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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

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Review: Elixir Bound by Katie L. Carroll

Elixir Bound by Katie L. Caroll
Published by Self-Published on August 28th 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 176
Format: eBook
Source: Given From Author
three-stars

 

  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
  • Published: 28 Aug 2012
  • ASIN: B0093CL4OM

Carroll has created an intricate fantasy world that is completely different from the usual books I read. Katora and her family live on a farm with her younger brother and sister, and their parents. Katora knows that she is going to inherit the farm and work there when she grows older. What she doesn’t know is that her father has the ability to heal people with a special Elixir plant. For many years and generations, one person in her family has had that plant at their fingertips, but when the Kase family need it most, there is none left. Katora and her companions must set off in search of her family’s Elixir, where it grows in the form of a plant. But, not only does she need to find the plant, she also needs to make the decision whether to become the next Kase healer and change the rest of her life’s course. She sets off on the journey with her younger brother and sister—Bhar and Kylene; a trusted family friend–Palafair, and Hirsten—a handsome boy who intrigues Katora and is the son of the powerful mapmaker.

Elixir Bound ‘s world is what I’d call historical fantasy, it’s not set in modern times and it didn’t seem to have modern technology. I enjoyed learning about this world and the quirky things it had. The idea of the maps was really interesting, you can put memories into it and people can watch them. Never before has Hirsten been able to put a memory in the map, it was always his father’s memories people saw, however, Hirsten and Katora realise there’s a connection between them that is more than initial attraction, that involves the maps, and I’m excited to see where that goes. In addition, the storm messages were creative, I’ve never read about anything like that before. People could send messages manipulating the weather to warn others.

The small anni demicks and tilli demick were really cute, they’re about up to humans knees and supposedly are servants, except the Kase family have been treating Palafair as part of the family for years. I don’t want to spoil anyone, but it’s adorable when Palafair dotes on a certain tilli demick.

I liked the horsemen, who were like Yeselda’s powerful minions, however, the antagonist didn’t really infuse me with fear, or make me scared for the characters. I found her slightly disappointing because she didn’t really have an effect on me either way.

Katora was to me, a very realistic character because she was faulted. She was strong, and independent, perfectly capable of being the leader of the group and always protecting people. But, she didn’t seem to be able to get close to anyone—especially Hirsten—which made for fantastic character development throughout the book and hopefully more in the series. It gave her the chance to grow, because on the journey, I felt like she changed a lot and became more mature, she more likely to let other people lead, yet still be able to lead well herself.

I didn’t find the love convincing enough, I’m glad it wasn’t insta-love and that Katora had her own battle about how she felt about him, but I never felt like they had enough tense/sweet/angry conversations, to be in love. I wanted more emotion from them, or something. That’s slightly unfair, because they travel for many months and then fall in love. However, I didn’t get that feeling from Katora; she spent so long trying to figure out what the feelings were, that her sudden realisation at love didn’t seem plausible. I wanted to see more of a connection or tension between the two characters. This was particularly disappointing because they were cute together in the small snippets I read and Hirsten was so sweet.

I enjoyed the intricate world, and Katora was strong and I felt she grew a lot, especially at the end. I did have a slight problem with Yeselda and I wasn’t as convinced by the love as I wanted to be, but I enjoyed the overall story and the characters and though it was an entertaining read.

Rating: 3 Stars

Buy at Amazon.co.uk

Buy at Amazon.com

[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-KMMnLncRqIw/UEgsVsrtniI/AAAAAAAADUo/Ba4HkwWoCJY/s1600/KatieLCarroll.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]About Katie: Katie Carroll began writing after her 16-year-old sister unexpectedly passed away. Writing was a way for Katie to help her sister live on in the pages of a story. It also made her realize that she wanted to pursue writing as a career. In addition to penning novels for teens and kids, she edits novels, plays soccer, and collects signed copies of books. Katie lives in Connecticut with her husband and son. If you would like to know more about Katie, visit her website: http://www.katielcarroll.com/[/author_info] [/author]

three-stars

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Review: Other Side Of Forever by Shannon Eckrich

Other Side of Forever by Shannon Eckrich
Published by Self-Published on 24th January 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 236
Format: eBook
Source: Given From Author
three-stars

Other Side of Forever

Seventeen-year-old Allie Anderson’s telekinetic powers are anything but useful-she can’t bring her father back, can’t stop her mother’s downward spiral into alcohol, and can’t keep her from falling in love with Ethan Bradley. Loving Ethan is easy, but it comes with a hefty price: Ethan is prohibited by his people from interacting with mortals–because he isn’t mortal himself. When Allie and Ethan’s love is discovered, there’s someone who will do anything to keep them apart. If Allie can’t learn to control her powers and fight to save Ethan, this dark entity will make every attempt to stop her beating heart. And if that happens, not even the energy of an immortal can bring her back.

I’d like to start by saying thank you Shannon for giving me this book to review. The Other Side Of Forever had a very original  premise and if you’re sick of the constant vampire/werewolf books being churned out, I recommend this one. The concept of mortals and immortals was refreshing.
The telekinetic powers attracted me because it was unique; Allie hates her powers and can’t manipulate them easily, she has kept this secret hidden and whenever she gets emotional, her powers get out-of-control. I liked the idea of energy and how she could control certain objects, this made for a more entertaining read. Allie’s problems at home gave her a believable background and many teenagers could relate to this. It also gave another layer to her character and made her more complex. She had a hard time loving Ethan, because she’d gotten hurt before, so at the beginning she pushes him away. This angst was great and I thought the build-up to their first kiss was nicely paced. Sadly, as the book progresses, I thought they fell in love too quickly to be believable as I felt they barely knew each other. This ruined the romance slightly for me, as their professing love for each other seemed a little silly.
The bad guy’s bravado was poor, he didn’t infuse me with fear for the characters, no matter how powerful he supposedly was. The climax at the end was good, especially because I always like a bad guy that has a past and reasons for his actions, but it was a bit of an information dump at the end, and he sounded like a bad cartoon character. 
I had problems with Allie being saved a lot- she was saved by Ethan on numerous occasions. All of those times she didn’t even try to save herself and that bothered me. I realise she is a character a lot of teenage girls would like though, because she is very passive and could be easily related-to, but she was too passive for me. I think this might be deliberate to make her stronger throughout the series, at least I hope so because I liked the twist at the end and it seemed to be the beginning of her character development.
Ethan was a great male character, I can see a lot of girls fangirling over him. He grabbed me from the moment when he simply sat down and read a book- guys reading books are hot. He had a certain type of mystery surrounding him that made him more alluring and his past was an interesting back story.
There was also a strong balance between plot and romance, with puzzling occurrences in the beginning that lead to hair-raising conclusions in the end.
Overall, it was a great debut novel and even though I had some problems, it had characters that were easily related-to, an original premise, and I’m looking forward to the next in the series.

I give this a 3 Stars

three-stars

Review: Morrigan: trials of a teenage witch by Amanda McKeon

Morrigan: trials of a teenage witch by Amanda McKeon
Published by Self-Published on November 27th 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Format: eBook
Source: Given From Author
three-stars

Morrigan: trials of a teenage witch

Blurb: 
Morrigan Reilly, or Mo, is a lucky girl and she knows it, but something’s bugging her and she can’t pinpoint what it is. Disconnected from her friends since returning to school, and all but invisible to the guy she likes, things just go from bad to worse when she accidentally puts a hex on someone she loves. What Mo doesn’t know is that she’s a witch, descended from the great Celtic goddess, The Morrigan, queen of battle and strife. Mo’s life is about to get a lot more complicated, and she’ll learn the true meaning of that old adage, ‘Be careful what you wish for’…


Amanda emailed me last week and asked me to review her YA book, and having previously heard about the Morrigan before, I was curious so I accepted. It’s about a normal 17-18 year-old girl who lives in Ireland, called Morrigan. She discovers her powers as a witch descended from the Celtic goddess- The Morrigan queen of battle and strife. Morrigan has never before taken ‘be careful what you wish for’ so close to heart until now.
Morrigan seemed to go through a lot in this book and I really empathised for her, but felt her character wasn’t complex enough. This book is written in the third person yet I never really connected with her for some reason. She didn’t have enough of a individual character for me and I never rooted for her as much as I wanted to. I agreed with most of the decisions she made, I just didn’t have enough to relate to. I enjoyed her character, especially in the end chapters, because she seemed like a realistic teenager and I’d really like to see her powers and her character develop in the next book.
I felt the same about most of the characters, as they are something I really analyse when reading. They’re just missing that spark needed to make a really good bunch of main characters. Other than that, I found myself liking all of them, just not loving them.

I thought the beginning of this book was going to be eye-roll worthy, as in the second scene Robbie asks Mo out and she’s left excited about this dream date. However, Amanda surprised me in that aspect, and as I realised what was actually going on in the romance department, I rejoiced. I really liked the guy she picked, and he came across really nicely for the first book, I just thought it was incredibly rushed. As soon as they’d had their first date, they were talking seriously about a relationship. I think the build-up could have been much more intense, and give us chance to see if the reader actually likes him! I hadn’t even decided if I liked the main heroine and if I wanted her to have the best possible guy yet. It happened too rapidly, and if we’d found out more about him, we could have fallen in love with him easier. It was a shame, because I really liked him.
The main storyline was nicely done for a first book. I think the first book is always setting up the series by showing the rules and whatnot.  It had a nice balance between romance and actual plot, and  we find out Morrigan’s powers along with her. What Morrigan can specifically do is unknown by just about everyone, and I liked the mystery, I just wonder if random powers are going to crop up all over the place at convenient times. She can scry, and animals seem attached to her which was amusing. I found myself laughing at the antics Morrigan used her powers for when she’d first discovered them, and was glad that she didn’t use them too recklessly and immaturely. I was genuinely surprised by the ending, I wonder where in the storyline that’s going to be used and hope it will give another layer. I thought that Morrigan was a realistic teenager when she didn’t do much self-defence in this book, and I can see her powers growing interestingly.
The worst problem for me, had to be the editing. This is a self-published book and the typos were pretty bad. There were too many and this had an effect on the overall rating.

 I enjoyed the mythology used and the overall book was interesting and a nice read.
I give this 3 Stars


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Visit Amanda McKeon’s website

three-stars