Saturday, 13 February 2016

Review: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

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Title: My Soul to Take

Author: Rachel Vincent 

Series: Soul Screamers #1

Publisher: Mira Ink

Publication date: January 1st 2011

Format: Paperback | 345 pages

Genre: YA | Paranormal

Goodreads



Something is wrong with Kaylee Cavanaugh…


She can sense when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.


Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest boy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about the dark forces behind Kaylee's power than she does.


And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason and only Kaylee knows who'll be next, she realises that finding a boyfriend is the least of her worries!



My thoughts:


My Soul to Take follows Kaylee - a girl who just wants to be noticed by the hottest guy in school and to get over whatever's causing her supposedly random panic attacks. Kaylee's world soon gets turned upside down however, when healthy teenage girls collapse dead for no medically apparent reason and every time they do…Kaylee has an overwhelming urge to let out a screech that fights to make people's ears bleed.


I think this review will be pretty short, mainly because I found this read to be pretty average. There was nothing specifically wrong with it that made me want to vent my frustrations out in a review, nor was there anything that stood out that would encourage me to sing its praises. 


I could pinpoint a few ways this book fell short for me. For a start, I didn't like the way Nash and Kaylee first met - how their relationship started. Nash seemed to jump into the story where he wasn't necessarily wanted at first - way too fast and furious. It made Kaylee seem very shallow where I obviously don't think it was intentional. Of course, that also made the relationship look fake and uncomfortable to read. 

 

There was also an instance that I won't mention because, you know, spoilers and all - when the story is coming to an end and the plot is about to revealed. The big moment where the villain is finally ousted and you're like OMG! THIS IS NOT HAPPENING!!! because it turns out to be the character you all thought was innocent. Yeah that didn't happen for me. Not that I guessed beforehand, but because it was so unbelievable in the sense that I didn't believe in the motives wholeheartedly. There wasn't enough of a build up for me to really buy into it. So that sucked a little.

 

Aside from that I didn't really have a problem with the book. It was a little meh at times but for the most part it was a pleasant read. I liked the characters most of the time and the plot was suspenseful enough that it kept me going. All in all it was an okay read, however I don't think I'll be carrying on with the series.

 

My rating: 6/10

 

Rachel Vincent:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

Soul Screamers:


  1. My Soul to Take
  2. My Soul to Save
  3. My Soul to Keep
  4. My Soul to Steal
  5. If I Die
  6. Before I Wake
  7. With All My Soul

Monday, 1 February 2016

Review: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

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Title: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour

Author: Morgan Matson

Series: N/A

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication date: May 2010

Format: ebook | 352 pages

Genre: YA | Contemporary 

Goodreads



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.

 

 

My thoughts:


Following her father's death, Amy's family moves to Connecticut for a fresh start, but because of money troubles, Amy's mother decides she has to drive there with a friend's son, Roger. Amy's mother sets the route, books the hotels and hands over her credit card, but Amy and Roger are disappointed to see that the route set isn't one that inspires any sense of adventure…they decide to liven things up a little.


This was a great, feel good read. I really enjoyed it. I've only read a couple of books with a road trip as the main focus but it seems to be a really great way to tell a story. Especially for characters that have to get to know one another and maybe even themselves again - plenty of time to be left alone with your thoughts, close quarters with more or less a stranger and lots of things that can go wrong.


I loved how gentle the story was. Matson really took her time with the characters I think, I felt like I really got to know them. Amy was very vulnerable and the trip was her way of getting a little bit of her old self back but it took a lot of time. Nothing in this read was rushed, not one thing - not the friendships, not the romance and definitely not the closure of all the characters involved.


The characters were beyond lovely. I don't know why I'm using that word to describe them, but it seems to fit them perfectly. They gave each other so much space at first because they each had their own problems. I adored how they took their time to get to know each other, because really, doesn't it just make sense that way? Who rushes into any kind of relationship? Even of the friendly sort. 

 

I also thought it ended in such a lovely manner. It might have annoyed me if the read was any different, but I loved the fact that it was an open ending. It wasn't a bad ending in the sense that nothing was resolved - things were resolved and it ended on a good note, but it was also open to interpretation a little. I thought that for characters who had a long way to go, it would have been hypocritical in a way to end the book with full description of where the characters are going to end up and where they all stand with each other. Like Amy's mother for example, I would have liked to see how things between Amy and her changed, but I also knew that they had a hell of a lot to work out. Seeing them work it out in a couple of pages wouldn't have sit well with me I think. It was a great way to end the book.

 

Overall I loved this read and I don't have a bad thing to say about it. Not one. I'm definitely going to keep watching this author.

 

My rating: 10/10 

 

Morgan Matson:

Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Review: The Girlfriend Request by Jodie Andrefski

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Title: The Girlfriend Request

Author: Jodie Andrefski

Series: N/A

Publisher: Entangled: Crush

Publication date: January 11th 2016

Format: Kindle | 267 pages

Genre: YA | Contemporary | Romance

Goodreads



Updating best friend to girlfriend is more than a change of status...

Emma has been best friends with Eli since she moved to his neighborhood ten years ago. Tired of being cast in the role of the girl next door, Emma creates a fake Facebook profile in the hopes of starting an online friendship with Eli, which would hopefully lead to more. Like...way more. From friend request to In a Relationship--it all seemed so completely logical when she'd planned it.

Eli can't figure out what Emma is up to. He’s pretty sure she's the one behind the Facebook profile, but then again, why would she do something so drastic instead of just admitting she wants to be more than friends? And who the heck is this new guy he saw her with? Eli starts to think that just maybe...he missed his chance with the girl next door.

Two best friends, one outlandish ruse. Their status is about to become way more than It’s Complicated...
This Entangled Teen Crush book contains one fake Facebook profile, two best friends who secretly crave each other, and a dreaded sex talk with parents...boy crush in the room included. Pushing a relationship beyond the friend zone has never been so crazy...


My thoughts:


I always pick up books like this and end up saying exactly the same things about them. I don't know why I bother sometimes, but for some reason, silly little cliched romances are my 'in-between books' kind of reads. They always put me in a good mood even if I know what's going to happen and the cliches are enough to get anyone rolling their eyes. I think it mostly boils down to not taking them seriously and just going with it. Pretend to live in a world where best friends always fall in love in the cutest way and nothing serious ever happens. Life is so much less complicated. At least for a few hours until you're at the last page and reality checks right back in.


This read was pretty much the same deal as other feel good reads. There's a girl, who's best friends with a guy, she falls for said guy, and tries weird ways to get him to notice her as more than a friend without telling him directly. The only difference with this one was the guy notices and figures it out straight away. I appreciated that too because what best friend wouldn't notice something was going on?


I liked Eli and Emma. They worked as friends and they worked as a couple. Emma was a sweet girl and Eli was so cute - if he was real, I would pinch his cheeks. Don't judge me.


This read was still totally predictable and it was still chocked full of cliches, right up until the very end. But all that aside, it was a sweet, cutesy and quick read that I enjoyed.


I will say Emma got a little annoying towards the middle of the read. She had so many signs that I think anybody in reality would notice - like you would notice a big red flag in front of your face right? Emma was just a teensy bit of an idiot for not going for it at that point. But whatever.


All in all I liked this read for what it is. It's not an emotional roller coaster - it won't make you cry and it probably won't even make you laugh but it's nice for just getting away from reality for a little while and that's what reading is all about.


My rating: 6/10


Jodie Andrefski:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Monday, 11 January 2016

Review: Of Light and Darkness by Shayne Leighton

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Title: Of Light and Darkness

Author: Shayne Leighton

Series: Of Light and Darkness #1

Publisher: CreateSpace

Publication date: January 11th

Format: ebook 

Genre: NA | Paranormal 

Goodreads





Raised by a Vampire in a secret society of Witches, Shifters, and Elves, Charlotte finds that she is the freak in her world of magic and wonder. When she stands before an army of impossible obstacles, the likelihood of survival in this coming-of-age modern fairy tale is slim, resulting in a war between light and darkness.

Charlotte knows no other home than the one nestled deep in the woods of Eastern Europe, where Witches draw spells of enchantment, Shifters throw tea parties, and Elves are the closest in kin.

As genocide and war threatens her life and her home, Charlotte will not allow her one true love to be destroyed. Fighting for her adopted coven of rogue monsters, she will do whatever it takes to save them...and she'll do it before the sun comes up and light takes over forever!

 

 

My thoughts:



There are hardly any reads - new or otherwise - that feature vampires that actually act like vampires. Traditionally they're set in gothic sort of settings and their stories are dark and gloomy. I feel like they've been changed so much over time that they shouldn't even be called vampires. It's the same with any paranormal creature. I love, love, love finding different books where the vampires, werewolves, witches, elves, fairies e.t.c don't just behave like humans with a little bit extra. It's rare you find something where the werewolves are actually dangerous and vampire drinking blood is a big deal. It's always romance where the love interest just happens to turn into a wolf once a month or just happens to like being nocturnal but it's whatever babe, you're still basically normal.


With that little rant over, my point is, Valek acts like a vampire. Right from the beginning there was the perfect feel of dark and creepy where a vampire works best. He misses the sun, he's dead during the day and drinking blood is not something he likes being a public show. It's not pretty sparkles but a little grim and that's the way I like it.


I liked the characters in this read. I took to Valek straight away, but Charlotte took a while. I don't do well with female characters who mostly think or focus on their love interest right from the beginning. What I mean is, before getting to know Charlotte and her personality, I was bombarded with her love interest and how amazing he is and how she longs for him. It was a little too much, especially for the beginning of a book. It changed when the plot started to get going and Charlotte soon came across as a strong-willed and smart girl. 


The plot was great. Like I said, the dark and broody type settings were a refreshing touch and the fact that all these paranormal creatures were together in one place gave me plenty to keep me interested. I will say though, I think the world this book is set in could be explained in a little more depth. I was a little overwhelmed at times and a little background information would have gone a long way.

 

All in all I liked this read. It was good to get away from the usual vampire romances and get some 'Dracula' type stuff going. This book features great writing, decent characters and plenty of action - if anything, pick it up to forget the wimpy vampires and get some super dark vampire action. 

 

My rating: 7/10

 

 

Shayne Leighton:

Goodreads | Blog | Twitter

 

Of Light and Darkness:

  1. Of Light and Darkness
  2. Of Blood and Magic
  3. The Vampire's Hourglass

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Review: Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake

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Title: Thief of Lies

Author: Brenda Drake

Series: Library Jumpers #1

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Publication date: January 5, 2016

Format: Kindle | 400 pages

Genre: YA | Fantasy 

Goodreads



 Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels - magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books - rescue them from a demonic hound.


Jumping into some of the world's most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren't busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik's world and her own, before both are destroyed.



My thoughts:



This was, I'm sorry to say, not a great read to start off the year with. I had so many problems with it, I can't even remember what I liked about it.


What I didn't like about this read ended up coming together into this convoluted mess where I started to hate any and all the characters and whatever was going on made no sense to me. It became so tedious to read and that, in turn, frustrated me to no end so it was just a cycle of generally not enjoying myself.


I will say, at the beginning, I liked the characters. I liked the relationships they had going and I liked all the different personalities going on. Arik in particular.


I think where it started to go downhill for me was when I noticed this repitition of the characters doing the same thing and generally having the same conversations. Not just in the sense that they would go to the same places over and over again but in the sense that every single supporting character was in some kind of romantic relationship. Why? There were a lot of characters to be paired up. So throughout the read there was no end to the protagonist noticing how other characters felt about each other, being curious about it, and asking if that's the case. Like 500 times. Not really, but it felt like it after a while.


The pacing was also a big problem for me. As in, there was none. So much happens in this book that I couldn't keep up and got so confused. It made everything seem so muddled and of course that caused me to see the characters as unbelievable and unrelatable since I was so confused but they were taking stuff all in their stride.


It might have been me, but the world this book was set in wasn't clear enough. I was fine at the beginning, but when things started happening too quickly I felt like a runner who'd been left behind after tripping up. I was just watching everything else race ahead of me. Everything going on was meant to be exciting! There was action - fighting sequences left and right, magic training, people being kidnapped and endless romances. The pacing of this read killed all of it. By the way, pair all that with the introduction of a love triangle. No thanks.


I genuinely feel this book needed to be cut in half. I can even imagine at what point in the story it would have been perfect to end it at. Everything could have happened at a slower, more relative pace and I most likely wouldn't have had anywhere near as much of a problem as I did.


All in all this was a disappointing read that had a lot of potential. The original aspect of 'library jumpers' held no excitement when I could see no end in sight to the story.


My rating: 4/10


Brenda Drake:

Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Review: Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong

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Title: Spell Bound

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Series: Women of the Otherworld #12

Publisher: Orbit

Publication date: 26 Jun 2012

Format: Paperback | 352 pages

Genre: Urban Fantasy 

Goodreads



Savannah Levine is in danger. That's not usually a problem. But, caught in the grip of a disturbing and violent murder case, Savannah swore to give up her unique gifts if it would save an innocent young girl. Little did she know that someone - or something - was listening… Now she has no idea how to restore her powers, just when she needs them the most.


In this compelling, fast-paced new thriller. Savannah has to face a host of deadly enemies bent on destroying not only her but the very fabric of the supernatural world. As dark forces gather, Savannah isn't just fighting for her life, but for everything and everyone she loves.



My thoughts:


Spell Bound picks up where Waking the Witch left off, Savannah realises she's lost her powers. As well as dealing with a witch hunter and a supernatural group hell bent on ruling the world and putting humans in their place, Savannah has to race to find out how to get her powers back before she puts everyone she loves in danger. Oh and Adam… FINALLY!


I loved this one. Savannah has finally come into her own as a character. All of her faults were made evident, some by herself and some through others saying so - she admitted to them and she tried her best to change them. She was made all the better for it and it was brilliant.


While this book did sometimes feel like a 'filler' book for the series, I loved the hints that the author gave of things to come. The last couple of books in the series have had a completely different feel to them in that you can tell things are coming to a close and there's going to be some kind of big fight or a war to round everything off. This book pretty much just made me very, very excited to read the last book in the series and I think that may have been the intended goal.


Overall there isn't really much to say about this one. It was a typical Armstrong novel with plenty of action and suspense but it had a new twist with more character development than a complex plot. That being said, the plot is most definitely going to carry on to the last book so I can't wait to see how it's resolved.


My rating: 9/10


Kelley Armstrong:

 

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

  Women of the Otherworld:

 

  1. Bitten
  2. Stolen
  3. Dime Store Magic
  4. Industrial Magic
  5. Haunted
  6. Broken
  7. No Humans Involved
  8. Personal Demon
  9. Living with the Dead
  10. Frostbitten
  11. Waking the Witch
  12. Spell Bound
  13. Thirteen


Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Review: Red Glove by Holly Black

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Title: Red Glove

Author: Holly Black

Series: Curse Workers #2

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication date: 16 Jun 2011

Format: Paperback | 272 pages

Genre: YA | Paranormal 

Goodreads



Curses and Cons

Magic and the Mob


In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, but now he knows the truth - he's the most powerful curse worker around. He can transform anything - or anyone - into something else. That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Now she's back, but she's been cursed to love him. If Lila's love is as false as Cassel's made-up memories, then he can't believe anything she says or does.


When Cassel's oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit him to help find the killer. But the mob wants Cassel too - they know how valuable he could be to them. He will have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. Where can he turn when he can't trust anyone - least of all, himself?



My thoughts:


After finding out he's one of the most powerful curse worker's around, Cassel Sharpe can't trust anyone to keep his secret and protect him from being exploited. A lot of people want him to work for them and will use any means to get it to happen - bribery, blackmail and even murder are all on the table where Cassel's involved. The only person he can really trust is himself.


I will say right off the bat that I didn't enjoy this read as much as the first one in the series. I didn't find it as thrilling simply because the element of surprise wasn't there to the same extent. I already knew what Cassel could do and what the rest of the characters curses are. It just wasn't the same.


Those elements were there on a smaller scale though. I liked the mystery involved in this one and how Cassel (or Holly Black I should say) kept the answer secret until the very end, even though he knew who the murderer was quite some time before it was revealed.


What takes the biscuit for me, in both this read and the previous one in the series, was how Cassel dealt with his problems in such a genius way. He waits until he has all the facts possible and then puts them together to plan a huge con. The cons are the best part of the book. When everything comes together and everyone plays their part - pure genius. It gives Cassel such depth and mystery that I can't help but want to get to know him more.


Overall I really liked this read and I can't wait to see more of Cassel and his brilliant ideas. I definitely recommend it.


My rating: 8/10


Holly Black:

Goodreads | Website | Livejournal | Twitter

 

Curse Workers:

  1. White Cat
  2. Red Glove
  3. Black Heart