Friday, 19 December 2014

Review: Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce


Ginny and Kai are in love.
Or so Ginny thought.

A mysterious girl with beauty as flawless as ice enchants Kai. When he is swept away by this intoxicating snow maiden, Ginny must cast aside her fears and pursue him. In the face of mortal danger, will Ginny and Kai's love hold strong, or melt slowly away?






This is a book that started out well and ended well. Everything in the middle of that, for me, was a little bit 'meh'. The story was gripping and of course I cared what happened to Kai, but I think that Jackson Pearce made a few mistakes which brought the book down.

Firstly, let me make an admission. Despite having had 'Sisters Red' and 'Sweetly' sat gathering dust on my TBR shelf for around three years, I have never ( repeat, never) read a book by this author before. I've heard amazing things but just never got round to it. However when I got this in a book bundle from the awesome people at Hodder Children's I couldn't wait to try it.

Now, I'm not debating the fact that this was a good book. TJhe writing was especially good and I loved the settings. The start was strong, with a moderately creepy prologue and then a too-good-to-be-true young couple just forewarning that something bad was bound to happen. And it did. From the very start I was thinking "No! Don't!" every time Mora was around Ginny and Kai and it felt like a punch in the gut when Kai was taken away. I didn't feel like he was at risk though - that was Pearce's biggest mistake for me. Though I wanted him back I didn't think he was going to die or anything. Thus, I never really thought the stakes were too high and I think this resulted in me just not caring enough.

 Another reason I don't think I cared was Ginny. She was a nice girl, she had a good heart. She was also stupid and naive, putting herself into bad situations and getting out just by luck, or being saved by someone who shouldn't have to save her stupid ass. Half the time I was facepalming and though I never wanted her to die like I do most stupid book protags, I did want to slap her at times. About halfway through the book I stopped trying to find any character development and I just read on because I was enjoying the plot.

That being said, the plot went a bit haywire around the 2/3 mark, when Ginny is saved/kidnapped by some Snow Queen worshipping gypsies and saved by a gutsy gypsy princess (who in hindsight was just what this book needed, just without the unnecessary plot behinfgtheir meeting). I spent this part of the book frustrated because it did nothing for the whole thing!

By the ending, I was somewhat relieved because Ginny got a backbone and the inevitable happiness happened and I got to close this book.

Because although I did enjoy it and it killed a nice few hours in a hot bath, there are other books on my pile which are probably worth my time a little more. So I can't have loved it that much.

Overall Rating: C-

Book released 2014 by Hodder Childrens
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Moving

Eek! So I haven't posted regularly in the past few weeks, I know! I've been reading  a lot but getting on the laptop has been a nightmare, not most because my boyfriend and I have been living between two houses!

Still, we're now completely settled into our lovely new flat and the internet is (sort-of) working. So I should be able to start blogging again!

WOOT!!!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Review: The Witch of Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper

The Witch of Salt and Storm
Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the sea witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island's whalers safe and prosperous at sea. But before she could learn how to control her power, her mother - the first Roe woman in centuries to turn her back on magic - steals Avery away from her grandmother. Avery must escape before her grandmother dies, taking with her the secrets of the Roe's power. 

The one magical remnant left to Avery is the ability to read dreams, and one night she foresees her own murder. Time is running short, both for her and for the people of her island who need the witches' help to thrive.

Avery has never read a dream that hasn't come true, but a tattooed harpoon boy named Tane tells her he can help her change her fate. Becoming a witch may prevent her murder and save her island from ruin, but Avery discovers it will also require a sacrifice she never expected. And as she falls in love with Tane, she learns it is his life and hers that hang in the balance.

I complain so much about books that don't meet my expectations, but it's always a great day when I read a book that exceeds any expectations I had. This book was one of them. I'm not a fan of airy writing and this book definitely had that, but with the setting and the sad tone of the book it really worked. The whole book had a sad, lonely island tone about it and it was so atmospheric that the writing was beautiful to read. It also never felt like a 16 year old girl's narration, but then again it did fit the historical setting and Avery isn't exactly the average teen.

I felt like the magic in this book could have been developed a whole lot more, however it wasn't exactly the focus of the book so it didn't bother me that much. It is a focal point of Avery's life though so I did like where it was mentioned, the air of mystery definitely suited the big reveal nearer the end and the book definitely had enough tension and action in the climax to keep me happy - in this way it sort of reminded me of A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton, another book similar to this that I seriously enjoyed.

(I think I liked The Witch of Salt and Storm more though!)

I can't believe that Kulper is a debut author though, her words are gorgeous and the worldbuilding is unparalleled. I felt everything that Avery did and I think I fell a little bit in love with Tane along with her. By the end of the book I was actually almost in tears and it takes a very strong author to do that. The end was just... wow. I have no idea if this is a series or a standalone, but I would willingly read anything else that this author puts out in the YA market.

(This is such a poorly organised review, I am pretty much spazzing!) 

Overall, Witch of Salt and Storm has cemented it's position as one of my all time favorite YA reads, and I cannot wait to read more from this author. Atmospheric, exciting and romantic, this is a definite must read!

Overall Rating: A+

Book released 4th September 2014 by Orchard Books
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Monday, 1 December 2014

Review: Briar Rose by Jana Oliver


Briar Rose
For Briar Rose, life is anything but a fairy tale. She's stuck in a small town in deepest Georgia with parents who won't let her out of their sight, a bunch of small-minded, gossiping neighbours and an evil ex who's spreading nasty rumours about what she may or may not have done in the back of his car. She's tired of it all, so when, on her sixteenth birthday, her parents tell her that she is cursed and will go to sleep for a hundred years when the clock strikes midnight, she's actually kind of glad to leave it all behind. She says her goodbyes, lies down, and closes her eyes . . . And then she wakes up. Cold, alone and in the middle of the darkest, most twisted fairy tale she could ever have dreamed of. Now Briar must fight her way out of the story that has been created for her, but she can't do it alone. She never believed in handsome princes, but now she's met one her only chance is to put her life in his hands, or there will be no happy ever after and no waking up

So many high hopes and so much let down. That's exactly how I feel after reading Briar Rose. The Demon Trapper's series is one of my favourite of all time and I was so unbelievably excited to see Oliver weave her magic with a fairytale, but Briar Rose was just one giant heap of mess that just couldn't redeem itself.

The plot was overly simplistic yet unnecessarily complex as well. I know I just contradicted myself but wait, let me explain. The writing and plot are very basic fairytale - girl in new land, girl has to save land with help of a rogueish hero, but all is not what it seems! Then there's the addition of metal monsters, obviously meant to make the whole book darker but just overcomplicating things. Then at the same time things happen so quickly - someone tells Briar that she's going to die and she just lies down and accepts her fate - literally! It was so basic and written in such a childish way that I felt like I could have written this book in first grade. Blind.

The start was hopeful, like I wanted Briar and Jake to be together from the start, which is... not all that good when the lack of development means that I stop rooting for them very quickly. The characters were flat and whiny and cliched and I disliked all of them.

I'mma stop here, because I do not bash books and there was some good stuff about Briar Rose, because there must have been! I made it to the end after all.

Overall, Briar Rose was just... disappointment.


Overall Rating: D

Book released 12th September 2014
Book  purchased by myself

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Review: Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

Antigoddess (Goddess War, #1)

He was Apollo, the sun, and he'd burn down anything that tried to hurt her... Cassandra and Aidan are just your average high-school couple. Or so Cassandra believes. Blissfully unaware that she was once a powerful prophetess, Cassandra doesn't even know thats god exist... Until now.

Because the gods are dying - and Cassandra could hold the answer to their survival. But Aidan has a secret of his own. He is really Apollo, god of the sun, and he will do anything to protect the girl he loves from the danger that's coming for her. Even if it means war against his immortal family...

To say that I enjoyed Anna Dressed in Blood would be an understatement, and when I heard that Blake had released another book in my absence - on one of my favorite genres; mythology, as well - I was psyched. As soon as this book dropped through my door and onto my floor I had to read it.

I got through Antigoddess in two days, which is pretty slow for me but not bad going considering that I had two essays due in, a presentation and I was working extra hours this week. The main reason I was able to let these tiny insignificant other things overtake my main priority - reading - is because Antigoddess dragged in places. I felt like this book suffered the rare issue of 'first book syndrome' where there is so much information to digest and the author wants drastically to avoid the dreaded infodump that she spends the whole first part of the book developing this world and the history, and it made the book sort of dreadful to get into. The action comes in parts and doesn't really kick in until the middle of the book so I found it pretty easy to put this book down and do other things for a while. That is pretty regretful.

That being said, I did actually quite enjoy the book. It was fun, the mythology was well developed and I did really like the characters. My favorite by far was Athena, with Odysseus being a close second. Cassandra and Aidan were likeable and WHY! AIDEN!. That's all I'm going to say on the matter. They were, however, cookie-YA-cutouts and I found that the tougher, less 'typical YA hero and heroine' characters were my favorite. The tone bounced between fun and dark and I actually really enjoyed this.

I will definitely be reading the sequel, though for certain reason's it pains my heart to do so. So therefore, I have to conclude that Antigoddess was a little slow and a little washy, but it had great character's with fantastic dialogue and chemistry. I loved the tone of it and I can't help myself wanting more!


Overall Rating: B

Book released September 10th 201 by Orchard
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Monday, 24 November 2014

Review: Sia by Josh Grayson

Sia

When seventeen-year-old Sia wakes up on a park bench, she has no idea who or where she is. Yet after a week of being homeless, she’s reunited with her family. At school, she’s powerful and popular. At home, she’s wealthy beyond her dreams. But she quickly realizes her perfect life is a lie. Her family is falling apart and her friends are snobby, cruel and plastic. Worse yet, she discovers she was the cruelest one. Mortified by her past, she embarks on a journey of redemption and falls for Kyle, the “geek” she once tormented. Yet all the time she wonders if, when her memories return, she’ll become the bully she was before…and if she’ll lose Kyle. 

Sia had so much potential, and the start of the book was so strong for me, that it feels almost sad that I'm writing a pretty average review for this book. It started so well, I almost had chills for the first few chapters, wherein our gorgeous protagonist wakes up on the streets with no memory. Scared and alone, the first person she is approached by is a total creeper and Sia has no idea what to do. She's taken under a homeless woman called Carol's wing, and together they look after each other.

That doesn't last for long though, because just a few chapters in gets home, and this is where the story goes downhill. Sia's life isn't perfect, she lives in a big house with parent's who's company is going down the drain, an alcoholic mother and it turns out she was a total biatch back before she lost her memories. Sia tries to take back her previous life but is restless and uncomfortable, suddenly becoming all righteous and nice.

It's all very inspiring and happy and smiley, but it also reads like a made for Disney movie. It's all content with very little substance and I felt somewhat detached. It just seemed somewhat rushed in a way, like after one conversation with Sia her mother (who has had a bad alcohol habit for years) agrees to go to rehab, then she's better very quickly and none of this felt authentic. Sia's old boyfriend and old friends are pretty annoying and one dimensional - they are just the typical high school bully crowd - and they could have been developed a lot more. The only character I did really like was Kyle who is, thankfully, the main love interest. I didn't like how quickly the romance developed and how obsessed they are by the end of the book, but Kyle was a cool dude. He can stay.

Grayson's writing was simplistic, it read easily but didn't keep me on the edge of my seat. I finished the book in a couple of days and will probably forget about it pretty soon. It isn't, unfortunately, a book that will stay with me for a long time.

It was a nice read to kill time though.

Overall Rating: C

Book released November 20th 2014
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (NetGalley)