Monday, January 27, 2014

The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason (ARC)

The Clockwork Scarab (Stoker & Holmes, #1)The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason
Series: Love in the Time of Global Warming, #1
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Format: ARC
Pages: 356
Source: Won

Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes never meant to get into the family business. But when you’re the sister of Bram and the niece of Sherlock, vampire hunting and mystery solving are in your blood. And when two society girls go missing, there’s no one more qualified to investigate.

Now fierce Evaline and logical Mina must resolve their rivalry, navigate the advances of not just one but three mysterious gentlemen, and solve murder with only one clue: a strange Egyptian scarab. The stakes are high. If Stoker and Holmes don’t unravel why the belles of London society are in such danger, they’ll become the next victims.

I was so excited for this book. Go on, read the description, sounds amazing right? I thought it would be too. I was extremely disappointed, maybe my hopes were just too high going into this but I just couldn't love it.

I thought following the adventures of the niece of Sherlock Holmes and the sister of Bram Stoker would be completely interesting but for the first half of the book I was extremely bored. The mystery doesn't really pick up much in the first half of the book, but we are introduced to a murder pretty quickly. The mystery, when it does begin to pick up, is very Holmes-esque and contains quite a few twists that leave you guessing.

The two main characters, I just couldn't bring myself to connect with. Mina Holmes was obnoxious and constantly looking down on people. She was the stereotypical smart girl who had pretty much no friends and a severe lack of social skills. Evaline Stoker was not much better. She was extremely boring and for a vampire hunter that was pretty sad. I just did not connect with either of these characters.

The two characters I did enjoy immensely were Pix and Officer Ambrose Grayling. Pix was a thief and he was witty and had some of the best dialogue. Officer Grayling was obnoxious, but in a way that didn't bother me. He was trying to solve the case and constantly had the two main characters interfering. He was a complete gentleman and I adored him.

The writing style really was difficult to get into. It read like a novel from the time period it's set in. I found myself having to go back and re-read paragraphs just to fully understand the language and that really interfered with my overall enjoyment.

Despite the faults that I had with this novel, I really did like the second half of the book and I will probably be reading the sequel at some point.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block (ARC)

Love in the Time of Global Warming (Love in the Time of Global Warming, #1)Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block
Series: Love in the Time of Global Warming, #1
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Format: ARC
Pages: 240
Source: Won

Seventeen-year-old Penelope (Pen) has lost everything—her home, her parents, and her ten-year-old brother. Like a female Odysseus in search of home, she navigates a dark world full of strange creatures, gathers companions and loses them, finds love and loses it, and faces her mortal enemy.

In her signature style, Francesca Lia Block has created a world that is beautiful in its destruction and as frightening as it is lovely. At the helm is Pen, a strong heroine who holds hope and love in her hands and refuses to be defeated.

I wanted to love this book, I truly did and based off the description I really thought I would. But when I started reading it I just knew I wasn't going to. I had to constantly stop and ask myself what just happened throughout the novel. Maybe I'm just getting pickier with books but I just couldn't get into this one.

The writing style is definitely something I have never seen before, it's unique but I found it really hard to get into. I've never read something that used The Odyssey as a guide, I never even read The Odyssey and that factor was really interesting for me. The giants were cool and their reasons for existence was interesting, but my enjoyment only went so far.

When it came to the characters I either loved them or hated them. I wasn't a fan of the heroine. I found Pen to be rather annoying. The city is dangerous but she wanted to go to a museum that her mother took her to once and was willing to risk not only her but her friends lives as well. Most of her decisions aren't very smart and I found myself not connecting with her. I loved Hex on the other hand. His story could have been developed a little more but from what is shown to us he's an extremely complex and interesting character. Ash and Ez just kind of seem to be there, I liked them but there wasn't any real connection to them since not much is really learned about either of them.

Love in the Time of Global Warming was a quick read and though I didn't enjoy this one maybe you will, it all comes down to what your looking for. If you want a deep book about the end of the world maybe you should pass this one, but if you want a quick light read that even after all of the faults I had with this seem like something you would enjoy I say go for it.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender (ARC Review)

Marie Antoinette, Serial KillerMarie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender
Series: N/A
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: ARC
Pages: 296
Source: Won in a Goodreads giveaway

Colette Iselin is excited to go to Paris on a class trip. She’ll get to soak up the beauty and culture, and maybe even learn something about her family’s French roots.

But a series of gruesome murders are taking place across the city, putting everyone on edge. And as she tours museums and palaces, Colette keeps seeing a strange vision: a pale woman in a ball gown and powdered wig, who looks suspiciously like Marie Antoinette.

Colette knows her popular, status-obsessed friends won’t believe her, so she seeks out the help of a charming French boy. Together, they uncover a shocking secret involving a dark, hidden history. When Colette realizes she herself may hold the key to the mystery, her own life is suddenly in danger . . .

Acclaimed author Katie Alender brings heart-stopping suspense to this story of revenge, betrayal, intrigue — and one killer queen.

I wanted to love this book, I really did. After reading the description I had such high hopes for this one, I mean Marie Antoinette as a serial killer ghost. Awesome right? No. This book did not live up to any of the expectations that I had.
I'm going to start with the pro's on this one. The setting was a major plus. I love Paris and anything to do with Paris. I love that the book describes so much of the city and it's like getting to be there without actually having to leave your house. Another huge plus for me was the historical factor. I'm just going to admit it right now, I'm a history junkie. The facts about Marie Antoinette's life and the different French buildings were fantastic and really had me hooked.
The only other good thing about this book was Jules, and his family of course. Jules was just all around sweet and caring. He really tried to help Colette and went out of his way to do things with her. His family was so welcoming and I loved the part with Jules' family.
Now, while I loved Jules I hated Colette and her two best friends Hannah and Pilar. Hannah was controlling and shallow and just all around mean while Pilar had absolutely no backbone. Colette was just as shallow and only really cared about something if it concerned her. How is anybody supposed to like someone like that? I felt absolutely no connection with her.
The biggest disappointment for me has to be the ghost of Marie Antoinette. While the murders were pretty good, I felt like the ghost was kind of flat. The story behind why the murder's were happening was pretty easy to figure out and the mystery wasn't very mysterious at all.
I'd really recommend this to you if you aren't in it for the creep factor because to be honest there really wasn't any.
 I won this book through the Goodreads First  Reads Program. This has not influenced this review and all opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Splintered by A.G. Howard

Splintered (Splintered, #1)Splintered by A.G. Howard
Series: Splintered, #1
Publisher: Amulet Books
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 371
Source: Purchased

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

 When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

I really love Alice in Wonderland re-tellings and this one did not disappoint. However this Wonderland isn't anything like the one we know. It's twisted and dark and the characters, while tie in with the ones in the original Alice in Wonderland are much darker and strange yet lovely at the same time.
I have to admit the beginning leaves much to be desired. It's slow and it takes over 100 pages for Alyssa to reach Wonderland. The beginning fills us in on the story behind Alyssa and let's us see her mother in the mental hospital. Once Alyssa gets to Wonderland everything begins to pick up.
I loved Alyssa. She kicks some serious butt and goes through all of the trouble to save her family. She wants to help her mother and that's the main driving force behind her actions. She knows what she wants and she doesn't let anything stand in her way. I'm probably going to get a lot of hate for this but I wasn't a fan of Jeb. He's seriously whiny. He keeps secrets from Alyssa (though Morpheus does the same thing) while he's supposed to be one of her best friends and I just really didn't like him. He got on my nerves.
Now Morpheus however, I loved him. He's the bad boy. He's manipulative and controlling but he truly cares about Alyssa and that really came through the more we got to see of him throughout the novel. While he's manipulative he also does what he can to help Alyssa. I was honestly praying for Morpheus to get a chance with Alyssa in the end but only time will tell.
If you haven't already checked this one out I highly recommend you do. All the hype is well worth it and if a retelling isn't enough to make you want to read it just remember it's a lot darker and more twisted than the Wonderland you remember.