Review of The Roar by A.M. White

Rating: 3/5

Recommend: Possibly

Review:

I’m so conflicted right now. On the one hand, the concept is so cool. I mean, a dystopian world AND there are aliens? That’s two of my favorite things combined together. I wanted to love this book so much. But…then there was the writing. This felt like a a rough draft more than a finished product. So, what to do? I’m honestly not sure. If this were based off concept alone, I’d go with 4 out of 5. And yet, I think I’m going to have to stick with 3.

So let’s look at some of my issues with this book first. Like I said, there were quite a few rough spots. To begin with, the transition between scenes was pretty abrupt and jumpy. Sometimes it felt like things were happening simply because the author wanted them to be that way and not as a natural progression of the story. And there needed to be a lot more world building. I feel like I have a little bit of an idea of how things got to be where they are, but I found myself constantly hoping for more details and information. That would have helped a lot.

The characters were alright. I really liked Cara a lot, although Timothy occasionally got on my nerves (especially when he went into overprotective mode). Alex was a pretty solid main character, but I would have liked to see a little more of her personality shine through. I also wish we could have learned more about Cara and Timothy’s backstories because I think that could have bulked up their character development even more.

I know I spent a bit talking about all the things I wasn’t as fond of, but despite all my complaints, I really did enjoy this story a lot. And based off that ending, I could see a lot of potential in book number two. So I think I’m going to check out the second book and give this series one more chance.

Review of Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Rating: 3.5/5

Recommend: Probably

Review:

As many of you know, space is 100% my jam. So when I saw a spacey book written by an author I’d wanted to check out, of course I had to read it. And overall, I thought this was a pretty good book. I loved the concept, although I think the execution could have been a little better. But, yeah. I liked this book and I’d definitely recommend it.

It took me a little bit to get into the story. While there was plenty of action and excitement, I felt a little removed from the action. I think my problem was I still didn’t really understand what was happening, so I was less invested in the story. Later on, once I had a better idea about what was happening, I stared caring a looot more for the characters.

The characters themselves were okay. Abel was pretty awesome and I enjoyed watching his journey. But Noemi was just…eh. She wasn’t a bad character by any means. But I kind of feel like I’ve already read her character a couple hundred times. There wasn’t a whole lot that stood out about her. Although I did enjoy watching her learn more about the universe. That was pretty cool.

So, to sum it up, I liked this book. There were things I didn’t care for, but I still had a really good time reading this. If it looks like something you’d like, I’d definitely say check it out!

Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown for providing this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review of Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Rating: 2.5/5

Recommend: Possibly

Review:

I was so torn about this book. And kind of sad. After hearing so much about Blood Rose Rebellion, I wanted to love it. But, I just couldn’t fall in love with this book, despite my best efforts. There was so much potential: an interesting setting, magic, a group of plucky rebels trying to create a better world…all the elements of what should have been great story. Which is why I was pretty disappointed when the reality proved less exciting.

To be perfectly honest, I’m pretty sure the main reason I couldn’t get as into this book was the characters. Again, in theory, this should have been an entertaining cast that I would have adored. I feel like Eves tried to set her characters up to be certain ways, but they ended up not coming across that way as I read. I knew how I should feel about them, but I just didn’t. Which made it even more frustrating. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate the characters (although, I admit, Anna bugged me a little bit). I just didn’t like them as much as I felt like I should.

The plot also seemed to drag sometimes. I had moments where I would start to get into the story and feel interested, and then things would just kind of tapper off for a little while. And there seemed to be a few plot holes that could have been filled. I’m pretty sure there’s going to be another book in this series, so I’m guessing some of the plot holes might be explained then, but they still left me feeling a little dissatisfied by the end.

Overall, this book was ok. It wasn’t amazing, but it definitely wasn’t bad either. I’m not sure if I’ll read the next book, but I’m glad I gave this one a try. It was worth a read, even though ultimately it ended up somewhat disappointing me.

Thank you to NetGalley and Knopf Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review of The Host by Stephanie Meyer

Rating: 3/5

Recommend: Possibly

Review:

I’ll be honest. I wasn’t actually planning to read this book. I know a lot of people loved Twilight, and that is absolutely great. But it wasn’t for me. So when I saw that Stephanie Meyer had come out with a new series, I didn’t pay much attention. But someone I really admire and respect, who has excellent taste in books, recommended I give The Host a shot. And I’m glad I did.

I love alien stories. When I was little I used to hope that aliens would land in our backyard (friendly aliens, of course). And I’ll be honest, that still sounds pretty dang cool. Anyway, the fact that the premise of The Host is that a group of aliens have taken over the planet immediately made me more interested. I think the plot of this book was actually pretty solid. There were a few parts that I felt were a little weird or unbelievable, but overall I was kind of impressed.

The characters, for the most part, were enjoyable. There were a few that drove me nuts, like Melanie and Jared. But, there were also some pretty cool ones, like Wanderer and Jamie. One problem I had, though, was overall character development. Sometimes a character would change their mind about something or make a decision and I didn’t have much of an idea of where that motivation came from.

So, to sum it up, if you’re on the fence about reading The Host, I’d say give it a shot. It isn’t the most amazing book I’ve ever read, but it was actually a lot better than I expected. Although I’m not sure if I’ll continue with the series, I am really glad I read this one.

Review of A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

Rating: 5/5

Recommend: YESSSSSSS

Review:

OH MY GOOOOSSSSHHHH!!!!! Excuse me while my heart melts into a puddle of happiness. This was an absolutely beautiful story and I honestly can’t stop smiling. If you enjoyed the Star-Touched Queen, you NEED to read A Crown of Wishes! And if you haven’t read the first book, what are you doing with your life? You’re seriously missing out. I’m just so excited for everyone to have the chance to read this beauty when it hits the shelves.

A Crown of Wishes centers around Gauri and Vikram, who must work together to compete in a game put on by the God of Wishes himself. I loved reading about their travels to the tournament and then the games themselves. It was so magical and delightful. Roshani Chokshi does a wonderful job incorporating mythology into the book, creating a dark, but beautiful world that ensnares the imagination. I felt like I was reading a fairy tale and I loved every minute of it.

Gauri is seriously one of my favorite characters ever. I’m so glad we had this book to really get to know her. In The Star-Touched Queen we got a glimpse at her, but in a Crown of Wishes we have the chance to delve deep into her character. And she’s so fantastic. But honestly, I loved pretty much ever character in this book, mortal and immortal. They were all so well-developed and real. It was so easy to fall in love with them.

And the writing. Don’t even get me started on the writing. The words just flow off the page. I feel like I’m using the word beautiful a lot, but honestly that’s the word that comes to mind immediately whenever I think about A Crown of Wishes. The writing is beautiful, the world is beautiful, the story is beautiful…everything is just beautiful.

So basically, you all are going to be in for a treat when this book comes out. If you haven’t already guessed, I would highly recommend A Crown of Wishes to everyone. I can’t wait to see what Chokshi comes up with next!

Review of The Bone Witch By Rin Chupeco

I was supposed to post this two days ago, but I totally forgot. Whoops. But, here’s my belated review:

Rating: 3.5/5

Recommend: Yes

Review:

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started The Bone Witch. And to be honest, it isn’t necessarily the kind of book I’d pick up on my own based off the description alone. But, after hearing so many good things about it, I knew I had to give it a read. And I’m so glad I did!

The Bone Witch isn’t quite like anything I’ve read. It seems to have a little bit of everything: romance, political intrigue, magic, monsters, and necromancy. And oddly enough, they all work together incredibly well. Rin Chupeco created a rich, beautiful world that both terrifies and delights.

I adored the characters in this book. Tea is a wonderful main character and I’m so intrigued with her. And the rest of the characters are all so fascinating too. Each one has their own unique personality and I love it.

This book does tend to move a bit slow at times. While for the most part I really enjoyed the story and world, there were times when I got a little bored. But overall, I thought this was a great book and I’m interested to see where the story goes next!

Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

On Book Reviews

Most of us have probably seen at least a few book reviews if we’ve looked up any books online. Some of them are short, some of them are so long it’s like reading a novel. Until I started becoming more involved in the book community, I had no idea how important those reviews truly are. Reviews affect more than just potential readers. They show booksellers which books people are paying attention to and give bookstore employees a better idea of what books they might want to recommend to customers. Reviews can have a dramatic impact on whether a bookseller will keep a book in stock or not, which in turn affects how many people will be able to buy that particular book. If you like a book, it is hugely important to write a review.

I’m just going to come out and say it: I may have a slight bias when it comes to talking about reviews. Being an author myself, of course I’m always hoping people will write reviews on my book. But I also really hope this post can help other writers, and potential reviewers. So now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to the next topic: how do you write a review?

Book reviews can feel kind of overwhelming and confusion at first. What should you write? How honest should you be in your review? What if other people disagree with your opinion? All of these are totally valid and normal questions when starting out. For this particular post, I’m going to focus mostly on the first question, but I will say that it’s always important to remember that other people are going to be reading your post (including perhaps the actual author themselves. Honesty is always a good idea, but don’t be mean with your review. Constructive criticism goes much further than crass insults and bashing. People might not agree with you, in fact I can guarantee there will be at least a couple who disagree. But that’s one of the beauties of books: no two people have the exact same interpretation when they read. All you can do is try to be as polite as possible.

So, what do you write? Well, remember in school when you learned about Who, What, When, and Where? (Yes, I know How should be in there too, but I decided to ignore it for this post.) I find that helpful to remember when I’m thinking of what to put in that little review box.

Who: In this case, the “who” is the book itself. Most of the time you don’t need to put the name of the book because it will be listed on the page itself. So that part is really easy.

What: What did you think of the book? Did you like it? Hate it? Feel totally bored? Sometimes this is only one sentence. And in some cases, you might only feel like writing the “What” section and skip everything else. That’s totally ok. Reviews can be as long or as short as you want them to be.

When: When did you read this book? Did you just finish it an hour ago, or is this a review of a book you read ten years ago? As with the “Who,” you might not need to put this, but it’s always important to keep in mind as you write, especially if it’s been a few years since you read the book.

Where: What’s the setting? Is this book set in modern day France, or an unknown planet in another solar system? Giving a brief description of the setting can help people get a better idea of what the book is about right off the bat. This is also a good place to add a few sentences about what the book is actually about. There’s no need to go into a huge amount of detail, since there’s usually a description of the book on the page your review will be on. But a brief note about the plot  can be really helpful to potential readers.

Why: Why did you feel the way you did about the book? What did you like, or dislike, about it? Were the characters hilarious and entertaining, was the plot confusing and disjointed? If you put nothing else in your review, the “What” and “Why” are the two most important parts. They the meat of your review and the part people usually care about the most. But just like with the “What” section, your reasons can be one or two sentences if you don’t feel like going into great detail.

So that’s my two cents on book reviews. I’m by no means an expert at this and there are definitely people who have been reviewing much longer with more success than I can lay claim to. But I’d like to think after over two years of serious blogging/reviewing, and nearly twenty six years of devouring books, I have some good insights to share.

As always, feel free to share your own opinions! What do you think about when writing a review? What sorts of tips have you found helpful?