Review: Severed: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow (Dax Varley)

The Deets:

Audience: YA
Pages: 256
Publisher: August 27th 2013
ISBN: 9781492253600
Genre: mystery, retelling
Source: e-ARC from the publisher




Severed: A Tale of Sleepy HollowKatrina’s still haunted by her encounter with the Headless Horseman - the night he beckoned to her. Now he has risen again, slashing heads and terrorizing the quiet countryside.

Her only joy during this dismal darkness comes when Ichabod Crane, a gorgeous young man from Connecticut, moves to Sleepy Hollow and their attraction turns to romance.

When the Horseman marks Ichabod as his next victim, Katrina, despite dangerous efforts to save him, sees no other choice than for them to flee.

But the Horseman awaits. Now it’s up to her to sever the horror and alter the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.




Books like this makes me wish I was more acquainted with all the classics. I never read Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", so I have no idea how closely Severed follows the plot. The only version of Sleepy Hollow I can remember is the Disney version with the bumbling Ichabod Crane riding backwards on a horse. Hardly the picture of old world smolder pictured in this version.

 Needless to say, I was reading Severed for the fun of it.

It was a quick read. The writing flowed smoothly and the characters were pretty enjoyable. Katrina and Ichabod stole the show, of course. I thought Marten would have more of a presence, but he seemed like a place holder more than anything. I was a bit disappointed by his quick appearances because they just felt like ways to move the plot along without offering much to the story. The same went for Brom. I just knew he had a different role in the story, but I was fooled. He was very disagreeable, and I didn't care for him much. Even so, I was surprised by the outcome.

There were only two things that really nagged me while reading. First, why did the ghost speak to Katrina? It made sense at first, but as the story wrapped up, it did not. Why was the ghost seeking her out? What role did she play? I didn't feel like that was given an adequate answer. Also, there was no resolution with the snooty best friend. We all know how things end up when someone feels cheated out of a potential love interest. This particular "friend" was very childish and irrational in her actions, but no consequences occurred. There was also no resolution to that conflict. It was as if she also disappeared into smoke like a specter.

This was a quick read. The story was decent, but some elements still felt underdeveloped to me. If you like retellings, give this one a try.

 


Review: Reboot (Amy Tintera)

The Deets:

Audience: YA
Pages: 365
Series: yes
Publisher: May 7th 2013 by HarperTeen
ISBN: 9780062217073
Genre: dystopian
Source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review



Reboot (Reboot, #1)Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.






Reboot is a new take on dystopians. The concept behind the book is unique and refreshing-- in an undead sort of way.

I really liked the characters. Wren and Callum were a very interesting combination. You can't help but like Callum. His innocence and good nature was a start contrast to Wren's hard exterior. As far as that saying "opposites attract" you can't deny it with these two-- they are as close to polar opposites as you can get.

The action is pretty quick and will keep you turning the pages. However, the plot itself is a bit long winded. At 365 pages, I would say a good 50 of those could have been edited out to make this a shorter read. I made it to the final 30 pages before I decided I just couldn't devote any more time to the book.

I hate saying I did not finish a book, but as a person that can devour books in a day, if something takes me more than a week to read it becomes a flag. Reboot took me several weeks before I put it aside. By the time I reached the end of the novel I felt like I knew what would happen. The most critical aspects of the plot had occurred and I needed it to wrap up. Instead of getting closure though, it felt like a whole new plot was beginning. I just didn't feel like I wanted to invest in the time it would take to wade through those dense moments of Wren's inner conflict to get to the goods.

If I had been in a better mindset, or reading this in a car with no other books, I would have finished it. But when there are so many books waiting to be read, it's hard to stick with one that isn't holding your attention. Will I read the next book in the series? Most likely.


Author chat + giveaway

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
 

Sophie Hayes, author of Trafficked, is hosting a live chat on Facebook Tuesday, January 7th at 6 pm EST (3 pm PT).

Join the chat to learn more about human trafficking and ask Sophie questions.

VIDEO: Sophie Hayes on The View with Barbara Walters
 
To join the chat on January 7, visit https://www.facebook.com/sourcebooks and click “Chat Now” tab. Copies of TRAFFICKED will be given away every 15 minutes to participants.
 
 
 
 
 
Displaying image001.jpgThe Facts on Human Trafficking:
 
 
  • There are an estimated 40,000 men, women and children enslaved in America today—in 83% of confirmed cases, victims are American-born citizens.
  • In 1809, the average price of a slave was $40,000. Today, it’s less than $90.
  • Total market value of illicit human trafficking is estimated to be in excess of $32 billion. It is the fastest-growing business of organized crime in the world.
  • Could it happen to you? At 18, Sophie met her abductor as anyone might meet a blind date – out one night at a dance club. Initially cautious, over four years he slowly won her trust. 
  • Why didn’t she leave? Sophie discusses the mental conditioning of being trafficked by someone you know, countering claims that women willingly stay captive if they don’t immediately attempt escape.
  • Where is he now? Sophie’s captor was arrested for an attempted shooting and deported before she could bring charges against him.
  • Is someone you know being trafficked? Common signs including not possessing his/her travel documents, living with an employer, and avoiding eye/physical contact.
 


Review: Waterfell (Amalie Howard)

The Deets:

Audience: YA
Genre: mermaids (sort of), mystery, paranormal
Pages: 360
Publisher: October 29th 2013 by Harlequin Teen
Series: yes
ISBN: 9780373211050
Source: e-ARC from Netgalley via publisher



Waterfell (The Aquarathi, #1)THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE QUEEN

Nerissa Marin hides among teens in her human form, waiting for the day she can claim her birthright—the undersea kingdom stolen from her the day her father was murdered. Blending in is her best weapon—until her father's betrayer confronts Nerissa and challenges her to a battle to the death on Nerissa's upcoming birthday—the day she comes of age.

Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do. But Lo Seavon breaches her defenses and somehow becomes the only person she can count on to help her desperate search for her mother, a prisoner of Nerissa's mortal enemy. Is Lo the linchpin that might win Nerissa back her crown? Or will this mortal boy become the weakness that destroys her?






I tried SO hard to finish this book. I tried for nearly an entire month, in fact. But try as I might, I just couldn't do it.


I thought this cover was stunning. I thought it was going to be some type of mermaid book. To a degree it was, but the Aquarathi are not mermaids. I don't know what they are, other than water dwelling sea monster-like creatures. It is a mystery I did not solve in the 200 pages that I read.

What drove me crazy about this book was the lack of descriptions. It was as if a grade school child was telling me a story that they remembered, but left out all the vital details. What should be been described in more depth was glanced over. What did not need pages or paragraphs of details seemed to drag on endlessly. It got to be too much.

I also did not like the slow moving plot. This book literally put me to sleep at night. I think I spent one night reading for a few hours but that was it. The majority of the time a few pages had my eyes heavy with slumber.

There was one element that kept me reading: Lo. I thoroughly liked his character, even when the others felt unremarkable. He was witty and a tad bit sarcastic. My favorite type of love interest in a story. I know he was vital to the plot in some mystical way, but I never made it to the end to find out how. If you could stick with the book through the slow parts, I think there could be some promise in this series. It is a unique concept... book 1 was just not a home run.

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