Lenore L Kosinski
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
2.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.
OK, this was a frustrating read for me. And I’m having a hard time judging what all comes into play in my final assessment. There is definitely a component that is a bad match writing style for me I think. But there’s also bits that were honest to goodness not written as well too. And this is where it gets complicated: the part that doesn’t match with me style-wise is that things aren’t spelled out for me in a clear manner, and I really really hate that (I’ll explain in a second). But the problem with disliking that, is that I have a hard time judging what was bad writing versus just not a match, you know??
OK, I’ll attempt to explain… Well, did anyone else see that movie The Arrival? My husband loved it, whereas that movie made me SOOOOO angry and annoyed and frustrated and mad. And while I could enjoy so many aspects of the movie, if I can’t have my theories confirmed on what was happening, then I just don’t like it. Like, I need things to be closer to black and white, I don’t play well in gray area and subtlety. I’m probably not making any sense. *sigh* Regardless, this book was kind of like that. I’m left at the end of the book thinking I have a pretty good idea of what happened, but I’m not sure. And I want to be sure. I don’t understand what the point is if I’m not sure. So was it bad writing, or style?? I DON’T KNOW!!
There were definitely parts of this book where I can categorically say that it needed better editing and needed to be cleaned up. There were quite a few TINY continuity issues (like the showers on the ship were supposed to be ionized air, but then Leda talks about her hair being wet from her shower; or the drug that was supposed to put that guy to sleep for about 40 hours, and less than 24 hours later he’s wide awake; or how did the pain meds work on the tethered cord surgery, but not for the bullet wound?). See? Tiny, but I noticed them, and it annoyed me. But it probably only annoyed me because I was having other problems. The book just felt…for lack of a better word, fragmented. From individual sentences that were probably trying to be too pretty, but then I would have to read them over again to understand them; to the overall plot and the way I would feel like I missed something from one section to another. It was just kind of choppy in places, and didn’t make for a nice read. And then there was the tiny plot thread that was completely dropped at the end of the book (what Enren said about Toovu and the Woede — purposely being vague to avoid spoilers), which I suppose could have been ok if there was going to be a sequel or something and they’d tackle it there, but I don’t get that impression.
So yeah, frustration. The book needed a bit more clean up and definitely needed to be smoothed over. Things happened so fast, I kind of couldn’t follow what people were talking about sometimes, or the conclusions they were coming to.
And then there’s the characters and chemistry. *sigh* This review could get so long if I really went into detail on those parts, but I’ll try to keep it brief (*snort* yeah right). Quite honestly, I didn’t dislike the characters, but I wasn’t totally enamoured with them either. Like none of them. And hence I didn’t find my emotions engaged at any of the potentially heartbreaking parts. It was a little bit insta-lovey between Leda and Roar, which I don’t always mind if I get something else out of it. But there was so much else going on, I never really did understand why they were in love… I got the draw and the connection, but not the emotions I guess.
And there were a ton of potentially intriguing side characters with potential little side plots, but we never got to learn about them or dive into them. They were so many moments where the author could have delved deeper, but chose not to in favour of action I suppose. Which is not horrible, but I hate getting teased with depth and then not getting it. We could have learned so much about Aurelite society, how it was, how it affected people, how it shaped them. From Stein to Petrus to even Roar. And Nils!! What about Nils and his mom?? And why tease us with those things and not go into them? Why say them at all and make them part of the story and not go further? I think the author tried to do too much with the story, and had to cut back, and didn’t really get the right focus back. Or not. Honestly, that’s conjecture, I shouldn’t say I know anything.
*sigh* So yeah. It had a lot of potential. And despite the way this review sounds, there were interesting moments! I even enjoyed the kisses between Roar and Leda. I loved the inclusion of some diverse elements, and how Leda always had Spina Bifida, regardless of whether she was some fabled weapon or not. But she pushed through it. And there were some really quotable pretty lines!! When the author hit her mark on those, they were really beautiful!
And that is that. I’m sad. Reading books that don’t match me is really taxing on my reader’s brain. Ah well. Onward and upward!
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Leda has just lost her beloved father to cancer and now her whole life has been uprooted by her distant mother, dropping her with her Grandmother and uncle, who she did not even know existed. While living with her newly discovered family, she meets her uncles employee Roar, a strange boy that she is instantly drawn to. Strange things keep occurring to Leda, like seeing things that nobody else sees like shadow people, and the odd encounters between her and Roar, where time goes missing whenever they touch. Just when she feels like she is starting to get a grasp on her new life, a bomb is dropped and nothing is what Leda thought it was.
I love alien stories and pretty much anything with space travel so I was really interested in reading this version. It did not hurt that the cover was eye catching, and we all know I am a sucker for a good cover. I can honestly say this book was a very unique plot with an alien search party, pretending to be refuges from another planet seeking shelter on earth, but in actuality they are searching for a weapon to save their people. The book took place on earth as well as outer space, with the crew facing one challenge after another from all kinds of space attacks and human surprises. This story was a nice mix of space/supernatural technology and adventures, mystery, danger (creepy space tentacles? yes please) and a forbidden love thing going. I could not predict what would happen next, Ashley Graham kept me on my toes with each dangerous turn thrown at Leda.
The story alternated between Roar and Leda, both so important to the mission and the story. I am such a fan of dual narration in my romance books, and this was no exception. My favorite part of Roar was the fact that Leda was disabled never even was a thought. To Roar, she was a beautiful, competent and smart girl who he wanted to get close to at any opportunity- her crutches and spina bifida did not exist to him. So sure, Leda had a physical disability, but nobody treated her as such (except for herself at times) instead they expected her to be capable of great things and brushed off what she felt she was not capable of. I was not sure how her physical status would play into the storyline, but it was well played where a girl with a disability can save the world- no haters here. Both Leda and Roar are well developed characters, enough so that I could connect and empathize with everything they go through. The side characters were just as important to the story, such as Leda's family and Roar's crew, helping to create a fully fleshed out world.
The one thing that I struggled with a little was the transitions in the story, especially at the beginning of the book. The narration of the book alternates between Roar and Leda, but it never indicated when, so it would switch randomly during a chapter and took a few sentences for me to catch up. Also, the story jumped around, like things were missing, so I would re-read parts to see if I accidentally skipped it, but nope, it was just not there. For example, Leda was about to finish making dinner for everyone, had an intense confusing moment with Roar, and then went to bed... I guess dinner was over? Did time jump too, and the people she was cooking for did not feel the need to eat or come look for her if she was missing for hours? And she disappeared in front of her uncle, who didn't notice she physically vanished (if that is what happened...I really am not sure). There were some other times like that where things did not match up with what was previously happening or other things just were left out making me feel like I was missing parts of the book. Sure, they were not the most needed or interesting parts, but it drove me a little insane with how choppy the delivery was near the start of the story.
This was a great first book by this author, and I would gladly read whatever else she creates and releases on the world. The way the story ended wrapped up the book, but it left plenty of wiggle room for more Roar-Leda adventures to come, so I look forward to another space adventure to really end the war...and for them to be together... Hope that was not too spoilery, but I have hopes for what will come next. I enjoyed the story regardless of the choppy transitions at the start of the book and I flew through the pages in a single sitting. This is the perfect read for anyone who likes aliens, space and space-technology, forbidden romance and adventure.
I received this title in return for my honest review.
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
When I read the blurb, I was non-committal about it. When I started I thought - Oh, this book had so much promise! An alien story with a disable MC, and an intergalactic war - it had some good components, but the writing failed it. So, you have these two species - Aurelite and Weodes - both at war with each other, with the latter having an upper hand, and the former a hidden weapon that was to be retrieved from Earth. So Aurelia sends Roar, who is basically a genetic bloodhound, to get the weapon back, who is Leda, our MC. On the way to the planet they are meant to save, though, they come across many obstacles like a kidnapping, space attacks, and their ill-fated love (eyeroll for the last one).
I'm going to start with what I like first, because if I started with the opposite, this review will go on and on. I liked that it has a diverse set of characters - disabled POC (in human sense, not alien, but she is not white, basically) main character, a transgender character, (at least) two gay characters, and possibly an alien-human romance. The story is novel, in a way, utilizing the diverse cast in the plot structure. It also takes unexpected twists, which kept me on my toes, sort of. And it has a fast pace, so you are not bored if you are looking for a space adventure. It is also good on details, when it came to the science and the action.
However, this book had many problems, starting with plotholes that I was getting exponentially enraged by. I'll list out a few but it's not a complete list. It is never mentioned how long Roar and his squad were on Earth before he found her - when it is clear that he has an instant connection to her like a beacon. And when he found her, it still takes some time for her guardians to reveal her to him, which considering they are raising her for, didn't sit with the adults-hiding-the-truth cliche that somehow all YA novels have; wasn't the war in Aurelia time sensitive enough for them to not waste time dawdling on Earth. And then when they finally decide to go? They waste days fixing the spaceship's cloaking system which is useless BECAUSE THEY GET ATTACKED MULTIPLE TIMES IN SPACE ANYWAY SO THAT CLOAKING SYSTEM CLEARLY WAS USELESS TO WASTE PRECIOUS TIME ON! Where is the urgency in returning the weapon back to the planet they are meant to save? And how did Leda survive in space without a suit during that climactic scene (last I heard, vacuum was still a thing)? *screams in frustration*
Another grievance I had was the characters - sure, they are diverse, but there is barely any development between them. Nils (a half-Weode) and Leda - instant friends and days later, Nils is friends with the Roar and his crew as well, though they all have a war between them. He even asks to come along with them as a hostage, because what? He suddenly feels a strong friendship with them or Leda? It is never shown how they become friends; everything just falls into place a few pages later and we are supposed to go along with that. And lets not even start with the instalove between Leda and Roar. Even with their supposed genetic connection, which also becomes a hindrance to them, these two had no chemistry. And speaking of that hindrance, since when is blood being incompatible equals to them not being able to bone? They kiss quite fine - without any energy explosions, so what gives with, um, other kinds of fluids to mingle? Even if they did bump uglies, how would they blood reacting to each other be a problem unless they have some sort of weird sex involving bleeding?
And lastly, what is with these villains popping out of freaking nowhere? You can't sacrifice logic for cheap twists in plot! Where did that other bounty hunter come from? How is Aurelian society a capitalistic utopia that still has equal rights for all citizens but still they have a big economic divide? World-building seems to the weak point of this book. Anyway, so I was pretty much infuriated by the end, because I could see how the book had good components, but it had all been arranged so badly or not utilized well enough. Instead, we get three very detailed kissing scenes, and endless angst over a sexual relationship.