Hidden Magic (The Dragon Lord #1) by Melanie Crouse

20559201Published January 24th 2014 by Boekweg Books

I DNFed this book 30% into the story. I’ve read in the “acknowledgements” that the author needed six years to write this book, that she had help from other writers, bloggers, beta readers, mentors and what not. 6 years and nobody ever said this story was crap? Lol, what a waste of time!

This story is just so damn confusing. I thought it was a fantasy full of magic, dragons and romance. But instead you will be treated to a weird mix of a parallel universe, science fiction, dystopian, steam-punkish magical world. The story takes place on the world of Nazdravan and on Earth. Only the dravani, humans with magical abilities, can travel from one world to the other through a portal. But simple humans apparently live on both worlds. (How is that even possible?) I was expecting medieval / historical fantasy, but there are obviously trains and speedboats and some technology like telephones and television on both worlds.

The magic is never really explained in the first third of the book, the world is not introduced only hinted at and the plot is non-existent. There is no back history explaining how it came to be that there are other planets inhabited by humans, the gypsies from the first chapter never ever get mentioned again. Why was it important to introduce the reader to them in the first place? There seem to be enslaved humans, but apart from a small remark at the beginning there is no more mention of it. The society this people in the book live in is so puzzling because not once does the author really describe anything. Apparently there are different kinds of magic: healers and fire mages. Again no explanation is given as to how this magic is supposed to work or how it came to be or what the Dragon Lord has to do with it all. This is all so damn frustrating. It’s just plain boring! I was left with a lot of unanswered questions while the story concentrates on Jenny and her first encounter with (*insta love alert*) Arram. Those were the most unexciting first 100 pages that I have ever read: full of nothing but dull introduction and the foreboding of a love triangle.

I could have put up with that and just skipped a few pages because I really wanted to know what kind of hidden magic Jenny discovers. But then Jenny starts fainting, and fainting, and fainting and if she is not fainting she is blushing scarlet. That girl is so naïve and unlikeable with her consistent “I want to have adventures”. Whoa, here is a MC that really got me enraged. If you are in the forest and came unexpectedly across a dangerous, roaring, aggressive fucking lion, what would you do? I sure as hell would not take a step towards it because I am curious and want to pet it. Yeah she is that dumb.

She dawdled over breakfast, savoring the guilty pleasure of reading at the breakfast table, until a glance at the kitchen clock sent her into a panic, and she raced to get ready. But Sarah was still not back when she was finished, so Jenny went outside to wait, feeling very independent.

Why the panic, why the guilty pleasure and why the fuck feel independent? I get the impression Jenny is 5 instead of 19 (I think) years old.

The university campus was quiet. She wandered aimlessly around, stopping when she found herself back at the fountain. Jets of water diffused down like rain into the large basin, which was ringed by several small statues of children, and Jenny studied them with delight.

Yes right, a child. Can’t take her seriously.

Combine that whiney, childish, innocent, silly, immature MC with a boring New Adult romance set-up and a confusing world-building and you get the impression what awaits you. I mean the title of the book is Hidden Magic – The Dragon Lord #1. I don’t want to read about campus and waste bins and telephones and trains and a stupid girl thinking she discovered the big freedom just because she left her sister’s apartment by herself. I want dragons!

I couldn’t be bothered to read any further then past page 100. I have better books to read and better things to do.

Thanks for netgalley for providing me with a copy.

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The Ghost Files by Apryl Baker

18296529Published August 13th 2013 by Limitless Publishing

After a 24h readathlon I have to say: This series is despite some flaws terrific. I simple couldn’t put it down and read both books in a row. If you are like me into ghost stories, mysteries with serial killer and main characters who don’t rely on boys to save them then this book is for you.

But first the things I didn’t like:

  • The boys: Every male in this story is in one way or the other handsome AND is attracted to Mattie and she in return is attracted to them. I think the story could have done without the many hot boys hitting on Mattie. On the other hand it is way more realistic that way because let’s face it a 16/17-year old is hormonal and it was refreshing somehow to see a girl struggle through puberty and her first romantic encounters.
    One thing though, the main focus of the story is not the romance. Imho, major cookie point here!
  • The writing: I believe the “flow” of the story could have profited from a good editor. Unfortunately many expressions, thoughts and reflections are repetitive and sometimes annoyed me.

Because of those two things, some of the more emotional intended scenes left me rather cold or for lack of a better word “surprised”. I felt like there was not enough care put into the build-up of the romance and romantic interest.

Reasons this would make a terrific TV series?

  • Despite those flaws it was an addicting read. I love a good, scary ghost movie so this book was right up my alley. The author does a great job in bringing the story to life. This is not only an enjoyable ghost mystery and a thriller about a serial killer but impresses with a well-executed, action-filled storyline. There never was a boring moment.  This book is simply said a page-turner from the start with a fast-paced, thrilling plot, full of twists and suspense, lurking ghosts and chilling moments. If you like “Ghost-Whisperer” despite Jennifer Love Hewitt you will love The Ghost Files. Especially the last 30% of the book had me hooked and glued to the pages/kindle.
  • Mattie Hathaway is not your typical young adult heroine. She hits first, thinks later. She has some very big trust-issues, which is not surprising giving her background as foster kid and the fact that her Mom tried to kill her. She is not everybody’s darling and she doesn’t want to be. But she is smart and above all else a survivor. I liked her flawed, witty and snarky character a lot. It makes me happy to see a strong female lead in young adult when so many authors have resorted to a helpless, annoying and boring Mary Sue.

Just read it you will not be disappointed.

Scintillate (The Light Key Trilogy #1) by Tracy Clark

18050015Expected publication: February 4th 2014 by Entangled: Teen

I’m trying to figure out why people love it. What might have been once successful with Edward and Bella as pure wish fulfillment of teenage unicorns and dragons dreams might still work for pre-pubescent girls. Publishers sure think like that but I can’t believe that 14-year olds still fall for that crap: Mary Sue MC, slut shaming, insta-love paired up with totally unrealistic creepy-sugary dialogue, followed by love triangle including sparks flying literally and a lot of magic at work.

Those eyes connected with mine, and every atom in the room crackled with delight.

Plain Jane gets not only the hot guy but two of them: The hot Irish exchange student, who can sing and shit and the blond-blue-eyed Italian Giovanni who is just like her sparkling and shit. What is with all the guys panting after her? It’s implied several times that our MC is plain, socially inapt but of course the two hottest guys on earth insta-sea how super-special she is. PHHHLEEEASEEE spare me. Of course the main “character” in this Twilight fanfic is not only super special but also super dumb. When someone tells you to not tell other people about your super-specialness because it’s dangerous (implying that all others like you are dead) what would you do?
A: Try to not tell anyone?
B: write ”I am sparkling silver what does it mean” on a public internet forum and for good measure tell people at school.

What really unnerved me though is the following: It is not ok to make a creep into the love interest. Creepy is creepy. Basta. I mean come on, the MC fucking fears Finn, he irritates her, she’s afraid of him, but that is all cast aside, dismissed as soon as she remembers how beautiful he is? How can it actually be ok to advice teenage girls to not listen to their own instincts? I loathe it when authors are implying that girls shouldn’t think about their own fears because Prince Charming is just that beautiful and charismatic. No man/boy should be above a girl’s right to decline. But this book tells girls that voicing their discomfort is of no importance, that it’s better to feel awkward and submissive then to voice your fear. She knows the guy only by sight but he’s popping up in her hospital room at night, creeps up on her in a room at school and surprisingly comes to her rescue out of the blue. And now he wants to tag along? Creepy much? But hey it’s ok because he is Irish and has those good looks????

Do you mind if I tag along? I’d like to see what you do.”
“No, you wouldn’t,” I said with a dismissive wave.
“Yes,” he said, opening his car door. “I would.”
I got out and crossed my arms. “Why? What is up with you?”
“What kind of foreign policy is it not to show a visitor your customs and culture?” Finn laughed, which sparked some irritation in me. I wanted to walk away, but his gravity pulled me out of my own tight orbit.
He raked his hands through his wild hair, the kind of hair that wanted to be messed. Why was I suddenly imagining leaving rows in it with my fingers?

Because Finn is the hot exchange student from Ireland not even Cora’s cousin and best friend Mari intervenes after she faints and Finn declares that he will take her home. 

“Ready to go?” “I’ll take her home,” Finn said. “She’ll be okay with me.”
Mari’s eyes glinted. “I’m sure she’s in good hands.”

Are you fucking kidding me? A girl that has had a near death experience the week before and was in the hospital for days faints and you just let her go with an almost stranger because he is so hot? Don’t call an ambulance, don’t call her father, don’t be afraid for her, because she will be okay with a foreign stranger. Makes perfect sense. In real life a girl might as easily end up murdered in some dark alley with her body parts tossed into some trash can! But no it’s love, I am sorry I ranted.

“You know I am. Mad in love! It’s fookin’ insane. I talked to my mother last night after what happened at your house. She’s angry at me forbecoming so involved and for sneaking into your room and jeopardizing you. I know—I’m not good for you. I have to go home, Cora. My flight for Ireland leaves tonight.”

Back in Edward and Bella fanfic-territory: She is just that special. Her love changed him. Now he has to leave her. You might think that finally she might voice her feelings. Oh but you are so wrong:

Worry radiated from my center, up to my chest, closing off my throat. I swallowed hard. Had I done something to him? I was simply trying to give him love last night, from my soul to his, but maybe because I was this silver aberration I had inadvertently affected him badly.
(…)
Then, the truth I couldn’t hold back any longer. “I love you.”
“I’m not the same person since I met you. You’ve affected me forever.”(Finn)

Awful!