Reviews

Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

Ruth West - Thursday, September 07, 2017

Title: Not Your Sidekick
Author: C.B. Lee
Publisher: Duet, Interlude Press
Published: Sept. 8, 2016
Genre: LGBT, YA, Superhero




A diverse story that suffers from stylistic issues in the writing. Littered throughout the book are awkward sentences, not fragments or incorrect punctuation but sentences that just feel awkward. The story, although predictable suffers mostly from not having a decent round of strong edits to fix the phrases that don't feel natural. How best do I explain this? I feel like the book is being told to me, read by a voice that isn't my own. In most instances of reading you imagine the characters. Personally had the book been written in past tense the writing may have smoothed out some of the inconsistencies and awkwardness. I do recognize that many YA books are moving toward the trend of present tense, but this book clearly suffers because of it. Perhaps if it has been written in first person and the many instances of show don't tell removed, it would have been a better, stronger book. Third person present tense just doesn't work for this story. 

Here's an example that tripped me up while reading. I just felt like I was being tossed out of the book:

They gossip about Captain Orion's romantic life and then get into a silly discussion about the most attractive heroes in the League. The movie is playing but they aren't paying much attention. Jess lost track of the plot a few minutes in. She's enjoying her time with her friends as they argue about who is hotter: Starscream or Copycat.

I wanted to love this story, everything about the plot seemed great but the struggle of reading the style was too much for me. I recommend reading a sample before buying.

Reviewed by: Laura


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The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Ruth West - Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Title: The Jewel
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher: Harper Teen
Published:Sept. 2, 2014
Genre:YA, Dystopian, Romance



The Jewel feels a bit like The Handmaid's Tale without the story being nearly as heavy. Though the author does create a world that is dystopian and well-crafted, there seems to be the oppressive sense of fear and terror missing. Being slapped isn't great, by any means, but it's not the constant concern of ever-present death either. Yes, living in the Jewel where royalty is and Violet, a mere number no longer a name is nothing more than a slave, auctioned as a surrogate is dark and a dreaded thought, the book is still far lighter that one might think and that could be perhaps because it was written for young adults. That's not to say there aren't deaths that occur, but being only an outsider to the deaths (hearing about it but not witnessing it makes them seem far less horrific). Whereas a book like The Hunger Games found itself to be controversial due to the violent nature of what was depicted, the story also was darker. That's not to say The Jewel isn't a good story. At the end of every chapter I dreaded putting the book down. I wanted to read more, even when it was time for bed and I knew I wouldn't get enough sleep. The story flows nicely, the plot moves along quite well, yet it took more than 150 pages (paperback version) for me to finally meet the potential love interest of Violet. The Jewel is a strong book, the biggest flaws to me were engrained in the lack of fear in what should be a dystopian society and the world itself.
Reviewed by Kate

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Premonition by Leigh Walker

Ruth West - Friday, August 11, 2017

Title: Premonition (The Division Series Book 1)
Author: Leigh Walker
Publisher: CMG Publishing
Published: July 19, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian



Wow! What an intense thrill-ride. Premonition starts off with a typical story of a teenage girl that's joined a boarding school summer program as a work-study so that she can aim for an Ivy League type of education. Riley soon discovers that her work-study isn't what she thought, tasked with joining an elite and secretive division of the FBI known as "The Division." The writing is quick and breezy, forcing me to finish this book in one day, because I could not for the life of me put it down. I would have liked to have seen one additional round of edits done, I found two blatant errors that slowed down my reading but didn't take away any of my enjoyment of the story. The characters of Riley and Finn have a blossoming relationship that is full of emotion. Premonition brought tears to my eyes, forcing me to cry while reading about Riley's family. The author has created strong characters, a solid backstory, and a ground-breaking plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I highly recommend this book.
Reviewed by Samantha Peters


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Right Text Wrong Number by Natalie Decker

Ruth West - Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Title: Right Text Wrong Number
Author: Natalie Decker
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Published: July 11, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult




The writing was mediocre and the storyline while intriguing the execution fell flat. The book had a great cover and interesting blurb but while reading I could not connect with the characters. While the book is geared toward a young adult audience and teens, the writing felt dumbed down and made the teens look immature. The writing suffers from the issue of telling rather than showing emotion. There are young adult books that show teens being intelligent and thoughtful characters, with a voice that is mature while still struggling through adolescence. This book was too juvenile in terms of writing but with content for upper YA. There are moments I absolutely can't stand Layla's character. Her boyfriend ditches her and she has to get a ride from someone else and then she instantly forgives him within seconds of seeing him. Then the next chapter this just made me cringe.

"I hope he's not in an accident somewhere. Then again, I hope he is because then I can't be mad at him for being this late."

That line makes Layla seem incredibly selfish. She should have stood up to him for ditching her, rather than forgive and forget and pretend it was no big deal. Who wishes someone was in an accident for being late? That is just an awful thing to think. The writing and story for me just didn't work.

Reviewed by Jenna Malone

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The Gender Game by Bella Forrest

Ruth West - Monday, August 07, 2017

Title: The Gender Game
Author: Bella Forrest
Publisher: self-published
Published: September 24, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian




From the first chapter, as a reader I was drawn to Violet's character. She's flawed in a very dark world that is tasked with a mission in order to "save" her life. The writing is strong, making me easily like Violet, even though she's been in Juvenile Detention. Her actions have proven they have consequences and while she isn't happy with her current situation, she has made the best of it, given her circumstances. As the story progresses and we meet Lee, Violet still down to her roots is the same character from the beginning, recognizing consequence and not just jumping right in blindly without having a conscious for her actions. Violet's character is strong, she's in a world that has a strong influence of women and forced into the strong male dominated society. The world building was quite incredible and well-thought out. There were some things I'd have liked to see more of, but my hope is that we will in the next book.
Reviewed by Katherine K.


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Canary Club by Sherry D. Ficklin

Ruth West - Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Title: Canary Club
Author: Sherry D. Ficklin
Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing
Published: October 16, 2017
Genre: Historical Romance, Young Adult



"Having people fear you gives you power. Having them love you gives you influence. Having both, well, that’s how you build an empire."

There is an obvious sense of wittiness from Masie which is both comical and dramatic. The young woman is powerful and feeds off the power and influence derived from her father, a crime boss. With a story full of speakeasies, bootleggers, and lots of action, Benny and Masie are an interesting combination. Although written with Masie, a character that is seventeen, I think the upper YA mature crowd of readers and adults will enjoy this book far more than most younger teens. The writing is reminiscent of the time period, historically written but not too difficult to read or decipher the intent of the author. There are quotes, like the one above which make you feel like the story flows gracefully and smooth, desiring for you to read more prose within the pages. Early on the author has us feeling for Benny, with his hardships after being released from prison, his fathers death, witnessing two bodies being dumped on the day of his release, and his sisters ailment that affects his family, including his mother. Getting a job with a crime boss to help pay for his sister's visit to a doctor far away seems already like trouble for a man with a prison conviction and for good reason. Add to that the fact that he will inevitably fall hard for the crime boss' daughter and you know trouble is brewing. Canary Clubpulls all the punches with witty writing, action at every turn, interesting characters, and intriguing dialogue that will make you tempted to keep reading from the first page onward. Overall, a satisfying conclusion to a well-rounded story.
Reviewed by: Marissa Vine


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Dream Me by Kathryn Berla

Ruth West - Thursday, July 27, 2017

Title: Dream Me
Author: Kathryn Berla
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Published: July 11, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Futuristic, Contemporary, Romance




A fantastic unique story that blends the future with the past. Dream Me is a gripping page-turning read that will easily hook you from the beginning. Although the story takes time to unfold and understand the world created by the author, the plot progresses as do the characters in an enriching story. Dream Me is brilliantly written and creatively woven to bring Zat from the future into Babe's dreams. In a futuristic world that is dying, Zat's only chance of survival is by being a part of Babe's dreams, allowing him the chance to see the world long before we destroyed it. There were moments of tears in the last final pages of the book that had me clinging to read more, unwilling to put down my kindle. Emotions are high in this young love tale of a story that Zat, a boy from the future becomes part of Babe's dreams to live a life worth having. If I could give this story six stars I would. A satisfying and emotional ending will leave you thinking about this book, long after you've finished the last page.

Reviewed by: Violet Black

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Guardians: The Girl by Lola StVil

Ruth West - Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Title: Guardians: The Girl
Author: Lola StVil
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Published: January 9, 2012
Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult, Romance




An exciting and page-turning read that will keep you on the edge of your seat, anxious to discover what will happen next. Guardians: The Girl is packed early on with the full explanation of what/why/how of the history of what was happening, with a little bit of an information overload. A through content edit could have easily fixed the heavy dose of information that seemed to go on for pages. The story itself was plenty creative, imaginative, with a strong dose of world-building. There were a variety of characters that were charismatic and full of detail that made for a well-rounded story.
Reviewed by: Katherine K.

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Same Love by Tony Correia

Ruth West - Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Title: Same Love
Author: Tony Correia
Publisher: James Lorimer & Company
Releases: August 1, 2017
Genre: LGBT, Romance, YA



An easy read that is quite often lined with humor despite the heavy subject nature of Same Love. This book is quite clearly written for young adults but I would recommend this story only to those mature enough to handle the content. Where some books drag on to get to the point of the story, I appreciated that Same Love jumped right in with the first chapter. There was easily enough backstory to get onboard and relate while also feeling for the characters, especially Adam. The writing is smooth and clean, the characters have depth and are well-rounded. Although there are obscenities thrown early on in the story (strong enough to cast a long-lasting impression), while also making the reader flinch, this book isn't for the faint of heart or those too young to grasp the message. Adam, a Christian teenage boy that comes out to his parents finds himself sent away to a Christian camp to "fix" him. The sad reality is how true and easily this book could be real for someone that is a teenager, struggling with coming out.
Reviewed by: Laura

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That Boy by Jillian Dodd

Ruth West - Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Title: That Boy
Author: Jillian Dodd
Publisher: Jillian Dodd Inc.
Published: Jan 13, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary




The writing in That Boy, comes across as juvenile. Maybe it was intentional with chapters spanning back as far as fourth grade, but I would have rather had flashbacks or a series of memories from an adult's writing with a juvenile perspective. Even more mature writing would have made the story stronger. Instead the sentences were short and choppy, grammatically correct but bland to read. I could not for the life of me get into Jay's character and like her. She's kissing Danny for "learning-sake" while getting ready for a date with another boy. It made me hate her character, this juvenile behavior and yes she's a teenager but I feel like the writing and characterizations make Jay look even more immature and selfish. That Boy lacked substance that other young adult titles like The Selection, Looking for Alaska, Fangirl, Delirium, and Before I Fall are drenched in. I wanted to love That Boy, even with the writing not up to my taste and I kept reading as the main character grew older, hoping that her story would mature, but I just didn't feel a solid connection to the story or the characters.
Reviewed by: Chloe Stafford

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