By: Melanie | July 6, 2015 | (55) Comments

Hello, you book nerds! The time has come for another post filled with mini reviews. It is also in which I showcase my excellent skill called inconsistency because some of the mini reviews are the tiniest things ever whereas some turned out being essays. Whoops. SUCH FAIL.

Aaaaaanywayyy, I’ve been having some pretty bad luck with my Netgalley reads as of the late, seeing as only 1 out of the 6 books I have here I (somewhat) liked. This post consists of all Netgalley books, which is funny because I didn’t plan for it to be that way at all when writing up this post. Okay so I’ll shut up now before I say anymore useless things.

Thank you to Flux, St. Martin’s Griffin, Bantam Press, Poppy, Disney Hyperion and Hodder & Stoughton for sending me these copies for review!



Dating Down by Stefanie Lyons
DNF at 15%
Goodreads | Purchase

I put Dating Down down (hah!) at 15% because it just simply wasn’t working for me and between the first few pages, I read 2 other books. It’s told completely in verse, and while I normally don’t have any qualms when reading verse (case example: The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan), this one is just not keeping my attention at all. It felt more like reading randomly broken up sentences that possessed no emotion as opposed to smooth, lyrical poetry, which was just plain awkward. I also found it really hard to understand what was going on, too, which is most likely linked back to me finding it hard to read on.

I’m sure this one will work for many others (as I can tell by looking at all the Goodreads ratings by friends and the rest of the community) who want to read about the hurt that love brings as well as the healing, but this just isn’t my cup of tea.


Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout

Goodreads | Purchase

Hello, I hate you. Goodbye. *slams door in book’s face*

If you want a novel with (a proper representation of) Korean culture mixed with ultimate cuteness and likeable characters, I suggest you turn around and leave right now. Why? Because this has none of that. Sure, there are a few cute moments… but then the book takes it a step too far which results it coming off as cheesy and cliche. However, the main reason of this was because of how unlikeable the main character, Grace, is. She’s a music snob, completely ignorant of the Korean culture, rude, insensitive and awfully judgemental. Anymore synonyms for just a total jerk face? I swear, everything that comes out of her mouth has to be an insult to either: the Korean culture, the guy she likes, her own goddamn family etc.

Let’s take this for example, where the main character (I forgot her name already) is in class learning about the formality rules in the Korean culture:

“Why are there so many different levels of formality?” I ask Jason, praying he’s feeling gracious. “I don’t get it.”

“It has to do with respect,” he says, shocking me. “You want to give respect to people who have authority over you or are older.”

“Okay, I get that, but seven levels? Really?”

He doesn’t answer.

“It’s dumb” pops out of my mouth before I can stop it, and I mentally kick myself.

Seriously?? I just. What. No.

And let’s not forget how the novel reads as if it’s spoon feeding the reader all the information, and constantly stating the obvious. Ugh. I mean, I’M NOT STUPID OKAY, I CAN DRAW SIMPLE CONCLUSIONS MYSELF THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

On second thought, maybe I am stupid because I picked this book up. WHY, MEL, WHY?!

If you want to read something that has a similar idea to Hello, I Love You but is actually decent, try Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins instead. Unlike this book, we get a proper representation of the culture in which the MC is travelling to.


The Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen
Goodreads | Purchase

I actually went into this book expecting to not like it due to the huge number of negative reviews from my trusted Goodreads friends, but I did have a review copy so I thought: why not? And well, I finished it feeling rather surprised – I quite like this one, overall.

If you know me, you know I hate hate HATE fantasy novels that are slow paced because they’re boooooring and when I read fantasy books, I expect action, intrigue, suspense! And while this book does start out to be on the slow side of things, Johansen makes it so easy to be sucked right in. Before I knew it, I was up at 1am on a school night still flicking through the pages. The main character, Kelsea, is a young woman who I seriously admire. She’s witty, genuine, strong and is always trying to make a stand for herself, and I really appreciated that in her.

It’s a bit hard to categorise The Queen of Tearling into just one genre, it’s a fantasy with a medieval era feel but actually a post-apocalyptic/dystopian novel? And that’s where I took stars off in terms of my rating. I felt like this book was exploring way too much for just the first instalment, and I would’ve liked to see just more development on the political aspect and world building. ESPECIALLY the latter, in fact. I must agree with everyone else that the world building is poor, but I have hopes that Johansen will smooth it over in the next instalment.

There’s very little romance in this book – I can see a nod towards a ship happening in the future books and well, I AM SO READY FOR IT. I love my slow burns 😀

In all, if you’re willing to look past the flaws, here’s a really solid fantasy series that I am sure will only get more brilliant as it progresses.


Those Girls by Lauren Saft
DNF at 12% 
Goodreads | Purchase

Blurgh, this book. Of course, I can’t properly judge it seeing as I only read up to 12% but looking at all the other ratings on Goodreads, it simply looks like there’s no point in continuing. All this book did was make me feel all kinds of levels of pissed. I get that the book was trying to go for a Courtney Summers-esque feel but nope, the characters in this book felt awfully forced, shallow and flat-out mean, while they could have been layered and messed-up on a three-dimensional level (i.e. like Courtney Summers’ books). Perhaps, if I liked the three toxic main characters more, I would have stuck with this book – but instead I felt completely indifferent towards them. Ain’t nobody got time to read about privileged, spoiled brats who can’t seem to know how to do anything else other than being that.


Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
Goodreads | Purchase

Why I’m only giving Witch Hunter 1.5 stars:

1. The main character is “one of the best witch hunters in Anglia” MY ASS. If you’re telling me that she’s one of the best witch hunters why do all we see from the very beginning is Elizabeth make fail after fail? I get that people make mistakes, but honestly, if you’re gonna tell me that this chick is the most badass hunter in town you gotta sell it to me. At least once. I DON’T ASK FOR MUCH.

2. The main character is annoying as fuck. Not only is this girl totally not badass, she’s as interesting as a blank piece of paper. It’s been less than a week and I had to check the blurb for the main character’s name because I keep on forgetting it because of her bland personality. She can’t do anything to save herself and has no thoughts of her own. Oh apart from her constant obsession that are her two love interests.

3. That’s right, there’s a love triangle. Great, right? I dislike this book even more now. And of course one of them has to be her childhood best friend. <.<

4. The plot is totally lacking. I found myself wanting to doze off during this one because of how bored I found myself. The plot remains as simplistic throughout and well, under-developed. There are so many plot holes and pretty much zero world building. It’s amazing that this book even fails to answer one of the simplest of questions: why is magic banned? I mean, if you’re going to write a story based on that it would be smart to explain the history behind it for starters. Just sayin’.


Watch the Sky by Kirsten Hubbard
Goodreads | Purchase

I’ve heard so much praise of Kirsten Hubbard’s Wanderlove that when I saw this one on Netgalley, I lept at the opportunity to try out her newest middle grade novel, Watch the Sky. I just want to say that I’m sure this will work really well for people in that age group, because the author masterfully tells an intriguing tale whilst introducing many dark themes such as mental health issues, which while they’re never explicitly said out loud, can be easily interpreted.

However, I did just not find myself enjoying this book. I really struggled to connect with the main character, Jory, who lives with his step father, two younger siblings – one who refuses to speak and his mother. His character fell on the boring side as it was lacking.

I was originally planning on giving this book 3 stars but the ending was rushed, anti-climatic and unrealistic for my tastes. Even though I didn’t end up enjoying this book, Kirsten Hubbard’s writing is something I want to read more of so there’s no doubt I will be trying out Wanderlove soon!

And that’s it for today! Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts on them?

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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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55 Responses to Mini Reviews: The Netgalley Roundup

  1. I don’t normally read books written in verse, and hell, I often really dislike “lyrical” writing, so the trying-to-be-lyrical-but-ends-up-being-unreadable writing? Nope, definitely not for me.

    I TOTALLY AGREE WITH EVERYTHING YOU SAID ABOUT HELLO, I LOVE YOU. That book… *chokes it* *stabs it* *hits it with a brick*

    I was at the bookstore yesterday and I held The Queen of the Tearling for about fifteen minutes before deciding to put it down, and I TOTALLY REGRET THAT DECISION. Slow burn romances?? A respectable heroine?? Hell yeah I’m in.

    Same thoughts on The Witch Hunter. Elizabeth was bo-ring. And the romance got on my nerves SO MUCH because neither love interest was awesome and I kind of hated them both.
    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings recently posted…Weekly Recap #10: More Books and Music ObsessionsMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      RIGHT HELLO I LOVE YOU CAN GO DIE IN THAT CORNER OVER THERE. Noooooo Aimee you should have totally bought it D: There’s always next time 😉

  2. I read The Queen of the Tearling last month and really liked it too! I wasn’t sure what to expect thanks to all the negative reviews but I was really pleasantly surprised! I have a review copy of book 2 which I’m really excited about starting. 🙂

    • Melanie says:

      It’s always a nice surprise when you read a book and end up liking it way more than you thought. That’s exciting! I hope you enjoy it, Nicole <33

  3. I did persevere with Those Girls….but it really didn’t work for me unfortunately 🙁 I’ve heard similar things about Hello, I Love You from other bloggers so I’m probably going to keep away from that one, but The Queen of Tearling does look like something I may like. Thanks for sharing some great reviews Mel 🙂
    Eugenia @ Genie In A Book recently posted…Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie OakesMy Profile

  4. Claire says:

    Ugh. Netgalley reads are totally hits or misses. For each one I love, a get one I have to slug through. Hope your next round inspires you to make some full reviews! 🙂
    Claire recently posted…That’s All Folks 1. Hippies and Debate ClassMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Haha, I don’t use NG all that much now because I can barely keep up with the physical copies – I think in general I have to read a bunch of ‘meh’ books before I get a real good one.

  5. Haven’t read all of this, but I originally want to buy Witch Hunter. It seems pretty interesting from the summary, but when I read your review, I’m glad I didn’t buy it. Love triangle is so not my thing!

    I read many negative reviews about Hello, I Love You, so I probably won’t read it. Anyway, great review, Mel!
    Tiffany @ The Bookish Thought recently posted…Review : The Fill-in Boyfriend by Kasie WestMy Profile

  6. Aw, it looks like a bad month for Netgalley ARCs! I hope you get to read better books next time 🙂
    Kim @ Divergent Gryffindor recently posted…June Wrap-UpMy Profile

  7. AHH. THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING. How I have mixed opinion of that book. But the vague worldbuilding just irritated me — LIKE, WHAT EVEN WAS THAT WORLD? I NEED MORE EXPLANATIONS — but yeah, the romance has great promise I think 🙂
    Kara @ Diary of a Teen Writer recently posted…Sunday Weekly Wrap Up (66) & Stacking the Shelves (46) || An Accumulation of BooksMy Profile

  8. Naban says:

    Good god, I think Hello, I Love You is going to be one of those books I avoid simply because of the reviews. I haven’t met a single person who doesn’t have problems with it and blegh. I’ve been meaning to read the Queen of the Tearling but I don’t know, hmm.

    • Melanie says:

      Right? Hello I Love You is such a train wreck. Talk about the failed hype. Do read Queen of Tearling! It’s a hit or miss, so I hope you end up liking it.

  9. Oh boy. It sure didn’t sound like you had a successful go at it, anyway. I hope your next choices will be better than these ones. Lol.
    Joy // Joyousreads recently posted…[541]: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina GeorgeMy Profile

  10. Sorry to hear about your round of bad luck. The only one of these I’ve read is Witch Hunter. It had all of the ingredients I usually love, but I just didn’t mesh with the main character. I think she was a bit emotionally stunted. I totally agree about her supposedly kicking butt but not. Don’t tell me she’s tough and then show me a wimp!
    Molly Mortensen recently posted…The Shadow Revolution By Clay Griffith and Susan GriffithMy Profile

  11. hehe, I pretty much have heard ALL THES THINGS about these books and decided not to read them already. XD BUT YOU CONFIRMED IT SO YES. THANKS. Omg, but the Korean book makes me endlessly sad because I want more books set in other countries. 🙁 I loved Anna and I was kind of excited for another version of it, but bleh. Nope. And I pretty much had the same thoughts on Queen of the Tearling! I wish it’d just been fantasy. It totally threw me when they started reading Harry Potter. o.O
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…Does Author Behaviour Influence Your Opinion of Their Books?My Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Haha LOL I wish I heard them earlier myself! Yeah, I wish TEARLING just stuck with one genre and went with it, but it ended up trying to be all these kinds of things and it was confusing.

  12. It’s interesting that the book you didn’t think you’d like ended up being the only one you DID kind of like. Thanks for sharing! Sorry so many of these didn’t work for you.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Six 2015 Books to Check OutMy Profile

  13. Angel says:

    I’ll still read Hello, I Love You just because of the negative reviews MWAHAHAHAHAHA
    Angel recently posted…ARC REVIEW: The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi // PLUS, Book Quotes!My Profile

  14. Laura W says:

    I found The Queen of the Tearling a bit hard to get into at first as well but it is a good solid fantasy. I’m hoping in the next book the author will elaborate more on the whole Crossing business and what exactly is the history. Great reviews! 😀

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks
    Laura W recently posted…Review Friday: Extraordinary Means by Robyn SchneiderMy Profile

  15. Hilary says:

    I want to read Queen of the Tearling but urgh, some of the ratings are meh.
    OH MAN, Hello I Love You. Just reading the reviews already made me not want to read it. Talk about an egotistical main character.
    Hilary recently posted…Review: Fairest by Marissa MeyerMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Do consider trying it, girl! I think it’s worth a go personally. Haha right? Hello I Love You is a total pain in the ass. AVOID AVOID AVOID

  16. Ah a shame about Dating Down, but sometimes reading in verse can be quite jarring.

    I am totally wiping Hello I love You off the list as well. Because gosh, Grace sounds terrible and it kind of sounds like a terrible representation of Korean culture.

    I have been needing to pick up Queen of Tearling for ages, but all the bad reviews scared me off! I think I might like it though, I just need to prepare for the slowness.

    Too bad about the Witch Hunter, I’ve heard some pretty meh things and I just don’t want to pick it up.

    Watch the Sky is on my radar though, because I love books about mental health, especially when told convincingly.

    Great mini reviews Mel!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider Review: Conflicted EmotionsMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Oh yes, excellent choice, Jeann! No point in wasting your time with that ole one. Do go into TEARLING open mindedly and you may find yourself surprised! If you ever read Watch the Sky, I hope it goes better for you than it was for me xD

  17. Johanna Richards says:

    Oh what the heck my comment just disappeared ugh.

    Anyway like I was saying, I think I’m going to pass on all of these after reading your helpful mini reviews. Even though you liked The Queen of Tearling, I honestly don’t think it’d be for me because I’m not even a big fan of fantasy in the first place.

    LOL Hello I Love U sounds like such a fail and a pain in the ass. I would have loved to punch the main character in the face. No one should dare to say such things about other people’s culture to their faces.

    Great minis Mel 😉

    • Melanie says:

      GAH! Stupid wordpress <.< Yeah if you're not keen on TEARLING, there's a high chance you won't like it. Oh wells. Yeah, it certainly is a pain in the ass! I can't believe I bothered to keep up with it till the end ._. Thanks Johanna!

  18. Amelia K says:

    I thought you were going to like Watch the Sky, so 🙁 I really loved Wanderlove by her so do check that one out and I hope you have better luck with it!

  19. Rashika says:

    OMG HELLO, I LOVE YOU. That book was PAINFUL. The only reason I didn’t DNF it or rate it 1 star was because I became strangely addicted to it after a while….

    It definitely misrepresents Korean culture and it’s so offensive. I mean for starters, the MC clearly as no interesting in understanding the culture, she is just a whiny baby. I mean it could be culture shock and I understand culture shock but she was just obnoxious. UGH

    Also i am sorry to hear Watch The Sky didn’t work out for as well as it could have. I ahve the book and plan on reading it soon so hopefully, I’ll have better luck *crosses fingers*

    Lovely minis, Melanie!! 🙂
    Rashika recently posted…Top 5 Underhyped Books on My Summer and Fall TBRMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Haha I did find it easy to reach the end. The terribleness of the book was somewhat addicting. We’re really sadistic, no?

      I am curious to read your thoughts on Watch the Sky!

      Thank you, Rashika <33

  20. I have an ARC of Dating Down! It’s sleeping somewhere in my kindle. It sounds interesting, but I never got the chance to take it up. Maybe I should, soon!
    Don’t let me start on Witch Hunter! It was probably one of the most underwhelming books I’ve ever read! Elizabeth was whiny, the whole story was boring, and I don’t even get the whole concept of her being a witch in the first place!
    And my e-ARC missed all the “T”s and “H”s! It gave me a headache!
    Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales recently posted…Announcing a new event – Learnt it the Hard Way!My Profile

    • Melanie says:

      I’m curious to see what you think of Dating Down! Maybe you’ll find it more your cup of tea xD Oh dear… really? Mine didn’t have any missing t’s or h’s thank god. Otherwise I would have totally DNFed it.

  21. UGHHH Hello, I Love You. I got rid of that book as soon as I finished the last page.

    Yeah, I put The Witch Hunter down after reading two pages O_O It was so boring right from the start!
    Kayla @ The Thousand Lives recently posted…The Thousand Lives Turns Two!My Profile

  22. Alise says:

    Looks like I’ll be taking some of these off my TBR xD I think the other ones I have heard of were Dating Down and Hello I Love You. I want to love books but struggle with them so much, and that really sucks that Korean culture was treated like that in Hello I Love You. I think I will still check out The Queen of Tearling because it does sound like it has potential. But slow pacing gahhh. Nice mini reviews!
    Alise recently posted…Mini Review: Hex Hall by Rachel HawkinsMy Profile

  23. Danni Mae says:

    Haha, I love these puns! I haven’t had a lot of luck with Netgalley in the past, either. If I look down my list, it’s almost a solid three stars. I’ve called a moratorium on it for now. Thanks for visiting my blog! Following you now via feedly (so long as this pun thing is a consistent =P )

  24. Out of all of these, it is Hello I Love You that is the most disappointing. I had so much hope when I originally saw it. The setting is different and there is some diversity promised by the synopsis. I have read numerous reviews that told of its epic failure.
    I have a copy of The Witch Hunter, so I will at least give that one a proper go.
    Suzi Q, The Book Dame recently posted…Kindle Kandy No. 9My Profile

  25. Those Girls? *shudders* I couldn’t finish it either. Plus I got spoiled for the ending so, you know, there’s really NO point in trying because I would NOT be able to read through all that drama.

    I’m in two minds about the rest of the book you’ve mentioned so thanks for warning me what to look out for! I’m not sure I’m even going to pick up the Trustwitch. It just doesn’t sound good and I’ve heard positively DREADFUL things about it.
    Rachel @ Rachel’s Reading Corner recently posted…ARC Review: MadlyMy Profile

  26. Lyn Kaye says:

    I have (sadly) read The Witch Hunter. Yeah, I so agree with you. I never understood why she was “the best”. I never saw it.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Book Review: Ready Player OneMy Profile

  27. Ha, no one has liked Those Girls. I can completely understand why you DNF’d it. I actually did finish it and it did NOT get any better. I could MAYBE have forgiven all the meanness and slut shaming and toxic behavior if there had been SOME kind of character development at the end. But nope, not so much. None of the characters learned anything.
    Cynthia @ Bingeing On Books recently posted…5 Word Mini-Reviews: The Girl on the Train, In a Handful of Dust, Alice and the Fly, Hollow CityMy Profile

  28. That is one sad Netgalley haul – I mean they sounded like great books, but it must be disappointing that none of them turned out great. And wow, I knew Hello, I Love You was bad, but I didn’t know it was that bad O.O I hope you have better luck with your next haul!
    Preethi @ Time Turning Reads recently posted…SBPT15 Stop #2 – Stephanie from Ohana ReadsMy Profile

  29. Olivia Roach says:

    Those Girls is a book I haven’t heard a single positive thing about so I am SO glad I passed up the opportunity to read that one. I am hoping to read Queen of Tearling and am glad to see you liked it more than expected. Oh, and I wanted to try Hello, I love You but I have been hearing a lot of bad things about it, especially the main character as you mentioned. Such a shame :/
    Olivia Roach recently posted…Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Review)My Profile

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