Monthly Archives: September 2016

ARC Review – Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel

28374370Title: Every Hidden Thing

Author: Kenneth Oppel

Rating:  ★★★

Synopsis: Somewhere in the Badlands, embedded deep in centuries-buried rock and sand, lies the skeleton of a massive dinosaur, larger than anything the late nineteenth-century world has ever seen. Some legends call it the Black Beauty, with its bones as black as ebony, but to seventeen-year-old Samuel Bolt, it’s the “rex,” the king dinosaur that could put him and his struggling, temperamental archaeologist father in the history books (and conveniently make his father forget he’s been kicked out of school), if they can just quarry it out.

But Samuel and his father aren’t the only ones after the rex. For Rachel Cartland this find could be her ticket to a different life, one where her loves of science and adventure aren’t just relegated to books and sitting rooms. And if she can’t prove herself on this expedition with her professor father, the only adventures she may have to look forward to are marriage or spinsterhood.

As their paths cross and the rivalry between their fathers becomes more intense, Samuel and Rachel are pushed closer together. Their flourishing romance is one that will never be allowed. And with both eyeing the same prize, it’s a romance that seems destined for failure. As their attraction deepens, danger looms on the other side of the hills, causing everyone’s secrets to come to light and forcing Samuel and Rachel to make a decision. Can they join forces to find their quarry, and with it a new life together, or will old enmities and prejudices keep them from both the rex and each other?

Sam’s Review:

Huge thank you to Harper Collins Canada for this ARC!

As a Canadian, I am insanely embarrassed to say that this is my first book by Kenneth Oppel. I work in a public library, and he is beloved by Canadian middle graders and teens and yet somehow I just never got around to reading his novels. That was until I was handed a copy of Every Hidden Thing, his latest YA release, and this is one of the rare cases where the book’s blurb is actually quite spot on.

This book is basically Romeo and Juliet, if it were in theIndiana Jones-verse. We have two star-crossed lover teens whose fathers are bitter rivals in the archaeology business. Convinced that their fathers are both jerks, the two begin to take comfort in each other and romance ensues. The pitch is PERFECT and I will say, Oppel knows how to weave together a story that borrows from so many different genres and make it work.

I will say though, I love Indiana Jones, but despise Romeo and Juliet, and yet this book worked in a lot of ways. I think the story beats were really well thought out, but the characters were definitely lacking for me and I struggled to get attached. I will say, I appreciated the way in which Oppel hands Sam and Rachel’s sexual encounter, as it’s very thoughtfully done, but it’s also very Romeo and Juliet-esque.

I think the main thing I struggled with was the method of how the story was told. Two different fonts work simultaneously through out the story, one representing Sam, and one Rachel. Sometimes I found their voices a bit too similar, and found I had to really pay attention to the font to ensure that I understood which character’s mind I was in. I wish the book had broken up the POVs in a way where it didn’t read so confusingly, and while I think some will like the style, it didn’t jive with me a lot of the time. I enjoyed the story though and that is what kept me going.

Every Hidden Thing is a very interesting read given the genre mashup that it is. While I wasn’t in love with this book, it did make me curious in wanting to check out some of Kenneth Oppel’s other works because there’s definitely a sense of uniqueness that felt undeniable.

 

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#ARC August Wrap Up!

ARC-August-2015

#ARCAugust is hosted by the amazing Octavia & Shelly @ Read. Sleep. Repeat! Thank you again ladies for running an awesome event!

Let’s see the results!

  • The Dog Who Dared to Dream by Hwang Sun-mi (September 6)
  • This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills (October 4)
  • The Infinity Year of Avalon James by Dana Middleton (October 11)
  • Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure by Ann M. Martin (September 6)
  • Girls Like Me by Lola St.Vil (October 4)
  • When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore (October 4)
  • Speed of Life by J.M Kelly (October 11)
  • Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova (September 6)
  • Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel (September 20)
  • The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
    by Adam Gidwitz (September 27)
  • Blood For Blood by Ryan Graudin (November 1)
  • Afterward by Jennifer Mathiu (September 20)
  • Write This Down by Claudia Mills (September 27, ebook)
  • The Swan Riders by Erin Bow (September 20)
  • Mark of the Plague by Kevin Sands (September 6)

Total Read:12/16

Well, my last week of #ARCAugust was a bit of a bust as I only finished Girls Like Me. I am super proud of myself for the number of books I managed to complete during the event, as well as the number of reviews I managed to write as well. I always find #ARCAugust to be a super motivating and positive event to participate in and it was no different this year. I only hope everyone else had a crazy awesome #ARCAugust and managed to get through a chunk of their ARC backlog. I still don’t feel like I made enough of a dent, but you know what? Can’t be hard on myself considering I see my results as quite the accomplishment.

Here’s hoping I have as much success in September!

ARC Review – The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor #1) by Katharine McGee

24921954Title:  The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor #1)

Author: Katharine McGee

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose. 
Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched. Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one? Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies. And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Huge thank you to the publisher for this ARC!

Molly’s Review:

I REALLY enjoyed this book. Way more than I had expected to. It is very “Gossip Girl”, but I think it also has a lot of the diversity that Gossip Girl is lacking. And a lot of the diversity isn’t IN YOUR FACE THIS BOOK IS DIVERSE but it’s a lot more quiet. And that’s something that isn’t being said. So I thought I should point it out.

I wasn’t really big on the multiple POV, but the voices were all so different that I wasn’t lost or confused at any point. And I really actually enjoyed the story from each one. I loved the futuristic aspects, and the idea of the Tower was cool (idk how practice it actually would be, but whatever scifi, whatever).

This was a unique twist on a typical contemporary YA. The writing was good, the characters were all fleshed out, and the writing was really well done. I’ve heard some things about this book that people didn’t like (like insest) but most of the things that I heard people didn’t like either didn’t bother me or wasn’t really THAT WAY. So I guess if you’ve heard some of those things just go into this book with an open mind.

I’m really glad that I gave this one a shot.

ARC Review – The Dark Talent (Alcatraz, #5) by Brandon Sanderson

26114421Title: The Dark Talent (Alcatraz, #5)

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Alcatraz Smedry has successfully defeated the army of Evil Librarians and saved the kingdom of Mokia. Too bad he managed to break the Smedry Talents in the process. Even worse, his father is trying to enact a scheme that could ruin the world, and his friend, Bastille, is in a coma. To revive her, Alcatraz must infiltrate the Highbrary–known as The Library of Congress to Hushlanders–the seat of Evil Librarian power. Without his Talent to draw upon, can Alcatraz figure out a way to save Bastille and defeat the Evil Librarians once and for all?

Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

I was dreading reading this book. Mostly because I didn’t think I’d ever actually get to read this book. This is a story of failure, cowardice and family, and it should be what one comes to expect when reading the Alcatraz series. I got to say, for the last book in the series, Sanderson really threw down his gauntlet and the amount of surprises? Well, they were plentiful.

There’s not a lot I can talk about with this book because it relies so heavily on the events of the previous books. The surprises in this story are many, and characters who didn’t receive growth in prior novels definitely got much more developed this time around. There’s always such a strong focus on family in this series, and this installment really truly reminds you if how fragile Alcatraz is in a lot of ways, and how his relationship with his parents isn’t the most solid of foundations. There was a good amount of twist and turns, though I will say the excessive footnoting started to grate on me at times.

Also the artwork in this novel? It’s pretty fantastic and I look forward to seeing how it looks in a finished copy, as a lot of what was in the ARC were mainly sketches. There’s a lot of movement and personality in the artwork and it really does a great job of highlighting what a fun and cheeky seriesAlcatraz is.

Of all of Sanderson’s series, Alcatraz has always been my favourite, and it’s a series that I think deserves more recognition than it actually receives. It’s fun, crazy, and just a heck of a ride, and this ending does a great job of coming full circle and showing why this series is such a great read. I definitely urge readers that if they haven’t checked out theAlcatraz series to do so, and I hope you’ll find the ending as satisfying as I did.