Saturday 28 February 2015

REVIEW; Kill Devil Hills, by Sarah Darlington


Genre: New Adult, Drama, Romance

Recommend: Yes

Georgina is 18 years old when she attempts to end her life following the funeral of her brother. Feeling guilty that her last words to him were argumentative, she decides to end her life. 

Noah Clarke is 24 and her older sister's best friend. Drunk and confused, Noah stumbles upon Georgie as she lies bleeding on the bathroom floor and immediately tried to save her. As Georgie is recovering, Noah is haunted every night with a constant yearning for knowing about her well-being. 

Georgie develops feelings for Noah, which she dismisses as just as an attachment after her saved her. Meanwhile Noah can't deny that his want to protect her runs deeper than he believed. After her release, the pair dance around their mutual attraction afraid of what the other thinks. 

After all, can someone who has escaped a life of abuse and mistreatment and finally has their life on track, successfully be with someone extremely unstable and unpredictable?

My Thoughts:
Oh wow wow wow! 

I really loved this book. The initial scene was so powerful and I admired how straight up and strong it was. Suicide is such a current issue and many tip-toe around the subject and reading about Noah's reaction to Georgie's actions were such a powerful opening. 

Ellie is such a lovely character; Georgie's older sister who is a lesbian and Noah's best friend. She had such a lovely caring persona as she was responsible for taking in Noah so he could escape his abusive uncle and she was so supportive of Noah dating her younger sister. 

One can't help but feel for Noah. He witnessed Georgie's suicide attempt and is haunted by that night until her release. He tries to deny his feelings as she is 6 years younger and his best friend's sister, so he believes her to not only be fragile, but also off limits. He respects Georgie enough to give her space but once he realises she reciprocates his feelings and isn't as damaged or naive as he believed, he finally follows his heart for happiness.

Then there's poor feisty Georgie. She comes out of treatment having lost her best friend and boyfriend and has to cope with her family walking on egg-shells around her. Finding solace in Noah, she soon becomes swept up in her fantasies and has to deal with Noah's hot and cold/mixed signal attitude as he works out what the right thing to do is. She is such a strong character after committing an act many perceive as weak. 

The romance development between the two was a gorgeous read. There was an appropriate mix of drama and heartache before the pair united. 

Why 4 Stars?
At times the pace seemed a little wrong and there were some scenes that I didn't feel were realistic. Noah was a bit too much like a lot of book-boyfriends out there - the guy that doesn't do relationships but just falls helplessly in love so quickly and effortlessly. I suppose it's a concept that I just cringe at in novels.

Overall; I loved this and cannot wait to read the next installment. Ultimately it was a beautiful story and I completed it in less than 2 days with a busy schedule. I would definitely recommend to any romance/drama book lover. Definitely up there with the favourites and a great way to (sort of) start off the books of 2015!

Saturday 21 February 2015

REVIEW; Thief, The Academy (The Scarab Beetle #1), by C.L. Stone


Genre: Young Adult, Drama, Mystery

Recommend: Yes

Kayli Winchester earns her rent money by pick-pocketing those she believes wouldn't miss the money, in order to take care of her brother and drunken father. However, The Academy have had their eye on Kayli and want to momentarily recruit her as she has proven to have the skills they require. 

Meeting the boys; Marc, Raven, Axel, Corey and Brandon, Kayli is thrown into a world of secrecy and joins them on a dangerous job. They're keeping an eye on one of Charleston's playboys, Blake Coaltar, who they suspect is meddling in the drug business. All Kayli has to do is pickpocket his wallet so the boys can swipe his details, and return it as soon as she can. But Blake takes a shine to Kayli putting her right in the spotlight and in harms way. 

Due to her curiosity Kayli finds herself in deep trouble as she gets too close and the boys nearly risk everything to try and save her. 

My Thoughts:
As a reader/lover of the Ghost Bird series I was quite excited to read the "adult" version, but unfortunately was let down.

Plot: The plot sort of fell apart for me. It was more about Kayli interacting with the different guys and getting to know them over anything else. There was the effort of integrating the investigation about Coaltar but it all seemed a bit rushed and added in. They also didn't have sufficient reason/evidence to have started following Coaltar; it all seemed to rely on some sort of suspicion without reason.
As for the plot-twist ending? Could tell that was coming from the get go. Not much of a surprise. 

Kayli: At first I admired her; she was quirky and such an individual and she did what she could for her family and could clearly stand up for herself. But once she was introduced to the guys she became unbearable. Why did she have to fall for every guy in the book? And why did every guy (especially as adults) all develop an attraction for her? I know she was unique but she was that special that she brought them all to her knees? She had just met them and was flirting and messing around as if she had known them for years. None of it felt real or believable. 

Writing: I generally overlook typos/errors but there were a good few in this. I would've thought by now they'd have been sorted out. There were also some factual errors etc. 
"The warmth drew me in first, followed by the rich aroma of coffee infused with mocha and a spritz of hazelnut."

Minor, but mocha is coffee and chocolate so it should read "coffee infused with chocolate." These little things just jump out at me. 

Ultimately I ended up speed-reading this to get it finished. It didn't have the allure that Ghost Bird series did. Promoted as the adult series I had expected it to be a bit more Adult-themed but it still felt like a YA novel. The drug-sub plot didn't interest me and I skipped a good bit just to get back to interesting parts. 

So why 3 star rating? 
I probably would've enjoyed this more if I had not yet read the Ghost Bird series. I found myself comparing them a lot of the time and I preferred Sang to Kayli and Sang's back story was much more alluring.

Any Good Points?
Regardless of my feelings about GB Series, I need to judge this book in its own right. It started off with 4 stars in my mind but the negatives dropped it down one. The boys were just as captivating and interesting as in GB and all had clear idiosyncrasies and their personalities were so brilliant. Axel was definitely my favourite but I enjoyed the non-romantic element of each of their relationships with Kayli. Kayli also doesn't ever try to play the victim and win them over that way; she makes it clear from the beginning that she can fend for herself and that's a breath of fresh air in novels compared to the over-used helpless heroine. 

Overall, I would recommend this novel but for mature YA over NA. Although it fell down on some aspects for me, this is mostly due to my expectations being high from GB series. It's still a half decent read, I've just read better. 

Saturday 14 February 2015

REVIEW; Weddings Can Be Murder, by Christie Craig


Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Mystery

Recommend: Yes

Katie Ray is suffering from pre-wedding nerves but when she accidentally flushes her $8,000 ring down the toilet, she begins to wonder if it was an accident after all. 

Wedding planner Tabitha Jones suspects she knows who is responsible for the disappearance/murder of some of her brides. She rings PI Carl Hades for help to investigate her suspicions. 

Soon, Carl and Katie are locked in a room together in Tabitha's house, following the wedding planner's murder and hiding from the murderer. In their hours of being locked up together, Katie starts to doubt her engagement and Carl begins to feel for a woman again. 

Meanwhile, Katie's best friend, Les, and her fiancé, Joe, unintentionally meet up, unaware of who each other is, and form an undeniable connection and spark. When Katie and Carl escape, they battle their feelings for each other whilst trying to remain safe from a serial killer and Les and Joe have to determine what they feel for each other too. 

My Thoughts:
Am finding it a little difficult to formulate my final opinion on this book. It definitely had both plus and negative points for me. 

The overall idea about the wedding killer was interesting but it felt a little underdeveloped. The murders were such a crucial aspect but yet towards the end it all kind of rushed together about who it was and it felt a little unexplained as to revealing the motives to the characters. The novel didn't have a definitive genre; I expected a romance with murder element but there was a stark contrast at times, with the mystery level disappearing for few scenes and then re-appearing as convenient. 

Katie and Carl had an intriguing attraction but it got a little annoying. Carl wasn't one to commit and she was a "Good Girl." It got a little tedious of the two of them flicking between having sex and then Carl claiming he can't be with Katie as he'd hurt her; it's just a generic plot that's overused nowadays. 

As well as their main romance, there was the drama between Les and Joe. I think this was necessary to show how neither Joe nor Katie harboured true love for the other and verified their break up was the right thing to do. However, there was drama between Katie and Carl so it would've been nicer if Joe and Les had just cut the suspension.

There were too many scene cliffhangers. Suspense is all good in small amounts but it permeated the whole novel and certain events dragged out a little too much. There were also a few errors/typos; eg Both Tami/Tammy were used as spellings for a character's name. 

Although that all sounds negative, it was still an enjoyable light read. As a free e-book it was fairly decent. There was an original concept but it was the delivery that let it down. There were a lot of moments that made me laugh and I really enjoyed the chemistry between Katie and Carl when they were locked in the storeroom together. 

Would recommend to any romance/mystery lovers that need a light and easy read to break up a period of heavy reading.