Monday 24 November 2014

Review: Waterfall - Lauren Kate

Waterfall by Lauren Kate, published by Doubleday on 6th November 2014

Goodreads synopsis:
Eureka's tears have flooded the earth and now Atlantis is rising, along with its evil king, Atlas. Eureka is the only one who can stop him – but first she must learn how to fight.

She travels across the ocean with Ander to try and make sense of the dark world her sorrow has created. But dark secrets are hidden in the depths – will she be strong enough to defeat Atlas, or is her broken heart just what he needs to power his rising kingdom?

Eureka has the chance to save the world. But she'll have to give up on everything – even love . .

This is the second book in the series following last year's opening instalment 'Teardrop'.  I have to say that I didn't enjoy this one as much as the first book.  I got quite confused about what was going on, particularly in the second half of the story and I found the pace very slow.  I put this one down and picked it up again several times before I actually managed to finish the whole thing.  I am disappointed because I was so looking forward to reading it and had such high hopes about it that I felt very flat by the time I got to the final page. 

Eureka has caused the earth to flood and now has to deal with the consequences.  People have died, those closest to her are in danger and her love for Anders and best friend Brooks lies in the balance.  As Atlantis begins to rise and the evil Atlas threatens everything she holds dear, Eureka begins to discover some difficult truths about her past and future. 

I thought that at times, Eureka seemed like a very different character in 'Waterfall'.  She's been through so much and learnt so much about herself and I understand that this would change a person but I didn't always recognise the person that she ended up becoming.  She was tougher but her human side was less evident.  I also didn't feel the romance between Eureka and Anders this time around, even though I thought this was going to be developed in a really positive way.  The bond between them is still strong but I didn't believe in it quite as much, so I wasn't as connected with them as a couple.

I do think that Lauren Kate writes beautifully and I always adore the mythological aspects of her stories.  I enjoyed finding out more about the Seedbearers and the world of Atlantis but this wasn't enough to keep my attention firmly rooted on the characters' struggles. 

I will be continuing with this series because I think that Lauren Kate may still knock it out of the park with a killer conclusion.     

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Review: Searching for Perfect - Jennifer Probst

Searching For Perfect by Jennifer Probst, published by  Pocket Books on 29th April 2014

Goodreads synopsis:
A coach, consultant, and cheerleader rolled into one super-sizzling package, Kennedy creates dream dates, encourages singles to shine, and never refuses a challenge; not even Nathan Ellison Raymond Dunkle, known as Ned, rocket scientist, nerd extraordinaire, and Kennedy's newest client.

Kennedy vows to work her magic and transform this hot mess in a lab coat with a disastrous relationship track record into the most wanted man on the Verily dating scene. If only she could turn the wand on herself . . . Though she radiates confidence and sex appeal, Kennedy harbors deep-seated insecurities from a tormented past and lifelong struggle with weight issues. When she realizes she and Ned are cut from the same cloth and might be perfect together, can Kennedy learn to let her heart lead the way? Or will her fears sentence her to the sidelines as Ned finds love with someone else?

Jennifer Probst is one of my favourite new authors and this series is on my auto-buy list.  I loved the previous book 'Searching for Someday' and I had high expectations for this follow-up which I'm extremely happy to say was just as wonderful. 

This time it's the turn of Kennedy to find her happy ever after, although she has a lot of personal issues and insecurities to overcome first.  Kennedy is the makeover queen and when she meets Ned, hopeless in love and desperately needing a change of image, she determines that he will be her new project.  But as she begins to transform his outward appearance, she finds herself beginning to fall in love with the all-new Ned. 

Kennedy or Ken, as she's known, has rebuilt her life, after being bullied mercilessly as a teenager because of her weight.  She is now a successful career woman, co-owning a matchmaking business with her two good friends, but when it comes to love she still has a lot to learn.  I liked Ken because she isn't perfect, she has her flaws just like everyone else but she works day by day to overcome the insecurity she feels about her body.  She has worked hard to become who she is today and I admired that.  I enjoyed watching Ken make over Ned, who she renames Nate and turn him into one hot scientist.  Although he's not confident socially with women, he wants to learn and he wants to find his perfect lady.  His willingness to do whatever it takes to improve his image and become more outgoing with women was extremely endearing. 

I wanted Ken and Nate to be together from the beginning.  They have the same interests and they've both experienced being put down by other people which makes them more understanding of each other.

'Searching for Perfect' was a brilliant read.  Sweet, sexy and romantic, I never wanted it to end.  I'm dying to read the next in the series now, 'Searching for Beautiful' which focuses on Wolfe and Genevieve.          

Monday 17 November 2014

News: Choose Kind campaign

From November 17th – 21st it is Anti-Bullying Week in the UK and Penguin Random House has partnered with the Anti-Bullying Alliance to launch a nationwide anti-bullying campaign inspired by the internationally bestselling novel 'Wonder' by R J Palacio.
You can read my review of 'Wonder' here
The Choose Kind campaign was launched earlier this year and so far over 700 schools in the UK have signed up to take part. Random House are encouraging teachers and pupils to read Wonder, promote kindness in their schools and show them how they did this during Anti-Bullying Week this November. The Anti-Bullying Alliance found that nearly a quarter of 5-18 year olds have been bullied at school and 45% of parents state that they are concerned about their child being bullied.
This isn’t just a campaign for schools, 'Wonder' should inspire all people to be a little bit kinder to each other.
There is more info about the campaign here

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Review: Half Blood - Jennifer L. Armentrout

Half Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout, published by Hodder on 14th August 2014 

Goodreads synopsis:
The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi - pure-bloods - have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals - well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.

Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1: Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.

Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem - staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.

I'm extremely late joining the party for Jennifer L. Armentrout's Covenant series but I'm going to be catching-up now...and quickly!  I loved this book and I'm desperate to read more because I have a feeling that this is a series where each instalment will keep getting better and better.

The story was awesome and so exciting.  Alex's mother is gone and Alex is back at the Covenant, being trained to become a Sentinel.  When surprising revelations are revealed about her family, her past and her future, everything is about to change. 

The romance in this book is off the charts.  Alex is a half-blood being trained to fight by Aiden, an incredibly hot pure blood.  They can never be together but that doesn't stop the air from crackling with tension when they are in the same room or from Alex feeling an undeniable attraction to Aiden which she just can't deny.  I could hardly stand the will they, won't they suspense which is drawn out throughout the book.  I have such a crush on Aiden now!   

Daimons, forbidden romance and dangerous secrets, 'Half-Blood' ticked all the boxes for me and was a sensational read.  It was a brilliant introduction to the series which I'm going to be buying now so that I can read them all over the Christmas holidays.  What a treat! 

This edition of the book, also includes the prequel novella 'Daimon' which was a really nice addition and provided more insight into the characters' world.      

Monday 10 November 2014

Review: Grim - Christine Johnson

Grim edited by Christine Johnson, published by Mira Ink on 25th February 2014

Goodreads synopsis:
Inspired by classic fairy tales, but with a dark and sinister twist, Grim contains short stories from some of the best voices in young adult literature today.

I saw this book in my local library and it caught my eye immediately because it was such a beautiful edition.  It's a hardback in black with bright pink markings and writing on the front and back.  I just had to pick it up!  I then ran my eye down the list of included authors and saw some of my favourite writers so I really wanted to read it then.  I'm not normally a fan of short stories, as I always find that I'm left wanting more, but I really enjoyed nearly all of these wonderful tales - some quirky, some dark but all unique and entertaining.

All of the stories in the book are fairy tale inspired but they each have a dark and sinister twist.  It was interesting to see how each author subverted these traditional tales and turned them into something altogether different.

I had some absolute favourites in the book and these were The Raven Princess by Jon Skovron, The Pink by Amanda Hocking, Figment by Jeri Smith-Ready and The Key by Rachel Hawkins.  I would definitely want to go back and read these again.  I had fun as well trying to work out which tales they were all based on.  Some were easier than others to figure out.

Other authors included within the collection are: Sarah Rees Brennan, Christine Johnson, Claudia Gray, Malinda Lo, Jackson Pearce, Kimberly Derting, Ellen Hopkins, Julie Kagawa, Myra McEntire, Shaun David Hutchinson, Saundra Mitchell, Sonia Gensler and Tessa Gratton.  There were a couple of names that I wasn't quite as familiar with but I will be seeking out more of their work now.  For example, I liked Saundra Mitchell's 'Thinner Than Water but I haven't read anything else by her.  That's all about to change!

This would make the perfect book to give or receive as a Christmas present.  The stories are lovely to dip in and out of and if, like me, you love fairy tales but are looking for a modern twist on the classics, then 'Grim' is the book for you.   

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Review: Between the Lives - Jessica Shirvington

Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington, published by Orchard Children's Books on 17th August 2014

Goodreads synopsis:
For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she shifts to her 'other' life - a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she's a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she's considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.

With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments that bring her dangerously close to the life she's always wanted. But if she can only have one life, which is the one she'll choose?

I loved this book!  It's hands down the best thing I've ever read by Jessica Shirvington.  Gut wrenchingly emotional, packed full of suspense and heartbreaking to the extreme, I devoured every single word of it and can't wait to go back and read it all over again. 

The main character Sabine has two lives.  The one in Roxbury with her little sister Maddie and hardworking parents and the seemingly perfect existence in Wellesley where she has everything she could ever want.  Every twenty four hours however, she shifts between the two, having to maintain a perfect fa├žade of her life in both.  The story focuses on her parallel lives and what happens when Sabine decides that she can't go on with her double existence.

'Between the Lives' had a brilliant plot which had me hooked from the start.  I wasn't sure in which direction the story was going to end up and if there would be any proper resolution for Sabine but I was desperate to find out.  I stayed up all night to finish the story and I then couldn't wait to talk about this book with everyone.  It's one that you'll go on thinking about long after finishing the last page.

Sabine was a wonderful character.  She does everything she can to main the balance in both of her lives but when things start to fall apart she has some incredibly difficult choices and decisions to make.  There's no right or wrong answer to her dilemma, only having to live with whatever choice she ends up making.

I loved the ending which was utterly perfect.  I never wanted this book to end and it was truly a five star read which I want to recommend to everyone.  If you enjoy YA psychological thrillers with romance to book then you must read this. 

Monday 3 November 2014

Review: Hold on Tight - Abbi Glines

Hold on Tight by Abbi Glines, published by Simon and Schuster in October 2014

Goodreads synopsis:
Six years ago, Dewayne Falco's life changed. He lost someone he never expected to lose. Resigned to punish himself for something he felt he could have prevented, he goes through life without getting too close to anyone.  What he didn't expect was for the girl across the street to move back home and remind him of what they both lost: Dewayne's younger brother Dustin.

Sienna Roy loved Dustin Falco most of her life. He was the boy next door, the high school basketball star and her best friend. But when his life was cut short, she realized he left a part of himself behind.

Now, she's back in Sea Breeze, thankful to have a home but not sure if she can ever forgive the people across the street who abandoned her when she needed them the most — The Falcos.

Dewayne Falco has been a permanent fixture in Sea Breeze since the start of this brilliant series.  Always in the background and usually drunk, with a different woman on his arm every night, he's been somewhat of an elusive figure.  Part of Preston, Cage and Marcus's group of friends, not much has been revealed about his own past...until now. 

I love the way that Abbi Glines can take a character who you think you've made up your mind about and then get you to completely change your opinion of them within a couple of pages.  That's exactly what happened with Dewayne, who I thought I wasn't going to like, judging from what I'd seen of him in previous books, but whom I absolutely ended up loving.  If you think he's just a shallow, egotistical ladies man then think again.  There's much more to Dewayne Falco than first meets the eye.

As well as hot, swoonworthy men, Abbi Glines also writes wonderful female characters and Sienna was no exception.  The love she has for her son shines out from every page and it's evident from the start that she will do anything to try and give him the happiness he deserves.  She puts aside her own feelings to welcome the Falco family back into their lives and she is totally selfless when it comes to Micah.  He, of course, is an absolute cutie and impossible to resist.

It's obvious from the beginning that Sienna and Dewayne should be together but seeing them work out the mistakes and misunderstandings of their past is what makes this such an enjoyable read.  They have to get past the ghost of Dewayne's brother Dustin first but I loved seeing them rediscover each other again. 

In my opinion, Abbi Glines never puts a foot wrong and I adore each and every one of her books.  She is on my auto-buy list and I know I'm in safe hands when I read one of her stories.  She never disappoints!
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