Multiple Mini Swarms: How bizarre, how bizarre

Posted 13 June, 2014 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | Review | 10 Comments

VIVIAN DIVINE IS DEAD by Lauren Sabel
YA Romantic Suspense
288 pages, hardcover
Available now (June 2014)
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

When a death threat arrives with teen celebrity Vivian Divine’s fan mail, Vivian has no choice but to go on the run to Mexico. She soon discovers, though, that her Oscar-nominated performance killing villains on-screen did nothing to prepare her for escaping a madman in real life. Some people say he’s a hero, others tremble in his presence, but one thing is clear: he won’t stop until Vivian is in his grasp. Why didn’t she pay more attention during those judo lessons for her role in Zombie Killer?

Vivian finds an ally in the mysterious and charming Nick. He is everything Hollywood boys are not-genuine, kind, and determined to see Vivian for who she really is. But even he seems like he can’t be trusted-what could he be hiding?

Beat up, hungry, and more confused than ever about who she’s running from, Vivian is living in a real-life blockbuster horror flick. But there’s no option to yell “cut” like there is on set….

I’ll admit it: the reason I wanted this book was because of the cover. I don’t know what it is but it’s just so eye-catching! The inside, on the other hand, isn’t bad but it isn’t as stunning as the cover. Teen celebrity Vivian has lived her life in the spotlight for a very long time. Then she gets a death threat that sends her running. The whole story’s pretty fast-paced, as Vivian races around Mexico, trying to keep ahead of those trying to kill her. I’m having a hard time talking about this story because it’s kind of odd and I don’t want to give anything away, should you choose to read it. I wasn’t a big fan of Nick, the love interest. Kind of a punk, actually. It’s enjoyable but…just one of those books.

THE WICKED WE HAVE DONE (Chaos Theory #1) by Sarah Harian
NA Dystopian
272 pages, ebook
Available now (March 2014)
Publisher: Penguin/InterMix
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

Evalyn Ibarra never expected to be an accused killer and experimental prison test subject. A year ago, she was a normal college student. Now she’s been sentenced to a month in the compass room—an advanced prison obstacle course designed by the government to execute justice.

If she survives, the world will know she’s innocent.

Locked up with nine notorious and potentially psychotic criminals, Evalyn must fight the prison and dismantle her past to stay alive. But the system prized for accuracy appears to be killing at random.

She doesn’t plan on making friends.

She doesn’t plan on falling in love, either.

This one was pretty weird. Evalyn killed someone and now she’s part of this experiment where she’s thrown in this obstacle course that shows people their crimes and deepest fears. The theory is that, if they survive it, they’re “clean” of their crimes. Even if they really did them. The teens form groups and, of course, some of those groups turn deadly. People are killed, craziness ensues.  It was just…bizarre; a mish-mash of hot titles (Hunger Games, Divergent) and scientific woo-woo (kind of virtual reality except they were really there). The writing was there but the story left me scratching my head.

PANIC by Lauren Oliver
408 pages, hardcover
Available now (March 2014)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

What the hell are these kids thinking? I mean, I get that there’s nothing to do in their town but playing this crazy game of dare (aka Panic) for some money? People die. Okay, I liked the atmosphere and the characters were well drawn (of course. It’s a story by Lauren Oliver.). But I just couldn’t get into this story. I kept wanting to put on my teacher hat and scold these kids for being so stupidly reckless. And, because I had that reaction, I’m sure there are plenty of young adults who will love this book.

ROYALLY LOST by Angie Stanton
336 pages, paperback
Available now (May 2014)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

Dragged on a family trip to Europe’s ancient cities, Becca wants nothing more than to go home. Trapped with her emotionally distant father, over-eager stepmother, and a brother who only wants to hook up with European hotties, Becca is miserable. That is until she meets Nikolai, a guy as mysterious as he is handsome. And she unknowingly finds herself with a runaway prince.

Nikolai has everything a guy could ask for-he’s crown prince, heir to the throne, and girls adore him. But the one thing he doesn’t have…is freedom. Staging a coup, he flees his kingdom and goes undercover on his own European tour.

When Nikolai and Becca meet, it’s their differences that draw them together. Sparks fly as they share a whirlwind of adventures, all the while dodging his royal guard. But Becca’s family vacation ends in a matter of days. Will Nikolai and Becca be forced to say goodbye forever, will his destiny catch up to him, or will they change history forever?

I had such high hopes for this story. A runaway prince, a regular girl on vacation with her family in Europe…it had all the hallmarks of a perfect summer read. Except…it was so boring. Spoiled, bratty Nikolai runs away from his responsibilities and, by pure chance, keeps running into spoiled, bratty Becca who doesn’t want to spend any time with her family. I read the whole story but only because I kept hoping there would be a spark, a glimmer of the promise this premise had. Alas… *sigh*

About Mary @ TheBookSwarm

10 Responses to “Multiple Mini Swarms: How bizarre, how bizarre”

  1. Aww…sorry that none of these really seemed to hit the spot with you. Royally Lost does look cute. And I agree, the cover for Vivian Divine is Dead is pretty! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Ergh, Royally Lost sounds like one I should steer clear of. I really dislike spoiled, bratty characters, especially if there isn’t something else in the story to make up for it (do they at least learn to be less spoiled and bratty by the end? lol). I think I would have the same problem as you did with Panic…I mean, it sounds like it could be compelling and exciting but at the same time I think I might be facepalming and going, “WHYYYYY are you doing that????”

  3. These sounds like major mood killer reads. i read Panic and had to DNF it half way in because even though i’m seventeen i couldn’t get over the studpidty of everything they were doing or how the cops never managed to just stop it. it seemed silly. I kind of had a feeling Royally lost would be a bummer but i’m upset you had to go through that lol
    Hopefully your next few reads are WAY better!

  4. I’m sorry, it sounds like they were all pretty meh and so-so; I hate when that happens
    But hopefully your next reads will be loads better.
    and yeah, I’m including Panic in this “meh” category because that’s pretty much how I feel about her books, sadly 🙁

  5. I have to agree that the premises of most of these titles was quite strange and the execution fell flat, so I’m avoiding them all. Sadly, I’ve already read and didn’t enjoy Royally Lost at all. It was just…disappointing. Wonderful reviews, Mary!

  6. Eh, I wasn’t a huge fan of THE WICKED THEY HAVE DONE, either. Cool premise, but I felt like the story and writing were all over the place. A shame since we need more NA that aren’t contemporary romances. I’m curious about VIVIAN and PANIC, though.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  7. VIVIAN doesn’t sound too good. I just read another not so great review for it, and my excitement for it has dimmed considerably. PANIC was a DNF for me—I expected more from Lauren Oliver. I was also excited for ROYALLY LOST until I read the horrible reviews for it. Gah!

  8. I DNF’d the last one at 15%. I just could NOT handle Becca. When she went to McDonalds instead of checking out the awesome city she was in, I lost it. The rest, I’m not sure are for me either. Lauren Oliver makes me nervous, after the Delirium series nightmare and I haven’t heard great things about Vivian, even though that cover is pretty. Sorry none of these rocked your world either :(.