I headed into Dead Silent completely unaware that it was the second book in a series, but the initial set-up was done in a way that meant I didn’t act...moreI headed into Dead Silent completely unaware that it was the second book in a series, but the initial set-up was done in a way that meant I didn’t actually realise I was reading a second book until I spotted its listing on Goodreads. On top of that, the relationships were solidly displayed to begin, leading to no confusion on that front.
However, I still ended up putting this title aside at 69%, when I realised I didn’t actually care enough about the characters to find out how their story played out. I tried to figure out when, exactly, in the book this lack of connection began to kick in, but couldn’t quite pinpoint it. Nor could I totally identify what it was that had caused my loss of interest. Because, to begin, I really enjoyed the fairly eccentric relationship between Poppy and Michael—until it began to seem inconsistently portrayed between their inner feelings and outward behaviour. Not to mention Poppy’s ridiculously stupid behaviour, often showing total lack of consideration for others—which only made her less and less likeable as the story went on.
There were a couple of other niggles, too—like her dad cussing the way he did, when he hadn’t cussed at any other time and was supposed to be a man of God … and the constant use of OK over okay through dialogue and narration, which grated on me more and more each time I read it.
And then there were the students of the university, with their extreme attitudes and behaviour, and I couldn’t help but think how terribly stereotypical it had all been made, to the point of losing any authenticity that could’ve helped hold this story together.
However, all of those complaints aside, I did read to 69%, so Dead Silent obviously must have some redeeming qualities, as it held enough intrigue for me to reach there. So, will I pick it up at another time and try to finish? Maybe. Maybe not. But don’t let my views deter you, because this story might turn out to be right up your alley, even if it wasn’t up mine. (less)
So, I hear about a completely new series from Jennifer L. Armentrout, and then hear it contains gargoyles O_O, and think, aye, I can get down with tha...moreSo, I hear about a completely new series from Jennifer L. Armentrout, and then hear it contains gargoyles O_O, and think, aye, I can get down with that. Needless to say, by the time I got my hands on a copy of White Hot Kiss, I was pretty excited. I mean, I’d read Bitter Sweet Love and gotten a glimpse at what/who it would be about, so I headed in with expectations of hotness and bada$$ery. In a pretty big dose, the hotness and bada$$ery were definitely present. Let me explain why. Hotness: we have Zayne. He’s a gargoyle. He’s buff. He’s golden. He’s gorgeous. Hell, JLA even makes it sound like his impenetrable and un-malleable black gargoyle skin is something you’d wanna smooth your palms over. Dig me? But that’s not all. Because we also have Roth. Dark to Zayne’s light, bad to Zayne’s good, but equally as buff and lickable, this dude of a demon will have you wondering which side of the field you want to bat on. Bada$$ery: Zayne is a defender of Earth from all that is evil. Booyah! Sign me up for a piece o’ that. AND Roth is a self-made permanent defender of MC Layla. Trillingling! No wonder the poor chick don’t know whether she’s coming or going. Because, as a teen just coming into her own, she full on has all the confusions facing a regular teen to deal with, and then some. Boyfriend issues? Check. She’s had The Biggest Crush on Zayne for as long as she can remember, except she figured it to be unreciprocated, and so wallowed over said attraction in silence. And then she gets shown some interest from another corner and the girl just cannae help but feel a little wooed when those hormones of hers decide to go haywire—even if she isn’t sure how genuine the interest is. The real kicker here, though? The reason she’d never even contemplate going for it with Zayne and the exact reason she never entertained the idea he might be interested in her? Her ability (or curse?) to suck out a person’s soul with a single kiss—whether she really wants to, or not. Man, there are so many intricacies to this three-way relationship, it would take me a couple K of words to explain, and I don’t really want to dish out any more than I already have on this area due to spoilers and parts of the book the reader should experience for themselves. For those of you, though, who shy away from a love triangle, don’t run for the hills just yet. Pick up the book and stick around long enough to get to know the characters, because it’s far from a love triangle at this point. Though, I’d be lying if I say I don’t see the high potential for it to lead that way in the next book(s). But you should still pick it up and check it out, anyway, because 1) the plot is decent, 2) there is great character development, as well as great characterisations that will leave you guessing about different character motivations, 3) the dudes are HOT!, 3) the twists and turns are pretty neat, 4) the descriptions are great, and the sarcastic banter isn’t at the point of too much where readers are beginning to tire of its overuse in books, but is at a steady easily-digestible level. The only downside to the book is the MC. I didn’t like her very much. Like, at all! I found her whiny, and juvenile and selfish, and inconsiderate, and sometimes pretty stupid. And even at the end, when she has the opportunity to be ‘something’, I found it too smooth and easily accepted by her, and the adoption of it too unbelievably addressed. That being said, the minor issue I had with it is, by no means, a good enough reason not to pick up this book, because 1) Zayne and Roth are reason enough!!!!, and 2) there is massive room for some growth from young Layla, and I intend to ‘Watch this Space’ for when it happens. Read on! (less)
I was excited to receive a copy of Echo Boy by Matt Haig as the concept sounded intriguing, and it turned out to ke...more**Warning: Contains Some Spoilers**
I was excited to receive a copy of Echo Boy by Matt Haig as the concept sounded intriguing, and it turned out to keep me as entertained as I hoped. MC, Audrey is distraught over the murder of her parents and needs support and guidance. However, nobody is who or what they seem, and support doesn’t always come from the places she expects it to, and help comes from the last place she’d imagined. Alongside her is Daniel, an Echo—intelligent robots designed to fit in with humans as assistants to their lives, their work, or whatever else the population decides they need them for. However, it was an Echo that murdered Audrey’s parents, and her instant distrust to these ‘beings’ is a huge hurdle that must be overcome—especially if they’re both to survive. Expectedly, it takes a while for Audrey to understand that Daniel isn’t like other Echoes. He’s a prototype, the first and only of his kind, and the first and only Echo to feel. And he does feel. He feels something for Audrey that he doesn’t understand. Okay, the good points: The writing style. I loved how this was told through what was referred to as ‘Mind-Logs’, so the reader basically gets all of the information stored by and processed by the brain of the POV—which was either Audrey or Daniel as it was dual POV, though Audrey definitely dominated this book with her chapters. Audrey’s character. Her pain and confusion and entire attitude toward the death of her parents felt real and believable. Her voice appeared authentic to her age and intelligence level. And from the very beginning of the book, I found her easy to connect with and cared about what happened to her. Daniel. His chapters tend to hold a more common solemnity that sets the tone for his character from the off, and the reader just knows his journey won’t be an easy one, and that something bad is most probably going to occur. The plot—it was easy to follow, despite the sci-fi elements of the book which I usually struggle with), and I know always what was happening. It was also different to anything else I’ve read, and I love a bit of uniqueness in my reading material. The character cast. From the off, we’re guided into assessing every single character we encounter via Audrey or Daniel, measuring them, their intents and purposes and which way they will steer. I always enjoy characters who force me to figure them out, even when I turn out to be correct. The outcome. It wasn’t an easy outcome, and occurrences took place in order for it to be reached that left me saddened, or worried that the end goal might slip from their sights. And whilst the book was wrapped up tightly enough to be a standalone, I’ve enjoyed spending time with these characters enough that I would truly love to see a follow-up book release, with further details of their journey I expect would be ongoing, as well as the developments within this unusual relationship. And finally onto the not so good points: The romance. Whilst it wasn’t all hearts and flowers and snogs behind the bike sheds, this was ultimately a definite romance. But I felt this happened to easily. The feelings built far too easily and far too fast without enough substance to back them up. I could perhaps excuse this where Daniel is concerned, seeing as he isn’t an actual human, but with Audrey, I believe there should have been a lot more to support this element of the story than we were given. But overall? Yeah, Echo Boy is definitely worth checking out as it’s an enjoyable read. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that Mr Haig produces a book 2. (less)
Donna of the Dead by Alison Kemper came highly recommended, and so I was very excited to delve into this tale of zombies, guts, and gore. All I knew p...moreDonna of the Dead by Alison Kemper came highly recommended, and so I was very excited to delve into this tale of zombies, guts, and gore. All I knew prior to peeking within the pages was that it was a ‘refreshing addition’ to the genre. What I hadn’t anticipated was the humour.
My husband isn’t a reader, and I drove him nuts whilst reading this book, with all my tittering and snickering and, often, laughing out loud—even more so when I tried explaining why I was laughing and he just deadpan stared at me like I’d lost the plot. If I had, I didn’t care, because I was enjoying myself too much.
Donna of the Dead is fast paced and full of the usual zombie horridness and goofy, gorified fun, plus twists and turns, hints at ‘wrongness’ to amp up our suspicions and leave us squinting at certain characters waiting for them to make a wrong move. There’s also some great tension in here, some seriously cute and sweet scenes, and a whole host of characters who all have unique personalities and traits that set each of them apart in their own right.
Though, of course, I have a niggle to make, otherwise I’d have rated it five stars, right? Well, there were a few things left unexplained, or dangling longer than a ball of infinitesimal string. Like a certain character who stays behind but we don’t know what happens to him—I want to know, dammit! Or a certain character’s mother and her work and what is really happening in that, AND how that ties into what was happening in Donna’s hometown and to her—I want to know, dammit! Or the outcome of research we know will happen after the book has ended, due to certain samples being taken—I want to know, dammit!
So, as you can imagine, I’m rather hoping there will be a follow up. Because there are questions I need answering and threads I need tying. So … Ms Kemper???? Please???? (less)
You would be forgiven, I think, for believing Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville to be a new kind of fairytale retelling. After all, the title and...moreYou would be forgiven, I think, for believing Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville to be a new kind of fairytale retelling. After all, the title and cover combined could most certainly give that kind of impression—and, indeed, had convinced me I was heading into this aware of its content. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Because what I actually found was not a simple fairytale at all, but a multi-faceted story within a story within a story, which was so dark and full of intrigue, I spent the ENTIRE book trying to figure out how everything tied in together. In fact, to begin, it was almost like I’d headed into a bookish yet expertly crafted version of Donnie Darko/The Butterfly Effect—you know those kinds of films that make you consider them long after you’ve finished watching them because they have the possibility of being interpreted differently be each individual viewer—except the closer I crept to the end, the less I believed this evaluation to be correct. And then when I actually did reach the end, only to discover I had absolutely NONE of it right ... it was, with all the pieces in place, heartbreaking. That said, it doesn’t take long for the reader to become aware that this isn’t what they’re expecting, and the tone alone will warn of the dark and twisted content you will be subjected to quite early on. However, the actual telling of the story combined with excellently portrayed characters will entrance and lure and INSIST that you read on, no matter how much your mind is asking if that’s wise. Told from multiple POV’s, which hop from timeline to timeline, Gretel and the Dark is one of the best-woven tales I have read in a long time—possibly ever! With the different characters, their backgrounds, circumstance, actions—everything—you will spend the entire book trying to piece together what, at first glance, appears to be one huge jigsaw puzzle of a tale; one of a blackened night sky, where the only variations to shade are the miniscule wisps of cloud, ones that shift and change with the breeze so that, just when you think you’ve grasped it, the tendril is suddenly out of reach again. Am I even making sense? Or maybe my words are intended to advise of the cleverness disguised beneath convolution that is this book. I’m afraid you’ll have to make up your own minds, as I refuse to delve into the who, why, where and how of what happens between its pages, because to do so would ruin absolutely everything there is to love about this one for each individual reader, and I shan’t be held accountable for that. All you need to know is what I’ve already stated, and that this, my friends, is storytelling at the MUCH finer end of the scale. Because the wordsmithery (it’s a word!) within these pages is nothing short of brilliance made beautiful. P.S. You will need tissues for the ending, because when your mind finally becomes filled with clarity, and you reflect upon the sadness, the conquers, the sheer content of this one, and then are hit with that heartbreaking final page or two, you … will … cry! So, off you go, grab your own copy, weave your way along these shadowed and twisted paths … but be sure to take tissues, because you’re going to need them. (less)
I was gifted a copy of Debt Collector Season 1 by Susan Kaye Quinn in exchange for an honest review. Seeing as I own every episode in Kindle format, a...moreI was gifted a copy of Debt Collector Season 1 by Susan Kaye Quinn in exchange for an honest review. Seeing as I own every episode in Kindle format, and also the entire Season 1 in print, I think we can safely assume I was already familiar with the story. However, the audiobook brought something new to the table. Because I had a HUGE crush on Lirium whilst I originally followed him in his antics, and having a male narrator put vocals to Lirium’s story took the experience to a whole new level … or so I hoped. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure whether I would enjoy listening to the audiobook. I don’t own any other audiobooks, which is due to the fact that, whenever I’ve tried out the samples, the narrating voices have always sounded too mechanical for my liking. However, Max Miller, narrator of Debt Collector, seems pretty adept at almost all vocal tones, making this one enjoyable experience. Female … male … he did a decent job of them all. As for Lirium’s voice? Oh, yeah, I was more than happy to listen to him for the entire 12-ish hours of Lirium heaven. Anyone who has read my reviews for all of the Debt Collector Season 1 episodes will know how wowed I was by the world building and storytelling, and how wooed I was by this tortured and (naively) heroic MC. So, I really have little more to add on that front, other than to say whatever the format I’ve tried for this story, I have had hours of great entertainment and virtual/fictional company. The only minus that goes in the audio versus print/e-book match is the difference in time length it took for absorbing the tale. I can be a fairly fast reader, and listening to someone else tell you the story can be quite a bit slower than ploughing through paragraphs for yourself. That being said, it was also pretty awesome to be able to stick on my headphones, sink into my pillow in the dark, and allow Lirium’s masculine tones drift me into blissful relaxation. This is one audiobook definitely worth checking out. (less)
I’d been looking forward to Camp Christmas by J.K. Rock for two reasons. One: because I’d had a taste of this dynamic duos writing before and trusted...moreI’d been looking forward to Camp Christmas by J.K. Rock for two reasons. One: because I’d had a taste of this dynamic duos writing before and trusted them to entertain. And two: because nothing quite beats Christmas reading like a Christmas themed story with snowy setting at Christmas. Admittedly, this one didn’t feel quite as alluring as Camp Kiss and Camp Boyfriend, the prequel and first book in the series. I’m not quite sure if it’s because we switched to new MC’s and so had to start afresh with caring about new characters, or because this one didn’t seem to hold *quite* as much attention to detail as I’m used to from J.K. Rock, which almost made it feel as though we don’t get so much for our wordage in this one. However, regardless of this, or the reasons, I *did* enjoy this short novella. Hannah took a little while to like, I’m afraid. Even though we’re given a hint that she doesn’t like how she or her friends behave, she still does it, and grasping a connection with a character who’s acting like a complete cow isn’t easy. Luckily, this story has an ace up its sleeve, in the form of ‘King of Nerd’ Julian. From the off, we’re given a reason to like this dude. He’s friendly. He’s willing to see the best in people. He’s unselfish. He’s unafraid to be himself. And he’s (hats off to him) persistent. Sure, I might’ve spent some of the novella hoping that Hannah doesn’t grow some balls and give him the time of day just to give him a reality call, as well as a narrow escape. However, the more we read on, the more we uncover the depths of Hannah (though I still don’t believe this condones her behaviour or attitude), and her character grows enough that we start to hope there might be some spark of something happening between them. Going back to my earlier reference to this novella not seeming to hold as ‘much’ (not as much as Camp Kiss did, anyway)—I’m not sure if it was actually that this was the case, or just that it felt like there was so much more to be told. So, hoping it’s the latter (which it probably is), I would really like one of the future books to be an expansion of their story, because I really feel as though we need to know what we didn’t (or can’t yet) see. If you’re a fan of clean YA with great values and underlying messages, then you should check out the Camp Boyfriend series, for sure. (less)