Review: Mortal Danger

Mortal Danger by Ann AguirreTitle: Mortal Danger
Author: Ann Aguirre
Series: Immortal Game #1

About: Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn’t imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She’s not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he’s impossible to forget. 

In one short summer, her entire life changes and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly . . . bad things are happening. It’s a head rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil’s bargains, she isn’t sure who—or what—she can trust. Not even her own mind.

My Thoughts: This sounds like a pretty good concept, until you open the cover. This “Faustian compact” — Edie has Kian make her beautiful. Somehow, that fixes all of her problems. Suddenly she’s no longer a social pariah, and apparently her new look equals a new and improved personality, too. Oh, and she shouldn’t worry about her parents — however drastic the changes to her appearance might be, they won’t be suspicious since she’s spending the summer away. As if parents/adults are completely oblivious idiots. (Sorry, but as a parent, that’s just infuriating to have my peers written off as just the biggest morons ever.) And, no, I’m not just too old to be able to remember life with my parents at that age — my parents were not idiots who were blissfully unaware of just about everything.

And I have apparently turned this review into a mini-rant about how we parents are just totally misrepresented in YA literature. Sorry. Back to the review …

As if teenage girls aren’t (generally speaking) superficial enough, let’s have a book wherein the main character’s social problems are all but completely solved simply because she’s suddenly no longer an ugly girl. Yeah, because that’s how life works … (please note the gigantic amount of sarcasm here)

So, basically, Edie comes across as the most shallow main character I’ve come across in quite awhile. Sure, she gets into big trouble and is in — hee, hee — Mortal Danger, but she’s kinda made her own bed. Shouldn’t she lie in it?

And the insta-love between her and Kian? Hasn’t this been very overdone in YA? Hell, not just YA, but especially YA.

I found this extremely disappointing, and it was slow to start, too. Took me several days of forcing myself to read just a few pages to finally get where I wanted to finish. And, honestly, several times I considering making this my first DNF in quite some time. But, a tiny part of me wanted to see where this was headed.

Will I read this again? Absolutely not. Would I recommend this? Probably not. Will I continue the series? Only if the opportunity presents itself.

1.5 StarsSource: ARC sent by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Read It: Mortal Danger is scheduled for release around August 5, 2014. You can pre-order your own copy via Amazon or Book Depository(These are affiliate links, and purchase through either link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

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Review: To Sleep … Perchance to Die

To Sleep... Perchance to DieTitle: To Sleep … Perchance to Die
Author: Donald R. Grippo
Series: n/a

Summary: Tangled lives, tainted love, and a Shakespearean twist lead to deception, betrayal, and murder. In this sexy, psychological thriller, Eurasian beauty Mai Faca plots to marry Jake Warden, a successful oral surgeon forbidden to her because of family honor. In an unheard-of scheme, fellow surgeon, Bret Manley, falls victim to Mai’s seduction as she and Jake play a cruel trick to be together. Jake acts with surgical precision to clear the path to Mai’s happiness, threatening lives including his own. In a wake of turmoil and destruction, Bret’s uncle and well-known criminal attorney Hubie Santos attempts to find out if a surgeon would use his knowledge to kill.

My Thoughts: Let me start by saying that I love this cover. I didn’t initially notice the image reflected on the eye, and I think it’s a fantastic touch. I always thought the cover was eye-catching (pardon the pun – I couldn’t think of another way to say it), but upon this little discovery think it’s that much better.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the story lives up to the cover. Not at all. It’s interesting, but so convoluted and so out there that it just doesn’t work for me. And way too much is revealed along the way. There’s little suspense, little tension. The reader already knows the whole story – on both sides. There’s no mystery and really no surprises, either. I supposed there’s a little bit of tension when waiting to see if Bret is able to get exonerated, but I didn’t find it enough to redeem the book.

I had a big problem with Hubie’s private investigator. I find it hard to believe he’d jeopardize his case – and ignore his own code of conduct – for this case. There’s nothing suggestion that it’s touched him on a personal level or anything. He just inexplicably bends the rules to get his result. Prior to that he seemed like a good guy, so I think that should have been better explained. Why would he do that in this case? Just being pissed off isn’t an answer – there has to be something bigger to get someone to completely throw out their self-imposed code of conduct.

Despite my issues, I found myself rooting for Bret. I hoped things would work out in his favor, and I hoped everyone involved would be made to pay for their crimes.

1.5 StarsSource: E-copy obtained through NetGalley.

Read It: Get your own copy HERE. (This is a Book Depository link, and purchase through this link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

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Review: Faith by Jennifer Haigh

FaithSummary: When Sheila McGann sets out to redeem her disgraced brother, a once-beloved Catholic priest in suburban Boston, her quest will force her to confront cataclysmic truths about her fractured Irish-American family, her beliefs, and, ultimately, herself.

My Thoughts: I almost considered bowing out of this tour, because I just could not get into this book. I only finished it because I had agreed to read it as part of a tour. I am quite disappointed, because it sounds really good – and I’ve read many positive reviews. I guess this one just isn’t for me. For what it’s worth, it did keep me more interested through about the last quarter (maybe a little less), but my that point I was tired of reading it.

If you’re even remotely interested in this book, don’t let me dissuade you from looking into it. Find other reviews (this is part of a tour, so check the tour page for links), check it out from your library. Ask someone. (Anyone who has read this book is welcome to add their comments below, including a link to their own review, if one exists.)

Favorite Quote: Oddly, I did find one quote that I absolutely love.

Faith is a decision. In its most basic form, it is a choice. ~ page 160 (ARC)

I hadn’t ever thought about faith this way, but it’s true. At the very beginning, one chooses whether or not to believe. And it doesn’t just apply to faith associated with religion, but faith of any kind. Faith in someone to make the right choice about something. Faith in your spouse to stay true to you. Or any number of things.

My Rating: 1.5 stars

Source: Received from publisher for review to use as part of a blog tour promotion on TLC Book Tours.

Jennifer HaighAbout the Author: Jennifer Haigh is the author of the New York Times bestseller Baker Towers, winner of the 2006 PEN/L. L. Winship Award for outstanding book by a New England author; Mrs. Kimble, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction and was a finalist for the Book Sense Book of the Year; and The Condition.

Her fiction has appeared in Granta, Ploughshares, Good Housekeeping, and elsewhere. She lives in the Boston area.

Visit Jennifer at her website.

Tour Info: For the main page for this blog tour, including more reviews of this book on other blogs, visit TLC’s post.

Challenges: Counts for 100 Books in a Year Reading Challenge 2011.

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Review: Here Lies Bridget

Here Lies BridgetHere Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison

Summary: Bridget Duke is the uncontested ruler of her school. The meanest girl with the biggest secret insecurities. And when new girl Anna Judge arrives, things start to fall apart for Bridget: friends don’t worship as attentively, teachers don’t fall for her wide-eyed “who me?” look, expulsion looms ahead and the one boy she’s always loved–Liam Ward–can barely even look at her anymore.

When a desperate Bridget drives too fast and crashes her car, she ends up in limbo, facing everyone she’s wronged and walking a few uncomfortable miles in their shoes. Now she has only one chance to make a last impression. Though she might end up dead, she has one last shot at redemption and the chance to right the wrongs she’s inflicted on the people who mean the most to her.

And Bridget’s about to learn that, sometimes, saying you’re sorry just isn’t enough.

***SPOILER ALERT***DO NOT READ IF YOU DON’T LIKE SPOILERS!***

My Thoughts: I really did not like this book at all. The main character leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and I just couldn’t get over how spoiled, rude, selfish, thoughtless – I could go on and on – she was. She was so very bad, so very clueless about just how HORRIBLE she was, that I couldn’t find it in me to have ANY sympathy for her. None at all, not even once she had to see things from others’ perspectives. I didn’t see much change in the way she thought between the beginning and the after parts. Everything was still all about HER. While I think she might have learned her lesson about how her actions affect others, I didn’t get the feeling that she had truly changed. While she said it wasn’t the case, I got the feeling that she was feeling the way she was and doing what she did more for HER own benefit than anything. Sure, she’ll set things right because she feels bad about what she did. And maybe she’ll be more thoughtful in how she acts in the future. What really would have made this a redemption story, in my opinion, would be if she stopped thinking so much about herself.

Fortunately, this book is short and a quick, easy read. I don’t feel like I wasted too much time on it. I kept reading, hoping the end made it all worthwhile, but I don’t feel it did. I wanted more remarkable change from her. And, at the very least, I wanted her to wake up in the hospital after her accident, and picking up where she left off. I didn’t like things continuing as if nothing had happened. I had a hard time placing her after she came back. I’m guessing it was maybe the Friday before she had thrown the party in the beginning of the book, but I’m not entirely sure about that. I don’t like feeling confused at the end.

In all, I’m glad I got to read this as an ARC – glad I didn’t spend money on it. Glad I get to send it on. Hopefully those after will like it better. And, no, I don’t intend to read this one again. Once was more than enough.

My Rating: 1.5 stars

Source: Received through Book It Forward ARC Tours for review.

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