Saturday, 10 January 2015

Shelf Spotlight - 10th January 2015




Shelf Spotlight is my weekly haul meme where I talk about all of the books that I have got this week in print and ebook format!

It's based on Stacking the Shelves hosted over at Tynga's Reviews and The Sunday Post hosted at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

This edition covers the last month of books, so it's kind of a big one

Review: NetGalley/Edelweiss

Dancing with Molly Don't Ever ChangeThe Cage (The Cage, #1) The Revenge Playbook

Dancing with Molly by Lena Horowitz - June 2nd 2015, Simon Pulse

The Leveller (The Leveller, #1) The Night We Said Yes Between the Notes Paperweight


Tiny Pretty Things Emmy & Oliver My Heart and Other Black Holes The Prey (The Hatchery, #1)


Atlantis Rising The Messenger (Mortal Beloved, #1) Above What Remains


Disappear Home  Phantom's Dance Stung (Struck, #2)

Mind Games Love, Lattes and Mutants Narvla's Celtic New Year Talon


Inked Shadow Study (Soulfinders, #1) Of Shadow and Stone Me and Mr J


Phew! Thats a few books!
Call by with your post and I'll visit fo'sho! <3

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Review: Twisted Fate by Norah Olson

Twisted Fate
When Alyson meets Graham Copeland, the new boy next door, she instantly feels like he’s a kindred spirit—shy and awkward like her, someone who has trouble making friends. It’s impossible to resist having a crush on him. 

As usual, her sister, Sydney, sees things differently. In Sydney's mind, Graham's odd personality and secretive past scream psychopath, not sweetheart. Her gut is telling her to stay away from him, and to protect a love-struck Alyson from her own naïveté. But despite her instincts, Sydney is surprised to realize that a part of her is drawn to Graham, too. 

And the more Sydney gets to know him, the more she realizes just how right—and wrong—she is about everything.

I'm not sure what this book even is.

Now, that is an odd way to start a review and I can only apologise, but frankly I have no idea what this book is. Or should I say, how this book got published.

I want a fantastic psychological thriller, I pick up this book because frankly the blurb has this dark thing about it that makes me thing 'that will fill the void in my life', and instead I get superficial, predictable and absolutely no sense at all. Now, I get what Olson was trying to do and I can only congratulate her on the fantastic idea that she had, but other than that everything was a load of tosh. Ugh.

I don't even know where to start.

First of all, the writing was not too great, I got this image of Olson being this old person trying to write from a young person's perspective, because of the constant references to Sydney's troublemaking tendencies (skateboarding and smoking weed, apparently). But it also feels like some sort of wish fulfilment, wherein Sydney is this troublemaker but she still manages to get these amazing perfect grades and she knows lots of big words and her best friends are like that too and... what?

None of it is even relevant. 

And Allison is made out to be this bad character because she's boring and she bakes muffins and she is responsible and she falls in love, and all of those are decent things to do. Why is Sydney a better person? This is the depth of the characters in this book.

Don't even get me started on Graham.

There are so many perspectives in this book and because of this the big twist in the end is made too obvious. I am not a fan of all the switching - especially because all of the characters except the policeman and the emails sounded the same, and foreshadowing is just stupid unless done right. This is not one of those times. Plus, despite the fact that the big twist is so obvious, it also makes no sense, it seems like something tacked on to the end in the final stage of editing to make it a little deeper and a little bit more thrilling.

Cannot formulate words.

No. This book was not for me. I've seen a lot of positive reviews for it, so maybe it is worth checking it out. For me, the only reason I got through this book so quickly was because the % bar was moving so fast. If the book had been much longer it would have been a definite DNF.

Overall Rating: E

Book released 20th January 2015 by Katherine Tegan
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Review: The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

This was such a freaking amazing piece of fantasy that I can barely put into words how much this book blew me away. The set-up was great from the get go, with a fantastic world being built in just a few pages. Whilst the start was slow, it picks up very quickly and we are suddenly thrown into this fantasy with all of the things I love from books of this genre. We have action, plot twists, intrigue, romance and a kick-ass heroine! 

I wouldn't be surprised if Mare remains my favorite heroine of the year. She was tough and strong, but also cracked and weak at times - something that I love in my heroines. She's tough, coming to terms with powers that she shouldn't even have, but she's also out of control, a risk to herself or others. Mare is torn between whether to use these powers for good or to flee from them. 

There's also a love triangle... Wait! Don't run! This is a love triangle with a twist. This is Mare trying to decide which boy is best for her political views and her cause, and it's a dark and dangerous triangle, with seemingly innocent people betraying the people they are supposed to love. AWESOME! Maven had his moments, but I was in love with Cal from the start, so the end was a complete kicker for me. 

This is a book that grips from start to finish, it's a complete kicker - my heart was wrenched, my knuckles were white, my loyalties were tested until I had no idea who to trust. The world building was beautiful and so well done and Aveyard may well be one of the best fantasy writers, to go alongside my personal heroines Maria V. Snyder and Kristin Cashore.

Urgh, just take my word, whatever it's worth, and read this book. I swear!

Overall Rating: A+

Book released 12th February 2015 by Orion Books
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

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