Take Me On takes place during a period of Crash Into You and without spoiling things for anyone who hasn't read the series let me just say I enjoyed i...moreTake Me On takes place during a period of Crash Into You and without spoiling things for anyone who hasn't read the series let me just say I enjoyed it a whole lot more than I thought I would. Rachael's brother, West was pretty much a dick in Crash Into You and I wasn't thrilled Take Me On was going to be his story. Must have been that smack up the head I gave him because he redeemed himself. I still think the family need to take some of their megabucks and cough up for serious therapy ... the Lousy Parent award won't cost them a thing.
I was also surprised at how much I enjoyed the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) aspect, McGarry nails the gym atmosphere, the hard-core training, sweat-blood-tears determination, the fight side of things in amateur/pro sport.
Haley I liked immediately, she's tough and yet vulnerable, protective of those she loves and she fights for what she believes in. And West, well he grows in this installment and his growth and maturity is realistic, not some inexplicable change in character. And I liked him (nearly choked admitting that) and his biceps. West and Haley are just plain good for each other, the chemistry is there, sparks fly and it gets heart-melt-y good.
Kudos to Katie McGarry, she keeps changing it up and the whole troubled, heart-achy theme is not getting the least bit old. Her exploration of relationships is insightful, the issues are real, (homelessness and depression) it's big on those values like honesty, integrity and responsibility and it's tempered with hope.
Breaking the Rules is next, Dec 30th 2014, we re-visit Echo and Noah from Pushing the Limits which will be awesome but what I really want to know is when does Abby get her book? Come on, give us a hint, don't leave us hanging ;)(less)
I wanted to love this one, regular readers of my blog know how much I love Dystopia and Enmity held such promise. The synopsis sold me ... sadly the e...moreI wanted to love this one, regular readers of my blog know how much I love Dystopia and Enmity held such promise. The synopsis sold me ... sadly the execution failed to live up to it.
There was enough action to keep the plot moving but poor writing turned something that could have been amazing into a hot mess. It makes me sad criticising an author's 'baby' but I'm just one opinion so be sure to check out other reviews.(less)
I'm a huge Elizabeth Scott fan and I liked Heartbeat but it didn't have the heart-crushing, punch-in-the-guts impact of Living Dead Girl. I just reall...moreI'm a huge Elizabeth Scott fan and I liked Heartbeat but it didn't have the heart-crushing, punch-in-the-guts impact of Living Dead Girl. I just really connect with Ms Scott's writing and her gift of putting into words what is so often thought but not often said.
Emma was so choked on hate and hurt she was pretty unlikable, I understood why, but it didn't stop me from wanting to smack her a time or two for her selfish, hurtful behaviour. But you know what, grief isn't pretty. It's natural to want to blame and when your loved ones are drowning in the same deep well of pain, it's difficult to consider someone else ... both Emma and her stepfather Dan were guilty of this.
On the up side Emma has a treasure of a best friend in Olivia and her relationship with her stepfather is loving and secure ... they just needed time to come through the storm.
Caleb's story really touched me, even sadder than Emma's, if that's possible. Their mutual pain and grief providing a connection they probably wouldn't have found otherwise. With Emma adjusting her judgmental attitude, mutual understanding blossoms into romance, but it takes a back seat to the central plot, much to my relief.
Yes it's repetitive but even that felt in keeping, imagine not being able to truly grieve your mother, seeing her daily, holding her hand, wanting it to be over, not wanting it to end, filling up on hope, while you know there is none.
Whilst not my favourite Elizabeth Scott, still one I'd recommend .. complex issues addressed with insight, honesty and compassion.
I've had a love affair with Laura Wiess' understated but beautiful turn of phrase since reading Ordinary Beauty. I don't know why this talent...more4.5 stars
I've had a love affair with Laura Wiess' understated but beautiful turn of phrase since reading Ordinary Beauty. I don't know why this talented author isn't more widely read.
Me Since You is not an easy read but it's raw and real. It has that rare quality that transforms someone's reality into a story you identify with. It makes you feel ... a lot.
It deals with depression and suicide and the aftermath for family members ... the shock, grief, anger, guilt, the what-ifs. It's about the ripple effect, the pain multiplied by the media and quick-to-judge people, grief in all its ugliness, and Rowan and Eli and healing and love.
A few things I just have to mention ...
Rowan writes to her Dad in a grief journal; it tore me up, it doesn't get more real than this.
the romance is understated, whilst important it does not dominate, there isn't a cliche in sight.
Nadia, Rowan's ex-best friend who wanted her to "speed-grieve" needs a *bitch slap*
When you read a few books consecutively with similar themes of loss and grief, obviously you compare; Laura Wiess is an author whose writing transcends age and Me Since You is a story that should be read. (less)
Blood Phantom is the short story prequel to the first book in the Lharmell series, Blood Song. I kid you not this is one highly addictive ser...more3.5 stars
Blood Phantom is the short story prequel to the first book in the Lharmell series, Blood Song. I kid you not this is one highly addictive series and after Blood Storm and that ending I had serious withdrawals so Blood Phantom was a short, sweet 'fix' of Lharmell ... just enough to have me salivating for the final installment, Blood Queen.
It was great to get inside the enigmatic Rodden's head, get a glimpse of things from his perspective and I just love his dry sense of humour. I enjoyed the interaction between Prince Amis and Rodden too, Amis doesn't get a lot of page time in the series, he's not really a major character but it was nice to see the bond between these two.
At only 15 pages it's something of a teaser, I might have even stamped my feet coming to the end ... wahhh where's the rest?
*Squeee!* Blood Queen April 15th 2014 ... bring it on Rhiannon Hart (she's the author with the Lharmellin size evil streak)
I was introduced to Aimee Carter's writing with The Goddess Test which I liked but obviously not quite enough, as I didn't continue on with t...more3.5 stars
I was introduced to Aimee Carter's writing with The Goddess Test which I liked but obviously not quite enough, as I didn't continue on with the series lol but I love Dystopia and the synopsis of Pawn had me intrigued so I jumped at the chance.
And in that, it didn't disappoint, Pawn has a great premise, okay it won't win 'most original' dystopia but I liked the world building (more of it would have been good) it's pacy and entertaining ... controlled population, caste system, resources awarded according to worth, treachery and political corruption ... what's not to like?
Normally I wouldn't have much positive to say about a story where some of the main characters are dare I say it ... insipid. Don't get me wrong Kitty's likable enough, just flat, I never really established a connection with her, and Benjy ... Benjy who? Knox and Greyson had a bit more depth but once again not enough for me to feel a connection.
Where Aimee Carter does excel is with Prime Minister Daxton, the most vile, repugnant character I've read in YA this year, ughh what an evil piece of excrement! What I wouldn't give to see him strung up by his you know whats and I could probably be convinced to partake in a game of whack the pinata (with a baseball bat) ... *cough* gee where did that come from haha. and Kitty why, oh why??
Then towards the end the wheels fell off the bus and the story became a big messy ... mess. Maybe it was just me, let me know what you thought? I am a bit shocked I enjoyed this as much as I did, until the end, and I will read the next installment, yes I will!(less)
Well it's been an enjoyable and action packed journey with Avry & Kerrick across this trilogy and I'm relieved that Taste of Darkness was a satisf...moreWell it's been an enjoyable and action packed journey with Avry & Kerrick across this trilogy and I'm relieved that Taste of Darkness was a satisfying end to the series.
No spoilers, mostly it's about tying up loose ends but the good vs evil battle is of course not without some touch and go moments, one being the Skeleton King, a particularly foul and highly nauseating antagonist ... yep my stomach contents threatened to exit a couple of times.
So glad that the camaraderie and banter was back in this installment, with Quain, Loren, Odd and sweet Flea providing that light element I really missed in book 2. I love how protective the Monkeys are towards Avry ... like really annoying big brothers.
I've liked Avry from the start but she really shines in this book and the romance between Avry and Kerrick is fanned along in captured moments together. I love their loyalty to each other and the cause and the loyalty and respect they inspire in others.
I'm going to miss the magic; the magic system and landscape are characters in themselves, continuing to fascinate and surprise throughout the trilogy.
All up, a darker installment as the title suggests but my favourite of the series ... I'm just a little bereft it's over. (less)
The Iron Traitor picks up where The Lost Prince ended and if you read my review you may recall my surprise at how much I enjoyed the spin-off consider...moreThe Iron Traitor picks up where The Lost Prince ended and if you read my review you may recall my surprise at how much I enjoyed the spin-off considering I wasn't a fan of The Iron King *shock horror* (yeah I know, in the minority) ... but maybe I'll give the original series another chance or maybe I'll just let this new found enjoyment play out.
Ethan's nephew Kierran is missing and desperate, insanely desperate to save his love Annwyl from the Fade. That desperation fuels the story, the urgency is palpable and in their bid to protect Kierran, Ethan and Kenzie are entwined in his dangerous quest.
The Iron Traitor is a meaty 2nd installment, a dark journey with the action expertly orchestrated. And the setting is entrancing; Nevernever, Tir Na Nog, Summer, Winter, the Between, the Goblin Market - old friends and new enemies, the Forgotten aren't quite so forgotten and random confession time ... I'm sweet on that little gremlin, Razor.
I'm thoroughly enjoying my journey into the land of Fae but Julie Kagawa you are a cruel, cruel woman ... that ending was just ... cruel, CRUEL.
PS see how traumatised I am, a more fitting & descriptive word escapes me :(
PPS don't let the nasty cliffie stop you, I truly believe we should all suffer together ;)
Cover insta-love drew me in but Words Once Spoken was also a quick, fun read, and a solid start to a new fantasy trilogy set in medieval times.
Evelyn...moreCover insta-love drew me in but Words Once Spoken was also a quick, fun read, and a solid start to a new fantasy trilogy set in medieval times.
Evelyn is a strong, feisty character, constantly bucking the constraints of the time she lives in, a bit of a tomboy and ace with a bow and arrow. Carly Drake's Fey world is intriguing, they're a cruel lot with their curses, favours and tricks but I really enjoyed being immersed in the magic. And let’s not forget Liam and Padraic, they certainly add both chemistry and conflict to the story.
It took me a while to catch on to the part, vampire & werewolf play in Words Once Spoken, I think for clarity and flow it needed further exploration, difficult in limited pages. That said, I'm looking forward to more world building, magic and adventure with sequel, Curses Once Spoken.(less)
Finding Home is a story of self discovery with tough issues front and centre ... grief, alcohol abuse, unprotected sex, acceptance and relati...more3.5 stars
Finding Home is a story of self discovery with tough issues front and centre ... grief, alcohol abuse, unprotected sex, acceptance and relationship difficulties.
It should have been easy to dislike Amy, she's a train wreck, spiteful, obnoxious, immature and self destructive but she actually felt real. I cut her some slack as she's grieving not only the loss of her mother but what she feels is abandonment by her father.
And in truth, the significant 'parents' in the story are pretty much absent, clueless or completely irresponsible ... no parent of the year awards need be handed out here. I know communication with teenagers is challenging at the best of times, add grief, pain and misunderstanding and you get a whole world of hurt, but really ....
Amy grows up over the course of the novel, it was good to see her find her place, and a little peace ... I'm sure the metaphorical slap around the head from true friend Lucy helped. I liked Lucy, a lot and Nick too, he was probably my favourite character. Luke on the other hand was a total ass-hat, and Amy falling for such a dick, made me throw up a little ;)
Despite my low tolerance for angst I thought Finding Home was well written and a quick, satisfying read, one I'm sure teens will relate to.(less)
I don't think I have a clear favourite out of the three books in the series but if I had to choose, maybe by a smidgen, book 2, Dare You To. I've enjo...moreI don't think I have a clear favourite out of the three books in the series but if I had to choose, maybe by a smidgen, book 2, Dare You To. I've enjoyed them all, each one had that special something that pulled at my heart strings but there were still things in each that annoyed me. What is consistent across the series is Katie McGarry's tenderness towards her characters; she cares ... it shows ... you care.
Isaiah, I have a soft spot for, there's nothing more endearing than a badass exterior shielding vulnerability and a heart of gold, he's intensely protective and fiercely loyal. Rachel took a little longer to warm to, I didn't think of her as weak, more smothered by expectation. They make a sweet couple, despite their vastly different backgrounds, their intuitiveness and shared passion for fast cars makes their connection believable.
Rachel's brothers (and parents if I'm being honest) are quite insufferable, protective when it suited them, manipulative, selfish, arrogant and like Rachel all sorts of messed up. Privileged circumstances don't offer immunity from tragedy but some of that 'privilege' should have been channeled into therapy ... for the entire family!
Now Isaiah's friend Abby, she's quite a character, I hope she gets her own book because I'd love to know more about her. Can't say I was excited to hear the next book is West's (one of Rachel's brothers) ... he needs a smack up the head.
Entwined in all the toughness, angst and heartache is ultimately, a sense of hope ... that's an aspect I find appealing but heading to book 4 the same formula will be wearing thin, I hope Katie McGarry is up to the task of changing things up. (less)
These Broken Stars holds appeal across genre's, the writing is gorgeously lyrical but spare and I read it in one entertaining sitting.
I found the wor...moreThese Broken Stars holds appeal across genre's, the writing is gorgeously lyrical but spare and I read it in one entertaining sitting.
I found the world-building convincing and satisfying (for YA Sci-Fi ... not that I'm saying YA should be 'light' or watered down but the adult Sci-Fi I enjoy is extremely detailed) but I would have liked more time aboard the Icarus before it was pulled from hyperspace, crashing on a virtually unknown planet.
Tarver and Lilac are alternating narrators with distinct voices (I wonder if Amie Kaufman, and Meagan Spooner wrote one each?) From disparate social classes, they're endearing characters ... Tarver for his loyalty, strength and confidence and just being a being a genuinely decent guy and Lilac, I didn't think I'd like spoilt, bitchy Lilac but she had a certain depth, revealed as the story progressed and a backbone of steel.
These Broken Stars is a lovely combination ... survival story with a unique, slightly paranormal twist and slow budding romance. Not to mention secrets, power play and the corruption that goes hand-in-hand ... hopefully this will be explored further in future installments.
Even though we start again with a new pair of star crossed lovers I can't wait for This Shattered World in 2014.
Recommend: for sure! in spite of my 'hype' wariness, avoidance ... ok paranoia, These Broken Stars really came through :)(less)
An imaginative debut, but unfortunately not one that worked for me. That said, there were things that I found enjoyable, so I'm torn between...more2.5 stars
An imaginative debut, but unfortunately not one that worked for me. That said, there were things that I found enjoyable, so I'm torn between a 2.5 and 3 rating.
Much of the phrasing is lovely, quite lyrical but the earlier dialogue and flow of the story felt awkward. I didn't care much at all for the characters, Robert included, however Allaria from the world of fae was a feisty and funny addition to the cast, she stole the show.
Alternating between the real world and fantasy world of Minaea, this reminded me a little of The Bridge To Terabithia (which I loved) and the wonderful world of a child's imagination. The twin soul concept was intriguing and will obviously be explored further in future books.
I enjoyed the social issues highlighted, homelessness, isolation and the rewards reaped from helping others, the focus being a soup kitchen in London where the main characters are drawn after encounters with "the Sparkling man".
The elements are there for an enjoyable story but I just didn't connect with it on a whole, maybe it comes down to execution?? From my disjointed review, I'm guessing things are about as clear as mud so for clarity and other opinions check out GoodReads.
The target audience is YA but perhaps this one is more suited to the middle grade or early teen reader? (less)
I struggled a little to get into this one, but Lyster's beautiful turn of phrase kept me reading and I finished up enjoying this new age re-i...more3.5 stars
I struggled a little to get into this one, but Lyster's beautiful turn of phrase kept me reading and I finished up enjoying this new age re-imagining of Romeo & Juliet a lot more than I initially thought I would.
Not wanting to settle for an 'ordinary' life in Byron Bay, Sahara breaks up with Rip and moves to Sydney. But her bid for independence and artistic growth becomes a melting pot of toxicity and Sahara's life slowly unravels.
There's quite a spiritual focus to Rip's side of the story and maybe it was that, that took me a bit to get my head around. Not to say that it isn't my thing, it just wasn't what I expected. I can't really say any more without getting spoiler-ish ... but the author's lyrical writing style is lovely to read.
The alternating chapters by Rip and Sahara work well, I really enjoyed the dual narrative and I loved the contrast in setting from Byron Bay to Sydney.
It's a profound, bittersweet story. It's about healing, self discovery, finding your place in the world, standing on your own two feet and being in charge of your own happiness. It's about that beautiful thing called serendipity. (less)
Now that's how you finish a series! I ran out of time to review Champion in 2013 and we can't have that ... after all I reviewed Allegiant,...more4.5 stars
Now that's how you finish a series! I ran out of time to review Champion in 2013 and we can't have that ... after all I reviewed Allegiant, the disappointing conclusion to the Divergent trilogy.
So, back to Champion ... the action and suspense is still high voltage, the injustices and political badassery continue and Marie Lu's writing continues to evolve along with her cast of characters. June and Day grow; I love their courage and selflessness, Anden proves himself a worthy leader and Tess grows up in this installment; I didn't want to kill her ;)
Marie Lu deserves a round of applause for maintaining momentum and integrity throughout the trilogy, it's seriously addictive from start to finish and overall one of my favourite dystopian series. I'm not going to gush and say this was the most brilliant conclusion ever but it felt right. And right is good. Right is great even.
After hearing so much 'good' about Rainbow Rowell, I started Eleanor & Park with anticipation and just a little apprehension but yay this...more4.5 stars
After hearing so much 'good' about Rainbow Rowell, I started Eleanor & Park with anticipation and just a little apprehension but yay this one lived up to the buzz.
It took a little time but this awkward, complicated pair wormed their way into my heart and I fell for their slow blossoming love story.
What's to love:
alternating voices of Eleanor & Park
their dialogue and internal monologue (especially Eleanor's) ~ honest, sarcastic, sad and funny
not a insta-love in sight *sigh* ~ from dislike to comics, mix tapes, friendship and love
mix tapes and 80's music ~ nostalgia of my teenage years
and this: “Eleanor,” he said, just because he liked saying it, “why do you like me?” “I don’t like you.” He waited. And waited… Then he started to laugh. “You’re kind of mean,” he said. “Don’t laugh. It just encourages me.”
and this: Holding Eleanor's hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive. Who knew holding hands could be so sensual
real issues ~ bullying, body image, abuse, neglect
the ending ~ for being not what I expected
What a sweet, funny, sincere, complicated, bittersweet, unexpected ride. Light and shade, light and shade.
Up next ... Attachments or Fangirl?? What do you think? (less)