Don’t Close Your Eyes – book review

Don't Close Your Eyes

Don’t Close Your Eyes, consisting of Wake, Fade and Gone, is an interesting and different series, written by Lisa McMann.

Janie Hannagan has the ability – or the curse – of being pulled into other people’s dreams. She’s always kept this ability a secret. That is, until she met Cabel and found herself with the most amazing (but secret) boyfriend. But Janie and Cabel don’t yet realise how dark Janie’s future as a Dream Catcher is. But the bigger question is: will Cabel be a part of it?

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I really wanted to fall in love with this series like I do with so many others, but sadly, that didn’t happen for me in this one. I was really excited to read this series because the plot seemed really intriguing and I thought I’d like it. For me, the way these books were written was the main issue. I felt like the writing style was kind of disjointed and there wasn’t a steady flow. In books, I like having a smooth, liquid flow from start to finish, with few exceptions to this. The start was really interesting and grabbing, I just felt like this series struggled to keep my attention and I kept realising my mind was wandering and I’d have to go back and reread a couple of pages, telling myself to focus. I think the main reason why these books couldn’t keep my interest was because I found the writing style didn’t really connect to me. This series didn’t portray much emotion to me. Most of the writing wasn’t filled with passion, which I would have liked it to be. I felt like this is one of the main reasons why I didn’t relate to or understand the characters very well.

The idea of this series is really unique and intriguing, but I felt the way these books were written meant I couldn’t fully enjoy what would have really interested me otherwise. I suppose different people like different writing styles and there’s probably a lot of people out there that really enjoy this series and Lisa’s style of writing. I’ve read her book Crash, which I actually liked more than these ones. I felt like I understood Crash more than Wake, Fade and Gone combined, even though there were hundreds of more pages in the three books combined.

The first book in this series confused me a bit. I felt like some things weren’t explained very well. I liked that in parts, because it made this book seem more mysterious and like I wanted to keep reading to get those pieces of information. But a few times I found that it wouldn’t have mattered if I’d kept reading or not, because the information was never fully revealed. I felt like these books lacked in some areas. One thing that particularly annoyed me about this series was getting introduced to some characters or having some people mentioned, and then never seeing them again.

The love between Janie and Cabel progressed to quickly in these books and it felt kind of forced. One of the most enjoyable parts of a books for me is seeing the connection between two characters grow and finally finally these two characters get together. However, this wasn’t what happened in this series. I felt like they never really formed their bond and that it just sort of existed, which meant it seemed too fake for me. Some of the things that happened between Janie and Cabel just annoyed me. Like, seriously? Just because you’re a teenager, it doesn’t mean you fall head-over-heals for a cute guy you meet and end up telling them your deepest darkest secrets within two weeks. I desperately wanted to like these characters. In order for that to have happened though, I would have needed some more development. I didn’t feel like these characters grew much at all over the course of the three books.

In my opinion, the characters also felt sort of bland. Some more background information would have been helpful and I felt like I didn’t get much for a lot of characters. There were a couple of times in this books when I laughed aloud, but that was pretty much the extent of my emotional connection to this books. I didn’t really feel anything for the characters and what happened to them. This series wasn’t as fast-paced as I would have liked it and there were too many dull parts to keep readers want to keep reading. I felt like it would have been easy for me to give up at any time and not be plagued by the lack of knowledge of what happened in the end. It was disappointing that I felt this way, but I suppose we can’t like every book out there. This series just wasn’t for me.

Overall, I think Lisa McMann has really interesting ideas for books. However, the way those ideas are written and composed into books doesn’t really suit me because I’m not really a fan of her writing style. I felt as though these books were too choppy and inconsistent and I wasn’t connected to the characters or the plot. I’d give Don’t Close Your Eyes by Lisa McMann a score of 4 out of 10. It was a great idea for a series, only the writing style wasn’t for me.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!

Crash – book review

Crash, Visions book 1

Crash is the first book in the interesting Visions series, written by Lisa McMann.

Jules’s life is anything but normal. Her parents run the family Italian restaurant, she has to drive a van with giant meatballs on the top to school and she has a massive crush on the son of her family’s archrivals. She’s anything but popular. But Jules could live with that. It’s when she started seeing a vision over and over again that her life really became unbearable. That’s because she’s seeing a vision of an explosion and someone she knows ends up in a body bag, along with eight other people. There’s nothing she can do about it. Unless maybe she can…

The vision haunts Jules: it shows up in billboards, the television screen, windows, and she’s the only one who can see it. It’s trying to tell her something. The more she sees the vision, she realises that it’s trying to give her clues about what’s going to happen. But because Jules is the only one who can see it, she’s the only one that can do something about it.

I really wanted to like this book. From reading the blurb, the plot sounded very exciting. But it just wasn’t. I felt like everything happened in the beginning and the end of this book. In the beginning, Jules starts seeing a vision. In the end, naturally, things get partially solved – solved just enough that there leaves room for there to be a sequel. The rest of this book just seemed like filling. One of the things that really annoyed me about this book was the list of five things. Do we really need those? Did Lisa add those parts into the book so it would have over 200 pages in total? Did she need to fill up more space? Those parts of the book really annoyed me and I ended up skimming them. They were totally pointless and I didn’t benefit in any way by reading them. Another thing that really annoyed me about Lisa’s writing was how she constantly substituted the word God for dog. For example: Dear dogs, I was wrong and Dear dog, I hope so. Again, why did Lisa have to include this? Why couldn’t she say something else? I get that Jules’s is religious and she probably doesn’t want to offend anyone, but really? Dog? And I didn’t like how many short and choppy sentences this book had. Normally, I love having a few short sentences here and there in a book. I like how it varies the rhythm of the book and adds a different feel. But when you use these types of short sentences in every paragraph, things start getting a little boring. I think this book had a lot of potential, but unfortunately, the writing style and how I didn’t feel connected to the characters let this book down.
Sadly, I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters. I didn’t even feel connected to Jules. Most of the time when she was watching Sawyer and driving past their restaurant, she just seemed stalker-ish. I get that she wanted to protect Sawyer from what her vision was saying was going to happen, but she didn’t need to seem too weird. I really didn’t feel connected to her or Sawyer. I felt like Sawyer needed something to make him seem unique. Apparently them being from families that have hated each other for years was supposed to be interesting enough, but I just wasn’t feeling it. It seemed like a modern-day / pizza shop version of Romeo and Juliet. Come on. Pizza shop Romeo and Juliet?  No. It really didn’t work for me. Supposedly, one family stole a secret recipe from another family and then they were rivals and everyone hates the other family. Then Jules has a crush on Sawyer, the son of their family’s archenemy, and this is supposed to be a secret and forbidden and romantic? Ummm… no. Let’s get back to that pizza shop fact. Their families run pizza shops. I just couldn’t feel anything for Jules and Sawyer as a couple because the words pizza shop always came back into my head! The thought of them getting together and having kids and dressing their kids up in little chefs outfits… NO. Just no. It’s weird. The only people I liked where Jules’s brother and sister. They were funny and stood up for Jules. I felt like their personalities could have been developed further as well.
Overall, I liked the idea of this book, but that’s about all. The pace moved much too slow for my liking and I wished there was a bit more mystery or action in the book. It would have been better if the visions grew and changed throughout the book, rather than just repeated for most of the story and only became more interesting in the end. I’d give Crash by Lisa McMann a score of 5 out of 10. I might end up reading the next book in the series, but if I do, I really hope the second book is much better than this one.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Publishers Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!