Monday, 28 April 2014

Review: What Remains

What Remains (Dead World #1) by Kay Holland

Title: What Remains
Series: Dead World, #1
Author: Kay Holland
Published: Indie Inked; 2013
141 pages, kindle edition
Source: Netgalley
 Description (from Goodreads):

Project Fed. It was supposed to be the answer to hunger, but
instead, it was the destruction of the world as we knew it. The growth of chemically enhanced "super" fruits and vegetables began in unmarked farms across the Nations, as well as their distribution in small towns. Within hours of Project Fed's first delivery and primary consumption, something far beyond expectancy was unleashed. Something far beyond what anyone could help.

Four months later, Seventeen year old Max Cade is trying to
survive amongst what remains of her old life. In an effort to escort an awry "Doctor" from one camp to the next, she will have to reintroduce her two young friends to the horrors beyond their shelter that she so badly wanted to shield them from. Getting there was supposed to be the easy part, but when travelling through a world of ruin, sometimes the undead have other plans.

My Thoughts:

 1.5 stars

Sigh. What can I say...? This sucked to put it bluntly. In more polite words: this was far from what I was hoping for. What Remains is my first zombie book. Well, not technically. I have read books such as
The Immortal Rules and Taste which have zombie-like creatures in them (Rabids and Zhamvy) but I haven't read a book about your typical brain-eating, undead, all-gore-included zombies. I was exciting for that very reason to start this, and while the zombie lore didn't disappoint, every single other aspect of this did...

The characters were terrible, simply horrible. Max is our protagonist and she is one of the most hypocritical and simply mean characters that I have ever had the displease of reading about. I would call her a bitch - yeah, I am not in a great mood so excuse the language - yet that term brings to mind Mean Girls and hormonal teenage girls tearing each other's hair out. No, Max was worse than that. She was selfish to the point of leaving others behind to a grisly and horrible death for no better reason than they annoyed her. She blamed everyone for her problems and never stopped to think that maybe she should do something about them instead of whining and blaming others. She was disrespectful and plain old rude to people trying to help her and the things she yelled at them for were things she had already done herself - hypocrite! She complained about people moping all the time when all she did was whine. She was sexist and judging. She had a screaming match with her boyfriend that ended in blows (well, her slapping him) because he asked her to move in with her and she didn't want to because she believed the male soldiers in her unit might think she was weak for living with a guy - why they would think that is a sign of weakness is beside me, especially since one of the team members has a pregnant wife who he lives with. There are far worse examples to the type of person Max is, this being one of the nicest things she did, but I don't want to spoil too much about the plot so I'll leave at that.

The other characters were all meaningless. Not only did the lack character and charm but I was pretty certain that Max would just leave them to be eaten alive by zombies at some point so you didn't bother getting attached.

The plot was dull to say the least. The prologue had a tonne of suspenseful action and drama with a lot of blood and gore yet the rest of the book was just boring. The zombie fighting scenes were good at for the first few - I really loved the fact that we were spared no gore and got all the gross action - but once the scenes started to be repeated over a few times, I got bored with them.

One of my biggest problems was the fact that the blurb gave more detail to the actual zombie apocalypse than the book does. That isn't how its supposed to work! The description talks about a government mistake called Project Feed that caused people to turn into zombies. We didn't even hear about a possible cause for the apocalypse until 73% in when a character mentions that the virus (that turns you into a zombie) was transmitted in water. Hallelujah, finally we get some answers! Yeah, no. We have to wait a bit more before we find out any more. Then it is revealed one of the main characters has known this all along but didn't figure it was important to mention it. Wait, what? You didn't think it was important to tell your friends that drinking water could turn them into flesh-eating zombies? Some friend you are!

In the end, I was bored for the entire course of this book and with the added horrible characters, I really couldn't get into this. I appreciated the zombie lore at first but quickly got over it. This was not a great read and I wouldn't be quick to recommend it.

Note: a copy was provided courtesy of Kay Holland and Indie Inked, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given or taken during this process.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Review: Queen of Broken Hearts

Queen of Broken Hearts (Queen of Broken Hearts #1) by Jennifer Recchio

Title: Queen of Broken Hearts
Series: Queen of Broken Hearts, #1
Author: Jennifer Recchio
Published: (independent); 2013
104 pages, kindle edition
Source: Netgalley
 Description (from Goodreads):
Con artist is a little too strong a descriptor for Birdie Anders. She prefers the term "Fabrication Specialist."

Taking over her high school was easy for a girl whose mother fabricated her way into becoming a Hollywood movie star. Now Birdie just has to keep her minions under control while maintaining her perfect image. Oh, and make sure no one digs up her criminal record. 

Things are about to get less than perfectly boring. 

The criminal-record-inducing love-of-her-life is back in town, and he's determined to crash her life into the un-sparkly rocks.

Losing is for losers.

Birdie isn't about to lose everything she's fought for to a boy. She needs to execute the ultimate take down before her crown gets lost in the scuffle. But the real problem might be keeping her traitorous heart from getting in the way.

My Thoughts:

0.5 stars

I was really hoping that Queen of Broken Hearts would be something funny, light-hearted, carefree and easy to fly through because I haven't had much luck with any of my other books these last few weeks. Unfortunately that was not the case. I don’t know what else to say about it really. I didn’t understand a single thing that was written. If I was asked to a short description about this book I would be stumped. I wouldn’t know where to start. Not a single thing or event that happened in this book made an ounce of sense. I feel like I picked up the third book in a series, a series where someone accidently shredded all the pages and stuck them back to together in a random order hoping for the best. Honestly, that is how much sense this made.

The characters were weird in a Johnny Depp-ish way - and that isn’t a compliment! They were bitchy and made irrationally stupid decisions about things that made sense only to themselves. I couldn’t understand a single one of them, least of all Birdie.

Do not even get me started on the character’s names. I understand that it’s kind of a “thing” now to name your characters with unusual and quirky name but this just borderlined insanity! I mean Birdie is pretty bad to start with but then we had Painkiller. Yes, Painkiller! Then we had Skittle. Then we had Lightbulb, followed with Grass, Popsicle, Lizard, Largesse, Wizard and Athena. These are not names and it seems almost cruel to name yours characters so. I mean really, Lightbulb?

I am sorry to say that I will not be continuing on with any of the sequels and won’t be checking out any more of the author’s work either. This was very poorly planned out and was not worth my time. I would not recommend this to anyone, in fact, I would probably stop anyone from trying to read it!

Jennifer Recchio you wrote in you acknowledgements: Thanks to Joe for reading the awful first draft and saying, “Actually, this plot makes no sense.” Maybe you should have paid closer attention to this advice and rewrote this book with an actual plot!

Note: a copy was provided courtesy of Jennifer Recchio and All Night Reads, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given or taken during this process.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Review: Between the Lives

Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington

Title: Between the Lives
Series: none
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Published: Orchard Books; 2014*
384 pages, kindle edition
Source: Netgalley
 Description (from Goodreads):

The perfect life or the perfect love. You choose.

For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she shifts to her 'other' life - a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she's a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she's considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.

With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments that bring her dangerously close to the life she's always wanted. But if she can only have one life, which is the one she'll choose?

My Thoughts:

*Contains spoilers for the sake of review*

I don't know what to write... This was clearly heading for a two star rating from the beginning, until about 70%. The plotline while intriguing was dull and Sabine just made too many stupid decisions for me to get into her character but then...


Plot twists a plenty and I found myself completely sucked in. I was hanging on every word and my heart was pounding and I was crying my eyes out.

Once I finished I just sat back and was like:

The romance that was introduced was sudden but oh my Lord how I loved it! It was seriously beautiful and touching and made me bawl like a baby. I loved Ethan. He was kind and smart and sympathetic without pitying Sabine. He said the most gorgeous things and loved Sabine despite it all, despite everything. He choose to believe her and I just feel in love with him as Sabine did.

What made this fall down to a three star rating was the fact that the first 70% of the book was a bore. Sabine made some really stupid decisions and said some really dumb things to all the wrong people that put her in a situation she should have seen coming. It was really frustrating to have to go through the consequences with her when you knew she should have just kept her mouth shut in the first place so she wouldn't be in out in that situation.

Also in her other life I didn't understand her obsession with trying to make her and Dex work. If she doesn't like him and cannot even kiss him without counting the seconds, then why does she want to lose her virginity to him? I understand that there was a bit of pressure from her friends and family but to take it that far seems stupid and ultimately fixable. When everything came to light at the end however I was completely shocked at how it all turned out.

In the end, I did find myself enjoying the concept and thought that the writing was perfectly well done. The plotline drag it down for me however so I was glad that the ending made up for most of it. I wouldn't be quick to recommend it but given the right reader, I think this could be a lot of people's bread and butter.

Note: a copy was provided courtesy of Jessica Shirvington and Hachette Children's Books, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given or taken during this process.

 *This new (UK) edition is to be released on the 7th of August, 2014 

Review: Don't Look Back

Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
 Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all — popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend. Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her — even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory—someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

My Thoughts:

Before I write this review let me be honest: I really dislike mystery books with amnesia. How many times has it been done already? The answer is way too many to count. Every time I read one like it, it spills the same story over and over again. Each time I end up resenting myself for even considering reading it in the first place. I cannot believe I was fooled once again into reading yet another failure. Maybe one day I'll find the perfect mystery and amnesia combination but today isn't that day.

Getting back to the story. In this case, Samantha finds herself walking through a forest. She cannot remember her own name or her own face in the mirror, let alone why she is covered in blood or even what happen to her. Her parents tell her that she went missing four days previously... with her best frenemy Cassie. So where is Cassie?

This was supposed to be a thriller, and it was in some ways, but one we have all read before. It has a lot of very clichéd elements including the seeing-a-face-in-your-review-mirror incident and mysterious and cryptic notes that had no real connection to the plot. Furthermore, I found that the killer's identity was rather obvious from the first, say 30 percent? The motive however was rather shocking and I did enjoy the final scene which was far more thrilling then I would have imagined.

The characters were terrible however, apart from Samantha's brother, Scott. I understand that living with amnesia would be terrible and obviously have many downfalls but did Samantha have to lose her common sense as well? She turned into a completely trusting and downright naïve person who couldn't see anything beyond the end of her nose. This was obviously an improvement from her bitchy "before" version but not an improvement in general, as it was rather annoying that she couldn't pick up on some rather obvious things.

The romance attempted was just terrible. I don't see how Samantha could have been pulled in by Del when most of her family and friends found him a dick - I mean he is even nicknamed Del the Dick, that should be pretty good indicator what he is like! Carlson was okay but I didn't feel anything for him and I couldn't really get on board with their relationship.

This book wasn't for me in the end. I felt like I had read the same book numerous times before and without an original touch or loveable characters, Don't Look Back was lost on me and is ultimately forgettable.

Review: The Maze of Bones

The Maze of Bones (The 39 Clues #1) by Rick Riordan

Title: The Maze of Bones
Series: The 39 Clues, #1
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: Scholastic Inc.; 2008
220 pages, hardcover
Source: My brother owns a copy
 Description (from Goodreads):
A million dollars... or a clue?

What would happen if you discovered that your family was one of the most powerful in human history? What if you were told that the source of the family's power was hidden around the world in the form of 39 clues? What if you were given a choice — take a million dollars and walk away... or get the first Clue? If you're Amy and Dan Cahill, you take the Clue — and begin a very dangerous race.

My Thoughts:

2 stars

 Wow, this is nothing but another money-grabbing scheme with a bunch of well-loved and popular authors such as Rick Riordan pulled into to writing a ridiculously long and overdramatised series. Its another nightmare version of the Conspiracy 365 and the Last Thirteen series expect this has four entire spin-off series and an online game too!

The plotline in
The Maze of Bones tried so desperately to be like an epic treasure-hunting adventure, reminiscent of the movie series National Treasure, yet it fell so far below them that it was almost comical. The mystery and the clues were surprisingly well thought out, so well done to Rick Riordan for that, but the execution was terrible. Amy and Dan made the connections between the clues and Benjamin Franklin so damn fast it was unbelievable! The clues were very abstract and yet they were able to make all these very clever distinctions. Dan is eleven. Eleven. My brother just turned thirteen yet he wouldn't be able to even comprehend half of what Dan was able to spontaneously do. It was simply ridiculous!

The action made cry - it was that bad! I have always had that problem with
Rick Riordan, even in his Percy Jackson series. In this Dan and Amy managed to weed themselves out of numerous implausible situations such being buried alive in concrete and being blown up in a museum. How the heck a bomb could have been smuggled so quickly into such a famous museum is beside me in the first place!? They always managed to get saved at the last possible second by a stranger or a forgotten object in a pocket... something ridiculously unbelievable.

The characters then? Well, don't even get me started on the characters. They were shallow, pointless and simply pathetic. Cardboard cut-outs of all your typical clichés without a scrap of common sense and stupidly reckless. I couldn't relate to a single one of them which is sad because I am not that much older than Amy. (Two years?)

I think that
Rick Riordan took too many liberties in assuming the intelligence levels of the younger audience that this is targeted at. Yes, they mostly would younger than your Percy Jackson fans but that doesn't mean that they are stupid! In the end, this was dull, underdeveloped and downright lame. I didn't enjoy it very much and I am not looking forward to the rest of the series, especially since it is a multi-authored series.


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Review: Whisper Falls

Whisper Falls (Whisper Falls #1) by Elizabeth Langston

Title: Whisper Falls
Series: Whisper Falls, #1
Author: Elizabeth Langston
Published: Spencer Hill Press; 2013
370 pages, kindle edition
Source: Netgalley
 Description (from Goodreads):

While training for a mountain bike race, high-school senior Mark Lewis spots a mysterious girl dressed in odd clothing, standing behind a waterfall in the woods near his North Carolina home. When she comments on the strange machine that he rides, he suspects something isn’t right. When Susanna claims to be an indentured servant from 1796, he wonders if she's crazy. Yet he feels compelled to find out more.

Mark enters a ‘long-distance’ relationship with Susanna through the shimmering--and temperamental--barrier of Whisper Falls. Curious about her world, Mark combs through history to learn about the brutal life she's trapped in. But knowledge can be dangerous. Soon he must choose between the risk of changing history or dooming the girl he can't stop thinking about to a lifetime of misery.

My Thoughts:
3.5 stars

Whisper Falls was a light and breezy historical romance with a splash of science fiction and time travel thrown in for the hell of it. There was sweet romance, loveable characters, suspenseful action scenes and brilliantly written historical fiction sections. Altogether it was a hearty read that was easy to breeze through but remained enchanting and delightful at the same time.

The characters were what really made the book shine for me. They were down-to-earth, relatable and realistic. It was a nice change of pace to read about some characters that weren't perfectly flawless and down right impossibly hot like most of the YA and NA characters haunting our other new releases. Both Mark and Susanna made mistakes, pulled some stupid moves and generally weren't all that perfect, but they learnt to deal with that and move past it all which was rather refreshing.

Their romance was spot on. It did blur between the line of instalove and a good developed relationship slightly but it was better plotted out than most of the garbage I have been reading lately. I enjoyed the fact that they were cute without being all that wishy-washy lovey-dovey stuff and that Susanna was clearly able to function without Mark (and vice-versa) even once their relationship developed further. They were both independent people and that was another strange relief from the other needy, borderline obsessive couples that are found in most YA books.

The plotline was the only thing that let me down. I have to say that while I was simply fascinated width he rich and illustrative historical side of the story, I was hoping for a more scientific and upbeat time travel side to it as well. In that way this book was a bit of a flop. I struggled to understand how Whisper Falls actually worked and I didn't understand how the surrounding area turned between the different times. How did it become "Mark's" world? What made it "Susanna's" world? That part wasn't handled very well and I wish that more could have been establish in more detail because I found myself slightly bored not being able to grasp the theory.

Saying that I did enjoy this book and I most certainly will be picking up A Whisper in Time so I can see how Susanna's journey ends.

Note: a copy was provided courtesy of Elizabeth Langston and Patchwork Press, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given or taken during this process.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Review: Don't Let Go

Don't Let Go by Sharla Lovelace

Noah Ryan and Jules Doucette spent every moment together, first as best friends and later as young lovers. The two had planned a life together—until one unspeakable decision tore them apart for good.

Twenty-six years later, Jules is still carefully living the life her mother planned out for her. She’s running her mother’s store, living in her mother’s house, following her mother’s rules, and keeping the secrets her mother made her bury.

Then Noah comes home and any sense of an ordered life flies out the window. Noah’s return does more than just stir up old memories—it forces Jules to see her life in a whole new way and uncovers secrets even she didn’t know were buried. Secrets that could easily destroy her world once more.

My Thoughts:

Don't Let Go was my first book of Sharla Lovelace's but it most certainly will not be my last. Wow! That is all I can say really. I mean I picked this by accident with absolutely no expectations and it blew me away.

It stole my heart and crushed it and then slowly it took my down a path that allowed it to slowly heal. Along the way it didn't dare to spare any the feelings. Over and over again it tore my heart out, then put it right back with promises of hope and happiness, only to tear it right back out again with an evil smile.

Ah, how I loved it though! Somehow even when you feel that tugging on your heart string and that overwhelming sense of raw emotion where you just want to curl up in ball and sob your eyes out, it makes you feel so much better. How is the possible? Is that even possible? Well, I think it is... somehow because Don't Let Go made me feel all of that. I loved the fact that it made me feel so sad, so hurt, so lonely and betrayed and lost when it wasn't even me that was going through it all. It takes a certain skill to be able to provoke such powerful and raw emotion from a reader without being too manipulative - *cough* like John Green *cough* - yet somehow it is achieved perfectly in this.

The characters were touchingly written and I fell in love with every single one. I loved how we got to explore each one of them individually. Their motivations, their feelings, what made them tick, nothing was left untouched. In the end, I felt like I knew each of them, really knew them.

What I came to appreciate most of all though was that while this is an adult book, I still loved all the characters, I still shipped them, I still loved reading the romance. Writing this now, that seems a little weird as I am pretty sure that Jules and Noah are older than my parents, but isn't that something that the author was able to make me fall in love with them and their story regardless of that? I sure think so.

Sharla Lovelace is a seriously skilled and able writer. I absolutely loved Don't Let Go and would hastily recommend it to fans of the genre. It melted my heart and pieced it back together again. I'll definitely being checking out more of her works.

Note: a copy was provided courtesy of Sharla Lovelace and Beyond the Page Publishing, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given or taken during this process.

Review: Deep Blue

Deep Blue (Waterfire Saga #1) by Jennifer Donnelly

Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe.

When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin's arrow poisons Sera's mother.

Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence.

My Thoughts:  

Deep Blue was not what I was expecting. I picked this up thinking it was going to be a rich and mysterious take on mermaids with some sort of, I don't know, kickass underwater battles with watery assassins and some sort gothic magicky craft - something like that anyway. Now looking back, I am laughing at myself for imagining Deep Blue to be so damn awesome.

The info-dumping at the beginning is enough to put most readers off. We are simply bombarded with new terms and words and titles, most of which are in an olden mer tongue that has to be awkwardly translated within the dialogue. The characters then talk with a bunch of untranslated mer slang so we are left even more clueless. All of this added to a bunch of confusing political dramas, leaves us wondering what the hell just happened.

The characters weren't much of a pick me up. They lacked depth and we were allowed only to see their surfaces, the very edge of their personalities. Their stories, their backgrounds, their thoughts and everything that would allow us to really get to "know" them, was glossed over in favour of their part in the plot. We learn little about Becca's part of the prophecy but what did we learn about her? Its the same with the other five girls and most of the other characters too.

Dismissing all of this (including the dull plotline on top of it all) what had me shaking my head and cursing most of all was the obvious lack of research and thought into the new mermaid culture that
Jennifer Donnelly tried to establish. At the very least, it had me chuckling with the stupidity of it all so in a way, it was kind of amusing - but I mean squid ink lipstick? Abalone shell powder? Mussel-shell eye shadow? How would that even stay on - would makeup not wash off underwater? And maps - how are you supposed to be reading maps and writing down notes on parchment underwater? The paper would turn soggy and wouldn't the ink simply float away? Things like this, among other things like trimming hair and it falling to the floor (it would float underwater!) showed a rather apparent lack of thought into to the realistic logistics of living underwater.

Saying this I did, however, enjoy parts of the foundational mythology of the merfolk. I love how the author thought to incorporate Atlantis into the history of Miromara and I did appreciate the effort of trying to create an original mythological realm.

However, I was bored during the entire course of the book. The plot was too dull and the characters to shallow for me be engaged. I have to say that I am disappointed. I read that there are a few more sequels (three more?) planned for the Waterfire Saga already and even though I might check them out in the future, just to see how everything turns out, I won't be looking forward to them.

Note: a copy was provided courtesy of Jennifer Donnelly and Hachette Children's Books, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given or taken during this process

2.5 stars

*Released: 6th of May, 2014

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Review: Shatter Me

Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Shatter Me
Series: Shatter Me, #1
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Published: HarperCollins; 2011
368 pages, kindle edition
Source: Gifted to me (from Sarah)
 Description (from Goodreads):

No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon.

But Juliette has plans on her own.

After a lifetime without freedom, she's finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she'd lost forever.

My Thoughts:

1.5 stars

Wow, where to even start with this mess...?

This was just page after page of crap.
Shatter Me was the hardest book I have ever read. What do I mean by that? I mean that I walked away from it with my head threatening to explode from the overload of bloody purple prose, useless strikeouts, missing commas and the endless rambling that made no sense. Usually I am all for poetic writing and I can even deal with rather long-winded descriptions, if they are written well - in fact, that is one of my favourite things about the Inheritance Cycle. This however is a load of crap. How this managed to be published I cannot honestly understand. The way in which Tahereh Mafi writes is not poetic nor is it remotely "pretty". No, her writing is a bunch of nonsensical metaphors strung together in a random sequence with no logical thought to them. They made little to no sense.

Hate looks like everybody else until it smiles. Until it spins around and lies with lips and teeth carved into semblance of something too passive to punch.

His body presses closer and I realize I'm paying attention to nothing by the dandelions blowing wishes in my lungs.

I could maybe get over this fact if they had appeared every now again, but they don't. The entire book is written like this. Every. Single. Sentence. It was infuriating and I had to walk away at one point to pop a few Ibuprofens because my head was thumping for them effort to understand what the hell was actually happening.

Add all this to a case of impossibly stupid instalove with a romantic interest who is slightly stalkery; a female protagonist who does nothing but whine, whinge, whine some more about being a "monster" and ramble nonsensically about god know what; a really pathetic villain who is one hell of a creep; a pointless dystopian society were nothing is explained because it is all sidelined for the romance; and we are in for one hell of a boring and simply infuriating read.

There isn't much more I can say. I hated the characters with a passion, except Kenji, but then he had to go and be all flirty with Juliette. The romance was forced and completely stupid - they were running for their lives but had to stop to play tonsil hockey for a bit? Then they couldn't wait 'til his little brother had gone off the school!?

Everything about this book drove me insane and I couldn't wait to get it over and done with. I have to say that with all the praise about it from my fellow Goodreads friends I am disappointed to land in the minority again but there is no way I could ever like a book like this.

Review: Don't Even Think About It

Don't Even Think About It (Don't Even Think About It #1) by Sarah Mlynowski

 We weren't always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn't expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we've kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what's coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same.

So stop obsessing about your ex. We're always listening

My Thoughts:
I have been attempting this review for the last few days and have procrastinated it 'til now. I really don't know what to say about this. The people I buddy read this with didn't enjoy it that much, they found it a little too stupid and pathetic for their liking. I would have to agree with them, this was a little stupid in some parts but I actually enjoyed it.

2014 hasn't been a great year for me - bookwise, at least. I haven't had much luck and to get me out of the funk I wanted something funny and light-hearted that I could speed through in a night; which is exactly what I got from Don't Even Think About It. Sure, the characters could be immature, yes the plotline was uneventful and yes, they acted like the teens they were and used their ESP powers to figure out who was crushing on who and other petty childish things. Could they have they used their powers for the better? Yes, they probably could have but they didn't.

I enjoyed the mix of characters and their range of personalities without it seeming too Glee-cast-like. I loved Tess, I loved Cooper and I really loved Olivia. BJ was funny, Pi was a bitchy know-it-all that provided a bit of drama and Mackenzie was so much like my cousin it scared me. I loved hearing the consequences of having ESP, such as hearing your parents' thoughts as they are having sex in the room next to you or that your school nurse was a secret stripper by night and she needed to pick a sexy French maid outfit before that night's job.

Overall, this book lacked substance and was nothing really outstanding but I enjoyed it regardless. A great time-filler that I would recommend to fans of fluffy contemporary with a dash of sci-fi.

3 stars

Review: Goodbye Normal

Goodbye Normal (The Zoe Trilogy #1) by Lily N. Anderson

Title: Goodbye Normal
Series: The Zoe Trilogy, #1
Author: Lily N. Anderson
Published: (independent); 2014
228 pages, kindle edition
Source: Borrowed from the library
 Description (from Goodreads):

Being a daughter, sister, friend and crush-sick with an ex-schoolmate, Zoe Brown is just another ordinary high school graduate. In defiance of coming from Doomsberg, a town that was once in history abandoned for witchcraft, Zoe has never believed in the craft.

But when a magical pentagram chain defines her fate, the Never theory is put to rest. In the midst of Doomsberg Association of witchery, she witnesses a prophesy that has failed for 186 years pick her responsible for safeguarding her town against black magic witches.

This fight is waged against the wrath of a vicious untraceable black magic humeleon (human chameleon) and his master, a powerless but immortal witch. Her chances of attaining victory are only viable by forming an alliance with the association's confined, ruthless and dangerous humeleons (the same ones that had caused massacre and abandonment upon her town)

Terrifying revelations, secrets and tough decisions succumb her small world. With that, her normal life is bid farewell.

My Thoughts:
DNF 50%

I can not make myself read another page of this. It was dull, it was dry and ultimately boring. There wasn't anything that made me feel inclined to read more. I was halfway in and barely a single thing had happened. The one thing that did happen made little sense, was poorly described and over before it really began.

The characters were shoddy. The had shallow personalities and I could barley differentiate Liz and Zoe, especially as it was in third person so they were always being referred to as "her" or "she".

Whatever wizard stuff was attempted was so poorly planned out I could have cried. Zoe is able to use magic instantly after being told she is a wizard. Not just any wizard though, the wizard prophesized to save them all. Sounds familiar? Hmm, I cannot see why. Its such an original idea! *cough cough* Anyway, one day Zoe tries to use her powers and she just can. No effort, no training, nothing. Magically she is able to push people away, melt ice cream, telepathically transport her mum's car keys and set her mattress on fire. How did she know how to do any of this? She wasn't trained and she even didn't know about her magical abilities until a few days before.

In the end this was a little lame, majorly boring and just not worth any more of my time. I have to say that I am disappointed.

Note: a copy was provided courtesy of Lily N. Anderson in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given or taken during this process.

Review: Tales of Ever

Tales of Ever (Tales of Ever #1-#6) by Jen Wylie

Title:  Tales of Ever
Series: Tales of Ever, #1- #6
Author: Jen Wylie
Published: Untold Press; 2011
250 pages, kindle edition
Source: Review copy provided by author
Description (from Goodreads):

A few months ago, I was a normal girl. Life sucked, and just like everyone else, I took the simple things for granted. At least until I got this new power, a "gift" my mom called it. Apparently, I'm a firestarter. I didn't want to be. I didn't ask to be. It would be cool if it wasn't so dangerous and I knew how to control it.

When an uncle I'd never heard of showed up to take care of me after my mom died, I should have been grateful. As it turned out, my whole family isn't normal and more than a little bit crazy. I thought things couldn't get any worse. I was wrong.

They banished me to Ever.

 My Thoughts:

3.5 stars

#1 Banished: This was a great introduction into the series. I am still a little uncertain about the beginning part. I didn't like how calm Misha was when some rather shocking discoveries were made, she didn't even freak out in the slightest.

The banishment was intriguing and I am little disappointed that we don't get to learn more about that yet. Why do they believe she needed to be banished? How do they banish people? Why only females?

Ever is a fascinating place however. I like how much detail the author has taken in creating a completely unique world where their is no sun or moon or stars, the sky changes from red to orange to yellow to green to blue to purple to black in a single day and nearly everything is dangerous - the water is undrinkable, the plants deadly - watch out for those killer thorns! - and strange beasts stalker the land, including evil greens ducks with long giraffe-like tongues!

I'm certainly intrigued and I cannot wait to read more about this strange land.
Three stars.

#2 Fire Girl:
I'm disappointed that this wasn't as good as Banishment. The writing wasn't nearly as descriptive and the plotline was much duller.

Misha got on my nerves and I am scared that her relationship with Judas is going to turn all lovey-dovey soon. Why cannot she just focus on staying alive first? They make a great team and I really don't think she should risk losing him.

The Ari incident also annoyed me. Misha is way too naïve for my liking and it was annoying how easily Ari just gave up. One moment she wants to kill her and next thing you know she giving Misha advice and then they're thanking each other for each other's help! Wait, what!?

Saying that I enjoyed the giant bird scene and I cannot wait to see how Judas and Misha are going to cope being separated.
2 stars.

#3 Shadow Boy:
Wow! This was far better than Fire Girl. I really enjoyed the introduction to the new character of Shade. He's fascinating and I love his ability. I like how Misha is starting to really learn how to look after herself and harness her powers. Not a fan of the ending however.
4 stars.

#5 Sanctuary:
This was great. A lot of action and intrigue to keep me on my toes and I love how dragons were introduce, making Ever even more dangerous especially because of the Rising. I love the twists about Ari and the Lost Tree. I could have screamed with joy about Judas but I am not happy how she is kind of shoving Shade to the side now.
3 stars.

#6 Dragon Rising:
This was definitely the best one so far. There was so much action and so much intensity. I was never bored and never felt my attention waver, a rarity for me since I have a short attention span.

I am really happy with how the characters developed across the whole book / series. They have really grown and come out better, stronger and kinder people. The romance was cute and swoony. Shade's happy ending was delightful.

4 stars.

Overall? I really enjoyed this series (well, book) and will definitely be checking out more of the author's work.

Note: a copy was provided courtesy of Jen Wylie through the Making Connections YA Edition group in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given or taken during this process.


Review: Nil

Nil by Lynne Matson

Title: Nil
Series: none
Author: Lynne Matson
Published: Henry Holt and Company; 2014
384 pages, kindle edition
Source: Gifted to me (from Sarah)
 Description (from Goodreads):

On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have exactly 365 days to escape—or you die.

Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s naked in an empty rock field.

Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that she has to find a way to beat the clock, and quickly.

My Thoughts:

3 stars

Nil was a bumpy ride for me. It had plenty of ups and downs, boring flat parts and a few sudden twists and turns. One minute I would be thinking that things were looking up and then it we would hit a boring part or Charley would do something stupid or another character would die. In the end, I was rather confused by my feelings towards it. I liked it, but didn't; I hated it, but didn't. It was all rather confusing...

To start the characters were too underdeveloped. I couldn't relate to any of them because we barely knew them at all - they even admit that they don't know each other's last names after being stuck with them on a deserted island for close on a year. If the other characters don't know one another well, how are we readers supposed to be able to connect to them? During the whole book everyone is kept at this distant from the readers and they all seemed rather shallow because of it.

I also had a probably with the amount of new characters introduced and the numerous killing off of the older characters. I can appreciate death in a novel when it provides that dash of reality to a serious situation, I mean they are surviving on a deserted island so yes, people are going to die. I do understand that, but the way in which
Lynne Matson approaches these killings is with a distant and emotionless touch. When you kill off a character I want to be effected by it, I want to be saddened and distraught and that requires a special touch. Not a John Green touch, who purposely tries to manipulate your emotions, but a delicate touch that was obviously lacking in Nil.

The main plotline was also a little too dull for me. There were long parts that had me bored to tears and in the end it reminded me heavily of The Maze Runner. It annoyed me that the one character who was able to figure out the maze the gates was the newbie. Why is it that they can spot something the last what hundred or more people cannot figure out? It doesn't seem very realistic that the other characters didn't even attempt to try and figure out the pattern of gates before Charley arrived. Surely that is the first thing they would think to do?

Also, in the end did we even learn what Nil was? What created it? Was Rives theory about the solar flare correct? Why do animals come sometimes and other times people? How do the gates work "back home"? Why do they "roll" at certain places at certain times"? Why only one person/animal at a time? Is Nil on another dimension to Earth? Is it part of Earth?.... so many questions were left unanswered. I could barely follow Charley's theory but even so, I need more. For that reason alone, I am hoping for a sequel.

In the end, this wasn't the best book I have ever read and I doubt I will hastily be recommending it. However, there were parts I did enjoy and the overall premise was intriguing. With a little more time and planning, I feel like this could have been a lot better.

Oh about the instalove, instalust, insta-angst or whatever the hell you want to call it, I don't have really anything to say other than: I hate instalove with every ounce of my being. Its stupid, useless, pointless and infuriating. Please authors start paying attention and stop using it in your novels!

Review: Blue Notes

Blue Notes by Carrie Lofty

After being bounced from foster family to foster family, Keeley, a talented pianist, is ready to start over as a junior at Tulane. But when she plays a small concert that attracts the attention of Jude, a brooding playboy and heir to an enormous fortune in the wake of his parents’ tragic death, suddenly Keeley’s life is thrown off balance once again.

Jude is the first person to confront her about the pain behind her music, and she struggles with whether or not to let him into her life, or to keep protecting herself from the hurt that relationships have caused her in the past. But Keeley’s about to learn that the melancholy young billionaire who appears to have everything can open her eyes to exactly what she needs…

My Thoughts:

2.5 stars
Blue Notes was a hard book for me to get into. There were parts that I didn't mind and actually enjoyed, but there were a lot of moments were I wanted to throw my kindle across the room in frustration.

The characters were a big issue for me, well, namely Jude. Ah, Jude Villars: the rich, bad boy orphan with that charming, tempting smile and - drum roll, please - possessive, overbearing nature. Yep, cue the official asshole card. I really don't understand the appeal of these sorts of snarky in-your-face NA men. I cannot swoon over them when they are so rude and demanding and make me want to punch them, repeatedly, in the face.

Keeley, however, was a much better character. For once a tragic and troubled past was handled well and (I never thought I would say this!) it actually improved the plotline, adding not only a layer of drama but a deeper emotional layer of realism. I loved Keeley's feistiness and her spunk, she wasn't afraid to stick up for herself or stand up for what she thought. She was a little gullible when it came to Jude but seeing how he was the first guy she had really "dated", I guess she probably would have been a little overwhelmed with it all, given her history as well.

The plotline was a little too dull for my liking. The prologued was a terrific start but I cannot say that I wasn't a big fan of the ending. The middle was somewhat uneventful and moved a tad too slow for my liking.

Saying this, if it wasn't for Jude I would have enjoyed this a lot more. The way that it was written, especially the parts about music, were beautifully described. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to people more suited to the genre and who enjoy their book boyfriend, tall dark, handsome and controlling. For me, however, this wasn't to my taste.

Note: a copy was provided courtesy of Carrie Lofty in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given or taken during this process.

*Released: 6th of May, 2014

Review: Ignite

Ignite (Midnight Fire #1) by Kaitlyn Davis

Title: Ignite
Series: Midnight Fire, #1
Author: Kaitlyn Davis
Published: Amazon Digital Services; 2011
195 pages, kindle edition
Source: Amazon freebie
 Description (from Goodreads):

With one last look, one final search of the lines of his face for some sign, Kira turned and ran away from the sound of the man she loved laughing in the face of her death.

When Kira Dawson moves to South Carolina, she meets Luke, a blond goofball who quickly becomes her best friend, and Tristan, a mysterious bad boy who sends shivers down her spine. Kira knows they're keeping secrets, but when she discovers Tristan's lust for blood and her own dormant mystical powers, Kira is forced to fight for her life and make the heartbreaking decision between the familiar comfort of friendship and the fiery passion of love.

My Thoughts:

2.5 stars

Downloading freebies off of Amazon is a bit of a gamble. You have to learn to ignore the covers and most of the descriptions because you never know what you are going to get. Sometimes you are lucky enough to score a good one such as
Play With Me or The Faerie Guardian. There are times though where you get a real dud such as Entangled... or Ignite. Honestly? If I hadn't needed this for a GR challenge I don't know if I would have bothered finishing it.

My problems with this was with Kira. She was so perfect - in the bad way. The overly prim and proper and exaggerated way. She didn't raise her voice at the people who used her and lied to her, her entire life, she spoke with overly formal language - all do nots instead of don't, even during dialogue - and how great is her boyfriend because he never crosses that line and lets her set the pace. He's just that respectful. Look, I don't mind a polite protangist in the slightest. I am not saying she has to swear all the time and have sex with her boyfriend or anything like that, but seriously? Kira was overly polite. No-one speaks that formally to their friends and family. No-one.

Beside that - which actually bothered me a lot - this book was just rather dull. It dragged on. I felt like it could have easily been culled down. The were some passages that simply went on forever, describing things that didn't have any vital relevance to the plot. Such as the part when the author explained how to surf in great detail, using up close to a full chapter on it when it had no real importance whatsoever.

The writing wasn't too great either. The dialogue was so cheesy that it was laughable. The humour wasn't in the slightest bit amusing and the way Kira's group of friends talked to each other came across as stiff and awkward.

What made this book the slightest bit enjoyable was learning about the conduits and vampires. I liked how there were different "tribes". I have never read anything quite like it before so I was intrigued. It annoyed me how Kira had to be "special" though and have powers that no-one else does or is even supposed to. Ignoring that, I liked learning about the conduits' history and their separate communities and beliefs.

Overall this was too dull and tiresome for my liking. The writing could do with some improvement. The romance wasn't anything terrific. The last 15% was the highlight with more action and suspense than the rest of the book but didn't make up for much. This just wasn't my cup of tea. I wouldn't recommend it.