Top Ten Tuesday: Series I’ve Given Up On/Don’t Plan to Finish

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: Series I’ve Given Up On/Don’t Plan to Finish.

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1. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard. I read the first 9 books in this series before I just couldn’t take it anymore.

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2. The Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella. I read the first 6 books. I read it back before I started writing reviews, so I don’t remember what my thoughts on book #6 were, but I did only give it 1 star.

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3. Eve by Anna Carey. I remember liking the first book alright, but I was just never interested enough to pick up the next book in the series.

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4. Pure by Julianna Baggott. I remember being very excited for this series and I think this one of the first ebooks I ever bought, but it was another one I just was never inspired to read the sequel for.

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5. Partials Sequence by Dan Wells. I read the first two books in this series and kind of lost interest in it. Technically the last book is still on my TBR, but I highly doubt I’ll ever get to it.

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6. The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle. I was so excited for a genre mashup of Amish and vampires, but this just fell pretty short of my expectations. Still, I think I actually started the second book once, but couldn’t get into it.

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7. Starbound series by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. Like everyone else at the time, I was so excited for this series. I blame the stunning cover. It ended up being way too sci-fi for my tastes at the time and although I planned on picking up the second book, it just never happened.

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8. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. Another book I bought and later regretted. It seemed like I saw nothing but good things about this book and it did not live up to my expectations and I never bothered with the rest of the series. I actually just noticed there’s a 4th book in this series publishing next month.

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9. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. This didn’t come close to living up to the hype. I did like the ending, though, and planned on continuing the series, but after all the mixed reviews of the second book I kept putting it off and I really don’t think I’ll every pick it back up.

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10. Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh. I had such high expectations of this book and it just was not my cup of tea at all. This series fell so far off my radar that I didn’t even realize the second book was published until I came across a review recently (and it’s still the only review I’ve seen on it).

Have you read any of these series? Did you finish/are still reading, or have you given up on them, too?

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Most Disappointing Books of 2015 So Far

Stephanies Book Reviews Header

Since tomorrow’s Top Ten Tuesday is going to be focused on the top ten books I’ve read in 2015 so far, I thought today I’d focus on the most disappointing books. These aren’t going to necessarily be the lowest rated books (though most of them are), but also ones that I was looking forward to and felt let down by.

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Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. The cover is so intriguing. The reviews were glowing. This was probably my most anticipated read of the year and it was…blah. The pacing was slow, the characters were not well-developed, and I was just bored. The link leads to my spoiler filled review if you want more specifics, but this book was a big disappointment for me. The saving grace was the final action sequence and the ending was interesting enough that I MIGHT read the next book.

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. Another pretty cover that got my hopes up. I honestly can’t remember much about this book other than I was really looking forward to it and found it pretty boring. And forgettable, apparently.

Vendetta (Blood for Blood, #1)

Vendetta by Catherine Doyle. I’ve seen almost nothing but 4 or 5 star reviews on Vendetta and I just can’t understand it. This book was just absurd. It was unbelievable and over the top and the writing was kind of immature.

P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2)

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han. I really enjoyed the first book in this duology, but I found this one really underwhelming. I felt it tried to be too many things and because of that lacked focus. The pacing was choppy and the writing was uneven. I thought the whole thing felt like little kids trying to be grown-ups and it made a lot of the dialogue cringe-worthy to me.

Luckiest Girl Alive

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll. While the book got better as it went along, it was nowhere near as good as I wanted it to be. The main character was very unlikable and not in a fun “I love to hate her” kind of way. I’ve heard this referred to as “this year’s Gone Girl” and that is exactly why I hate book comparisons.

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The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister. Everything about this sounded like it would be the kind of book that’s perfect for me. But it wasn’t. I felt like I was supposed to be tricked along the way and shocked at the ending. However, I guessed the ending long before it was revealed and found much of the story leading up to it to be slow and drawn out. This was not the mind-bending surprise I was hoping for.

The Wrong Side of Right

The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne. Probably my most anticipated book after Red Queen and it ended up being just ok for me. I’ve seen pretty much nothing but perfect reviews on it, but a good deal of it really annoyed me. I pretty much hated the first quarter or so of it and then it slowly got better. The main character drove me nuts for much of the story, as well.

What about you? What books have you found most disappointing this year? Do you agree with any of my choices? Or did you love any of the ones that disappointed me?

Review: Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

Oh, Red Queen, I so wanted to like you. I could forgive you for the dystopian clichés (because, let’s be real, all dystopians are pretty cliché) and how predictable everything was. I could forgive you for the unlikable characters. Unfortunately, the most interesting part of the whole book is the cover.

Before I go to spoiler city, I will just say that I had to pretty much force myself to finish this book, which I only did because of some great reviews I read. It did get better towards the end, especially the well-described action sequence in the second-to-last chapter (I think it was second-to-last, might have been the last two chapters?), but it just did not make up for how bland the rest of the book the was. The pacing was slow, the characters were not well-developed, and I was just bored. I didn’t connect to the characters so I didn’t really care what happened to them either. I will say a lot of people seem to love it, so it might be worth a try, but if you try it and are struggling, I would suggest just forgetting about it.

***SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT***

I think I’m just going to list some of the more specific things that didn’t work for me.

-Mare’s best friend, Kilorn, came crying to her when he found out he would be sent to the war. She does everything she can (which isn’t much) to keep him from it, and eventually saves him after the royal family finds out what a special snowflake she is. But the first thing he does with his freedom is join the rebel army. He not only joins, he is immediately part of the inner-circle. If he was a stronger person I could overlook that, but he was too weak and scared about the idea of going to the war front, so I can’t buy him as a great rebel.

-There’s a very half-assed love square. A romance between Mare and Kilorn is vaguely hinted at, it’s more of a “what if” scenario if the world was different. I think their relationship would have benefited from being just a stronger friendship. Cal is the obvious love interest in the beginning – the one that realizes how special she is before anyone knows there’s anything special about her, but there’s not really any development with their relationship besides a couple of dances and longing looks. The story seems more caught up in trying to pull one over on the reader by focusing on Maven as the surprise hero and love interest. I could almost get on board this ship, but Mare swings back and forth so much about which brother she likes more that I couldn’t really root for either of them. Eventually she tells Maven she’s choosing no one, so that was a nice change of pace. However, her circumstances has thrown her together with Cal, and all of her following actions make it seem like Cal is the answer.

-When I was trying to decide to keep reading or not, I read some reviews. I came across one that was not marked as being spoilery and it mentioned something about how surprising the big betrayal was. I wasn’t far into the book at this point, but I was far enough to realize that the only betrayal that could hold any sort of emotional impact would be from Maven. I didn’t really trust Maven in the first place, but I might not have been expecting his turn around if I hadn’t read that first. So, unfortunately, I spent the whole book waiting to see Maven turn against Mare.

-Obviously Shade wasn’t killed. No one should be surprised when he shows up in the Epilogue.

-Overall the pacing of the story was just slow. I was really bored most of the time. The character development for everyone besides Mare was pretty poor, and while she was more developed her character didn’t really grow at all. I found myself not really caring about what happened to any of them. As I mentioned earlier, there was a really well-written action sequence towards the end and that was the only time I really got into the story. If the whole book would’ve been written that well, I would be able to recommend this. I might read the next book, just because the ending was more interesting, but I’m not sure.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2 Stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Debut Novels For 2015

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Most Anticipated Debut Novels For 2015. I feel like this was just done recently? I also don’t have a lot of “debuts” on my TBR list. So instead I’m going with a list of the First Ten Most Anticipated Books of 2015. These are books on my TBR in the order they are published in 2015.

The Magician's Lie

1. The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister. 1/13/15. The comparison to The Night Circus is the biggest reason I want to read this.

First Frost

2. First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen. 1/20/15. I won a copy of this from Good Reads – my first ever giveaway win from them! I read Garden Spells to prepare for it and loved it and am now anxiously awaiting for my copy to arrive!

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #0.1)

3. Fairest by Marissa Meyer. 1/27/15. Do I really need to explain why I want this?

Unbecoming

4. Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm. 1/27/15. I think I entered a giveaway somewhere for this one? It’s a psychological thriller “for fans of Gillian Flynn”, so I have high hopes for it.

The Mime Order (The Bone Season, #2)

5. The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon. 1/27/15. I’ve actually already read this one and it was very good! Read it!

Invaded (Alienated, #2)

6. Invaded by Melissa Landers. 2/3/15. I wasn’t as impressed with Alienated as I wanted to be, but I still want to give it’s sequel a shot.

Sabotaged (Alaskan Courage #5)

7. Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey. 2/3/15. I’m actually reading an arc of this right now and am enjoying it! Love the McKenna family!

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

8. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. 2/10/15. The early reviews I’ve read of this have been great so far and I’m so excited to read it!

The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, #6)

9. The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead. 2/10/15. The conclusion to the Bloodlines series! I need to know what happens with Sydney and Adrian!

The Return (Titan, #1)

10. The Return by Jennifer Armentrout. 2/17/15. Seth’s spin-off!!!!

What 2015 books are you looking forward to?