THE WRATH AND THE DAWN BY RENEE ALDIEH
I wanted to like this book, I really did. This book is a retelling of the Arabian Nights story. A lot of people seemed to enjoy this retelling but once she abandoned her original mission and became a lovesick puppy, the whole thing plummeted down the ground. While I don't mind drscriptive books that much, I was getting tired of reading what she was wearing or what she was doing that had nothing to do with her "revenge" arc. It only picks up at the last 30 pages or so but there wasn't sufficient build up. Even the relationship she forms with the king didn't have much of a basis. I would rather read about her lady-in-waiting and the other soldier.
VINEGAR GIRL BY ANNE TYLER
I was really surprised that a retelling of Taming of the Shrew was written by someone who didn't like Taming of the Shrew. I felt that the narrative could have gone in a million other directions but it did not make sense that it took this route. The narrative and the personality of the characters contradict each other that it becomes hard to believe that any of these would transpire at all. I was really looking forward for this retelling but was sorely disappointed.
WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT BY APRIL GENEVIEVE TUCHOLKE
For a book with a pretty cover, there wasn't much substance into it. I found it senseless and confusing. The characters were trying to be tough or ethereal but somehow they would also contradict theirselves. The way the story ended seemed like a a scream for help; the author got stuck and just burrowed her way out of the mess by throwing in insane events to keep the story going.
172 HOURS ON THE MOON BY JOHAN HARSTAD
There was this storytelling game I played on my phone where a man was stuck on the moon and there was something else on the moon with him - the purpose was to get him out safely. The premise of this reminded me of that game, and I was looking froward for the eery, creepy parts. Unfortunately this was all over the place. The book is about three teens winning this contest to go to the moon but when they get there all is not what it seems. This book doesn't deliver on the creepy factor and resorts to "character development" on narrating the story. I was surprised that I was already 70% done with the book and they weren't even on the moon yet. The characters were also all over the place, with the author injecting traits or non-essential storylines to make them interesting. I wanted this to be so good, it even had a "The Martian"-like escape journey to it! This had so much potential, but maybe the greatness of this book got lost in translation.
ARMADA BY ERNEST CLINE
Banking on the popularity of Ready Player One, Armada seems like its sister in terms of theme. It's video games meet Ender's Game, where the main character find out that video games are a simulation to train people how to fight in an impending war. This also had potential but it could have used a lot of polishing. There's a forced romance arc, a family arc that doesn't get a satisfying end, and while the video game reality is good, it lacked the world building to support the setting. There was also a lack of emotion from the characters that made them distant to the narrative.