Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Review: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson


Title: Second Chance Summer

Author: Morgan Matson

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication date: May 2012

Format: eBook | 480 pages

Genre: YA |  Contemporary 


Sandwiched between two exceptional siblings, Taylor Edwards never felt like she stood out—except for her history of running away when things get too complicated. Then her dad receives unexpected, terrible news, and the family makes the last-minute decision to spend the summer together in the cramped quarters at their old lake house.

Taylor hasn’t been to the summer house since she was twelve, and she definitely never planned on going back. Up at the lake she is confronted with people she thought she left behind, like her former best friend, Lucy, and Henry Crosby, her first crush, who’s all grown up…and a lot cuter. Suddenly Taylor is surrounded by memories she’d rather leave in the past—but she can’t run away this time.

As the days lying on the beach pass into nights gazing at the stars, Taylor realises she has a second chance—with friends, with family, maybe even with love. But she knows that once the summer ends, there is no way to recapture what she stands to lose. 



My thoughts:

Okay. So now that I've finally stopped bawling my eyes out maybe I can actually get a review up.


This is one of those reads where I feel anything I write in a review couldn't do it justice. The emotions involved in this book just blew me away and honestly, I don't think I'll be able to read for at least the rest of the day because I'll still be thinking about this book.


Second Chance Summer is truly a beautiful read. It has lovely descriptions of summer, a charming romance, endearing characters and a heartfelt plot that is guaranteed to make you cry at least once. It was one of those books that play on your mind well after you finish reading it and to me, that's what tells me I've just finished reading something I'll no doubt come back to. 


I could go on and on about how amazing the characters were and how invested I got in their lives, but I'm not going to. I want you to go and get this book as soon as you can and trust that you'll enjoy every moment of it. It was an experience to say the least. 


My rating: 10/10


Morgan Matson:

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Saturday, 12 April 2014

Review: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater


Title: Forever

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3

Publisher: Scholastic

Publication date: July 2011

Format: Paperback | 496 pages

Genre: YA | Paranormal


Sam has always loved Grace. As a wolf, eh watched her from afar. As a boy, he held her in his arms.

Now facing the possibility of a life without her, he will do anything to keep her safe. Even if it means facing his demons. Even if it risks everything he has.

Anything, as long as their love can survive…

My thoughts:

I don't really have much to say about this read apart from I was thoroughly disappointed. I loved the first book of this series. The second not so much, but this one really let me down more than any of Stiefvater's books have.


The most immediate problem I had was that it took so long for anything to happen. I honestly feel like half of this book can be cut out and it wouldn't make any difference. It dragged on for so long until it came to the ending - I have to say, that was the worst ending I've read in a long time. Because everything was taking so long I assumed it was all leading up to this brilliant ending that would take my breath away. Not so...


The only reason I kept going was that I really love this set of characters. Cole really stepped up to the plate in this one and seriously grew on me. Sam and Grace were just perfect. I do think that Sam really sulked a lot which annoyed me, more so than in the past books I mean.


However, it didn't matter how much I loved the characters in the end, because it was all ruined by the ending of this book. I would have rated it a lot higher if it hadn't been for that let down. It was so rushed and unsatisfying. 


My rating: 4/10


Maggie Stiefvater:

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The Wolves of Mercy Falls:

  1. Shiver
  2. Linger
  3. Forever

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Review: Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton


Title: Darkness Becomes Her

Author: Kelly Keaton

Series: Gods & Monsters #1

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication date: February 2011

Format: eBook | 288 pages

Genre: YA | Paranormal 


Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.

Her search for answers uncovers a message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.

She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.

Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.

My thoughts:

This was another one of those reads that I didn't find amazing, but I still enjoyed reading it. These books are always the hardest to review for me because sometimes they don't leave enough of an impression for me to think 'there's something I have to put in the review later'.

While I did like the read, the scale was too heavy on the 'bad points' side for me to want to read it again or maybe carry on in the series. I'm not sure about that yet, but it's most definitely one that isn't going to be a priority out of all the series I'm dying to get my hands on.

The very first problem I noticed myself getting frustrated by was the way some events took place. For example, in a couple of action packed moments of the book, Ari - who I realise has had combat training but no experience with supernaturals and the like -  was fighting supernatural creatures with surprising ease. Everything that happened with her was too convenient and it made the story totally unrealistic.


It was the exact same problem with the romance that I had trouble with. I like romance in a story as much as the next reader but it has to be believable. It wasn't at all. Sebastian came across as a completely different character in the beginning to what he turned out to be at the end of the book. He didn't start off as someone who would just jump into a romance with anyone, let alone a cursed girl with beefy assassins out to get her. And then, without warning, he changes out of the blue to a really sweet guy who wants to be with someone he met the day before. He lost the air of mystery about him and that was really disappointing because it was what made me like him in the first place.


Aside from all that negativity, I really liked the plot of this book. It was entertaining, full of secrets and loveable characters. Enough so that I enjoyed the book despite all my ranting.


I especially loved Violet. She was such an intriguing character in so many ways. She had such loyalty to her friends and left such an impression on me without saying very much at all throughout the story. Her and her scary pet. I liked how all of the characters acted as a unit - they acted as a family in order to survive but ended up caring for each other perhaps more than blood relations would.


Overall I found this to be a pretty average book. I enjoyed it for the most part, but while the problems I had with it were few and far between, they really irked me. 


My rating: 5/10


Kelly Keaton:

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Gods & Monsters:

  1. Darkness Becomes Her
  2. A Beautiful Evil
  3. The Wicked Within

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han


Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty 

Author: Jenny Han

Series: Summer #1

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication date: December 2010

Format: eBook | 304 pages

Genre: YA | Contemporary 


When each summer begins, Belly leaves her school life behind and escapes to Cousins Beach, the place she has spent every summer of her life. Not only does the beach house mean home away from home, but her favourite people are there: Susannah, her mother's best friend, and her sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. Belly has been chasing Conrad for as long as she can remember, and more than anything, she hopes this summer will be different. Despite distractions from a new guy named Cam and lingering looks from Conrad's brother, Jeremiah, Belly's heart belongs to Conrad. Will he offer his to her? Will this be the summer that changes everything?



My thoughts:

Can someone please tell me why I've waited so long to read this book?

What I loved most about this read was not only was it all about summer, it was about how one girl changes over many summers. There were quite a few flashbacks of past summers with all of the characters living together so it made for some amazing opportunities to get to know the characters a whole lot more. You get to learn what makes them who they are and why they act the way they do in the main part of the story (the present time). The characters were amazingly well rounded and perfectly developed so I pretty much fell in love with every single one of them for different reasons.

The writing really captured the essence of summer - I could imagine all of the settings with ease and be reminded of my own summer experiences just from the tone of the book sometimes. Since it is December while I'm writing this review, this book succeeded in making me look forward to the summer if nothing else. 


The plot was also wonderful. It was nothing like I was expecting. I was thinking there would be a huge focus on romance for obvious reasons but there was so much more. This book was pretty heartbreaking at times and it left me in tears more than once. Since I loved the characters so much, everything that happened to them really hit home more than usual. 


Aside from the ending, which I hated, I thought this book was a fantastic read. I honestly can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the series.


My rating: 8/10


Jenny Han:

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  1. The Summer I Turned Pretty
  2. It's Not Summer Without You
  3. We'll Always Have Summer

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Review: Man vs. Beast by Robert Muchamore


Title: Man vs. Beast

Author: Robert Muchamore

Series: Cherub #6

Publisher: Hodder

Publication date: 19 Oct 2006

Format: Paperback | 320 pages

Genre: YA 


Every day thousands of animals die in laboratory experiments. Some say these experiments provide essential scientific knowledge, while others commit acts of extreme violence in order to stop them.

James and Lauren Adams are stuck in the middle.

My thoughts:

This book pretty much had everything I've come to expect from a Cherub novel. There hasn't been a disappointing book so far and considering how long the series is, I hope it continues to be the case.

I'm still slightly amazed at how this author almost lets me forget that these spies are actually kids. It all gets put back into perspective when James does something ridiculous like sneak a burger when he's supposed to be a vegetarian on a mission. There's such a perfect balance between the kids' training and their age - it adds some really great elements to the story. 


This plot wasn't my favourite in terms of the action involved, but it definitely had some great moments. It was such a quick read that I finished it in no time and the characters involved when everything got exciting were brilliant to read about. One was absolutely crazy and wouldn't care if he killed someone by accident, whereas his brother was the complete opposite and couldn't decide whether what he was doing was morally right or not. 


I loved Kyle being with James and Lauren for this mission - I'd missed him somewhat since the first couple of books, so it was great to get to know him a little better. The way all three worked as a team when it was important to do so was one of those moments where you realise how much training they'd really had where you might have forgotten before. 


Overall I thought this was a fun-filled, entertaining read and a great addition to the series so far. As usual, I'm going to pick up the next book as soon as possible and see where it goes from here.


My rating: 7/10



Robert Muchamore:


Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook





  1. The Recruit
  2. Class A
  3. Maximum Security
  4. The Killing
  5. Divine Madness
  6. Man vs. Beast
  7. The Fall
  8. Mad Dogs
  9. The Sleepwalker
  10. Dark Sun
  11. The General
  12. Brigands M.C
  13. Shadow Wave

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Review: Golden by Jessi Kirby


Title: Golden

Author: Jessi Kirby

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication date: May 2013

Format: eBook | 288 pages

Genre: YA | Contemporary 


Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap—one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery—she decides to take a chance.

Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High—perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna’s journal tells a different story—one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane’s jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.

Reading Julianna’s journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live—and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.



My thoughts:

It's books like this that encourage me to read more contemporary. I really don't pick up books like this often enough.

What made this book, in my opinion, was the plot. I was completely invested in the story involved and so I just had to find out what happened. It was pretty obvious how the book would actually end, but I was excited to read how it would happen exactly and I wasn't disappointed.

I found the characters to be extremely relatable too. Parker was the girl who seemed to be living for everyone else apart from herself. She was so focused on not disappointing her mother that she almost mistook her dreams for her own. I loved how the mystery of Julianna forced her to challenge herself in every way possible. The rest of the characters involved were just as loveable as Parker was, though in some cases, I wish I saw a lot more of them. Especially Trevor, he was an interesting character and I would have liked to have got to know him better.

Overall I really liked this read. It was endearing and pretty quick to get through. I would recommend it to fans of this genre for sure.

My rating: 7/10

Jessi Kirby:

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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Review: Dyed and Gone by Beth Yarnall


Title: Dyed and Gone

Author: Beth Yarnall

Publisher: Entangled Select

Publication date: March 25th 2014

Format: ebook | 298 pages

Genre: Mystery | Adult


Hairstylist Azalea March is looking forward to a wild weekend in Las Vegas with her friends. Oh, sure, they’re supposed to be there on business, attending the biggest hair show on the west coast, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a little fun. But fun quickly turns to drama. On the first morning of the show, Dhane, the biggest celeb of the hair-styling world, is found dead. As it turns out Azalea’s friend Vivian not only knew Dhane, but the tale she weaves of how they met is faker than a showgirl’s uh…assets. When Vivian confesses to the murder and is arrested, Azalea knows there’s no way she could have done it and suspects Vivian may be trying to protect someone. But who?

Azalea now has to convince Alex, the sexy detective from her past, to help her prove Vivian’s innocence and comb through clues more twisted than a spiral perm. But the truth is stranger than anything found on the Las Vegas Strip, and proving Vivian’s innocence turns out to be more difficult than transforming a brunette into a blonde.

My thoughts:

Dyed and Gone follows Azalea March as she tries her best to solve the murder of well known celebrity, Dhane - well known in the hairdressing world at least. Azalea soon finds herself turning into trouble at every corner so enlists the help of Alex, the hunky detective that she just happens to be having a little bit of a spat with. 

I have to admit straight off, I didn't like this book. It was one that I didn't connect to at all - I couldn't relate to most of the characters and the plot didn't captivate me as much as I would have liked. However, I really liked Alex, the detective, and Juan, one of Azalea's best friends. I thought Alex was a cute character that played off the 'protective guy' feel really well seeing as he's already a member of the police force. Juan just made me laugh, end of. Especially towards the end of the book - he came out with some amazing one liners that made me giggle.

I don't really have much else to say about this one. It was just one of those reads I didn't get on with. I couldn't connect to most of the characters and I lost interest really quickly. Finishing it became more of a chore than anything which is not something any reader likes to happen. If this sounds like something you'd be interested in please don't let me put you off.

My rating: 3/10

Beth Yarnall:

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