Tag Archives: review

Review – Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

Summary:

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

 

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Review:

 

 

This is a book that will stay with me for a long time, yet I didn’t love it.

I’d been meaning to read this book for a long time, but just never got round to it, then the show came on netflix.

The show broke me. As a parent, I am petrified of my kids (one of whom is 12 and in secondary school) not being open and honest with me about both the good and bad things in their lives. How can I help them if I don’t know what’s happening? In the show, Hannah’s parents (and Clay’s to a certain extent) are completely oblivious to what is going on with their kids beyond the small snippets they are fed, so Hannah’s suicide is a huge shock for all of them.

Watching Clay listen to the taps and slowly begin to lose his mind in guilt and uncertainty is heart breaking, almost as much as what Hannah suffered – in a weird way. This is a kid who never really did anything to anyone, got along with most people, and seemed to be a pretty likeable guy; yet here he is on a list of people Hannah blames.

In the book, Clay only takes a night to list to the tapes and the reader isn’t privvy to what is happening with parents or the others mentioned on the tapes. If I had read the book before the show, I don’t think that would have bothered me, but having seen how well the show rounded out these other characters mentioned in the book, reading felt a little 2 dimensional to me.

While Asher has dealt with such a touchy subject in a wonderfully sensitive way, he could have easily explored the repercussions more – the way the show did.

There are so many questions left to be answered it may leave the reader frustrated, but isn’t that the case when someone makes the choice of suicide? Aren’t those left behind plagued with questions, even if they know ‘why’?

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Filed under contemporary, Promo, Review, Suspense, YA

Review – The Talisman Chronicles – T. M. Franklin

Summary:

A mysterious house. An old journal. A dusty chest holding more than secrets.

Each talisman found in the chest grants the chosen a gift, a unique ability.But with that power comes a burden–the duty of The Order.

Something is coming.

Something evil.

And it’s up to The Order to stop it.

The Talisman Chronicles – All Six Episodes Available for the First Time in a Single Volume

 

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Review:

Six short stories, all centred around a house and a mysterious chest. This is T. M. Franklin at her YA Paranormal/romance best!

Window:

I originally read this when it was first released, and this is my review from back then (I will edit at the end)

The touch of paranormal to what is a seemingly normal house makes for an interesting story. Chloe has always been linked to the house and the picture window in the living room. It shows her things. Thinks of the past, the present, and what could be.

Chloe, apart from her gift, is your average teenage girl who isn’t part of the ‘in crowd’ at school, preferring to spend her time with her best friend Miranda. Ethan, the boy who lives across the road whom she has a crush on, used to be their friend, but became big man on campus and decided to hang with the popular crowd. Chloe and Miranda are fine about this, until the house shows Ethan in danger.

What follows is a very sweet story about friendship and caring for others and hilarious Twitter conversations. Without spoiling the story, I will say it took me about an hour to read it and I loved every minute. The characters are likeable and relateable, even with the gift Chloe has, and the reader cares about them just as much as the house does.

I want a house like that, that makes me feel warm and fuzzy

*EDIT*

The way Franklin has extended and adapted this story to make it the beginning of a series is fantastic as she hasn’t lost the soul of the original story. It smoothly leads into the next without any hitches!

Timepiece:

Following on from the first book, Wren is new into town. After Chloe and Miranda become friends with her, and she’s having weird dreams about Chloe’s house, she begins to embrace her destiny – afterall, that is what it is.

By the end of this book, it’s still not completely clear why these things are happening to the teens in their town, but Franklin’s effortless writing style makes you want to keep reading until the very end so you have all the answers.

Gauntlet:

I think Beck, the main in this episode of The Talisman Chronicles, is my favourite character. He’s focussed on doing well at school and with his swimming, but there’s something about him, a serious side that is so endearing. What we don’t know, until this episode, is about his sister, and the crap he and his dad are going through with her and Beck’s mother.

While all that is going on, Beck is brought into the fold with the others and the prophecy. His destiny is explained to him, and it takes him a while to get used to it and his relationship with Wren. He’s a strong character with flaws that make him all the more relateable.

Mantle:

I have to admit. This episode was my last favourite (which I still enjoyed), but I can’t work out why. It still had the action and a lot more resistance from Maia to everything happening. She was the first to not just blindly accept what was happening to them all. I liked that about her as it made it feel that little more realistic, but there was something a little… off about her episode.

While a lot of questions left open by the previous episodes are answered in this book, more are created by the end of it which is frustrating in such a good way!

Shield:

Dylan has been a character readers have met a couple of times due to his knowing Chloe and Miranda at school, and then his dad becoming involved with the Order. When Dylan is given his gift, his dad wants nothing more to do with them, and orders Dylan not to either, but the draw is far too strong, for them both.

Dylan defies his dad and puts himself in danger, but eventually his dad realises he needs to do this, they ALL do.

Prison:

Once again, Chloe is the main in this episode, but by the time this one comes around, we can see how much stress she’s under and how tired she is by everything. All she wants to do is protect Ethan and others not in The Order while The Order prepare for the big fight.

Sadly, it seems that not everyone will survive the battle and this is weighing on Chloe and her friends worry about her.

Are The Order strong enough to band together and do battle?

 

All in all, this series is fabulous, and I couldn’t put it down. Not one episode slowed the flow of the entire story, and there were a couple of moments that shocked me as I hadn’t seen them coming. I’ve miss T. M. Franklin’s writing, and as ever, I need more!

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Filed under Action, contemporary, Favourites, NA, Novella, Paranormal, Promo, Review, Romance, Series, Short Story, Supernatural, YA

Review – Angelfall – Susan Ee

Summary:

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

 

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Review:

 

While this book is a solid 3* from me, I have to admit that the first third of the book were a bit slow moving. Penryn’s inner monologue was a little grating, but once she and raffe are on their own, it picked up.

Not having read many books/series about angels, but having gone through a spate of apocalyptic books; I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started Angelfall. Set two months or so after angels took over (I’m assuming Earth, but this book only really deals with America), life as we know it has pretty much gone to shit. Apparently, celestial beings are pretty shitty – but that wasn’t too much of a surprise. Penryn, her disabled sister, and her mum are trying to escape their tiny apartment and get to safety.

We didn’t really get much insight into Paige until after angels have plucked her and flown off with her. This give Penryn her drive to survive after being separated from her family, and thrust into the compay of Raffe, and angel that has had his wings hacked off by other angels.

The mystery surround him was the main thing that kept me reading when I was getting a bit fed up of Penryn’s admiration of him and her apparent fabulousness. She’s a martial arts expert (ish) and apparently pretty beautiful, but we aren’t given much evidence of this.

Once Raffe and Penryn go on the move, things got a little more interesting, particularly within the camp and their subsequent escape.

A few things irritated me with the story, but not enough to make me put it down for too long, and I do want to read the rest in the series. It’s a great idea, but not brilliantly executed, but I was able to overlook that and escape for a few hours.

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Filed under Angels, contemporary, Review, Romance, Series, YA

Review – Confess – Colleen Hoover

Synopsis:

At age twenty-one, Auburn Reed has already lost everything important to her. In her fight to rebuild her shattered life, she has her goals in sight and there is no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is keeping a major secret from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

To save their relationship, all Owen needs to do is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin.

 

 

Review:

 

Scrolling through my Instagram feed, I stopped at one picture that was just text. It was an anonymous confession. Intrigued, I carried on reading the posted confessions. Some made me laugh, some made me cry, and other broke my heart. The comments were uplifting, helpful despite the people commenting not knowing who had confessed, and others were downright funny. Knowing this was linked to a new Colleen Hoover book, I was both nervous and excited.

I have waited so long to read this book because I knew it was going to rip my heart out and stomp all over it, but when I finally did pluck up the courage to open it, I couldn’t put it down.

Auburn Reed is 20 and is struggling. She lost her first love (only love really) to an dreadful disease, and since then she’s never managed to settle. She plays her cards close to her chest, and we the reader is left wondering what happened in the five years since she was forced to say a final goodbye to Adam.

Owen Gentry hides away in his art studio, inspired by people’s deepest, darkest confessions. Submitted without names via a slot in the door to his studio. Then, once a month he showcases his artwork that these words inspire. – now this is a GREAT concept, one that had me wanting more and more. The inclusion of some of his paintings into the book made Hoover’s words come to life. The only thing I would have liked to have had more of, was more of Owen’s artistic process. We only really ever hear about the end results of what he is painting, not while he is painting.

When Auburn walks into Owen’s studio looking for a job, he recognises her and her name straight away. Why? He keeps that to himself. There’s an instant attraction between the two of them, but because of aspects of each of their lives, they try not act upon them. When they do arrange to meet, Owen stands Auburn up.

What follows on is a story of heartache and more secrets. Told from both character’s POV, the reader finds things out as Owen and Auburn reveal them.

Such a wonderful story, told extremely well. I’m looking forward to seeing the tv series adaptation of it (If I can view it in the UK)

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Filed under contemporary, Favourites, Review, Romance

Review – Silence – Natasha Preston

Synopsis:

For eleven years, Oakley Farrell has been silent. At the age of five, she stopped talking, and no one seems to know why. Refusing to communicate beyond a few physical actions, Oakley remains in her own little world.

Bullied at school, she has just one friend, Cole Benson. Cole stands by her, refusing to believe that she is not perfect the way she is. Over the years, they have developed their own version of a normal friendship. However, will it still work as they start to grow even closer?

When Oakley is forced to face someone from her past, can she hold her secret in any longer?

Review:

Reading the synopsis of this book, I ad a feeling what the main theme of the story was going to be, and I wasn’t wrong. It had the potential to be an amazing book because of that theme, but sadly, for me at least, it fell a little short of the mark.

While Preston dealt with the subject of selective mutism in a fantastic and sensitive way, but the character of Oakley herself never felt fully formed. I understand she was only fifteen, but she seemed younger than that to me. Cole was a bit better, but not much. He was supposed to be seventeen, and the way he spoke reflected that, but now and then he seemed younger also. It wasn’t anything in particular either of them did, it was some of the language Preston used. It was often younger than it needed to be.

I loved the friendship between Oakley and Cole, and his acceptance of her as she is. This aspect was by far my favourite part of the story – couple with their relationships with their siblings. Oakley’s mum was constantly trying to repair her broken daughter, and that often took over her love for her.

The bullying in the school was well done also, but the character of Julian confused me. He bullied her, yet what? He felt like a bit of an ‘add on’ – a character given to the readers for someone to hate, but without much substance.

The pacing of the book was very slow – until the final 3-4 chapters. Then it went by too fast. The balance wasn’t quite there, and more than once I was tempted to put it down, but I wanted to know if I was right about my suspicions.

However, the ending… that came out of left field completely. I understood the reasoning behind it, but I would have preferred it be told from Oakley’s point of view rather than Cole’s to give it more depth and to help the readers understand the thought process behind it.

I will read the rest in the series, simply because I want to see these characters improve and grow, but I’m not in a rush to grab them just yet.

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Filed under British, contemporary, Promo, Romance, Series, YA

Review – Fangirl – Angel Lawson

Synopsis:

Ruby Miller has her summer all planned out. Sitting by the pool. Babysitting for some extra cash. Packing for college. All of that changes when a fan video Ruby and her best friend, Iris, create goes viral gaining their little fansite a ton of hits and the attention of the big wigs in Hollywood.

Ruby and Iris fall into the world of actors, movie sets, teen stars and elusive artists. Not only is their friendship put to the test when Ruby’s cast in the lead role of the newest zombie flick, she must straddle the line between fiction and reality, love and lust, and being true to herself.

 

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Review:

Red Stars 5

 

Reading the Death Fields books first made me realise that they were a kind of continuation from this book, so naturally, I had to read it (I get possessive over linked books and a series)

Fangirl deals with Ruby and Iris – two utter fangirls (I see what Lawson did there) over the Zocopalypse comics (The original title of the first Death Fields book) and the character of Alex (and Wyatt obviously). They run a blog about it, be it news about the comics, it’s creator Gabe Foster, and anything else to do with the franchise. They decide to make a fan video of a section of the story, and that is the beginning of things blowing up.

Anyyone who has been a fangirl/boy will understand Ruby and Iris as characters. They are defiant in their adoration for Zocopalypse, the characters, and the creator – but their blog has rivals. Mostly, in the form of Ruby’s ex-boyfriend, Reid. He gets jealous of the attention their video gets them – Ruby in particular, As someone who has been involved in a fandom blog back in the day, I totally ‘got’ this aspect of the story. This and the tweets about the fandom brought smiles and memories to my face. Sometimes, I would love to go back, others I would never deal with all that again.

While the story itself is a bit ‘out there’ in what happens, it was a great escapism story that would make any reader wonder what they would do in those situations.  That to me makes a great book and story.

The writing is top notch and Lawson makes us believe we are a part of the fandom, even if only while we’re reading the book.

 

 

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Filed under contemporary, Favourites, Review, YA

Review – Grievous – J. M. Darhower

Synopsis:

Once upon a time, there was a girl who stopped believing in fairy tales after her innocence was stolen.

Morgan Myers is tired. So damn tired. Most people either push her around or brush her off, and she’s not putting up with it anymore. Determined to reclaim the life that had been stolen from her, she puts her trust in the last person she ever expected to: the notorious they call Scar. Morgan sees a side of him that few people seem to know—the man, not the myth. Lorenzo. And what she sees, she likes, a lot more than she thought she would.

But fairy tales aren’t real, as life likes to remind her. Some dragons, you just can’t slay, no matter how hard you fight them. And when hers comes back around, breathing fire, she’s forced to face some unimaginable horrors. But there’s a white knight in combat boots out there that isn’t afraid of monsters.

You see, it’s impossible to be afraid of something you see every day in the mirror.

 

 

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Review:

Silver Stars 4

 

 

After leaving the first book on a cliffhanger, knowing J.M. Darhower was reeasing Grievous a short while after was a relief.

Diving straight in, knowing I was going to get the answers to the questions I was left with, I devoured each and every word in the matter of a day.

While I loved the characters in the first book, I loved the MORE in this one. Morgan, while breaking, is still as strong and quick mouthed as ever. Despite the one thing she wants, she’s not blinkered in her fight to get what is hers back.

And Lorenzo… well. He’s still foul mouthed, quick to anger, but he has a soft side. But, don’t cross him because let’s face it. He’s a bit batshit…

Grievous is as, if not more, fast paced as Menace. The action never slowing or losing momentum keeps the reader turning the page, needing to know how everything’s going to play out in the end.

There are certain characters I wanted to see hurt, and other I wanted to see get their HEA. It doesn’t happen that way for everyone (Sorry Three), but nothing ever came across as forced or as a thrown in plot point.

Another excellent series from Darhower.

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Filed under Action, contemporary, Promo, Review, Romance, Series, Suspense

Review – The Stranger’s Voice – Grace Harper

Synopsis:

“Can you hear me?”

Adaline Starling needs a new tenant for the flat above her store, and Callum Hague needs somewhere to live.

Adaline is a genius, hiding in a magazine store, she has never opened. She is trying to convince the world that she is whole, that there is nothing wrong with her.

Callum Hague likes to fix things, preferably thousands of miles away from his hometown. He’s returned from a year long project in Nairobi where he has built a school.

They both have hidden imperfections that have shaped their lives from childhood. If they were left to their own devices, they would both become reclusive.

Their best friends think they would be perfect for each other and set about fixing them up.

It takes a serious incident for them to confess their invisible flaws, but will they accept each other’s hidden imperfection?

With supporting characters that include a cheeky apprentice and an overbearing charity chairwoman.

Will Adaline turn a deaf ear to everyone’s advice to own her imperfections?

 

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Review:

Silver Stars 5

Reading this book, I was struck by the thought of hidden imperfections – something both of the main characters have and hide for their own, personal reasons – and wondered what I would have done in their positions. That to me is the mark of a good book.

A lot of readers don’t want reality in their fiction, they want to escape. Not me. I want to wonder “What if…” – I want to relate to the characters and imagine myself in their shoes.

Adaline and Callum are great leads. They are down to earth with their problems. They both face life head on when they can and when they need to, but both are hiding. It’s immediately obvious what Adaline’s imperfection is from the start, but Callum’s is hidden well and I have to admit, I thought it was something completely different.

As usual, I fell in love with a side character. Scottie, Callum’s apprentice, is cheeky, cocky, and far to smart for his own good. I adored him, and would love more about him, but I’m not sure that will happen.

Well worth a read once it’s released – The Stranger’s Voice will have you laughing, cringing and welling up throughout the entire story!

 

Pre Order Links:

Amazon * iBooks *B&N 

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Filed under Book Blitz, British, contemporary, Favourites, Promo, Review, Romance, Upcoming Release

Review – Penance and Promises – L. A. Cotton

Seven years ago, Ana Parry walked into Chastity Falls Academy and changed the lives of Jackson Pierce and Braiden Donohue. Her arrival set into motion a series of events that none of them could have ever predicted.

But they got out.

Escaping Chastity Falls, they left behind a life built on lies and secrets, danger and fear.

… Didn’t they?

Penance will be served, promises will be made.
Welcome to the end of Chastity Falls.

 

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Review:

Red Stars 4

Well, it’s finally over. I have left Chastity Falls for the last time and it’s a bit bittersweet.

While it was great to have another book, it was only a novella and let’s face it. That’s not enough to revisit these characters. It’ll never be enough.

Jackson and Ana are happily settled, until Braiden and Cara show up. While Ana loves Cara, but she’s still unsure and wary about Braiden – who can blame her after everything he did back in college? Even if he is trying to change his ways because of his feelings for and new relationship with Cara.

But, naturally, Braiden’s past catches up with him – and Jackson. Althought Jackson still has his reservations about Braiden and how much he has ‘really’ changed, he still has the loyalty to their long-standing relationship as brothers and best friends, so he helps Braiden in protecting Cara.

Reading more about these characters and being invited back into their lives is like meeting up with a friend you haven’t met up with for a while and talking as if no time had passed at all between you. Cotton knows and loves these characters so much it’s clear in her writing that she cares about how they’re presented to the reader, even when they’re being total assholes. She wants us to love them, and make it hard for us to say goodbye.

Chastity Falls has ended, but so many readers I’ve spoken to have ideas as to what is happening to them after the book has closed. We care about them and want them to live on, even if there are no more books about them.

A great ending to what has been a fabulous series, one that I will re-read more than once.

 

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Filed under ARC, contemporary, Favourites, NA, New Release, Novella, Promo, Review, Romance, Series

Review – Menace – J. M. Darhower

Once upon a time, there was a guy who got so fed up with life that he resorted to murder and mayhem just to feel alive.

Lorenzo Gambini is bored. So fucking bored. Most people either annoy him or avoid him, afraid to face him. Figuratively. Literally. With his face partially disfigured, scarred, he looks every bit the monster the stories make him out to be: the notorious menace they call Scar. They say he’s a sociopath. Maybe he’s a psychopath. Whatever path he’s on, people tend to stay far away from it.

Until one day, a young woman bumps right into him–a woman just as fed up with life, but for much different reasons. With a Scarlet Letter inked on her wrist and secrets buried deep in her soul, Morgan Myers is running from something… or maybe somebody. Lorenzo isn’t quite sure.

You can bet your ass he’s going to figure it out, though.

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Red Stars 4

 

Considering how much I LOVED the Sempre books but wasn’t a huge fan of the Monster books, I kind of knew what to expect with this book – after all, Darhower writes the Mob so very well and the darkness to her main characters is what makes them so likeable. I expected fabulous dialogue, chemistry between the characters, and just the right amount of angst – well, I got all that, and more.

Mixed into what amounts to a dark romance book, is a mystery. Morgan (or Scarlet as she’s known as to Lorenzo) is on the run. She will literally do anything to stay away from whomever she’s hiding from. Lorenzo (Scar to those who fear and hate him) is running the show around New York, and there’s a little girl who has been taken away by her daddy. Told from alternating POVs, we get a story that not only steamy in all the right places, funny in others, but most of all, keeps you turning pages to find out what the hell is going on.

Lorenzo, in his ‘boss’ persona isn’t the most likeable character – let’s be real, the guy has a massive chip on his shoulder which has seriously earned it’s way there. But, there’s something about him. His men are loyal, and Morgan can’t seem to stay away from him. However, reading about him and how he interacts with his brother Leo, you see a completely different side to him. Put this with the Morgan who is desperate to stay alive, to the Morgan who fucks a cop who is supposed to help her because she NEEDS answers and you can feel the hurt behind her actions, shows how well rounded these characters are. They’re far from perfect, but their flaws and fears make them real.

As the story unravels, I couldn’t help but need to keep reading, flipping those pages. However, while some answers are answered, many aren’t because there is another book to follow. I NEED that, kinda like yesterday!

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Filed under Action, contemporary, Dark Romance, Mixed Genre, Mystery, New Release, Review, Romance, Series, Suspense