Category Archives: Reviews

REVIEW: These Broken Stars (Book 1) – Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

These Broken StarsThese Broken Stars

Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Book 1

Hardback, 374 pages

Published December 10th 2013 by Disney Hyperion

ISBN: 978-1-42317-102-7

Rating:
★★★★★– 4.9 stars

 


It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.”


From the very beginning I had an idea that I would really like this book. I was not disappointed. These Broken Stars follows Lilac and Tarver’s journey as they crash land on an unknown planet. They must gather supplies to survive and focus on getting to a point in the far, far distance. But the “whispers” have other ideas for Lilac and Tarver. They intervene when the pair needs them the most; but when a tragic event rips them apart, will they help them. Or are they running according to their own agenda?


I will start with the negatives. There wasn’t a lot of time spent in space, and I’d definitely class this of more of a survival story than a sci-fi or space novel. I felt that the beginning scene- the Icarus’ crash- was very quick. It didn’t lack detail, no, but I just felt that a couple more pages or even paragraphs could have been devoted to the event. Also, I felt that some scenes were a little repetitive. It wasn’t anything majorly obvious and didn’t take away the limelight from the rest of the story at all as I found myself drinking in every word; devouring every sentence. I wanted this book to last forever- to never end. Can you tell that I liked it?


These Broken Stars unfolded much differently than what I thought it would. Especially because I was expecting epic space adventure. But the characters surprised me the most. I wasn’t really expecting to like them as much as I did. Some people would say that they were a little typical: a rich-kid that realises that life isn’t as easy as what it seems, a war hero who looks down his nose at people who look down their noses’ and a father that hates the war hero and doesn’t want his daughter anywhere him- or any other male- for shit. But I really liked these characters’, I felt that they went beyond the stereotype and I loved seeing the characters development and the shift between them- especially Lilac and Tarver. Lilac becomes so much stronger and learns that she must also shoulder burdens like everyone else. And Tarver realises that people aren’t always what they seem on the surface and that his initial impressions of people aren’t always correct. This was expertly shown in a dual perspective from both Lilac and Tarver. Their voices were easy to distinguish without having to look back and remind yourself of whose voice you’re reading in. The power shift was also admirable in this book and, I felt, was original and added even more to the book. Another really awesome thing about this book was the interview snippets at the beginning of each chapter giving you small, subtle clues throughout- keeping the reader wholly invested in the story.


The “whispers” added an almost paranormal aspect to the story. Adding another layer of suspense to this novel. I loved the idea, even if at the end it took me a while to get my head around the whole concept of them. However, it is explained properly and is broken down so that you eventually understand everything. Something very unexpected happened towards the ending, wrenching Lilac and Tarver apart- I was sobbing at this part so much!   The ending of this book was really great. However, there are a couple of questions that I found unanswered: What happened to Lilac’s “body” when the planet was destroyed? And what were the “anomalies” that were discussed with Tarver in the interview?


Overall this is one of my favourite books I’ve read this year and I would recommend it to anyone who loves survival and adventure stories, science fiction and romance. Even if you aren’t all that hung up on those I would still recommend trying These Broken Stars as it is definitely a brilliant thrilling read. The sequel to These Broken Stars and second book in the Starbound series, This Shattered World, is out December 23rd 2014 and follows two other characters. Even though I am sad we won’t be reading from Lilac and Tarver’s POV, I hope they’re still featured in the book somewhere and we find out what happens to them.


Thanks for reading. Please like and comment below if you have read this book, you want to buy this book but need more persuading or if you agreed/disagreed with my review. I’d love to hear from you! Or you can contact me here.

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REVIEW: Black Ice – Becca Fitzpatrick

Black IceBlack Ice*

Becca Fitzpatrick

Stand Alone

eBook, 392 pages

Expected October 7th 2014 by Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 978-1-44247-426-0

Rating:
★★★– 4.2 stars

Sometimes danger is hard to see… until it’s too late.

Britt Pfeiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn’t prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage.

In exchange for her life, Britt agrees to guide the men off the mountain. As they set off, Britt knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there… and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target.

But nothing is as it seems in the mountains, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally?

BLACK ICE is New York Times bestselling author Becca Fitzpatrick’s riveting romantic thriller set against the treacherous backdrop of the mountains of Wyoming. Falling in love should never be this dangerous…


This possible the first thriller I’ve read that didn’t include any kind of paranormal aspect. And I really enjoyed it. It was definitely the break I needed from the YA I normally read. Black Ice opens with Britt preparing to go backpacking in the mountains of Wyoming. On the drive up the mountain to friend Korbie’s holiday lodge, a storm hits leaving them stranded. When Britt and Korbie find a cabin, they run for shelter. But when they find that the cabin is occupied by Mason and Shaun- two very good looking guys- they can’t believe their luck. But by the time the girls figure out something isn’t quite right about the pair, it’s too late…


The mystery in this novel was high from the prologue. I went into this book not knowing much about it, so it took me a while to get into the story. But once you do, the mystery and suspense keeps you turning the pages until there are no more to turn. Everything every character did left me questioning their innocence. And the pace of this book was really great, it left no room for plot hole’s or unrealistic details. I felt that the whole book was realistic and I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen to the characters at the end of the book.


At first I didn’t really like Britt, she was too self-obsessed and her life revolved too much around her love life. However, as the book continued, Britt changed a lot. She questioned her friendship with Korbie and we saw actually how much it did revolve around Korbie. Also, Britt’s relationship with Calvin was explored thoroughly. I really enjoyed seeing the history between the characters, they were spaced well and didn’t leave me bored or with too little detail on the characters. By the end of the book I really cared for Britt (and all the other characters) and I didn’t want anything to happen to her or the others. Fitzpatrick even had me caring for characters that I knew I shouldn’t, and made me question to what point are you innocent? When do you cross the line and become guilty?


The book was written from Britt’s point of view in the first person. The style was really clean and worked very effectively throughout the novel. I loved seeing how certain events related to certain characters. The way the answers were revealed were very good, as I connected the dots at the same time as Britt did; which made me feel more included in the book as a reader.


Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who needs a break from dystopian or sci-fi. There is some violence in this book, mainly with guns, so I would say that younger readers should leave this book on the TBR pile for a little bit longer. The end of the book was really great and all my questions were left thoroughly answered. The book wasn’t predictable and the events that happened didn’t even cross my mind when I opened this book. The only problem I had with Black Ice was the change of Jude from towards the end and the epilogue. I found it to be slightly too drastic. But other than this Black Ice is a thrilling read for anyone who loves mystery, suspense and a little bit of romance.


Thanks for reading. Please like and comment below if you have read this book, you want to buy this book but need more persuading or if you agreed/disagreed with my review. I’d love to hear from you! Or you can contact me here.


* This book was sent to me by a publisher in return for an honest review.

REVIEW: True Calling (Book 1) – Siobhan Davis

DevicesTrue Calling*

Siobhan Davis

Book 1

eBook, 477 pages

Published 1st August 2014 by Siobhan Davis

ISBN: 978-0-99293-041-7

Rating:
– 3.1 stars

I wonder which situation is hardest.
Mine, because I remember everything, or hers because she can’t.

***

Planet Novo, nestled in space twelve hundred miles above the surface of the Earth, is the new home of 17 year old Cadet Ariana Skyee. Forced to flee to Novo two years previously—to avoid the succession of natural disasters which have ravaged Earth—Ariana and her family are part of the chosen few who have been carefully selected to share in this new existence. Other survivors reside in a technology deprived post-apocalytic America; under the constant scrutiny of the ruthless regime, and deliberately kept in the dark about life on Novo.

The new government are strategically focused on the continuation of mankind and development of Novo society. They consequently announce the introduction of a televised e-pageant, ‘The Calling’, which forces every seventeen year old into impending marriage and parenthood.

Devastated at the removal of her free will and forced abandonment of her desired military career; Ariana grows increasingly alarmed at the authorities apparent pre-occupation with her. As a series of tragic events tear her family life apart, Ariana feels progressively more isolated and alone.

Her growing feelings for much-admired, fellow Cadet Cal Remus, intensify as ‘The Calling’ gets underway. Hot-headed, but fiercely loyal and protective, Cal shares knowledge which appears to indicate that the fragile fabric of their new society is disintegrating in front of their eyes.

Confused by the government-sanctioned memory erase—which has stolen her memories of those left behind on Earth—Ariana is struggling to comprehend the continuous, inexplicable dreams of the mysterious Zane.

Discovering the past helps shape her future, with devastating personal consequences.


This book started out pretty mediocre and reminded me of a mixture of Divergent, The Selection and The Hunger Games all rolled into one. But, I have to admit that as the book went on True Calling started to become its own story. It did have some aspects that were very similar to the previous three books mentioned, but it was easy to forget about that and loose yourself in the story. Originality aside, I did enjoy this book despite its faults.

The plot revolves around a pageant called ‘the Calling’, which is primarily a televised event where all seventeen year olds are partnered up to ensure that the population on Novo remains stable. There is also another stage of the pageant where the population choose an ultimate couple who will become like ‘capitol darlings’. The book explains ‘the Calling’ in more detail, but I do feel that at the very beginning of the book there was a lot of info dumping that felt unnecessary and that it could’ve been integrated into the story more slowly- allowing the idea to sink in more slowly. This did leave me a little confused at the start of the book, but I managed to get my head around it later in the novel.


Ariana was an ok protagonist for this book. She protect her family, made tough decisions and was incredibly selfless at times. But nothing about her particularly jumped out to me, making me connect with her and her situation. She also had a typical ‘rebellious streak’ which was to be expected. Her speech occasionaly felt forced and sarcastic to characters when it should be natural and true. However, I didn’t feel that this was as much of an issue at the end of the novel. There was also a love triangle in this book. But- and it is a big but- I felt it was original and this is when it began to claw back some stars lost at the beginning at the book.


This book was told in three parts. The first was from Ariana’s point of view and I assumed that this was how it was going to told throughout. So when part two rolled around told from Zane’s point of view it knocked me. But as I read on, I saw that it was written prior to when we left Ariana and worked its way back up to present time, it knocked me even more. Part three was once again written from Ariana’s point of view and continued where her voice left off. I felt that this aspect of the book could’ve been dealt with slightly better; I think it should’ve been written mainly in Ariana’s voice with the occasional ‘Zane’ chapter to keep the reader enticed about his character and situation and not in parts.


Overall, I did feel as though the whole book was a build up to a climax that didn’t really happen. It was hard at times to stay invested in the characters and the story and I don’t think that this would be at the top of my list if someone wanted me to recommend a sci-fi-romance. It did feel almost unfinished but, for me, the relationship between Ari and Zane definitely kept me invested and I really want to see if it prevails in world where love is seen only as a necessity to keep the race going.


.Thanks for reading. Please like and comment below if you have read this book, you want to buy this book but need more persuading or if you agreed/disagreed with my review. I’d love to hear from you! Or you can contact me here.


* This book was sent to me by a publisher in return for an honest review

REVIEW: The Winter People – Rebekah L. Purdy

the winter peopleThe Winter People*

Rebekah L. Purdy

Stand Alone (?)

eBook, 320 pages

Expected September 2nd 2014 by Entangled: Teen

ISBN: 978-1-62266-369-9

Rating:
★★☆☆– 2.6 stars

“Salome Montgomery fears winter—the cold, the snow, the ice, but most of all, the frozen pond she fell through as a child. Haunted by the voices and images of the strange beings that pulled her to safety, she hasn’t forgotten their warning to “stay away.” For eleven years, she has avoided the winter woods, the pond, and the darkness that lurks nearby. But when failing health takes her grandparents to Arizona, she is left in charge of maintaining their estate. This includes the “special gifts” that must be left at the back of the property.
 


Salome discovers she’s a key player in a world she’s tried for years to avoid. At the centre of this world is the strange and beautiful Nevin, who she finds trespassing on her family’s property. Cursed with dark secrets and knowledge of the creatures in the woods, he takes Salome’s life in a new direction. A direction where she’ll have to decide between her long time crush, Colton, who could cure her fear of winter. Or Nevin, who, along with an appointed bodyguard, Gareth, protects her from the darkness that swirls in the snowy backdrop.

An evil that, given the chance, will kill her.”


I felt that this is one of those books that you enjoy whilst reading it, but after you finish it, you wonder why you enjoyed it so much whilst you were reading it. I hope that made sense. Anyway. This book opens with Salome falling through an frozen pond when she was six, and eleven years later she’s still haunted by that day. Her fear is life consuming until she meets Nevin, who is slowly but surely helping eradicate Salome’s fear. But he, along with charming Colton and mysterious Gareth, has a secret that links with Salome’s fear and the evil that is trying to kill her.


I liked Salome. I can’t say that I loved her, or I felt that I particularly connected with her. I felt that her fear of all things cold was a little irrational; and sometimes I wanted to shove an ice cube in her face just to see how she reacted. She was also very wrapped up in the male’s around her. Very. Sometimes it felt like she spent too much time worrying about who to go on a date with next, rather that her impending doom from the evil at the bottom of the garden. An evil that I didn’t really get. It could have been really scary and atmospheric, but I just kept picturing Mama from the film Mama. I just felt that it didn’t really come into play much and felt like a very detached part of the book. The fantasy/paranormal element of the book all felt really detached and seemed to just appear, with no reaction from Salome or the characters around her.


The main thing, I think, that made this book such a low rating was the fact that so much time was spent at the beginning of the book building up the mystery of the danger in the woods and the curse and the secrecy behind the male characters that the end suffered and there wasn’t enough detail or description to make an impact and clearly answer questions presented at the start of the book. For example: what happened to Salome’s dad? Hopefully, these questions might be answered if a sequel is written. But without a second book, my rating has to stay below three stars. I did really like the winter setting in the book as I felt that it built up a really peaceful scene, juxtaposing the actual story. This is what made up most of the rating, I did also like the fantasy element introduced, I just felt that it wasn’t explored enough for it to be really magical.


Thanks for reading. Please like and comment below if you have read this book, you want to buy this book but need more persuading or if you agreed/disagreed with my review. I’d love to hear from you! Or you can contact me here.


* This book was sent to me by a publisher in return for an honest review.

REVIEW: Queen of Someday (Book 1) – Sherry D. Ficklin

queen of somedayQueen of Someday*

Sherry D. Ficklin

Book 1

Paperback, 262 pages

Expected publication 7th October 2014 by Clean Teen

ISBN: 978-1-94503-490-9

Rating:
– 5.0 stars

“ONE GIRL WILL BRING AN EMPIRE TO ITS KNEES…

Before she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophie will have to survive her social-climbing mother’s quest to put her on the throne of Russia—at any cost.

Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family—and herself—Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.

Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be.

In a battle for the soul of a nation, will love or destiny reign supreme?”


Wow! I have no idea where to begin with this book. This is one of my first YA historical fiction novels and I can it did not disappoint . I was gripped right from the kick-ass opening scene, right until the mysterious yet brilliant ending. I was caught hook, line and sinker with this novel about a young girls battle in a world that seems perfect on the surface but is sinister and twisted underneath. I think one of the reasons I loved this book so much is because there was no fantasy or paranormal element the book. I would have loved it just if there had been, but to see that somewhere seemingly so safe can be so deadly without a hint of magic or witchcraft was so haunting.


I really liked Sophie by the end of the book. She definitely grew on me over the course of the story. At the beginning I thought she was a bit predictable pulling the im-not-your-typical-princess act, but as the tale unfolded I really felt compelled to read on and see how Sophie dealt with the situations she had to face. I also enjoyed learning that Sophie’s character is based on Catherine the Great. The romance in this book was definitely well balanced too. When more romance presented itself in the book I thought it would get a bit eye-roll worthy; but again, the book took a different turn and left me stunned. It was definitely the opposite of predictable, put it that way.


I would definitely recommend this book without a doubt. However, because of the mature themes that are explored in Queen of Someday, I wouldn’t recommend it to younger readers. I thoroughly enjoyed submersing myself into Sophie’s world and I am so excited for the next book, even though I have no idea where we’re going to end up. But I have no doubt that it will be epic. If you enjoyed Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series, you should definitely check this out when it’s published in October- it won’t disappoint!

Thanks for reading. Please like and comment below if you have read this book, you want to buy this book but need more persuading or if you agreed/disagreed with my review. I’d love to hear from you! Or you can contact me here.


* This book was sent to me by a publisher in return for an honest review.

REVIEW: Blood Entwines – Caroline Healy

Blood EntwinesBlood Entwines*

Caroline Healy

Stand Alone (?)

eBook, 250 pages

Published 1st August 2014 by Bloomsbury Spark

ISBN: 978-1-40886-191-2

Rating:
– 3.5 stars

“In the aftermath of a blood transfusion that saved her life, Kara feels different. Her senses are stronger … she can hear whispered comments not meant for her ears … she can hear the person following her.

When Jack, her stalker, reveals himself and insists that Kara has something that belongs to him, she does her best to avoid him. But he’s determined to talk to her, convinced that they’re linked through the blood she received during her transfusion.

Jack is struggling against a dark and dangerous demon. His body is host to the evil power that wants Kara’s blood and will stop at nothing to get it, but when Jack himself is able to regain control he tries to warn her away. Can Kara save Jack without risking her own life?”


I really enjoyed Blood Entwines, it had an original plot and characters that I could invest myself in. It opened with an accident which changes Kara’s life forever. Her blood transfusion changes her, and now she’s stronger- different. Then when she meets Jack, her blood calls for him- literally. It’s like it’s trying to escape her body. Trying to return to it’s original donor.  The beginning of the book was written really well, flipping perspective sentence after sentence. Adding to the tension and making the reader read on and on.


I loved the concept of this book, I think it had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, I don’t think it fully lived up to that potential. I found the characters interesting, nothing original though, but I found that there was no solid description of the characters looks that stuck in my mind. I still can’t build up a picture of any of the characters in my mind. I also found I couldn’t place the setting of this book. It felt like it could have been set anywhere, as there was again no solid description of the setting that stuck in my mind. There were also a lot of unanswered questions by the end of the book. Questions, I felt, should have been answered  in the first book. I felt that a lot the loose ends could’ve tied up easily and would have made the concept off the book a lot clearer. Even nearly two weeks after reading the book, I still don’t fully understand what happened at the end of the book with the “evil power that wants Kara’s blood…”.


However, I do have faith that if another book was to be written for this series, it would hopefully begin to answer some of the questions that occurred during Blood Entwines. So overall, this is definitely a good book that I enjoyed reading (as I did read it in one sitting) and would without a doubt pick up the next book if it is released.


Thanks for reading. Please like and comment below if you have read this book, you want to buy this book but need more persuading or if you agreed/disagreed with my review. I’d love to hear from you! Or you can contact me here.


* This book was sent to me by a publisher in return for an honest review.

REVIEW: Shadow and Bone (Book 1) – Leigh Bardugo

shadow and boneShadow and Bone

Leigh Bardugo

Book 1

Paperback, 308 pages

Published June 6th 2013 by Indigo

ISBN: 978-1-78062-141-8

Rating:
 4.8 stars

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite – the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?
The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.
But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.”


This is the start of the Grisha trilogy, of which, I knew absolutely nothing about. I knew it was set it Russia and that was about it. But it took me only about 20 pages to be truly, irreversibly hooked on this book. I honestly didn’t think I would like it as much as I did. It opens just before Alina is about to cross the Shadow Fold and we see the dangers that presents. As she and her team are crossing the Shadow Fold, they are viciously attacked by volcra. Alina faints, but when she awakes people are afraid of her; but more importantly she has drawn the attention of the Darkling. And he isn’t going away.


I think the pivotal reason why I loved this novel so dearly was the setting. I have never read something set in Russia before, and it completely blew me away. It was just so different from anything I have ever read before and kept me enticed throughout the whole book. The book gave off really great tones. For the first half it was very dark and felt almost like you were seeing things through a black and white lens. But as it progressed the colours got richer and richer and it was such a stark contrast from the beginning. I loved it! I also loved the mystery maintained in Shadow and Bone, and there was a lot of mystery. Namely the Darkling. I had a hard time figuring him out; I wanted to trust him, but at the same time I really didn’t feel that he was the trust-worthy type of person. And I completely connected to Alina’s inner battle about the Darkling.


Shadow and Bone was written from Alina’s point of view, in the first person except from the “Before” and “After” chapters which are placed before the story begins and after (basically, a prologue and an epilogue). These are written in the third person. And I feel that they add mystery at the beginning and hold the suspense at the end; effectively making the reader want to run to the bookstore to buy the next book. Something I will definitely be doing soon!


All in all, I loved the characters and can’t wait to find out more about them. Alina was realistic and I felt that I could connect to her. We didn’t really find out masses about her or any other characters, as this book is mainly a starting point for world building and setting the plot. I did feel however, that there were a lot of characters and sometimes it was a little hard to keep up with who was who. In the next book Siege and Storm I would like to see more character development, so that they become more distinguishable and unique. I also can’t wait to see how Alina overcomes the Darkling and the struggles she faces.


So, to wrap up, this is an amazing book! I would recommend it to any YA addict, especially fans of The Mortal Instruments. This will definitely pick you up after City of Heavenly Fire! And the good thing is all three books from the trilogy have been released, so you can marathon them without a horrid wait for the last book. The final book Ruin and Rising was released on June 17th 2014, so is still relatively new. I know I’ll be buying the last two books ASAP!


Please like and comment below if you have read this trilogy, you want to buy this book but need more persuading or if you agreed/disagreed with my review. I’d love to hear from you! Or you can contact me here.