ARC Mini Reviews: Egmont Edition

AmityGenres: Horror, Paranormal, Young Adult
Release Date: August 26th, 2014
Publisher EgmontUSA
Source:  eARC from Edelweiss
Check out on GOODREADS

Connor’s family moves to Amity to escape shady business deals. Ten years later, Gwen’s family moves to Amity for a fresh start after she’s recovered from a psychotic break.

But something is not right about this secluded house. Connor’s nights are plagued with gore-filled dreams of demons and destruction. Dreams he kind of likes. Gwen has lurid visions of corpses that aren’t there and bleeding blisters that disappear in the blink of an eye. She knows Amity is evil and she must get her family out, but who would ever believe her?

Amity isn’t just a house. She is a living force, bent on manipulating her inhabitants to her twisted will. She will use Connor and Gwen to bring about a bloody end as she’s done before. As she’ll do again.

Alternating between parallel narratives, Amity is a tense and terrifying tale suggested by true-crime events that will satisfy even the most demanding horror fan.

review

I am not sure I can say with any authority whether this book was a good horror novel, but it damn well scared the hell out of me.

Now I don’t really read horror; in fact, I usually avoid it and I don’t watch a whole lot of horror movies either, because I am kind of a scaredy-cat but reading this book was definitely a scary/thrilling experience for me.

My heart was consistently pounding and I would have literally been on my toes had I not been laying comfortably in my blanket (it was cold).

In spite of the great horror mystery and the fantastic atmosphere, what this book lacks are strong character development and well-rounded characters in general. To me, the characters are more of a means to present the story than they are… important. I love that one of the characters is a sociopath and I was genuinely freaked out by his thought processes, but aside from that, there wasn’t much else going on. The same goes for Gwen – she was, in contrast to Connor, a ray of sunlight and I definitely looked forward to reading her chapters more so than Connor’s (he REALLY made me feel uncomfortable) but I never really felt any connection to her, either.

Surprisingly though, that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the novel. Sometimes your characters don’t need to be likeable or relatable for you to enjoy the actual story, and boy! did I enjoy it (okay not really.. I was REALLY scared but that’s the whole point right?).

If you love eerie tales that will probably leave you with more questions than not and will probably make it hard for you to sleep at night, definitely check it out!

Rating:

3.5

Of Monsters and MadnessGenres: Horror, Re-telling, Young Adult
Release Date: September 9th, 2014
Publisher EgmontUSA
Source:  eARC from Edelweiss
Check out on GOODREADS

A romantic, historical retelling of classic Gothic horror featuring Edgar Allan Poe and his character Annabel Lee, from a New York Times best-selling author.

Summoned to her father’s home in 1820’s Philadelphia, a girl finds herself in the midst of a rash of gruesome murders in which he might be implicated. She is torn romantically between her father’s assistants-one kind and proper, one mysterious and brooding-who share a dark secret and may have more to do with the violent events than they’re letting on.

review

This book was sorely disappointing. It had a lot of potential and there were some truly enjoyable moments but on the whole, I felt let down.

Let’s start with the main character. I cannot count the number of times I facepalmed or rolled my eyes as a result of her stupidity. She was so desperate to be accepted and I never quite understood that. Especially in the beginning when it seemed that all she wanted was to be accepted by her father, who quite frankly was an ass. She barely knew this guy and he was incredibly rude, and yet she kept on seeing it as her failure when he acted so rudely towards her. Then there was also the fact that she wasn’t all that smart. I mean, someone had to tell her that what she was feeling was grief and there were times when it seemed like during her time in Siam, she was completely isolated from civilization when that wasn’t the case, at least from what I understood.

Then there were a lot of other times when there weren’t enough details or other times when certain things were mentioned only to never be brought up again. Another thing that also really bothered me was the kimono. THE KIMONO IS JAPANESE, NOT THAI (Thailand was called Siam back then). I mean, I am obviously not 100% sure, but then Google said so. You might wonder why I am so riled up because she could have obviously still gotten it there, but the kimono was supposed to represent an item from her previous home and that it was NOT.

Don’t even get me started on the romance… it had instalove written all over it and, moreover, the love interest was about as interesting as a brick. I was a lot more intrigued by his cousin, Edgar.

The mystery is basically what made this book interesting and I really did like the way the author entwined details of Poe’s works into the novel. I thought a lot of those things were neat but the mystery was simply not captivating enough for me to want to give this book a higher rating. I felt like the twist was pretty obvious although admittedly, it was a pretty interesting one.

There were a lot of questions left unanswered at the end of the book and even with all my problems with this one, I definitely plan on reading the sequel, if there is one. I am hooked.

Rating:

2


Tabula RasaGenres
: Sci Fic, Thriller, Young Adult
Release Date: September 23rd, 2014
Publisher EgmontUSA
Source:  eARC from Edelweiss
Check out on GOODREADS

Sixteen-year-old Sarah has a rare chance at a new life. Or so the doctors tell her. She’s been undergoing a cutting-edge procedure that will render her a tabula rasa—a blank slate. Memory by memory her troubled past is being taken away.

But when her final surgery is interrupted and a team of elite soldiers invades the isolated hospital under cover of a massive blizzard, her fresh start could be her end. 

Navigating familiar halls that have become a dangerous maze with the help of a teen computer hacker who’s trying to bring the hospital down for his own reasons, Sarah starts to piece together who she is and why someone would want her erased. And she won’t be silenced again.

A high-stakes thriller featuring a non-stop race for survival and a smart heroine who will risk everything, Tabula Rasa is, in short, unforgettable.

review

The best way to describe Tabula Rasa is fun. It’s far from perfect, but it is undoubtedly a novel you will speed through and have a lot of fun reading.

I think the weakest point of this book would be that there just weren’t enough details. If this novel were the start to a series, it would have been fantastic but it wasn’t (from what I gather). Which means that there were many loopholes that weren’t closed off as well as they could have been. I cannot count the number of times I thought, ‘I cannot wait to see the author expand on this in the sequel’, and when I realized, after finishing the book, there wouldn’t be one, it was kind of disappointing. Not only because I had questions but also because this actually had a lot of potential that wasn’t fully realized.

That aside, the characters were fantastic. I LOVED getting to know Sarah and I thought she was a strong and likeable female lead. The love interest, who shall not be named in this review, was a hacker and was incredibly adorable. He was a little shy and awkward too which made him all the more loveable.

The romance was a buzzkill though. Oh, it was definitely slow burn, until, suddenly, they were in love. It’s kind of instalove, but at the same time, it’s not even that. I am pretty sure I had cartoonish question marks sticking out of my head when those three words were said. I mean, I knew it would happen – I just expected more buildup and more hints of chemistry, perhaps.

The plot was good enough. I mean like I mentioned earlier, the potential was not fully realized but there were a handful of awesome action scenes and I was too swooped up in those to care about anything else.

I’d definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a fun, action filled book that also has a few conspiracies thrown in.

Rating:

3

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Rashika

Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).

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  1. says

    Amity looks good. I’ve yet to get really scared by horror books that’s why I prefer watching movies over reading in this genre. It’s disappointing to know this book failed character development-wise, but I kind of expected that since horror books tend to suffer in that department. I’m glad to know it scared you though. So sad to also hear about Of Monsters and Madness being a letdown. The romance aspect seems awful, but at least the mystery made up for it? I’ve read Tabula Rasa, too, and I enjoyed it for the most part. Like you, I loved Sarah as a character as well, but I totally agree with the potential being wasted since with more details (and maybe a sequel?) this book would be more explosive. Anyway, fab reviews, Rashika. I’d definitely look out for Amity. :)
    Sarah P. recently posted…2014 Favorite Reads so far + EmoticonsMy Profile

  2. laila bc says

    seriously i am not fond of the horror genre coz i’m such a chicken! but i occasionally have enjoyed scifi thrillers and maybe i will look into this Tabula Rasa book. Thanks for the review but no way i am going near Amity lol!

  3. says

    Great reviews all of them, Rashika!
    Amity I had seen around but I avoided it because, it seems like you, I’m a total scaredy cat and avoid horror for the most part! Glad to hear it kept you on your toes and it was an interesting read! I might decide to subject myself to it!
    Of Monsters & Madness I had not heard before and I felt it was quite intriguing until I read your review and decided to stay well away from it!
    And Tabula Rasa… I have it also for review and I still need to read it! I’m glad to hear that it will be a fast read, even if not the most satisfying one with the world building!
    Pili recently posted…Friday Reads: Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre!!My Profile

  4. says

    Ooooh, Amity looks interesting. I love the cover, too! I don’t watch horror movies either – I’m a scaredy cat too LOL. But I don’t mind reading them. Not that I’ve actually read many…it doesn’t seem to be as popular as paranormal or contemporary in YA. But if I can find this one somewhere, I’ll definitely pick it up :)
    Emily @ The Loony Teen Writer recently posted…Stacking the Shelves – the wonderful Alice in WonderlandMy Profile

  5. says

    I’ve seen the first 2 books on Edelweiss but never had the urge to request them since I’m not into thrillers and horrors.

    Amity- I can relate. There are books that got 4 marks from me even if the main character is annoying. Shatter Me was a solid example of that. I disliked Juliette but overall, the story was good.

    Of Monster and Madness- Bwaahahah. OMG. The main character needs some serious shaking. Huh? I think everyone already knows that Kimono is from Japan…. WTH!!! Don’t we have enough films and books about Japan to make that clear? And the instalove strike again.

    Tabula Rasa- Aw. Seems like the author didn’t know how to set up her story. I am always always strict when it comes to grounding works.
    Charlotte @ Thoughts and Pens recently posted…Stacking the Shelves {31}My Profile

  6. says

    Oo I am just finishing Tabula Rasa now after finishing Of Monsters and Madness (I kept accidentally typing of monsters and men because that is a favorite band of mine.) and I read Amity a while ago. Amity is the best horror I’ve read to date, I had no complaints.

    Of Monsters and Madness- I have no words for that book. I’ve been trying to write the review for weeks and I just don’t even know what to say about it. It was just, no. And not in a good way.

    Tabula Rasa- Oh mu goodness I am almost done and I love it to pieces so far. Although I’m feeling like the relationship happened a bit fast. The friendship part even, they gave into trusting each other in pretty much no time at all right after a scene where they didn’t trust each other with a grain of sand. I am also feeling like there isn’t enough book left for Kristen Lippert-Martin to take it all the places she intended to, and I am pretty sure I know the big reveal that is to come. I hate it when I can predict things like that, but I never know if it is because I’m just that good, or if it is just that obvious.
    Briana @ Reader Writer Critic recently posted…Tools of The Trade Week Day 6: Battling Blogger BurnoutMy Profile

  7. says

    I started the first two books as well, but Amity bored the fuck out of me and OMaM annoyed the fuck out of me. Tabula Rasa seems interesting, though. I think I might give it a short since I’m no interest in reading anything I have on my hands at this moment. I neeeeeeeeeeed something fun with plausible characters. THAT EYE, though. Overkill much? I love green eyes as much as the next person, probably more but that looks like a worm hole or some hole or I don’t know? a dank cave covered in glowing vines inside a kaleidoscope?
    Stuti recently posted…A Report on Anne StuartMy Profile

  8. says

    Awesome reviews Rashika! I love the sound of Amity and the creepiness, and you hit the nail on the head when you say it doesn’t need to have particularly good characters and whatnot, as long as you like the story. I’m disappointed about Of Monsters and Madness, I was expecting so much more from it. At least the thrills were good hey? Tabula Rasa sounds like it would be disappointing as well, especially if you were going in expecting a great concept explored, but it failed to deliver.

    Lovely reviews <3
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Indulgence Insider #7 – Big News: Jeann’s a Panelist!My Profile

  9. says

    Well, it’s not all bad! You didn’t outright hate any of these. Looks like the mysteries worked for you mostly even though Tabula Rasa lacked the details to make it stand out as a standalone. Sorry you didn’t fancy the romance :( It sucks when slow-burn turns into a.. well, not slow-burn after all :(
    Siiri recently posted…Review: Come Back to Me by Mila GrayMy Profile

  10. says

    Ouch! I’m quite happy that I didn’t download Of Monsters and Madness now. I mean it sounds really good, but boy that was bad. I guess instalove is something I can expect but love interest as interesting as a brick, c’mon! Who does that! But yeah. Sorry you had to go through that. Other two have been around for a while and I got to read some reviews for them so I knew they weren’t for me. Amazing reviews, hon ;)
    Tanja recently posted…The Seven Deadly Sins TagMy Profile

  11. says

    I haven’t read Amity but it sounds like a real horror novel which something I certainly don’t read much of YA. It’s not because I’m a scaredy cat…. okay I totally am :P I totally feel you on avoiding the horror genre altogether at times. However it does cause you to miss out things, and it sounds like Amity was something worth reading. Conner sounds frankly terrifying lol. Still, I totally understand what you mean about some characters in a story. Sometimes they don’t have to make you feel connected or even if you like them. If they can really make you feel than I think the author has done well. I certainly know that this one would give me all of the creepy and horror feels. I’m now very curious to see how Amity works- is it like the house is a living insidious evil entity? Cause I’m getting that vibe and it’s scary ahah

    The premise for Of Monsters and Madness definitely interests me. However your review has made me very leery. Just reading your reactions of it makes me feel very mehhh to the book. I think the only thing the main character would make me feel is exasperation. I wish that the entwining of Poe elements was enough to save the story, along with the mystery, however it appears that this wasn’t the case. And ugh >.< Of course insta love rears it's ugly head once again.

    I read this one! (: Also gave it 3 stars. It really did feel like a action movie to me and I read through it so quickly. I don't read a lot of action in YA so it was refreshing for me. However I feel like Tabula Rasa also fell prey to the negatives of action movies. Like you mentioned I feel like there was a lot that could have been expanded on, and some details were definitely glossed over. This certainly does become a issue when Tabula Rasa is a standalone- in a standalone you except a lot more explanations and such. Sarah was also a great main character though c: I loved both her and the love interest. The romance between them was a little off for me too. It was going so good until they exchanged the fateful 'I love you.' It seemed odd to me because the transition for them to become friends into a relationship took quite some time. To have them suddenly have them in the relationship and right away claim their love seemed a bit jarring.

    Awesome mini reviews girl <33

  12. says

    I don’t know how you managed to get through Amity, Rashika – that cover makes me quiver already. *shudders* BUT, it does sound really interesting! I’m not sure I’d be as brave to tackle such a scary horror novel though, I do prefer to be able to sleep at night haha.

    The other two books looked promising, so it sucks that they weren’t as well-rounded and amazing. Gah, insta-love in a horror novel?! WHYYY?!

    Wonderful mini reviews lovely xx
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