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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Review of ‘Sucktown, Alaska’ by Craig Dirkes

Sucktown, AlaskaSucktown, Alaska by Craig Dirkes

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A contemporary coming-of-age novel set in a tiny-and quirky-town in Alaska, that unfortunately did not live up to my expectation.

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Eddie Ashford is eighteen, and has just managed to flunk out of his first semester of college in Anchorage, Alaska. In an attempt to get some work experience in journalism-which could possibly help him in his effort to reenroll in school by showing that he is ready to be a student again-he gets hired as a reporter by the owner of a small paper in the remote town of Kusko.
It doesn’t take long for Eddie to want to go back to Anchorage, what with all the crazy Alaskan experiences and stupid situations he ends up in, but several things hold him back: the lack of money to actually get him out of Kusko, his new very chill friend Finn, and Taylor, the very smart and beautiful girl he’s just started falling for.
But even with his burgeoning friendships, and the chance of a possible romance, the idea of leaving his always on his mind.
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Being an Alaskan who has lived in small-town Alaska, and currently living in Anchorage (which is the biggest city my state has to offer), I was super interested in reading a book that is set in my state. Also, I have to admit that I wanted to read it so that I could possibly find any factual errors or Alaskanisms that may have been misused, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the author knew what he was talking about, having had actually lived in bush Alaska (which is any region of the state that is not connected to the North American road system), thus helping give the story some credence.

But now for the bad. (And unfortunately, there is a lot of it.)

It’s obvious Eddie is extremely immature, considering he had flunked out his first semester of college due to all the partying he did, so it’s really no surprise when he says and does stupid things. A lot.
There’s also the cringe-worthy way he views poor Taylor. He goes on and on about how attractive she is and also gives crude descriptions of how his body reacts to her, while mentioning the parts of her he likes…gross.
I can’t even say if I actually remember him speaking of attraction that isn’t physical when it comes to her. Then when his feelings aren’t quite returned, he gets mad and wants to end his “friendship” with her. He’s just extremely ridiculous when it comes to how he treats her; I’m surprised she’s even interested in being friends with him. Sheesh.

Finally, as we’re getting closer to the end of the book, big things happen, which are supposedly meant to be “life lessons” for Eddie, but by this point, I was ready for this book to be over. I wasn’t interested in reading about big life lessons anymore. I was pretty much satisfied with assuming that Eddie was an idiot who’d continue on in his own stupid world. The end.

So the last 25% ended up feeling like author remembered the end was coming up and needed to wrap up the story somehow-big life lessons-type of somehow-hence all the crazy that suddenly goes down. But as I’d already said, I was ready for it to be done, so I was not impressed, nor interested.

Anyway, this book was alright in the sense of it being a coming-of-age novel, but Eddie was just so unlikable for me, that I could not really like this book.

Sorry, but not one I’ll recommend.

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

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Review of ‘Someone Else’s Summer’ by Rachel Bateman

Someone Else's SummerSomeone Else’s Summer by Rachel Bateman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A cute contemporary about self-discovery with a Nicholas Sparks-esque feel to it that will appeal to any who have ever thought of writing and fulfilling their own bucket lists.

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Anna Holloway has always looked up to her older sister Storm, so when Storm dies after crashing her car on the night of her high school graduation, it’s no surprise that the loss would hit her family hard.
Storm had been the free-spirit everyone in town knew as the little girl who had only a decade earlier battled cancer and won. She was unique and memorable, leaving Anna’s family with a very visible hole from her absence.
It’s several weeks after Storm’s funeral that Anna find one of Storm’s infamous lists (lists that ruled Storm’s and Anna’s summers, when they’d rush to complete the tasks before the school year began), this one though, is labeled ‘My Perfect Summer‘. This list is different, more heavy, so Anna decides she’s going to complete every item on it, and with the help of her next-door neighbor (and Storm’s best friend) Cam, they soon find themselves on a road trip with the intention of doing it for Storm, as well as for herself.
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It took me awhile to actually get into this, because the first quarter of the book was pretty much showing how losing Storm affected Anna, and how Anna found herself drawing closer to Cam (and apart from other friends), since he was the one who really knew what it meant to lose Storm, as her best friend.

I felt a bit detached when it came to Storm, because we’re told how unique and special she was, but her character never really was a presence in this book, so she never felt real to me. Maybe if we had had flashbacks that could have fleshed Storm out some, it might have helped with making her absence feel more real, leading to genuinely missing her character.

Now, when it came to Anna and Cam, I’ll admit that I found it a bit ridiculous how quickly she fell into this easy companionship with him, mostly because she had gone through high school having only really spoken to him in pass, when he and Storm were hanging out together. I know they grew up being close, mostly due to Storm being their glue, but high school found them drifting apart, so it just came across as a little too easy…but then again, people think differently from me, so whatever works for them.
Either way, the fact that they found themselves gravitating towards each other helped to get the road trip off the ground, so that they could complete Storm’s list.

Of course, you could only assume that close quarters – as well as working together to complete the tasks on the list – would draw Anna and Cam closer, eventually leading to romantic feelings for each other. I liked Cam and his “geeky” personality, it’s endearing, as well as the way he really tried to help Anna with the list, considering he didn’t really owe her anything, he was just a good guy.

I feel like this book seriously had all the makings of a Nicholas Sparks novel: a tragic death, a bucket list that needs completion, and the romance that develops between the two people most affected by the aforementioned death…
But I can’t say that I hated the stereotypical Sparks-esque tropes that are the hallmarks of his stories, no, I liked them here. I liked how sappy this was at times, and I liked how everything wrapped up into a non-cliffhanger ending. Having read so many series in recent times, it was almost strange reading a book that actually ended.
Such a lovely feeling that is. *sighs*

So, in conclusion, I enjoyed Someone Else’s Summer, and it reminded me that I can like contemporaries in a dystopian-filled world!

Will recommend!

Thank you to Running Press Kids who gave me this copy via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘RoseBlood’ by A.G. Howard

RoseBloodRoseBlood by A.G. Howard

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I have to say that I am disappointed I did not like this. The idea of a ‘Phantom of the Opera inspired retelling was such an attractive idea, but when it came time to actually read this book, it fell flat for me.

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RoseBlood is about Rune Germain, an American girl with an amazing singing voice (though it always left her feeling physically drained and ill), ends up going to an exclusive boarding school for the arts in France, which is originally where her late father was from.
Not long after arriving at the school (called RoseBlood and rumored to have ties to ‘The Phantom of the Opera‘ story), Rune begins to experience strange things, including seeing a masked person who comes and goes like a ghost.
Then we finally have Rune’s secretive friendship with Thorn, a boy who does not go to her school, but appears to know everything about it, including its hidden details…and there’s the fact that with Thorn’s musical guidance, Rune appears to be able to sing without injury to herself…
But, though Thorn may be falling for Rune, there is still the very real Phantom haunting the school, and he wants Rune for his own dark reasons, and Thorn may end up having to give her up.
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I have to give props to A.G. Howard, for taking such a beloved story and making it her own – making it fresh – but I just didn’t care for Rune and Thorn. Rune as a character just never quite connected with me, and so that only left me easily annoyed by everything she did. I couldn’t bring myself to feel any empathy towards her and her situation, and I couldn’t help but find her stupid when she so easily likened herself to Gaston Leroux‘s Christine, and thus met up with Thorn (like the Phantom in her eyes) at night, in secret, to help her with her singing.
Actually, maybe she’s not quite so stupid as she is naive?
Depends on how you want to look at it.
Now when it comes to Thorn, I felt a wee bit more empathy for him because of where he’d come from and what he’d had to survive, but he just didn’t appeal to me in the sense of being our substitute Phantom. He did have his dark past, as well as the darkness that even now surrounds him, but there seems to be something missing. I’m not sure what, honestly, but it’s enough to make me be not quite that interested in him.

Another thing I have to point out, is that the storyline itself never seemed to build up to anything. The dramatics weren’t dramatic enough, and then when you’re expecting something big and climactic as you’re coming up on the end of the book, it’s like ‘oh, that’s where we’re going with this?’ and the then it’s a little blah, blah, blah, and then the book is over.

Seriously?!?!

I’m beginning to think I may actually have to downgrade my overly generous three-star rating, considering the way this review is going…

As for whether or not I recommend it? I can’t personally do so, but to each their own.

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