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3 Reviews : Deadly Little Secret, Fallen and Horns of Ruin

Today’s mini-reviews have all in common that despite reading reviews that clearly indicated that these books weren’t for me, I went ahead and gave them a try anyway, because Ooooh! The Pretty Covers!

I know, I know. I’m such a shallow reader!

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Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Pages : 252
Genre : YA, Paranormal
Series : Touch, Book 1
My Rating : 

What it’s about : Even though she doesn’t believe the horrible rumors circulating about new boy Ben, Camelia can’t help but wonder if the recent strange events of her life are linked to his presence. Ben is obviously hiding something… but what?

My Thoughts : So this was neither good nor bad, and it fell in a kind of very grey area that made it absolutely forgettable to me. I read it a month ago and could barely tell you what it was about. The paranormal aspect is kind of interesting – psychometry, an ability to read one’s future through touch – but the characters themselves were a little bland. Also the ending was to me  completely obvious. I’m giving this 2,5 stars because I can’t remember enough to give it less or more. Meh.

Series Reading Order :

  1. Deadly Little Secret
  2. Deadly Little Lies
  3. Deadly Little Games
  4. Deadly Little Voices (coming December 2011)

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Fallen by Lauren Kate
Pages : 452
Genre : YA, Paranormal
Series : Fallen, Book 1
My Rating :

What it’s about : After she gets involved in a tragic accident costing the life of another teen, Luce gets sent to the mysterious Swords & Cross boarding school. There she meets Daniel, a mysterious guy she can’t seem to stay away from. What secrets does he hide? What about the mysterious bond they both feel between them?

My Thoughts : Oh my! I’ll forever love the cover but it took me everything I had to finish this one. The beginning was kind of interesting, I was intrigued by Luce’s story until Daniel became her sole focus. I wouldn’t have finished it if I hadn’t already gotten so far in.

Like Deadly Little Secret, this book definitely comes running on the steps of Twilight‘s success. The formula is a bit of the same, with a role reversal of Luce being the new kid and the stalker. It just didn’t work for me, but I have no doubts fans of the genre will enjoy this one.

Series Reading Order :

  1. Fallen
  2. Torment
  3. Passion
  4. Rapture (coming June 2012)

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The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers
Pages : 340
Genre : Steampunk, Fantasy
Stand Alone
My Rating :

From Goodreads : Eva Forge is the last paladin of a dead God. Eva was the last child dedicated to the Cult of Morgan, forsaken by her parents and forgotten by her family. Now she watches as her new family, her Cult, crumbles all around her.

My Thoughts : I don’t know what to say here. I had such high hopes for this one, but it turned out to be a total disappointment. First, there was so much action I felt I never had a break to just enjoy and get familiar with this intricate new world. Plus, I just couldn’t stand Eva. It got better towards the ending, but not enough.

On the plus side, the world has many interesting aspects and gadgets. It just wasn’t enough to make me like it.

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Review : The Goddess Test

The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter
Pages : 293
Genre : YA, Fantasy, Romance
Series : Goddess Test (Book 1)
My Rating :

What it’s about :

As her life comes to an end, Kate’s mom has one single wish : to move back to her childhood home.

What Kate doesn’t expect is that on top of moving to a new town and going to a new school, she’ll be meeting some out of the ordinary new friends. First of them is Henry, who claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld. When Kate sees him bring back to life a dead girl, she knowns Henry is her only chance to save her mom.

My Thoughts :

When I finished reading The Goddess Test, a couple months ago, my first impulse was to sit and write an extraordinarily negative review. Which I would hate to do, but the experience of reading this book was such a negative one for me! Which is surprising, considering the amazing reviews this book has received on the blogs. Take a look at its Goodreads page, and you’ll see it is generally well loved. But I struggled through it, and if I continued to the end, it was only to know whether I had guessed the twist or not (I had).

There were some really great points to the novel : Carter’s writing is smooth and pleasant, and her main character, Kate, is actually really likable. She has a huge heart and her quest to help her mother is an honorable one. I loved their relationship, for what little we saw of it, and I liked Kate’s outlook on life.

Sadly those positive aspects were strongly outweighed by the negative ones. I guess it depends on how “seriously” you take your Greek mythology. If it’s something you enjoy like I enjoy fashion (the things are pretty, but I can’t distinct the fake from the “real thing” and I don’t care that much about the brands), then I believe you’ll have higher chances to enjoy it. If however, you have a deeper knowledge of the mythology (for instance, you’ve read some of the classics or read non-fiction on ancient history), then you might find The Goddess Test less to your liking.

To me, the way Carter used the mythology was pretty much the equivalent of nails on chalkboard. And I feel really bad for saying that, because I am sure Carter simply intended to give mythology an original and new twist. Sadly, it contradicts so much of what Greek mythology is that I couldn’t get behind it. Beginning with Henry/Hades, who is such a good guy. He’s not even a bad guy with a big hearth. He’s nice. And kind of thoughtful. But so tortured. Huh.

And believe it or not, all of those “Greek” gods are kind, generous, honest peeps who want a new goddess who lives a life exempt of selfishness, jealousy, and other deadly sins. They all have very high moral standards.

Say what?

The Greek gods are everything but those things. I’m not saying Carter had to include all the lust and wars and such things, but turning it over on its head and sprinkling it with elements of christian faith? I just couldn’t buy it.

Reading The Goddess Test was such a frustration for me. Some reviews on Goodreads, like this one or this one, translate my thoughts better than I could do it myself (they’re also somewhat funny.) Because I had such a strong reaction, I can’t recommend or not recommend this book. All I wish is that other readers have better luck with 🙂

Series Reading Order :

  1. The Goddess Test
  2. Goddess Interrupted (coming April 2012)

3 Reviews : The Duff, Secret Society and A Match Made in High School

I never feel like spending too much time on those books I didn’t really enjoy, so once again, it’s time for mini-reviews!

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The Duff by Kody Keplinger
Pages : 288
Genre : YA, Fiction
Stand Alone
My Rating :

What it’s about : When charming Wesley nicknames Bianca “The Duff” (Designated Ugly Fat Friend), she hates him as much as she ever did. Yet she ends up kissing him, and soon she finds herself in a friends-with-benefits relationship with him. All she wants is to keep things simple, physical, but the more she spends time with Wesley, the more she learns to like him.

My Thoughts : I had been looking forward to this one : written by a high-school girl about high-school girls and boys, I thought the novel would offer a really close insight into these characters’ life. Yet, this book didn’t work for me : instead, being so young, I felt the author lacked the distance necessary to think the story through clearly. Some events or actions happening in the book could have a major impact on the characters’ life on the long term, yet there’s very little thought given to this aspect. I’m thinking of an event in particular, involving Bianca’s father : in my opinion, it’s an important issue, but the author missed the mark there, writing it a bit lightly. There’s also not enough thought given to how self-destructive Bianca’s relationship with Wesley is.

Don’t Trust me! These readers liked it : Steph Su Reads, Debbie’s World of Books, Jessica Lawlor

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A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker
Pages : 277
Genre : YA, Fiction
Stand Alone
My Rating :

What it’s about : Fiona’s school has come up with a horrible plan for her senior year : students will be matched in pairs for a program in Marriage education, and there’s no way out. Fiona’s crush gets paired with Amanda, her nemesis, while she gets paired with Amada’s boyfriend Todd, who isn’t happier than she is with the result.

My Thoughts : The idea was certainly fun, the execution, a little less. The book was presented like a comedy, a little on the silly side but filled with misunderstandings and pranks; it had all that and more, with maybe just a tad too much silliness for me. It’s really just a matter of taste here, since I enjoyed Walker’s writing, just not the pranks and characters who felt a bit juvenile. I still would recommend it for something light and fun that can be read in an evening.

Don’t Trust me! These readers liked it : Write Meg, Fantastic Book Review, Chick Loves Lit

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Secret Society by Tom Dolby
Pages : 353
Genre : YA, Fiction
Series : Secret Society, Book 1
My Rating :

What it’s about : In New York City, three teens from a private school are chosen to be part of an exclusive Secret Society, but what was supposed to be a fun adventure might be hiding some unpleasant secrets.

My Thoughts : I’m struggling to find some positive about this book; the cover is pretty, I liked that there was some interest in art, I liked the setting, and that’s about it. The characters felt bland, flat as paper, and it was completely predictable. This wasn’t even balanced by interesting twists, humor, steamy romance or brilliant writing. I struggled to get through it, and I’ll admit that I skimmed a lot when I read it at night and I was tired; it just didn’t hold my interest. If you’re interested in reading a novel of secret societies, I highly recommend Secret Society Girl by Diana Peterfreund.

Don’t Trust me! These readers liked it : Bewitched Bookworms, My Reading Room, Wondrous Reads

Review : Zombie Blondes

Zombie Blondes by Brian James
Pages : 232
Genre : Fiction
Stand Alone
My Rating :

From Goodreads :

From the moment Hannah Sanders arrived in town, she felt there was something wrong.
A lot of houses were for sale, and the town seemed infected by an unearthly quiet. And then, on Hannah’s first day of classes, she ran into a group of cheerleaders — the most popular girls in school.  The odd thing was that they were nearly identical in appearance: blonde, beautiful, and deathly pale.

But Hannah wants desperately to fit in — regardless of what her friend Lukas is telling her: if she doesn’t watch her back, she’s going to be blonde and popular and dead — just like all the other zombies in this town….

So there it goes, the lowest rating I ever gave to a book on this blog. I wanted to like this book, but it didn’t happen, and I had a hard time just to finish reading it.

The writing was good, and I liked the idea of the book. Sadly, the execution was lacking suspense, likability and a touch of horror. Nothing much happens until the very end and it was all so predictable, I was bored turning the pages. Also, there was nothing believable about this story. I don’t care that it’s about zombies : I should still be able to connect with the characters and see this through their eyes!

Hannah wasn’t really likable, which made her “romance” with Lukas highly unromantic. I have no idea why this guy kept coming back to her and helping her, when all she did was kick him away. She used him and he let her use him, and in the end there was no reason these two should really be into each other.

I’m making this very short as negative reviews are no fun to write, but yeah, I didn’t get much out of this one.