I received a copy via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review
London Bound by Nana Malone is one of the first interracial new adult novels that I’ve read, so it was a pretty awesome experience reading a storyline that had two characters that weren’t like all of the other couples in this age group. Reading about the female protagonist’s culture was intriguing, if not a bit depressing (the abuse women sometimes have to deal with is very upsetting), while seeing this particular character grow was empowering. Quickly paced and surprisingly addicting, Malone’s romance set in London made for a very interesting read.
Abbie, the female protagonist, has just escaped her abusive relationship. Not only is she suddenly free, but she’s free in a whole new country. I love stories set in other countries because it offers the reader the opportunity to learn more about a different setting. We do get to follow Abbie around as she explores various places in London for her photography assignments, but I do wish we would have seen more. Much like with many other new adult novels, her focus goes from the marvelous world around her to the new guy who suddenly has her heart.
Lexi, the male protagonist, has a dark secret that we’re slowly shown as the story progresses. I liked Lexi, I did, and I always looked forward to his part in the novel. I just wish he wasn’t so…cliche. He is instantly attracted to Abbie and falls in love way too quickly. Much like many other male characters, he has a dark past that could ruin everything, so he decides to keep secrets from a girl who hates secrets. Yeah, you can probably already imagine how that’s going to turn out.
I liked this pairing because they worked well off each other, but the romance was a bit unrealistic. Also, since Abbie has just left an abusive relationship of five years, wouldn’t she be more skittish around men? Wouldn’t she be a little less inclined to jump into bed with a man she barely knows? I find that she trusts Lexi too quickly and though she learns her lesson as the novel reaches its climax, it’s still a bit of a stretch to see a woman who’s gone through what she went through acting so quickly with a new man.
Besides these points, I did enjoy London Bound. I couldn’t put it down because of how sexy the story was. At the beginning we’re introduced to so many guys, it’s a bit difficult keeping track of them all, but it was still nice to picture said guys in my mind as I read.
By the way, what is it with every dude being into Abbie? I get that she’s beautiful, but why does every character always want the female protagonist in new adult fiction—is it a requirement or something?
Another thing that irked me a bit was how the ending felt a bit forced and open-ended (I’m hoping that this is because there will be a sequel in the near-future). Some issues were left unresolved and I wanted more of a showdown between certain characters.
With all of that said, however, I enjoyed London Bound. It was fun, sexy, and light—despite the occasionally dark moments. I loved that Abbie was strong enough to leave her abusive relationship and make a life for herself. I loved that she grew as a character and learned to trust herself and stand up for what she wants. Lexi didn’t grow as much, but he still sounded yummy!
I recommend this one to readers looking for a new adult romance set somewhere different. If you’ve been craving something different in this age group, then you might like this one! ...more
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
C.J. Daugherty's Night School is aReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
C.J. Daugherty's Night School is a young adult novel that first made it big in the U.K., and now, lucky for us, is being released in North America!
When a reader first hears the title of Daugherty's novel, many cliches come to mind. Oh, it must include some sort of paranormal themes. Oh, it must be super secretive and dramatic--lots of crazy romance, and catty people. While Night School does contain two of the above statements (I won't tell you which ones because there is no way I'm ruining that for you), it surpasses the common ideas someone may have of novels that have similar names, or feature similar settings.
Personally, I love boarding schools and the fact that Daugherty offers an original premise, within an admittedly creepy atmosphere, makes it all that much more delicious. With great character growth, secrets, and unlikely allies, Night School is a must read for anyone seeking a spooky, romantic, and fun read.
Allie, the protagonist, is spunky when we first meet her. A law-breaker for reasons we learn later on in the novel, she is someone difficult who tries nearly anything to fill the emptiness inside of her. When her parents decide that she's going to a boarding school in the middle of nowhere, she is less than pleased. For a while, we are left wondering: What will Allie do? Will she rebel? But the truth is that Allie, a former good girl, still shows hints of the person she used to be.
What I like about Allie's character is how, unlike the latest stream of girls who fall in love with the first jerk who crosses her path in today's literature, she stands up for herself and immediately says what's on her mind. And while she isn't perfect (because honestly, who is?), it is her imperfections that endear her to us. Her ability to shed (literally) the skin she wore back in London, so she can grow to be a better person, is powerful because it shows that even the most lost causes are never truly lost--only hidden beneath metaphorical walls of anger and for some, lack of feeling altogether.
The other characters, however, were trickier to navigate. Daugherty, whether intended or not, teaches us to not jump to conclusions about people. First impressions are important, but they can also be toxic--rendering the protagonist helpless when the "friends" and "love interest(s)" suddenly change and become strangers. This is perhaps a great imitation of teenaged friendships and how even the strongest of relationships might actually only be tenuous.
I will admit however, that while I understand this message now, at the time I was a little taken aback by the sudden shifts in personality. One minute certain people were amazing, and then they weren't. This all goes back to how people react under stress and grief, and how sometimes shifts in character personalities need to be hinted at prior to the sudden changes, so as to not disorient the reader--but then, wouldn't this just serve as a means to feel what Allie is feeling in her predicament?
Food for thought.
The romantic aspect of Night School is a little chaotic. I mean, it was delicious, but a little messy. We are given hints as to what Allie is getting herself into, and even she unconsciously remarks on certain strange aspects of her love interest's personality. I'm more than happy with her final decision, because it was obvious from the get-go, but I like how it wasn't insta-love, but instead something that she had to figure out through trial and error--even if the error was a huge one.
The conclusion and answers we are given are completely unexpected. Scratch everything you think you know about boarding schools, because Daugherty gives you something completely different than what you had in mind during the whole novel. Not only are the answers surprising, but they will also make you crave more--which is great, since Daugherty has already released the sequel...in the U.K. (unless you buy it used on Amazon).
If you like mystery, romance, surprises, and sexy--erm--students, you might like Night School. I definitely recommend it as a fun read, especially since Summer promises to be a season full of great reading!...more
I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Luke Hollands's debut Peregrine HarReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Luke Hollands's debut Peregrine Harker and the Black Death is a fun adventure set in a time long-past where mysteries were daydreams, and danger a way of life for over-curious detectives. Hollands's world is explored by his young protagonist, Peregrine, as he strives to uncover the surprisingly intriguing mystery surrounding the sudden shortage of tea.
Peregrine isn't one of those protagonists who immediately comes off as haughty, attractive, and confident--instead, he is rather flawed and easily distracted. The novel starts off interestingly enough, but then we find that the adventure mentioned was just a daydream in a very creative mind. But then again, I think I would have shied away from this one if it were anything like the corniness produced in the first chapter.
No, what I liked was the slow buildup into the main revelation of the story--and it is huge and very satisfyingly unexpected. Though the novel is quite short, Hollands does have a skill for pacing and keeping the reader intrigued as the mysteries mount. The characters we meet along the way are all quirky and fit the stereotypical image we may sometimes have of mysterious people detectives often face. What I wasn't so keen on was how Peregrine felt the urge to describe every aspect of a new character.
I mean, okay, I get that he is painting a picture for us, but the info-dump style of describing characters has never been something I'm hugely into. A few details are all right: hair colour, eyes, height, maybe even stance, but every single detail can get wearisome, especially when your protagonist keeps meeting new people.
The adventure aspect of Hollands's debut is pretty addicting. Despite the weak dialogue (Hollands really likes using phrases like, "Old Man"), I could capture the image of a society long-past. It was exciting watching Peregrine encounter a car that to us is a weak little thing, but to him is a powerful force. Also, like I mentioned before, the mysteries that kept twisting and turning in the novel added a lot more fun to the adventure.
While I did read an advance reader copy (ARCs are often full of spelling and grammar errors), I found Peregrine Harker to be a bit weak stylistically. I get that this is an old-fashioned novel, and that it is perhaps a book written with Sherlock Holmes in mind, but sometimes Hollands overdoes it.
Like I mentioned with the dialogue, there are instances where Hollands over-emphasizes terms from the past, or well-known detective phrases. Also, a bit of the writing felt corny. Peregrine Harker is good fun, I admit, but it could have been approached in a much simpler fashion. Hollands needs to trust his readers, not simply repeat things over and over again, hoping that they understand what's happening.
Regardless of the writing style, the conclusion left me wanting more. I am very excited to see what Peregrine gets into next. I also think that Hollands's future novels will hopefully be an exciting array of mysteries waiting to be solved!...more
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill is a funny, light, and romantic young adult contemporary romance thatReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill is a funny, light, and romantic young adult contemporary romance that explores the wonders of London, and the difficulties of young love.
Morrill's protagonist, Julia, is a goody-two-shoes that would never break a rule in her life... until she and Jason are put together during their trip to London.
I expected cheesy and unrealistic storytelling, but what I got was a book that made me laugh until my throat ached, and had me blushing so intensely, that I could have been right beside Jason and Julie during their adventures.
Jason is somewhat intriguing because of his freckles and red hair, but he was kind of a dick. I won't lie, I'm kind of annoyed that I don't get to see how he is around the other students when the conclusion resolves various issues. For the most part of the novel, he was a jerk that ignored and harassed Julia. Even though he helped her break out of her shell, he was a bully.
But okay, Julia isn't perfect either. In fact, she is high strung, clumsy, and barely has any fun.
It is cute, however, how the two mesh and help each other grow as characters. Julia learns some valuable life lessons and rediscovers her childhood, while Jason confronts the demons from his past and matures, even if a little bit.
I loved Morrill's novel mostly because of how quirky it was. It was a VERY quick read. The dialogue was awesome and portrayed the character's personalities pretty well. I felt like I was reading about actual teenagers, rather than what the adult authors would perceive to be teenage behavior.
I would recommend Meant To Be to fans of Stephanie Perkins and young adult contemporary romance novels that take place in foreign countries. Though the characters aren't perfect, and the conclusion may leave the reader with many questions, Morrill's writing is captivating and delicious. ...more
Paul Crilley’s The Lazarus Machine: A Tweed and Nightingale Adventure is a young adult steampunk novel that toys with the morbid topic of death. Crilley’s story is a great introduction to the world of steam engines, curious detectives, and wondrous mysteries. Crilley wastes no time in getting the reader hooked on his fictional world, which also includes mentions of Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty.
One topic that Crilley works well with in his novel is that of genders. This is strongly evident with his two protagonists, Tweed and Octavia. Octavia is a strong female protagonist who speaks her mind and follows her own desires. Tweed is a strong, yet respectable male protagonist that, unlike the other men around him, respects women enough to ask Octavia for help in his mystery-solving adventure.
The dialogue is witty, enlightening, and a successful mix of modern English and historical English, giving the book a unique twist. Crilley’s dialogue gives the novel a fun quality, making the story flow without boring, dated, or drawn out conversations. Plus, it is always a positive when a historical mystery novel adopts a dialect that is easily understandable.
The world Crilley creates in his novel is so imaginative, it is hard not to picture what Tweed and Octavia see every day. The complexities of the gadgets mentioned piqued my interest and had me wondering what our world would be like if our reality was the result of Crilley’s fictional history.
The Lazarus Machine is full of fast-paced action, gripping adventure, and an addicting mystery. The tone is often dark, thanks to the occasional mention of death and soul harvesting, but the characters try to keep it light with banter and determination.
Crilley’s novel is surprising. The reader enters the boundaries of the story expecting one experience, yet leaves with something completely different. The plot twist near the end is enough to change the reader’s perception of the book in its entirety. S/he is left trying to figure out a mystery of his/her own, just as Tweed comes closer to the answers he seeks.
I recommend Crilley’s novel to lovers of the steampunk genre and Sherlock Holmes. Also, if you’re a fan of mystery novels and strong female protagonists, then you should give this one a gander. The Lazarus Machine is a fantastic book for any reader new to the steampunk genre....more
Sophie Kinsella is one of my favourite authors and I was surprised when I realized how many books she’d wriFirst appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Sophie Kinsella is one of my favourite authors and I was surprised when I realized how many books she’d written since I’d last read Remember Me?. Thankfully, I came to my senses and now own almost all of her standalone novels (not a huge fan of the Shopaholic series). One of the reasons why I love Kinsella’s writing so much is because of her fluent use of humour and romance in stories that show female protagonists learning life lessons. But mostly, and I won’t delude myself to say that this isn’t a huge part of why I love her writing, I love the romance. Kinsella’s novels ARE Chick Lit, no matter what other fancy genre titles may be put on her stories. These are empowering stories that encourage female readers to not settle for the expected, or to not settle for less than what they deserve.
The Undomestic Goddess did not disappoint in serving as a warning to all you workaholics out there. There is a life outside of the office, life is good and relaxing living in a middle-of-nowhere town where no one knows who you are or that you barely sleep, and that there might be an extremely well-built, sexy worker waiting for you. This is what awaits you in Kinsella’s novel. So, you workaholics, ever thought what type of life you’d be living if you weren’t attached to your phone or constantly checking your emails? Then, give this one a look if you feel the need for inspiration.
Samantha Sweeting is a workaholic lawyer living in London who always gets home late, rarely has dinner with her family (unless it is a quick dinner, full of beeping cellphones and business oriented conversations), and has just made a big, big mistake. In a state of shock, she leaves her office before the crisis fully erupts and jumps on a train. To where? She doesn’t know. In fact, she’s still going over her BIG MISTAKE. When she does get off the train, she’s suddenly in a new predicament when she gets mistaken for a housekeeper interviewing for a job at a big house, when she just needed directions. Now, Samantha has to learn how to cook, clean, and do other menial housework, while keeping her identity a secret. She begins to question her life when she sees that there’s more to life than business mergers, and when she unexpectedly starts falling in love.
There were a few things that irked me by the end of this novel and that’s mainly why I’m not rating it perfectly, but other than these little occurrences, I enjoyed the story!
1. One of the issues I always tend to have with Kinsella’s characters is how oblivious and/or rude they are before their transformations. I know that they change and become better people, but Kinsella sometimes takes it a bit too far. Samantha is one of those people that I would loath to meet when I am at work at my coffee shop. Before she becomes a girl who doesn’t care too much about her “important” career, Samantha is ruthlessly rude, narrow-minded, and intimidating. There’s even a hint at the beginning that her secretary hates her. But, one other thing that I really don’t like about Kinsella’s protagonists is how naive they can be before they have their moments of clarity near the end. This is a technique that Kinsella has adopted and I can see that it is one that a) sometimes works for her and b) sometimes doesn’t. The problem with sticking to this method of writing is that the stories become predictable, so onto my next point.
2. The storyline was a bit predictable. This didn’t deter me from the story because there were still moments where I was happily surprised, but some of the choices that Samantha made and what happened to her were a bit predictable. I don’t want to ruin the experience for anyone, but if you’re a fan of Kinsella you may have noted that the protagonists tend to take a huge step backwards from what they’ve learned throughout the novel near the end, right before realizing what they’ve done and righting their lives once more. Like I said in my previous point, it seems like Kinsella has stuck to this routine since it hasn’t really failed her yet.
3. One of the greater issues in the novel regarding her family isn’t really resolved. (view spoiler)[Samantha mentions a brother who had a breakdown and became a teacher several years before the events of the novel, yet Kinsella doesn’t explore this relationship further. Also, I felt deflated when Samantha’s horrible relationship with her controlling mother was left unfinished. To her credit, Kinsella did have Samantha stand up to her mother, but there wasn’t really any form of conclusion between the two. Yes, Samantha DID take control of her life back from her mother, but, at the risk of sounding cliche, couldn’t Kinsella have found a slightly better resolution between the two? This is one of the other problems I have with Kinsella’s characters sometimes, they are sometimes left as what they are instead of growing. I know Samantha’s mother was a one-dimensional character, but she was Samantha’s mother for goodness sake. (hide spoiler)] In all honestly, I was disappointed with this relationship, considering how well Kinsella has portrayed previous parent-child/child-in-law relationships.
1. Despite all of the negatives mentioned above, I am a sucker for chick lit. Kinsella’s writing is fluent and humorous, making it a quick and fun read. Unless you’re like me and look at the novel too critically. The Undomestic Goddess is no exception. I can always count on Kinsella for a good laugh.
2. Though a bit predictable, Kinsella has the gift of writing fun, feel-good stories. She creates worlds where foreign readers can feel part of the England and UK atmosphere with her witty and hilarious diction. I found myself enthralled with this small town that Samantha arrives in and the descriptions made me want to be part of that world.
3. Even if they are sometimes annoyingly naive, Kinsella’s protagonists, like Samantha, have strong voices that always mark the beginning of the story. Kinsella isn’t a writer who begins her stories with long descriptions or with an intelligent sentence. Instead, her protagonist’s voice is always the first thing the reader meets, and the personality of the character is immediate. For example, first line of The Undomestic Goddess is: “Would you consider yourself stressed?” (Kinsella). This line actually belongs to a questionnaire that Samantha is filling out and the interesting thing is that Kinsella, without having a fully developed, over-thought sentence, has already introduced the gist of Samantha. Is she stressed? Could this character be a workaholic?
Despite the issues that I found in The Undomestic Goddess, I enjoyed this novel. The problems that I did find are more a pattern in Kinsella’s writing rather than problems specific to this novel. But hey, I still love Sophie Kinsella and I can’t wait to read her future works. If you enjoy cute and fun Chick Lit with an edge (slight swearing, slight sex), then I suggest that you read Kinsella’s work. In the world of Chick Lit, Kinsella is definitely a name to keep an eye on and any fan of feisty protagonists should check out the other novels by this author!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more