Saturday, August 29, 2015

ARC Week 4 and Final Update - From Where I Watch You and The Wanderers

Here is my final update for ARC August hosted by Octavia and Shelly from Read, Sleep, Repeat. My goal was to read twelve ARCs this month. Including this week, I was able to read fourteen ARCs. Yay! There is only one book (Hunter) being published on September 1 that I was not able to finish. I am reading it right now, so hopefully I will be able to finish it and post a review for that one this week. I consider ARC August pretty successful.

Here are mini-reviews of a couple of ARCs that I finished this week:

Title And Author: From Where I Watch You by Shannon Grogan
Source: Edelweiss
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Goodreads Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Kara McKinley is about to realize her dream of becoming a professional baker -- if she wins the upcoming national baking competition. But the past holds many secrets, and they come to light as Kara faces a secret terror. Someone is leaving her handwritten notes. Someone who knows exactly where she is and what’s she’s doing. As they lead her to piece together the events that preceded her sister's terrible, life-changing betrayal years before, she starts to catch glimpses of her dead sister. If Kara doesn’t figure out who her stalker is, and soon, she could lose everything. Her chance of escape. The boy she’s beginning to love and trust. Even her life.

Review: I really thought food would be featured more prominently in this book. But alas, Kara's baking was just a side not to a storyline about a stalker and a family still grieving. Oh, and there's a really bland kind of love triangle thrown in there too. I kept reading this book because of the mystery behind who was sending the notes. But after reading for a while, I realized something: I was way more interested in finding out who the stalker was than Kara. She never, ever gives a single thought as to who is stalking her. There was part of the mystery that I figured out early on, but the actual identity of the guy was surprise. But I thought the reasoning behind his obsession with Kara and the stalking was actually pretty flimsy. It was kind of anti-climactic. And then there was Charlie, her boyfriend. He was a guy she apparently loved since 5th grade, despite the fact that they never went out and rarely spoke. Their relationship was just boring and I really didn't understand what Charlie saw in Kara. They would kiss or get close, she would start a fight with him and yell and they wouldn't talk for days. Eventually, he would forgive her for yelling or whatever and the cycle would start all over again. But sure, they loved each other after two conversations, one fight, and one kiss. There was kind of a love triangle, but I didn't get it. She hadn't even started dating Charlie yet, but she felt guilty when she kissed this other guy. Oh the drama. Buy/Borrow/Skip: Skip this one!

Title And Author: The Wanderers by Kate Ormand
Source: Edelweiss
Scheduled Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Goodreads Synopsis: Flo travels with a popular circus in which the main acts star orphaned children with secret shape-shifting abilities. In Flo’s world, shifters are unknown to humans with the exception of a secret organization—the EOS, referred to as “hunters.” Hunters capture and kill. Up until now, the circus was the perfect disguise. Flo makes a mistake during her performance in front of the audience—a mistake that triggers a violent attack from the hunters. Flo manages to flee the torched circus grounds with a few of the other members of the circus. Together they begin a new journey, alone in a world they don’t understand and don’t know how to navigate. On the run, they unravel secrets and lies that surround the circus and their lives—secrets and lies that all point to the unthinkable: Have they been betrayed by the people they trusted most?

Review: You wouldn't think that a book about shape shifters would bore me, but that's exactly what happened. This book took me several days to finish, mainly because I felt no urge to go back to it. One thing that I disliked was the world building. I was imagining magical descriptions of the circus and the atmosphere and what it was like to shift. I didn't get any of that. The author gave some half-hearted descriptions of the circus, but it was mainly told from backstage where Flo was observing. And there was almost no description of shifting, nor were there any distinguishing qualities between the humans and their animal selves. When they humans did shift, it seemed like it was just another skin. There was no difference in their thoughts or actions and they were aware of everything around them. It was a bit boring. This book didn't pick up until the 40% mark. It is at that point in the book that the hunters find the shifters. The scene where Flo and some of the others fled the burning circus grounds was fast paced and kept me engaged. The characters were a bit underdeveloped. There was a romance between Flo and Jett, but it was more on the back burner. Good thing because they were boring together, despite the fact that she was a horse and he was a bear. Yeah, it takes more than shifting to make a couple exciting. In the beginning, there was almost no explanation given as to what happened to the parents of the shifters. The elders simply brought children to the circus when they were as young as two or three years old and gave no explanation. Later in the book, there were a few secrets and twists regarding their parents. Flo acted like she was shocked and traumatized by this information, despite the fact that she had never questioned the location of her parents up until that point. I did not buy her sudden outpouring of emotion. The last part of this book had plenty of action and a surprisingly high body count. There were also countless secondary characters that were introduced in the last half of the book that added absolutely nothing to the story. It's such a shame about this one because it had so much potential. Buy/Borrow/Skip: Skip this one!


  1. Oh NO, this is sadness for sure. Especially The Wanderers- I LOVE Kate and was really excited to read this one. The first one looked like... not a book for me from the start, so that doesn't break my heart, but The Wanderers does!

    But GOOD JOB on ARC August!! That's awesome! And lovely reviews, even though they are a bit sad-making ;)
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    1. Thanks so much Shannon! I haven't read any of Kate Ormand, but I loved the premise of this one. It is such a shame because there was so much potential.

  2. Eek! It sounds like you need a good 5 star book in your future! I love the cover for The Wanderers and the synopsis sounds so good. It is one that I might still check out, but by the sounds of it, I will probably feel the same as you.

    1. Oh you are so right! The books I have been reading lately have been so blah.

  3. Well we're glad you powered through and gave us reviews :)

  4. Wow. That's a good reading month! Wish I could get through a many books! And your trip sounds wonderful. Have a good time.