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

Posts tagged ‘NetGalley’

Gated by Amy Christine Parker

GatedGated by Amy Christine Parker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Gated is a story of Lyla, a girl who was raised in a community, that (unbeknownst to her) is actually a cult. Since she was 5, she has been trained to protect herself, be a contributing part of the community, and was sworn to secrecy from the outside world.

This all changes when she meets Cody.

Picking up this novel, I was a bit weary because my type of read is normally of the sci-fi genre. I’m not really into anything that doesn’t involve magic, or dragons, or something along those lines. This book was very refreshing because, while it was all possible in the real world, it was still an extremely entertaining read.

One thing this book lacked was fitting character development.

Lyla’s character is bold and open minded. It’s a bit out of place, seeing as she has been raised in this community where they are essentially brainwashed their entire lives. It would make more sense for an outsider to have the thoughts and feelings she does, or even one of the adults who had entered the community at an older age.

Cody is sweet, but his character seemed a bit unnecessary. I felt like he was only in the novel to introduce the standard love triangle.

Pioneer just didn’t fit the bill. He was the leader of the cult, which (by definition) needs to have a religious or spiritual basis. I didn’t get this feeling from Pioneer. All I got from him was some guy who was really good at manipulating people who are vulnerable and wants to be in charge of a bunch of people.

(view spoiler)[By the end of the book, Pioneer reveals to Lyla that he wants to kill everyone in the community. He doesn’t want to “deliver them to heaven” or anything like that. He just honestly wants to murder a ton of people. This seems so out of place for a cult leader that I just couldn’t process it as reasonable. Pioneer turned out more like a mass murderer than a cult leader, and it didn’t make any sense. (hide spoiler)]

The plot was interesting, a cult-raised youth coming to terms with the outside world. It kind of reminded me of the TV show Breaking Amish. I liked the whole Lyla-coming-into-herself plot more than the Pioneer-murdering-everyone plot.

I do recommend the book for anyone who is willing to go into it with an open mind. There are some large character flaws, but I think it’s worth the read for the plot and setup alone.

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A Clockwork Heart by Liesel Schwarz

A Clockwork Heart (The Chronicle of Light and Shadow, #2)A Clockwork Heart by Liesel Schwarz

DISCLAIMER: I received A Clockwork Heart as a publisher ARC through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: 2 Stars

A Conspiracy of Alchemists was a great novel, it set the standard for the Liesel Schwarz steam-punk series. It was exciting with some strange flaws, but I opted to like it anyways.

A Clockwork Heart sadly fell flat of my expectations. While it was more interesting to read, the story was dry and everything seemed to work out a bit too perfectly. Elle is a completely different character than she was in the first novel, she’s far too dependant on Marsh and seems incapable of functioning once he disappears from the novel, about 20% in.

The dialogue was filled with old-tymey banter, it gives you the feeling that the author was trying way too hard. There was a scene where I swore they said the term “ever so slightly” at least 18 times.

The new protagonist was too good to be true. An evil (but gorgeous) witch lady who can control the weather and wants Marsh for her own? And then, of course, her death comes by far too easily. The climax battle was overly confusing. It goes from a civil conversation between enemies to a battle of air balloons in a matter of seconds.

The ending seemed harsh to me. I got the feeling that Schwarz was just trying way too hard to have an unhappy ending. The book went on way too long as well, it should have ended chapters before it did.

All in all, I was extremely disappointed with the novel, but because I liked the first one so much I will give Schwarz the benefit of the doubt and read the third when it comes out.

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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Zenn Scarlett

Zenn Scarlett

Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon

DISCLAIMER: I received Zenn Scarlett as a publisher ARC from Strange Chemistry in exchange for my honest review.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

When I first finished Zenn Scarlett, I rated it in at 3 stars. The book was good, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t really stand out to me at all. It was very typical for my tastes. But here I am, 3 days later, and every time I’ve tried to pick my next book to read, I can’t find anything that peaks my interest. Apparently, Zenn Scarlett had a stronger effect on me than I thought.

It’s one of those books where you get so involved in the story that you forget you are reading a book.

Zenn Scarlett starts out with Zenn, a hardcore teenage girl, if not a bit anti-social. She is an exoveterinarian novice, meaning she’s training to become an veterinarian for alien species. She lives on a compound, or cloister, with her uncle and a few workers where they take care of the animals.

I don’t know what I was expecting, Zenn to go on some crazy adventure to save the cloister? Zenn to get kidnapped away, and have to fight her way back? The entire book took place at the cloister and it was incredibly refreshing. It’s not an adventure book, it’s a creative look into a futuristic veterinarian life (with, of course, some exciting conflict).

Zenn is a refreshing and bold character. She’s smart and knows it, but also has her faults. She’s got passion and will do anything to be what she wants in life.

The cloister was very fun to read about, along with all of it’s alien inhabitants. It was hard to picture some of the creatures at times, but as Zenn continued to work with them, the images slowly came to mind.

I would recommend this book for the younger crowd, it’s a bit juvenile in that there’s not much romantically going on. It’s a really easy read, and I think anyone on the younger side of YA fantasy will really enjoy it.

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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?

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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A Shimmer of Angels

A Shimmer of Angels (Angel Sight, #1)

A Shimmer of Angels by Lisa M. Basso

DISCLAIMER: I received A Shimmer of Angels as a publisher ARC through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

I wanted to review A Shimmer of Angels while it was still fresh in my mind. I finished the book yesterday and have mixed feelings about the title.

I have to admit, I went into this book expecting it to be just another high school novel, I feared it would be on par withMarked and I would be putting it down before I let too many of my brain cells rot.

Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised.

Ray is a refreshing take on the teenage girl. Having lived three years of her life in a mental hospital, she isn’t the standard high school teen queen. Of course, there is the typical love triangle, which seems to be standard among YA novels these days. (let me tell you now girls, you’ll be lucky to ever have one perfect guy falling head over heels for you, the chances of two would be slim to none.)

The writing leaves much to be improved on, I got the feeling that the author was trying too hard to sound like a teenage girl. The dialogue Ray used did not match her thoughts. She was emotionally more mature than a normal 16 year old would be because she had gone through so much more than most teens. It should reflect in the way she speaks along with the way she processes information.

I love Ray’s ‘descent into madness’ throughout the beginning of the books. I put this in quotes because it’s not so much a descent into madness as an ascent from madness. The best part of the novel is the section where Ray comes to terms with the fact that she is not crazy.

The author would use filler sentences that didn’t make too much sense, which gave me the feeling that she was trying too hard. She’d use words like…

“Have a seat,” the waitress invited, her voice sharp with sarcasm.”

or

He might look my age, but sometimes, when he said weird things like that, I couldn’t shake the feeling he was much older.

The first qualm I had with these was trying to figure out how one would sarcastically tell someone to take a seat for a job interview. I spent a few minutes trying to figure that one out. As for the second quote, you’ll probably need some context. She says this about Cam, a person she’s known for approximately 2.5 minutes and said 3 words to.

This is what I’m talking about, a good editing and this would be a really great book.

I like the topic, fallen angels, guardian angels, angels from hell. This all interests me, but I’d have to say I haven’t read many novels on the subject. This is because I’m writing my own angel-based novel and don’t want to be influenced by any other work.

I took a chance with A Shimmer of Angels and I’m glad I did. I’m not sure I’ll read the following 2 novels, but that is to be discovered.

Favorite character: Kade
Least Favorite Character: Cam
Recommended for: Young readers, readers interested in angel/demon work.

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