Friday, 27 February 2015

Waterfire Saga: Rogue Wave

Written by: Jennifer Donnelly
Published by: Hodder Children's Books
Format: Kindle
Pages: 320
Purchase from: Amazon  |  Book Depository

Serafina, Neela and four others have successfully escaped Captain Traho and his men after their hideout with the river witches was stormed. Now they must stop an ancient evil from escaping its icy prison by finding six talismans hidden by Serafina's ancestor hundreds of years before.

With all the Mer nations looking for them and no clue where to start, will the mermaids find the talismans before the monster is released?

My Rating: 3/5

Rouge Wave is the second book in the Waterfire Saga and picks up where Deep Blue left off, with Serafina and Neela both tryng to find the tailsmans to defeat the evil that lurks in their realm. After reading Deep Blue (full review can be read here) I was balled over by the amount of mermaid lore that was thrown at me. From mermaid sweets to mermaid magic, everything was there and I found that it sort of expected me to understand it right from the very beginning, as there was not much time to process the world within the book. However one thing that really shined was the constant action and brilliant mystery that was woven within the fast paced storyline. So when starting Rogue Wave I was slightly apprehensive on what would be thrown at me next. 
Suma, Neela's amah, swam into the room. The old nursemaid took one look at her and turned pale. "Great Neria, child, your hair!"
Once again I was floored by the action that was encompassing the storyline, it felt like one of the stories that never let you breathe, always pushing you with twist after twist. Just when you think things are going to calm down they pick right back up again. It honestly felt like a never ending adventure, and left you constantly anticipating what would happen page after page, keeping me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book.  This was what it was predominately like in Deep Blue, the action never letting you go for a second, just in case you might miss an important twist, because it had to be read. So I was extremely happy to see that this had carried on to the second book in the series and not lost it's touch in that sense.
Though she hadn't told anyone, and could barely admit it to herself, she had fallen for the mysterious Blu. He was everything Mahdi - the merman who'd broken her heart - was not.
However just like the previous book I found it really hard to get into the magical lore and language that was everywhere. The names, the places, the spells, everything just jumbled my mind and confused my memories on what actually was going on and what had really happened. It was much easier going into it by reading the first book again but it still was really hard trying to keep up with everything. Not to mention it made it extremely hard for me to picture it in my mind as I still kept getting stuck on the pronunciation of some things, which would then lead me to struggling to move on to the next part. I am really fussy when it comes to those sort of things though. So it was because of all this, that although there was nonstop action that begged you to carry on with the story, I just couldn't get stuck into it. It belittled my enjoyment from the novel because I was constantly confused as to what was happening.
Neela had done what she's set out to do. She found the moonstone. And she'd found a new way of doing things - her way.
In many ways, Rogue Wave builds upon what Deep Blue sets out to do. There is even more intense action and the characters definitely kick things up a notch. Especially Neela she has absolutely become one of the best tenacious heroines within the book, which is no surprise to me as she was hands down my favourite character from Deep Blue. So overall the only thing that I am still finding hard to connect with was the language and writing style of the series. For some reason, I just don't understand the mermaid magic so I can't quite grasp what is actually unfolding within the story. Because of this I find myself stepping back and not enjoying the book as much as I would like. However I would still recommend this book on the action alone because it is completely constant throughout the entire story so you can't help but be looking forward to what just might be thrown at you next. Plus the cover of this book is completely and totally stunning, so there's always that too. 

Rogue Wave (Waterfire Saga, #2)
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Monday, 23 February 2015

I Was Here

Written by: Gayle Forman
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 270
Purchase from: Amazon  |  Book Depository

Some lights are too bright to last

I regret to inform you that I have had to take my own life. This decision had been a long time coming, and was mine alone to make. I know it will cause you pain, and for that I am sorry, but please know that I needed to end my own pain. This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with me. It's not your fault. 

Cody and Meg were inseparable - best friends for life. They knew everything about each other. Or Cody thought they did. But how well do you really know your best friend? And what do you do when they choose to leave you behind?

My Rating: 4/5

I am a huge fan of Gayle Forman, any books of hers (that I have read so far) always take me on an emotional journey and always end with me loving them. I Was Here, in short, follows Cody as she struggles to come to terms with the idea of her best friend committing suicide. That synopsis along with the fact that it was written by Gayle Forman pretty much tied everything up for me. So when it came to requesting this book of NetGalley I didn't even think about it, I needed it. It was this reason, that was this books downfall for me because I had so many high expectations that I didn't think it lived up to.
Sometimes we meet people and are so symbiotic with them, it’s as if we are one person, with one mind, one destiny.
I Was Here is an emotional and captivating read, that much is clear, but in my case it just fell short with the romance aspect. It deals with a really heavy and daunting subject of suicide and grief but in that sense I loved this book. I could really feel the weight that Cody was carrying, and not only her but also from the other characters, and I could feel the impact of what happened. So in this case, it was written beautifully. But on the other hand, when it came to the romance it felt slightly weird and out of the blue. This maybe due to the idea that it is taking the back burner when it comes to the real issue that the story focuses on, but I purely didn't connect with it so I couldn't enjoy that aspect of the story. 
You had a pile of rocks, and you cleaned them up pretty and made a necklace. Meg got jewels, and she hung herself with them.
Overall, there was so much that I absolutely adored about this book. In my mind it was written beautifully, with so much dedication on the heartbreaking feeling that comes with loss. Not to mention the devastation it causes to the people left behind was so clear and enchantingly written that it was hard not to get lost in the recovery that the characters had to take part in. The only thing that I felt let down with was the romance, it just felt pushed and not even a little bit natural. Almost like it was an afterthought, which in sense it was as I didn't think it was needed in the story. All in all, I Was Here deals with distressing issues but is written in such a captivating way that it shows that there is always hope and it can always provide the strength needed to overcome the darkness of loss. 

I Was Here
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Friday, 20 February 2015

Broken Skies

Written and Published by: Theresa Kay
Format: Kindle
Pages: 370
Purchase from: Amazon  |  Book Depository

Thirty years ago, civilization collapsed. Few survived.
Ten years ago, the aliens arrived...and stayed.
One year ago, I killed two men and went a little crazy.
Today, the alien took my brother and I'd do anything to get him back.
In seventeen-year-old Jax Mitchell's world, humans are nearly extinct and alien settlers have arrived.
Until recently, the E'rikon have remained segregated in their city and ignored the few humans who have tried to engage them...but now they have taken Jax's brother. To rescue him, she forms an uneasy alliance with a teenage E'rikon left stranded in the woods. She agrees to guide him to the city if he sneaks her past the human-proof barrier. Too bad its not that simple.

My Rating: 4.5/5

As I have mentioned before, for me, you can't get much better than an alien and human falling in love story. They are always monumentally epic. So you can only imagine how excited I was to get my teeth stuck into this book. To sum it all up, Broken Skies follows Jax in the search of her brother, after he has been taken by the seemingly peaceful although very bigoted aliens, with the help of none other but Lir, a left behind handsome E'rikon. So really it was already clear on how genius this sci-fi love story would be just from reading the blurb alone. 
I barely manage to conceal my snort. Emily flinches. I guess I didn't manage to conceal my expression.
There were so many times within this book that I just had to stop, take a breather and then carry on because there was just so much action, so much riveting storyline that I felt that my brain was spinning trying to take it all in. But this was a great feeling because not once did I get bored or uninterested in what was going on. This book had my full attention from start to finish. I was completely enamored with it. 
But all I want to do is move to him and bask in it. I'm drawn to him in a way I don't understand. That's what frightens me.
It is hard to narrow down the things that I love about this book into one perfect and simple review without giving too much away. But if I had to it would be strength and determination these characters project. They are living in a world where the slightest shift of balance would cause an all out war. They are on the borderline of conflict yet that does not stop them from putting everything aside to help one and other. It shows true character growth from both main characters as both Jax and Lir have to overcome their personal dilemmas in order to help each other out. I just love that about their relationship, how it shows the honest realism of burgeoning couples and brings about their flaws just as much as their strengths.
Without the oddly coloured hair to distract from them, his eyes shine out like emeralds set in gold. They are amazing and clearly nonhuman. Too bright. Too perfect. And I lose myself in them.
The only minute and minuscule downside that I had to this story was the fact that the book was entirely written in Jax's point of view. My greedy mind just wanted to get into Lir's head to see what he was experiencing and what he was feeling and this is only because there were times when I was a little confused by his actions. So when it came to trying to defend him from Jax's evaluations of the situation, I was short handed because I didn't entirely know what was going on with him. Which led to me wondering how I was meant to see Lir as the hero of the story without getting a full sense of his being. 
I've slept curled in his arms, cried on his chest, even kissed him and I don't even know his last name. Do aliens even have last names?
All in all, Broken Skies uses genius mystery, beautiful blossoming romance and a heart defying adventure to entrap readers into the series and not let them go until every last page has been read. The characters made me feel alive with anticipation on what is next to come and broke me with stunning twists that I just did not see coming. I seriously cannot wait for the next installment and I would recommend to anyone who loves a little alien and human romance that creates enough havoc and mystery to pull you to the edge of your seat with wonder. A stunning YA sci-fi read that has definitely become one my favourites. 

Broken Skies (Broken Skies, #1)
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Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Since Forever Ago

Written by: Olivia Besse
Published by: Wunderland Press
Format: Kindle
Pages: 316
Purchase from: Amazon

Fresh off the heels of a devastating breakup, Riley Benson is a mess. But with her ingenious plan to become a ball-busting heartbreaker herself, she’s pretty sure she’ll survive. After all, what better way is there to get revenge than to move on?

Riley’s determined to become the perfect bachelorette—she’s going to drink like a bro, belch like a beast and swear so much that she’ll make even the most seasoned sailors blush. After all, those are the qualities that every guy’s secretly looking for…. aren’t they?

Max Fletcher is in love with the girl who gave him chicken pox and his first broken leg. When his best friend seems to finally be out of the picture, he can’t help but want to keep Riley all to himself. And, after coaching her with the very best of the very worst love advice, it seems as if he might actually get what he's wanted after all those years. But just as the two come to the realization that they're actually kind of perfect for each other, along comes a secret that threatens to tear them apart.

My Rating: 2.5/5

I really wanted to like this book, it had the makings of a funny and fresh story line and cute characters but something just didn't click with me. No matter how hard I tried I could not get into this book. I didn't find the characters connectable and I didn't really like how things were heading throughout the start the book. The ending, on the other hand, I did like. It tied everything up in a neat little bow, so much so I did start to give the characters credit, they didn't seem as bad because of how it ended. Since forever ago follows Riley Benson after a hard breakup with her 6 year boyfriend who just so happens to have been cheating on her. Add in a male best friend, who coincidentally is in love with her, and two single female best friends who are determined to also find true love and you have the makings of a mushy new adult romance. 
"Nope you're looking at the new and improved Riley Benson, ladies. I'm going to divide and conquer. Pretty soon, I'll be a dating pro."
Throughout the entire novel I really wanted to shake Riley and tell her to just grow up. Because seriously the story just drowned on and on about how she will get over this break up and move on, only to the go right back into how she will forever be alone in the next paragraph. Geez it was so frustratingly annoying. It honestly, in my mind, kept getting more and more whiny. There was no character growth or substance to both of the main characters. Not to mention that the person that she eventually falls for was also genuinely immature and slightly moronic. Max has apparently been in love with his best friend for years but if he was really in love, would he really play with her emotions and set her up for failure on countless occasions. It was so aggravating but even more so that Riley couldn't see what he was doing. 
“Is this why you told me I should cheat on her?” 
“Wh... what?” Riley asked in a barely audible whisper. 
“I... You and I both know that that’s not what happened,” Max choked out
There were bits of the story that I did find cute, mainly bits that had to do with the side characters like Liz and Evan. The ending was perfect for me as you got to see more of the side characters and it shone a little light on the main characters motives and insecurities, which in turn made the more relateable, in doing so.  But overall I was swamped with bits that literally had me cringing with embarrassment. It was because of this that I personally found this book extremely hard to finish. I basically couldn't deal with the dodging around of feelings between the two main characters of Max and Riley, so I found the romance aspect a little lacking. While the rest of the story just did not match my sense of humor at all.
"I've loved you since we were kids," Max told her matter-of-factly."Since forever ago"
Having said this, it is a really quick and easy read so if you're looking for something to just fly through this book with be a good option. Plus there are somethings that add a slight hint of realistic aspects to the story. Like, for example, how hard it is to get over a break up, especially one of six years. Not to mention, for me the ending made up for all the cringe inducing moments that I had to get through. But in the case of the entire story, it was just repetitive and slightly boring for me in that sense. All in all, even though this book was a little to cringy for my taste, it does have all the qualities for a funny new adult romance story that centers on the sadness and loneliness of a recent break up towards the excitement but slightly awkward feeling of a new romance. 

Since Forever Ago
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Saturday, 7 February 2015

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Written by: Matthew Quick
Published by: Headline
Pages: 273
Purchase from: Amazon  |  Book Depository

Leonard Peacock is turning 18. And he wants to say goodbye.
Not to his former best friend, whose torments have driven him to consider committing something tragic and horrific.

Nor to his mum who's moved out and left him to fend for himself. But to his four friends.
A Humphrey Bogart-obsessed neighbour
A teenage violin virtuoso
A pastor's daughter
A teacher

Most of the time Leonard believes he's weird and sad but these friends have made him think that maybe he's not. He wants to thank them, and bid them farewell.

My Rating: 4/5

I didn't really know what to expect when I started reading this book, all I can say was I knew it would definitely be emotional and tackle a incredibly difficult subject. So I can tell you how surprised I was when I discovered how quick yet really weighty read Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock actually is. I felt like I was carrying Leonard's emotional tale on my shoulders and it didn't let me go until the very last page. It was not what I expected at all, yes I knew it would cover dark and upsetting issues like suicide I just was not prepared for how much this book really delves into somber and desolate issues. Which is why it turned out to be a very compelling read.
I feel like I’m broken—like I don’t fit together anymore. Like there’s no more room for me in the world or something.
The book takes place within a short amount of time, around two days, and uses many flashbacks to explain Leonard's decision. I absolutely adore this writing technique. It shows how fast paced the book is as it squeezes in every little detail you need to get a better sense of Leonard, within such a short time, yet I still felt as if I knew Leonard and understood him. There was also so many hints of why Leonard wanted such drastic revenge on his former best friend but it always kept me waiting until the very end as to his true motive. A motive which in turn turned out to be truly dreadful that I couldn't quite conceive it. It made me feel so sorry for Leonard but also surprisingly Asher as well, showing that there are so many layers to this story that I didn't quite know how to react.
Did you ever think about all of the nights you lived through and can't remember The ones that were so mundane your brain just didn't bother to record them. 
Basically if your looking for a book that is doused in sadness and filled with loneliness but has such a compelling storyline and heartbreaking characters, that can't help but feel moved by it then you should definitely give Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock a go. Don't be put off by the dark issues it revolves around because even though it carries a sad atmosphere throughout it, it does show the strength people need to overcome it. All in all, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is a such a significant novel that stays with you for days after and I would recommend it to anyone to give it a go. 

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
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Thursday, 5 February 2015

The Vault

Written by: Karen Long
Format: Kindle
Pages: 286
Purchase from: Amazon  |  Book Depository

VAULT: A large room or chamber used for storage of valuables, especially an underground one…
In the unrelenting heat of the Toronto summer, a fire at a land-fill site uncovers the remains of a local prostitute. But the post-mortem reveals disturbing details –the body has been preserved and is not who or what it seems.

DI Eleanor Raven is back on duty six months after barely surviving being kidnapped and tortured by a depraved serial killer. Work is her sanctuary but she’s carrying deep scars – mental as well as physical. Where do you go when the place you feel safest is also the place where you are most at risk?
As Eleanor battles her own demons, it looks as though a killer in the city is making a gruesome human collection. And Eleanor’s fight to save the last victim of the Collector becomes a battle to save herself.

My Rating: 4/5

I was so excited for this book because The Safe Word, the first book in the Eleanor Raven series, was one of the first books that started my intrigue and fascination for the crime thriller genre. It had me hooked so I was really interested to see how long it would take for me to get pulled in for this one. The answer being... the very first page. So it was clear to see that it didn't take long for me to delve back into the logically and organised mind of DI Eleanor Raven but this time there was a hint of trepidation that was missing from the last story and it shows that what had happened then had deeply affected her. 
His dark beard showed flecks of grey and his blue eyes reflected a little less light. She didn't know how to break the ice between them or even if it could be broken. 
From the get go I was really excited and interested to see how Raven and Laurence would be communicating, as the way things were left between them in the ending of The Safe Word didn't really spell out happily ever after, I wanted to see if their partnership had developed at all. The answer to this was definately a yes. While it was clear in the beginning that things weren't great between them it did develop as the story went on. Making it clear that for things to go smoothly there had to be a lot of growth from the characters, which was seen by the progress Eleanor was making. It was really nice to see because it made what happened to her much more realistic and I loved how you could see the strength she was trying to put out was just a farce. It made her much more relatable which wasn't always seen in the first book.
Eleanor felt the airless room choking her. "He applied for a transfer."
Once again the story and the case had me gripped from the get go. It was a mystery wrapped within a mystery and I loved how I never had a clue as to who the killer was. It had me turning page after page and never let me down with the creepy unknowing factor. It was filled with tension both from the characters and from the unraveling case, which kept you guessing until the very end. 
"You were killed in that warehouse Detective Inspector Raven. Lee Hughes murdered you."
Overall The Vault has all the complex and brilliant qualities that was seen in The Safe Word, yet the characters had developed and grown so much more and there was a lot more mystery and intrigue that I found it really hard not to get drawn into. There were times when I did get, once again, annoyed by DI Raven's ability to put herself in constant danger and not open up about her troubles but then that I guess that is just her character. I loved how complicated yet relatable all of the characters were and how thrilling and creepy the case was. All in all, The Vault is full of a dark but original case with diverse characters that finds a way to burrow into your mind and leave you completely surprised but gripped by the outcome. Leaving me desperate to carry on with the series and find out just what will happen next for DI Eleanor Raven. 

The Vault
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