Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Note: We received this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed in a book. If it’s shocking to you, it’s shocking to me too because I thought I was going to love this. It was one of my most anticipated releases and I was so excited to read an #OwnVoices story about teenagers of Indian descent. And for the most part, the elements of Indian culture and passion for your own heritage was my favourite part of the book. It delivered that, but that was the ONLY thing it delivered for me.

So, let’s just pros and cons everything about this book, from character to plot to actual writing: Continue reading “Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon”

Advertisements

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

All I’ve ever heard about this book is how cool the format is, with all the mixed media and unusual-ness. Theory: Due to the format, no one sees how DULL the plot is. Seriously, this was a slog of a read. It used every science fiction cliche in the book. I was just waiting for the ‘We’re running out of oxygen!’ trope, but no dice. (There are still two books to go, so can someone else tell me if this happens? I’m sure as heck not continuing on with the series.)

Kady and Ezra were so 2-D. I’ve seen both of their characters before, in similar scenarios but executed so much better (see ‘Soldier Girls’ by Michael Grant). Oh, and Kady has pink hair, by the way. Just in case you didn’t get that she was a badass and could star in her own anime. *rolls eyes*

The romance was a limp slice of cheese. I couldn’t buy into it at all, as most of the romance happened before the novel began and what did they really connect to each other over? Just saying ‘I love you’ over and over again isn’t enough to convince me. And then we get the most contrived ‘sike, we got you’ ending that destroyed any speck of emotional resonance all for the sake of a sequel.

Let me run through some MORE of the worst moments:
1. Over 500 years into the future and people still use ‘:P’ instead of emojis? C’mon.
2. why why why would anything EVER be justified to the centre?? It’s hard to read and should be preserved for middle grade poetry ONLY.
3. The boys use the phrase ‘chum’ to refer to each other in the beginning and then this is quickly dropped and everyone acts like they didn’t just try and make chum a thing. It’s not a thing.
4. People are still amazed by keyboard art. Well, just wait until they realise if you type in 01134 into a calculator and turn it upside down it spells ‘hello’
5. The AI has a poetic voice? I think this just made the centre justification even worse and I know this is supposed to be quirky and different – wow, a none robotic AI – but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t odd.
6. Kady’s humour was one note.
7. Ezra’s humour was one note.
8. I know they’d been in a relationship before but why is no one screaming ‘insta-love’?
9. Is it just me that finds white writing on a black background kind of difficult to read?
10. Unipedia pages? REALLY? This is the most obvious info dump I’ve ever seen! And it’s not even disguised!

This has just solidified that sci-fi is not for me. At least not like this.

Review: Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Queens of Geek is the story of three Australian teens: Charlie, Taylor and Jamie, who travel across the world to attend SupaCon. Charlie is a Youtuber with 3 million subscribers, and she’s recently starred in a movie that everyone is obsessed with even though it’s only recently been released (so I’m a little confused by the timeline of this). Taylor has Aspergers but is conquering her anxiety so she can meet the author of her favourite book series. And Jamie’s basically just along for the ride so that Taylor can have some sort of love story.

I don’t want to say I have a problem with YA contempora

ries because that’s a sweeping statement and certainly not true, but quite a few ‘hyped’ books have severely disappointed me recently. And you know what aspect of the stories is letting me down? THE WRITING.

I honestly don’t want to get super negative, because it’s clear that Queens of Geek was Jen Wilde’s passion project but for me, the diversity was heavy-handed, the pacing was off, and the dialogue was really cringey and unrealistic. It felt like this book was trying to do too much.

The characters would lecture each other about intersectional feminism, handling anxiety, consensual sex, autism, leaving home, whether or not to go to university, being bisexual, slut shaming and body shaming (yep, all of these issues were talked about) even though everyone was on the same page with it anyway? They didn’t feel like real conversations the characters would be having, but rather conversations the author wanted the reader to contemplate. But the actually effect was that because it was trying to do ALL of them, none of them were done well. It was a classic case of spreading out too thin, resulting in everything being bad. If just two or three of these things had been the main focus then that would’ve been plenty, especially for a book under 300 pages.

But my main issue was suspension of disbelief:
1. I was ejected from the story the minute Charlie, who has 3 millionsubs, was acting as if no one knew her name. I’m sorry, but this is the kind of number where you’d be pulled over on the street to take pictures with your subscribers.

2. One part of the plot relies on Charlie not uploading a video, and instead asking her manager to upload it for her. The manager then uploads a different video which has some…consequences. HOW CAN YOU ULPOAD THE WRONG VIDEO? Charlie would have had to export only one video, turning it into a file that would probably save on her desktop?? But instead the manager goes into her editing software, exports clearly unedited footage (which would probably be like 40 minutes long and would take a long time on hotel wifi anyway so the consequences wouldn’t be as immediate as they are in the book), and then upload it to Youtube. She’d be waiting half a day if she had to export, upload and process herself! NO. The logical thing would’ve been for Charlie to upload and use the scheduling option for her own video. Does Charlie know how to Youtube???

I know, this is really nit-picking, but you can’t just jump hoops to make your logic work. This was stupid and contrived. I really dislike when things this are skipped over, because it just wouldn’t happen.

3. Taylor’s tumblr posts were never tagged with #personal, which is just completely unrealistic. Again, it’s a small thing, but show a lack of research. I’ve never seen someone use tumblr as an actual blog before all ‘Hi guys, so this is what I’m currently doing…’ Wouldn’t twitter have worked better for this kind of update?

So, that was a sort of rant, I guess. The only thing I’d ever heard anyone say about this was how ‘cute’ it was and that’s totally fine. But I’m not the kind of reader that just reads ‘for fun.’ Studying creative writing at uni and reading a ton of YA has resulted in my being highly critical (and probably a bit salty). We all get something different out of reading, and this book might have helped you with your own identity, but for me, it was very laboured and tried too hard to tick all the boxes, which didn’t make a successful story.

If you’re looking for a glowing review, I’d recommend Natalie’s. She goes into more detail about what good rep this book has, and picks up some issues it talks about that I didn’t mention. (Even though, do we really need more??)
And if you want to see a more balanced review, then check out Cait’sbecause she makes some really good points about how unnatural the speech is, but again comments on how good the diversity is.

Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

33393824Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling
Publisher: Titan
Pages: 508
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★
Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

So, I buddy read this with my girl Lea, and I would highly recommend reading her review because she picks apart issues with consent, and being German she has A+ critique on the use of language. I will also mention now that had I not been reading his with her then I would’ve DNF around page 70. Her sass was literally the only thing keeping me going. (Example: one of the best things Lea said in our discussion was that this is more ‘Fifty Shades of Goblin’ than a Labyrinth retelling. (Go an commend her on that pun because I died.))

Continue reading “Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones”

Spoiler Review: Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

25431123Nerve by Jeanne Ryan
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Speak
Pages: 298
Format: Paperback (library edition)
Rating:

I missed this movie when it was in the cinema, so when I saw it in the library I thought I would pick it up to read before I eventually saw the film! I hauled it in a Library book haul and someone commented that the book was quite different to the movie, I can only agree from what I see in the trailer, but I can definitely say that I was completely underwhelmed by Nerve and can see how a movie would ramp this up 100% The premise in general sounded really exciting but there was so much to dislike about the books, I can’t bring myself to give it any more that 1 star. 

Continue reading “Spoiler Review: Nerve by Jeanne Ryan”

Review: A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston

21524446A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston
Genre: Retelling
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 336
Format: ARC E-book
Rating:
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

First things first, this cover is absolutely gorgeous, if I could rate it for cover alone then A Thousand Nights would no doubt get 5 stars, but realistically, I just didn’t enjoy the story at all. Apparently, The Wrath and the Dawn is a better retelling of the 1001 nights story, so I’ll be sure to read that one soon!

Continue reading “Review: A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston”

Review: Looking For Alaska by John Green

lookingforalaskaUK.inddLooking For Alaska by John Green
Genre: Contemporary
Published by: Harper Collins
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
Rating:
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

Somehow I have to come up with something good to say about this book, despite irrevocably disliking it. I didn’t find any of the characters personable, and felt as if I was missing something when I wasn’t upset by the ending. I think it’s always a little risky to read books that have had so much hype, because I knew the majority of the plot already. What I wasn’t expecting however, was to dislike Looking For Alaska as much as I actually did. Stacks of Sarah reviewed this book at the beginning of the year, and when it comes to contemporaries I usually trust her reviews wholeheartedly. So, when I saw she’d given it only one star, I was prepared for the worst.

Continue reading “Review: Looking For Alaska by John Green”

Review: The Dolls by Kiki Sullivan

24393880The Dolls by Kiki Sullivan
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Published by: Usbourne
Pages: 410
Format: Paperback
Rating:
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

Oh gosh. How do I describe this book? It’s basically an alternate universe Beautiful Creatures where Emily Asher and Savannah Snow have the powers. Do not give materialistic girls powers. It’s not a good mix. Just no. I was so disappointed with this book! The beginning was so intriguing, and I was really hyped to get sucked into this world. But then it took a completely different turn! Basically, the insta-love was unbearable, the characters unlikeable and the plot totally predictable.

Continue reading “Review: The Dolls by Kiki Sullivan”

Review: Made For You by Melissa Marr

24261482Made for You by Melissa Marr
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller, Romance
Published by: Harper Collins
Pages: 336
Format: ARC E-Book
Rating:
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

The premise made this book sound super duper interesting. Girl can see the deaths of others? Bring it on. Crazy murderer on the loose? I’ll give it a go. Completely cliched romance that pops out of nowhere and characters with little personality or development? Eh, maybe not. I was so ready for this book to be exciting and thrilling, but it turned out that the only original part of this book was the chapters from the killer’s perspective – which were gross and creepy, and kind of uncomfortable to read. I was looking forward to read something by this author as I’ve been meaning to look into the Wicked Lovely series. Now I’m not so sure.

Continue reading “Review: Made For You by Melissa Marr”

(Spoiler) Review: The Death Cure by James Dashner

the death cureThe Death Cure by James Dashner
Genre: Dystopian
Published by: Chicken House
Pages: 325
Format: E-Book
Rating: ★
Series: The Maze Runner (#1) | The Scorch Trials (#2)
Where to Find: Goodreads Amazon

All was for nought, my friends. I have finished the trilogy in exactly the same place as where I started: knowing nothing about anything. After ‘The Scorch Trials’ ended, probably with Thomas being knocked out because that’s his favourite state of consciousness, I thought: ‘Am I finally going to get some answers?!’ Turns out, the answer was no. So, here I go, with my one star review. There WILL be spoilers from here on out.

Continue reading “(Spoiler) Review: The Death Cure by James Dashner”