Reviewing the Unreviewed: February 2015

 

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

The Secret of Pembrooke Park

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen. Read February 8-12. 3 stars.

This book was a little unnecessarily long at times, but overall I enjoyed it. I liked the characters and thought they were well developed. The mystery was pretty well done, too. While there was one part of it I guessed basically right away, and another I guessed fairly early on, there were other parts that I didn’t and I enjoyed the surprise. Even though her previous book was not really to my liking, this book once again reinforces my opinion that Klassen is one of the best authors in this particular genre.

Arranged

Arranged by Catherine McKenzie. Read February 18-20. 3 stars.

This book had a unique premise that intrigued me, but didn’t blow me away. I found the Blythe & Company process interesting, though a bit outlandish. I thought they were going to end up being something a little more sinister than they were and was a little disappointed that they weren’t.

I liked all the references to Anne of Green Gables.

I didn’t always care for the main character. She was shallow and annoying most of the time, but as the book went on she really grew as a person and I enjoyed that.

The twist in Anne and Jack’s relationship wasn’t what I was expecting, but I thought it was good. My biggest complaint, though, is that I was hoping for the end to be a little less predictable.

The Girl Who Kissed a Lie (Otherworld #0.5)

The Girl who Kissed a Lie by Skylar Dorset. Read February 25. 2 stars.

There were some humorous moments with the aunts and Ben, but there really wasn’t anything that happened in this book. Perhaps if you read it before you read the first book in the series, you might find it more interesting, but I don’t think it will make you understand the first book any better. But it was a quick read and was good to get reacquainted with the series before I read book 2.

The Boy with the Hidden Name (Otherworld, #2)

The Boy with the Hidden Name by Skylar Dorset. Read February 25-26. 3 stars.

I debated between 2 and 3 stars for this one, but since it did ultimately entertain me, I went with 3. The story, as in the first book, is confusing. There were often times I didn’t understand what was going on. But I found most of the dialogue humorous. If you plan to read this series, I would recommend doing it all at once so it may be less confusing.

The Beautiful Daughters

The Beautiful Daughters by Nicole Baart. Read February 22-25. 4 stars.

I read this book in February, but my full review will post in April since this is an ARC and I wanted to post closer to the release date.

I’ve never read anything by Nicole Baart before, but I think I’ll definitely be giving her other books a try after reading The Beautiful Daughters. Her writing was beautiful, even when it was heartbreaking. I was drawn in, straight from the Prologue.

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BACK ON THE TBR SHELF

Breaking the Rules (Pushing the Limits, #1.5)

Breaking The Rules by Katie McGarry. I waited a long time for this to be available at the library, but once it finally came I couldn’t get into it. It seemed like just a bunch of re-hashing of their first book and I got bored pretty quickly. I may give it another go some time, though.

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DNF

Seeker (Seeker, #1)

Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton. I got this from NetGalley and just could not finish it. I was so confused the whole time and I didn’t really care about any of the characters.

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RE-READ

Illusions of Fate

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White. I enjoyed this just as much the second time around!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels I Can’t Wait To Get

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Sequels I Can’t Wait To Get. I thought this would be the easiest top ten list ever for me to do, but going through my TBR list, a lot of my favorite series finished this year or last year. However, there are still plenty of sequels to look forward to!

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5)

1. Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles 3.5) by Marissa Meyer. January 27, 2015.

The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, #6)

2. The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines #6) by Richelle Meade. February 10, 2015.

3. P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2) by Jenny Han. (No cover yet!!) April 21, 2015.

4. The Bone Season #3 by Samantha Shannon – No cover, title, or release day yet! But I recently just finished The Mime Order and I’m dyyyying for the next one!

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)

5. Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Boys #3) by Maggie Stiefvater. October 21, 2014. This is already out, but I still haven’t read it yet!

The Boy with the Hidden Name (Otherworld, #2)

6. The Boy with the Hidden Name (Otherworld #2) by Skylar Dorset. December 2, 2014.

Invaded (Alienated, #2)

7. Invaded (Alienated #2) by Melissa Landers. February 3, 2015.

8. The Boy Most Likely To (My Life Next Door #2) by Huntley Fitpatrick. No cover or release date yet!

9. After the Storm (Kate Burkholder #7) by Linda Castillo. No cover yet! July 14, 2015.

Sabotaged (Alaskan Courage #5)

10. Sabotaged (Alaskan Courage #5) by Dani Pettrey. February 3, 2015.

What sequels are you looking forward to?

Review: The Girl Who Never Was (Otherworld #1) by Skylar Dorset

The Girl Who Never Was (Otherworld, #1)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS is the story of Selkie Stewart, who thinks she’s a totally normal teenager growing up in Boston. Sure, her father is in an insane asylum, her mother left her on his doorstep—literally—when she was a baby, and she’s being raised by two ancient aunts who spend their time hunting gnomes in their Beacon Hill townhouse. But other than that her life is totally normal! She’s got an adventurous best friend who’s always got her back and an unrequited crush on an older boy named Ben. Just like any other teenager, right?

When Selkie goes in search of the mother she’s never known, she gets more than she bargained for. It turns out that her mother is faerie royalty, which would make Selkie a faerie princess—except for the part where her father is an ogre, which makes her only half of anything. Even more confusing, there’s a prophecy that Selkie is going to destroy the tyrannical Seelie Court, which is why her mother actually wants to kill her. Selkie has been kept hidden all her life by her adoring aunts, with the help of a Salem wizard named Will. And Ben. Because the boy she thinks she’s in love with turns out to be a faerie whose enchantment has kept her alive, but also kept her in the dark about her own life.

Now, with enchantments dissolved and prophecies swinging into action, Selkie finds herself on a series of mad quests to save the people she’s always loved and a life she’s learning to love. But in a supernatural world of increasingly complex alliances and distressingly complicated deceptions, it’s so hard to know who to trust. Does her mother really wish to kill her? Would Will sacrifice her for the sake of the prophecy? And does Ben really love her or is it all an elaborate ruse? In order to survive, Selkie realizes that the key is learning—and accepting—who she really is.

For the most part I felt this book toed the line between being cleverly amusing and a hot mess. I think it depends on the author’s intent.

The story is told in Selkie’s 1st person POV. Selkie has recently discovered she’s half ogre, half faerie royalty, and 100% confused. As Selkie’s aunts, protector, and wizard extraordinaire try to explain her life and the differences between Thisworld and Otherworld, Selkie’s head is spinning. Nothing makes sense. Is her whole life an enchanted false reality? If Dorset is trying to really connect the reader with Selkie, then this works. Selkie’s head is spinning. My head is spinning. Selkie doesn’t really know what’s going on. I don’t really know what’s going on. Connection established. However, if any of this is supposed to make coherent sense? – hot mess.

That said, some things did get a little clearer as the book went on. Some of the repeating elements, like time taking forever, or a minute, helps to establish some of the Otherworld concepts.

What really made this book for me was Ben. Benedict Le Faye is a special faerie who has been protecting Selkie her whole life, without her knowledge. She knows him casually, from hanging out in the Commons outside her house, and believes herself in love with him. Ben might be in love with her, too, but you can never really trust a faerie. Ben’s dialogue is what I really found amusing. He reminded me a lot of Jackaby, talking like an insane person who really isn’t insane, but just sounds like it to Selkie. He takes for granted that she should be as knowledgeable as he is and is baffled when she doesn’t understand him.

The rest of the characters – Aunt True, Aunt Virtue, Will the wizard, Selkie’s father, and best friend Kelsey, could have all been a little more developed. While the conversations with the aunts and Will were almost as amusing as Ben, we really don’t get much information on any of them. I’m sort of ambivalent about Kelsey. She didn’t really do anything to make me really like her, or really dislike her. I’m hoping they will all be more developed in the next book.

Overall, I did enjoy The Girl Who Never Was. I don’t think it would be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like faeries and ogres, amusing dialogue, and being slightly confused, but entertained, this book is for you. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, out in December.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 3
Characters: 3
Readability: 3
Enjoyability: 3.75
Overall Rating: 3.18 stars