Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Jesse 2.0 by Annabelle Jay

What if you aren’t the only you?

Shy and studious Maddy Stone faces just that question. Months ago he lost his boyfriend, Jesse, to suicide, and now he’s volunteering at a psychiatric hospital. When he intervenes to save a man there, he’s shocked to find a face he recognizes. It’s Jesse, who explains that he’s been cloned… by Maddy’s father. And when the reproduction technology duplicated him, he was ordered to avoid Maddy at all costs. Breaking that rule puts them both in danger.

Maddy, his girlfriend, Georgia, and Jesse—who Maddy calls Jesse 2.0—are on the run. But as the secrets continue to come to light, Maddy is faced with a decision—continue with his life or be the Maddy he was before technology intervened.

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Harmony Ink Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I'm on the fence between three and four stars.

Anabelle Jay is a new-to-me author.

Jesse 2.0 is an interesting tale, set in a fast-paced novella. Madison is working at a clinic when he sees the last person on the planet he ever expected to see. Jesse. The love of his life who committed suicide and died.

The novella is slightly difficult to follow, a bit chaotic with the influx of information being lobbed at the readers, so fast that it's hard to digest it or make sure it even makes sense before being hit with the next revelation.

Set in a futuristic world a hundred+ years from now, it's not cloning per se. I came up with a better way to describe it – the author had the main characters debate it using a painting, when I wished they would have used a book instead. Copies of the same book are still the book itself. No one will ever say you didn't read the book because it's not the writer's personal manuscript. But to describe the process of the 'cloning,' I will use a fax machine. When you fax a paper, you retain the original, and the recipient now has a copy – the information it contains no less valuable or real because it's not the original. This is Jesse 2.0...

Teleportation is the advancement that led to the discovery of cloning humans. The dead could be duplicated, alive when they are teleported to a new location. (I think that's what the idea was.) However, when a live person teleports, they don't end up with two of themselves – hundreds if they teleport all the time. While I understood the concept, and rolled with it because this is science fiction, but that was always in the back of my head. Making me think of the fax machine, or copy/pasting anything and ending up with multiples – the original doesn't go poof, you end up with two and so forth. Not in regards to one dead and one alive, but to those who teleported to have brought about this advancement. It's probably me missing it – as I said, a lot of information in this fast-paced novella was thrown at the reader before they could digest what they read on the pages before.

Nonstop action-packed, with illegal scientific experiments for altruistic reasons that turn into pure evil, because the consent of the person they are 'fixing' isn't involved. Beneath the surface are the moral ramifications of the medical advancements, left up to the reader to mull over. There's also a plethora of emotions as Madison and Jesse connect, disconnect, connect, disconnect, with an ending that may leave readers reeling if the characters resonated with them.

Near the end, with all the twists and turns and betrayals and lies, it felt as if I was reading about avatars respawning in a video game, as if you had so many lives in the game of life, and this took the emotional punch away from me.

If there’s one thing author ANNABELLE JAY believes with all her heart, it’s that there is no such thing as too many dragons in a book. As a fantasy writer with few other hobbies—does being bribed to run with her partner or dancing awkwardly in the kitchen count?—she spends every day following her imagination wherever it leads her.

A hippie born in the wrong decade, Annabelle has a peace sign tattoo and a penchant for hugging trees. Occasionally she takes breaks from her novels to play with her pets: Jon Snow, the albino rabbit who eats all of Annabelle’s bookmarks; Daisy, the Angora rabbit who constantly tries to escape her cage; and Stevie, the crested gecko who climbs glass with the hairs on her toes.

During her day job as a professor of English, Annabelle is often assumed to be a fellow student playing a prank on the class—that is, until she hands out the syllabus. When people stop mistaking her for a recent high school graduate, she will probably be very sad.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Jesse 2.0 by Annabelle Jay to read and review.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Mayfair by V.C. Andrews

Book Three of the Girls of Spindrift. From the New York Times bestselling author of the Flowers in the Attic and My Sweet Audrina series (now Lifetime movies) continues a haunting new series featuring highly intelligent teenage girls who struggle to survive a specialized high school and find their place in a world that doesn’t understand them.

Such is the burden of being brilliant.

Mayfair arrives at Spindrift School, and quickly begins to feel its walls are a prison, its teachers her wardens. Having become best friends with Corliss and Donna, the three of them become the de facto It Girls of Spindrift; the other students call them the Supremes—and not for their singing talents.

Jogging the grounds of Spindrift one day, the girls notices a hole in the fence leading to the nearby town that the students are never permitted to visit. Gathering up their nerve for an off-campus excursion, they venture to a local bar, and into the presence of a man Mayfair becomes enchanted by. Thrilling and new, this affair of the heart is the opposite of the rigorous study Spindrift demands of its pupils. And so for this ultra-smart girl, the question becomes: which is smarter, which brings more self-satisfaction, the path of the brain, or the wilds of the heart?

The four Girls of Spindrift novellas together form a prequel for Bittersweet Dreams—available now!

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Book 3
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Mayfair is the third installment in the Girls of Spindrift series, as well as the sequel to the full-length novel Bittersweet Dreams. I recommend against reading as a standalone. Corliss, Donna, then Mayfair.

I rated the first two much higher, and I do believe that is in part due to the fact that Corliss and Donna began before the girls arrived at Spindrift, allowing the reader to forge an emotional connection with the characters, as well as weaving an air of mystery to Spindrift. Mayfair begins while at Spindrift, with a major event 'told' not shown, and this created an emotional disconnect between me and the narrator.

The residents of Spindrift take being geniuses to a whole new level, beyond the range of what an average, everyday person could even contemplate. This almost detached emotional state is difficult to connect to for the reader, at least it was for me.

I enjoyed watching the struggle unfold for the girls as they tried to assimilate back into the population – however, I felt it rather vapid, as if there is no in between. You're either beyond genius or only enjoy shopping and the mall, with no in between.

Overall, I just felt for someone so intelligent, every thought and action was emotionally and mentally stunted at the age of 10 or 12, which made for a difficult read for me.

While this was a quick read, and did fit into the series as a whole, I never connected, didn't truly feel entertained, and never connected to the story or the narrator. With such an original premise surrounding Spindrift, I'm unsure why Mayfair and what she told within her story was a focal point in the first place. With a beginning told (not shown), a dry middle, and it ended before I felt it began, what was or was to come would have been a more interesting focal point to read about instead of what was on the pages.

Recommended to fans of VC Andrews and this series.

Finally! The girls get to Spindrift! Mayfair’s book starts once all three girls have settled in to Spindrift and formed a friendship of sorts. In a school full of socially awkward geniuses, the three beautiful young women are called the Supremes.

After wading through the first two novellas, I think I was hoping for something more once the girls got to Spindrift. And while we do get a sense of the physicality of the secure school facility, the secrets behind Spindrift are still merely hinted at.

Mayfair’s book somehow manages to spiral into something that almost resembles a romance. She might be a genius, but Mayfair’s decisions seem fairly stupid and her reactions are those of a defiant and somewhat spoiled rich kid. Mayfair isn’t a terribly likeable character. She is as smug as Corliss and Donna, but she also comes across as vain and shallow.

I really haven’t enjoyed the style of the writing in these three prequels. I don’t need my characters to be likeable – I quite enjoy a good antihero or an unreliable narrator – but I really couldn’t engage with any of the three girls and I found the painfully slow build of the story arc incredibly frustrating.

Also Available in the Girls of Spindrift Series

Book 1
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B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

For reviews & more info, check out our Corliss post.

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

For reviews & more info, check out our Donna post.

One of the most popular authors of all time, V.C. Andrews has been a bestselling phenomenon since the publication of the spellbinding classic Flowers in the Attic. That blockbuster novel began the renowned Dollanganger family saga, which includes Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows. Since then, readers have been captivated by more than sixty novels in nearly twenty bestselling series. V.C. Andrews’s novels have sold more than 106 million copies and have been translated into twenty-two foreign languages.

Sadly, V.C. passed away in 1986. She left several unfinished manuscripts and outlines that were completed by Andrew Neiderman.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Mayfair (Girls of Spindrift #3) by V.C. Andrews to read and review.