Review to Rant: Dividing Eden By Joelle Charbonneau

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Dividing Eden

Joelle Charbonneau

Rate: 2.5

Synopsis

Due to a series of unfortunate events, twins Carys and Andreus are next in line for the throne. However, only one can rule Eden and they can’t play rock, paper, scissors for the throne. The council of elders is trying to usurp the throne and crown their own king, but a little known clause in the Book of Knowledge gives Carys and Andreus one more chance at obtaining the throne, competing and winning the Trials of Succession. The trials aren’t easy and they definitely aren’t fair, but whoever can win the most events will be crowned the next king or queen of Eden.

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The Downside of Rereading: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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Heartless

Marissa Meyer

Rate: 3

Synopsis

Heartless is Meyer’s take on the Queen of Hearts’ origin story. She imagines that the Queen wasn’t always evil; that in the beginning Catherine, the Queen, was just a girl who fell in love… And then had her heart broken.

Note

This review is based on my reread of Heartless. My first review can be found here.

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Three Dark Crowns By Kendare Blake

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Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1)

Kendra Blake

Rate: 2

Synopsis 

Every generation a set of all girl triplets are born to the current queen of Fennbirn Island. However, only one of the daughters can be queen. Therefore, after their sixth birthday, the girls are dispatched to different regions of the island based on their mystical abilities – elemental, naturalist, poisoner – where they are raised and groomed to ascend the throne, which includes killing her sisters. 

Preface 

I read Three Dark Crowns as an audiobook. Unlike Shatter Me, narration did not help me like this book. If anything, it made the experience worst and I had to focus more on the details than the narration to make it through the first few chapters. 

Review 

Overall 

Three Dark Crowns is more like a filler second book in a trilogy or a prequel that’s released after a series becomes popular than the beginning of a series. The story isn’t engaging. The interesting parts aren’t the three protagonists – who feel more like secondary characters but the people trying to manipulate them.

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Shatter Me By Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me Book Cover

Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1)

Tahereh Mafi

Rate: 3

Synopsis

Imagine a dystopian world where governments are too busy squabbling over laws and treaties to notice that fatal diseases are thriving and the Earth (plants, animals, etc.) is dying from climate change. A group calling itself The Reestablishment (think: the commanders from The Handmaid’s Tale but on a global scale) decides to “intervene.” They claim that if society reorganizes itself into regions, rations its resources, and cast away the weak/useless civilians (orphans, elderly, disabled, and sick individuals), the Earth will begin to heal itself.

Thanks to The Reestablishment’s restructuring, Juliette (the protagonist) is sent to an asylum because of her special ability to inflict pain using touch. She left at the asylum in solitary confinement until Warner, one of the regional commanders (villain), decides he has use for her. From there, Juliette must decide if she’s going to allow herself to be used or become useful to society (neither, she runs away).

Preface

I have to preface this review by stating that I read Shatter Me via audiobook. I don’t know if Shatter Me would have lost more stars or been a DNF if I’d had to read through all the strikethroughs and repetitive phrases. Thanks to Kate Simses’s narration, Shatter Me felt more like a performance than a book. Strikethroughs were Juliette rewording her thoughts or simply disregarding them because she wasn’t ready to confront the idea. Repetitive phrases were Juliette being emotionally overwhelmed whether that was confusion or panic or lust. The narration made the story more entertaining and easier to get through.

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Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet

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Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet

Jennifer L. Armentrout, Dhonielle Clayton, Katie Cotugno, et al

Rate: DNF

Meet Cute is a collection of short stories about how two people who will later engage in a romantic relationship meet for the first time. These stories are supposed to be cute, charming, and/or amusing. Think of a rom-com where Person A meets Person B in a cute way at a coffee shop or somewhere similar. It’s not the type of rom-com where two people have known each other for a while and their relationship evolves from associates/friends to romantic partners.

Meet Cute is a DNF for me because while the premise was interesting, the execution left me wanting. Of the stories I read, some were better than others, but overall the stories and their positioning in the collection didn’t always leave me in a position where I wanted to read the next tale. Honestly, it took me way too long to get through the stories I did read because they were boring, and I’d get distracted.

The following is a commentary on the short stories I read in Meet Cute:

“Print Shop” by Nina Lacour

This story bothered me because of the bit of cyberstalking in it. Evie was already crushing on Lauren based on what she saw on social media. I didn’t find the encounter cute at all. I would have enjoyed the story more if Evie and Lauren had communicated online and then Evie realized she was attracted to Lauren when they met in person, but Evie had an advantage because she knew more about Lauren from her social media profile; Lauren didn’t have that opportunity since Evie was communicating via the print shop’s social account.

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Review to Rant: 36 Questions that Changed My Mind about You

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36 Questions that Changed My Mind about You

Vicki Grant

Rate: 3

Review

36 Questions that Changed My Mind about You is a cute story. It’s nothing to be taken seriously or to be analyzed deeply. It’s a mindless read, or if you’re like me, a mindless listen. It’s best to read 36 Questions if you’re in a rut or just finished a serious series and want something lighthearted.

As mentioned in the book, this story is based on The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness by Arthur Aron, which is why the best part of the story is when Hildy (Betty) and Paul (Bob) are answering the questions. If it wasn’t for the banter between these two characters, 36 Questions would be a waste of time. You can tell that Grant tries to make the book a fleshed out story by adding a problem (rom-com style) and adding side drama to Hildy’s life. However, these aspects fall flat and drag the story on since you can tell that it wasn’t Grant’s central focus.

All in all, 36 Questions is decent given the cliche romance. You have the wounded nice guy with the outward jerk persona fall for the clumsy, privileged girl who thinks any little problem means her world is ending. Stay for the banter, leave if you want depth.

Rant

Why are protagonists rarely given more than two friends in a story? Is it because developing a third perspective is too difficult? Maybe it’s because having a third perspective sets a majority when it comes to a two-sided problem and that means less inner dialogue for the protagonist. But maybe that’s not a bad thing. It would be interesting for a change to have a protagonist and their friends decide yes, pursue the love interest, or no, don’t do it, instead of there being a split decision, which means at least one chapter dedicated to the protagonist going back and forth between the two options before making a decision.  Sometimes I can forgo the drivel.

Also, why do friends have to be a ragtag bunch? I’m not saying they aren’t possible, but they’re not common. Like how, exactly, did these people become friends? They may have things in common, but not enough for long lasting friendships. And why are they mean or uncaring at times? I understand getting on a friend’s nerve every once in awhile, but book friends don’t seem to enjoy helping the protagonist through their problem, as if the problem is inconveniencing them. I demand better book friends and more book friends because I want a better narrative.

Review to Rant: The Selection (Book 1 and 2)

The Selection (The Selection #1)

Rate: 4

The Elite (The Selection #2)

Rate: 3

Kiera Cass

Series rating average (thus far): 3.5

TLDR: This isn’t a review, it’s a rant. I’m disappointed at my time wasted reading The Elite. Continue at your own risk.

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Two books and Maxon still hasn’t picked a wife, obviously this series is being dragged on. The only reason I picked up The Elite was because The Selection left me anxious about what would happen next. I figured things would work out in one of two ways:

  1. Cass would go the romantic route and Maxon and America would fall in love, thus America would win the selection.
  2. Cass would go the dystopian heroine route and America would manipulate the system so she’d win and work with the rebels (probably the Northerners) to dismantle the caste system.

However, I should’ve known things wouldn’t’ve been that simple since there are a billion more books to go in this series (there are only 3 more full books and a handful of novellas, but I’m annoyed so hyperbole), but I had hope.

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My dislike stems from the fact that The Elite continues with none of the interesting qualities of The Selection. Mostly, the whole selection process is putting on the back burner while America flips back and forth over whether to go home or stay at the palace. And ultimately, she doesn’t make a decision, Maxon does. She doesn’t fight to stay or refuse to go, she allows Maxon to persuade her into staying. Actually, Maxon lies to keep her around and she stays because, well what we’re supposed to believe is “hope”, but really it’s how else are we gonna find out who won if she leaves? (An epilogue that’s how) Plus, it gives Cass an opportunity to write a whole other book, which is great for the fans and the publisher.

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I’ll probably read The One just because I’m a curious cat and what doesn’t kill me just wastes my time, right? Ugh, I’m reluctant to say the least, but also so, so curious about how much worse it could get.

Big Mushy Happy Lump By Sarah Andersen

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Big Mushy Happy Lump (Sarah’s Scribbles #2)

Sarah Andersen

Rate: 3

Big Mushy Happy Lump wasn’t as funny as Andersen’s first book Adulthood Is a Myth. Most of the comics in the beginning seemed forced, as if Andersen created this second collection because the first was a hit and not because she was trying to get a point across. The comics get better in the end though when Andersen begins to tell longer stories using the comics instead of one-off jokes. The following are my three favorite comics from Big Mushy Happy Lump:

Number 1 Hype Team

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Shopping Anywhere But the Clearance Rack

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Admiring the Male Physique

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