Review: Alienated by Melissa Landers

2 stars

Alienated cover (link to Goodreads)

So after reading Starflight, I rushed off to pick up Landers’s first book. Reviews said it wasn’t as good as Starflight, but I decided to give it a chance anyway. It was DUMB, y’all. Teenage drama galore. It was as if the whole book was written either in Valley Girl voice or Robotic Vulcan voice. I didn’t buy the romance, I didn’t care about the conflict, so much seemed manufactured, so much seemed like a caricature of real people or real emotions . . . I actually put the book down before finishing (about 85% of the way through, so I think far enough to rate it). That said, it’s an easy read, and teens might like the mix of romance and sf. It just wasn’t for me.

Review: Starflight by Melissa Landers

5 stars

Starflight cover (link to Goodreads)

Please don’t assume the 5 stars mean this is a deep or world-changing book. It’s totally not. It’s basically an enemies-to-lovers story between two teenagers who end up on the run from the authorities, joining up with a ragtag band of outlaws that felt very much like the crew of Serenity, and then going on an adventure that was constantly keeping me on the edge of my seat. I was shocked at how well the romance worked because I started off the book absolutely HATING the male protagonist. I actually had the thought, “She’d better not be turning this into a romance because I would never buy that [female protagonist] would get over how awful he is.” And then . . . it was done so deftly that I was totally rooting for the two of them by the end. 

Review: Followed by Frost by Charlie Holmberg

3 stars

Followed by Frost cover (link to Goodreads)

An annoyingly selfish rich young woman is cursed by a wizard after she rejects his advances (which irritated me because she had every right to) in a particularly selfish and cruel way (which, okay, she could have done it in a much more considerate manner). He curses her that she will be as cold as her heart and followed by death. At first I was not on board much because I didn’t buy that her heart was icy cold, even if she did seem childish and selfish. But I soon got caught up in the implications of the curse: she is always shiveringly cold, everywhere she stays for more than a few minutes starts to develop a snowstorm, and anyone who touches her will be injured by her cold. She’s run out of town, and she struggles to survive on her own in the mountains until she finds a better purpose for her life and her curse. Meanwhile, Death visits her from time to time, trying to entice her to “come with him.” And it was kinda cool, and I did like the eventual romance quite a bit, but it felt sort of uneven, sort of unconvincing at times. Definitely felt like a first novel.

Review: Doll Bones by Holly Black

3 stars

Doll Bones cover (link to Goodreads)

Three kids, who love roleplaying and acting out stories with action figures, have a bit of a falling out. One of the girls in the group claims this creepy antique doll her mom keeps in a cabinet has spoken to her, begging her to bury her in the cemetery a few towns away. It’s unclear for most of the book whether the girl is telling the truth (and this is truly a ghost story) or if she’s just making everything up to try to keep the group together, or a mixture of both. Anyway, the kids have adventures and misadventures before the end, and of course they make up. It dealt with some good, deep issues, but I felt like some aspects were kind of cliche or old-fashioned, which was odd for a book published in 2013. Also, the writing didn’t wow me in general.

Review: Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

3 stars

Wishtree cover (link to Goodreads)

After reading The One and Only Ivan and reading glowing reviews of this one, I couldn’t wait for the hold to come in. But I just didn’t like it very much, though there were things about it I really liked. The story was told from the perspective of an old tree that people hang wishes on each year. The tree becomes the canvas for a hateful message to a Muslim family that has moved into the neighborhood, and meanwhile, the owner of the property the tree stands on has decided to cut it down. The voice is dreamy and, I guess, tree-like, but mostly I found it irritating. It may have been a me thing. And the message was too overt for my tastes, though it was one I agreed with. Short and sweet, if you’re interested.