Thursday, October 24, 2013

Literally an Exciting Update

I am beyond sorry that I haven't been able to post any new reviews. It's not that I'm not reading--au contraire mon fraire! I am reading, but I'm reading for my post colonial class. We were assigned NINE books this semester, and the one I just finished took a very long time to read. It left me kind of burnt out, so much so that I couldn't read any ARCs or the new Divergent book because I was too tired from analytical reading. But I've got some great books in my queue right now and some exciting news!!!!!!

Exciting news #1: THE Anna Banks emailed me. Yes, NYT Best Selling Author Anna Banks, author of the Of Poseidon series. Want to know why? OF COURSE YOU DO! Bookdictive Reviews will be holding its first ever GIVEAWAY! I'm not saying of what, but it will have something to do with the lovely Anna Banks and her signature. ;) So look out for it!

Exciting news #2: Bookdictive Reviews will also be doing its first ever author interview soon! I get contacted all the time by authors to review their books, especially indie authors. I've even been working on the start of a series of interviews with indie authors that I want to promote. I am a big fan of following your dream, so why not use my blogging powers for good? Live long and blogger, as I say! (I don't actually say that). 

Lastly, here are the books you can look forward to seeing reviews from very soon! All of these are currently priority because I was either contacted by the author to review or received it as an ARC/epub. 

Get excited, because I certainly am!!!!!!

p.s. SHOUTOUT TO MY NEW FOLLOWERS! You guys are awesome! Feel free to message me for follows or just to say haaaaaaay.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Red by Alison Cherry

Book: Red by Alison Cherry
Bookdictive Categorization: YA/Children's
Main character is in high school and there is no sexual content except for a make-out scene 
Rating: 3 out of 5
Procurement: Amazon Kindle
Recommend? If yes, to whom?: Yes, to middle schoolers. Preferably middle schoolers with red hair. Writing style is simplistic but high schoolers who don't read a lot might enjoy this.

I realized that other than the fact that I love books (that's an understatement), you probably don't know much about me. Like the fact that I am a marching band nerd, or that I take ASLI classes. Another fun fact is that I'm a ginger. A redhead. A carrot top. A fire siren. Call it what you will, but my hair is RED. So naturally, I was totally interested in this book I found on GR months ago called "Red." There was this redheaded girl on the cover and I was like OMG, IT REALLY IS. IT'S A BOOK ABOUT GINGERS!!! 
Red is about a town called Scarletville, home to the largest concentrated population of redheads in the United States. Felicity St. John is our MC, flanked by two ginger bffs named Haylie and Ivy. Felicity is being pushed to compete in the Miss Scarletville pageant, which always has a redheaded winner, by her annoying ass mother, Ginger (lololololololol). Felicity dreams of art school and getting away from her mother, but to do this, she must win the pageant and the prize money that comes with it. However, a brunette named Gabby begins blackmailing Felicity because SPOILER ALERT: Felicity is NOT a real redhead!!!!!
Love you Joan

But this book isn't *actually* about redheads. It is, but it isn't. Redheads are used in place of more controversial topics concerning race and prejudices. It's about not accepting the status quo, and challenging what you believe is "the norm." Redheads in Red can be anything you want: Black, gay, nerdy, you name it. As a liberal, I totally dig this theme. I think the execution of this was great, because any young adult who reads this should be able to understand the theme.
But recognizing a theme isn't enough. You have to also believe it. And Red just didn't do that for me. It came off a little cheesy because of some of the side characters. Ginger is the epitome of a person who is guided by blind prejudice. But she goes just a little too far: She's more than willing to tell her daughter that being a redhead is more important than happiness. Um, what?
It's things like this that really made me just roll my eyes. Perhaps the overdone statements that come out of Ginger are used to demonstrate how serious prejudices are, but it makes the story unbelievable. Or how about Gabby? She's such a B-I-T-C-H, because even though she's the person causing all of this change to happen, she seems to have no motivation except selfishness. Honestly, she's not the only character who is just selfish. And that's a shame, because I really wanted to love this book. More than anything, I wanted to love Felicity. She had this awesome motivation to break free from her mom and the town's stereotyping, but she does it because she's feeling slightly rebellious and to stop the blackmailing. 

The last thing I have to address is the ending. I was left with so many unanswered questions! Like, what happened to Gabby? Did Felicity's hair return to normal? Did Haylie and Felicity ever go back to being friends?! Did Felicity get into art school? Did things change after she went public about her strawberry-blonde hair? WHAT ABOUT IVY, THE ONLY CHARACTER I GENUINELY LIKED??? Seriously, do you see all of these questions?! That's not okay for a standalone book! Plus, there's this "plot twist" (I'm assuming that's what it's supposed to be) towards the very end that didn't really serve a purpose. Why reveal it then? It didn't affect anything. In fact, the author even writes that this plot twist happened "too late" for Felicity. 

 Regardless of setting--another realm or even a town full of redheads--I can believe ANYTHING if it is well-written. But I just couldn't believe in Scarletville. I really, really wanted to. This author was given the thumbs up by one of my favorite authors, Rae Carson, but try as I might I just couldn't love it. 
3 stars total for Red. I should note that one entire star was taken off for that ending, because NOBODY deserves to be left with so many questions.  

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard

Book: The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard
Bookdictive CategorizationNA/M (New Adult/Mythology) 
NA because main character is in grad school; Mythology because of Druid/Gaelic/might not know Faerie mythology 
Rating: 4 out of 5 
Procurement: ARC on Kindle
Recommend? If yes, to whom?: Yes, but mostly for fellow reviewers and general YA or NA/M junkies
***This ARC was given to me through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

Hullo! Can I just have a little moment to rant about Pre Calc? I'm an English Lit and Education major, meaning I'm a total bookworm who wants to cultivate bookworm minds. Why on earth do I need a MATH REASONING CLASS??? I hate it. I wish I could shove The Selection series at whoever decided this so they'd be forced to read about fluffy gowns and bickering girls fighting over a prince. YEAH, ENJOY IT.

Okay, rant over. Phew! But seriously, this class has got me stressed! A great way to relieve stress, however, is to pick up The Forgotten Ones. Stress is reduced due to limited amounts of frustration. Feel calm as you read nonstop until you realize you're 50% through it, and that the sun is starting to rise outside. Let your mind relax because for once, you don't have to fumble with poorly written sentences, misplaced punctuation, love triangles, and angsty boys. 
I have but one complaint: It's too short. 

I felt like things became too rushed at the end. Loose ends and plot holes were everywhere, leaving me with a lot of, "What the...?" moments. The problem was that it was so wonderful in the beginning, and so rushed at the end, that this book missed the five star mark! I truly felt the pain the main character, Allison, felt for her schizophrenic mother and for her crush Ethan when he was desperately trying to date her. Because the book has less pages, I was unsure whether or not I actually liked Allison. She doesn't do anything wrong, but there's just not enough detail for me. For an NA book, well yeah, there needs to be detail. 
However, I'm very impressed! I really enjoyed reading The Forgotten Ones. If you're drawn in by stories of The Fae, it's a good read. Here's to hoping book two (because there HAS to be one! There was a cliffhanger ending!) is a little bit longer! 

Oh, I almost forgot! Fair warning: There is a pronunciation guide at the back of the book!!!! There are very difficult character names and had I known, I wouldn't have had such a hard time remembering who was who! 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Aberrant by Ruth Silver

Oh, The Hunger Games. What a fantastic dystopian YA novel. It has the honor of a five star rating on GR from me, and a huge fan base for the movies AND the books. More importantly, it is on my hallowed shelf called Inspiration. Inspiration houses Harry Potter and Twilight, among a couple other choice selections.
"But Mollie, why Twilight?!" you ask. "How can a respectable book blogger possibly put Twilight on their Inspiration shelf?"
Well, I'll tell you. Twilight sparked a bunch of other vampire-themed novels: Some good (oh haaaay Blue Bloods, Vampire Academy, and House of Night); some okay (ehhhhh Glass Houses. Sorry, you Morganvillians); and some just BLECH NO NEVER AGAIN (looking at you, Tantalize). 
The very same can be said for the dystopian YA genre with The Hunger Games. After HG took off, the dystopian novels just started word vomiting everywhere. Harried book bloggers struggled to keep up with the seemingly endless pile of dystopian ARCs they were receiving, and much to their dismay, realized that many of them were utter crap. I am one of those bloggers, and I was overwhelmed with the underwhelming dystopian novels I was trying to get through. Pretty sure it was the Reached series that did me in. 

So, I decided months ago that I needed a vacation to Hiatus Hawaii as far as dystopia went. A few days ago, however, I decided to test the waters and see if I could stomach it. Aberrant was my choice because a) I hadn't read an ARC in awhile and b) You know, the cover. I'm a sucker for a good YA cover. 
Now the real question: Did I choose well????
Sadly, not really. Actually, I'm not sad. This wasn't a terrible book, but there's a couple of things that I just couldn't get over. But first, the good, because I'm feeling nice!
1) Fast paced. This is a blessing, and a curse. It's a blessing because like all book reviewers, I need to get through my books quickly so I can get to the next one. We don't like to be bored, because that slows us down. I burned through the 250 pages with ease because the plot kept moving. I like wanting to know what comes next, and that's what Aberrant did for me.
2) The ending. This isn't one of my spoiler-filled reviews, because deep down, I actually do enjoy not spoiling endings for people. But I will say that in the last couple of chapters, things really pick up. You're left wanting more at the end, and that's ALWAYS a good thing! Kudos to Ms. Silver.
3) THE PLOT TWIST. Yayyyyy, a plot twist I wasn't expecting! This is also towards the end, and it's one that caught me off guard. 

Regardless of all this good, the bad just couldn't be ignored. 
1) EDITING. PLEASE. FOR THE LOVE OF SEASONED SWEET POTATO FRIES, CAN WE PLEASE START REREADING WHAT WE WRITE?! I get that this is an ARC. I get that this is self published. But the grammatical errors were just STUPID. Like, mixing up "you're" with "your." COME ON! There are just so many of these.
2) The chapters. It's like the author wanted a bunch of chapters, and decided that when she felt it was the right time, she'd put some generic closing sentence at the end of a paragraph and then jump into a new chapter. Seriously, I started anticipating when the next chapter would appear. More often than not, I guessed correctly each time. Not. Okay.
3) The characters. Joshua had no depth. I couldn't picture this guy. I will honestly forget about him by tomorrow, because there was nothing desirable about him. He wasn't given enough emotion or time. Like, dude, you found out your mom has been lying to you your whole life. How can you have NO REACTION to this?? 
And then Olivia. I mean, she's okay I guess. But memorable? No. She's a weak character given strong traits, and it doesn't mix well. You should know when your character isn't up to the challenge, and accept it.

Giving this book a three star review seems nice of me. Maybe I'm being too nice. I think the ending was so out of left field that I became biased, because up until that point, I was seriously considering a one star rating. Oftentimes, the book reads like a poorly-written Hunger Games fanfic. There's archery, tributes, escaping from the government with a boy, and even matching outfits. And a shit ton of other stuff, but it's not really worth drawing comparisons because that's not why I write reviews. 

So, three stars, and probably not a book I would recommend. It just left me with a lot of meh.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Splintered by A.G. Howard

Okay, so, I read Splintered.

Now, I've never been a fan of Alice in Wonderland. When I was little, it was too weird for me. Nothing was magical or interesting. Honestly, if it didn't have a princess in it, I just wasn't interested. This still rings true today. I still find Alice in Wonderland far from my cup of tea. Maybe that's why I was so drawn to Splintered. See, I'm into gothic literature. One of my favorite short stories is The Yellow Wallpaper--it's just dripping with morbid twistosity. I thought hmmm, Splintered is supposed to be kind of twisted and backwards. Maybe I'll like it!

So...did I like it? 

SORT OF (said with mild enthusiasm because, well, how else do you give an apathetic answer?). Something just felt off to me. I can't really put my finger on it. 
Although, maybe it was the DEATH TRIANGLE OF LURVE!!!!!

Apparently, it's not YA if there's no Triangle. Good. Grief. 
Anyway, it really bothered me that there was all this sexual tension with Morpheus (I STILL CAN'T GET OVER HIS NAME HAHAHAHAHA WHO CAN TAKE THAT SERIOUSLY?!) and Aly. Then Aly would moon over Jeb but obviously, there was way more attraction with Morpheus. BE WITH THE BAD GUY, IT'S OKAY. The good guy doesn't always have to win! 
It's just confusing, because Jeb is really annoying. He's very bossy with Aly, and possessive. Morpheus, though a conniving SOB, is obviously just better. Aly is weird and has this "dark side" to her, and I think that if she wasn't so obsessed over how sexy Jeb's lariat was to her, she'd be into Morpheus and his weird ass hats. 

It's called a Death Triangle of Lurve for a reason. No doubt, it kept me interested. But as I said, something felt off, and I think this had a lot to do with it. The world building was beyond creepy for YA--I wouldn't recommend Splintered to anyone, honestly, unless they were a fellow blogger/reviewer or just really like creepy retellings--but nothing I couldn't handle. That's why I give Splintered a 3.5 that is really a 4 on GR. It's not a 5, but I really root for what I think is different. This isn't stock YA, and I appreciate that. Hopefully, the next book in the series is better. Hopefully. 

Taste by Kate Evangelista

I am back from Hiatus Hawaii with several exciting new reviews, all full of snarky sarcasm and wit! What better way to kickstart this than with one of my most recent completed reads: Taste by Kate Evangelista.

Oh yes, that Taste. 
It's been on the YA Paranormal circuit for quite some time, and let me tell you, I was one reluctant reader. Zombies? Love triangle? No wonder I stayed away!
See, I just don't do zombies. Wings, fangs, blood, glitter, smoke, mythology, there's not a lot of supernatural stuff I won't buy into for YA. Dead people? Of course it's been done. They're the ones who are Death/Hades reincarnated, or maybe an angel banished to Earth to save the fate of a seemingly unknowing girl who holds all the power to save the world in her seemingly unknowing brain! How wonderfully magical and not creepy at all!

So why mess with perfection? Well, originally I thought I'd be going to the Austin Teen Book Fest--instead, I got carted off to San Antonio with the band to play against UTSA, who btw has the rudest fans ever but the nicest marching band!--and Evangelista would be there. It made sense to read one of her books first! So I picked Taste, because even though I was convinced zombies couldn't interest me (dead skin cells are bad enough on living humans) I thought...well, I enjoy torturing my brain anyway.

Annnnnnnnnnd..........................eh, it wasn't that bad. It lacked a lot in world building, and that's where I think this book would have excelled. 

Spoiler Section Synopsis 
Phoenix McKay, Private Eye (jk, but what is this name??) goes to boarding school because she suffers from a neglectful father and no mother. She's kind of a bad girl, I guess. She oversleeps in the library and gets stuck there after everyone else had gone back to the dorms for the day. This is a big NO NO NO because anyone who stays on campus after the school day ends is sentenced to immediate expulsion, no questions asked. Funny, you'd think at a school for rich, smart kids, they'd have been questioning this absurd rule out of sheer academic curiosity.
She basically almost gets eaten by these Twilight-looking Victorian teens, is saved by Hottie McHott aka Demitri, and we're finally into the whole story of how they're basically undead people who eat flesh but don't really eat flesh (like Twilight, they've sworn off killing humans for food). THEY'RE NOT ZOMBIES, OKAY. They're Zahmvy. Get it right, because it's going to be forced on you a lot that they're different from the stereotypical zombies. This is actually a pretty cool idea as far as YA goes, but it's overshadowed by the annoying protagonist Phoenix and how #basic she is. 
See, my problem with Phoenix is her really dumb motivation to be injected with Zhamvy DNA so that she can be used as an experiment to save the Zhamvy people from their non-flesh diet. 

I'm sorry...
Oh, how totally unselfish of you! Like you didn't want to be a cool paranormal mythical creature? You didn't want to have a reason to be around Demitri more? I'm sorry, I'd be totally selfish and just outright say YES, I WANT TO BE A PARANORMAL CREATURE AND HAVE A HOT PARANORMAL GUY FALL IN LOVE WITH ME. Just say it, dammit! Stop using your mom as an excuse because the doctor's couldn't save her. I call bullshit on this! 
And then this lame-o love triangle of death she has going on with Demitri and his cousin Luka. Obviously, we know who she's going to choose. She had a sexallergic reaction to Demitri, even though she had like a tiny bit more chemistry with Luka. 
There's some other stuff, like royalty and politics and some bitch who loves Demitri and wants to kill Phoenix. *yawn* it's hard to get excited about such a flat character. It's kind of boring after awhile, and that's why this didn't get as high of a review as I was initially expecting to give it. 

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