Young Adult

Sneaky Snow White

sneaky-snow-white Sneaky Snow White by Anita Valle

While I absolutely loved Sinful Cinderella, I did not love Sneaky Snow White. The big difference for me was that despite Cinderella being selfish and bad, she still had reasons for me to empathize with her. She had some redeeming qualities that made sense, so I actually cared what happened to her when evil started to get its clutches on her.

Snow White…had no redeeming qualities. She was never the sweet girl who was supposed to rule the kingdom. She never had a great relationship with her father, she didn’t get the chance to know her mother, but that didn’t give her a redeeming quality anyways. She was selfish and naive, fully believing that the only way she could keep Hunter loving her was by using a Love Apple, enchanted to keep their love going forever. If she had faith in their love and nurtured it instead of taking from it, she would have seen that she didn’t need the apple, but never did she think that way. She only ever cared about her own happiness, whether it made Hunter happy or not.

So I didn’t care what happened to her one bit as opposed to what happened to Cinderella. I honestly think I pushed through this one because of the scenes with Cinderella. That, and I know with how strong Sinful Cinderella was, there’s got to be a great chance that the future installment Rotten Rapunzel can be just as great and I don’t want to be behind.

two-stars

 

Sinful Cinderella

sinful-cinderella Sinful Cinderella by Anita Valle

THIS STORY. I absolutely loved it the moment I started reading it. I even told a few of my friends about it right after I started it because I needed them to read it too. It’s a short story, which does have its disadvantages. While I love a quick read, there were some things I wish could have had more development, but because of what we have for the length, I can’t really complain.

I’ve seen some reviews that wish she could have been more evil, and I was completely inclined to agree with that point of view, except that it would counteract the white magic. She has to be good to get more white magic, which is how she makes herself more beautiful,and to do something bad would take away the magic she needs. So she actually can’t be more evil at all.

I just really loved this story. The different twists that were put on the Cinderella story are crazy and dark and awesome. I don’t even want to go in more detail because it’s so short that everyone should read it.

five-stars

The Whizbang Machine

the-whizbang-machineThe Whizbang Machine by Danielle A. Vann

Let me start out by saying that after reading the description, I was completely ready to jump right in. A magical typewriter that writes back to you with secrets that have to do with a family curse. Sign me up!

Except that I couldn’t get past the first four chapters to find out more. This book deserved another draft. It’s a brilliant concept that just isn’t hitting the mark. Elizabeth is going on sixteen years old and she acts like she’s a child. The characterization is off there, she just doesn’t pull me in and make me fantasize about being that age again with the adventures I could have had.

This really needed a tighter edit and a better proofread before being published. Some of the word choices don’t seem appropriate for the action or dialogue they’re being used with. For example, when Jack, the grandpa, finally comes home to visit after not seeing the family for eight years, he wants to talk about what her and her mom have been up to first.
“‘Same old, same old. School, soccer practice, school, repeat,’ I replied, brushing my hand against my forehead and swooning over the table.”
Why is she swooning? And why would she think he would know what the “same old, same old” is when he’s been absent for eight years? I think that line in particular is what pulled me out of the story. He may have been sending postcards for all those years, but that’s not the same as actually being there or holding conversations over the phone-something they apparently hadn’t done over the years.

The third chapter about the boxes Jack brought home as gifts really needed to be edited. In one spot, the mom was clenching her teeth, but the word used was “clinching.” Aside from an error like that and with missing commas, the real issue lies with the content. Elizabeth was supposed to open a certain box, but then she wanted Jack to open it, but then he told her to open it. Then she felt weird about opening it. It just kept going with her not opening the box. I understand that this was to create suspense surrounding what was in the box, but all it did was make me want to slap Elizabeth for taking her sweet time. It’s like being at a birthday party where you want to see the birthday girl open a particular gift, and then she decides to unwrap it in slow motion. You’re not being suspenseful, you’re being annoying.

There’s also the issue of the dialogue feeling forced along with telling readers what’s happening as opposed to showing. I think this is really where Danielle could have improved. In the beginning, Elizabeth is talking with her mom about Jack coming to visit. Her mom asks her to grab the crackers, and then Elizabeth responds with “Here’s the crackers.” There was never any action involved. It would have been better to show us grabbing the crackers and just handing them to her mom instead of telling us about it. Also, there is nothing wrong with using “said” for the dialogue tag, but other words are used in its place which aren’t realistic. In regard to the surprise her mom and Jack had for Elizabeth and telling her about it, this was the mom’s response: “‘If you must,’ Mom whined.” Why would she be whining? She’s just as excited about the trip that she worked so hard to conceal.

In closing, I was totally hooked on the idea of the story, but the execution needed help. I really think another draft and a better editor would have made this story wonderful.

one-star

 

Stalking Jack the Ripper

stalking-jack-the-ripperStalking Jack the Ripper by Kerry Maniscalco

For this to be a debut novel- Wow! This is a book that I read within a day because it was so good, I couldn’t put it down. I love anything that has to do with serial killers and this was no exception. The research done to make all of the bodies and investigations to be that of what actually occurred during the Ripper time was exceptional. I fell in love with how much Audrey Rose would rather be cutting into dead flesh than sitting at a tea party making small, appropriate conversations with other girls her age.

The relationship between her and Thomas Cresswell was swoon-worthy and highly amusing. I was ecstatic to find out that Maniscalco is going to be making this a series because her dialogue skills are spot on. While I do understand that this is supposed to be a young adult novel, the context of death and dead flesh does make this content that is for an older age. That being so, I wish there was more romance between Audrey Rose and Thomas. I know that it’s considered improper for the time, but there were multiple opportunities where I wished they would just kiss already. When they finally did, it was kind of disappointing because of how awesome the build up of it was. So my only issue was just that I wanted more between them.

I loved the character of Audrey Rose being so headstrong and determined to help find the killer and to protect future women from being killed by Leather Apron’s blade. She promoted the ideals of feminism by choosing to further her education in science instead of willfully choosing to work on her needlepoint skills. She has sharp wit and is exceedingly clever. She’s just what we would hope to be living in those times.

This was an exceptionally delightful read and I can’t wait for the sequel!

five-stars