Review: The Brokenhearted by Amelia Kahaney


The Brokenhearted

A teenage girl is transformed into a reluctant superhero and must balance her old life with the dark secret of who she has become.

Prima ballerina Anthem Fleet is closely guarded by her parents in their penthouse apartment. But when she meets the handsome Gavin at a party on the wrong side of town, she is immediately drawn into his dangerous world. Then, in a tragic accident, Anthem falls to her death. She awakes in an underground lab, with a bionic heart ticking in her chest. As she navigates her new life, she uncovers the sinister truth behind those she trusted the most, and the chilling secret of her family lineage…and her duty to uphold it.

Mrs Kahaney, there is such a thing called world building and in the very massive young adult market its pretty darned important. Unfortunately, you are seriously missing it and in this book it was pretty necessary so this book seriously dropped in my rating just because of that. The whole bleak world and silent vigilante with improved skillz was all well and good, but why is the world so bleak? Who are the bad guys and what is the motivation? Who is this mysterious The Hope that keeps being alluded to? I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if I'd actually had a clue what was going on.

I also would have loved the whole mechanical heart thing to have been mentioned a little more. It's mentioned every now and again in passing and Anthem does use her awesome new powers but what about the emotional effect of having a heart transplant? I loved the whole vigilante thing though, Anthem going and kicking butt was pretty awesome to read about and it was at this point that the pace picked up. Then there's that twist at the end which I could have seen coming but... well... it did hit me and I'll give Kahaney kudos for that.

Let me get onto this romance though. This was one of the most frustrating and annoying romances ever. Anthem meets Gavin. Anthem falls for Gavin. Anthem loses her virginity to Gavin within a few days. Gavin is kidnapped. Anthem is heartbroken because she loves this guy. No, just... NO. I get that Kahaney had this awesome batman-esque vigilante thing planned out and had to get there somewhere, but what the HECK is this? Instant love is one thing, but instant deflowering is on a whole other level.

I was so excited for The Brokenhearted and I regret to say that for me this book was an absolute let-down.There were some exciting and well paced parts and the ending was a shocker, but the romance and absolute lack of world development just really disappointed me. Not recommended by me...

 Overall Rating: E+

Book released 8th October 2013 by HarperTeen
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (Edelweiss)

Review: Find Me by Romily Bernard


Find Me

"Find Me." These are the words written on Tessa Waye's diary. The diary that ends up with Wick Tate. But Tessa's just been found...dead.

Wick has the right computer-hacking skills for the job, but little interest in this perverse game of hide-and-seek. Until her sister Lily is the next target. Then Griff, trailer-park boy next door and fellow hacker, shows up, intent on helping Wick.

Is a happy ending possible with the threat of Wick's deadbeat dad returning, the detective hunting him sniffing around Wick instead, and a killer taunting her at every step?

Foster child. Daughter of a felon. Loner hacker girl. Wick has a bad attitude and sarcasm to spare.

But she's going to find this killer no matter what.

Because it just got personal.

I like to think that I am a very discerning reviewer, I usually figure out the culprit in this type of book pretty quickly and that is why mystery contemporary books never really appeal to me. I was sooo shocked by Find Me though, even though looking back I know I should have seen it coming and I think that's the sign of a good mystery novel - the reveal shocks you but there are obvious signs throughout it.


This isn't just a mystery whodunnit novel though - firstly, we don't have a murderer, we have a suicide caused by somebody. Secondly, there's the way that Wick is a hacker and has links to scams and her father is wanted criminal. All of these other things add an edge to this book that make it just gritty and original, such a pleasure to read. Wick was street-smart and defensive character but she never seemed overly cold or whiny, it all suited her after what she had been through, I really liked Griff who was loyal and yet also a little rough and ready - he was the absolute perfect for for Wick and I loved their relationship. Lily was a fantastic innocent character and I really liked Bren, and I liked beginning to like her along with Wick.
There are more things going on than just the main mystery story. What I really loved in this book was watching Wick show, she is bitter in this book which is understandable but she grows into a more open person by the end of the book and I absolutely loved her by the end of the book.

Bernard is an awesome writer. The pacing and tension in this book was always at a high and she kept me guessing from the first to last page, the romance was well written but she is also so talented at writing nail-biting action scenes - that ending climax had me white-knuckled from gripping my kindle so tightly and I was half expecting my fingers to go through the screen!

Overall, Find Me was one of the best mystery books that I have ever read. This book mixes a great romance, an awesome heroine, a not-so-obvious mystery and the right amount of techy awesomeness! Very well done! I am sooooo excited for the sequel now!

 Overall Rating: A

Book released 24th September 2013 by Harper Teen
Book received from the author in exchange for an honest review (Edelweiss)

Review: Thin Space by Jody Cassella

Thin Space
Ever since the car accident that killed his twin brother, Marshall Windsor has been consumed with guilt and crippled by secrets of that fateful night. He has only one chance to make amends, to right his wrongs and set things right. He must find a Thin Space—a mythical point where the barrier between this world and the next is thin enough for a person to step through to the other side.

But, when a new girl moves into the house next door, the same house Marsh is sure holds a thin space, she may be the key—or the unraveling of all his secrets.

As they get closer to finding a thin space—and closer to each other—Marsh must decide once and for all how far he’s willing to go to right the wrongs of the living…and the dead.

Thin Space was a really cold book - I felt so disconnected from it because the tone was so... I guess I'd call it distant. However, the tone did actually fit the book because Marsh and Maddie are both going through difficult times so they walk around feeling very distant from themselves, as well as the fact that the book is set in a freezing cold winter, so the bleak tone kind of fit the setting and time.

Casella writes grief so well and whilst I've never lost someone very close to me, I felt that Marsh was grieving so well - his search for a thin space showed his disbelief and anger that his brother is dead, especially his going as far as walking around with bare feet, even in the middle of a freezing cold winter. I didn't feel like anyone else was acting as though they had lost someone but I'm going to blame this on the fact that very few of the backing characters are developed at all - Maddie and Marsh are the only people who matter in this book. Marsh's voice reads so well and he was such a realistic person to follow.

The relationship between Maddie and Marsh developed from curiosity to friendship to something more and the progression did feel very realistic and well developed, so I applaud Casella on this, however the ending where Maddie forgives him for the big secret seemed a little unrealistic, at least make him work for it girl! Speaking of the secret... well that threw me off big time! I was not expecting that and whilst it didn't affect my judgement of the book, I still don't think it was necessary!

Overall, Thin Space was a bleak and dreary read - and I mean that in the best way! The tone and mood of the book really matched the content. I liked the romance but would have liked more characters to be developed, and I think the big twist ending should have been either foreshadowed more or omitted from the book.

Overall Rating: B-

Book released 10th September 2013 by Simon Pulse
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (Edelweiss)

Review: The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White


The Chaos of Stars

Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up.

Of course, as the human daughter of Egyptian gods, that pretty much comes with the territory. She’s also stuck with parents who barely notice her, and a house full of relatives who can’t be bothered to remember her name. After all, they are going to be around forever—and she’s a mere mortal.

Isadora’s sick of living a life where she’s only worthy of a passing glance, and when she has the chance to move to San Diego with her brother, she jumps on it. But Isadora’s quickly finding that a “normal” life comes with plenty of its own epic complications—and that there’s no such thing as a clean break when it comes to family. Much as she wants to leave her past behind, she can’t shake the ominous dreams that foretell destruction for her entire family. When it turns out there may be truth in her nightmares, Isadora has to decide whether she can abandon her divine heritage after all.

The Chaos of Stars was by far one of my most anticipated 2013 releases since I adored Kiersten White's Paranormalcy series and Mind Games was a fun read as well. I can't say that The Chaos of Stars totally lived up to my expectations, but it wasn't a serious let-down either.

This book has an awesome and original idea - I honestly never thought I'd see an mythology book based on Egyptian mythology since generally Greek and Roman mythology seem to be the craze these days, with a little Norse thrown in every now and again and I love what White did for the mythology, with Isadora's story mixed in with the stories of ancient Egyptian gods. Honestly, it was a fantastic idea and it was pulled off quite well, excusing a few issues in execution and plot holes.

I've always enjoyed reading White' writing, honestly even if the story was boring I would still be entertained by the writing. Thankfully The Chaos of Stars wasn't boring, I was really absorbed in the story even though I realised when I finished the book that actually not that much happened and I think that this is because I enjoyed reading Isadora so much - she was a very honest and fun narrator. I also couldn't help but love Ry even though his plot-twist was extremely obvious!

The main issue that I had with this book was that there didn't really seen to be a lot going on until the end and whilst the characters and narration kind of made up for it I do wish there had been more white knuckle, gripping moments. I mean, I don't think that the book was made bad by this, but I would have LOVED it if there had been a little bit more action like the Anubis show down at the end - hopefully in the next book there will be!

Overall, The Chaos of Stars was a great read even though there was a lot of build-up and not a lot of action. I did still enjoy reading it since Isadora was an amazing character and she basically made this book as great as it was. Still, a little bit more action wouldn't go amiss. Definitely one you should try if you're a mythology lover!


Overall Rating: B

Book released 10th September 2013 by HarperTeen
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (Edelweiss)

Hiatus

Hi guys!

I'm on a temporary hiatus at the moment. It won't be too long!
I've been taking some time off reading to concentrate on other hobbies that blogging hasn't given me much time for, I'm also having to get ready for university starting again in a few weeks!

Review: The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle

The Infinite Moment of Us
For as long as she can remember, Wren Gray’s goal has been to please her parents. But as high school graduation nears, so does an uncomfortable realization: Pleasing her parents once overlapped with pleasing herself, but now... not so much. Wren needs to honor her own desires, but how can she if she doesn’t even know what they are?

Charlie Parker, on the other hand, is painfully aware of his heart’s desire. A gentle boy with a troubled past, Charlie has loved Wren since the day he first saw her. But a girl like Wren would never fall for a guy like Charlie—at least not the sort of guy Charlie believes himself to be.

And yet certain things are written in the stars. And in the summer after high school, Wren and Charlie’s souls will collide. But souls are complicated, as are the bodies that house them...

I was so disappointed by The Infinite Moment of Us. I was expecting it to be this year's must read summer contemporary but actually everything just fell a little short for me. The characters were definitely lacking half of their personality and though this is supposed to be about a real love I can't help but feel that Wren and Charlie's relationship was a little unhealthy.

Firstly, it was a (mostly) honest portrayal of young love and first times and I respected the easy approach to sex that Myracle takes, that being said there were some things in this book that made me scoff. When I was an inexperienced seventeen year old, I had a steady boyfriend (it lasted two years but we ended up.. erm... well... doing it after a few weeks), at this point in time I was so shy that I insisted the lights be off, I was so scared about someone walking in so I was jumpy and it as all together quite awkward and embarrassing so I laughed at Myracle's depiction of Charlie and Wren's first time - it was in a ditch... yes, a ditch... and aside from the awkwardness of laying on a stick it was amazing for Wren (no girl's first time is ever going to be amazing, let me tell you that now!). I really appreciated Myracle's honest approach to Wren's nervousness before the actual event, but the actual execution made me laugh. Maybe there's also the fact that despite now being into my twenties I still giggle at the words 'penis' and 'vagina' which made it a bit awkward for me... maybe I'm just not mature enough yet?

I think that the characters were portrayed realistically but they were also unlikable and irrational. These two have been together for like two months yet Wren irrationally wants Charlie to give up his whole life plan to go to another continent with her for a year and when he shows that he doesn't want to she throws a tantrum saying he's putting his family above her. Let's take into consideration that Charlie has a disabled and bullied younger brother... yeah. This is the point where Wren became a semi-likable character to one that I despised. Kudos to Charlie for not being a walking doormat, but he isn't without his flaws, Wren's insecurity in the relationship is fueled by his lying and sneaking around to see his clingy ex-girlfriend. The relationship was volatile at best and will never work out in the long run, so I really disagreed with the ending.

I have to give Myracle kudos on writing the characters the way they were, they may have been unlikable but they were also honest. Myracle's blunt writing and well written narration does redeem this book some as well so I would read her other books. I honestly think that this book almost has the potential to become this generation's Forever - not because I liked the book but because it is blatantly honest and deals with the issues that kids need to know about. 

Overall Rating: C-

Book released  27th August  2013 by Amulet Books
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (Netgalley)

Review: When the World was Flat (and we were in love) by Ingrid Jonach

When the World was Flat (And We Were in Love)
When sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith for the first time, it’s like fireworks — for her, anyway. Tom looks as if he would be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he is bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.

But as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind — memories of the two of them, together and in love.

When she at last learns the truth about their connection, Lillie discovers that Tom has been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that is bigger — and much more terrifying and beautiful — than the both of them. She also discovers that once you finally understand that the world is round, there is no way to make it flat again. 

I wasn't originally going to read this book because the blurb never really grabbed me, but after seeing it on NetGalley alongside other Strange Chemistry titles I thought 'What the heck? Let's give it a try!' because Strange Chemistry are like my favorite publisher (well, imprint) and they've released so many beyond awesome books many of which I wasn't initially sure of!

So I didn't have really high expectations for this book, which is good because this book really failed to impress me. It sounded so original and dynamic, but it actually had so few 'original' concepts in it that it seemed like a regurgitation of the typical YA book, except without the werewolf/vampire/angel supernatural bit there's the dimension travelling boy. Let's look at it step by step - we have a girl who isn't popular, this girl meets the new guy in her small town who is initially stand-offish but then all of a sudden changes his tune. New guy saves her from a near death experience and then it turns out the new guy has some pretty big secret that she accepts way too easily! You know the score, I know the score, it's tiring to have to read it over and over again.

It's not that this book had absolutely no originality at all - it definitely did! I really liked the evacuee idea and the merging idea and it was well explained, it's just that When the World Was Flat doesn't really compare to the massive amount of YA sci-fi that's being put out this year - All Our Yesterdays, Unraveling, Pivot Point, Parallel - all of these are books that I would recommend to anyone over When the World was Flat. In fact, I'd really only recommend this book when somebody is fresh to the genre and looking for a Twilight set-up with something new added to it (sorry, I made the dreaded comparison!).

I also want to bemoan the lack of chemistry between the two leads. Lillie is the girl who hasn't really had much attraction to guys but then after one look at Tom she becomes obsessed and Tom is already obsessed with Lillie from his first appearance, there is no slow burn to their relationship as they just fall for each other. Tom is initially cold but suddenly his icey heart opens up and it's like Lillie just forgets that for the first part of the book this guy has been a complete a-hole. As well as that, as soon as Tom turns up Lillie basically forgets her two best friends (if you can call them that... all the slut shaming that Lillie does!), I absolutely hate when that happens in a book. Then there is my least favorite thing in YA books - we have a male lead that looks eighteen but in actuality he is like old. He's lived a lot of lives and has got married in some of them and had kids in others.... it's just creepy guys! Plus, the fact that he has lived many lives with different Lillie's must put a lot of pressure on this Lille, this is not a healthy relationship everyone, this is not going to work.


Overall Rating: D-

Book released  3rd September 2013 by Strange Chemistry
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (Netgalley)

Blogging Tips and Tricks - Negative/DNF Reviews

This is the fourth part of my tips and tricks for book blogger series, a feature that will be posted every Thursday (except last week! I was too ill!) and will cover topics relating to book bloggers. Hopefully this series will be able to help new (and even old!) bloggers find their footing and get a great start in blogging!

In the first post I covered what ARCs are, and some of the ways you can get your hands on them.
In last week's post I gave step by step tutorials for using eARC requesting platforms NetGalley and Edelweiss with some tips.
Last week I spoke about receiving review copies from publishers, and publisher/blogger interaction.


This week I'm covering an often controversial topic - the dreaded negative review. So, you've used the above guides and managed to get some books for review, but *gasp* you just couldn't get into a book - maybe you finished the book but you disliked it, or maybe you couldn't even get all the way through it and gave up for fear that you'd end up throwing the book against a wall or stomping on your Kindle.

The thing is, you're confused, or nervous. Do you review the book even if you didn't like it or didn't finish it? Won't people hate you? Will you feel mean? Will the publisher boycott you and never let you review their books again? Will you get hate for saying something bad about a book someone else liked? 

These are all things that I worried about the first few times I had to write a negative review and I'm sure a lot of other bloggers had similar worries so I'm here to stop you from worrying the same way.

Should I review a book if I didn't like it?
The first thing that I really want to stress is that you don't have to review anything - never feel obligated. If you're really uncomfortable negatively reviewing a book then don't do it. 

My opinion on negative reviews is that they're just as important as positive ones. As Nikki from The Paper Sea said:

For one, they are part of the honesty and integrity that we should have as bloggers and as readers... providing only positive reviews hinders more than it helps.  It prevents authors from improving their work, and fosters a society of people who can't handle constructive criticism.  We already have that problem, with people feeling entitled to praise no matter what.

Really, I couldn't have put it any better myself! (It's true - I suck at putting words together to form sentences - as you can probably tell from these posts and my whole blog. Yes, English IS actually my first language...). The truth is that negative reviews are part of what we sign up for when we establish ourselves as review bloggers - a review is an opinion of a piece of work and the word opinion suggests something subjective. That's why, in my opinion, it's important to make sure you make it obvious in your review that this is your opinion. One of my pet hates is people who say "You won't like this book, don't buy it.", a much nicer way of saying that is "I personally wouldn't recommend this book". That way you're saying that you didn't enjoy it and there's a chance that other people with similar tastes to you won't either, but you're not telling people they won't enjoy it. remember, everyone has different tastes.

I also only review books where I can pick out some redeeming qualities, even if it's an E or D (1/2 star) read, I can still say that it at least showed promise, but it was seriously let down by the execution, or something. I never write a flaming review, it should at least have SOME balance. I've never read a single book where there wasn't at least one thing that was good, or at least showed potential.

What about if I didn't even manage to finish the book (DNF)?
Once again, you don't have to review the book at all and there are no set 'standards' so to speak, it's all up to you. That being said, I have a very set opinion on DNF books which is that if I choose to give up on it because I'm just not feeling like reading it, or I'm in a reading slump - that's my issue, not the books so I put it to on side to possibly read in the future. I won't review it.

I also won't write a DNF unless I've really given the book a good shot. Last week I spent four days trying to get through a book and eventually gave up 200 pages in, I wrote a DNF review for it stating that whilst the book itself was really interesting, I just couldn't handle the overly classical style of writing. As with negative reviews, it's important to mention that there are things that didn't work for you and that's why you gave up, rather than ranting about the book without actually making a point in your 'review' (the word review is in quote marks because I personally don't believe that opinionated rants with little to no actual discussion of the book really counts as a review.

The one thing that gets on my nerves is people writing real DNF reviews for a book they gave up on in the first few chapters or so pages. It may sound a little.... rude I guess... but how can you really supply a balanced opinion when you're only a few pages in? How can you comment on the characters, plot, execution and writing style if you haven't actually experienced it? There are different ways to go about it, you can either not write a review at all, or write a shorter review just mentioning that you didn't finish it, you got however far into the book and some things weren't clicking with you. 

Now once again, I want to stress that this is my opinion and whilst I believe that what I'm saying is true, other bloggers may have a different opinion on the matter.

That's just my opinion though and this topic calls for a wider range of opinions so I took to twitter and asked my fellow bloggers to tell me what they though of this topic. These guys are awesome as well, so if you have time please visit their blogs and say hi!

Pili @ In Love With Handmade
"Unless I've got said book as an ARC, I usually just rate the book and give a one line review if I don't like it…"
"[If I got it as an ARC:] Then I do feel like I should review it somehow, and if I haven't finished it just state why I feel I couldn't finish it"

(On negative reviews;)" I am for them: honesty > all else. since people review books to help others decide what to read, that's important. .tips for reviews: be honest, compare only inside the genre (cannot compare HP to 50SoG), make points: setting, writing"
(On DNF reviews) "I also post reviews about DNFs because 1) I didn't know I wouldn't finish the book and 2) again, honesty. I try to read until 30 % or so because some books have slow starts. I always review DNFs, especially if it's a book I was given in exchange for a review"

Manno @ Dilletante Artiste
"I think [negative reviews are] super important, as long as you're civil and clarify that just because you didn't like it doesn't make it bad.:D"

"I definitely think [negative reviews are] needed. It would be bizarre if a book had all positives. As long as the reviewer is polite = no prob! Stating why it didn't work for *you* rather than just stating that its rubbish"
(on what makes a reviewer 'impolite') "slandering the author, saying they 'cant write'."

Nikki @ The Paper Sea:
"I look for all kinds of reviews: positive, negative and DNF.  I want a balanced selection of reviews in order to make my decision on whether or not to read a book.  Negative reviews definitely do affect my choices - Bennett Madison's THE SEPTEMBER GIRLS is the most obvious (although positive reviews have changed my mind back again!).  I think both negative and positive reviews are equally valuable."
"I do DNF books, but it's a rare occurrence.  I think my DNF rate is at about 10% right now.  I do write mini-reviews for books I've DNF'd, explaining why I chose to do so, but I think DNF reviews should always make it clear that the review doesn't consider the whole book.  It's misleading and misrepresentation of the book to do otherwise"

Liz @ Planet Print on reviewing DNFs:
"I think almost always, as long as you say why you couldn't finish it and that others might like it more for such and such reason. But if someone doesn't want to review it I don't think they should have to. Also I find DNF reviews really useful in which books to actually purchase and which to ignore/maybe only borrow from the library"



I also had the awesome Sean Cummings tell me what he thinks of negative reviews. Sean is the author of the awesome YA paranormal series "Poltergeeks"

I just want to request that we all take a moment to savor the amount of awesome in this answer.


"If someone wants to post a negative review of my book, that's their prerogative. Book reviewing is in transition because of social media, blogging, Goodreads, etc. Most book consumers don't read blogs but they might read a review on Amazon. What I dislike are "assholish" reviews wherein the reviewer posts animated gifs to express the words they themselves cannot formulate into a proper review. I dislike abusive tags like "authors I want to stab" and "die author die" on a blog or Goodreads. If someone hates my stuff, groovy, knock yourself out and post a negative review. Shout it from the rooftops if you want. But you can't call it a review when it's a lengthy diatribe or a rant as opposed to a reasoned position. Badly written reviews abound in this day and age of social media and ultimately it all becomes white noise to me because that's basically what snark is - white noise."

 That answer is spot on - reviews should be well structured and well written. Sarcastic comments are one thing, but going on an all out tirade against the author because they said something in their book that you didn't quite believe in or because their book somehow 'offended' you? Not cool. You're a reviewer, not a bully. Abusing the author isn't going to get you respect - a few people will smile at your review, but is it really going to give a fair point of view?

Let's take a moment of silence to respect Sean Cummings and this brutally honest answer that, quite honestly, everyone has been thinking!

Review: If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

If You Could Be Mine
Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.

So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.

Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution. In Iran, homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. As a man, Sahar could be the one to marry Nasrin. Sahar will never be able to love the one she wants, in the body she wants to be loved in, without risking her life. Is saving her love worth sacrificing her true self?


If You Could be Mine is a beautiful, meaningful book, tackling an issue that needs more attention - homosexuality in the Middle East. This book deals with two lesbian girls in Iran coming to terms with the impossibility of their relationship as it is and it also touches on the acceptance of transsexualism in Iran and the availability of sex change operations. This book was well informed and so it was very believable, this made the story that bit more touching.


That being said, I really struggled to care about the romance because whilst I did sympathise with Sahar's suffering I absolutely despised Nasrin as a character - she was thoughtless, selfish and truthfully Sahar would have been far better off without her - more confident and happy about herself. I also felt like I didn't get to know Sahar as well as I would have liked as the focus was more on her suffering and her personal journey rather than the person she started out as. 

Ali was a fantastic character in this book. He was clever and Sahar's admiration is so obvious for him that it manages to cloud the negative aspects f his character, but Parveen was an amazing character as well - she is the one who understands what Sahar really needs and supports her along the way, no matter what.

I felt that the conclusion of this book was a little sloppy - a lot of things started happening at once and I struggled to keep track and then BAM... it fizzles out. That being said, I liked the very ending with Sahar's life turning out well, it all worked out exactly as I would have liked it to.

Overall, If You Could Be Mine was an interesting and poignant journey into LGBT culture in the Middle East. However some parts of the execution were weak so this book is kind of just average for me.

Overall Rating: C

Book released  10th August 2013 by Alqonquin Young Readers
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (NetGalley)
Reviews for other books by this author:

Bout of Books Update - Tuesday

Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 19th and runs through Sunday, August 25th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 8.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team.

Monday's Diary!

Read today:
I finished 59% of The Infinite Moment of Us which is around 198 pages.

Books read overall: 
1 - The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle

Percentage of current book: 
1%.

Thoughts on today's book(s): 
It was a bit meh... I had some serious issues with how the female MC treated the male MC, review to come. 

Overall thoughts on the day: 
I'm glad I got so much done, but I'm really struggling to commit to reading right now... meh...

Bout of Books Update - Monday

Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 19th and runs through Sunday, August 25th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 8.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team.

Monday's Diary!

Read today:
I managed 12% (40 pages) of The Infinite Moment of Us, but I only managed about half an hour of reading today.

Books read overall: 
None, so far!

Percentage of current book: 
41%.

Thoughts on today's book(s): 
I'm enjoying it, so far but I'm not completely into it. I haven't been grabbed and I don't really love the characters yet. I don't feel in any rush to read it and I'm happy putting it down.

Overall thoughts on the day: 
I have so much respect for my parents now after the day of housework I've had. Actually, this is the first Bout of Books that I've taken part in since I moved out of my parental home so it's the first time I've actually had stuff to do and haven't been able to lounge around and read all day. Monday is my washing and tidying day and I must have spent most of the day tidying and catching up on TV and then I was so tired I ended up napping! It's not almost 4am and I've just woken up, but I'm going to try and get more sleep as I have a job interview in 12 hours. Hopefully I'll get a lot more reading done tomorrow!
I've also been in a bit of a reading slump on and off for about a month and haven't had an awesome book to pull me out of it yet!
Today I didn't take part in any challenges (didn't have time!) but did take part in my first ever twitter chat, I've already met a load of AMAZING people and had some awesome chats, so that's great!

Review: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

The Ghost Bride
Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.

Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family's only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.

After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim's handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family's darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

I have to prewarn you before I start this review that this was a DNF for me. I hate posting DNF reviews but I think that it's important to do in order to keep my integrity as a reviewer, especially if the book had some good points like The Ghost Bride did. Yeah, odd as it may sound for a book that I eventually gave up on, but The Ghost Bride is a great book that will appeal to a lot of people, I just think that this was just... well... not me. It took me four days to give up on this book and I got over two hundred pages in, but the last one hundred looked so long and I didn't want to waste another two or three days on a book that i wasn't really invested in, so I made the difficult decision to give up.

What I really struggled with - and what most readers would appreciate more than me - is that the writing is quite literary, very classical. I found it a little bit boring but I've never really been one for a 'classic' writing style, I've always liked my narrative to be modern and spunky and relateable, even in my historical books. So even though I liked the plot and the characters and I liked where it was going, none of that really mattered because the writing was so difficult for me to push through. I really appreciated Li Lan and Tian Bao and Er Lang as characters and I would happily have read this book in a few hours if I hadn't felt like I was swimming through custard with the writing style.

So, if you're the type of reader that enjoys a very descriptive, literary type of writing and you also want something YA but different definitely read The Ghost Bride. It's actually a great book, but if you find extremely descriptive writing a little boring, like me, you may find yourself struggling to get through it as well.


Overall Rating: DNF

Book released  1st August 2013 by Hot Key Books
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review 

Review: The Name on Your Wrist by Helen Hiorns

The Name On Your Wrist
It's the first thing they teach you when you start school. But they don't need to; your parents tell you when you're first learning how to say your name. It's drummed into you whilst you're taking your first stumbling steps. It's your lullaby. From the moment it first appears, you don't tell anyone the name on your wrist.
In Corin's world, your carpinomen - the name of your soul mate, marked indelibly on your wrist from the age of two or three - is everything. It's your most preciously guarded secret; a piece of knowledge that can give another person ultimate power over you. People spend years, even decades, searching for the one they're supposed to be with.

But what if you never find that person? Or you do, but you just don't love them? What if you fall for someone else - someone other than the name on your wrist?
And what if - like Corin - the last thing in the world you want is to be found?

Helen Hiorns is nineteen years old... how is that even possible? I mean, I'm twenty and I have the attention span of a goldfish so how does someone my age (well, younger!) have the attention span and talent to write a book as original, thoughtful and well... book-like as The Name on Your Wrist. It astounds me, it really does. Before I started this book I had spent four days on another book before finally deciding to give up and DNF it, so I wasn't expecting to get so gripped by this book so quickly, but I was gripped straight away by the premise and before long the story and characters had me.  I was unable to put this book down whilst reading it.

Corin starts out as your typical angsty teen protagonist and to start with I guess I really disliked it. The girl has her reasons for being annoyingly angry at everything and everyone but I hate characters that are bitter at the world without even giving anything a chance, so Corin really got on my nerves. The parts where Corin shows whats underneath were a little more bearable though. I did really like Colton though - he was sweet and caring but the end did make me wonder how true his feelings really were though. I'm not sure if how this book ended really satisfied me either. Jacinta stole the show for me though, she was the perfect edgy and honest character and really brought out the best in Corin.

The  whole idea was actually quite original and as a whole it was pulled off well, that being said there were a few things that were lackong on the world building edge - namely, the carpinonem seemed to be tattooed onto everyone, however if that was the case surely it'd be sore for days afterwards... it just didn't seem to make sense as a whole.

Overall, The Name on Your Wrist was an original and impressive debut from a promising new author. I was a little disappointed in a few things and found the main character severely grating but on the whole this book did impress me.

Overall Rating: B+

Book released  15th July 2013 by Random House Children's Books
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (NetGalley)

Review: Out of Play by Nyrae Dawn and Jolene Perry

Out of Play
Rock star drummer Bishop Riley doesn't have a drug problem. Celebrities—especially ones suffering from anxiety—just need a little help taking the edge off sometimes. After downing a few too many pills, Bishop wakes up in the hospital facing an intervention. If he wants to stay in the band, he’ll have to detox while under house arrest in Seldon, Alaska. 

Hockey player Penny Jones can't imagine a life outside of Seldon. Though she has tons of scholarship offers to all the best schools, the last thing she wants is to leave. Who'll take care of her absentminded gramps? Not her mother, who can’t even be bothered to come home from work, let alone deal with their new tenants next door.

Penny’s not interested in dealing with Bishop’s crappy attitude, and Bishop’s too busy sneaking pills to care. Until he starts hanging out with Gramps and begins to see what he’s been missing. If Bishop wants a chance with the fiery girl next door, he’ll have to admit he has a problem and kick it. Too bad addiction is hard to kick…and Bishop’s about to run out of time.

I've tried to steer clear of this whole new adult trend that seems to be taking over, but as a big fan of bad boy meets good girl books I just knew that this was one that I'd really enjoy. I haven't ever read anything by either of these authors before, and the cover doesn't really have any whammy but the idea of a messed up, stoner rock star meets good girl with her own troubles. I was thinking I'd get something on the level of Perfect Chemistry or Pushing the Limits just a little bit more mature. I didn't quite get something on that level, but I did get something that was deep, engaging and I'm glad I picked this book to open me up to the world of New Adult fiction.

I wasn't too keen on Bishop to begin with, mainly because his voice was so real and he was just so brash and obscene but he really grew on me as he started to come to terms with his issues and he started to actually fall for Penny. I loved Penny from the start though, she was kick-ass and tough and actually seemed real. I loved Penny's relationship with the boys on her team, especially her relationship with Mitch which really was something special. I also liked watching her development as she falls for Bishop and opens up to other people a little more.

The ending was sweet and everything played out the way I though it was. There was never anything particularly shocking happening and the whole storyline is pretty generic for the genre, but it was all enjoyable to read with enough emotional moments to keep me invested in the characters.

Overall Rating: C+

Book released  6th August 2013 by Entangle Teen
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (NetGalley)

Waiting on Wednesday (14th August 2013)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Anyway, here is my WOW pick, let me know what you think and link me to yours!


Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen
February 11th 2014 by Walker Childrens


Lady Thief (Scarlet, #2)
Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet’s past even she isn’t yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman—a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin’s cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet’s tale will have readers talking once again.
 
I really enjoyed the first book in this series (Scarlet) and it ended on such a happy and yet worrying ending, so I am excited to see where Lady Thief leads. 



Vitro by Jessica Khoury
January 14th 2014, Razorbill


Vitro
On a remote island in the Pacific, Corpus scientists have taken test tube embryos and given them life. These beings--the Vitros--have knowledge and abilities most humans can only dream of. But they also have one enormous flaw.

Sophie Crue is determined to visit Skin Island and find her mother, a scientist who left Sophie behind years ago. She enlists hunky charter pilot Jim Julien to take her there. But once on the island, Sophie and Jim encounter more than they bargained for, including a charming, brilliant Vitro named Nicholas and an innocent, newly awoken one named Lux.

In a race for their lives, Sophie and Jim are about to discover what happens when science stretches too far beyond its reach.

I'll admit that I wasn't a MASSIVE fan of Origin, at all. Still, it showed potential so I'm going to give Vitro a shot to see how Khoury does on this one!