Wednesday 17 December 2014

REVIEW; Metamorphosis (Book Boyfriend #1), by Erin Noelle


Genre: Romance, Young Adult, Drama

Recommend: No


Scarlett MacGregor finally moves to university with her best friend, Evie, away from living in a prison set by her overbearing parents. Having attended an all girls school and never being allowed any social life, Scarlett doesn't know much about partying, dating or boys, other to what she has read in her much loved novels. 

After making a deal with Evie that they would source out her "type" by experiencing her different type of book boyfriends; the gentleman to the player to the tattooed musician, Scarlett is thrown into a dating whirlwind. 

She soon finds herself involved with Ash, Dylan and Mason, and realises choosing between them is not as easy as she has read in her romance novels. 

My Thoughts:

One word; overkill.

I am really fed up of YA/Romance novels in general involving an innocent, inexperienced girl who attracts the main guys and is the one to "change" them. It's a scenario that's written about in 99.9% of YA books and is so unoriginal. 

  1. Errors; There were numerous typos and errors which just go so frustrating. All the text messages were in bold but there were in-between sentences that were bolded within all the texts. "He" was used instead of "his" etc.
  2. Pace; Pacing was all over for this novel. Random conversations or events dragggggged on way too long and I ended up skipping so much; especially the crap that came from Ash.
  3. Characters; I didn't "fall" for any of the characters in this. I thought I'd like Scarlett but nope. Even Evie didn't really seem credible, she wasn't whole or complete like a best friend in a novel should be. Even at the ending, I was completely unaffected by the events that unfolded. She seemed to be a character of convenience and only showed up when necessary. 
  4. Plot; I loved the back story of Scarlett and Evie and how she experienced a lot through her books. But the "love at first sight" thing happened not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES!! And of course with three super-hot model like men! Snooze. Maybe that type of theme is loved by a lot of YA readers, the 21st Century Fairytale - but COME ON! It just came across as unoriginal and lazy writing that they all fell in love with Scarlett at first glance. It was all too easy and boring. 
  5. Scarlett; I liked her to begin with. I thought she had an interesting life and the sheltered upbringing would really come into psychological play. I can understand how she was sexually frustrated from being so sheltered but she showed no apprehension! She was so contradicting, especially when meeting Mason and doing what she did! She wanted Ash. From. The. Very. Beginning. And naturally he was a player but deep down a "good guy." But she got with Dylan. And then bad boy Mason, who every girl wanted, but she got him too... and chose him... even though she claimed Ash was the one. What. The. Hell. To be honest though I just wanted the book to end. I didn't care who she chose. And from having a sheltered lifestyle it seemed odd that it was just sex/boys she wanted to experience. Surely there were other things she hadn't done and now had the freedom to explore... 
  6. Ending; the end of the novel as a whole didn't work. Could predict what was going to happen with Evie from the beginning but I didn't even care as she wasn't developed into a fundamental character. Scarlett let me down for the last time with how she reacted; okay, it was a fair reaction to everything that had happened but it was cruel! When someone puts their heart on the line, I don't care what you've been through, you. do. not. just. leave. and do what she did. Talk about extremes and a drama queen. Someone hit her with a brick and send her back to her parents.

I think the only thing I liked about this book was that Scarlett and Evie read books so we could relate to that one teeny tiny aspect of their characters. The BB references from other novels sort of worked but they were kind of just thrown in haphazardly as if the author had just remembered she was tying them in.

Would not recommend this to anyone that reads a lot of YA as most likely you've read similar and better 30+ times already. Didn't connect with the characters and considered DNFing at one point and for some reason persevered... at least it was free.

Thursday 4 December 2014

REVIEW; Gravity, by Abigail Boyd


Genre: Romance, Young Adult, Suspense, Paranormal

Recommend: Yes


In a town called Hell, Michigan, Ariel is coping with the loss of her best friend Jenna, whom she believes to be dead but everyone else is convinced she has run away. As a result of Jenna's disappearance, Ariel is given little freedom in an attempt to keep her safe. 
Then enter the mysterious Henry Rhodes who chases after Ariel and soon befriends her. But meanwhile Ariel is being haunted by nightmares and disturbed by paranormal events and believes there is more to discover about Jenna's disappearance. 
Ariel befriends Theo, a girl who lives next door and the daughter of her art teacher, and together they investigate the haunted house and plan to delve into the supernatural world. Other girls are beginning to go missing and Ariel wonders if it's related to Jenna's incident.
All the while Henry has secrets of his own and Ariel gets swept up into his drama whilst trying to save herself from dangers she never knew even existed.

My Thoughts:
I ultimately have mixed thoughts about this novel; I found it hard to even settle on a star rating between 3 or 4. 


  • Ariel: I really loved her character. She was headstrong and didn't give up her investigations simply due to the adults around her believing she was imagining things or that Jenna's disappearance was not suspicious.  She investigated the orphanage after dreaming about the abandoned building and proved herself as a great friend consistently throughout, both to Jenna and Theo. 

  • Theo: Theo was my favourite character in Gravity. She was so unique and didn't fall into a specific stereotype teenager. I loved reading about her friendship with Ariel and it was clear that they both needed and helped each other through everything. She believed in Ariel and stuck by her as she delved into her investigations which was extremely admirable.

  • Supernatural: The paranormal element of the novel was quite subtly included. It wasn't full on supernatural but a gradual inclusion of unexplained noises and Ariel performing a seance so it was written and portrayed quite cleverly as it was believable and read as reality. I find writing about paranormal events can be the hardest thing to get across in a fashion that'll make the reader truly believe it but everything that occurred to Ariel was subtle and cleverly depicted. There was also the perfect level of suspense and mystery wrapped around the events, such as the noises that Ariel could hear in her room but them not be explained by the end of the first novel.


  • Errors: I generally overlook the occasional spelling mistake or punctuation error, but when the novel is over-run with errors it really disrupts the read and flow of the whole story. The wrong written version of words were used where they didn't make sense and there were just too many typos that ruined the read. 

  • Henry: He definitely won't be going on the list of Book Boyfriends. He didn't seem to bad to begin with but the whole "Stay away from me if you want to live" thing that permeates YA novels really turned me off him. He wasn't presented in a great fashion that got you emotive about him or wanting him to notice Ariel or be friendly to her. His whole character and involvement with Ariel was just too cliché for a novel that seemed to be original. 

  • Ending: I did like the ending so far as Ariel's near death experience and discovering the dead bodies. However there were no subtle hints that Mr Warwick could not be trusted or was in any way involved. Ariel's initial suspicions occurred too late on for it to seem realistic. One thing that bothered me throughout the book was how drawn out the suspense was at times but then by the end the last few scenes were rushed as if there was a hurry to complete the novel- It just didn't sit right. 

  • Romance: The romance element of Gravity didn't fit. Ariel fell for Henry and he supposedly had interest too as he chased her to start with but it fell apart too quickly. In most YA novels the romance faces a few obstacles, but there is good reason. But yet it felt like Ariel and Henry didn't get anywhere together before it all ended between them and he ignored her. (Not going to start on the fact Ariel fell in love with him so quickly after so little even happened.)

Overall though, despite there being a few negative points, Gravity was an enjoyable read but it just felt a little unpolished. The pacing needed some more ironing out to not be so dragged out at certain times but then at pivotal points not be so rushed. As a paranormal read though it was so well executed and I am intrigued as to how the story continues in the next installments.

Friday 28 November 2014

TOP 5; Young Adult Romance Series

There have been so many books that I've loved prior to this blog so I thought it a good idea to start posting my favourites across different genres and types. I'm starting off with posting my Top 5 of YA romantic novels but that have a series as well for you to continue on with! 

1. The Academy- Introductions (The Ghost Bird #1), by C.L.Stone | 

"With an agoraphobic mother and a barely-there father, Sang abhors the isolation keeping her in the shadows. The only thing Sang craves is a fresh start and to be accepted as ordinary by her peers, because for her being different meant being cast out alone.

When her family moves to a new school district, Sang infiltrates a group of boys nearly perfect in every way. Grateful for an influence outside of her parents’ negativity, she quickly bonds with the boys, hoping to blend in and learn from them what it means to have a natural relationship with friends.

Only the boys have secrets of their own and they’ll do anything to keep her safe from the knowledge of the mysterious Academy that they've sworn allegiance to. Bit by bit, Sang discovers that her friends are far from the normalcy she expected. Will her loyalty change when she's forced to remain in the dark, or will she accept that she's traded one house of secrets for another?

Meet Kota, Victor, Silas, Nathan, Gabriel, Luke and North in a story about differences and loyalty, truth and mystery, friendships and heart-throbbing intimacy.

The Academy, ever vigilant."

I love this series so much...I've only read the first few books as of yet but am really looking forward to completing the series. It's original and just so captivating and an intriguing yet heart-wrenching read. I wouldn't really claim it's a full on romance but there is the building of ones blossoming and it's definitely a novel about love, if it not be romantic love. I just couldn't leave it out. From the beginning you feel for Sang and the boys are so mischievous and yet as a reader you trust them without a doubt. The plot continues and grows in danger as the books progress and I am so thankful for stumbling across these as this series is a real gem! (Oh, and the first book is free!)

2. Reason to Breathe (Breathing #1), by Rebecca Donovan | 

"  "No one tried to get involved with me, and I kept to myself. This was the place where everything was supposed to be safe and easy. How could Evan Mathews unravel my constant universe in just one day?"

In the affluent town of Weslyn, Connecticut, where most people worry about what to be seen in and who to be seen with, Emma Thomas would rather not be seen at all. She’s more concerned with feigning perfection while pulling down her sleeves to conceal the bruises - not wanting anyone to know how far from perfect her life truly is. Without expecting it, she finds love. It challenges her to recognize her own worth - but at the risk of revealing the terrible secret she’s desperate to hide.  
Reason to Breathe is an electrifying page turner from start to finish, a unique tale of life-changing love, unspeakable cruelty, and one girl’s fragile grasp of hope."
Reason to Breathe is a book that stays with you upon completion. I can still remember being shocked and just left speechless when finishing this in the early hours of the morning and then the agonising few months wait to read the second book.  There was such a fresh approach to the relationship of Emma and Evan and is a stunning beautiful read, but also devastating! This series will stay with me forever and one I look forward to re-reading for the emotional roller-coaster all over again.

3. Crash (#1), by Nicole Williams | 

"Southpointe High is the last place Lucy wanted to wind up her senior year of school. Right up until she stumbles into Jude Ryder, a guy whose name has become its own verb, and synonymous with trouble. He's got a rap sheet that runs longer than a senior thesis, has had his name sighed, shouted, and cursed by more women than Lucy dares to ask, and lives at the local boys home where disturbed seems to be the status quo for the residents. Lucy had a stable at best, quirky at worst, upbringing. She lives for wearing the satin down on her ballet shoes, has her sights set on Juilliard, and has been careful to keep trouble out of her life. Up until now.

Jude's everything she needs to stay away from if she wants to separate her past from her future. Staying away, she's about to find out, is the only thing she's incapable of.

For Lucy Larson and Jude Ryder, love's about to become the thing that tears them apart.

Okay, so I read this a good time back so can't really go into too much detail but I gave it 4/5 stars when I read it so it must have made an impression! It does seem like your cliché YA Romance but it definitely has a unique flare. Jude is an extremely annoying, frustrating, cocky bad boy that you just love to hate and Lucy really gives him a run for his money. Their love story is engaging and captivating and definitely worth the read. I've yet to read the follow on books but when I do, I'll definitely be posting about them!

4. Unlovable (Port Fare #1), by Sherry Gammon | 

"Port Fare, New York, has fallen into the clutches of true evil. The Dreser brothers have arrived with a scheme to increase drug sales in the area by whatever means possible. Seth Prescott is part of MET (Mobile Enforcement Teams) a branch of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration). He's been assigned to work undercover at Port Fare High, and things aren't going very well, until senior Maggie Brown enters the equation. He's harbored a secret crush on her from day one, and now that she is in the center of the case, he's trying to stay clear and objective while walking the line between business and unrequited love. 
Maggie is truly the poster child for Heroin Chic, complete with jutting bones and dark-ringed eyes, but is she an addict, or is there another reason for her appearance? She struggles with her feelings for Seth, fearing he is just another person who will eventually let her down, as everyone in her life has done thus far.
Maggie has spent her life caring for her alcoholic mother. A task that has left her heavily burdened and alone. Before long, her mother's health takes a turn for the worst, sending Maggie's life into a tale-spin. 
While Seth works relentlessly to inject fear into the dealers and flush them out into the open, Maggie fights to stay alive as the hunt turns deadly.
Seth and Maggie's romantic journey is one of humor, heartbreak, and self-discovery. "

 I've read a few books now about undercover cops and them falling for some poor innocent girl when they're on the job so wasn't sure how I'd react to this one- but oh my!! If you read any novel about an undercover narc falling for a teen, this has to be the one you read!! Their story is addicting and beautiful and Maggie is such a character in her own right that the reader cannot help but want to fight for her happiness and her survival. Their story continues in the next book and is just as fantastic a read. 

5. Going Under (#1), by Georgia Cates | 

"Jesse Boone is a self-proclaimed bad boy and doesn't march to the beat of anyone’s drum but his own. Growing up in less than desirable circumstances has made him no stranger to the hard knock life but his determination to leave it behind is fervent. He sees an opportunity to snag a college football scholarship when he’s transferred to East Franklin High School but Forbes Henderson has other plans. The player Jesse intends to replace doesn’t plan on giving up his spot as starting quarterback so a rivalry is born. Jesse is determined to show his nemesis that he’s not only going to take his position as first string quarterback, he’s going to take his girl, too.
Claire Deveraux is perfection at its best. She’s beautiful, intelligent, and unaware she just became Jesse Boone’s conquest to settle a score with her boyfriend. Like her flawless performance as the perfect daughter and student, Claire’s production of being the perfect girlfriend has everyone fooled, except Jesse Boone. She fears this tattooed bad boy will see her secret desire to explore his crude threats and promises of rocking her perfect world. If she decides to give in to one uninhibited moment with Jesse, will she learn too late that it was all an act of vengeance or will Jesse learn that the taste of first love is sweeter than that of revenge?"
 This is another YA novel that appears to follow the Cliché Train but it is a definite surprise. Jesse is a whirlwind of secrets and surprise and Claire isn't all she seems either. There's more to this novel than simply a love story of cat and mouse but more a lesson on knowing when it's okay to let your guard down and trust someone, Both characters break free from their stereotypes and we're left with a raw heart-wrenching story. Parts are predictable but there are a few surprises throughout. The drama continues in Book 2...

Sunday 16 November 2014

REVIEW; Insanity, by Cameron Jace


Genre: Thriller, Fantasy, Young Adult

Recommend: Yes/No


Alice Wonder is a patient in Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum after murdering her classmates, including her boyfriend. Locked up with only her flower as company, she dreams of escape and attempts to trick the guards in an effort to run away. Her family believe she is insane but Alice is given a chance to prove her sanity when another patient takes an interest in her. Professor Caterpillar convinces Alice that she is the real Alice from Wonderland and that she is needed to help him. There is a mass killer on the loose, going by the name of the Cheshire Cat and according to the Professor, only Alice can help him catch the monster and in doing so find the real Wonderland. Alice is allowed out of the Asylum to pose as a student as she helps decode the clues and edge closer to catching the killer and saving lives.

My Thoughts:
I was really intrigued by the blurb of this novel and it sounded like exactly my type of mind-bender novel... however, unfortunately I just didn't 'get' it and DNF'ed at 51%. It really takes a lot for me to give up on a book but when I've been attempting to get through it after a few weeks and it's a struggle to pick up, I can't ignore them signs. 

I loved the start/introduction of the whole story. The writing appeared to be quirky and Alice was an intriguing character. 

Overall, the whole plot/story seemed rushed and just stitched together in a haphazard way that I couldn't follow. I expected this to be a mental challenge but it seemed too bonkers for me. I just lost interest and got frustrated at it. I couldn't engage properly with any of the conversations between the characters and it left me feeling like they had no depth or substance to them. 

I found Pillar's involvement with Alice and how everything occurred after she agreed to help him, just unbelievable and disjointed. I don't mean unbelievable in a realistic way as this is a Fantasy novel but their interactions just didn't come off as sound and the circumstances/events that are created just didn't fit with how the novel began. 

I give one star simply for the beginning of the novel as it really set my hopes high and was captivating but unfortunately it got too crazy as I went on and I just couldn't continue. It may be a novel I'll return to in a few months to give another try as it has got such great ratings. 

Monday 27 October 2014

REVIEW; The Fab Life (The Kihanna Saga #1), by Mercy Amare


Genre: Romance, Teen, Drama

Recommend: Yes/No


Kihanna Evers has been sent to live with her newly found father, Mark Evers- the founder of a hit social networking site. Moving to live in his mansion in California, she becomes acquainted with her fashionista stepmother and inappropriate step-brother.
At first dazzled and repulsed by the vast amount of chandeliers that adorned her house, Kihanna wastes no time in planting her feet in her new world and becoming her own. 
Staying true to herself, she opposes her stepmothers attempts to treat her like a Barbie and she doesn't fall victim to intimidation from the school Queen Bee, Jacqueline. Inexperienced in the relationship department, Kihanna finds herself to be sought after by many of guys that are most wanted themselves. 
Thrown into a world of money and appearances, Kihanna soon realises not everything is how it seems and everyone hides a secret or two.

My Thoughts:
Where to even begin with this one... 

  • Punctuation: Oh my dear... The punctuation throughout this novel drove me mad. The amount of times where a paragraph was constructed of tiny sentences that made little sense with a follow on sentence afterwards, when there should have been a comma rather than a full-stop to split it up. There were also some grammar errors and mistypes but this may be simply due to the conversion to e-book. The dialogue also needs major work; it all just spewed out as if it were a first draft and had no realistic padding to it all. So much of the novel is a stream of consciousness that is meaningless or mind-numbingly contradictive and/or boring. 

  • Kihanna: I wanted to give her a smack with a brick at times. She was just so unlikable. At first I liked her attitude towards her step-mother and for standing up for herself but then she really got annoying. If she were 14 years old, her personality would've fit but for 17 she just came across so self-absorbed. She was so ungrateful to her stepmom even though she wasn't actually that bad- yeah, she may have wanted to take some control but it was just to protect what was important to her. It's also overkill on the "new girl" being "gorgeous/hot" without even knowing and having every. single. male. character. lust. after. her. ""Why would he be nervous? It's just a concert." "Because he likes you." I shake my head. "He does not. He's just being nice." They all laugh. "Whatever you say."" *smacks head off desk* Just no. She claimed to be so different and hadn't even kissed anyone by the age of 17, she was pure and had saved herself and yet after two months of being with Ty she was going to sleep with him!? Waiting that long and then being willing to that is just so craaaazy and idiotic and just didn't ring through with her personality. She didn't even hold true to herself on the clothes and wardrobe front. 

  • Secrets: We all love that dark character with a secret? The mysterious one who drops hints throughout the story and we try to guess what it is. But not when it's just thrown in randomly and with whatever characters take your fancy!! ""You didn't know me a year ago," he snaps. "You don't know what I've been through or what I've learned in that time."" So Toby is a lighthearted flirt, and then completely out of character blurts that, and then reverts to the inappropriate flirt again without even another flicker of a haunted past... And then of course there's Gabe and Ty with the messed up pasts and secrets too but let's just skip over them. 

  • Plot: The whole plot in general was all over the place. It was like someone who was writing their first novel and wanted to mash up all their ideas into the one book. Kihanna had too many love interests, (The pool guy was totally irrelevant and not a necessary addition) and there were too many sub-plots happening that it didn't all tie together. There was the romantic story, the aspect of Kihanna entering her new life and getting to know her father, her mother dying (cliché, guessed it from the start), uncovering the secrets of Gabe etc, dealing with making new friends and dealing with the bitch... but of course to top it all off it ended in a murder attempt!!! The part where Kihanna drinks a few shots of Tequila and immediately loses it is too far fetched as well, granted she had never drank before but it just didn't fit with a realistic representation of getting drunk. 

I thought I'd like this book but it just fell short on too many levels. There was a lot of potential but the author tried to cram in too much rubbish and not focus on building a sustainable, plausible and solid story-line. The pace was all over the place and it was a struggle to even finish. I don't really like writing bad reviews and have always tried to write negative ones with constructive criticism and hope I have this time as well. It was too cliché and all over the place with a lack of structure. The characters were plentiful with a lack of purpose and definition and depth. There was a constant repetition of language and phrases which made it a dull read. 

Overall I feel this would succeed a LOT more if aimed at younger teens. It just didn't do it for me as a YA novel and therefore would not recommend to more mature readers. (Or readers with a habit of tearing books apart and analysing them in way too much detail!)

Saturday 25 October 2014

REVIEW; Lovely Vicious #1, by Sara Wolf


Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Drama

Recommend: Yes/No

Isis Blake, 17 years old and heartbroken. As a result she has promised herself she will not fall in love again. Forced to move to Ohio with her mom, who is suffering with PTSD after being in an abusive relationship, she has lost weight and dyed her hair and is attacking the world full force with her "I Don't Care" attitude. Throw Jack Hunter into the mix; the most coveted guy around but who won't date anyone in high-school and has earned himself the name of "The Ice Prince."

Isis has had it with players and boys taking girls for granted, so when she is faced with Jack she initiates a war by punching him... in front of everyone. She refuses to fall for him and goes out of her way to let him know how much she hates him, as he retaliates accordingly. 

She soon realises she has started a war with the wrong person, as Jack ups the attacks as she delves further and further into his life. Soon they become entangled in their web of pranks and secrets, and find more common ground than they had initially expected. 

My Thoughts:

I loved this book so much! When buying it, I had expected it to hover around the three star mark but it had so much more depth than I had anticipated and was over-run with humour and quick-wit. The dialogue was executed well between Isis and Jack and their individual banter permeated the whole story. 

Isis was a force to be reckoned with. I loved how Wolf depicted Isis as a cold and tough person but who was shielding her hurt and vulnerability. She has been victim to so much but wasn't slipping into a self-pitying depression but was fighting back. It was a fresh approach that I hadn't come across in many YA novels before. She had also had to swap roles with her mother, and nearly become a parent to her after her mother's suffering and Isis was a character you really couldn't help but feel so much sympathy for and root her on as she fought out her beliefs against Jack. 

Jack Hunter. WOW! He too had a deep past that was slowly uncovered and he wasn't hiding a typical or predictable past. He wasn't necessarily a "bad boy" or hiding a deep dark past, but rather he had had his fair share of trauma and was dealing with it in his own way. Hence when faced with trauma-stricken Isis, sparks of every kind began to fly.

I think this novel really eradicated any predictability. You could claim it was obvious that girl hates boy, boy hates girl, they get together in the end. But there was SO MUCH MORE to it than that. 

I read this in two days and wanted to scream when I finished it- WHAT. AN. ENDING! The last few scenes were pretty eventful enough and you think you've had the plot twist and then out of nowhere- punch in the feels. I love/hate cliffhangers as do most readers but that ending is up there with one of the best (even though it hurt so much!) twists I've read. 

This is definitely up there in my list of favourites and one I'd recommend to anyone that loves YA, NA, Drama, Plot-twists, Humour. It exceeded so many expectations and I am so looking forward to reading the remainder of the trilogy as it's just astounding. 

Friday 17 October 2014


Hey everyone,

I realise it's been some time since I've posted a review and just wanted to post a little explanation as to why. I have still been reading and I've two books I still plan to review before the month ends, however in the past month I moved back to the UK for University and have been just too busy with sorting out the house and "official" things and catching up with all of my friends.

Once my course settles down into a proper routine, I hope to be back posting reviews on a more regular basis!

:) Aoibh

Monday 22 September 2014

REVIEW; Rule, by Jay Crownover


Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama

Recommend: Yes/No

Rule Archer is a tattooed, bad-ass player. It his ritual to go out and get drunk, pull a girl and get what he wants and have her leave quietly in the morning. He turns heads when he walks in a room and most females swoon after him.

Shaw Landon has been one of those girls for over 5 years. Having loved him since she first met him at 14 years old, she could never get over him. Following the death of her best friend, Remy, Rule's twin brother, Shaw still found herself wrapped up in the lives of the Archers. 

Every Sunday she drags Rule from his latest acquisition and drives him to a family meal, in the hope she can keep his family together. They were more of a family to her than her own were, and she doesn't want to give up. 

Rule can't stand Shaw, or doesn't have much time for her. But after her spends more time in her presence and his friends and family point out her looks, Rule begins to see Shaw in a completely different light, and his feelings and thoughts about her change him. After Shaw's birthday night, their relationship changes and so begins the rocky love life of Shaw and Rule.

My Thoughts:
ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS!! It's definitely on my list of favourites. 


  1. Rule; we're told all the girls can't help but pine after him due to his looks, but that followed through with his personality and attitude. Even with words Crownover portrayed his sex-appeal and angsty attitude that draws you in to his power. I didn't like him to begin with, as in his dismissive attitude towards women wouldn't attract me at all, but as soon as he starts to really see Shaw, we see the real him emerge from his pain and he becomes a bad-ass we can't help but love. 
  2. Shaw; gotta give this girl props, she fell in love with her best friend's twin, and dealt with for years despite him breaking her heart every week when she witnessed his girls being dismissed. The girl had strength! She had awful pressuring parents who didn't listen to her and she finally was able to stand up to them and also confess her feelings to Rule.

  1. Names; This won't seem like much of a big thing, but one thing really stuck out to me from the start and that was the character names- the majority were all 4 letters long!! Shaw, Rule, Rome, Remy, Nash, Gabe, Dale and others. It just lacked a bit of balance as realistically in a group of friends there is a variety in name length! It would be one thing if some were nick-names like Alex being short for Alexander but it was just something that irked me as the story progressed. 
  2. Sex; this book oozed sex appeal and attitude. But as a female, I didn't really like the presentation of sexual topics in this. Rule's attitude was a huge turnoff. He wanted sex and to use girls, but put the blame on the girls being stupid enough to go home with a stranger. It's 50/50. He was a player and Crownover wrote from that POV but he was a bit too flippant that you wonder is it possible for one girl, and of course the one girl who loves him, to change his ways. Shaw had kept herself for him and her first time was absolutely brilliant and amazing... not buying that. 
  3. Plot; it was a little predictable but NA/YA generally is to an extent. At times it felt like it was the same skeleton of a lot of similar stories but just dressed a bit differently. The stereotype virginal goddess falling for tattooed badboy and he of course reciprocates the feelings and is forever changed by the goddess. All the drama too- Remy's death, their mother, Shaw's parents, Gabe- all the trauma and drama surrounding the lot of them at times just seemed too much to be true.
  4. Communication;  At times it really felt like I was missing a huge part of Shaw and Rule communicating. There were too many repetitive conversations about love and their relationship and not knowing what they were doing but knowing they love each other to not wanting to hurt each other, and all of this just in metaphors etc etc. It all just felt a little too much and up in the air for me. 
Although there were a few things I disliked/had issues with, it didn't really take away from the fact that I REALLY LOVED this book. I fell for Rule and Shaw together. Their relationship is depicted beautifully and their journey is far from smooth but it's captivating. It may not be the best written of novels, but it is still mighty good and the novel itself has an attitude that draws you in. 
I both laughed and cried whilst reading this and if a book can cause me to do both, then it's winner to me.

Saturday 13 September 2014

REVIEW: The Doll's House, by Louise Phillips


Genre: Thriller, Suspense

Recommend: Yes/No

Criminal psychologist, Kate Pearson, is called upon for her help on a murder in Dublin city centre, where the victim was brutally stabbed and then drowned in the canal. Another murder follows in similar style and Kate and her team aren't any closer to stopping the killer.

Meanwhile, Clodagh McKay is battling with her own demons. A recovering alcoholic in an abusive marriage, coping with the death of her mother, whom she had no bond with, and having driven away her own daughter, Clodagh takes matters into her own hands and attends a hypnotist. With his help, Clodagh regresses and attempts to uncover the secrets of her family and childhood, unaware the danger she is surrounding herself in. 

Her father supposedly committed suicide thirty-five years ago, and now men in his circle are turning up dead, and Clodagh wonders how she is connected to them.

My Thoughts:
Red Ribbons was a huge success for me and I was excited to be reading Phillip's next novel. I had hoped to have enjoyed it just as much but unfortunately it was a let down to my expectations. 
Still judging the book in its own right, I couldn't ignore the details or aspects that hindered my love for this novel. 

  • POV; I normally enjoy the switching of the POV but I felt the sudden but brief changes didn't work out as well. So many of the chapters were only 2 pages long and the snippets of info (sometimes pointless) got lost too easily. 

  • Clodagh; gahhhh, I wanted to like her, I wanted to feel sorry for her but I really couldn't. I don't like giving criticism without being constructive but I can't pinpoint what was missing from her character description that caused my lack of sympathy, but something was. Her regression sessions were also drawn out way too long. The effort to build suspense with the dolls and the doll's house and Clodagh's hesitance, failed. Towards the end I was skimming her sessions as they were too repetitive and not engaging. (I understand IRL hypnotism sessions would be long and a slow process but for a mystery novel there needed to be a faster pace.)

  • Pace; the pace of this novel started off very well, the changing of POV's were all well done. After 50% though this fell apart. I felt at times it was being rushed to get points in and then slowing down again as if remembering to build suspense. Was bearable for the most part but I felt at the end everything got windswept in an effort to close up the plot twist.

  • Setting; I loved the setting of this book. Irish author and realistic setting in Dublin with references to places around town and the suburbs. The choosing of a real setting and map plan brings the story to life rather than an unclear imagined setting that holds no presence.
The novel overall was still very good though. The insight into Kate's life makes her character come to life and more human as we see her life beyond her career. There are both minor and major plot twists, some of which are integral to the story, others which don't hold much importance. 

I would still recommend this novel to anyone that loves thrillers and mystery. There is a solid story-line with twists and turns and I look forward to reading Phillips' next book.

Tuesday 26 August 2014

REVIEW: My Name Is Rapunzel, by KC Hilton


Review contains spoilers

Genre: Young-Adult, Teen, Romance, Fantasy

Rapunzel is about to get married and run away with the love of her life-Henry. But their plan is interrupted when the witch, Gretta, intervenes and ruins Rapunzel's life forever.

As a young girl she befriended Gretta and promised never to leave her; little did she know the seriousness of this promise. When Gretta sees her try to escape with Henry she curses Rapunzel to immortality- frozen in her current young woman state. 

After losing Henry and ultimately her parents, Rapunzel moves into the family castle with Gretta, being guarded by the dragon, and lives hundreds of years in solitude and grievance for Henry. 

Then in current day, Rapunzel decides to tell her story to a journalist; John Jenkins. And thus begins the start of a plot-twisting romance and Rapunzel gets a second chance of escape...but it won't be an easy fight.

My Thoughts:
I love fairy-tales and this really sounded like a novel that I'd enjoy. I think the main issue with it for me was that it was more suitable for younger teens more so than young adults. 

The story held a lot of promise; Rapunzel's true love, Henry, being banished from the start and subsequently turning out to be the dragon who tried to protect her and then a love-triangle. 

However, the story just fell apart, soon after it began and never really got back together.

  • Rapunzel~ all talk and no action. She constantly moaned or dreamt about escape and how she wanted to leave Gretta but didn't because... ? Gretta would never let her. Well, Gretta's power fell through a lot but I'll get on to that in a moment. Rapunzel reads John Jenkins' sceptical article about fairy-tales and she feels the need to write to him with her "story." And in a "letter" to him that read more like a flashback novel, we find out about Luke, her son (not really but she becomes his guardian) and his story- and by the end we find out the whole story was pointless. There was no purpose whatsoever. It also didn't make sense that Rapunzel, after making it quite clear that she could not go into town for fear she'd be noticed and her secret revealed, writes a letter to a journalist confessing her tale who would ultimately want to publish said story. So her wanting for secrecy fell through here. And considering she sacrificed further love because of Henry, she fell for John way too easily.

  • Gretta~ the "powerful" witch. As I said, Rapunzel was in fear of her. She had cursed Rapunzel and had to live with her and Rapunzel could never escape because of her. There was a constant threat of Gretta but never any evidence. There were the spells she did at the start, obviously, and the bit at the end... but in the middle? There was no evidence of any brutality or evilness. Rapunzel was able to follow Gretta into town one morning, go out for coffee another, go out with John a few times; but yet she couldn't run away because Gretta would know. How? How could she punish her if she was thousands of miles away?!  Rapunzel didn't even try to escape or defeat her. Just accepted her fate and spent 250 odd years complaining about it. If it were me, I would've died trying to escape (if it were possible that I could- if not, well I'd have no excuse for not trying!) There was also no real indication as to why Gretta wanted Rapunzel or her hair, everything was just insinuated and this was only sort of answered in the final few chapters.

  • Plot~ held so much promise, didn't deliver. Henry was the dragon, okay good idea. But when that was revealed it was a bit too much of a surprise/unbelievable; for 250 years this dragon supposedly "protected" Rapunzel, but we never really got a great idea if he was protecting her or holding her prisoner. He still loved her and claimed that he had hoped their love would stand the test of time but yet never once did he try and explain who he was or what had happened! John made the ultimate sacrifice for the woman he loved, and became her "hero" by taking Henry's place as the dragon. Cute and romantic gesture but then Rapunzel just happily went off with Henry to have their happily ever after. She claimed to love John too and yet didn't even react to him giving up his life as a human!?

  • Characters~ no development. Rapunzel, Henry, John, Gretta... all of them just lacked. They lacked depth and lacked major development. John wavered between loving and trusting Rapunzel to having speculated her all along and Henry, being honest I didn't trust him at the start and didn't feel his love for Rapunzel despite all the writing about how true and powerful their love was. 

Overall, I would recommend this book to much younger readers who don't read too much into books or aren't avid readers. Unfortunately, I have read too many that I cannot overlook all the red flags throughout this book. I expected so much more and it ultimately fell through on poor writing and an under developed characters. There were too many holes in the plot and as a novel with romance, the romance was never believable or heartfelt. 

Wednesday 13 August 2014

REVIEW: The Secret History, by Donna Tartt


Review contains spoilers

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Literary Fiction

Richard Papen arrives at Hampden College and gets involved with five other students- Bunny, Francis, Henry, Charles and Camilla- who all share a love for Greek Classics. Attending all classes under the eccentric Julian, they are segregated from the rest of the college students.
All with an air of secrecy, Richard tries his best to infiltrate the tight circle of friends, and gradually uncovers the dangers of which the group are involved in. After taking part in an ancient ritual, the group murder a farmhand and all decide to keep it quiet. When one member of the group is found to be less trusting, they are forced to get rid of him. Following his death, the group spiral out of control as a murder mystery unfolds and more drama ensues.

My Thoughts:
Where to begin with this book... I think this is one of those books that you either "get" or don't... and unfortunately I don't. 
I had been warned that this takes a good while to get into but was worth the read, so I persevered and really wanted to like it... but being honest I didn't enjoy reading it. 
My reasons for not enjoying/liking this novel are as follows;
  1. Richard; there was absolutely no traits to prove his gender, occasionally he mentioned his love/affection for a character but their gender didn't matter and his lack of credibility just set the novel on a downward slope from the start. He was as dull as cardboard; he seemed to never have an opinion and if he did he never stood up for what it was. There was a scene where he gets with a girl at a party- he apparently was glad of this hook-up but did we get any emotion from him? No.
  2. Characters; the rest of the group also lacked credibility. I made exceptions and allowances for their personalities to be different, as I would for characters in any novel. But after committing murder - twice - Tartt tried to portray a sense of remorse that just seemed forced and fake. Francis Henry Francis Henry- what on Earth was going on between those two and which was which? And the twins? Character building was definitely not on Tartt's list of things to include in this. Many things were suggested and hinted at, but rarely confirmed or elaborated. Now, I know the whole "show not tell" theory in writing, but whilst at times the hinting was sufficient, at some points a little bit of solid evidence would have been appreciated.
  3. Writing; In amongst a lot of pointless anecdotes, there lies a fairly decent murder story- this is mainly where the two stars come from. The first killing happened just short of a third the way through, so naturally this caught my interest. The second murdering occurs half way through and there is a fair amount of suspense built as we know the murder is about to happen but we aren't sure how it will pan out. The whole rest of the book- 270 pages or so - is simply the rest of them fluttering around drunk and high, trying to avoid the police and letting their paranoia and anxiety control their actions and they gradually spiral out of control. I felt there was too much written about pointless scenes and not enough of vital ones. eg, there was a section where one of them was telling Richard how he nearly caught them "so many times" from coming home from the woods, when they hid behind the curtain etc, this should have been written into the story beforehand!!! ie, Richard should have noticed something like "when I went down to the fridge I heard some noises in the hall but no one was there and I returned to bed" etc... this lack of foreshadowing just felt like Tartt wrote the novel as she went with no clue where it was going.
  4. Julian; Richard (and seemingly the others) idolized this man. I did not nor did I understand his great importance, there needed to be more about him to show the reader his greatness. Julian was one character I wanted to read more about, I wanted to know what was so intriguing and why he selected his students so carefully and such, but nope- we weren't privy to an insight into Julian's psyche.
  5. The story; unfortunately the whole plot just fell apart for me. This is deemed as a great murder mystery type novel but that's hardly so. The first telling of the drunken acts and behaviour of the characters were enough, and I did not need to read hundreds of pages of the same thing with different paranoia in a different setting to understand their affliction with substance abuse. Hooray for them being young and daring.

Overall, did not enjoy this book. It probably just wasn't for me and I can recognise the talent of Tartt but it often felt like she was trying to hard to show off her writing skills. The constant forced language use was a turn off; it would have done her no harm to once in a while just write a sentence simply. I think you will either love or hate this and can't recommend it solely to a certain group as I believe it to be an individual preference.