The Title Page is a book review blog with a focus on YA Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, and Science Fiction.

Posts tagged ‘ARC’

Scare Me

Scare MeScare Me by Richard Jay Parker

DISCLAIMER: I received Scare Me as a publisher ARC through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: 2 Stars

Before you read my review, I want you to know something about me. I am a very technical person. Things that don’t matter to other people mean a lot to me. A lot of the negatives in this review will reflect the technical issues in this book.

It should be mentioned before you read this book that the protagonist and his family live in the UK. It isn’t mentioned until about 80% through the book, and it threw me off completely.

Scare Me is a genius idea. If serial killing wasn’t a horrible crime, I’d say the author has quite a talent for it. (Kidding, of course, it takes a lot more to kill someone than coming up with a murder-filled scavenger hunt).
The way the plot for Scare Me was planned out was incredibly interesting, and what drew me to the book in the first place.

The things that brought the book down are (again) the technical aspects of it. Mostly, the phone calls and internet access that the protagonist seemed to have an unlimited supply of. He travels across continents, ditches and purchased phones, and keeps track of mobile devices through GPS, all without losing an internet connection or phone service. This is just completely unrealistic.

The author uses many different POVs to the point where it gets hard to follow. Throughout the book, we are following 6 different people at any given time. It’s thoroughly confusing and obnoxious, you can’t get more than a few pages before being thrown into another story-line.

Maybe that’s how mystery novels are supposed to be, and maybe that’s why I tend to stay away from the genre, but it took a 4 star book down a few notches, and that’s always sad to see.

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The Testing

The Testing (The Testing, #1)

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

DISCLAIMER: I received The Testing as a publisher ARC through Houghton Mifflin in exchange for my honest review.

You can sign up for an ARC Tour for The Testing here!

My Rating: 4 Stars

The Testing follows Cia, a bright young girl, when she embarks on The Testing, a series of trials designed to weed out the weak. By finishing The Testing, Cia can go on to the University and become one of the country’s next leaders.

This book will remind you of the Hunger Games, but there are some key differences. If I had to compare it, I’d say it is a mix between The Hunger Games and The Scorch Trials with a hint of Divergent.

Charbonneau does a great job of keeping The Testing separate from other dystopian novels. Yes, it has the same plot line as a lot of others, but when you actually read the book, you get a different feel for the characters and trials as with other books.

Cia was an interesting character. I’m not sure if I liked her, she did seem a bit weak. When it came down to it, Cia was not someone who could kill another human being. However, she had her wits about her, she kept a level head in hard situations and always thought the best about people. Tomas, however, annoyed me. Cia is supposed to trust him unconditionally because he loves her, but I never got that feel from him. Saying something and actually feeling something are two very different things and I just didn’t get that feeling from Tomas.

The writing in this book was very well done. Things were well explained and while interesting things were expanded on, no time was wasted on the boring parts. My only issue with the writing was that there seemed to be too much of it. I found myself easily distracted while reading and ended up reading the same paragraphs multiple times. There was too much to read about each thing and it overdescribed the novel.

This was a good read, it was slow to start, but after the first hundred or so pages, it was hard to put down. I would say if you try it and are having trouble, keep going, give it about half the book before you put it down.

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Emilie and the Hollow World

Emilie and the Hollow World

Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells

DISCLAIMER: I received Emilie and the Hollow World as a publisher ARC through Strange Chemistry in exchange for my honest review.

My rating: 3.5 Stars

Emilie and the Hollow World was a great read. I don’t regret one second spent reading this book. It didn’t take me long to read at all because it kept me interested every page.

The book starts out with a bang, we follow Emilie as she steals aboard the Merry Bell as she is running away from her uncle and aunt. She boards the ship by mistake, originally intending to stow away on another vessel. We are quickly engulfed in magic and transported, along with the crew, to a world-within-a-world like destination.

The novel reads as an adventure. The cast of the book is met with one challenge at a time as they stride to their eventual goal. It is a really good read that is worth the time you will put into it, but it did fall short in that I wasn’t blown away by it. It wasn’t a book that I just couldn’t put down, but at the same time, I never didn’t want to pick it up again.

If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be relatable. This book is easy to understand with a heroine you can really imagine in yourself. Emilie is strong-willed, but not pushy. She understands the extent of her knowledge and is willing to sit back and learn rather than insert herself into an issue.

There are deeper issues that are addressed in the book, in the Victorian world that it takes place, sexism is a common theme. The protagonists combat that in the best way possible. Two of the main characters, Emilie and Lady Marlende, are women. The way the author approaches this is very professional, the women aren’t looked down upon, but are given less opportunity to advancement. While Emilie seems to have accepted her place in the world, Lady Marlende is a tough cookie who doesn’t take that crap. She stands her ground and Emilie soon follows. Lady Marlende is definitely a winning character, she wins my favorite vote.

Sadly, the world building is where the novel suffered a bit, it could have used more depth. While reading the book, I didn’t feel like I was transported to another world, which is normally my favorite part of alter-reality novels. While the world was creative enough, not enough description is given about the setting. We aren’t told wether a place is supposed to be dark or light, forboding or inviting, etc. Things are explained in character conversation instead of the context of the book, and in that way it took away from the magic of the novel. I felt like I was reading a diary or memoir instead of a fiction novel.

To conclude my review, I suggest this book for the adventurous types, who don’t like to waste time on romance. It is a quick, fun, read that you won’t feel you’ve wasted time on.

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The Lives of Tao

The Lives of Tao

The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu

DISCLAIMER: I received The Lives of Tao as a publisher ARC through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

I really wanted to like The Lives of Tao, I really did. I have heard nothing but great things about it, and it’s under one of my favorite publishing houses so I was excited when I was provided the ARC.

I’m not going to lie, The Lives of Tao is just as funny as everyone claims. It’s filled with embarrassing moments and snarky conversations. In that sense, yes, it was entertaining.

The issue I has was that I was bored out of my mind reading this book. It follows Roen in his training by his alien-life-partner, Tao. He is enlisted by Tao to work for the Prophus, and be an undercover spy. Sounds exciting, no?


Just as Roen claims in the book, the job of being an international super spy is not as exciting as it looks, and this is where the book suffered. We are plagued by pointless conversations and training, and then when we finally get to the exciting part, it is skimmed over with just a few short sentences.

This book takes more focus than I can give it. Maybe I will return to it someday when I have more time to spend between the pages of a novel.

The random flashbacks to Tao’s past lives reminded me a lot of The Amulet of Samarkand in that we caught a glimpse of historical figures from the inside of their minds. It was cool, but it subtracted from the already drizzling story.

I gave it a shot, and I’m willing to try again at another point in my life. This review is my opinion of the book and unless you are exactly like me, don’t immediately throw it in the Abandoned pile. Give it a shot.

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The Testing ARC Tour Announcement!

Our review of The Testing has just gone live! Head over to the Reviews tab to check it out, then go to the ARC Tours tab to request a spot on the Tour!

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

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