear of book 1 spoilers.)
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In book 2, Amani is kidnapped and brought to the Sultan’s place, where she ends up having to play the part of a regular girl in an effort to survive.
It’s while she’s in the palace that she realizes she has an advantage the others in the rebellion do not-the opportunity to spy on the sultan and relay her findings. But of course, nothing ever is quite that simple, so Amani will have to use her desert-smart instincts in order to keep one step ahead and make sure the rebellion is able to continue their fight.
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Okay, so I’ll admit that my interest did start to lag about a quarter of the way through this book. It was starting to feel a bit Throne of Glass-like, what with Amani being a somewhat privileged captive in the Sultan’s place making me think of Celaena and her time in the King’s castle. In both cases, the girls are given fantastic clothing to wear, and they both pretty much contribute nothing really substantial to their stories…bor-ing.

But the good thing is that this book did pick up, and boy did it!!

Along those lines of the book picking up: I have to add that there tends to be more than a few of those moments where you really do feel frustrated with all the horrible things that seem to be happening to Amani and the rebellion…but then they do make for a much more interesting story, and that definitely helps the book progress.

We also have the introduction of new characters with some being more interesting than others-like Sam and his playboy charm-and leading to some new plot points as well. Of course, once I got over the initial idea that Amani herself was starting to get boring, I fell in love with her all over again!

I will say that the romance aspect in this book is actually pretty minimal, but that’s all I’m going to give you; you’ll just have to read this book to find out why.

So, hopefully my review didn’t end up confusing you in the end, I just really didn’t want to give anything away. I really loved this book and can’t wait for the conclusion to this story in book 3, cause seriously, the cliffhanger on this one??? Ahhhh!!!

Do I recommend this? Can it be any more obvious???

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Review of ‘Coco Chanel Saved My Life’ by Danielle F. White

Coco Chanel Saved My LifeCoco Chanel Saved My Life by Danielle F. White

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

A contemporary novel meant to channel the cosmopolitan glamor of Coco Chanel, but falls flat, unable to deliver the sophistication one expects of a novel bearing the name of someone so timeless.

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Rebecca Bruni has just been dumped.
Sure, they weren’t “officially” dating, but she had given him her heart, expecting his in return. She had originally intended her move to Milan bringing her closer to Niccolò, the aforementioned man, but now Rebecca must view this as an opportunity to better herself; all while attempting to use Chanel’s sophisticated life as her standard.
But will Rebecca be satisfied on her own, as Chanel had been, or will she prefer another shot at finding love? In a new city, anything can happen.
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Rebecca is your typical heroine. She’s looking for love with the perfect man–usually in all the wrong places–and is just trying to get by in life.
With Coco Chanel as her model of the quintessential woman, she hopes that Chanel’s classic glamor will be an advantage in a city full of passing trends. Which does sound like a good, clever idea, but unfortunately, Rebecca just comes across as boring to me.

Romance:
Another thing, is that she may be in her early 30’s, but she’s still a bit stupid when it comes to romance. She falls in love with a man who had only viewed her as a friend. Sure, they did do all the things that couples tend to do together, but Niccolò never spoke of love. He would compliment her, or say they made a great “team”, but never mentioned love. I can’t help but think that if he felt more for her, he’d have said something…but Rebecca didn’t stop to think about it, instead she continued on with her ridiculously long, one-sided love for the guy. Ugh!

Moving on from her ridiculous love life–or lack of–she’s really just not interesting.

Life in General:
She works (and yes, her boss does suck, of course), meets up with friends (you get small glimpses of their lives, but they are mostly too busy talking about the woe in Rebecca’s), and goes shopping (for shoes and shift dresses, which seems to be the only things the author really cared to note).
Wow…how is that really any different from most lives?
I mean, sure, this book could be going for a more realistic storyline, but I like my Chick Lit to be more fanciful…even if their life sucks, I want to see the heroine getting involved in a romance I find myself envying. Not this boring nothingness.

Coco, Who?
Finally, the Coco Chanel aspect really only played a small part in this book. I didn’t feel like she was that much of a presence. Well, besides Rebecca being called ‘Coco’ by her friends…referring to Chanel’s style when it came to clothing and the like…and lastly, mentioning a Chanel quote; I didn’t feel like Rebecca was channeling the fashion maven. Instead, it just seemed like she was a typical fan, talking about her idol.

Wrapping up, I did not like the story progression; nor the boring “romances”.
I especially did not like the way this book ended, in fact, I hated it.
I was unsatisfied, and even now, thinking about it, I hate it even more.
Overall, such a disappointing read for me.

Will I recommend? No thank you.

Thank you to Aria who provided this copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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