Monday, 2 February 2015

Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

Talon (Talon, #1)
Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons

So you know how the majority of the YA book world seem to absolutely worship Kagawa? I am not on of those people. Don't get me wrong, I've really enjoyed some of the books that she has put out and I would never think twice about reading something by her, but the majority of Kagawa's books have been pretty dependably average for me. I enjoyed them, but I seem to find her writing very long-winded and her plots formulaic. I can happily go into this review and say that Talon was no exception for me to this.

If anything, Talon was even more cliche than any of Kagawa's other offerings, which made me sad because this is a badass dragon book and I love dragons. In fact, if you don't like dragons leave now, because this is a dragon appreciation zone and dragons are freaking awesome. I loved the dragon-ey parts of Talon - the training, the different types of dragons in the dragon organisation. I loved the feud between the dragonkind and the St George dragon killing squad. That was all done well and to start with I thought "Yay! We have dragon badassery on our hands here!".

However it all seemed to evolve into a pile of mush when our dragon heroine Ember meets our St George hero Garrett, and then we get this twisted Mr and Mrs Smith style romance where they are both hunting each other and neither of them even know it. That's all well and good because our (super special) heroine and (perfect, but hiding something) hero have yet another challenge to overcome! The inevitable third part of the cliche love triangle, Riley - the bad boy dragon who wants Ember for his own means...

Sigh.

Every part of the description about Riley seems to focus on his bad boy attitude and his smouldering eyes and ain't nobody got time for that! I came her for fragon badassery! Not 'supernatural being has to fit into normal teenage life and meets a guy who she has to hide secret from and meets other guy who knows more than he should' Ya-ery. If I want something like that I can go somewhere else. I shouldn't get that in a book by one of the most appreciated authors in Young Adult fiction!

As always, I did enjoy Kagawa's writing. it is witty and clever and she knows how to write engaging dialogue and fantastic characters. That being said, if the general plot was as engaging as that dialogue, this would be getting a much higher rating. Sorry Julie.


Overall Rating: C-

Book released 28th October 2014 by Harlequin Teen
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Review: Captive by A.J. Grainger

Captive

I open my eyes. The cell is flooded with sunlight; the window is a slice of pale blue. Dust particles dance in the sparkling light, pirouetting in a golden line from the window to the opposite wall of the cell, where they seem to converge into shapes. It is like looking into a kaleidoscope. 

Dad isn't here. No one is, but me.
Robyn Knollys-Green is an A-list celebrity, famous for being the daughter of one of the world's most powerful men. But not even the paparazzi can find her now.

Robyn begins to realise that she is trapped in a complicated web of global corruption and deceit - and that the strange, melancholy boy who has been tasked with guarding her might not be an enemy after all . . .

Captive was a book that I requested for review on a whim - it looked interesting but at the time I was also trying to build up my TBR shelf as well, so it might not have been one I would have picked if I was being more selective. On one hand, I'm pretty happy that I picked this book up because it was definitely one that I enjoyed, however on the other hand it was not exactly amazing - it was good, but never really kept me gripped.

Now, that's not to say that this book wasn't suspenseful and tense at times, but I just wish that momentum had been kept throughout the book. Instead, the gritty, scary scenes where I actually felt like Robyn might be at risk were stirred in with cheesy romance scenes of thefledgling love between Robyn and one of her captives Talon. I did enjoy that storyline but it made the book seem very bipolar in it's approach, which I didn't enjoy.

What I did really enjoy were the parts where Falcon made Robyn doubt her father's intentions, which led to Robyn's personality becoming much stronger so that she can confront her dad at the end, and Robyn's opinions changing as she remembers what happened on the day her father was shot. I liked that Robyn quickly changed into a stronger character in the end and I can't help but feel sorry for her and Talon after the ending.


Overall, Captive was a good book that held my attention for the most part. However it didn't completely deliver the gritty kidnap plot which I had so yearned for s I can't help but feel a bit let down.

Overall Rating: C+

Book released 29th January 2015
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Shelf Spotlight - 10th January 2015




Shelf Spotlight is my weekly haul meme where I talk about all of the books that I have got this week in print and ebook format!

It's based on Stacking the Shelves hosted over at Tynga's Reviews and The Sunday Post hosted at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

This edition covers the last month of books, so it's kind of a big one

Review: NetGalley/Edelweiss

Dancing with Molly Don't Ever ChangeThe Cage (The Cage, #1) The Revenge Playbook

Dancing with Molly by Lena Horowitz - June 2nd 2015, Simon Pulse

The Leveller (The Leveller, #1) The Night We Said Yes Between the Notes Paperweight


Tiny Pretty Things Emmy & Oliver My Heart and Other Black Holes The Prey (The Hatchery, #1)


Atlantis Rising The Messenger (Mortal Beloved, #1) Above What Remains


Disappear Home  Phantom's Dance Stung (Struck, #2)

Mind Games Love, Lattes and Mutants Narvla's Celtic New Year Talon


Inked Shadow Study (Soulfinders, #1) Of Shadow and Stone Me and Mr J


Phew! Thats a few books!
Call by with your post and I'll visit fo'sho! <3

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Review: Twisted Fate by Norah Olson

Twisted Fate
When Alyson meets Graham Copeland, the new boy next door, she instantly feels like he’s a kindred spirit—shy and awkward like her, someone who has trouble making friends. It’s impossible to resist having a crush on him. 

As usual, her sister, Sydney, sees things differently. In Sydney's mind, Graham's odd personality and secretive past scream psychopath, not sweetheart. Her gut is telling her to stay away from him, and to protect a love-struck Alyson from her own naïveté. But despite her instincts, Sydney is surprised to realize that a part of her is drawn to Graham, too. 

And the more Sydney gets to know him, the more she realizes just how right—and wrong—she is about everything.

I'm not sure what this book even is.

Now, that is an odd way to start a review and I can only apologise, but frankly I have no idea what this book is. Or should I say, how this book got published.

I want a fantastic psychological thriller, I pick up this book because frankly the blurb has this dark thing about it that makes me thing 'that will fill the void in my life', and instead I get superficial, predictable and absolutely no sense at all. Now, I get what Olson was trying to do and I can only congratulate her on the fantastic idea that she had, but other than that everything was a load of tosh. Ugh.

I don't even know where to start.

First of all, the writing was not too great, I got this image of Olson being this old person trying to write from a young person's perspective, because of the constant references to Sydney's troublemaking tendencies (skateboarding and smoking weed, apparently). But it also feels like some sort of wish fulfilment, wherein Sydney is this troublemaker but she still manages to get these amazing perfect grades and she knows lots of big words and her best friends are like that too and... what?

None of it is even relevant. 

And Allison is made out to be this bad character because she's boring and she bakes muffins and she is responsible and she falls in love, and all of those are decent things to do. Why is Sydney a better person? This is the depth of the characters in this book.

Don't even get me started on Graham.

There are so many perspectives in this book and because of this the big twist in the end is made too obvious. I am not a fan of all the switching - especially because all of the characters except the policeman and the emails sounded the same, and foreshadowing is just stupid unless done right. This is not one of those times. Plus, despite the fact that the big twist is so obvious, it also makes no sense, it seems like something tacked on to the end in the final stage of editing to make it a little deeper and a little bit more thrilling.

Cannot formulate words.

No. This book was not for me. I've seen a lot of positive reviews for it, so maybe it is worth checking it out. For me, the only reason I got through this book so quickly was because the % bar was moving so fast. If the book had been much longer it would have been a definite DNF.

Overall Rating: E

Book released 20th January 2015 by Katherine Tegan
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Review: The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

This was such a freaking amazing piece of fantasy that I can barely put into words how much this book blew me away. The set-up was great from the get go, with a fantastic world being built in just a few pages. Whilst the start was slow, it picks up very quickly and we are suddenly thrown into this fantasy with all of the things I love from books of this genre. We have action, plot twists, intrigue, romance and a kick-ass heroine! 

I wouldn't be surprised if Mare remains my favorite heroine of the year. She was tough and strong, but also cracked and weak at times - something that I love in my heroines. She's tough, coming to terms with powers that she shouldn't even have, but she's also out of control, a risk to herself or others. Mare is torn between whether to use these powers for good or to flee from them. 

There's also a love triangle... Wait! Don't run! This is a love triangle with a twist. This is Mare trying to decide which boy is best for her political views and her cause, and it's a dark and dangerous triangle, with seemingly innocent people betraying the people they are supposed to love. AWESOME! Maven had his moments, but I was in love with Cal from the start, so the end was a complete kicker for me. 

This is a book that grips from start to finish, it's a complete kicker - my heart was wrenched, my knuckles were white, my loyalties were tested until I had no idea who to trust. The world building was beautiful and so well done and Aveyard may well be one of the best fantasy writers, to go alongside my personal heroines Maria V. Snyder and Kristin Cashore.

Urgh, just take my word, whatever it's worth, and read this book. I swear!

Overall Rating: A+

Book released 12th February 2015 by Orion Books
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Friday, 19 December 2014

Review: Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce


Ginny and Kai are in love.
Or so Ginny thought.

A mysterious girl with beauty as flawless as ice enchants Kai. When he is swept away by this intoxicating snow maiden, Ginny must cast aside her fears and pursue him. In the face of mortal danger, will Ginny and Kai's love hold strong, or melt slowly away?






This is a book that started out well and ended well. Everything in the middle of that, for me, was a little bit 'meh'. The story was gripping and of course I cared what happened to Kai, but I think that Jackson Pearce made a few mistakes which brought the book down.

Firstly, let me make an admission. Despite having had 'Sisters Red' and 'Sweetly' sat gathering dust on my TBR shelf for around three years, I have never ( repeat, never) read a book by this author before. I've heard amazing things but just never got round to it. However when I got this in a book bundle from the awesome people at Hodder Children's I couldn't wait to try it.

Now, I'm not debating the fact that this was a good book. TJhe writing was especially good and I loved the settings. The start was strong, with a moderately creepy prologue and then a too-good-to-be-true young couple just forewarning that something bad was bound to happen. And it did. From the very start I was thinking "No! Don't!" every time Mora was around Ginny and Kai and it felt like a punch in the gut when Kai was taken away. I didn't feel like he was at risk though - that was Pearce's biggest mistake for me. Though I wanted him back I didn't think he was going to die or anything. Thus, I never really thought the stakes were too high and I think this resulted in me just not caring enough.

 Another reason I don't think I cared was Ginny. She was a nice girl, she had a good heart. She was also stupid and naive, putting herself into bad situations and getting out just by luck, or being saved by someone who shouldn't have to save her stupid ass. Half the time I was facepalming and though I never wanted her to die like I do most stupid book protags, I did want to slap her at times. About halfway through the book I stopped trying to find any character development and I just read on because I was enjoying the plot.

That being said, the plot went a bit haywire around the 2/3 mark, when Ginny is saved/kidnapped by some Snow Queen worshipping gypsies and saved by a gutsy gypsy princess (who in hindsight was just what this book needed, just without the unnecessary plot behinfgtheir meeting). I spent this part of the book frustrated because it did nothing for the whole thing!

By the ending, I was somewhat relieved because Ginny got a backbone and the inevitable happiness happened and I got to close this book.

Because although I did enjoy it and it killed a nice few hours in a hot bath, there are other books on my pile which are probably worth my time a little more. So I can't have loved it that much.

Overall Rating: C-

Book released 2014 by Hodder Childrens
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Moving

Eek! So I haven't posted regularly in the past few weeks, I know! I've been reading  a lot but getting on the laptop has been a nightmare, not most because my boyfriend and I have been living between two houses!

Still, we're now completely settled into our lovely new flat and the internet is (sort-of) working. So I should be able to start blogging again!

WOOT!!!