Saturday, 19 August 2017

REVIEW; Fair Game, by Monica Murphy

Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Contemporary 

Recommend: Yes

Book 1

NO SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Jade's boyfriend bets her at a poker game, in the hopes he can win $50,000. He loses. Jade now owes the arrogant infamous Shepard Prescott. 
He loves watching her squirm and chasing after the one girl who keeps saying 'No'. But as Shep starts to fall for the feisty girl, he has to convince Jade he is no longer playing games and may actually be falling in love with her. 

My Thoughts:

I don't know if I am in a lull in regards to NA Romance novels, as a lot I've read lately I've just been skipping paragraphs and eye-rolling. But then Tijan, Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher can still write words that get inside my heart and my head and keep me awake at night and think

First 50% of this book: It was really good and I actually read it in one sitting as I was so hooked. I feel the start was extremely strong; it begins with the poker game and Jade being part of the bet. The chemistry between Jade and Shep is amazing, their banter hilarious. But honestly, the book fell from there. 

Second 50%: Predictable, boring. Ok, it wasn't bad. But as soon as everything starts up with the two, it just follows the same pattern in 95% of other YA/NA books. There were no twists or aspects that make the book stand out. Once they got together, everything was hunky dory and wonderful together - which, yes, can happen in real life obviously. But it was just boring :( sorry!

All the intimate scenes just felt like repeats, and I ended up skipping a lot of the last few as they added nothing to the overall story and the whole plot of the book felt like a massive shift. Meanwhile, slut shaming galore! So, Jade talks about how her roommate just goes from guy to guy but isn't 'a slut or anything'. Why does that statement have to be added? Just state how Jade and Kelli treat guys differently but stop with the slut shaming in every goddamn NA book! 

Shep: I didn't like him. I liked him for the first chapter, but for the intimate scenes, or when he was trying to charm Jade early on, I just cringed so much at his lines and arrogance. As he fell for Jade, granted, he did improve in respecting her and behaviour and there was a struggle between his old "player" self and trying to be a good boyfriend to Jade. I didn't find his arrogant nature swoon-worthy in the slightest anyway. 

Both main characters, of course, had parental issues!! What NA book would have a main character with a nice family?! But anyway, neither actually acknowledged the issues they had with their parents until it was imperative for the story and keep the plot turning. 

Overall:

I nearly DNF'd, but persevered. Not the best book I've read and a very flat and predictable story line. 

Saturday, 12 August 2017

REVIEW; Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll

Rating: 

Genre: Thriller

Recommend: No

Standalone

SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Ani FaNelli is engaged to a notable figure, she has a promising glamorous career, and is moving up the ranks in city's social scene. Ani is determined to keep her image prestigious and proud. She now has landed an interview/documentary series about her life. But when she was a teenager and attended Bradley School, there were some drunken nights and painful events that Ani has worked hard to bury. With the documentary looming, Ani's past threatens to come to life. 

My Thoughts:

DNF at about 60%. Up to this point there was no aspect that constitutes as psychological thriller in the slightest. In the 60% I read, all that had been covered was Ani attempting to keep her facade up in front of her fiance, and then the ordeals she endured as a teenager at school... She judged other women based on how they looked and what they wore and apparently depending how you place a clam shell down on your plate is a giveaway on how posh you are... wonderful - but still no thriller... 

Ani is reunited with her teacher, who cared for Ani when he heard she had been attacked by a student. Now older, he is taking part in the documentary about Ani's life and she is concerned about what he will disclose, whilst also fancy-ing him and being jealous of his partner, despite Ani supposedly being happily engaged. I somewhat enjoyed her vindictive side and attempts to be a socialite... but nothing happened! 

Overall:

I can't recommend this due to not being able to complete it. By 60% nothing had occurred to warrant it being a thriller, never mind a psychological one. I really don't see what has won so many high ratings and a movie deal. 

Saturday, 5 August 2017

REVIEW; Unseen Messages, by Pepper Winters

Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Contemporary 

Recommend: Yes

Standalone

SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Estelle ignores all the signs before getting on her flight. She knows the universe is trying to tell her something. After crash-landing on a secluded island in Fiji, she has to step up. Along with Galloway, the pair find themselves taking care of two orphaned children, and learning to survive in the wilderness along with their injuries. As hope turns to acceptance, the new family unit have to fight to survive and live alongside each other, adapting to island living. 

My Thoughts:

With 591 pages, I was so excited to get lost in this book and escape. Although not as lost as they get in the book! 

I feel like this is a total different genre of book compared to what Pepper Winters has written before. There was no taboo or dark themes in this. 

Estelle: Poor woman! She has been flung into stardom and following her music tour all she wants to do is go home. Despite all the warning signs to not get on the plane - she ignores them so she can get home quickly. I don't quite understand her reasoning to get on a dodgy helicopter after her haste to return home, but hey ho. 

Galloway: I didn't really like him for the majority of the book. He only saw Estelle as a sex object for the initial time when stranded. He had a broken leg and couldn't walk, but was angry with Estelle for taking care of them. How archaic! While the survival instinct flared up in Estelle, I never felt it did with Galloway. However, with the dual POV, we do get an insight into his past and thought process and I think this really saved him as a character as viewing him from Estelle's POV would not have sufficed. 

Pacing: The book spans about 7 or 8 years (I think). For the majority of the time on the island, the pacing was brilliantly done - with time skipped when necessary but notable moments developed, so it never really felt like it dragged. 

Plot: I enjoyed (more than I expected) the story of survival and the information of how they learned to cope and survive e.g. Estelle testing the plants for any allergic reactions to try and discover more food. There was one death I really didn't enjoy (but sort of understand why it was required) and it tore me up! There was a lot regarding the blossoming romance that frustrated me. If there had just been some better communication there would have been a lot less drama and hassle, although that would've defeated the a lot of the sub-plots then... 

Ending: I loved that the story continues beyond being rescued and the twists still occur once they get to Australia. There wasn't that immediate happy ending at being rescued and returning to civilisation. I actually think this was one of the best endings to such a great long story. 

Overall:

I think this would be a wonderful holiday read to get totally lost in. It's quite dangerous and graphic, with some truly heart-wrenching scenes. 

Saturday, 29 July 2017

REVIEW; House 23, by Eli Yance

Rating: 

Genre: Thriller, Suspense

Recommend: No

Standalone

SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Joseph Lee was framed for his wife's murder. She was bludgeoned to death as he was out cold on the bathroom floor. He wasn't convicted, but that doesn't stop his town from blaming him. Joseph hasn't left his house in 6 months, until a new couple move in to number 23, across the road. The wife looks the image of his dead wife, Jennifer, and Joseph feels a connection with her. Slowly, he befriends the couple and mourns his wife's death. But not everything is at is seems; especially as the real murderer has not yet been discovered.

My Thoughts:

This started off really promising. There was the initial suspense of who was the real murderer and what was with connection with Zala looking like Jennifer. 

None of the plot fitted well for me. My interest was piqued when it was clear there was something more going on with Zala and her husband, but as soon as Joseph uncovered some information it all tumbled in a downward spiral with so much excessive, unwarranted violence. 

So much of the build up to the action is also unnecessary. There is a lot that pulls you in; the desire to discover the real murderer for one, which is hardly even addressed. We do find out, but it's a totally new character that is just thrown in at the end with a typical, feeble excuse and reasoning. It all just boils down to an affair and a jealous husband. While conveniently the new neighbours are cons who are squatting in the murderer's house, so it all really comes full circle...

The pacing is a little off. As said, the first part is good as the drama and suspense steadily increases, pulling you in. But as soon as one thread of info is discovered, it all becomes unraveled in one breath. 

Overall:

I wouldn't recommend this novel, unfortunately. It didn't flow well and the whole plot was haphazard and alien. 

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

ARC REVIEW; Mirror Me, by Tara St. Pierre

Rating: 

Genre: Young-Adult, Contemporary 

Recommend: Yes

Standalone

NO SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Hannah now attends a prestigious, strict school, as a last effort of her mother's to tame her. After a rebellious past and an event involving Hannah's best friend, Hannah can't look at herself in the mirror. When she does, her reflection doesn't match what she expects, and Hannah fears for her sanity. When objects become displaced, screens appear backward, and Hannah is accused of going places & doing things she has no recollection of, Hannah debates if she can even trust herself. 

My Thoughts:

***Thank you to the author for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review***

Wowww! The blurb provided doesn't really allude to the extremities of what occurs and I was SO hooked. There are so many questions; What happened with Nikki? Is Nikki alive? Who is really to blame? Is Hannah seeing things? What is going on with her reflection? Who is moving her phone? The list goes on. 

It's actually quite a difficult book to review without giving spoilers away as you need to nearly go into this book half blind. 

Hannah: I think Hannah was a brilliant main character. We know she has had a rebellious past and is now paying the price under the strict rule of her mother. She has had to move away from her old life, her best friend, Nikki, and doesn't even get to keep photos of her life. She is now trying to keep her head down, get good grades and just stay out of trouble, but it's not good enough in her mother's eyes. As a teenager, she also has the ongoing drama of school life and friends and trying to fit in and be a part of things as much as her mother will allow. Her mother only approves of one friend solely because she believes she helps Hannah's grades and that's all that counts. As the story builds, you really feel for Hannah and her loss of control over her life as the unthinkable drama unfolds. 

Story: This is such an original concept, brought to life so well. Slowly, Hannah is being accused of doing things she has no memory of; plagiarizing and sneaking out, getting her in further trouble, and we have no idea how it's all happening. Told from Hannah's POV, the reader is left with the same wonder and questions as Hannah, not knowing the importance of mirrors and the messages left. Added with the mystery of Hannah's past and it's quite a page turner! The pacing is executed brilliantly; there's enough ongoing drama to prevent any dragging, balanced perfectly with answers, so it's not just an ending filled with all the answers we had.

Characters: I really liked that there weren't too many characters in this. They all held purpose and had distinct personalities and reasoning, that made them so realistic. I think I would've liked a teeny bit more of an insight into the beginning of Hannah's relationship with Cole, but then again, Hannah also missed out on most of that too! Hannah's mother is just awful, with absolute no emotional bond with her daughter, but yet even with her there is character development and attempted justification. 

I thought I had figured out what was happening as we got a little bit more revealed, however the "twist" near the ending really got me (a positive). When the why is revealed, it's a bit like a punch to the stomach (in a good way) and there lies a great underlying message about forgiveness. Everything is finished off expertly, and it feels like the whole story is justified with solid reasoning rather than just being an unexplained event.  

Overall:

This is an extremely original and captivating read with great twists. There is a thread of Fantasy genre intertwined with a solid, thought-provoking theme regarding growing up and forgiveness. A magical YA read. Tara St. Pierre has one of the best imaginations!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

REVIEW; Malik (Carter Brothers #1), by Lisa Helen Gray

Rating: 

Genre: New-Adult, Romance

Recommend: No

Book 1

SPOILERS!!! 

Summary:

Harlow Evans has moved into her Grandmother's following the murder of her parents. Next door, 5 boys live with their grandfather - The Carter Brothers. On her first day at her new school, Harlow makes an enemy who will stop at nothing to humiliate and ruin her life. 
One Carter brother, Malik, claims Harlow as his, as they all fight to protect Harlow. 

My Thoughts:

I really don't know where to begin. The amount of notes and highlights for this book surpass any other - and not in a good way. 


Writing: I appreciate self-publishing and love that it's becoming such a huge thing. But come on! At least get an editor of some kind. It's known you can't self-edit as you read what you expect to have written and not see it for the first time, but the standard of writing in this is abhorrent. I was honestly so shocked, especially as it is so highly rated and yet very few comment on the grammar. There are no typos (congrats on using spell check) but the grammar is horrendous. 

“Whose going to be there?’’ - Who's surely?
"Myles goes back to reading his health and social workbook, and go back to the laptop." - Yep, makes sense...


“Or they were click flicks,’’- Chick Flicks or is click flicks a thing? 

"No one has lived there in over eighty year's" - It should be "years ", without apostrophe due to it not being possessive. (If it were, e.g. "she had eighty years' experience)

"he turns to study his food, with his one hand resting on my thigh" - using "his one" suggests he only has one hand and it doesn't read well. 

The author clearly had an aversion to commas; none would be used when using a name e.g. "What do you want Craig?" and it should read "What do you want, Craig?" It's vocative case and therefore is separated from the direct address!! This error was ALL THROUGHOUT THE DAMN BOOK! I learnt a lot of punctuation rules from reading alone, and then a little research over the years for essays and further understanding - this should be a basic trait picked up by the author if she actually reads! 

Also would be good if the headings weren't left as Word default - really added to the unprofessional nature. 

SHOW, NOT TELL. The unwritten rule of writing a good story, yeah? You plant ideas in the readers mind to leave them to piece together feelings, or emotions... or jokes! 

"The name sounds like bust-her-cherry and not Buster Cherry"


Thank you, for pointing the joke out. Would never have worked it out myself.

Harlow: What an annoying heroine. She appeared to only be affected by the murder of her parents when it suited her. Day to day life - there was no grieving whatsoever! She also happened to be a curvy, hourglass girl with brown hair and blue eyes... an hourglass figure which APPARENTLY all boys despise... um... what? Then to add to her innocence of ignorance, she never wore makeup!!! Oh, Em, Gee! A naive, innocent, poor orphaned 17 year old virgin, who is soooo beautiful and doesn't know it, but doesn't even attempt makeup as her parents said she didn't need it. Sorry, but if a teenage girl is insecure about how she looks, she will try makeup to boost her confidence, regardless of what her parents say... 

She also did my head in regarding her relationship with Malik. I get the whole being scared to trust shit, I'm the least trusting person there is, but I wanted to smack her. She was so dense she believed BULLIES WHO HATED HER over her boyfriend. Like, they've tripped you up, humiliated you countless times, and yet you still believe what they say about the guy who has been by your side since day one? Whatever. 

Carter Brothers: Now, there is a great opportunity for the series here- five insanely hot and witty brothers and their individual issues blah blah, wonderful. But 5 of them? And all 5 of them good looking and well built? Maybe 3 would've been realistic but I felt like I was reading a story from a teenage girl's fantasy of the perfect scenario. Oh, and all having names beginning with M? F sake. 

Insta-Love: Christ on a bike. THERE WAS F ALL ROMANCE IN THIS BOOK ANYWAY! Day one, and Malik just CLAIMS Harlow, and this is meant to be absolutely breath-taking and romantic?! WTF? There's no emotion or build up to their relationship (not to mention zero chemistry) and Harlow flips from being a scared little virgin to a flirty daring minx as quick as the wind changes. Come on. 

Bullying: I think authors have great power in what they write. Books often provide solace for struggling teenagers and therefore triggering topics should be presented well and dealt with carefully. It was all over the place here. It was all just used to propel the plot, with no real emotion behind it. Even rape was included and not very respectfully. 

Why were Harlow's parents murdered? Why did the murderer come back to kill her? NONE OF THIS WAS ANSWERED! I'm surprised it wasn't the classic death by car crash. At least you aren't left wondering why they were killed. A murderer returning to kill the daughter would suggest more than a mugging or random killing. But nope. Never got to know any of that. 

The story read like it was set in America. Even the names. Malik/Mason/Maverick/Myles - kind of all American names! There was some American english/terminology used too. The only giveaway to the setting was once or twice Pound Sterling currency was mentioned. 

Overall:

I think maybe YA would enjoy this more, as it all plays into the perfect fantasy of damsel in distress being saved by 5 guys.