Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan MatsonSince You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon and Schuster Children's on May 6th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 449 (hardback)
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
four-half-stars
The Pre-Sloane Emily didn't go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn't do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell. But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend.Apple Picking at Night? Okay, easy enough. Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what? Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find? Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

*I was given this book for review by Simon and Schuster. This in no way affected my review.*

So this review is far later than I planned :( . One for school and stress and part-time jobs. But also because I thought I’d posted it months ago! Sucks for me. Without further ado, here is my review that should hopefully make you want to read SYBG

SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GOOONE. I CANNOT BREATHE FOR THE FIRST TIIIME.

Since You’ve Been Gone is one of my favourite Summer books and was such a brilliant read. Emily is your average girl who hides behind her best friend Sloane. Yes, the premise is a bit cheesy (aren’t the MCs always boring and average?) but it’s relatable. Sloane abruptly leaves, and Emily is left friend-less all Summer. In the post she recieves a letter from Sloane with a list of things she must do. The list includes things like ‘dance at midnight’ and ‘hug a jamie’, I thought this list brought a fun element to the story and integrated nicely with the romance and ‘finding oneself’ plot.

This writing is along the lines of Gayle Forman’s, in which the romance isn’t the driving point of the novel, but rather Emily finding who she is without hiding behind an enigmatic best friend. I really liked Emily, and I surprisingly liked Sloane. Usually in these type of books where the friend leaves, the MC becomes insufferable and whiny. I know they’re missing their friends, I know. But I’m not reading this book to slog through pages of whining about their loneliness. Sorry.

Emily handles the situation really well–at first she’s a bit thrown–but for someone who’s not massively confident, she isn’t annoying and wimpy. SYBG handles friendships, love, relationships, etc etc–all the stuff I love, if I’m being honest. I adored how the main point of the book was for Emily to bring herself out of her comfort zone and do things she normally wouldn’t do. Summer books are so great because they always feel like they have so many possibilities. Anything could happen. This feeling of endless outcomes and situations is my favourite thing to read.

Emily’s character develops and grows really convincingly as she puts herself in situations she wouldn’t normally put herself in. The minor characters were also really enjoyable, and I learnt to really like them. Frank wasn’t my type of guy, but I warmed to him more than I thought, and himself and Emily were a perfect match. I got really excited for all the chapters and things on the list to get checked off.

SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT : What I didn’t like was how easily Emily’s new ‘friends’ wrote her off. One quick mistake towards the end and these friendships kind of fell apart, what’s that about? Suddenly I didn’t like her new friends nearly as much. Nah. END OF SPOILERS END OF SPOILERS.

This book was an awesome Summer read, and I think it’s a must-read for those who love their Summer books. Despite it now moving into Autumn and cold weather, this Summer book might be necessary to warm you while you’re stuck in the cold.

Rating: 4.5 Stars– Morgan Matson I am following your new releases like a my dog follows food.

four-half-stars

Review: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae

Review: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin RaeWish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
Series: Wish You Were...
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's on May 6th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 323
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Pippa has always wanted to go to Italy … but not by herself. And certainly not to sit in art school the entire summer learning about dead guys’ paintings. When she steps off the plane in Rome, she realizes that traveling solo gives her the freedom to do whatever she wants. So it’s arrivederci, boring art program and ciao, hot Italian guys!

Charming, daring, and romantic, Bruno is just the Italian Pippa’s looking for—except she keeps running into cute American archeology student Darren everywhere she goes. Pippa may be determined to fall in love with an Italian guy … but the electricity she feels with Darren says her heart might have other plans. Can Pippa figure out her feelings before her parents discover she left the program and—even worse—she loses her chance at love?

*I was given this book for review, but it in no way affected my review or opinions–honest!*

This book. Man the cover is so cheesy I can’t get over it! It’s as bad as the old covers for Anna and the French Kiss (y’all who know what I’m talking about understand). However, this book has a lot to offer and I really enjoyed reading it!

Pippa doesn’t have the best relationship with her workaholic parents. For Summer they send her to attend an art course in Italy–something she’s not interested and doesn’t want to do. However, her mother told her about it a week before she was due on the plane. Her friend Morgan gives her a list of all the things she needs to complete for these 3 months (like the premise in Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson), and one includes: Fall in Love with an Italian. As Pippa arrives in Italy, she realises she utterly does not want to do this course…and she has a lot of money from her parents, so she decides to screw it, and travel Italy by herself.

I loved the self-discovery aspect of this novel, how the relationship with her parents developed, and the adorable romance. These Summer books are my favourite. I adore reading about travelling, and the fact that this was set in Italy, makes me yearn to go there myself. The list element of things she had to do was fun and exciting, it gave Pippa the push she needed to reach outside of her comfort zone.

The romance in this wasn’t sizzling or particularly amazing, but it was sweet in a way that is not always easy to find! Despite the fact that it wasn’t anything majorly exceptional, the romance was a really great addition to the story and fit nicely. I loved how his curly hair was a running joke between them!

I had a brilliant time reading the amusing and entertaining adventures Pippa goes through, along with the characters she meets and how she develops as a character in her 3 months in Italy. It’s amazing how something like this can make a person grow. It’s not an emotional romance or gritty or anything like that, it’s just a simple, pretty story to read in the sun. It’s feel-good, sweet, and a great Summer book. It will be going on my Summer recommendations pile!

Wish You Were Italian is the second book from the series Wish You Were…, however it can be read as a standalone, as I have not read the first. The cheesy covers are really off-putting, however I’m really interested in the other books now!!

ik

Rating: 3.5 Stars

three-half-stars

Review: Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass 0.1-0.5)

Review: Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass 0.1-0.5)The Assassain's Blade by Sarah J, Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's, Bloomsbury Children's on March 4th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars
Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

I want to congratulate the person who designed these covers, they are freaking amazing!

Okay so this review is months overdue and all I can do is apologise and breathe a sigh of relief that it’s finally Summer. After requesting a copy of Throne of Glass last year on a whim, it has fast become one of my favourite YA series. That’s a tough feat. I adore reading about Celaena’s antics and these short stories were fast-paced, intriguing and had my constant attention. Maas is able to bring out every emotion possible from me including laughter, fear for the characters and sadness. I am not afraid to say I cried a little at the end, that was emotional shiz.

Celaena is the kind of protagonist I love reading about because of her awesome fighting skills and attitude (heellooo, Hardcore Heroines); whilst at the same time I openly wish I was as badass as her. Maas craftily weaves the romance, tension and intrigue together, leaving plenty of room for the interesting sub-plots and back-story. What with that and consistent character development, you’ve got yourself a winner.

I don’t know what to tell you if you haven’t read this series, apart from that it continually amazes and rarely (if ever) disappoints. I’ve read three of this series now and not once have I been let down, which I don’t think has happened to me before with such an intense, Fantasy world. I urge everyone to read this, even if you’re not a major fan of Fantasy because it’s really a fantastic series that offers a lot. It’s the kind of series that will be right at the top of my recommends pile yet I will hand out with caution to my friends in case they spill something on it. (I’m looking at you, Lois).

I want to be Celaena’s best friend, talk books with Dorian and learn to fight with Chaol. I cannot wait for what’s in store for Heir of Fire. I have no reservations on whether it will disappoint as Maas has proved her reliability and each book gets better and better.

Rating: no less than 5 Stars!

Tell me what you think of the series in the comments!

**This book was sent to me by Bloomsbury, however this didn’t affect my review or thoughts on the book one iota’s worth**

 

five-stars

Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish DollerWhere the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's on September 24th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Goodreads
Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.

I did enjoy Where the Stars Still Shine, but didn’t think it lived up to expectations. Everyone I’ve heard reviews from loved it–where as I was a bit disappointed. Callie was kidnapped by her mother as child and has been on the run for as long as she can remember. She only has distant, snapshot memories of her past life, but she knows she was kidnapped. Callie’s mother has a mental disability, and has not taken her prescribed tablets in years. Something happens that causes Callie to be re-united with her father and she has to dramatically change her lifestyle quickly and is expected to abide by a certain set of rules that weren’t in place before. This of course, causes issues.

Callie’s father, Greg, was such a sweet guy and I really loved him for it. They’re strangers to each other, Callie is 17 and grew up without a father figure. Callie has also grown up with abuse from her mother’s boyfriend/s. This is really the heart and trauma of the book. It affects Callie’s perception of men, and herself involving men. Callie adapted to this new lifestyle really well, but obviously she makes a lot of mistakes and has the tenancy  to run when things get hard.

Callie annoyed me in a lot of ways, because I felt she never tried to help herself. I could never, ever, understand the torrent of emotions and what she’s going through. However, sometimes she made things harder for herself and that frustrated me. Also, I never got a strong impression of her personality. She felt quite two-dimentional to me, because a lot of the book is obviously focused on her reaction to her situation, she felt a bit plastic. I’m not sure if this is intended though, because Callie’s never really had the opportunity to have a personality. Anyway, the whirlwind of emotions that tore through her was written beautifully and felt spot on–despite never having been in this situation myself. Callie’s torn between her wanting to love Greg, but wanting to be loyal to her mother; and even though she kind of hates her mother, her mother’s all she’s ever known.

There is romance, which I think added to the growth of Callie, because it caused her to overcome a lot of issues. Alex was a lot more sweeter than I thought he would be, but at the same time their relationship annoyed me. I thought they should have taken it slower, right from the beginning to contrast to her other relationships and show that it was different. I felt like she never really learnt anything, even though Alex helped change her perception of men.

Overall, I’ve never read anything like this before and enjoyed it originality the set-up. Even though I didn’t think it was outstanding, it was still a pretty amazing book and I would recommend it!

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Enclave by Ann Aguirre (Razorland #1)

Enclave by Ann Aguirre (Razorland #1)Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Series: Razorland
Published by Macmillan, Square Fish on April 11th 2011
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Pages: 259
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-stars

Enclave was a really awesome read about ZOMBIES. I’m pretty obsessed with zombies at the moment, so this was facilitating my zombie love because they were a significant part of the novel. However it wasn’t like most zombie apocalypse books, where the entire book is about surviving the zombies. Zombies, or “Freaks”, were a big part of the plot, but there were a lot of other obstacles the characters had to overcome.

Deuce is part of an enclave underground and has been training her whole life to become a Huntress. They patrol the grounds, learn to fight and keep the Freaks away from the enclave. No one in the enclave has been aboveground because if they do, they believe they will die.

Deuce reminded me of Katniss, because of her slight unfeeling nature toward some things. She’s slightly ignorant towards people and doesn’t have a lot of emotional intelligence. However, I did like her, and simply felt sorry for her in some instances. She’s been living underground her whole life, and random things would crop up sometimes that seem obvious to us, but a revelation to her. Things she never knew about, like what chocolate was. C’mon. NOT KNOWING WHAT CHOCOLATE IS. I have to admit, that stood out to me more than some of the other instances.

The entire community of the enclave is corrupt and downright awful. Understandably though. None of the people brought up there were taught differently. Still, I did wonder why none of them actually though for themselves! Their whole community was a bunch of sheep, not questioning anything. The fact that they were underground, meant they had no idea of what was surreal. They could have been told marshmallows fell from the sky and believed it.

This is a book I’ve not heard much about but really recommend. The world is completely different and interesting. I read a whole book on it, yet I could read two more and still be fascinated. The characters have room for growth, and even developed in this instalment. I’m really interested to read about how Deuce changes, but also the more minor characters. There’s even enough romance to satisfy me, but again, there was this reminder of The Hunger Games and similarities between the two. I’m not going to delve into that now though, it’s complicated to explain, but if you’ve read it, comment and tell me if you understand! The only thing that was really lacking throughout Enclave was humour. The lack of humour gave this novel a brittle edge, and was hard to read at times because it’s so bleak.

Rating: 4 stars.

 

four-stars

7664334

Review: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Review: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan MatsonAmy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon and Schuster Children's on May 4th 2010
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
three-half-stars
Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road--diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

After Amy’s dad dies in a car accident, her mother decides to move to Connecticut. Whilst Amy’s brother is in rehab, and her mother is getting the house ready in Connecticut, Amy is alone in her house in California. She hasn’t driven since her father died, so to get to her new house in Connecticut, Amy’s mother organises her to be driven by her old childhood friend–Roger.

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour was a fun read with serious undertones, but not something that astounded me. Ultimately, because the romance let it down. (Romance is very important to me and this didn’t tick all the boxes, sadly.) I felt very much for Amy on a personal level, because my father died of cancer, and Amy’s dad died in a car accident. This made it a pretty emotional book to read at times, because I could relate to a lot of her regrets and thoughts. There’s a lot of messages about loss, family, love and life that anyone can identify with.

I loved the travelling aspect of this, because Amy and Roger travel over a whole lot of states in America. America is somewhere I’ve always wanted explore and go on a road-trip to. The UK is so small, that it freaks me out how huge North America is, therefore, I found it so cool to find out that some restaurants  and chocolate bars are only in certain states. Every couple of chapters there’s a list of songs that are from Roger’s playlist, which was really fun, and every chapter there were pictures and recipes which added to the exciting imagery of travelling.

An aspect that I really enjoyed is how Amy steps out of her comfort zone, by defying her mother and by spending a lot of time with a cute guy, when she has spent the last 3 months in her house alone.  Amy’s mother annoyed me beyond belief. Her father dies and her mum decides to move house. I understand the reasoning behind this, but after such a massive change, Amy now has to deal with a new house, new school and all the other stresses that comes with moving states. On top of that, Amy’s mother refuses to have a proper conversation with Amy, and leaves her alone in the house for THREE MONTHS, after her father has died. Neglect anyone? That is simply not okay, and means Amy has to mourn alone. There are so many more things that made me hate her mother, but that would probably take up pages so…

Roger was a cute guy, but was a bit lost and blind to what he wanted. The romance is slow-building and sweet, but nothing mind-blowing. However, it’s not really supposed to be. The last couple of romances I’ve read have left something to be desired! UGH. Anyway, when they realised their feelings together, the novel was pretty much done and there was really no room for any scenes together, which disappointed me. I like to see how the characters are in their relationship and how it develops.

Overall, a cute novel and something I would recommend because it has a lot to offer (travel, dealing with death, romance, stepping out of you comfort zone), and really it was the romance that let it down. Otherwise, it’s a really great book.

Rating: 3.5 stars

three-half-stars

16068905

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Published by My Kinda Book on September 10th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 445
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
five-stars
A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

This book is all kinds of adorable and I loved it. Cath is a fangirl–if you hadn’t worked that out–and this is something many readers can relate to. Cath has a twin and does pretty much everything with Wren, because why wouldn’t she? However, when it comes to university, Wren doesn’t want to be roommates with Cath in a bid to be more independent. I really liked Cath’s character, because she was bookish and shy. She does not want to be rooming with some random person and make eye contact with them…and stuff. Therefore, she’s a little hurt, and turns into a slight recluse in her room.

I related to Cath in a lot of ways, particularly how much she loves books and in this case, a particular series. Except, I’m not her kind of fangirl. I don’t write or read fanfic, however, I do have posters and T-shirts like her. I loved that Cath was a really popular fanfiction writer, and loved writing about those characters.

Cath is a really shy person, and doesn’t really go out of her room at the beginning. She hates the idea of going to the cafeteria for the first time and having nobody to sit with. I get that, but everyone’s in the same boat at this point, so you might as well get it over with. Personally, I would make friends with my roommate or the people in halls, then go sit with them. But Cath just sits in her room and lives on protein bars for a couple of months! Oh my! By the time she makes her way down there, everyone’s already got their groups. So Reagan helps her out, and practically forces her down there to eat. Her roommate Reagan was so awesome. She’s my kind of person 100%. She says what she feels and doesn’t skirt around on bullshit. You know what to expect from her. Some think she’s rude, but really she’s just being real with you. I was more like Reagan personality-wise than Cath, because I’m not as shy as Cath. She’s really good to Cath, she helps her a lot, and without Reagan, Cath would have been a complete hermit. We all need friends that help us in ways we can’t help ourselves.

Then there’s Levi. Levi. Levi. I love Levi. So different from a lot of guy characters currently in YA books. He’s just so happy and smiley and genuine. He supported Cath in a lot of ways, and didn’t push her. He also has a very weird way of learning. He’s a dependant on auditory learning, and listens to lectures instead of reading. But he wasn’t stupid, he just learns in a different way and struggles with how things are taught, so he works harder. I could relate so much to this, except I’m a visual learner, and sometimes I find things harder to process–but I’m not stupid. I’m generally an A/B student, but I identified with Levi a lot in that respect. Cath is naturally a genius, and she gets a little lazy at times. It was so great how Levi just didn’t allow her to be lazy, because he works so hard for his grades and would kill to get amazing grades as easily as her. You go Levi.

Fangirl’s Cath has an obsession with Simon Snow, a character from their world’s Harry Potter. I didn’t grow up with Harry Potter, I’m a bit young and kind of missed the party on that. Therefore, I didn’t entirely relate to that aspect, but the overall Fangirl parts I did relate to.

I really, really loved this book. It was sweet, funny, interesting and something I could completely relate to. I’ve not read anything quite like it, and will re-read this again and again. This will definitely be added to my Contemporary Romance recommendations, and if you haven’t read it, you really need to!

Rating: 5 STARS!!

five-stars

sllam

Mini Reviews: Wallbanger by Alice Clayton and Slammed by Colleen Hoover

by Alice Clayton, Colleen Hoover
Published by Omnific, Self-Published Genres: New Adult
Source: Bought

The first night after Caroline moves into her fantastic new San Francisco apartment, she realizes she’s gaining an intimate knowledge of her new neighbor’s nocturnal adventures. Thanks to paper-thin walls and the guy’s athletic prowess, she can hear not just his bed banging against the wall but the ecstatic response of what seems (as loud night after loud night goes by) like an endless parade of women. And since Caroline is currently on a self-imposed dating hiatus, and her neighbor is clearly lethally attractive to women, she finds her fantasies keep her awake even longer than the noise. So when the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts Simon Parker, her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. The tension between them is as thick as the walls are thin, and the results just as mixed. Suddenly, Caroline is finding she may have discovered a whole new definition of neighborly…

In a delicious mix of silly and steamy, Alice Clayton dishes out a hot and hilarious tale of exasperation at first sight…

Wallbanger, now this was interesting concept. It was pretty refreshing to read a more adult romance-y book. I’ve heard lots of recommendations about this, but was put off by the blurb. I simply don’t think it’s as witty as it wants to be. Sorry. However, I was pretty busy when reading this, and wanted something easy to read that I didn’t have to commit to and this was pretty perfect. The romance builds from the main characters hating each other, to friendship, to love. I really enjoyed all of the stages and how they grew to be the perfect couple. Simon and Caroline seemed to fit really well and I just loved reading about them.

I thought Wallbanger was funny (if a bit hit and miss at times), romantic and I thought Simon was pretty awesome and funny. It was great to read two people who didn’t take things too seriously, as some books are so melodramatic at times.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she’s losing hope.

Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.

Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.

Poetry is very prominent in Slammed, and although I wasn’t the biggest fan of poetry before, this book has made me realise that I haven’t read the kind of poetry I like yet. It blended really well into the romance and sad storyline. There’s an element of forbidden love here, not something I was massively keen on, but it ended up working out pretty well.

There’s a student-teacher relationship, something I don’t tolerate and think is creepy (with exception to Vampire Academy), but Will is only 21, and working as a teacher to pay the bills. His parents died and he’s had to take care of his younger brother since he was 18. I felt for his situation, which was ultimately awful, but Will’s utter love for Caulder was so nice to read.

These were some great New Adult novels, it was fun to explore this genre a bit more, and I will carry on looking for more great NA  novels.

Rating: 4 Stars

18669197

Review: The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee

Review: The Midnight Dress by Karen FoxleeThe Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee
Published by Hot Key Books on October 8th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
Goodreads
three-stars
Quiet misfit Rose doesn't expect to fall in love with the sleepy beach town of Leonora. Nor does she expect to become fast friends with beautiful, vivacious Pearl Kelly, organizer of the high school float at the annual Harvest Festival parade. It's better not to get too attached when Rose and her father live on the road, driving their caravan from one place to the next whenever her dad gets itchy feet. But Rose can't resist the mysterious charms of the town or the popular girl, try as she might.

Pearl convinces Rose to visit Edie Baker, once a renowned dressmaker, now a rumored witch. Together Rose and Edie hand-stitch an unforgettable dress of midnight blue for Rose to wear at the Harvest Festival—a dress that will have long-lasting consequences on life in Leonora, a dress that will seal the fate of one of the girls. Karen Foxlee's breathtaking novel weaves friendship, magic, and a murder mystery into something moving, real, and distinctly original.

*Thank you so much Hot Key Books for this review copy, this in no way affected my review*

The Midnight Dress is very hard for me to describe, because it’s not my usual read. I was really fascinated with the blurb and the whole idea encasing it, so I decided to take the jump and request it. It’s a story about friendship, mystery and things that are not as they seem. First of all, Foxlee’s writing style is probably the most beautiful I’ve read in a while. I have certain preference when it comes to author’s writing; for example, I really don’t like Cassandra Clare’s writing. As much as I love her fantastic world and characters, her description is stuffy and feels like it’s suffocating me. I’m no expert, but I simply want it edited. Anyway, Foxlee’s vivid description is the kind that washes over you when you’re reading it. I also loved the fact that it was set in Australia, which made the description that much more captivating.

It was very different the way Foxlee carried me through the book and let me discover things, about Rose specifically. We learn about her mostly through the story and not through her thoughts, because it’s in a certain style of third person. There’s an incredibly subtle magical element that intrigued me, and weaves in the story quite well.

The thing that I didn’t like was the epic slowness of the book. I can appreciate the build of tension, but Karen Foxlee builds tension throughout practically the whole book, and things aren’t made clear until the very end.

I loved that every chapter is named after a stitch, for example ‘anchor stitch’ and at the beginning of each chapter a little snippet of the ending is revealed. We see the missing person’s case through the detectives eyes, and little pieces of what happens at the end are shown carefully. I thought that was really crafty and well-written. Except, it kept me wanting to know more, and then I felt like the actual chapter itself was a bit anti-climactic and boring. I mostly enjoyed the tension, and the way the characters developed different relationships. So much of the book tells what’s happening to Rose and about everyone else and their antics in the town it seems as if the ending was an afterthought, except it’s always present. I can’t help but feel that doesn’t make sense, but if you read it, hopefully you would understand my ramblings better.

The Midnight Dress is very hard to describe without giving anything at all away, but I can tell you, the ending is a shocker. Foxlee cleverly played against my assumptions and twisted it into something completely different. I was pretty shocked. This is a great read if you like tension, beautiful writing, ambiguity and slow-burning mysteries. It’s not something to read if you want something fast-paced and conventional.

Rating: 3 Stars– I guess it was the slowness that put me off. Nothing really happened for a good portion of the books as everything builds up. However, I did simply adore the writing style and the way the characters relationships developed throughout. I will definitely check more of Foxlee’s books.

three-stars

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Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie WestThe Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Published by HarperCollins, HarperTeen on July 2nd 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-stars
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

Caymen and her mother live in an apartment behind their doll shop. Caymen’s mother (Susan) has issues with rich people. When Susan was young, she became pregnant and was given hush money from her boyfriends parents to keep quiet about it and disappear. Her boyfriend left without a backwards glance and her parents disowned her–this caused her hate for rich people. Susan believes that they have short attention spans and only care about appearance. I always thought this premise was kind of naive, because it’s such a massive generalisation and doesn’t make much sense. However, this affects how Caymen perceives people and when an attractive, rich guy walks into her mother’s doll shop, she knows not to get too interested.

Caymen’s sarasm and dry humour is practically identical to mine–except she’s way more witty than me! She’s so deadpan that sometimes people can’t figure out if she’s being sarcastic. Her reaction to Xander was actually really funny, and the book continues in this amusing fashion, with funny remarks on every page. Xander is not my favourite book boyfriend but he was really sweet and he got Caymen and her character. They were both a little lost and didn’t know what they wanted to do with their lives. Caymen is really poor and trying to keep the doll shop afloat with her mother, and Xander is R.I.C.H. (seriously rich) and his dad expects him to take over his hotel business–something he doesn’t want to do.

The romance was full of miscommunication, doubt and insecurities. It was really interesting to see how the amount of money someone earns divides social groups in such a huge way. Caymen lives in a fairly small town and she hadn’t even met Xander before, because he obviously hangs around in completely different social circles and goes to private school. Caymen only really has one friend, but a sweet, genuine friend at that. The romance isn’t sizzling, which is what disappointed me the most. It didn’t make me want to fan myself or want to dive in the book and marry Xander because he’s so amazing. However, I felt like Caymen and Xander had a really great connection, in that they understood what the other needed, and got each other like no one else. That’s what made the romance special to me, but no, I will not be adding Xander to the top of my book boyfriends list, despite how awesome his name is.

The Distance Between Us was a really great read but I didn’t enjoy it as much as Pivot Point (something Kasie West has also written).  I would recommend it, because the premise was different and entertaining, with a hilarious MC and fairly intense storyline.

Rating: 4 Stars.

four-stars

Review: Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt

Review: Skin Deep by Laura JarrattSkin Deep by Laura Jarratt
Published by Electric Monkey on March 5th 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 377
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
four-half-stars
Ugly people don't have feelings. They're not like everyone else. They don't notice if you stare at them and turn away. And if they did notice, it wouldn't hurt them. They're not like real people. Or that's what I used to think. Before I learned...After the car crash that leaves her best friend dead, Jenna is permanently scarred. She struggles to rebuild her life, but every stare in the street, every time she looks in the mirror, makes her want to retreat further from the world. Until she meets Ryan. Ryan's a traveller. When he and his mother moor their narrow boat on the outskirts of a village, she tells him this time it will be different. He doesn't believe her; he can't imagine why this place shouldn't be as unwelcoming as the rest. Until he meets Jenna. But as Jenna and Ryan grow closer, repercussions from the crash continue to reverberate through the community. And then a body is found...

Skin Deep is about a girl who is in a car crash and suffers severe burns, causing a large, disfiguring scar to mar along one side of her face. This accident has happened less than a year ago and the wounds are still fresh (literally and figuratively). Jenna doesn’t often go out anymore, for fear of the pointing and whispering from other people. Naturally, as a 14-year-old, she’s already got some insecurities about her appearance, but after this accident,  Jenna has understandably become more reserved and has only one friend.

Skin Deep was an incredibly emotion-inducing read. It was a brilliant blend of romance and contemporary that I love. Ryan is a traveller, who’s mum has Bi-Polar disorder and never wants to stay in one place. This time though, Ryan puts his foot down, and is set upon staying in this town for longer than usual–perhaps permanently. I loved the way the scars were handled, and how Ryan treated Jenna with the scars. At first, Jenna is incredibly sensitive and takes offence at many words that were not meant to be hurtful. Soon though, she begins to crack out of her shell and do things normal teenagers should do without a second thought.

Ryan is goshdang special, there is simply no other word for it. I have read many Romances and I have a lot of book boyfriends and Ryan is so incredibly different and so the same. As Ryan and Jenna fall in love, I was so happy for them and loved the way it was written. Ryan had this way of making Jenna feel beautiful even with her scars, which was a hard feat. He helped build her confidence and I’m sure, without him it would have taken many more years to gain such confidence. I thought they were genuinely perfect for each other. Together, they had their own issues, and it was very balanced the way they both leant on each other, and helped each other when they needed to.

The only thing that annoyed me about this book was Jenna’s father. In the accident, Jenna was with her best friend friends, who were smoking and taking drugs whilst driving. No, Jenna did not have the imitative to make them stop and let her out, and this caused the crash. However, I’m pretty sure she learned her lesson by the months it took her scar to heal–and is still healing. Also, with the emotional trauma of her best friends dying, and another girl dying. This doesn’t stop her father from stunting her emotional growth when she’s trying to re-build herself though. He constantly questions what she is doing, and shouting at her for trying to go out with friend. I get that there’s a trust issue after that crash and Jenna was close to dying, but that’s his problem–not hers. Her father is just so incredibly angry all the time, and sets up a local campaign in their small town to take a stand against speeding. But he doesn’t listen to her. Jenna hates this campaign, she feels uncomfortable being looked at, and no one treats her like a normal girl. Her father continually calls her selfish. It looks to me like the father needs therapy and not her. Perhaps it’s just my family, but if I was this uncomfortable and hurt by this campaign, my family would stop immediately. Okay. Rant over. Word of warning, this never really gets resolved, but I still loved the book.

Jarratt has crafted such an emotional and amazing book about first love, trauma, insecurities and re-building oneself. I loved it. It was exactly my kind of Contemporary and definitely a re-read. I read it in about two days, because it’s the kind of book you make time for.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

four-half-stars

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Review: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil #1)

Review: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil #1)Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Series: Sweet Evil #1
Published by HarperCollins on May 1st 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 453
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads
five-stars
Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

Sweet Evil is such a brilliant YA Paranormal, I feel so refreshed, because sometimes it can be really hard to sieve through the most awful crap in this genre. Although I’ve read a lot of great YA Paranormal books, this one was different, but also incredibly the same. It had the innocent girl who was ignorant about the para world and the inevitable bad boy. But these are used for good reason: the innocence gave Anna time to grow, and the bad boy appealed to me in every way. That’s not to say Kaidan didn’t frustrate me–he seriously did.

The book is set around a really interesting premise about Demons and Angels, where good, Christian Anna is half-Angel and half-Demon. This makes Anna’s character more interesting because she has to deal with things she’s never even dreamed of. Kaidan and Anna are Nephilim–children of Demons. They have to work to corrupt society and humanity, which is pretty soul-destroying. I thought this was so inventive and unique, I’ve never read this kind of premise and it intrigued me all the way through the book. Anna has never gotten drunk or been high, and suddenly these substances are calling to her and she’s expected to use them. Otherwise she will be killed.

Kaidan is such an awesome bad boy, and even though it annoyed me how caught up Anna was with him–I still really loved his character. He drew me in even though he was frustrating. He’s also part of a band and plays the drums…so, yeah. There was a lot of mixed messages and hot and cold about him. There’s attraction between Anna and Kaidan, but they can never be together because their life is dedicated to working.

I enjoyed the way Anna begins to discover who she really is, and her relationship with Patti. They both loved each other so much, a love that I can identify with but don’t see it often in books, for some reason. The parents are always unreasonable or sometimes simply dead, but Patti’s character really warmed my heart and I could feel her love toward Anna through the pages.

Rating: 5 Stars–the premise was so unique and interesting, I began to get invested in all the characters and I’m really desperate to read the next book! (Edit: I read the next book and it’s just as amazing!)

five-stars

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Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie PerkinsAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #1
Published by Usborne on December 2nd 2010
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 372
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
five-stars
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming,beautiful, Étienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Anna and the French Kiss is such a fluffy, warm book that cuddles you when you read it. It’s about an American girl who gets sent to a boarding school in Paris for her last year of school. The boarding school is for Americans, and I loved the Paris aspect of the book. They say Paris is the city of romance, and that added to the magic of the book.

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Anna was such a joy to read. Her voice was hilarious, witty and something I entirely identified with. I just wanted to reach into the book and be her best friend. I read the first page, laughed and knew, just knew  this was going to be a 5 star read. Anna never annoyed me throughout the whole book–which is quite a feat! Her passion for films is like my passion for books, and she has a dream of becoming a film critic and writes on her blog. I could really identify with it, the way she would escape off to different cinema’s in Paris and watch old films. She jumps out of her comfort zone and into an entirely different country with, actually, not much complaining. Which is good, because no one wants to read about a big whiner. She embraces Paris a little later in the book and starts to learn French and grow up a little.

St Clair is so awesome and dreamy, he was the perfect mix of humour and sweet personality. He was also frustrating though! I wanted to hit him on the head sometimes because he didn’t know what he wanted! I loved the way they interacted and how genuine St Clair was…I just…dreamy sigh. Together, St Clair and Anna become close friends and explore Paris together, while the tension crackles between them. They didn’t just explore the usual tourist-y places, but also their secret places that made this book different.

Anna and the French Kiss is hilarious, gut-wrenching and amazing. It’s one of the most perfect YA Romances I’ve ever read. I can’t wait to read the next instalment of Lola and the Boy Next Door.

five-stars

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Review: The Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop

Review: The Isobel Journal by Isobel HarropThe Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop
Published by Hot Key Books on November 7th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 208
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
THE ISOBEL JOURNAL is no ordinary snapshot of a contemporary teenage life. A charming and vivid narrative scrapbook of the eighteen-year-old author's sketches, mini-graphic novels, photographs and captions, it captures her wit, her observations and her creative talent as she takes us through the three central themes in her life: 'Love', 'Friends, Art and Otters' and 'Me'.

*This book was given to me for review purposes by Hot Key Books, this does not affect my review in any way*

The Isobel Journal is a book filled with drawings, captions and photographs by Isobel Harrop, to illustrate her life. I’d never read this kind of journal-style book before, and wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s a style of book that I loved and will search for more of in the future. I was reading it when I was in exam mocks period, and it thoroughly cheered me up and made me forget all the stresses I had going on! There is something about this book that is so endearing and I’ve re-read it many times since my first read. Harrop’s voice is one that any teenager can relate to and enjoy. It’s the kind of book where you can sit down, get comfy, and drink a cup of tea whilst looking at the pretty pictures and funny writing.

The pictures are in the style of a scarp-book drawn by Isobel Harrop with observations about daily life and random comments. I found it so interesting to read about another teenager in this kind of format. It was quirky, refreshing and such fun to read through!

I really loved stepping outside my usual fiction reads and sitting down with this one!

Rating: 4 Stars!

four-stars

Keeping-Her

Review: Keeping Her by Cora Carmack (Losing it #1.5)

Review: Keeping Her by Cora Carmack (Losing it #1.5)Keeping Her by Cora Carmack
Series: Losing it #1.5
Published by Ebury Press on August 13th 2013
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 176
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
four-stars
Garrick Taylor and Bliss Edwards managed to find their happily-ever-after despite a rather . . . ahem . . . complicated start. By comparison, meeting the parents should be an absolute breeze, right?

But from the moment the pair lands in London, new snags just keep cropping up: a disapproving mother-in-law-to-be, more than one (mostly) minor mishap, and the realization that perhaps they aren't quite as ready for their future as they thought.

As it turns out, the only thing harder than finding love is keeping it.

I really loved Losing it and I adore Garrick and Bliss. Keeping Her was a really cute ending to their lovely story. Garrick takes Bliss to England (specifically London) to meet his parents. There isn’t much to say because it’s a small story, and I’ve already professed my love for this couple already. I read it straight after Losing it because I wanted to continue this sweet love story.

I really loved the way Carmack handled the relationship between Bliss and Garrick’s mother. It started off as fairly cliche and uninteresting. However, as the story went on, things became different and therefore more intriguing. I enjoyed seeing Garrick and Bliss’s relationship being tested as well, because it’s always fun to see what happens after the HEA and how they act when things get tough.

We get to meet some of Garrick’s London school friends who I found really funny and brought some humour to the short story. Also, once again it’s in dual POV, therefore we get to know what’s going on in Garrick’s head! It’s fun to be inside Garrick’s head, but I connect with Bliss’s character so much. Her embarrassing moments and neuroticism are so realistic and it makes me adore her character.

Overall, it was a really sweet story and something I greatly enjoyed. If you haven’t read Losing it, I urge you to discover the amazingness of Bliss and especially Garrick. Then follow it up with Keeping Her! These books have really made me more confident in reading New Adult novels, because I’d never read them before. So read them if you’re thinking of trying out this genre!

Rating: 4 Stars

four-stars

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Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Review: Where She Went by Gayle FormanWhere She Went by Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay #2
Published by Definitions, Random House on April 5th 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 208
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads
five-stars
It's been three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life.

And three years he's spent wondering why.

When their paths cross again in New York City, Adam and Mia are brought back together for one life-changing night.

Adam finally has the opportunity to ask Mia the questions that have been haunting him. But will a few hours in this magical city be enough to lay their past to rest, for good - or can you really have a second chance at first love?

Where She Went is a powerful Contemporary Romance, and it worked so well because it’s the sequel to If I Stay. In If I Stay, Mia’s entire family are killed in a car crash and she is left in a coma. Mia has an out-of-body experience where she sees everything happening in the hospital around her. This is where I grew to adore Mia and her family, and her relationship with Adam. Therefore, it was a complete and utter devastating surprise when I saw in the blurb of the sequel, that the couple had broken up.

Where She Went wouldn’t have been so compelling if I hadn’t known these characters before and deeply cared about them from the beginning. Except, this book explores a fresh concept. Instead of seeing the world and events through Mia’s eyes, the entire book was in Adam’s perspective, not something I was gung-ho about until I read it, and realised how funny and realistic Adam’s character really is.

Like every other person reading the book, I was rooting for the two to patch up their troubles and get on with life. However, matters were not as simple as that. After the accident, Mia of course has been emotionally scarred, and Adam had some input into that. Forman slowly reveals what happened between the two after the accident and how they both (but especially Mia) held a turmoil of emotion surrounding the accident against each other. Pent-up feelings like resentment, blame, fear–all the nitty-gritty stuff–and let me tell you, Forman was not afraid with a little build-up and then confrontation–something that I loved.

I always loved Adam, and even though he’s more troubled and lonely in this book, I felt closer to him. I related to him, and his character was so complex as Forman peeled back the layers one by one. Mia is more distant, but she expresses her emotions and her fury at Adam, and the accident. Even though I wasn’t inside her head, I didn’t need to be.

If I Stay could have been left a stand-alone and I’m sure people choose not to read the sequel. In fact, I walked around for a couple of days before realising there even was a sequel, just assuming Mia and Adam were living happily-ever-after. However, I’m incredibly glad Forman decided to write a follow-up, because it gave the characters more authenticity and rawness that I have honestly never read before. I clearly need to read more of this type of book because I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I urge you to go away and read If I Stay and then embark on Where She Went. It’s perfect for Contemporary Romance lovers who don’t mind getting into gritty and realistic (but incredibly loveable) characters and emotional scenes.

5 Stars–I loved it because it’s incredibly character based and even though the plot was interesting, I was compelled by the depth of characters.

five-stars

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Review: Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Lux #4)

Review: Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Lux #4)Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Lux #4
Published by Entangled Teen on August 27th 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 374
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
four-half-stars
Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything.

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on?

And will they even be together?

Well, well, well, this series has certainly picked up the pace. As much as I love the Lux series, I always treat it as a bit of a fun and flirty read with some hot aliens. Even after numerous cliff-hangers, where I’m desperate to read the next book, I still felt this way. I could see the cliff-hanger in Opal coming a mile away and while I was impressed, I wasn’t at all surprised. However Origin felt like a completely different book to me, whereas the other books I’ve not written a review for because I feel they merge together slightly.

I have to admit, I liked the arguments in Obsidian between Katy and Daemon, with the witty back and forth but the undeniable attraction. When Katy and Daemon finally got together as a couple, I was happy, but thought some of the romance felt a bit boring at times. I don’t know if it was the complete change of setting or something else, but the romance felt alive and the chemistry was there once again. The setting change was really interesting, because we’ve been in this small town for all three books now, and it felt really good to see what the actual alien world is like, and how our main protagonist would deal with this world. As soon as I was relaxing into the story, Armentrout brought something completely new to the table and captivated me further. This new plot twist is exciting and could literally go anywhere. It kept me on my toes and makes me so excited to see how this is going to end!

Despite the ending of Opal indicating otherwise, we see our most loved characters and their interactions. I was a little worried we wouldn’t see the usual gang that we’ve come to love, what with the new setting, however this was not the case. Armentrout carefully crafted new settings and new characters, but kept our old and most loved characters in for some familiarity.

Of course, there is a huge cliff-hanger, because Armentrout seems to love this plot device. Everything is going to plan and then shit stuff goes down. Seriously, it’s a pretty huge cliff-hanger and one I loved, because it was certainly not something I was expecting.

Rating 4.5 Stars–I really recommend this series as always, but especially this one. Armentrout has really surprised me in such an amazing way and I’m in love with this series more than ever. Once again, I was taken on a whirlwind of intrigue, humour and also morbid realisation about the aliens and the world Armentrout has created. I cannot wait for the next instalment where everyone will finally get some closure!

four-half-stars

LOSING-IT-COVER-WORK

Review: Losing it by Cora Carmack

Review: Losing it by Cora CarmackLosing it by Cora Carmack
Published by Ebury Press on 12th October 2012
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 204
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-stars
Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, Bliss Edwards decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible - a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if that weren't embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theatre professor. She'd left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier.
Buy the Book from Amazon UK

Losing it was one of my first New Adult reads and it didn’t disappoint. Don’t let the weirdo cover put you off, because it’s a cute book. I was really in the mood for something light and fluffy, and this delivered. The premise was fun: Bliss Edwards is  virgin and sets out to lose her virginity in a one-night stand. That one night stand plan ends with a gorgeous naked man in Bliss’ bed, and her running out claiming she needs to pick up her cat from the vet. Then, the following Monday, she recognizes her new college professor is said gorgeous naked man.

I really enjoyed reading this. I was slightly wary about the premise of someone losing their virginity after reading Popping the Cherry by Aurelia Bowl. I felt the execution wasn’t very good in that one. However, Losing it was handled really tastefully and in a fun way. I read it just before my mocks as well, so it put me in a happy mood. It’s the kind of book that leaves you feeling satisfied and like you’ve eaten a really delicious, fulfilling meal!

I liked the setting in college. I’ve heard about New Adult bridging the gap between YA and Adult Romance, but it’s incredibly interesting to see how each genre is actually considerably different. Despite people claiming all three are the same thing, it’s not true. Bliss was a likeable, realistic adult who was a really funny character to follow. Garrick was awesome. Together they made a cute pair and I liked the way they interacted.

Cora Carmack is quite known for her success in indie publishing. Losing it was Carmack’s debut novel published in December 2012. She published it herself with no help in marketing and so on. However, she still managed to get #36 in Kindle Contemporary Romance and other notable successes. This is pretty amazing for someone simply publishing through Amazon with no paper copies or anything. Good for you Carmack! I’ve added Carmack to my metal list of authors to look out for, and will be exploring more New Adult–namely J Lynn aka Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Rating: 4 stars!

four-stars

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Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #2)

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #2)Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's on August 27th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 420
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads
five-stars
After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

Usually, if I enjoy the first in a series, the second one can be all kinds of disappointment, but not Crown of Midnight. This book is filled with moments of gripping excitement, an intriguing plot and complex characters you want to be best friends with. Seriously, Dorian and I could talk about books all day long.

I started Crown of Midnight when I was in a reading slump. I got a third of the way through and I was not in the mood at all, so I stopped reading it. I didn’t want to trust my judgment quite yet, because I wasn’t at a reliable time to review it or even rate it. I’m so glad I didn’t continue reading it otherwise the experience would have been thoroughly ruined. As I picked it up for the second time, I was reminded how awesome this series is and thrown into a world of intrigue and so many different delicious plots.

I adore the complexity of the novel, it has so many aspects to it, and there are many things going on. Not only that, but the characters also have issues individually, and it is not a case of the entire world revolving around our main heroine. Although Celaena is pretty dang awesome. She is undoubtedly a Hardcore Heroine, fighting for her life, her beliefs and her friends. I am in Celaena’s corner, cheering her on!

I have to say though, she is the most peculiar blend of infuriating, amazing and strong heroine I have ever read. On one page I understand her completely, on another I don’t understand her at all. She’s freshly unpredictable and keeps me on my toes whilst reading; because when I read these, my eyes glued in captivation and braced for Maas to break my heart. Needless to say she does at the end. I was left staring at the page in awe and a slight feeling of betrayal. WHY? Why do this to me Maas? I thought we had a deal that you wouldn’t hurt me like this. I guess some authors like to cause their readers pain.

Celaena’s quite different in Crown of Midnight, because we see her darker side in a lot more depth. I was beginning to think that perhaps Celaena wasn’t believably as an assassin, because despite her badarse tendencies, she well, didn’t assassinate anyone. In fact, she downright refused! I’m not saying I want all my heroine’s to be killing everyone, but the entire series is set upon this fact. Anyway, it worked itself out quite well.

There’s also a bit of romance and I love romance, so I was a major fan of this development. Overall, Crown of Midnight is an amazing read and one of my favourites of this year. I truly loved it and I can’t wait until the next one releases!

Rating: 5 Stars!!

five-stars

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Review: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky #2)

Review: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky #2)Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
Series: Under the Never Sky #2
Published by Atom on January 8th 2013
Genres: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Pages: 341
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
five-stars
It's been months since Aria learned of her mother's death. 

Months since Perry became Blood Lord of the Tides, and months since Aria last saw him.

Now Aria and Perry are about to be reunited. It's a moment they've been longing for with countless expectations. And it's a moment that lives up to all of them. At least, at first.

Then it slips away. The Tides don't take kindly to former Dwellers like Aria. And the tribe is swirling out of Perry's control. With the Aether storms worsening every day, the only remaining hope for peace and safety is the Still Blue. But does this haven truly exist?

Threatened by false friends and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and sci-fi elements to create a captivating adventure-and a love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.(

I loved Through the Ever Night so much, I felt like everything was ratcheted up a notch and the stakes were higher. Even though I adored Under the Never Sky, it’s no secret that I found the beginning confusing, but enjoyed it when it picked up. However Through the Ever Night was a fantastic read all the way through, and one of my favourites of the year. I’m incredibly invested in the main characters, and there are some great minor characters. It annoys me when the world I’m reading revolves around the main characters, and the more minor characters aren’t explored. Through the Ever Night was not like that, a lot of the characters had many layers. Not only that but it has an extensive world, and a thrilling plot. It’s the kind of book that will lure you in and not allow you to process the outer world until you are finished.

Aria has developed so much, and she’s learnt a lot since the last book. She’s adapted to the world really well–she doesn’t whine, and she’s not annoying. She’s a fighter, and I love her for it. I think the dual POV between her and Perry is brilliant, because Peregrine’s POV is so interesting and I adore Aria and Perry’s Romance. Both of them have separate things to deal with, which keeps things fresh and interesting, and means we aren’t following the same boring problems.

As Peregrine introduces Aria to his tribe, his people are wary of a person from the Realms. Peregrine faces a lot of trouble because he’s young and inexperienced–soon the tribe are finding it hard to eat because of the Aether storms. In addition, Talon is still being kept by the Dweller’s and Perry is faced with the awful decision of choosing between the ones he loves and his entire tribe who are relying on him. Perry is so awesome. Together, him and Aria make such an amazing team, with inevitable bumps along the road in their relationship.

Roar is also present and I love him so much! Not only is he hilarious, but it’s great to see a male character who’s friends with the main heroine and isn’t pitifully in love with her. Roar has his own problems, and I wish Rossi would write an entire book about him and Liv. I know there’s a novella (and I can’t wait to read it) but an entire novel would be so much better! I just wish Rossi would gather all of the minor characters and write separate stories about them! When that happens, I know the book must be good.

Rossi has made me love Sci-Fi,  I love this world and I love the characters. Rossi has carried on this captivating world admirably, and I am clutching my keyboard counting down the days until the conclusion to this series releases. If you haven’t read this series, start at Under the Never Sky– the series is so gashdang awesome and a must-read.

Rating: 5 Stars

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Review: Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost (Night Prince #2)

Review: Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost (Night Prince #2)Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost
Series: Night Prince #2
Published by Avon on 26th March 2013
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 326
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-half-stars
Leila's psychic abilities have been failing her, and now she isn't sure what the future holds. If that weren't enough, her lover, Vlad, has been acting distant. Though Leila is a mere mortal, she's also a modern woman who refuses to accept the cold shoulder treatment forever–especially from the darkly handsome vampire who still won't admit that he loves her.

Like choosing between eternal love and a loveless eternity...

Soon circumstances send Leila back to the carnival circuit, where tragedy strikes. And when she finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer who may be closer than she realizes, Leila must decide who to trust– the fiery vampire who arouses her passions like no other or the tortured knight who longs to be more than a friend? With danger stalking her every step of the way, all it takes is one wrong move to damn her for eternity.
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YAY! Love this series! I was a little apprehensive about reading a spin-off with Vlad, and although I really enjoyed Once Burned, Twice Tempted was that much more enjoyable for me.

I love character development and Frost writes it incredibly well. Both Leila and Vlad grew as a couple and did what they needed to make the relationship work. Like adults. Which is why I adore their relationship so much. Vlad isn’t used to having someone so close to him, and although he has had lovers, he’s not been in an equal partnership in a long time. Not just because Vlad is a commitment-phobe either. Rather, because the one woman he did love killed herself, because she was so afraid of him. You can see why Vlad is a little reluctant to fall in love after that, so he simply refuses. I love Vlad’s character so much more now, before he was mysterious (and he still is), but his character has been given much more depth and reason for his actions. I really fell in love with him in this one.

That’s not to say Vlad wasn’t infuriating at times, because he seriously is. However, it worked because Vlad never changed who he was completely. He’s still brutal Vlad, and although he bends much more than he has before, for Leila. He doesn’t change. I find in some relationships in these books, the ruthless Vampire falls in love with the woman and becomes a bit soppy. Which I find unrealistic, because it’s almost like their entire character changes.

Leila also has character development, and together, you have two evolving characters that don’t annoy you. Leila is hilarious at times, her sarcastic inner-commentary and witty remarks are exactly what I look for in a character. She’s someone people underestimate, with an awesome power of electricity and ability to read emotional imprints on people. Frost has given her truly compelling and intriguing powers. Leila is the kind of character you

I really adore this world, the characters and the world-building. There is a fair bit of romance, but it doesn’t dominate the book, and it was just the right amount for me. I’m very sad that there’s only going to be one more book, however, at least this series will end strongly and is unlikely to fizz out. Twice Tempted is not a book to miss, and is the kind of book where two hours will go by and the pages are flipping themselves, because you are so into the story and characters. Frost has done an excellent job with this world and I highly recommend it if you enjoy Paranormal Romance, because, trust me, it’s the good stuff.

four-half-stars

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ARC Review: Crash into You by Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits #3)

ARC Review: Crash into You by Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits #3)Crash into You by Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits #3
Published by Mira Ink on November 26th 2013
Genres: Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 474
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
five-stars
The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.

I really liked Dare You To, but Katie McGarry was certainly pushing the limits of awesome with Crash into You…geddit? ;)

McGarry is fast becoming one of those authors where I count the days for their next book to come out. She mixes this perfect blend of internal conflict, external conflict and upping the stakes when you’re unprepared. It’s the kind of series I love so much I would go out and buy just to stroke the beautiful cover and look at it on my shelf. Correction: if it was the American cover–I don’t want to get into it, but to say the UK covers are a disappointment is a colossal understatement.

Crash into You is told in dual POV. It really added something to the story to understand how each of the characters were perceived through different eyes, and how that perception changed as they grew to know each other. Rachel was a character many people can relate to. Her family and her have a *lot* of issues, and I won’t delve into them, apart from to say it was written beautifully. Rachel is completely different from Beth in Dare You To, which just shows how McGarry can write different characters and isn’t churning out the same things. I related to Rachel, and though in the past shy characters like her have annoyed me, Rachel didn’t one bit. I really understood her, and her need to be herself–not what everyone else wanted her to be. Her family seriously angered me, though. I didn’t understand why they treated Rachel like a fragile ornament that wasn’t allowed to have any friends without someone getting suspicious. Rachel is a teenager, and frankly, if my teenage daughter didn’t have any friends at all, I’d be a little concerned. Rachel was suffocating under this constant need to make everyone happy, when it wasn’t her responsibility or problem. I felt so strongly about her situation, I wanted to jump into the book and shout at her family for being so unbelievably obtuse. Rachel is a character that I think is going to be more popular for readers, because more people can relate to her. Reading about sassy heroines is fun, but not necessarily realistic for us bookish types to relate to.

I was especially interested about the cars aspect of Crash into You. Never have I read a novel about drag racing or a YA heroine who’s in love with cars. It was really adorable the way Isaiah and Rachel bonded over their love for cars. It was like they had their own special language that drew them closer, and a common passion about something.

I wasn’t sure about Isaiah before, but I really grew to love his character and empathize for the situation he is in. At the beginning of Crash into You, it feels like he doesn’t have a person he can properly talk to. Despite having a couple of reliable friends, he’s kind of lonely, and so is Rachel. More is revealed about Isaiah’s home life, and his desperate situation. Both characters were becoming more layered as the book went on.

I am now incredibly excited for the next installment in this series, where we have Rachel’s brother West as one of the main protagonists. I love it when the characters link together, and I feel like Katie McGarry can just keep on going with these books, as she has shown she knows how to keep them interesting and engaging.

If you haven’t picked up the Pushing the Limits series, and you enjoy YA Romance, why haven’t you? Although it’s nice to read from the beginning and understand references to previous books, Crash into You can be read as a standalone. You will be missing a couple of things that happened, but if you have a chance to read Crash into You. Do it. Do it now.

Rating: 5 Stars BABY!

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Review: Popping the Cherry by Aurelia B Rowl

Review: Popping the Cherry by Aurelia B RowlPopping the Cherry by Aurelia B Rowl
Published by Carina on September 19th 2013
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 250
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
two-half-stars
From driving tests to relationships, Valentina Bell thinks she’s a failure, with a big fat capital F. At this rate, she’s certain she’ll be a virgin for ever. So Lena’s friends plan Operation: Popping the Cherry to help her find the perfect man first time.

Yet somehow disastrous dates with bad-boy musicians and fabulous evenings with secretly in-the-closet guys aren’t quite working out how Lena planned.

Soon Lena’s avoiding Operation: Popping the Cherry to spend time with comforting, aloof Jake, her best friend’s older brother, who doesn’t make her feel self-conscious about still clinging to her V card. But could Jake show Lena that sometimes what you’re looking for most is right by your side?

A FOREVER for the twenty-first century
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I enjoyed Popping the Cherry as a cute romance, but it frustrated me in so many ways. Our main character, Lena (or Tink, as the romantic interest calls her) is at school one day when her friends stage an Intervention to get her cherry popped. Or in other words, to lose her virginity. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with how this happened, as Lena then spent most of the novel on the quest to lose her virginity–or rather as I saw it–to fit in with her friends. Suddenly the premise didn’t look nearly as amusing, but kind of sad for Lena, who’s friends wrote a list titled Operation: Popping the Cherry.

Another thing that annoyed me was her best friend, Gemma. Said best friend does not approve of the actual person she is falling in love with, which is her older brother, Jake. She makes every snide comment and gives no support to Lena but instead pushes her toward disgusting guys who take advantage of her. Gemma came across as superficial and selfish, not once did she even have a reason for Lena and Jake not to be together, and was effectively stopping them both from being happy. The reason I feel so strongly over this is, because of Gemma (and admittedly other reasons), it takes them the entire novel to get together. Which unfortunately, is not my thing.  I like it when the characters realise they like each other and, you know, act like adults and just ask the other out. Then maybe have some complications in the relationship later. Sometimes it felt like they were in primary school playground, writing notes and thinking: does he like me? I won’t bother asking, I will sit on my hands and wait for something to happen for the ENTIRE novel.

Honestly, I have never known anyone so inept at reading signals. Sorry for that slight rant there, it was the main annoying aspect of the book, and otherwise it was an enjoyable romance. It wasn’t particularly complicated, but at times it was adorable, and I really liked the way Lena handled some of the situations maturely, unlike other books I’ve read with characters in the same situation. I love forbidden love, and that’s kind of what was in Popping the Cherry, except, I feel like I should’ve been given more reason as to why Jake and Lena couldn’t be together.

Also, there was a huge cliché with the main antagonist, Alice (or Malice, as Lena and her friends call her), was so predictable and boring. She was the Queen Bee that wasn’t satisfied until everyone is bowing before her. Yada-yada-yada. I just find this plot line to be so uninteresting and average. Rowl could have done so much better in that aspect.

I really liked Jake and Lena, it’s a shame everyone around them was so annoying. They should’ve just ignored everyone from the start and done what they wanted. Together, they had a really sweet romance–that may have dragged on slightly–but was adorable all the same.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

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Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Review: If I Stay by Gayle FormanIf I Stay by Gayle Forman
Published by Black Swan on Arpil 2nd 2009
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 201
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought, Library
Goodreads
five-stars
In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.
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If I Stay is one emotional book. Anyone who’s had experience with grief can relate to the premise (which is pretty much EVERYONE). Forman explores the boundaries between life and death, and the idea of having the choice whether to live or die. Mia is in a car accident with her parents and younger brother, and when her family are killed, Mia stays in a coma. We’re shown Mia’s perspective outside of her comatose body, as she watches events unfold around her and flashbacks are blended seamlessly to show her former life. She has a captivating dilemma of whether it’s worth living. Her family is dead, and she would spend the rest of her life grieving and living without her family. But of course she has hundreds of life prospects to look forward to, as she’s only 17.

From page one, Mia was a character I understood and liked. Maybe it’s because of her sarcastic and dark humor, or the way her character was presented, but she seemed like someone I could be best friends with. Forman has a way of pulling at the heart-strings in a particular way, I never sobbed my heart out, but her writing made me grieve for my own losses and I  teared up a few times. Her family situation was adorable; she had a boyfriend, a best friend, and an amazing talent at cello. There was no huge drama-llama, everything was so incredibly normal. This made the situation easy to relate to and powerful, because it reminds one that life is short and unpredictable.

I love romance in books, and it did play a part in If I Stay. Adam is probably one of the most realistic book boyfriends, and I love him for it. He’s the lead singer and guitarist in a rock band, but it wasn’t as cliche as it sounds. Forman didn’t make him a rock star to make us love him (okay maybe a little bit), but it was also really integral to the story. Music played an important role in the storyline, as it’s how Adam and Mia meet. It was something they were so passionate about and it  worked really well.

I’m not wasn’t a huge fan of contemporary, and honestly the genre has annoyed me at times. However, If I Stay has opened my eyes to the genre and made me see it in a completely different light. I loved the characters in this book, I loved the story line and the events. I’m so glad I picked it up, and will not sigh heavily when thinking about reading a Contemporary. Because if I read another Contemporary that I loved as much as this, I shall be very happpy.

five-stars

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Review: After Eden by Helen Douglas (After Eden #1)

Review: After Eden by Helen Douglas (After Eden #1)Aften Eden by Helen Douglas
Series: After Eden #1
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's on November 7th 2013
Genres: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Pages: 228
Format: ARC
Source: Given From Publisher
three-stars
Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she's hooked. On the face of it, he's a typical American teenager. So why doesn't he recognise pizza? And how come he hasn't heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he's taking in her.

As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan's bedroom - a biography of her best friend - written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose ... and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.

*A review copy was very kindly provided by Bloomsbury Children’s , but this in no way affected the review*

After Eden is written in the perspective of a 16-year-old girl called Eden who starts becoming friends with the new guy in school–deliciously attractive Ryan. Sometimes I found Eden to be a tad one-dimentional. Sure, I related to her in quite a few ways, but she wasn’t the kind of character I admire for her complexity. However, I did like her and thought she was really funny at times.

I don’t want to give out to many spoilers, but Eden starts discovering things about Ryan that don’t add up–he’s never had pizza, and he doesn’t know who Hitler or Ghandi are. Soon she discovers Ryan’s from 100 years into the future and traveled back in time on a mission to save the world.

After Eden was a really intriguing read because I adored the time-travelling aspect of the story. I found it so interesting and I hope Douglas explores this area more in the next installment.  I wasn’t sure I bought that Ryan didn’t know what pizza was or who Hitler or Ghandi were. I understood there was likely to be a colossal culture shock, but they are key people in History and world renown. Surely, there must be some kind of education that informs us who Hitler was 100 years into the future? Of course, we can’t know what happens 100 years from now and I liked the way Douglas kept a mystery about the future and what it held. Eden couldn’t be told about anything because it could change the future and it went against certain laws. This just made me desperate to know more, and I really hope that at some point in this series we will see what becomes of Earth in the future, or be given more information.

I really liked that the romance was not massively insta-love, I had a feeling it was going to be, but thankfully I was proved wrong. I thought Ryan and Eden together were so funny together, but I didn’t feel like their romance had a spark. It was all very cute at times, and Ryan was romantic, but it wasn’t a love I was desperate to see survive. However, I love the trope of forbidden love, and I was interested to see how Eden and Ryan were going to overcome the 100 years that force them apart.

Some things were admittedly quite cliché and predictable. There was a girl antagonist that went to Eden’s school trying to steal the guy. This cheesy plot line usually annoys me a lot, but she played a small role and it didn’t bother me. In fact, it made for entertainment.

It pleased me that the setting was Cornwall! It’s such a lovely place, and it was awesome to read about a UK setting, and people in the same school year as me! There were really nice scenes at the beach and gazing at the stars, and I found the scenes about astronomy especially interesting.

I did really enjoy After Eden, I liked the occasional humour, the setting and the entire idea of  time travelling. However, at times I felt the characters were not complex enough and the romance was lacking in a bit of spark.

Rating: 3 Stars

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ARC Review: Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins

ARC Review: Stir Me Up by Sabrina ElkinsStir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins
Published by Harlequin Teen on December 1st 2013
Genres: Romance, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 268
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
five-stars
Cami Broussard has her future all figured out. She'll finish her senior year of high school, then go to work full-time as an apprentice chef in her father's French restaurant, alongside her boyfriend, Luke. But then twenty-year-old ex-Marine Julian Wyatt comes to live with Cami's family while recovering from serious injuries. And suddenly Cami finds herself questioning everything she thought she wanted.

Julian's all attitude, challenges and intense green-brown eyes. But beneath that abrasive exterior is a man who just might be as lost as Cami's starting to feel. And Cami can't stop thinking about him. Talking to him. Wanting to kiss him. He's got her seriously stirred up. Her senior year has just gotten a lot more complicated….

This was such a *sigh* worthy romance. I read it in two sittings and I loved it. Julian, has been given an honourable discharge from the Marines when he was wounded in an IED explosion. He was trying to pull three other people to safety when there was a second explosion, and he was the only one who survived. One of his legs has to amputated, and he sustained many other injuries and obvious emotional scarring. He’s not in a good place and when our main heroine Cami meets him for the first time in his hospital bed, he angrily shouts at her to leave the room. Except, Julian is Cami’s stepmother’s nephew and soon Julian moves out of hospital and into Cami’s room, and consequently, they are forced to see each other every day.

Poor Cami was put out by not having her own private space, but Julian desperately needs the care Cami’s stepmother, Estella, is willing to give. Cami is attending her last year of school and works at her French father’s restaurant–Etoile. She loves cooking mostly French food, and bakes some muffins for Julian in goodwill–he throws it at her head. Commence the angry insults that are thrown at each other. I enjoyed Cami’s love for cooking food, it added to the storyline, and gave her more depth. She was an enjoyable character to read about, because she was so relatable. She goes to school, she has a best friend, she studies, she flirts with a hot Marine…wait, what? Where’s my hot Marine? *Ahem*, anyway, she had a feistiness and friendliness that made me want to be there baking muffins and laughing with her.

Stir Me Up explores the after-math of war in individuals, and the effects of loss. Julian and Cami warm to each other in a slow-burning way, that is believable and sweet. This book is wholly satisfying for Romance-lovers, and prefect for those cold days to snuggle under the covers and get caught up in a highly amusing and adorable romance.

Julian is one sexy marine *swoon*, and Elkins made the connection between him and Cami feel tangible. Cami has no idea what she wants to do other than that she wants to be a chef, and Julian and her share that uncertainty towards their future. I had such a good time reading this, I urge you to read it.

Rating: 5 Stars

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Review: Lash by L.G. Castillo

Review: Lash by L.G. CastilloLash by L.G. Castillo
Series: Broken Angel #1
on 1st May 2013
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 286
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
three-stars
Decades after being banished from Heaven for saving a life he shouldn’t have, Lash is given a chance to redeem himself. His mission: protect Naomi Duran, a young woman who has lost her faith. The assignment proves to be anything but simple when his superiors, the Archangels, withhold key information about Naomi and refuse to restore Lash’s powers. When an unexpected source reveals centuries-old secrets, his trust is shaken to the core, and he begins to doubt those whom he had once considered to be his greatest allies.

Determined to avoid anything that would risk his chances of returning to Heaven, Lash struggles with the greatest obstacle of all—his growing feelings for Naomi. But when her life is threatened by an unknown source, Lash questions the wisdom of the Archangels and his ability to keep her safe. 

Soon, Lash will have to choose where to place his faith—in the home he has fought so hard to regain or in the forbidden love he can’t bear to lose.
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Lash has a feel of New Adult/ Paranormal and was such a lovely read. It had the premise of Guardian Angels, and forbidden love. Who doesn’t enjoy the trope of forbidden love?

I had not read any New Adult before this–but I kept telling myself to–but because I like Romance and Paranormal, this was really a fantastic combination. It didn’t take me very long to finish and was a light read–which considering that I’ve been in a reading funk for a couple of weeks now was a warm welcome.

Lash was a bit of fun, and humour is present throughout the novel, which blended into what was mostly a rather serious storyline. It’s always good when an author can add humour without completely altering the tone, because I don’t enjoy 100% serious books, I need humour!

The only thing that really let this novel down was that I never fell in love with the characters, and I don’t even know why. Well okay, I did fall for Lash a little bit–but who wouldn’t? There was great internal and external conflict, Castillo has clearly tried to give layers to the characters and Lash had an intriguing mystery past. But still, they weren’t the kind of characters that made you snort with laughter and want to eat ice cream with them in the wee hours of the morning.

Even though I didn’t fall in love with Naomi’s character, I still liked her. Anyone who has dealt with loss and grieving can relate to Naomi’s character. She lost her mother to cancer, then other events happen that add to the loss. I felt like some things were unexpected and unrealistic, though. I don’t want to give out spoilers, but she gets a little depressed at one point, and what happened next seemed like it was just written in to make the story more interesting/easier for the storyline. Not actually because it fit with Naomi’s character.

Either way, Lash was an enjoyable read, and although it wasn’t jaw-dropping or heart-stopping, Lash and Naomi were fun characters, and the Guardian Angels storyline was really intriguing. This novel was at times cheesy and I felt melodramatic, but still a great read.

Rating: 3 Stars

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Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha #1)

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha #1)Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #1
Published by Indigo, Orion on May 17th 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Goodreads
five-stars
The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.
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Alina is just a mapmaker, nothing special. Until one day her power is revealed and she discovers that she has the power to bring light and save lives. Alina is not just a mapmaker any more, she is Grisha. Soon, Alina is sleeping in a soft bed and eating delicious meals. Everyday she is training hard physically and mastering her powers to fight The Shadow Fold, because she is everyone’s only hope.

I’ve heard a lot about this series, and I wasn’t sure whether I was ever going to pick it up. I was reading Stephanie from Stepping out of  the Page’s review of this book and she was saying how words like ‘The Shadow Fold’, ‘Ravka’ and ‘Grisha’ intimidate her, and I 100% agree. What with that and the cover, I thought this book was going to be a major Fantasy book–and not one that I’d like. God know’s why, because the only reviews I see of this book are positive.

Shadow and Bone captured my attention like Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, with similar Fantasy/Historical elements. I’m not sure how I feel about Fantasy, I used to think I didn’t like it but Maas’ and Bardugo’s writing have roped me in and I’m beginning to love the genre.

There are quite a few plot threads, all linking and some that I know are unresolved and are going to hit me in the next book when I least expect it. This world was magical and I adore the premise. Although, I am quite bored of there being a ‘better species’, you know, the one everyone is protecting, with the other species working as slaves. I am so sick to death of that trope. Is there ever a book where both species live in peace or are at least equal? Apparently not.

Still, I liked Alina’s character and I adored her relationship with Mal. They are childhood friends that grew up together, Alina harbours a secret love for Mal ever since they were teenagers. But of course Mal is desirable and not in want of attention from women.

There were many things I could’ve hated about Shadow and Bone, because despite it’s amazing originality, it has a hundred or so cliche’s. For example:

  • Unrequited love for Alina’s childhood best friend
  • An (albeit questionable) love triangle
  • The MC’s life changes over-night
  • Alina is fated to save everyone with her recently discovered power of ‘sunshine’ *snorts* (No really, this was a good plot line, despite how it sounds)

I could go on. But, please don’t let this silly list put you off, because it’s a fantastic book and if you haven’t read it, I dare say it’s a must-read. The Fantasy is really extensive and I loved the world, it was one of the very different elements in the book. It was beautiful and Bardego gave me a clear imagery of every amazing thing in it.

Rating: 5 Stars– I really loved this one, when I least expected it. If you haven’t read it, I urge you to, even if Fantasy is not your thing! You’d be surprised.

five-stars

under-the-never-sky-hi-reshl

Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky #1)

Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky #1)Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Series: Under the Never Sky #1
Published by Atom on January 3rd 2012
Genres: Dystopia, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Pages: 374
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads
three-half-stars
WORLDS KEPT THEM APART.

DESTINY BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER.

Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.

If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers.

Under the Never Sky took a while to draw me in, the entire premise was quite complicated and not very well explained. It jumped right in with bewildering lingo like ‘Realms’  which left me confused. Some of the world intricacies were never explained and I have no idea how the Earth got into this weird Sci-Fi situation or if it’s a different dimension entirely. However, despite this initial bump, at about page 130, Under the Never Sky got good.  Really good.

I loved the idea of having ‘Realms’. They are virtual worlds that humans live in and you can change to different Realms with a single thought. For example, you can go to a Forest Realm for lunch and then a Beach Realm in the blink of an eye. Everything is virtual, so the experience is not quite the same as real life, but the people who live there try and make everything appear, feel and taste as life-like as possible. Our main protagonist, Aria, is from the Realms and soon finds that the Realms have done no justice to real life. It was amusing to read about her reactions to things very common to us, like fires, which mystified her. Also, she kept collecting rocks, because they’re unique shapes and sizes on earth, whereas in the Realms they are formulated and often boring and the same.

Meanwhile on Earth, humans live in Tribes, with a leader called a Blood Lord. Humans have been set back a hundred or so years. They are living in stone huts and finding it hard to survive with enough food through the winter. Peregrine is our main hero, and when his nephew goes missing, Peregrine sets off to save him. Then Aria gets thrown out of the Realms, and her and Peregrine strike a deal to help each other.

Under the Never Sky is told in dual points of view, following both Perry and Aria, it was enjoyable to read about both of their lives and the contrast of how they live and their thoughts about each other. To begin with, they share an animosity towards each other because Aria thinks Perry’s a savage, and Perry thinks Aria’s a spoilt brat. Both of those opinions hold some truth. But of course their relationship continues to develop and drama ensues.

It’s a mix or science fiction and Dystopia, which was interesting to read. I really enjoyed this book, although I don’t think it was initially explained in the best way, I was still very taken by the writing and the unique premise. I highly recommend this series, and urge you to get past the fairly boring and slightly confusing first 100 pages, because the next 250 are a real gem.

Rating: 3.5 Stars, but only because of the beginning, otherwise I seriously loved it and I will definitely be carrying on with the series.

three-half-stars

geek-girl_correct_cover

Review: Geek Girl by Holly Smale (Geek Girl #1)

Review: Geek Girl by Holly Smale (Geek Girl #1)Geek Girl by Holly Smale
Series: Geek Girl #1
Published by HarperCollins Children's Books on 28th February 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 356
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads
five-stars
She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a "jiffy" lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn't quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she's spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.

As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did.

And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?
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Geek Girl is an incredibly fun and feel-good book. It follows Harriet Manners’ shenanigans and mistakes in the model world. Harriet is impossible to dislike, she funny, quirky and (obviously) geeky, I had such a good time reading about her. I was ‘late to the party’ reading this, hearing rave reviews, but I never got the chance to pick it up. Well I finally did and I read it so quickly, it’s really easy to read and if you’re looking for something light—it’s perfect. Sometimes I get bogged down in Urban Fantasy, YA and Paranormal books, and I need a refresher, this was just what I was looking for. Also, the good thing about getting to a book late, is that you don’t have to wait for the sequel for as long. Model Misfit (Geek Girl #2) is set for release near the end of September. YAY!

There is a slight romance undercurrent that gave this book another intriguing layer, but it’s not the main focus. There are also friendship woes and bullying incidents. Harriet is a major geek with only one friend, so it was surprising when she got picked up by a model agency. When I was reading this, I thought it was very unrealistic, until I read Holly Smale’s bio and realised that that had actually happened to her!

Geek Girl is littered with geeky facts, and pop culture references like Lord of the Rings, which made me smile. It’s inventive and completely different to any Contemporary YA I have ever read before—it’s like a chick flick and reminded me of The Princess Diaries, where a young girls life changes over night and suddenly they’re the next big thing. Throughout the novel, Harriet never forgets who she is, or loses herself, in fact she downright protests being a model in the beginning—as she was actually thinking about being a palaeontologist.

I loved her relationship with her dad and her step-mother, it was amusing and surprising. Her step-mother was really practical and her dad was so funny, it really added something to the storyline and characters. I also love the cover! It’s so fun and adorable, it looks brilliant on my shelf!

Overall, Geek Girl is a must-read and I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was the perfect read for a lazy Sunday and it left me smiling after I’d read it.

Rating: 5 Stars

five-stars