My First Bad Review

So, if you guys have gotten a chance to look at my last post, you will see that it is a bad review for a book. I have to admit, I felt a little bit like a jerk writing it… like bloggers’ guilt or something. I feel like I was justified in giving it the review that I gave it (you can read it and be the judge), but I don’t know if you guys will see it that way. I suppose I feel especially bad about it because of the awesome reviews I have been giving some of the other books I have read recently. But, I think that is part of what made me give it such a bad review- the other books that I have been reading are so much better than that one. I wonder if I would have given it a better review if I had read it before the Hex Hall books or the Heroes of Olympus books. I may have put Need under a little less scrutiny. Who knows!?

Do any of my fellow book bloggers out there feel guilty after a bad review? Do you write more good reviews or bad reviews? Have you ever experienced this bloggers’ guilt?

Review: Need (Need, #1)

Title: Need
Author:
Carrie Jones
Publisher:
Bloomsbury
Date Read:
January 31- February 1, 2013

Pain shoots through my head.

Fireworks. Explosions. All inside my brain.

The white world goes dark and I know what’s about to happen.

Zara White suspects a freaky guy is sem-stalking her. She memorizes phobias and chants them when she’s nervous. And, okay, she hasn’t exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But moving to a shivery Maine town to stay with her grandmother is supposed to be the perfect fix– so her mom says.Except, this new plan of getting away to help Zara stays sane? Yeah, not working. Turns out the semi-stalker is not a figment of Zara’s imagination. He’s still following her, leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There’s something not right– not human– in this sleepy Maine town, and all the signs are pointing to Zara.

 

Characters: Zara- Alright, Zara is a little strange. She is a pacifist that is very active with Amnesty International, and that is great. However, Zara is only 16 (or 17?). I guess it’s plausible in the story, but I guess it didn’t really seem all that real. Anyway, Zara is an interesting character, and I spent most of the book deciding whether or not I liked her or not. I suppose I am still undecided. She is a little withdrawn, but at other points she is a little too outgoing. Does that make sense? Her character just doesn’t seem super cohesive to me. I suppose you will have to be your own judge! She has love interests, but then she decides she is absolutely not interested. I know that most teenagers go back and forth like that, but Zara just seems so wishy-washy.

Nick- Nick is the resident bad boy in the book… or is he. He is your typical strong silent type, and he doesn’t really break any character molds. He is interesting enough I suppose, but he is a little boring, especially toward the end. For me, he pretty much seemed to serve as the vehicle for the story, you can sort of see how the story is going to progress if you pay attention to his characters. It’s sort of like watching a movie– when the scary music comes on, scary things are about to happen. Nick = scary music.

Devyn- I wouldn’t really consider Devyn a major character in this book (he is almost non-existent toward the end), but I feel like he might be important in the rest of the series. He is one of Zara’s first friends at her new school in Maine, and he is in a wheelchair. Have fun figuring out how, though! I swear it took a million years to get around to that tiny detail. Otherwise, he seems like a nice, albeit semi-unimportant, guy.

Issie- Just like Devyn, I don’t know if I would consider Issie a major character, but she plays a little bit more of a role than Devyn does. I think her rise in importance is mostly because she is the very first friend that Zara makes, and helps her sort her thoughts when things start heading to Crazytown.

Grandma Betty- Ahhhh, Grandma Betty. One of the strangest things about this book (for me) revolves around Betty, but I will get to that later. Betty is a grandma that seems more like a crazy aunt than a grandma. I guess I might be a little biased because my grandma is awesome, but I don’t feel that grandma is very grandmother-y. She is a little man-ish, and seems really weird. However, some of her weirdness is explained near the middle/end of the novel.

Conflict: Pixies. Not faeries, but pixies. All I can think of when I hear/see “pixie” is of the scene in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets where Gilderoy Lockhart looses all of those demon flies during his Defense Against the Dark Arts class. Turns out, I wasn’t that far off. Pixies are mean! Mean and creepy! But, I guess if they were adorable and loving we wouldn’t have too much of a story here, now would we. The pixies are creepy and seem to be taking a liking to Zara. I suppose you will have to read the book to know more… I would tell you, but I am trying so hard not to put any spoilers in my reviews.

Things I Liked: I liked that it was about pixies. Most of the supernatural being literature floating around today revolves around the majors, like vampires and werewolves, so it was nice to read something a little different. I liked the loyalty of the characters to one another. Usually there is a backstabber in there somewhere, but this book pretty much just put in your mean girl and called it a day. Honestly, that is pretty much the extent of what I liked about the book…

Things I Didn’t Like: Let’s see… I didn’t like that all/most of the characters seemed pretty cookie-cutter. I know that this book was written a few years ago, but that doesn’t mean that being typical is okay. Also, Grandma Betty’s last name is White. That makes her Betty White… say what?! I love Betty White, and someone pointed out to me that Jones may have just wanted to pay a little tribute to the real Betty White, but shouldn’t there be a little of the zesty old lady in the character then? I don’t really see it in grandma over here. The book was a little difficult to get into, as well. Just a little slow is all. The dialogue is a little strange, and seems a little clipped sometimes. One of the things that really bothered me was the writing in the transition scenes. Writers are supposed to show rather than tell. This normally isn’t so much of a problem, but there were just little things that really threw me off. For example, if you a character goes to an office to get a note from the secretary, you should probably include little things like “As the secretary wrote the note” or “She took the note from the secretary before turning to leave the office” before the character actually leaves the office. I don’t know if my description seemed a little convoluted, but I don’t know how well I can really describe my issue here. The last thing I didn’t like was the overuse of phobias. In the beginning I was like “this is interesting,” but then I moved to “this is ridiculous.” Eventually, I liked it, but only when they were primarily used as chapter names instead of being mentioned over and over again within the actual text. The use of the names of phobias for chapter names was actually very interesting, I always like to sort of guess what is going to happen in the coming chapter, and this was a nice way to facilitate that.

Overall: Well, I can’t say that I loved it. I also can’t say that I am very interested in reading the next book in the series. I suppose that I would pick it up if I saw it and my to-read stack was getting a little low, but I don’t plan on rushing out to a book store or putting it on my Amazon wishlist. All in all, the book is a little slow, and the characters have really incohesive personalities. The story was interesting, but not so much as to propel the plot forward.

Rating: 2 stars

Update!

Hi guys!

I know that I haven’t uploaded a review in the past couple days, but I guess I have been spending all of my time reading! Haha. I just finished Need by Carrie Jones and I will probably be reviewing that next. I am also so excited to say that I finally pre-ordered my copy of Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. I CANNOT WAIT FOR IT TO GET HERE. It will be here on the 5th!!

In other also very exciting news, this post is brought to you by my new Chromebook! For those of you that don’t know what a Chromebook is, it is a laptop computer made by Google. It is basically the best of tablets and laptops all rolled into one. It is super fast and boots up in 8 seconds. A super plus is that it’s almost impossible to get a virus! I absolutely love it. I just got it yesterday and it is keeping me quite entertained. I have been wanting a new computer for a long time now, but I have just never gotten around to it. Now that I have started blogging, my husband has pushed me to get a new laptop so that I stop using his so often! However, I am awful at making decisions. I first went to BestBuy this past weekend to look at some computers and I liked the Chromebook. BestBuy’s “Google expert” gave me some information about it, but he was literally the most boring man I have ever met, so I didn’t stay long. I was back again the next day and I asked 8 zillion questions… about a different computer. And then finally, after a bunch of research, I came home and ordered the Chromebook because they didn’t have any in stock at BestBuy. Then the most excruciating part: waiting for it to come! I felt like it was a million years, but it was less than a week!

Anyway, I am very excited to be using a new computer and reading new books!

Have you guys gotten any new technology recently? Or ordered any books that you are excited about?

So, How’d It Go?

As you guys can tell, I posted my first book review yesterday. I am eager to hear what you guys thought of it! Did you like the format? My husband helped me figure out which bases need to be covered when I do a review, and I think we did a pretty good job. Was there anything else that you guys thought I should add, or did anything seem extraneous to you? If you guys think I should change something, let me know and I will definitely take it under advisement! These reviews are as much for you as they are for me, and I want to fill you guys in on the aspects you think are important. I will also be posting a review for Behemoth (the next book in the Leviathan series) either today or tomorrow. 

In other news, I got some books in the mail today! I’m currently around halfway through Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan, but I’m still deliberating which book to read next. My choices are:

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

Need by Carrie Jones

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires #1) by Rachel Caine

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

What are you guys reading? Are there any new authors that have caught your eye?