07 June, 2017

{ Mini Reviews } Disappointing Reads

Hello friends! Bringing you four mini reviews today for several books that have been disappointing for me, alas.

These are all ARCs and include: The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich, True North by L.E. Sterling, Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta, and The Things They've Taken by Katie McElhenney.


The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
Standalone Novel
Published May 16, 2017 by Feiwel & Friends
e-ARC provided by Netgalley
There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: the boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: the brooding, dark-souled guy who is dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose the Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be—whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.


I had such, such high hopes for this book. The synopsis was basically everything I wanted from a book. So the fact that it was disappointing was a terrible reality.

This is a book where the concept was good but the execution was poor. Most of this was due to the writing and the characterisation. It was just... not good. Writing isn't always the most important thing to be, but if it's not enjoyable, then it makes it twice as hard to get into the book or like it.

The writing was... childish? At best. There were a lot of parts that made me cringe—I'm not exaggerating. I had to put down the book at several points because of something the character said or because of where the story was headed. It was just so, so bad... There's not other word I can think of that explains it so blatantly. I don't even care that some parts were undeveloped or anything—I have a feeling that if they were, it would have just made it worse. 

I've read several reviews where they thought the point of this book was to be a giant satire. Which, I think, is true? But even so, that would be a play on tropes; it doesn't excuse, uh, bad writing.

Anyway, the characters. Look, they're all teenagers. None of them a) probably look like teenagers—the Compound makes every Love Interest suuuuuper hot—and b) none of them sound like teenagers. Not only do their actions confuse me at times, but the way they talked, oh dear god. It was in large paragraphs, declaring either their love or their thoughts, which just confused me the hell out of me. Not to mention, they were all so boring. Caden hardly felt like he had a personality, Dyl (what kind of a nickname) was SUCH a bad "bad boy" (god half the things he said made me cringe), and the girl they were supposed to seduce, whose name I forgot, had so much potential but ended up being flat and dull, along with the other side characters.

I won't mention the ending because a) I don't want to and b) it made absolutely no sense.

So! All of that being said, this book is not worth it, which is so heartbreaking. I'd love to see this concept again, but maybe without... everything this was. 1.5 stars.


True North by L.E. Sterling
True Born Trilogy, book 2
Published April 4, 2017 by Entangled: Teen
e-ARC provided by Netgalley
Add it on GoodReads!

Abandoned by her family in Plague-ridden Dominion City, eighteen-year-old Lucy Fox has no choice but to rely upon the kindness of the True Borns, a renegade group of genetically enhanced humans, to save her twin sister, Margot. But Nolan Storm, their mysterious leader, has his own agenda. When Storm backtracks on his promise to rescue Margot, Lucy takes her fate into her own hands and sets off for Russia with her True Born bodyguard and maybe-something-more, the lethal yet beautiful Jared Price. In Russia, there's been whispered rumors of Plague Cure.

While Lucy fights her magnetic attraction to Jared, anxious that his loyalty to Storm will hurt her chances of finding her sister, they quickly discover that not all is as it appears…and discovering the secrets contained in the Fox sisters' blood before they wind up dead is just the beginning.

As they say in Dominion, sometimes it’s not you…it’s your DNA.


I know I'm calling this post disappointing reads, but for this book, it's actually very inaccurate. For something to be disappointing, you would need to have expectations. I didn't have any sort of expectations for this book—I hate the first one, and I hated this one even more. (So why read it, Mith? Because I apparently like causing myself pain.)

Let me start with Lucy, who is an absolute IDIOT. God, I wanted to like her, but she is so stupid. And it's always the fault of one jackass: Jared Price. His name alone makes me want to sigh for a million years in utter disappointment and thinly veiled anger. This was my issue with book one—Lucy's obsession with Jared. 

Look, Jared isn't a nice guy. He's not even one of those cliché bad boys. He's just an asshole. 110% asshole who is also obsessive and cruel and sort of abusive? The entire romance in this series is fucking toxic and unhealthy and yet it continued to force itself on me. 

Lucy would have been such an amazing character if she washed her hands of Jared in True Born but if anything, she gets worse with her crush. It's a lot of push and pull and it's pathetic. The guy pushes her worst buttons and acts like a prick yet she's so?? "In love" with him?? I don't get it.

Anyway, in other news: nothing happens. For about half the damn book, maybe even more, absolutely nothing happens. You cannot fool me with pretty writing, no, I can see right through it all. Even with the introduction of a new character, who I hoped would have created a love triangle, because that would have actually made this mess of a book better, was sidelined so a lot more of nothing and bad angst could take its place.

Will I read the last book? I hate myself, but probably! I've suffered from the first two, might as well go big.

Overall, screw this book no stars. 


Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta
Standalone Novel
Published March 14, 2017 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
e-ARC provided by Netgalley
A girl discovers a family secret and a past full of magic that could both save her and put her in mortal danger in this suspenseful novel that’s perfect for fans of Katie Alender and Natasha Preston.

All sixteen-year-old Heather MacNair wants is to feel normal, to shed the intense paranoia she’s worn all year like a scratchy sweater. After her compulsion to self-harm came to light, Heather was kept under her doctor’s watchful eye. Her family thinks she’s better—and there’s nothing she wants more than for that to be true. She still can’t believe she’s allowed to spend her summer vacation as she always does: at her aunt’s home in Scotland, where she has lots of happy memories. Far away from all her problems save one: she can’t stop carving the Celtic knot that haunts her dreams into her skin.

Good friends and boys with Scottish accents can cure almost anything…except nightmares. Heather can’t stop dreaming about two sisters from centuries ago, twins Prudence and Primrose, who somehow seem tied to her own life. Their presence lurks just beneath the surface of her consciousness, sending ripples through what should be a peaceful summer. The twins might hold the key to putting Heather’s soul at rest…or they could slice her future deeper than any knife.


Please, please, please do not read this book if you are triggered by self harm. I cannot stress this enough.

First things first: most of the characters were boring. They absolutely had no life to them. I didn't care about the main character, her friends, or her love interest. Everything was so dull.

Second: the magic absolutely made no sense. And it didn't even feel magical. Just some bad ideas and curses and small spells. 

Third: it's told in alternating points of view—present day MC, ye olden days of bloodthirsty sisters. It was annoying, confusing, and I cared about none of the sisters or whatever they were getting themselves into. 

Fourth: self harm. A lot of it, told in detail. I'm not a person that's easily squeamish (save for horror movies) but this made me super uncomfortable, especially considering the fact that the main character did it often and on purpose. 

Fifth: anti-climactic ending. 

Overall, nope nope nope. I highly suggest not reading this. .5 stars.


The Things They've Taken by Katie McElhenney
Standalone Novel
Published May 1, 2017 by Entangled: Teen
e-ARC provided by the publisher
All Lo Campbell wants is to be a normal teenager—to go to one high school, live in one place, and have one real friend. Instead, she travels the country with her mother, chasing the unknown, the what else that’s out there...

Until one day, the what else chases back.

Determined to rescue her mom from whatever supernatural being took her, Lo will need more help than a badly dressed demon obsessed with country music. She’s going to need a Tracker—and lucky for her, she finds one. Shaw is strong, good-looking, possibly available, and utterly infuriating. Sure, he may have secrets, and his help costs more than a brand-new car, but she’ll have to deal with him if she wants to find her mother—and get her home alive.

♫ ♫ ♪

This book had so much potential. I was actually enjoying the first 30%-ish of this book. I thought the main character had a fun voice, whose snarky remarks were similar to my own, was actually funny.

And then there came the romance. Oh, boy, was it a downfall.

The best way I can explain this book is Shadowhunter-lite. If you like Clare's books, this might appeal to you, especially if you liked the demons and other supernatural creatures. This book has several of those sprinkled throughout it and it definitely made the book fun to read.

Thing is, I think the author tried too hard with the romance. It was clear it was going to happen, but not only did McElhenney make it happen too soon, she also made it happen for no reason other than the fact that it should. If that makes sense? Because it went a little like this: Lo meets tracker. Tracker is a jerk. Lo likes tracker. 

Done deal.

And so, the book went doooownhill. It was embarrassing moment after embarrassing moment after that. Little interactions that kept adding up even though Lo being hella into this guy seemed uncharacteristic of her. I mean, she was so ready to do whatever she could to save her mother but now it's heart eyes at Shaw. 

Um? No thanks.

Worst part is that the romance is the only thing that made me dislike the book so much. The other aspects—side characters, overall plot, writing—they were done well enough for me to enjoy. But the romance had so many clichés and overtook everything else. Shaw wasn't even a guy worth liking, if you ask me. (AKA, what a priiiick.)

Anyway, the book didn't end like a standalone should have so I'm preeeetty sure this is going to be a series, so I'll check out the sequel. Overall rating: 2.5 stars.

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