Book Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

tdcThree Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Published by HarperTeen on September 20, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Pages: 398 – hardcover, 416 – paperback & ebook

Format Read: eARC

Rating: 2 stars

Source: HarperCollins

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Blurb:

Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.


Review:

Many thanks to the publisher, HarperCollins, for providing me with an ARC of this book. This in no way impacted my views and opinions below.

I know a lot of people have been looking forward to this book, myself being one of them, but I just- couldn’t. Three Dark Crowns had an interesting premise and lots of potential, but it unfortunately failed to live up to it. I would’ve thought that my dislike of this book was because of my reading slump (gosh darn it, school) if I hadn’t seen quite a few reviews complaining about it, too. I never DNF books, and yet I was VERY tempted to do so for this book. It was just.so.boring! While I was reading the book, I actually looked up a few spoiler free reviews to see if anyone struggled as much as I did. I found a few, but they said that it gets interesting near the very end (“with a mind-boggling plot twist!!1!” they said). So I skimmed to the last few pages, and read the “plot twist” and all I thought was Okay? That’s it?? I was just soo frustrated that I wasted all this time on this book.

My main issue with this book is that it’s just so tedious and boring. We have three main POVs from three triplet queens – each with her own unique power. Katharine is a poisoner, Arsinoe, a naturalist, and Mirabella, an elemental. They can’t get the throne merely by royal birth – no, they have to fight each other to the death in order to get it, and the last one standing becomes Queen until she produces triplets and so on. You’d think that with 3 main characters and 3 POVs I’d enjoy at least one of them, right? Wrong. I didn’t look forward to any of the POVs, and I literally didn’t care about any of the aforementioned characters. There’s Jules, Arsinoe’s best friend, though. I didn’t hate her as much as the other characters, but I just wish she was developed a bit more. She deserves so much better!

Since we’re on the topic of characters, let’s take a moment to talk about the love triangle. Yes, yes, I hear y’all groaning. I usually don’t despise love triangles as much as the rest of the book community seems to do, but this one, you guys, this one. I’m internally screaming in frustration just thinking about it. YOU HAD A PERFECTLY GOOD COUPLE, BUT NOO, YOU JUST HAD TO TURN IT INTO AN UGLY ASS INSTA-LOVE TRIANGLE. Add to that the fact that the love triangle includes cheating? Um, I’m out. I’m not going to post major spoilers, but if you typically dislike love triangles, then this definitely isn’t for you. Also, much like the rest of the book, the romance in this book was very dull. There was no spark between the characters and their love interests, and I frankly couldn’t care less about any of them.

Okay, so let’s talk about the actual plot of this book. The reason I haven’t talked about it earlier is as follows: it’s practically nonexistent for the first 80% of the book. Seriously, for a story about sisters having to kill each other for the throne, the action was seriously lacking. The pacing was slow, and the atmosphere was very quiet and restrained. This book was in desperate need of a healthy dose of bloodletting and politics. It may have picked up toward the very end, but that still doesn’t make up for the lack of plot in the first place.

In short, I don’t think Three Dark Crowns lived up to its hype. I tried to find something positive to add to this review, but I couldn’t, so that’s saying something. The three main characters were just there, serving no purpose whatsoever, and the pacing of this book was extremely tedious. Plus, the terribly executed love triangle certainly doesn’t get any bonus points in my book. It’s frustrating thinking about what this book could have been because the premise and cover are absolutely stunning. I may be the black sheep amongst the tons of reviews praising this book, but this just wasn’t for me.

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2 fish

Book Review: The Girlfriend Request by Jodie Andrefski

the girlfriend requestThe Girlfriend Request by Jodie Andrefski

Published by Entangled Teen: Crush on January 11, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 244 – paperback

Format Read: eARC

Source: Entangled Teen Crush

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Blurb:

Updating best friend to girlfriend is more than a change of status…

Emma has been best friends with Eli since she moved to his neighborhood ten years ago. Tired of being cast in the role of the girl next door, Emma creates a fake Facebook profile in the hopes of starting an online friendship with Eli, which would hopefully lead to more. Like…way more. From friend request to In a Relationship–it all seemed so completely logical when she’d planned it.

Eli can’t figure out what Emma is up to. He’s pretty sure she’s the one behind the Facebook profile, but then again, why would she do something so drastic instead of just admitting she wants to be more than friends? And who the heck is this new guy he saw her with? Eli starts to think that just maybe…he missed his chance with the girl next door.

Two best friends, one outlandish ruse. Their status is about to become way more than It’s Complicated…

This Entangled Teen Crush book contains one fake Facebook profile, two best friends who secretly crave each other, and a dreaded sex talk with parents…boy crush in the room included. Pushing a relationship beyond the friend zone has never been so crazy…


 

Review:

*Thanks to Entangled Teen Crush for providing me with an early e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

I had extremely high hopes for this book. I requested this because I thought it’d be this cute, fluffy, well-written story, but unfortunately that did not happen. Instead, it turned to be a mishmash of outdated, cliché YA tropes. Don’t get me wrong, I usually love the ‘best-friends-turned-lovers’ trope, but this one just didn’t do it for me. There were so many frustrating bouts of miscommunication, stupid decisions, and annoying lines. It was all just so painful.

First of all, can we just talk about the main character Emma? Her actions are soo dense! She makes the stupidest decisions and says the stupidest things, i.e. “I quickly reminded myself that I wasn’t some creepo stalker; I just wanted to get a guy to fall in love with me.” Mhm, that’s what all creeps say. She created a fake FB profile to make her best friend Eli fall in love with her and then later on freaks out when he says he wants to ask the “fake girl” out EVEN THOUGH SHE KNOWS THE GIRL ISN’T REAL ANYWAY. IT’S PRACTICALLY HER. Plus, wasn’t that your plan from the beginning….? Honestly, so dense.

Typically, there’s at least some semblance of character development in a book that helps it redeem itself. Unfortunately, that did not seem to be the case here. Emma continues to make brash decisions and overcomplicates simple matters ’till the very end. She created a lot of unnecessary drama between her and Eli, which really put me off. It was just too much for me.

I never even formed a connection with any of the characters, except maybe Jake – I liked him. I felt detachment toward the other characters, and by the time I was halfway through the book, I didn’t really care what happened to them anymore.

Also, half the time, I wanted to punch myself in the face due to the oh-so-conveniently placed mishaps. They were all so cliché and convenient that I could’ve practically guessed what was going to happen throughout the whole book with my eyes closed.

I’d also like to add that this could’ve been a really good story that included deception, but there were too many missed opportunities. Instead of using them, the author chose to select trivial, unnecessary matters to focus on. I felt like this just caused the story to drag on and resulted in an unstable plot.

The one redeemable aspect of this book was the writing. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t this masterpiece of meaningful, flowery words, but it’s actually what kept me reading. It’s what made me keep swiping to next page. It was articulate and easy to read, coherent and fluent, and generally… nice. Normally, I wouldn’t even look twice at it, but in a book where half the things were poorly done, this average writing stood out.

Overall, I’d like to say that this book was definitely not up to par with what I was expecting. The characters fell flat, and the plot was unstable. It got painful. I’ve seen a few people around who’ve enjoyed this and called it a “cute, fluffy” read, so you could give this a try based on their opinion. This isn’t for me, though.

Rating: 2 fish

2 fish

Book Review: These Are the Moments by Jenny Bravo

jenny These Are the Moments by Jenny Bravo

Publication date: May 26, 2015

Publisher: Bravo Publishing

Pages: 348 (paperback), 160 (ebook)

Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

Format: ebook (PDF)

Source: NetGalley


Blurb:

You can’t go back. You can’t go back. You can’t go back. Ten years ago, Wendy Lake fell in love with Simon Guidry, who grew up and went away. Now, not much has changed. She’s back at home, back from college, almost back to normal. Until Wendy’s best friend gets engaged, sending Simon ricocheting back into her life, and leaving Wendy with the questions she’s been struggling to ignore. Do people ever really change? Do two people, who can never make it work, actually make it right? And most importantly, does she even want to?


Review:

It took me exactly one week to determine what I’m feeling about this book. On one hand, you could say I enjoyed it, but in a very detached manner. On the other hand, I’d just like to say that there are so many things that irked me while reading this book, so I’m going to have to leave the judging to you – who knows? Maybe you’re going to like it more than I did, because I have seen reviews praising this book.

I found the characters in this story extremely annoying and difficult to relate to. The protagonist, Wendy, irks me so much, Simon is self-centered, and Vivian is bitchy. Maybe it’s just how the author intended them to be…

The only character I found to be remotely tolerable is Reese, she’s funny and I liked her. She’s the only one who slaps Wendy with a reality check whenever she drifts off into lala land and starts whining about Simon “not reciprocating her feelings”. An example:

Reese shrugged and sipped at her soda. “What do you want from boys in bars, Wendy? A ring?” 

Goddamn, woman. So, generally, I just think Wendy isn’t a very strong protagonist.

…Which brings us to our next point, Wendy & Simon.

The story is told with chapters that alternate from ‘Then’ and ‘Now’, and as a result, it’s pretty hard getting a feel for the characters until later on in the story. I love how the author wrote about Wendy and Simon’s bittersweet love and how she wasn’t afraid to show the ugly sides of a relationship – which I totally admire.  However, I didn’t understand their relationship. Why couldn’t Simon love Wendy? What’s holding him back? We never get answers for that. I also found their relationship damaging; they fought over trivial things and carelessly apologized afterwards (which lessened the value and meaning of the apology after the first – oh I don’t know – three times?)

Also, the writing style in this book is different than what I normally read, more inarticulate – which contributed even more to my disinterest and detachment to the characters.

Overall, I just really wanted to enjoy this book but I unfortunately couldn’t. The protagonist is weak and irritating, the other characters were flat and underdeveloped, and the dynamic between Simon and Wendy just didn’t do it for me.

Rating: 2 fish!

2 fish

Book Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

bc

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Series: The Caster Chronicles #1
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on September 14, 2010
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 592 (paperback)

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Blurb:

There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.

At least, that’s what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.


Review:

Phew. I can’t believe I finally got through this and made it through all these pages. This was such an overhyped paranormal YA novel. Everything in the book had me cringing the whole way through; from the sad excuse of a male protagonist to the overall cliche-ness of the book. There are so many negative reviews surrounding this book, so why did I feel the urge to pick it up? Oh, that’s right, I don’t check reviews before reading a book. The reason is because reviews tend to ruin my opinion of the book. For example, before you start reading a book, you read a review that says that the author uses the word “shrugged” too many times. You go on to read the book and whenever the author uses “shrugged”, you think of the review and start applying all the negative things the review said to what your reading. That is the reason why I don’t read reviews before starting a book. Reading reviews before reading a book can affect and alter your own opinion. After I finish a book I like, I only read the positive reviews. After I finish a book I hate, I only read the negative reviews. This is so that the reviews don’t dissuade me from my opinion. I’m very swayable.

Anyway, back to the matter on hand. An overhyped cliché paranormal YA novel with a protagonist as male as a Victoria’s Secret Bombshell Eau de Parfum. Seriously. This story follows the same typical formula: Small town setting? Check. Boy and girl drawn to each other for mysterious reasons? Check. Teen uncovers other partner’s involvement with the paranormal world? Check. Both teens go through i-cant-be-with-you-because-its-forbidden phase? Check. Don’t even get me started on the male protagonist’s POV. It clearly wasn’t a success. Ethan Wate is boring and thinks he is better than everyone in the small Southern town of Gaitlin. He has a holier-than-thou attitude and an obsession with the new ‘hot’ girl who moves into town, Lena. I hated the whole ‘I don’t know why, but I know we’re meant to be together’ attitude. The girl just moved into town and he’s stuck to her like a goddamn wasp. Or is that a fly? Or a moth? Oh, spare me. Even Lena is more male than Ethan. Maybe I would’ve liked the book a bit more if it was from Lena’s point of view. Ethan keeps chasing her for unknown reasons even though she repeatedly tells him to stay away. To be honest, I would’ve gotten a restraining order a while ago.

Another issue I have with this book is that it’s too densely plotted. It’s a messy combination of paranormal, romance, and civil war era Southern love. All these elements horribly clash together and make for a long, drab book. The only slightly redeeming thing in this book was the ‘Caster’ concept. It was a bit lacking, but if a few adjustments were made then the book would’ve been considerably better. There was also the villain, Sarafine. She was a quite good villain—possibly my favourite character in the book. By favourite, I mean ‘hate-her-less-than-the-others’.

Overall, this book is nothing special. Deflated narrative, typical cliché instalove, and an extremely dense plot. This book was an excruciatingly long and boring read. I’d recommend it to you if you enjoy mental pain and tedious books—which I doubt you do. Even looking at the cover of this book hurts. Yep, I should totally bury it. My last words: Not. a. good. book.

Fin.

Rating: 2 fish!

2 fish