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.


Monday, 14 April 2014

Review ~ The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

The Geography of You and MeeARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: April 14th 2014

Publisher: Headline

Description:
Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

My Opinion

After receiving a copy of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight a few months ago for review, and really enjoying it, I was excited to try more work by this author so I was excited when I happened to come across it on NetGalley and even more excited when my request got accepted. However, no matter how much I wanted to like this book, I just couldn't and I did struggle to finish it.

Right from the start I had problems. I just couldn't connect with the characters or their situation and I found the story was too jumpy. I never really felt the author developed scenes which in turn led to a lack of emotions, plot and relationships. There just wasn't enough detail for me and it led to me not caring either way about what happened to the characters--even the parts that could have been emotional were either ended abruptly to jump scenes or were just bland with hardly any depth.

I hate saying this as I really like the author's style in the first book I read by her and I had none of these problems. However, by 15% I was already thinking about giving up on The Geography of You and Me. The only thing that kept me reading was the hope of it getting better because I've read the author's previous work. Sadly though, by the time it became obvious it wasn't going to pick up, I had to finish it out of necessity because I had spent so much time on it already--in fact I wish I had given up because the book became even more jumpy and disjointed towards the end. I just felt there was no consistent flow to follow and that the overall plot was lost on mini tangents that to me had no relevance.

I'm not sure what else I can say about this book really as the only word that comes to mind is bland as it drew no emotions from me whatsoever--not even anger or frustration. I just found myself not caring for the characters or the story and I never got into the book; I'm not sure why, it just didn't happen. This won't stop me reading the author's other work, I just hope they are more like The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.

Friday, 11 April 2014

ARC Review ~ Salted by Aaron Galvin

SaltedeARC received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 24th April 2014

Description:
Life isn’t better under the sea.

Lenny Dolan is all too familiar with this reality. A Selkie slave in the realm beneath the waves, he has no choice when charged with leading a crew ashore to capture an elusive runaway. If unsuccessful, the loved ones kept behind will pay for his failure with their lives.

But when their target leads Lenny and his crew to deeper, darker secrets, the Selkies are faced with a moral dilemma. Secure their own freedom at the expense of others, or return empty-handed to face the grisly consequences?

How Lenny and his crew answer the question will teach them the harshest truth of all. Only through the loss of innocence does one become Salted.

My Opinion

Going into this book I didn't really know what to expect. I have read a few books that are set up around the theme of underwater beings (whether they are mermaids or Selkies) but stopped after finding that they were all too similar. However, Salted caught my interest and seemed like it was going to be different, which it was.

The whole paranormal aspect of the Selkies and being Salted was new to me and so made this book interesting. The way the Selkies went from land to water, transformed into animals and had a permanent suit was all original and intriguing, which I think is a hard thing to do in a market as saturated as the mermaid/underwater beings one. This was one of the only books I've read that did something different with the paranormal aspect. However, I would have liked more background on the Salt, the history of the beings, specifics on each being (Orc, Selkie etc) and more description on how everything worked. Even after finishing Salted I'm still slightly unsure of how the suits worked and because this book is different I feel the author needed to make everything a bit clearer just to help with imagining everything.

Salted is written in the third person but each chapter is from the perspective of a different character and follows their journey. I have only read one other book that used this style and I felt that the book was brought down by it. Because of this, when I saw more than 3 character appearing I did become slightly wary as I didn't know whether the style works. In total I think there were four characters who had chapters to their names and I've said it before that I normally draw the line at two. However, although it took me a while to get into and learn who everyone was, the author managed to pull it off. I think it worked well in this book because the characters were not close together: two in totally separate locations and the other two were part of the same group but in different areas. Because of this, the story was not held up by constantly repeating events from different POVs but rather had mini story lines throughout the main plot which I think worked and moved things long in this case.

I liked the overall story line of Salted but I felt the ending needed a bit more development. The characters changed so suddenly--especially Lenny--and to me it felt a little drastic and needed more subtle development so it wasn't a 180 in beliefs and actions. I definitely didn't see the ending coming though and there was some good action which surprised me.

The only major thing that stood out to me, which really did get on my nerves a few times, was the speech by some of the characters (especially the humans--or 'Drybacks' in Salted). At times the speech felt very unnatural and more like an adult than the age at which the characters were and I found myself going "they would not say something like that." There were also a few moments where adults (like teachers) said something and although the comment made me smile, it wasn't believable as in this day and age the teacher would probably be sued (and I'm only saying that because it happened with a similar phrase at my own high school and the teacher ended up fired). It's small things like this that detracted from the overall flow for me.

Overall though, Salted was an intriguing read that kept me hooked. It is a different spin on the underwater world and creatures which I found it brought quite a bit of originality to the genre. Salted shows the potential of this author and I'd recommend the book, I just think a few changes could make it shine to its full potential and really stand out.


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