Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Review ~ Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Don't Look Backebook received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: April 10th 2014

Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton

Description:
My breath caught and I dropped the letter, scuttling back on the bed. Heart racing, I closed my eyes, but I could still
see the words… 

Samantha Franco has the perfect life. Until, that is, she and her best friend Cassie disappear and only
Samantha resurfaces… with no knowledge of what happened. 

And Cassie stays missing. Gradually, Samantha begins to piece together her 
memories of that night. If she can do that, she may yet be able to save 
her friend. And, little by little, something begins to emerge…

Then she gets the note.

Don't look back. You won't like what you find.

My Opinion

I couldn't wait to read this book when I heard about it and I couldn't wait to start it when it became available on NetGalley. I've loved this author's romances so I was curios and excited to see how she made the transition to suspense/mysteries and I wasn't disappointed at all.

Don't look back, although a lot less scary than I predicted, was a thrilling read that I couldn't put down. In fact I was glad it didn't scare me so much and I think the author struck the right balance with the intensity of the emotions brought from the writing. I felt for Sam and her condition and having read books that include trauma induced amnesia before, for once I didn't feel frustrated by the lack of memories. I think the small flashbacks helped with this as they were dispersed regularly throughout the book keeping me on the edge of my seat at what had happened. They didn't reveal much but moved the story on well and I was glad that Sam didn't become whiny or blame everything on he condition. Sam was strong willed and a great protagonist. We are given two sides to her character: before the incident and after, and I will admit when her bitchy side was introduced I thought she would be hard to connect with. However, the author portrays her change well but most importantly it was believable. Her amnesia allowed her to become vulnerable and through that I was able to connect well as she undertook the journey to find out what happened.

As well as this, I'm glad Jennifer kept a small amount of romance in the book--it added something extra to look forward too and a light among the darker nature of the book. I loved Carson and liked the slow build and problems that developed; it kept things interesting. I also liked the brother/sister relationship between Sam and Scott. The bond between them was great and I liked how caring and protective he was over Sam.

The only criticism I have is that I did guess who had done it and what was going on before the ending. However it was only six chapter before the reveal so it didn't ruin anything. I found the majority of the book to be gripping and exciting. I couldn't stop reading and I felt that not only was the pacing good but the reveal of information that was given in drips was set at a good pace. There was enough to keep you interested and clear on what was going on but not enough that everything was glaringly obvious. The mystery remained almost until the end and it built to an interesting climax.

Overall, the author made the transaction to this genre better than I had expected. This book exceeded all of my preconceived thoughts and it was a great read. The mystery was gripping, the characters were believable, loveable and hateable and the emotions were portrayed well. The overall plot was brilliantly constructed and I hope the author writes more in this genre as well as the romances which I adore.

4.5

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Review ~ Reckoning (Silver Blackthorn #1) by Kerry Wilkinson

Reckoning (Silver Blackthorn, #1)eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 22nd May 2014

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Description:
In the village of Martindale, hundreds of miles north of the new English capital of Windsor, sixteen-year-old Silver Blackthorn takes the Reckoning. This coming-of-age test not only decides her place in society - Elite, Member, Inter or Trog - but also determines that Silver is to become an Offering for King Victor.

But these are uncertain times and no one really knows what happens to the teenagers who disappear into Windsor Castle. Is being an Offering the privilege everyone assumes it to be, or do the walls of the castle have something to hide?

Trapped in a maze of ancient corridors, Silver finds herself in a warped world of suspicion where it is difficult to know who to trust and who to fear. The one thing Silver does know is that she must find a way out . . .

My Opinion

I really don't know what to make of this book. Overall I liked it but there were quite a few reasons I didn't love it. For me it could have been so much more so although it was an enjoyable read, there is this sort of empty feeling I got after finishing it.

I found Reckoning quite hard to get into and this because it felt like all the other major dystopia books had been merged into one. The Reckoning part felt like Divergent. The leaving felt like the Hunger Games and from there on there were other aspects that were just too similar for my liking--there wasn't much originality. I also felt that at the start the author 'told' rather than 'showed' a lot. Sentences like "I explained XYZ" or "She told me XYZ" came up often and I found myself wanting to scream "Write the conversation so I get to know the characters!" It left me feeling detached from the characters and I don't think they were developed as well as they could have been. 

After the beginning, when Silver and the other Offerings arrive at the King's home the book did pick up. Things started to become more intriguing as the fear and tension was introduced and I didn't see the violence coming at first. However, the actions of the king and what the Offerings were made to do soon became predictable and repetitive. I felt there was no variation inside the castle and that there was just something missing. This is probably not going to make sense but I can't think how else to put it. In Reckoning a lot happens, however it never felt like enough. The events repeated themselves so it didn't feel like much was going on and the main story line, for me, was lost among the violence. Things only started to come together at the end and when I got to the last few chapters I couldn't stop reading. 

I wished the whole book had been like the ending or that it had been extended more as it did feel rushed. I also didn't like how the plan came out of nowhere with brief explanations following, it just seemed too random. There needed to be more of a build up, a clear leader in charge, more tension and more explanation. Everything just seemed to go too smoothly for a plan that had been in the works but never hinted at.

Overall, I think this book has potential and I did enjoy it. However, I think it needs quite a bit of work and adding too. I felt it was underdeveloped in most aspects--including the relationships which I didn't fully grasp--and that more detail and variation to the plot was needed. Saying that, I will probably read the next book as it did get better and I'm hoping the author keeps the momentum from the final few chapters all the way through book 2.


Friday, 18 April 2014

Review ~ Anonymous by Dani-Lyn Alexander

AnonymouseARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 17th April 2014

Publisher: HarperImpulse

Description:
What happens when an online date is not what it seems?

After Ali's heart is broken, she decides to try Anonymous, a new dating website where you can retain complete anonymity while you search for your soul mate. When she discovers Joe, she thinks she may have at least found a new friend and decides to put her past behind her and move on.

Several death threats and an attempt on her life force her back into contact with her soon-to-be ex, Mark, who is the lead detective on the case. The tension builds between them while Ali struggles to get over Mark and Mark races to find the maniac who's trying to kill her.

When Ali meets up with her online flame, she finds he's anything but the friend she imagined…

My Opinion

I was interested in this novella because of the online aspect and I needed an easy and quick read so started this as soon as I downloaded it from NetGalley. I can honestly say I wasn't expecting things to go where they did though. Although I figured the main online aspect out, the threats were definitely not what I was expecting and I would have liked the author to delve deeper into this side of things and establish more suspense and suspicion. 

The story moved at a quick pace and although I would have liked more detail--I think it would have made a great full length book--you were given enough to relate to the characters and understand everything. 

I don't want to say much more because this is a short story but it was different to what I was expecting and although it's not romantic like the other books from this publisher, I enjoyed the suspense and different angle on a relationship.


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Review ~ The Start of Us (No Regrets 0.5) by Lauren Blakely

The Start of Us (No Regrets, #0.5)ebook downloaded on Amazon for free.

Description:
A new adult story of First Times. Last Times. Connections. And No Regrets...

I only wanted a tattoo. A mark on my body to remind me of who I used to be. Something to hold onto when I started my penance for all the things I’d done wrong, the bad choices I’d made by the time I turned nineteen. Instead, I found a night of possibility, of truth, of hope for the future. And the most intense physical connection I’ve ever had. 

The only one I’ve ever had, and one I will never forget.

Trey...

When she walked into my tattoo shop, I knew she was like me. Harley had secrets. She had a messed-up past, and things she wanted to run from, or forget ever happened. I couldn’t let her go. So we agreed on one night – to spend it together wandering around the city, getting to know each other, the clock ticking because we knew tomorrow would bring an end to the possibility of an us.

Unless tonight was only the start.

How can one night be the start of something when tomorrow it has to end?

My Opinion

This was a good quick read. I was kind of confused by ending as I just don't see how what the author was implying can be possible but maybe it'll be explained in the next one. I did feel that things needed to be explained more for me to want to continue reading and have a bit more depth but it has the promise of an interesting relationship. I just needed more. 



Thursday, 17 April 2014

ARC Review ~ The Worst Girlfriend in the World by Sarra Manning

The Worst Girlfriend in the WorldPaperback received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: May 1st 2014

Publisher: Atom

Description:
My best friend was now my deadliest enemy, the one person I'd hate beyond all measure for the rest of my life . . .

Franny Barker's best friend, Alice, is the worst girlfriend in the world according to the many boys of Merrycliffe-on-Sea. She toys with them, then dumps them. But she'll never dump fashion-obsessed Franny. Nothing and no one can come between them. 

Not even tousle-haired rock god, Louis Allen, who Franny's been crushing on hard. Until Alice, bored with immature boys and jealous of Franny's new college friends, sets her sights on Louis. Suddenly, best friends are bitter rivals.

Is winning Louis's heart worth more than their friendship? There's only one way for Franny to find out.

My Opinion

The Worst Girlfriend in the World sounded like a quick, easy read that would be entertaining for a few hours. I had never read anything by this author before so I wasn't sure what I was getting myself in for, but I finished this book with a smile on my face--something which was surprising as I did have moments where I wasn't sure whether I was going to enjoy the story as it continued to progress.

This book started off well. It built intrigue into all the things wrongs with Franny's life and I wanted to know what was wrong with her mum. I had an idea but I couldn't be sure what had set her off. I also liked the passion Franny had for her dreams and how she was following them. It was nice to read about a character in college who knew what they wanted. Normally books don't focus on this aspect, but rather boys, and I liked that you got to know Franny on a deeper level than just her latest crush.

As well as this, the overall pacing of the book was good. I didn't think I would get into it as much as I did, but it had me up until the early hours of the morning at one point. The best sections where definitely the more action-packed parts where Franny takes matters into her own hands as there was more to grip you and make you want to read on. They also contrasted with the other sections that hadn't held my attention so much, making them even better when they appeared.

There were only two problems I had with this book. The first was the characters' speech. I know people speak like it and that the media portray it a lot, but it really winds me up when reading a book. I can handle a little but when there are as many as are in The Worst Girlfriend in the World, I did end up sighing a lot. Words like "totes" for "totally" or adding extra likes such as "Like you know..."for me, just don't come across as well as the do in real life in books. I feel they make the book cheesy and in most cases I've seen, it's what authors think we speak like and end up going over the top with it rather than use it in moderation.

The second problem I had is that this book says it is aimed at young-adults however for me there seemed to be a genre conflict going on. Parts of the book seemed a lot more juvenile than others which made me think it was for a younger audience but then the author would drop in words like the f-bomb and other curse words. Those of you who know me, and read my review, will know that swearing doesn't bother me--it's natural for the age of the characters. However, I didn't expect to read it in this book when the characters did seem less mature and the writing style was a bit more juvenile. For me, the two didn't meld well in this book and I didn't feel they added anything to the writing. All it did was make me confused as to who the intended audience was; on one hand you had characters the same age as me but acting younger so didn't really suit my age group, and on the other they're swearing so wouldn't fit the younger audience.

Overall, The Worst Girlfriend in the World was a good read and I did enjoy it. I had a few problems with the language, speech and characterisation plus not every section of the book engaged me. However, for the most part I was intrigued and interested to see how the story developed.


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