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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

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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: 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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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

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Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #1
Published by HarperCollins, HarperCollins Children's Books on February 28th 2012
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Pages: 487
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
five-stars

Divergent (Divergent, #1)This book was incredibly intense from beginning to end, there was always something happening and once I got roped in, I didn’t stop reading.

There are five factions in this dystopian world:

Abnegation—the selfless

Erudite—the intelligent

Candor—the honest

Dauntless—the brave

Beatrice was born in Abnegation, and is told never to ask questions, respect your elders, don’t look in the mirror and always help others–no matter the cost to you. She must wear gray robes, so she’s not separating herself from anyone or being individual and to not show much skin. To Beatrice, this never came naturally, and she found herself growing up constantly having to remind herself of these rules. They may seem weird, however Abnegation believe these rules make them utterly selfless. These five factions are how their community live in peace, with no murder and because all the council members are Abnegation, also no corruption.

Beatrice is sixteen and soon she will have the choice of leaving abnegation and joining another faction. That would mean never seeing her family again and being cast out. Before that decision though, her and other sixteen-year-olds to take a test. It is impossible to prepare for and informs their choice considering the type of person they are and how they react in certain situations, however, it’s not compulsory to choose that faction.

The world is so inventive and everything was explained well. With books in dystopian worlds, there’s always the risk of information-dumping, however, I never felt bombarded with information and I was always intrigued. Divergent is compared with The Hunger Games quite a bit, and I would recommend it if you liked The Hunger Games. I think it’s compared because Divergent has factions and lots of ruthless fighting, with corruption. The Hunger Games has districts with ruthless fighting and corruption. However, I believe Roth has brought something different to the table, and once I started to read, I realized that they are very different worlds with completely different characters, but they are both dystopian and that’s where the similarities lie.

I flew through the pages, and before I knew it, I was finished. Page after page, of action, humour and unpredictable things, I was so immersed I didn’t have time to make predictions about how it would end.

The characters were written really well, a few stood out that had a lot of depth and despite the fact this was in first person of Tris’s point of view, I felt huge empathy for other characters.

Tris was amazing, she was strong and took everything in her stride, even when I felt like breaking down and crying for her. She had to grow up a lot, because she wasn’t used to facing the corruption and violence in her comfort home of Abnegation. She was shielded from a lot and just seemed to be going through the motions in life, and then suddenly, she’s jumping from trains and fighting people every single day. Her character was so likeable, she was a little lost, but fighting for what she felt was right and had a witty humour that came out now and again.

The relationship with her father was regrettably distant, he was very self-righteous, but Tris had a lot of support from her mother, who had more secrets than she first appeared to.

Overall it was an engaging book with a strong teenage character, that first drew me in with it’s vivid world.

Rating: 5 Stars

five-stars

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Review: Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost

Review: Once Burned by Jeaniene FrostOnce Burned by Jeaniene Frost
Series: Night Prince #1
Published by Avon on July 5th 2012
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
four-stars

 

She’s a mortal with dark powers…
After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person’s darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude…until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world’s most infamous vampire…
He’s the Prince of Night…
Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don’t call him Dracula. Vlad’s ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him—a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames

Ever since a terrible accident, Leila has been able to see peoples past/present/future and can electrocute them without meaning to- all with a single touch. Having deemed herself a freak, Leila travels with a carnival, performing gymnastics with her Vampire friend Marty. Vampires are the only creatures that can touch Leila and not get hurt when zapped with her electricity. Due to her unusual powers, Leila leads a very isolated life, her mother is dead and she barely talks to her father and sister, she doesn’t really have any friends except Marty. When Vampires capture Leila and force her to use her powers to their advantage, Leila accidently reaches out to the one and only Vlad Tepesh, who’s quite surprised by their telepathic encounter.

“That one tickled. If electrocution is your way of flirting, I commend you on your originality.”

Once Burned was an enjoyable read, with sizzling tension between Leila and Vlad all the way through.  Leila knows exactly how to annoy Vlad and she got under his skin more than most people could. He is an extremely alpha character which I enjoyed. Mostly. He kept on doing things that irked me. Vlad Tepesh is a distinguishable character, he was also very cold, torturing people etc, and this bothered me at times. Leila and Vlad have a lot of arguments because of that. It meant that even though he was badass Vlad The Impaler, I didn’t quite like him as much. He softened up slightly at the end, but he still has a bit to go before I’m completely sold on him. Having said that, he was an amazing character to read about, he had enough mystery about his past that kept me guessing, but was also very distinct in his actions and personality because he had to live up to the legends. The romance between him and Leila was blazing all the way through.

“People frequently bore me, sometimes amuse me, most often irritate me, but rarely intrigue me.”

It appealed to me that Leila was a gymnast, and this connected to certain areas of her personality that were explored, including her past and her powers. It made her more complex and was done sparingly enough not to distract my attention from the main storyline, yet it kept my interest piqued.

Marty and Maximus are both minor characters that add to the book well, as this book mostly revolves around Vlad and Leila. From the Night Huntress series some complain that Jeanine’s Frost’s Cat and Bones’ relationship is fizzling out, this is certainly not the case here. We do get some cameos from Cat and Bones, and it was very amusing to see him from someone else’s perspective, we also see Mencheres and Keira as well.

With a sizzling romance and characters that kept me glued to the pages, I give this a 4.5 Stars

 

[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://sphotos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/582351_10151339314205489_1547241144_n.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Tilly Currer is a teenage book geek living in England where she spends her time inside reading because of the abysmal weather. Sometimes, she gets to sit in the sun and read–those are good days. She enjoys strong heroines and hot men, especially werewolves. Fangirling with her friends is one of her favourite hobbies. Comment, tweet, she loves chatting about books and giving/receiving book recommendations[/author_info] [/author]

four-stars