Review: The Bachelor Auction

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Title: The Bachelor Auction [The Bachelors of Arizona #1]
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Genres: New Adult/Adult Contemporary Romance
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Cinderella never had to deal with this crap.

Jane isn’t entirely sure that Cinderella got such a raw deal. Sure, she had a rough start, but didn’t she eventually land a prince and a happily-ever-after? Meanwhile, Jane is busy waiting on her demanding, entitled sisters, running her cleaning business, and . . . yep, not a prince in sight. Until a party and a broken shoe incident leave Jane wondering if princes—or at least, a certain deliciously hunky billionaire—maybe do exist.

Except Brock Wellington isn’t anyone’s dream guy. Hell, a prince would never agree to be auctioned off in marriage to the highest bidder. Or act like an arrogant jerk—even if it was just a façade. Now, as Brock is waiting for the auction chopping block, he figures it’s karmic retribution that he’s tempted by a sexy, sassy woman he can’t have. But while they can’t have a fairy-tale ending, maybe they can indulge in a little bit of fantasy

Sometimes, I just want to write a review like, “This book. It was good. Good book.” But that’s not very helpful to you or me (well, it would save me some time…).

When I think back to reading this book, I think light, fluffy, funny, great read. Then the rest of the story comes floating back into my head like a train wreck. Not that the book itself was a train wreck, but there was some heavy emotional healing in here. I loved the development of the characters as a whole, but I think the Brock’s brothers stole the show for me. I looked forward to their scenes and their entertaining quips. They helped lighten the mood and gave readers a well needed break from the brooding mains. Also, he ending was pretty great, and it really got me excited for the next books.

Side note: I’m crazy excited for the sequel coming out in August: The Playboy Bachelor! The MC is Bentley and I loved his character in this book!

The being said, Jane and Brock fit well together. I really liked how their character grew into themselves. I loved the memories they had of their families especially – there were some cute memories/flashbacks.

Oh. My. Goodness. Jane’s sisters made me want to tear my hair out. I know they were supposed to drive me bananas, but how did they manage to become to freaking spoiled??? I just don’t get it.

As a whole, I really enjoyed this book, but I can’t say it wowed me. It was well written and well executed, but I think I’m just a little tired of the Cinderella story.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4.5/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Writing: 5/5
Pacing: 4/5
Overall: 4.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.9/5

eARC obtained via Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley.

Review: Frozen

22633620Title: Frozen [Heart of Dread #1]
Author: Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston
Publication Date: October 31, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Romance
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows. At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she’s heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light. But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all.

I was not impressed by this book. Why? Let me count the reasons…

1. World Building

Yes, yes the world is covered in snow. It’s cold. There was a flood at some point. Everyone lives in Vegas and gambles even though they don’t have enough money to eat. Okay. Sure. But why? There’s little to no explanation as to how this world came to be. Was it global warming? An atomic war? The moon disappearing or getting to close? LIKE. I need something. Throw me a bone here. We are simply introduced to a world full of trash with these magical people who suddenly popped out of nowhere with powers and indomitable strength. We get no history, and I find myself unable to really fall straight into this world and travel with the characters. There’s also very little description of buildings or environment and when there was, it felt disjointed.

2. Plot Lines

Remember in 2nd grade when you had to do those little mountain drawings for plot lines, where you’d start off with the introduction, then move to a conflict, then the climax, and then the resolution? Yeah, this story was like that, but for every single chapter. It would be calm at the beginning, something would be seen, or something would jump out of nowhere, everyone would freak out and the story would suddenly start speeding along for all of two pages, and then the thing would be dead or they’d realize their mistake, and everything would just fix itself in second, and tada, end of chapter. Due to this, the story had very little fluidity and felt like a jerky car ride.

3. Character Development

There was a little bit of this, but the story never explains the intricacies of all the characters’ stories, they just have snapshots here and there that don’t really explain how the sixteen year old became a general, or how the powerful girl gets a job in a casino, or what one earth brought all the people together, prior to Nat. I also feel like that characters showed little connection to each other and little growth in general. People would often just pop out with new skills, powers, stories, etc. There was no practice, no honing of skills and it just didn’t flow.

4. Lack of Explanation

There was no explanation for a lot of things: the world building, the character’s abilities and origins. It made it hard for me to follow and it really gave little to no connection to characters and the whole dystopian scene. Honestly, it was like the authors thought, let’s make it dystopian -sticks in winter scene with trashbergs- okay, okay, now we’ll give the MC powers -throws the randomest powers to Nat- I don’t know what the difference between any of the powerful people were because there was so little information on any of them. And that last part. My goodness. Just when I thought the book couldn’t get more incredulously idiotic they came up with THAT. THAT is, simply, the most random insertion of something ever in any novel I’ve ever read. I just. NOPE.

Overall, this series just didn’t agree with me. As with most books that aren’t that great, this had some potential, but it fell so short of expectations that I can’t even say I want to read the sequel. Getting through this book was like a chore and I really don’t think reading should ever be this much of a struggle.

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
World Building: 1/5
Writing:1.5/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall: 2/5
GoodReads: 3.61

eBook obtained via Hachette Children’s Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Review: The Forever Song

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Title: The Forever Song [Blood of Eden #3]
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Dystopian Fantasy Romance

Synopsis:

Vengeance will be hers.

Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster? With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.

Monster.

Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions – her creator Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost – the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie. 

In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, her triumph will be short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.

THE FINAL HUNT IS ON.

I am extremely conflicted with this novel. I absolutely loved this series. I loved the moral conflict and the balance between good and evil, as the characters tried to define each word and justify their actions. I loved the humour, the violence, individuality of each character. This book had all of those things, but it just didn’t work as well this time.

Note: Before we go on, I warn you that this review may contain spoilers, though I will try to keep it spoiler free. It will mention things that one can gain from the synopsis though (i.e. spoilers to The Eternity Cure).

Let’s start with the synopsis. Yes, I have a slight complaint about the synopsis: It deceived me. I expected a good chunk of the book to be all about the senses – she was a monster, no? So everything should be heightened, seen through the eyes of a vampire out for blood. While I got a lot of description, none of which regarding a crazy vamp with its emotions off, I got a lot of what the last two books had (i.e. an excessive amount of good or evil, peace or murder, etc.). I was fairly disappointed that I didn’t get to see a little bit of psycho, especially on her end (though I guess that would’ve resulted in more angst, which would have made the book even more lengthy).

Next, Allie. Jeezus. Her narrative ran around in so many circles, I got dizzy. One second, it was all, “I AM A MONSTER HERE ME ROAR,” and then five minutes later she was like, “ZEKE THO. I CAN’T -sobs-“. She is really bad with this whole grief thing. Also, even though I appreciated the whole moral battle in the last two books, this time, it was just too much. It was borderline excessive and it really didn’t hold my attention. I flew through the first two books, taking a day to read each one. This one took me three days just to swim through all the moral dilemmas.

The surprise honestly wasn’t a surprise. I suspected it at the end of The Eternity Cure. And I was right. What I wasn’t expecting was the doubled up angst that came later on. The whole monster, demon, thing versus good, pure, and human basically drowned me. It was book one amplified. I was very much done with this conflict by the second half of this book (as was Jackal it seemed). And the romance between Allie and another vampire was painful and excessive. It would surface at the most inappropriate times too. Oh, we’re in the middle of a battle, kay, cool, let’s stare into each other’s eyes as Rabids eat away at our companions. ‘Cause that’s a sure way of surviving. Also, the fact that the romance almost overpowered the whole gotta-save-the-world concept, I was really disappointed. This was a series in which the romance has been pretty tame, but then BAM we get hit by an 18-wheeler full of it. Truth be told, I wish there was less romance and less… everything (except for Jackal, I think I needed more of him).

Zeke. Well, he’s dead, so there’s not much happening there.

I would like to take a moment to bless Jackal. He was the shining star in this novel, providing the comic relief that was very much necessary in order to get through most of the book. His character development was also impeccable. Let’s start from the beginning though. Jackal’s one liners have always made smile, even when he was being a total pain (those times were also entertaining). In this book, his comments basically conveyed everything I wanted to scream at the two love birds. The best line being, “This isn’t rocket science. If you don’t want to be a monster, don’t be a bloody monster! Be an uptight stick in the mud like Kanin. Be a self-righteous bleeding heart like Allison. Or you can stop agonizing about it and be a fucking monster.” LIKE THANK YOU. BLESS YOU ETERNALLY DAMNED SOUL. JFC. THANK YOU. Jackal was the voice of reason (crazy, I know) throughout this installment, next to Kanin, and his character is, most definitely, one of my favourite in YA.

Jackal’s character development was subtle and absolutely perfect. I loved that he didn’t need to war with himself to change a little, he found a perfect balance between his two different worlds: his family and his vampiric urge to be a murdering asshat. Throughout the novel, it was great seeing him transform, little by little into the best YA character ever. If anything, his story was more interesting than Allie’s…

Now, Kanin. Freaking, saintly Kanin. He’s right up there with Jackal, he points out all the garbage in this book, questioning them and being the papa of the lot of them. I’ve respected his character since the beginning of this series. He manages to cut through all the crap and gets right to the crux of things, no matter how ugly the truth is, he’ll give it to Allie and the readers. His character gained my respect and will also remain as one of my favourite YA characters.

On another note, what I love about Julie Kagawa is that she doesn’t shy away from the gore, the blood, and the pain. She jumps right into it, giving us all the details of the fight, the setting, and even the overwhelming romance. I always enjoy reading her books because I always feel like I’m shedding my own reality and donning her fictitious one. It makes her books and characters real, and all that much better (most of the time).

All in all, this was not close to my favourite book in this series. It went in circles a fair amount, and I was pretty much done with all the idle threats and sobbing by the end of the book. That being said, I’d still say read it. Kanin and Jackal help cut through all the garbage and make the book better than it would’ve been without them. This series as a whole brings a new look to the vampire/paranormal series. My only wish would have been for the book to end more with a bang than a whimper.

Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 3/5
World Building: 5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Cover: 4.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
GoodReads: 4.31/5

Review: Wicked Little Secrets

17905353Title: Wicked Little Secrets [Prep School Confidential #2]
Author: Kara Taylor
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Mystery Thriller Romance

Synopsis:

Anne Dowling becomes entangled in a web of secrets involving a missing student and a conspiracy at Wheatley Prep in this fast-paced, juicy follow-up to Prep School Confidential

Anne Dowling—a fresh, original, and funny new YA heroine whose knowing, irreverent voice will remind readers of Pretty Little Liars and Private—is back for her second semester at Wheatley Prep. Although things have settled (somewhat) since her roommate Isabella’s death, Anne’s still kind of obsessed with the disappearance of Wheatley student Matthew Weaver thirty years ago, since she found a picture of him and his crewmates with the words “they killed him” scrawled on the back among Isabella’s things.

When Anne learns that her boyfriend Brent’s dad is one of the now-powerful Wheatley alumni who rowed crew with Matthew, and that the crew team continues to induct new members with a creepy-sounding ritual called “The Drop,” she knows further investigation could put her relationship with Brent in danger. Determined to discover the truth, she reaches out to Anthony, Isabella’s townie brother, who helps her delve deeper into the secrets in Wheatley’s past. Secrets someone would kill to keep hidden. As the school’s Spring Formal—and its notorious afterparty—approaches, Anne sees the perfect opportunity to do some off-campus digging into the lives of Wheatley’s VIPs in this thrilling, unputdownable read—but if she’s not careful, she’ll be the next student who never comes back.

Kara Taylor one of my favourite 2013 debut authors. I loved Prep School Confidential and now I love Wicked Little Secrets,as well!

I’m going to get right into it. The book started off with a quick little reference to what happened in the first installment of this series, but it skimmed over it. While I always appreciate the lack of an in depth excessive summary, this time, it took me an extra beat to get back into the story. With a series like this, I feel like I needed to get a little longer overview of what happened a few weeks back in Anne’s world, just to re-familiarize myself with all the names.

That being said, I still found myself sucked into the book from the beginning. Sure, I sat there for a moment every now and then trying to remember Harrow and Upton, but seeing as those characters weren’t really important in this installment, remembering them would only clear up your memory of book one, not enlighten you on the clues that are dropped throughout this one.

As I mentioned previously, I really love the character development in this series. They change in such small and subtle ways, but it makes a big difference in the long run. I loved how Anne accepts her crazy, while those who once accepted it are wondering whether she might actually be crazy instead of an extremely clever teen detective. The only issue I have is the lying. I really wish book characters would just stop lying about everything. It’s really vexing. Aside from that, I can’t give away much without spoiling the book, so I’ll just leave it at this: no matter how much each character changed, I loved the way the story flowed and ran with the plot. No change was inconsequential and I appreciated that every little thing had meaning later on, if not in the moment.

The plot and mystery was extremely well done. This book had my heart pounding throughout; the suspense was killer. While there was one scene that I felt lacked some realism, the plot was, overall, believable and captivating. I really enjoy the way that Taylor can just spin readers and her characters around in circles, planting clues and making dead ends. I really like the dead ends. Though they make the book longer, I feel like every dead end helps make the whole mystery more realistic, and makes the story itself more interesting and shows Anne’s determination. And the end. THE FREAKING END. All the pieces just fell into place and it was perfect. It was dramatic, action packed, and slightly heart-breaking. The very end though clawed at my heart. I have to now wait for the third book. It’s inhumane really, leaving me with such an ending only to cut me off from the knowledge of what’s to come. Gah.

I am in love with this series and am now anticipating the finale to this trilogy, supposedly out in August. Amazing writing, great plot lines and ideas, and a fairly tolerable romance between characters. Kara Taylor is officially one of my favourite authors.

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 4.5/5
World Building: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Cover: 3/5
Overall: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.14/5

ARC obtained via St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Faking It

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Title: Faking It [Losing It #2]
Author: Cora Carmack

Synopsis:

Mackenzie “Max” Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they’re expecting to meet a nice, wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.

Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he’s kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee shop with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they’re forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.

This book was exponentially better than Losing It. Maybe it’s ’cause Cade was the main character here, or maybe ’cause Max is awesome. I don’t know but I loved it!

Cade and Max meet by chance – Cade is still in his post-crush-on-Bliss-the-boring-stick slump and Max is dating Mace, a tattooed and not very gentlemanly drummer. Panicked by her parents’ sudden arrival in town, Mace dips, and Max needs a temporary boyfriend and Cade looks just right for the role. What they don’t expect from all of this is that they may just be a little bit attracted to each other.

I loved that these two characters let each other (and readers) see into their past and into their backgrounds. We got to see a lot of Max’s dysfunctional family, and even got a peek into Cade’s relationship with his grandmother. I liked that these two characters had genuine problems (unlike some princesses we know -ahemBlissahem-). Cade worried about money, student loans, what on earth he was going to do after he graduated. On the other hand, Max worries that her parents will never accept her, her lifestyle, or her life choices. They complimented each other on many aspects, where Max was confident in her work and her art, Cade worried that he’d never be good enough. Where Cade was down with letting his emotions show, Max was scared to death, and worried that she wasn’t worth loving. There was a lot more depth to these characters than there was in Losing It and I think that sold me on this installment.

Plot wise, I found it significantly MORE than Losing It, but I feel like there was still something missing from it. I liked that there was a lot of focus on the characters and that there were some things that didn’t come to light for a while. However, I didn’t get the emotional punch in the stomach with this book like I have with numerous other books. So while that was a little lacking, I have to say that the whole fake it ’til you make it kind of relationship was new for me, and I think that’s where most of the story’s allure came from.

I really enjoyed this book. If you hated Losing It, it wasn’t the end. Try out Faking It, better story line, better characters, better… everything.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Writing: 4/5
Cover: 3/5
Overall: 4.5/5
GoodReads: 4.05/5

Cover Reveal: Raging Star

ERMAGAWD. The cover for Raging Star, the final book in Moira Young’s Dust Land Trilogy, looks AMAZING. I am so stoked for this book (even though I STILL haven’t read the second book… (whoops)) just ’cause the cover looks INTENSE. Haven’t see the cover yet? Check it out:

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BEAUTIFUL, no? I will say though, the two things that bothered me about the first paper back cover STILL bothers me: WHY IS THE SERIES NAME LARGER THAN THE ACTUAL TITLE?!? I DON’T UNDERSTAND, and can they get a new quote for the cover? Please? I’m pretty much done with everyone feeling the need to compare one book against another, especially when they’re almost NOTHING alike. Also, putting quotes like that set up expectations, and while that may help with sales, sometimes it works against the book, where people take the book at face value, realize it wasn’t what they were expecting, and then drop it like it’s hot. Which sucks, ’cause this series was pretty darn good when I left it.

ANYWHOOO~

Title: Raging Star [Dust Lands #3]
Author: Moira Young
Release Date: April 15, 2014

Synopsis:

Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo and the Tonton…until she meets him and he confounds all her expectations with his seductive vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to create and build a healthy, stable, sustainable world…for the chosen few. The few who can pay.

Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Still uncertain, her connection with DeMalo a secret, Saba commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, anxious for the land in New Eden, Saba leads an inexperienced guerilla band against the powerfully charismatic DeMalo, in command of his settlers and the Tonton militia. What chance do they have? Saba must act. And be willing to pay the price.

goodreads

Review: Losing It

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Title: Losing It [Losing It #1]
Author: Cora Carmack

Synopsis:

Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, Bliss Edwards decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible – a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if that weren’t embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theatre professor. She’d left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier.

I tried guys. I TRIED -flails- I started this book with high hopes, and by the end of the novel, I wanted to just chuck it out a window.

What did I like about it? CADE. He was the only character that I liked due to his loyalty, his rationality, and the fact that he reacted to everything realistically and I never had the urge to throttle him.

What I didn’t like about the book:

1. Character Development… There wasn’t any. The character’s were very superficially done, to me. These characters, thinking of one night stands, end up falling for each other. That’s great and all, but sexual tension isn’t enough to base a relationship on, sorry. By the time I finished this 200 or so paged book, all I knew was that this girl didn’t like talking to her mother because of a very stupid reason and that Garrick was from Philly or something. That’s great, ANNNDDDDD ???

2. The writing. It was very cliche and over dramatic for such a superficial relationship. I don’t know, maybe I’m just tired of the insta-love but authors have got to stop doing this. Like her heart starts beating all fast and stuff ‘cause he’s looking at her, and her world’s spinning and falling into place perfectly from this one look. OKAY.

3. There’s a fair amount of drinking in this book. While that isn’t totally unexpected from a university student, even a high school student, Bliss barely ever changed when she was drunk. Based on the amount she kept knocking back, she should’ve been wobbling on her feet by the time she talks to Garrick the first time, but she’s perfect poised, maybe a little less nervous, but c’mon. She has only one scene where’s she REALLY drunk and like flopping around like a jellyfish. That’s drunk, but then she instantly becomes sober again when she sees Garrick, ‘cause that’s legit.

4. They’re actors/actresses and I understand that she had to draw on some experience to make her acting seem real, but simply drawing from some feelings about Garrick really didn’t help the whole lack of character development thing, just saying.

I can honestly say though, the acting and mind space that Bliss created was probably the best part of the book because people in the theatre actually do that and it was cool to look into it from a different point of view. Even though I didn’t really approve of the contents of that mind space, I did like seeing that.

While I REALLY didn’t enjoy this book, and felt like I had to DRAG myself through it, it wasn’t THAT bad of a book. Just not suited for my taste at all… I know a lot of people really enjoyed Cormack’s novels and I’m not saying they shouldn’t because it wasn’t toss out of your window worthy at least. But gawsh it took so much effort to get myself through it and I hate that I didn’t like this book…

Despite all that, I WILL be reading Faking It, the next book in the trilogy, because CADE. At least I enjoyed one character’s existence…

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Writing: 3/5
Cover: 3/5
Overall: 2/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.83/5

Review: Ink

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Title: Ink [Paper Gods #1]
Author: Amanda Sun

Synopsis:

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they’ll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

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I actually had the honour of meeting Amanda Sun at her book signing in Toronto. She was really nice, fun, a great speaker, and she got me totally pumped about her book, between the reading and the origins of the plot concept, I was ready to dive into Ink.

Although I really enjoyed this book, I felt kind of off about Katie. Where Tomohiro has a history to him, and she does everything in her power (including STALKING him) to find out about him, his past, and WHY drawings are moving whenever he’s around, we learn very little about her. After such a loss, one would suspect she’d be in mourning, or more… within herself. However, the book simply jumps right into her new life, and we learn very little about her family and what happened to them in the past. I did like her – she’s a strong protagonist – I wish there had been a little more back story and depth to her character.

Something that I wish also hadn’t been a part of the book was the insta-love. I can understand why she found him intriguing through his drawings, but this was a YA cliche I hadn’t wanted to see in this book. Also, I feel like the romance overpowered the novel’s plot, and kind of slowed everything down.

Aside from those two things, I found the setting absolutely awesome. As an Asian reader, born and raised in Canada, I rarely see a book set in an Asian country or starring an Asian character. You do not know how pleased I was with myself when I saw Jem speaking in Chinese in Clockwork Prince and UNDERSTOOD what he was saying. Then now, with Ink, I knew some of the words (thank you anime and J-drama obsession) and I was ecstatic. Amanda Sun had spent a few years in Japan studying, and that really translated into her novel when it came down to descriptions of the parks, schools, and shrines, as well as the language, in the book. I think that was one of the strongest points in the book, ’cause I felt like I was sitting in the middle of a J-drama instead of a book, and could picture everything with ease.

The concept was amazing. I loved that the ideas were drawn from Egyptian and Chinese history, as well as Japanese mythology. It really made the story unique and I was intrigued by the drawings coming alive and what the characters could do with such a power. I hope to see more of it in the second book, though, as well as a lot more action (’cause I expected way more than I got in this book…).

Something I loved about this novel, that added it it’s total specialness, were the drawings. Throughout the novel, there were drawings that illustrated the things that Tomohiro drew, and also what was happening at the time (through those little animation things where you turn the pages really fast and the pictures move (they said the technical term for it in the novel, but I kind of forgot what it was…)). I think this added to the beauty of the novel and made it more fun (:

The plot was awesome once we all got past the lovey-dovey moments (don’t get me wrong, when Tomo and Katie interacted, it was often funny and cute and I enjoyed them, but it also overpowered the story). There were Kendo fights, there were motorcycles and we got to see some action, and when it boiled down to it, the plot was definitely interesting and at time thrilling.

All in all, while I found the characters lacking, and romance overwhelming, I thing that the setting, the concept, and the plot of the novel really helped make the book come to life and made it unique and a captivating read~

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Writing: 5/5
World Building: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.60/5

Review: This Girl

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Title: This Girl [Slammed #3]
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Publishing Group (an imprint of Simon and Schuster)

Warning, spoilers ahead for those who haven’t read Slammed and Point of Retreat yet (like, literally, the spoilers are in the synopsis)

Synopsis:

There are two sides to every love story. Now hear Will’s.

Colleen Hoover’s New York Times bestselling Slammed series has brought countless readers to their knees with a whirlwind of love, passion, and heartache. 

Layken and Will’s love has managed to withstand the toughest of circumstances and the young lovers, now married, are beginning to feel safe and secure in their union. As much as Layken relishes their new life together, she finds herself wanting to know everything there is to know about her husband, even though Will makes it clear he prefers to keep the painful memories of the past where they belong. Still, he can’t resist his wife’s pleas and so he begins to untangle his side of the story, revealing for the first time his most intimate feelings and thoughts, retelling both the good and bad moments, and sharing a few shocking confessions of his own from the time when they first met.

In This Girl, Will tells the story of their complicated relationship from his point of view. Their future rests on how well they deal with the past in this final installment of the beloved Slammed series.

This book was perfect. There’s really no other way to describe it. P-E-R-F-E-C-T. Perfect.

This Girl continues from the end of Point of Retreat, and while enjoying each others’ company, Lake asks Will what went through his head throughout the events in Slammed. From first sight, to first kiss, Will brings us back to where it all began.

“What was it like the first time you saw me?” she asks. “What was it about me that made you want to ask me out? And tell me everything, even the bad thoughts.”

I laugh. “There weren’t any bad thoughts. Naughty thoughts, maybe. But not bad.”

She grins. “Well then tell me those, too.”

As with Losing HopeThis Girl is way more than just Slammed 2.0. Untold secrets are revealed, and through that short time, we see Will and Lake’s relationship grow. I have to say though, while it was awesome getting to see everything from Will’s point of view, I think Gavin also really got to shine in this book. We learn a lot about him and see that he knew WAY more than he was letting on. This is also where we got to see Will and Gavin’s friendship grow as much as we got to see Eddie and Lake become close friends in Slammed.

Did he really just threaten to blackmail me?

I pick up my pen and pull my lesson plan in front of me, breaking eye contact with him. “Gavin, you won’t tell,” I say, laughing.

He groans at my response, because he knows he would never stoop that low. “You’re right. I’d never tell. But don’t you think you owe it to me for being so trustworthy?” he says.

In this novel, we also get to see some new slams, and some old ones. As I’ve said before, I love the spoken word poems that Colleen Hoover came up with for this series. They’re just perfect, fitting, and are just amazingly written. I’ve always loved spoken word, but often times, the feelings get lost without hearing the actual performance. Colleen Hoover made it work though. Not just in This Girl, but all three books. The emotions translated into the poems were fueled by the books context leading up to the pieces and in the end, it didn’t matter that I couldn’t hear or see Will, Lake, or anyone on that stage, I still felt every single one of those words spoken.

Those are the hardest pieces of all to accept.
The pieces of our puzzle
That just don’t belong

Lastly, when I found out the meaning behind the title of this book my heart broke a little, but then in the end I was so happy and was legitimately jumping with joy. Ahh~~ Forever an emotional roller coaster with this series, like MY GOODNESS. And the stars OMFG the stars and, ugh, just love. So much love for this series!

With all the new slams, the present day tomfoolery, and that final epilogue and poem, I think This Girl was the perfect conclusion to the series. Absolutely breathtaking and captivating, I loved this book!

Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.39/5

An ARC of this book was provided by Simon and Schuster Canada through GoodReads First Reads in exchange for an honest review.

This Girl is currently purchasable as an ebook. Paperback copies will be in stores August 13, 2013!

Review: The Silver Chain

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Title: The Silver Chain [The Unbreakable Trilogy #1]
Author: Primula Bond
Genre: Adult Erotica

Synopsis:

Bound by passion, she was powerless to resist.

One dark evening in London, photographer Serena Folkes is indulging her impulsive side with a night-time shoot. But someone is watching her – mysterious entrepreneur Gustav Levi. Serena doesn’t know it yet, but this handsome stranger will change her life forever…

Serena is fascinated by Gustav, the enigmatic owner of the Levi Gallery, and she soon feels an irresistible pull of attraction. The interest is mutual, and Gustav promises to launch Serena’s photographic career at his gallery, but only if Serena agrees to become his exclusive companion.

To mark their agreement, Gustav gives Serena a bracelet to wear at all times. Attached to it is a silver chain of which he is the keeper. With the chain Gustav controls Serena physically and symbolically – a sign that she is under his power.

As their passionate relationship intensifies, Gustav’s hold on the silver chain grows stronger. But will Gustav’s dark past tear them apart?

This book is compared to the likes of Fifty Shades of Grey and Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series, and that sets the bar pretty high for most. Unfortunately, The Silver Chain did not live up to such expectations, as it was a book with many flaws. It took all my willpower to finish this book, and you all know how hard I try to always soldier on until the end. Somehow, the journey seemed a lot longer with this novel.

The Silver Chain has the newly popular equation set: small town girl trying to make it meets rich billionaire who’s ready to get it on. When I first picked up this book, I thought it was another BDSM, contracted relationship. However, while there was such things in the novel it lacked the overall idea of a BDSM contract, and instead became more kinky sex than anything. It’s true, there is a contract, but while Anastasia Steele had an extensive list of cans and can’ts, Serena basically signed up to be Gustav Levi’s whore, trading sex for money, or in this case, for fame in the art world. Until her exhibition sells out, or until Christmas, Serena was supposedly at Gustav’s beck and call, and honestly, this idea was one of the things that turned me off of the book, especially since she insisted that she wanted to stand on her own two feet and be independent… um kay, then why are you signing up for this?

The second thing was Serena. By gods. This girl switches from amiable, to crazy, to sexy, to jealous, to panicky, to insecure, to confident, to upset and tear-stained, to happy. I think her mood swings gave me whiplash. And I’m not kidding about how quickly her mood changes. It’s a serious problem, and it had me whirling in confusion wondering how we got from point A to point B to point Z in twenty pages. I also had an issue with Serena’s selfishness and disregard for the feelings of those around her. I understand that she has trust issues, but my goodness, when you throw a fit like that after seeing the church in which a guy, who’s not even technically yours, got married to his ex-wife… I think you need to calm the frick down and BREATHE. Nothing Gustav ever says to her gets through her thick skull. She’s not fazed by an insult, and when he says someone’s dead to him, she still insists that said person is a HUGE part of his life and that he hasn’t moved on in the least.

UM. NO.

And this girl had MAJOR jealousy issues. Like I understand you are falling for this guy, okay, that’s great. But when you haven’t made these feelings obvious, or even told said guy, he’ll still keep thinking you’re a-okay with being his whore. So when you start feeling jealous, and start whipping out insults and shit on this guy, well, he may be a tad confused. Also, the fact that Gustav brings her to help him get over his past, and she starts making the trip all about her, her jealousy, insecurities, and just her, her, her, you have to really wonder what he sees in this girl.

The dialogue is hard to get through. At times, it doesn’t seem like they’re really living in the present day, where the London Eye is spinning around happily, and art has a high price in society. Instead, it often feels like their living in the Elizabethan age where the guy has to be a gentleman, and his words are all poetic and when read, makes you imagine them being said by Romeo and Juliet with a cardboard balcony in the background. With all the poetry, and references to Pygmalion and Orpheus, the dialogue got bogged down and just didn’t flow right.

Adding to all that, some of the stuff Gustav says is downright demeaning, and yet Serena finds it utterly attractive and sexy. But when Jake says stuff like that it’s crude. So it’s okay for a pretty rich guy to call you a whore, but it’s not okay for your ex to call you a tease… OKAY.

Although I didn’t mind the symbolism the silver chain brought to the table, it was overdone throughout the novel, and fairly unrealistic at some points. Also, I don’t care how invisible the chain it, to wear that in public, especially at an art opening where lots of people are milling around, isn’t practical. And the fact that no one seemed to notice made it absolutely unrealistic.

Continuing with the writing issues, Bond seems to have a love for similes and analogies. They are everywhere throughout the book, and I could have lived without at least 80% of them, if not more. There’s also so many questions. Why this, how that? A particular favourite of mine was:

On my feet is another pair of fluffy white socks. How did she know I’m at my most comfortable in socks or bare feet?

Um… isn’t everyone like that. I don’t know a single person who’s content with wearing high heels, or even comfy sneakers, 24/7…

Overall, this book did very little for me. While the author tried to add depth to her characters, with screwed up childhoods and messed up baggage from the past, it just didn’t hit me hard or make me feel anything ’cause there was WAY too much drama from Serena’s ME ME ME show. There were a number of plot holes too, like Serena’s fear of thunder or lightning. It affected her once, but all the other times throughout the novel, not a single frick was given. The only things in this book that peaked my interest were the descriptions of the art and photography, and, unfortunately, the end. Therefore, as hard as it was to drag myself through this book, I now feel the need to read the next book because of the last, like, ten pages.

The Silver Chain was definitely not my cup of tea, but I’m only one person. All in all, this novel could have been so much better…

Plot: 1.5/5
Characters: 2/5
World Building: 3/5
Writing: 1/5
Cover: 3.5/5
Overall: 1.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 2.96/5

A copy of this book was provided by Mischief Books, of HarperCollins UK, Avon, through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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