Mini Reviews: The Iron Butterfly

Reviews

Title: The Iron Butterfly

Author: Chanda Hahn

Publisher: Word Circus

About The Book

The Iron Butterfly

Summary from Goodreads:

Imprisoned, starved and left with no memories, Thalia awakens to find herself at the mercy of an evil cult known as the Septori. Their leader has chosen Thalia as the test subject for a torture device of untold power, designed to change and twist her into something that is neither human nor Denai.

Escaping, Thalia finds an unwilling warrior to protect her and an unlikely Denai to befriend her. After finding a home at the Citadel as a servant, Thalia’s worst nightmare comes to life and she begins to show signs of power. Scared and unable to control her gifts, she tries to hide her past to fit in among the Denai. But the Septori want their latest test subject back and will stop at nothing to retrieve her, dead or alive.

My Thoughts

“Down in this hell, silence was more than golden; it was the difference between life and death.”

Chanda Hahn is one of my favourite authors and I adore her ‘An Unfortunate Fairytale’ series. So I was really looking forward to reading The Iron Butterfly, which unfortunately didn’t win my heart.

The Iron Butterfly follows Thalia’s journey after she escapes torture and imprisonment by a mysterious group called the Septori.

I felt the first few chapters were the best part. The world Hahn creates is both new and captivating. I enjoyed Thalia’s journey to the the Citadel, along with Joss and his uncle.

However, it becomes too slow towards the middle and the story didn’t move forward much. It wasn’t all terrible. There were quite a few interesting things happening, but it failed to hold my interest for long. I expected the story to be a bit more dark. I also wanted to see Thalia struggle with the trauma of being tortured and experimented on. But she seemed to fall back to a normal routine quite easily.

Thankfully, the plot picked up towards the end , with the reappearance of kael ( Thalia’s ex-prison mate). Farwaway, the horse ( who talks!) was also a major bonus. Even then, I wasn’t quite satisfied with the plot.

One Thing that bothered me was the similarity between the characters of An Unfortunate Fairytale and The Iron Butterfly.

Thalia was Mina.

Kael was Jared.

Joss was a carbon copy of Brody.

The similarities were just too much! I wasn’t impressed.

The Iron Butterfly was enjoyable, but it lacked in plot, pacing and needed a lot of editing.

My Rating-

3 stars

Do I recommend it?

It is free on kindle, so I would recommend giving this a try if you are curious.

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Reviews: Flipped( The Cutest Story Ever)

Rocki'n

Author: Wendelin Van Draanen

Published :October 1st 2001

Publisher: Knopf

 

Sypnosis

Flipped

Flipped is a romance told in two voices. The first time Juli Baker saw Bryce Loski, she flipped. The first time Bryce saw Juli, he ran. That’s pretty much the pattern for these two neighbors until the eighth grade, when, just as Juli is realizing Bryce isn’t as wonderful as she thought, Bryce is starting to see that Juli is pretty amazing. How these two teens manage to see beyond the surface of things and come together makes for a comic and poignant romance. 

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4 star

My Rating: 4/5

Note: I read this way back in January.

“Some of us get dipped in flat, some in satin, some in gloss….” He turned to me. “But every once in a while, you find someone who’s iridescent, and when you do, nothing will ever compare.”

Aww…. Flipped is the cutest story I’ve read so far. This was my first read for 2016 and it was so good! It was a slightly different read for me a I mostly read YA, where the characters are mostly 15- 16 years and here the main characters were 8th graders.

I first show Flipped somewhere on my Goodreads recommendations. The synopsis did not pique my interest so I left it at that. One day I did not go to school as I was sick. So I obviously watched T.v all day. Flipped(the movie) was running and I loved it so much! The storyline sounded really familiar so I googled it and Lo! It is a book! And the rest is history.

You know that feeling when you drink hot coffee on a rainy day and you feel so happy and content? That’s how I felt after reading Flipped. I mean, its not perfect. Not by the long shot. But it made me feel warm and fuzzy and so happy! I think that’s what matters.

“…and I realized that Garrett was right about one thing- I had flipped.
Completely.”

I loved how the story was narrated, with POV of both the characters for each scene. It was nice, getting a glimpse of what they were thinking and I feel the author did the job quite well.

So the story is about Julie Baker and Bryce Loski, their various interactions over the years and how their opinion of each other changes. It was fun reading the parts where Julie realises Bryce is not so perfect as she thinks and the par where Bryce realises Julie is not that annoying.

“It’s easy to look back and see it, and it’s easy to give the advice. But the sad fact is, most people don’t look beneath the surface until it’s too late.”

There was a wide array of side characters that was really well developed and had their own unique personality.

The only thing I didn’t like was the ending which I thought was better done by the movie. I just wanted more closure.

Would I recommend it?

Yes! This is the kind of a short lazy summer read I feel you should definitely try.

Have you read Flipped? What do you think of it?( or just link your review in the comments)

or do you plan on reading Flipped?

Reviews: The Distance Between Us By Kasie West

Rocki'n

About The Author

A stay-at-home mom of four children, three of them girls, ranging in age from four to 12, Kasie West hears lots of melodramatic versions of large-than-life events. She graduated with a BA in liberal studies, with a strong focus on linguistics and psychology, from Fresno State University. She lives in Fresno, CA.

 

Sypnosis

The Distance Between UsSeventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.
So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.
She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

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4 star

My Rating: 4.5 stars

I re-read this a few days ago, so I thought why not put a review up for it?

The Distance Between Us was a surprising read. I went into this not expecting much. Contemporary romances usually fail to impress me. But I fell in love with this one!

The Distance between Us is cute, funny, and sarcastic. Yes, sarcastic. I’m pretty sure this book is a mandatory read for those courses offering a PhD. in sarcasm.

So what did I love most in this book? Caymen. I loved her. She is witty, funny and normal.

“How come the dog isn’t named?” He reads aloud the title on the box. “‘Peggy and dog.’”
“Because people tend to want to name animals after their beloved pets.”
“Really?”
“No. I have no idea. I can give you the number of Peggy’s creator if you want to ask.”
“You have the phone number of this doll’s creator?”
“No.” I punch the price into the register and push Total.”

“I’d rather not see their eyes. Eyes can say so much. Theirs say, ‘I want to steal your soul so don’t turn your back on us.”

“Note to self: Caymen is very good at sarcasm.”
“If you’re recording notes for an official record, I’d like the word ‘very’ stricken and replaced with ‘exceptionally.”

Come on! How can you not love her?

I really loved how the relationship between Xander and Caymen developed. It was sweet and fun and aww… and *sigh*

I also liked how they weren’t exchanging ‘I love you’s ‘ within the first few chapters( you’d be surprised how often that happens).

And the banter between them is sooo cute!

“So Caymen…”
“So, Xander…”
“Like the islands.”
“What?”
“Your name. Caymen. Like the Cayman Islands. Is that your mom’s favourite place to visit or something?”
“No, it’s her third favourite place. I have an older brother named Paris and an older sister named Sydney.”
“Wow.” He opens the bag, takes out a muffin, and hands it to me. The top glistens with sprinkled sugar. “Really?”
I gently unwrap it. “No.”

“Caymen?”
“Yes?”
“You look terrified. Does this scare you?”
“More than anything.”
“Why?”
“Because I didn’t bring my mints.”

This is my first Kasie West novel, and I’m really looking forward to reading more books by her. I liked her writing and the characters she created.

The Distance Between Us made me smile, made me laugh and most important of all, it made me really happy.

Reviews: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Rocki'n

About The AuthorCynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of the Unearthly series with HarperTeen: UNEARTHLY, HALLOWED, RADIANT (an enovella) and BOUNDLESS. Currently she lives in southern California with her husband and two small children. She teaches courses in creative writing at Pepperdine University.

Sypnosis


Unearthly (Unearthly, #1)In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees…Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy. Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side. As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny? Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

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3 star

My Rating: 3 stars

Unearthly was a pleasant and nice read. Unfortunately that’s all I can say. I went into this after reading rave reviews of amazing this book is. So I had really high expectations. Now, I wonder if I read the same book. Unearthly wasn’t anything spectacular. But there aren’t many faults with it either. I just wasn’t blown away.

Let me begin with things I liked:

  • I loved Clara. I related with her. The author captured the voice of a sixteen year old perfectly.
  • Clara and her mom had a good relationship. Her mom cared about her. She had a prominent role in Clare’s life. (Parents don’t seem to play much of a role in most YA novels).
  • The writing was really good. I liked Hand’s writing style. It was kind of …………. soothing.( weird, I know)

But for the most part, Unearthly was bland. Nothing really goes on. By the time something did happen, I had lost interest. The first half was spent by Clara mooning over a boy she is supposed to be protecting.

The plot was quite unique. But I wasn’t really dying to know what happens. Also, I didn’t feel 400 pages was necessary to arrive at that ending. The story had this great build up for an amazing ending. But the ending, I was left like….Really? That’s it? It was like someone had deflated a balloon.

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I waited and waited for this amazing thing to happen, but it didn’t.

Unearthly had so many things I usually fall in love with…but I guess this was not my cup of tea.

 

Reviews: To Nowhere by C.E. Wilson

Rocki'n

About The Author

C.E. Wilson is currently living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband, beautiful daughter, a chubby beagle and two cats. They are all the loves of her life. When she’s not writing young adult fantasy novels, she enjoys writing short stories on her Deviant Art page. She loves to write stories involving giants and little people (also known as GT) and she can’t decide what she loves more: horror movies or shoujo manga. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Education so she has a soft spot for older literature authors including John Milton, William Shakespeare, and stories such as Paradise Lost and Beowolf. On a side note, nothing helps her to write more than drinking good beer and watching The Twilight Zone.

To Nowhere

Sypnosis

To Nowhere

A world no one would believe.
From the moment Lyris is treated to coffee by a beautiful stranger, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. In her enthusiasm to start at a new school with a new boyfriend, Lyris is almost able to look past his oddities.
Almost.
The way he eyes up her striking red hair.
The way he loves that she’s seventeen. “The perfect age.”
And the way he’s gone from all but begging to show her a specific room in a specific house to making her swear never to even think about it again.
When Lyris doesn’t take his strange warnings seriously, she finds that nothing could have prepared her for what lay behind that door.
Suddenly, Lyris finds herself in a world no one would believe. A world where she’s only a few inches tall and giants aren’t creatures from fairy tales. Where humans are no longer the dominant race, but pets auctioned off to the highest bidder. Lyris understands the true danger of such a place, but there seems to be one person on her side.
Her kind and surprised captor.
And while Brindt appears to be sweet and trustworthy, he also straddles the line between seeing her as an equal and a cute animal.
Lyris has to get home… before the one person can turn to becomes the one person who can’t let her go.

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2.5 stars

* I would like to thank the author for providing me with a free review copy for a honest review.*

My Rating: 2.5 stars

“Just a house. Just a room. Just a rumour. Just a disappearance.”

To Nowhere was an interesting and different read. The concept of giants was new. I’ve never really read anything with giants except for Jack and the beanstalk. So it was refreshing.

The plot was kind of interesting. I felt it had a good storyline. It had a lot of good, interesting concepts, which sadly I felt, the author didn’t much delve on.For example, the concept of who is a monster. Brindt, a giant helps Lyris. But Wyatt , a human had tried to sell her. So should a giant be labelled as a monster just because of his size? Maybe because the writing wasn’t strong enough…

The world building was really good. It was intriguing. I liked how giants were portrayed as humans who were very tall. I wanted to know more. I wished there were more scenes were Lyris sees more of that world.

I never felt awed at any point. I did not fall in love with any character. Lyris (the Mc) annoyed me to bits. She takes boy crazy to a new level. After finishing the book, I understood why this was necessary. But it was in first POV, where you’re like inside the MC’s head. And being inside Lyris’s head was not pretty.

To Nowhere had a lot of potential. But the spark that makes you fall in love with a book was missing.

Reviews: Insanity by Cameron Jace

Rocki'n

About The Author

Cameron Jace is bestselling author of the Grimm Diaries and Insanity series. A graduate of the college of Architecture, collector of out-of-print books, and obsessed with the origins of folk tales and the mysterious storytellers who spread them.

Insanity

Sypnosis

Insanity (Mad in Wonderland) (Insanity #1)After accidentally killing everyone in her class, Alice Wonder is now a patient in the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum. No one doubts her insanity. Only a hookah-smoking professor believes otherwise; that he can prove her sanity by decoding Lewis Carroll’s paintings, photographs, and find Wonderland’s real whereabouts. Professor Caterpillar persuades the asylum that Alice can save lives and catch the wonderland monsters now reincarnated in modern day criminals. In order to do so, Alice leads a double life: an Oxford university student by day, a mad girl in an asylum by night. The line between sanity and insanity thins when she meets Jack Diamond, an arrogant college student who believes that nonsense is an actual science.

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My Rating: 5/5

5 stars

“You’re not alright, the flower says. You’re insane, Alice, insane!” This is hands down the most ridiculous book I have read. It is crazy. And I fell in love with it.
Now, I have my doubts. But the first sentence,
“The girl sprawled on the ground was dead… and loving it. Why else would she be grinning like the Cheshire cat ?”
I knew I was going to love it.


So our MC, Alice lives in an asylum, where                                                            “The walls are smeared with greasy pale green everywhere. I wonder if its the previous patient’s brains splattered all over from shock therapy. “

She doesn’t remember how she ended up there. Her only friend is a tiger lily, her personal rain check for her sanity. And this other patient in the asylum, the notorious murderer Pillar the killer believes the murders happening around the city is the work of a wonderland monster, the Cheshire cat, and that Alice can solve them. What follows is insanity. Literally.

“Sane is mundane. Insanity is the new black.”
Pillar the killer is undoubtedly my favourite character. I love his dialogues. Whenever the plot gets a little sane, he puts the insanity back.
“How have you been Alice ?
Mad. “
Alice wonder is a relatable character. She is not a martyr sacrificing herself to catch some murderer. She is helping because it is her only chance of knowing her past and see the outside world.
I liked how all the characters was an important part of the story and all of them were equally mad.
“ Insanity was a disease that spread to all classes and factions. “
The main theme explored is obviously madness. Whose is mad? Are mad people really mad? Are people not locked up actually sane?

“I think the world outside is even crazier than in here.”
Yeah, I agree. I felt Alice was the sanest of the lot. Even her doctor is borderline crazy. I love that this book made me think all these crazy thoughts.


And the best part is you can feel the craziness oozing out from the pages. The most ridiculous part (coincidently my favourite too) was when I learned why the Cheshire was murdering all these people. I know. I should be horrified. I mean people are being ruthlessly murdered. But I just cracked up at the sheer ridiculousness of it.

I feel many will think that the plot is stupid. But you need to embrace and accept the insanity going on to appreciate the story.Cause it is Crazy with a capital C.

I loved how the original Alice in wonderland characters was embodied in the story and how Lewis Carroll was part of the story. What I like most ,was no unnecessary romance. Usually, whenever a potential love interest is introduced, the MC loses her mind. All she can think about is HIM. And I just sit there, shouting at her to solve the problem. Yes, there is a hint and he only had a few scenes. But I wanted to see more of him. Weird.*shrugs*

I adore insanity .It is mysterious, intriguing and downright hilarious!  You cannot put it down. And it has become one of my favourites. If you haven’t read it, what are you waiting for? You won’t be disappointed.
There are a lot of questions I desperately need answers for. Is Alice, Alice? What is Pillar’s motive? Who is Jack Diamonds? Until these are answered, (in evil voice) Insanity shall prevail!!*evil laugh*

Oh, before I go, here’s a quote I particularly liked,
“There are two ways to live our lives, Alice. One is though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. I like the ‘everything’ part.”

Reviews: Take This Regret

Rocki'n

About The Author

A.L. Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of Take This Regret and Lost to You, as well as other contemporary romance titles, including Pulled, When We Collide, If Forever Comes, Come to Me Quietly, and Come to Me Softly. She first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student. She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life. Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three children.

Take this regret

Sypnosis

There are some mistakes we make that we will regret for the rest of our lives. For Christian Davison, it was the day he betrayed Elizabeth Ayers. For five years, Christian has regretted the day he walked away from his family and will do anything to win them back. Can Elizabeth forgive someone who has committed the unforgiveable? Or are there some wounds that go so deep they can never heal?

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My Rating: 2/5

2 star

What a sad disappointment! I thought I would love Take This Regret. The blurb sounded great and I wanted to read something different ( I read a lot of fantasy).

Take This Regret (Take This Regret, #1)

So let me start with the part I liked:

The First Chapters- I loved the first 5 chapters or so. It had me crying and I was a blubbering mess. I felt the heartbreak Elizabeth went through and the struggle within Christian. It was written so well. The writing style is engaging and I was able to read it in one sitting.

But it went downhill from there:

1)The characters got annoying-

Elizabeth: I sympathized with her. She was strong and I liked her. But she turns weak. I like my MC’s strong. Not perfect, but strong. Here’s an example: When Christian, after 5 years of no contact, appears out of the blue and demands for visitation rights to see Lizzie(their daughter), what does Elizabeth do? She runs to the bathroom (this takes place in her office) and starts crying. She should have given him an earful and kicked him in the balls! I know she is sad, but shouldn’t she be angrier? But what annoyed me most was how easily she lets Christian back into her life.

Christian: Now what bothered me most was how suddenly he becomes Mr. Goody goody pants. He had no contact with Elizabeth for 5 years. He did think about them but never felt the need to contact them. Then he sees Lizzie and suddenly he wants his family back! He wanting to see more of his daughter is okay. But wanting his whole ‘family’ back?  He got on my nerves. A lot.

2) The plot: I felt the plot was feeble and too predictable. Any problems that arose, disappeared conveniently.  It was so easy to guess.

The Writing: The writing was really good. Yes, I hated the characters and the plot. But I kept turning the pages because the style of writing was so engaging. I never felt bored.

I know I’m in the minority here. So many people seem to love it. Guess it was not my cup of tea.