Posted in book reviews

Heartless – Marissa Meyer

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

I’m a massive fan of the Lunar Chronicles, it’s one of my favourite series of all time, so to say I went into this one with very high expectations is a bit of an understatement. And the outcome. . . It was okay. I’m pleased, but I can’t say I’m delighted.

So this is the origin story of The Queen of Hearts, so it’s the tale of how she become what we all know her for. But oh my, the first 300 odd pages felt like an opening. While it was enjoyable, I just felt like it began to drag. The last 100 or so pages were fabulous, and it’s a shame the beginning of the book wasn’t written fast paced with tension.

Also, I’ve never been a big fan of Alice in Wonderland. I think I’ve watched one Tim Burton adaptation and that was a giant nope, as I discovered my fear of the Cheshire Cat (he seriously freaking creeps me out, please no). Because of this, I don’t have much knowledge and this book didn’t really help. While it’s not meant to copy the original etc, it seemed to seriously lack world-building.

Maybe if I went into this with lower expectations and it having read the Lunar Chronicles, I might have given it a star higher. That said, I did like it, but you won’t find me screaming about it from any roof tops in the near future (what is time???? Look at me, making references).

So I can’t say that I loved this book, since I was just so let down by my expectations of what I was going to get from this book. 3 stars!

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Paris for One and Other Short Stories – JoJo Moyes

From the #1 “New York Times” bestselling author of “Me Before You” and “After You,” a sensational collection featuring the title novella and eight other stories. Quintessential Jojo Moyes, “Paris for One and Other Stories” is an irresistibly romantic collection filled with humor and heart.

This ARC was sent to me by Penguin UK via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to both publisher/netgalley for sending me this 🙂
Usually I leave my DNF without star ratings, since I feel like because I haven’t read it all I shouldn’t be marking it. But I feel strongly with this one and my low rating at this moment in time. I am in no way closing my mind to this book, I might come back to it later, but right now. . . no.

I don’t think short stories are for me. I feel like within this collection the stories weren’t fleshed out enough, they all began to blur together and feel the same, and I never really noticed a difference in the characters. Overall, I found the stories I did read to mostly be boring. It could be down to that this isn’t my usual genre (and when I do read it, I’m quite selective and picky about what works) and that the situations these characters were in are things that I myself do not relate to. Example, several of this were about married couples which I am not, so I found it hard to connect/empathise with that. Maybe I was just in a sour mood trying to read this, who knows, but right now I know this isn’t for me. Maybe one day!

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Someone Else’s Summer – Rachel Bateman

About a sister who is lost when her older sister dies, until she stumbles upon a bucket list and decides to honor her sister by having the best summer ever. Publication is scheduled for spring 2017.

I really, really enjoyed and liked this book. What I mainly liked about it was the realism. To me, in most books that usually deal with losing a loved one (like a sibling), all it takes is falling in love for them to magically forget their grief. Their grief only comes out here and there, like a “oh, yeah, that should also happen,” but this story doesn’t do that. The death of Anna’s sister Storm compels her to go on this journey in figuring out her sister, herself, and trying to sort through the grief and to learn if she’ll ever be able t0 – or even want to – move on and live her life as fully as her sister once did. Anna’s grief follows her everywhere and within everything she does. This doesn’t make the book depressing though, it’s not all constant tears and dark thoughts, rather I think that we see Anna grieve in a good way. It’s a more on-point representation than I’ve read in the past, like I’ve previously said. She doesn’t fall in love and magically forget about her sisters death, and I really liked that.
But I did find some issues with it. This book was so cute and adorable and I did really like Cameron, but sometimes he felt a bit too plain. His character wasn’t really developed, and we didn’t really know much about him other than he lived next door and was Storms best friend. This book had lots of potential to develop other interesting dynamics, but it just fell short. For example, with Anna – she sometimes felt like the 3rd wheel to Storm and Cameron, and that’s why she did the stuff she wanted to do (even though really, she didn’t want to) but this was only said, not really built upon. If it was, we could’ve connected more to her character, and to Storm’s, if we were able to feel the pain/regret at how separated they had become. Also, sometimes things felt too perfect: want to crash a wedding?? Well guess what? The hotel your staying at is hosting a wedding, yeah, no freaking way! So yeah, sometimes it felt a bit too clean and polished, with how perfectly things lined up for them, which took away from it being more realistic, grounded – and dare I say took away the potential for it to be more emotional – because everything was working out okay, really smoothly.

But overall, I really loved and enjoyed this book. I liked how it showed the grieving process, and while I had my issues with it (like Piper. I thought I liked her, but no) I still found it really enjoyable and would recommend it. It has a nice romance, but also tells the story of a young girl, who not only lost her sister, but lost her on way in life and is trying desperately to find it.

I have some favourite quotes, but I’m going to check them against the published edition when that’s released 😛 thank you Netgalley/the publisher for giving this to me in exchange for an honest review 🙂

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It Had To Be You – Melissa Kate (Crystal Valley, #2)

Emma Wyatt has had enough of her ex best friend and his lady killer ways. Gone was the sweet boy of her youth and in rides the womaniser. But this time he has ready gone and done it!

Oliver didn’t expect to be coupled with Emma. She was in an awkward situation and he couldn’t help the words that came out. She should be grateful, he saved her.

Now the whole town knows. And Emma is pissed! She’s going to kill him.

But a heated argument leads to a fiery moment of passion and suddenly the two are fighting an unlikely attraction that neither saw coming. But Oliver has a secret that could tear them apart…

It Had To Be You contains many of the typical formulas. To begin with, we have the typical man vs. woman trope, of him being secretly in love with her & her having a strong distaste for him – this leads him to think of her as a ‘challenge’. There’s the whole fake relationship, which started out because of a jealous ex, and continued on because they didn’t want to upset his mother. Sometimes it all felt like a bit too much, and that the author was putting all these different ideas in to make it as interesting and dramatic as possible. Unfortunately, while the book was still good, I think it would have benefited from focusing on a couple of specific angles and not too many at once; this just leads it to feel underdeveloped, and because of this it was often hard to sympathise and have a connection with the characters. Nothing felt at stake, and I didn’t feel compelled. But still, despite all that, it was still a cute story and if your looking for a second-chance romance story that all works out perfectly, then I’d recommend this one to you.

 

 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in book reviews

Heartless – Marissa Meyer

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favourite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

I’m a massive fan of the Lunar Chronicles, it’s one of my favourite series of all time, so to say I went into this one with very high expectations is a bit of an understatement. And the outcome. . . It was okay. I’m pleased, but I can’t say I’m delighted.

So this is the origin story of The Queen of Hearts, so it’s the tale of how she become what we all know her for. But oh my, the first 300 odd pages felt like an opening. While it was enjoyable, I just felt like it began to drag. The last 100 or so pages were fabulous, and it’s a shame the beginning of the book wasn’t written fast paced with tension.

Also, I’ve never been a big fan of Alice in Wonderland. I think I’ve watched one Tim Burton adaptation and that was a giant nope, as I discovered my fear of the Cheshire Cat (he seriously freaking creeps me out, please no). Because of this, I don’t have much knowledge and this book didn’t really help. While it’s not meant to copy the original etc, it seemed to seriously lack world-building.

Maybe if I went into this with lower expectations and it having read the Lunar Chronicles, I might have given it a star higher. That said, I did like it, but you won’t find me screaming about it from any roof tops in the near future (what is time???? Look at me, making references).

So overall, I found this book okay. The world building was bland, but Meyer has such a wonderful writing style that always makes me continue to read on. The description of cakes were my favourite, and I think the best thing about this book was Catherine’s passion for them. Unfortunately, this book along with the amazingness of the Lunar Chronicles, led to this book promising me too much, and unfortunately it didn’t quite deliver in the way I was expecting it too. I feel like this book is the definition of good ideas, just not executed greatly.

While I do own a hardcover version of this, I’d also like to thank NetGalley for sending me a copy to review.

Posted in book reviews

The Thousandth Floor – Katharine McGee (The Thousandth Floor, #1)

A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

WELCOME TO MANHATTAN, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. Everyone there wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

LEDA COLE’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

ERIS DODD-RADSON’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

RYLIN MYERS’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will this new life cost Rylin her old one?

WATT BAKRADI is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy for an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is AVERY FULLER, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Amid breathtaking advancement and high-tech luxury, five teenagers struggle to find their place at the top of the world. But when you’re this high up, there’s nowhere to go but down….

Let me start of by saying: I can’t wait for the sequel. Seriously, with an ending like that I’m dying to get my hands on to the second book to see how things are going to go down (and a lot of things will be going to go down). I feel like this first book was a great, enjoyable set up to what could possibly be a 10x bigger, better and more explosive sequel. I’m excited.

From the beginning of the book we know someone is going to die by falling from the Thousandth floor, but we don’t know who. To my utter disdain, it was not the person I was secretly wishing would fall off…(I can’t say much more without giving away major spoilers). The person who died was also one of my favourite characters and whose POV I was looking too. Not all of these characters I got on with, one in particular and one I just found to be sort of creepy.

This book has a hybrid of genres that can appeal to many different tastes! It blends teen-fic with futuristic elements (I’m talking about call tech), drama, romance, suspense. I enjoyed this book way more than I thought I would, as I went in thinking it would be another superficial novel of girls with secrets and pretty dresses (so okay…it was, but it was more than that, and it was enjoyable. Mostly. And then one of my faves died. Sigh).

I mentioned my disdain for some of the characters in this book, and the other problem I had with this was that I didn’t get the way the Tower operates for a while. I still have my questions and am slightly confused, and I think the outside world building could have been better. It seemed only certain details where mentioned like a light bulb moment of “oh yeah, did I forget to mention —– which makes —-??” It didn’t hinder my experience much, but I was confused that this tower wasn’t just a massive hotel but literally was like a whole world just covered in a glass tower (like a really large shopping mall…just with hotels inside, and peoples houses/apartments).

If your looking for a cool new light-ish read that will still keep you intrigued and wanting more then look no further!

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Stealing Snow – Danielle Paige (Stealing Snow, #1)

Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent the majority of her life within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she’s not crazy and doesn’t belong there. When she meets a mysterious, handsome new orderly and dreams about a strange twisted tree she realizes she must escape and figure out who she really is.

Using her trusting friend Bale as a distraction, Snow breaks free and races into the nearby woods. Suddenly, everything isn’t what it seems, the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur, and she finds herself in icy Algid–her true home–with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai, none of whom she’s sure she can trust. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change the fate of everything…including Snow’s return to the world she once knew.

This breathtaking first volume begins the story of how Snow becomes a villain, a queen, and ultimately a hero.

Thanks to Netgalley for sending me a copy of this book for review, and to Bloomsbury’s children publishing!

Was this really written by the same author that wrote my much beloved series Dorothy Must Die? Because this really doesn’t feel like it. I’m not big on talking bad about books or heavily criticising them because of how much work goes into them, and how hard the author works, etc…

But what even was this book? A bundle of semi-good ideas that could’ve been great if executed right, but unfortunately right. And I say “semi-good” because some of the ideas and plot points were so awful and messy. Considering the fact that I never really give out one-stars, this should be saying something. The only reason why I carried on reading and didn’t leave this as a DNF because I was curious (& I was hoping it would get better) and I got sent this for review, and I was going to do it!!!

I skim read half this book, because the writing was so poor. No real descriptors, no world building, and some of the sentences felt lazy and unedited. It didn’t feel like a proper published book at all.

I didn’t really care for any of the characters no matter how tragic their backstory. Gerde and Kai were okay but that’s about it. Everyone else that had the potential to be interesting and amazing…they just weren’t. No development of anything!! The same with Snow’s powers…one minute she can’t use them, and the next she’s the master of her powers??? I swear I must have skipped some chapters, because half the time I had NO clue what the hell was going on.

New record for love interests people, because here we have Bale, Jagger and Kai. Yep. 3 of them. Despite 3 love interests, I still felt no real chemistry anywehre!! Nope!! None!! Ahhh. I’m a big shipper, and the only thing I was shipping was me x finishing this book!

Can I hit Snow with a magical mirror? IS SHE COMPLETELY STUPID? Says she trusts no one, trusts everyone. Does something, questions if she should have done that, shrugs it off, and then freaks out later because she doesn’t know if she should trust so-and-so but it’s fine because she trusts the boy with the pretty face. Ahhhhhhhhh. No, please stop. Now. Just no. I agree, Snow, you’re meant to be the hero of this story?! Make it Gerde. At least she has some character.

If I got money for every time I read the words “my dear” we’d all be able to afford that Rover from Closer. I got so irritated every time. Do you need to say my dear 50 times in one sentence? IN ONE CONVERSATION? NO! (Do I need to use this many !!! and ???? probably not, but I. Just. Don’t. Get. It!!) And calling her “child!” so annoying, but that one is at least understandable since that’s what she acts like pretty much all the time.

“I glared at his perfect profile.” What a sentence.

I was so excited for this book, having loved Dorothy Must Die, and the idea of it sounded really cool (ha). Everything it promises in the synopsis is a lie. With better writing, better character development, and a few less love interests this would be decent. The ideas are there, but not executed well. It’s hard to want to read and believe in a story and feel for it’s characters when they’re just so flat. I didn’t feel anything for Snow, and her being the protagonist and the “hero” of this story means that there’s a big problem. Despite her being locked away for being crazy when she’s not, being pulled into a different world and finding out her whole life is a lie, I still didn’t feel anything for her other than annoyance and a serious case of the eye-rolls. This villain that’s meant to be the King even makes me want to roll my eyes. Please stop, come back in five minutes and try again later.

I realise my review is incredibly salty, but this book and me really didn’t get along. I don’t even know if I’m going to read the second one, I might out of curiosity and because I hate not finishing series, but it’s a stretch. Maybe I’ll try and re-read it when this comes out on paperback, but there’s a very slim chance of that happening as well…

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Empire Of Storms – Sarah J Maas (Throne of Glass, #5)

BE WARNED, THIS ISN’T REALLY A  REVIEW, MORE OF A SPLURGE OF THOUGHTS.

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

I’m not going to spare you all from my emotional fangirling. I’m sorry. So Amanda and me buddy read this one, somewhat awkwardly, but I’m so glad she was there on the other end for me to rant at, cry at, and vent at, at any and all times. While we’ve now both finished, the fangirling hasn’t ceased, and I doubt it ever will. (This just gives my iPod more chance to autocorrect names into capital letters, doesn’t it?). DO NOT CONTINUE TO READ IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT. There will be spoilers. You’ve been warned! 😛

So I loved this. That was too be expected, considering the fact this this is one of my favourite series, and how much I love SJM’s writing. (I also brought 3 copies of this book, so no matter what, I was going to like it lol).

But this wasn’t my favourite. I don’t know why, but this one just fell a bit. . . flat to me. I still loved it, with old characters returning from the Assassins Blade, new relationships developing etc. (Elide and Lorcan, yaaaas). I loved seeing the merge between Celeana’s life and Aelin’s, and how they became one, not feeling so distant from each other.

Also, the mentions of Sam. Gosh dammit, breaks my heart. I love Sam Cortland, he’s my favourite character, and although Aelin doesn’t find herself blaming herself for Sam anymore, his name still strikes her. Ahhhhhhh.

I hate to say this…and I’m probably going to be lynched…but I’m not really a “Rowaelin” shipper. Go on, fight me (pls don’t). I don’t know, I just don’t really feel it. I don’t mind them together, but the whole “oh hey we’re mates,” and “oh yeah, and we got married,” just had me like re-aaaa-llll-yyyy. But I bet this pleases people that get pissy about Aelin having a new love interest every book. People scream about Rowaelin from the roof tops, but nah, not feeling it. I don’t mind it, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not the biggest cheerleader.

(Why does everyone have to have a love interest though? Can’t they just be happy and bad ass by themselves??)

Dorian, oh my beautiful, wonderful, Dorian. Dorian has always been one of my favourite characters, but in this one his character felt weird to me. Detached. I felt like he always got pushed to the side, always made irrelevant, and only brought back in when it was needed to bring up a plot point or to flirt with Manon. Besides that, and when he used his invisible hands, he wasn’t really there. Just off on the sidelines. Of course he’s going to be changed with the events of Queen of Shadows, but half the time he felt like a whole different character, and I couldn’t find it in me to sympathise with him or care, only telling myself that it was Dorian, over and over, made me stay interested. I’m sorry Dorian, I love you, I really do.

I’ve always liked Chaol, and somehow his absence in this book has made my heart grow fonder. (I’ve always never really been a massive Chaol/Aelin shipper but I somehow began to root deeper for that in this). While him not having any chapters didn’t make any of a difference, and them not being their allowed the story to flow great, it felt weird not having him there, as he’s already been a major character. Like with Dorian, although they’re still relevant and needed, as new characters come they keep getting pushed on the back burner.

ELIDE. Gosh, I love her. I love her growth in this book, and how cunning she is, and how smart, and brave. So many moments I was cheering her on, she’s amazing. And the reunion scene between her and Aelin, holy hell. I cried. And with Aedion. And with Manon.

I loved Aedion. Yep. I’m going to resist talking about every character because if not we’ll be here all day lmao…

(Let’s also high five Manon, because she really owned it in this book).

I feel like that because I read this over a few days, this effected how I felt about it. I’m going to give it a re-read and see if I love it even more.

But I did really like it, and that ending….
Like with the ending of ACOMAF….
We don’t talk about that.
No.
NO.
NOPE.
0
(But Lysandra’s imitation of Aelin is too funny, like she’s ever that polite).

But still, despite all this, I really loved the book. I loved the character interactions, and how plot points from years and years ago, from the assassin days, became tied up. I liked seeing more about Elena, and everything that happened back then. Questions got answered, but more rose up, and I’m really excited for the next book. I wouldn’t call EOS a filler at all, but it really did tie up some loose ends while spring boarding everything for the big finale. The big finale in which I hope Meave rots in the deepest darkest pits of hell (although I must say I really do enjoy having a female villain).

For now, this shall be my dodgy review. I’ll probably come back and edit it later, with more thoughts and such.

Also,
Fenrys.
Sassy fae males are great.
The end.

Posted in other bookish posts

Half way through my Goodreads reading challenge!

At the beginning of this year I once again put upon myself the challenge of reading 100 books this year. For the last couple of years I’ve tried, and I’ve fell short. This year though, I am determined to make it.

I’m happy to say I’m now halfway through my challenge, now having read 50 out of 100! I’m very pleased with this, but…this means I’ve got 50 books left to read in 3 months. Yep. (This reminds me a lot of the glass half empty/half full situation). 50 whole books to read in 3 months. I mean, if we add the 7 books I’ve re-read this year, that only leaves me with 43. But nope, I’m not counting re-reads. I’m going for this full throttle (God help me, please).

I’d also planned to read so much this summer and catch up on my challenge, but once again, nope. That didn’t work out. But there’s still 3 months left, and whether I make it or not, I’ve read some pretty damn good books this year (and some not so good, but let’s not talk about them).

How far are you all on your reading challenges, and what have been your favourite books you’ve read this year?

To see what books I’ve read this year, come find me on Goodreads! (If you have problems sending me a friend request, then let me know and I’ll send one over to you).