Review: Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian

Cut Both Ways
Will Caynes never has been good with girls. At seventeen, he’s still waiting for his first kiss. He’s certainly not expecting it to happen in a drunken make-out session with his best friend, Angus. But it does and now Will’s conflicted—he knows he likes girls, but he didn’t exactly hate kissing a guy.

Then Will meets Brandy, a cute and easy-to-talk-to sophomore. He’s totally into her too—which proves, for sure, that he’s not gay. So why does he keep hooking up with Angus on the sly?

Will knows he can’t keep seeing both of them, but besides his new job in a diner, being with Brandy and Angus are the best parts of his whole messed-up life. His divorced parents just complicate everything. His father, after many half-baked business ventures and endless house renovations, has started drinking again. And his mom is no help—unless loading him up with a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need plus sticking him with his twin half-sisters counts as parenting. He’s been bouncing between both of them for years, and neither one feels like home.

Deciding who to love, who to choose, where to live. Whichever way Will goes, someone will get hurt. Himself, probably the most.

I got about a third into this book before I realised it wasn't working for me and I would have to give up. I tried reading it last summer, but I was in a reading rut. I tried again earlier this week but me and this book still didn't click - maybe the stream of thought writing style didn't click - Will didn't seem like a person to me, he seemed like a robot who was thinking what he thought a teenage boy was meant to think like. 

Honestly, books like this are touchy. There are probably a lot of readers who will appreciate what Mesrobian was trying to do. I am not one of those readers, I think there are books that tackle the sexuality issue this book was meant to to tackle, the other books do it better.

Overall Rating: DNF

Book released 1st September by HarperCollins
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Taming of The Drew by Stephanie Kate Strohm

The Taming Of The Drew
Cass McKay has been called stubborn, temperamental, difficult, and that word that rhymes with “witch” more times than she cares to count. But that’s all about to pay off. She has finally landed the role she was born to play—Kate, in The Taming of the Shrew—in the summer apprentice program of a renowned Shakespeare theater company in the forests of Vermont.

But Cass can barely lace up her corset before her troubles begin. Her leading man, Drew, is a complete troll, and he’s going to ruin Cass’s summer. Even worse, Cass’s bunkmate Amy has somehow fallen head over heels for Drew. Cass can’t let Amy throw herself at a total jerk, so she comes up with a genius plan to give Drew the personality makeover he so desperately needs: they’ll tame Drew just as Petruchio tames Kate! But as Shakespeare’s classic plays out offstage, Cass finds it harder and harder to resist falling for Drew herself.

Drew and Cass are quite possibly one of the cutest couples in YA this year, seriously, this was a super-adorable read made so much better because of the two main characters. From their fun first meeting to the last page, this was an entertaining and smooth love story that developed in a believable pace with brilliant supporting characters that help everything fall into place.

This has happened a few times recently - where what looks like a super-cute read lacking substance blows me away. It happened with Holding Court a few weeks ago and The Taming of the Drew was another. The references to pop-culture and Shakespeare make this the perfect read to any teenager or the slightly older readers. Cass and Drew.... just amazing. I love them.

Nobody can deny that Strohm is a highly talented writer as well - she wrote brilliant characters and dialogue that fits with the age group perfectly. There was some drama in there, and characters like Taylor who made the whole thing a little bit better. It was just a combination of many things that made this book stand out to me. Like many contemp reads it probably won't stick in my mind for years and years, but this is still very deserving of an A rating.

Overall Rating: A

Book released 5th April 2016 by Sky Pony Press
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch



Love & Gelato
Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then Lina is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept from Lina for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

This was such a cute little book that warmed me up on a cold winter night. The Italian setting was just so beautiful - it was warm and beautiful and vivid in my brain throughout this book. I so enjoyed the descriptions of the beautiful Tuscany buildings and the food, I could just imagine it in my brain.

I think what really grabbed me in this book was the light-hearted writing style, it kept me giggling and it kept me happy and it kept me reading. The romance was cute as well, I loved Ren, the Italian, english speaking lothario (is lothario Italian or strictly Spanish... was he even a lothario as he was a sweet guy..? I don't even know if this is an apt description). There was another guy, Thomas, I felt that was a little unnecessary though, in the end Thomas was just used and a plot device. Not necessary.

What really kept me absorbed was the mystery behind Lina's mother. I loved reading about her exploration of Tuscany and seeing Lina follow it - as well as that, the mystery behind X and Lina's father and all of that was also exciting to read.

At times, I felt that Love & Gelato was a little inconsistent and over-dramatic, but for the most part it was what it was - a nice little read to get you through a cold night,

Overall Rating: B

Book released 3rd May by Simon Pulse
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

A Fierce and Subtle Poison
Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl--Isabel, the one the senoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill.

Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers--and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.

I have been gagging for this book since I first heard about it. When I was accepted for an ARC I was ecstatic and I am so happy right now to be writing this review, because it was such a brilliant book.

This book was not at all what I accepted, I was expecting something creepy and dark and this was actually not that - it was atmospheric,  but not in the way that I was expecting. that sort of speculative world where magic exists but our main character is incredulous as he learns about it was brilliant. I loved Lucas as a narrator - he was an authentic male and his reactions and thoughts were so realistic. I loved it.

Isabel was also a brilliant character - she was an enigma but she was also exactly what you saw. She was a beautiful character and I loved  reading about her through Lucas's thoughts. The two of them were amazing main characters, there was a hint of romance and feeling but the story was much more about the magic and the mystery. I so enjoyed it.

I'm not sure why this book didn't blow me away because it hard all of the things that should make it perfect, but something just didn't 100% click. Still, I really enjoyed it, it was brilliant.

Overall Rating: A-

Book released 12th April 2016 by Algonquin. 
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Follow Me Back by Nicci Cloke

Follow Me Back
There was no sign of a struggle, they whisper to each other. She took her phone but left her laptop behind.
Apparently, she'd met someone online, they write to each other in class, phones buzzing.
She ran away. She was taken.

The first time Aiden Kendrick hears about Lizzie Summersall's disappearance is when the police appear at his front door. He and Lizzie used to be friends; they aren't anymore. And when Aiden finds out that Lizzie had been talking to strangers on Facebook; that the police think she went to meet one of them, he begins to wonder how well he ever really knew her, and Aiden doesn't know it yet, but with Lizzie's disappearance his life is about to take a twisted and desperate turn.

Follow Me Back had an amazing premise which I thought I would really enjoy. unfortunately, whilst the story is there, inconsistencies and lack of good pacing made this a bit of a flat read for me. I made it to the end, but I had to motivate myself to get even that far.

The book starts off well. Aiden finds out Lizzie, an old friend/girlfriend/something in between,  has gone missing. He begins to investigate into the disappearance as many secrets and rumours come to light. That was a great start, but around 15% in I started to lost interest and it barely peaked through the rest of the book. Running parallel to the story of Lizzie's disappearance is the story of how Lizzie and Aiden met, became close and then fell apart. It could be interesting, but the writing made it feel much slower than it actually was.

As well as that, I read an eBook review copy - I'm not sure if it was the final eBook version as the formatting was wonky on my kindle. That won't affect my review, but it did affect my enjoyment of the book.

There are quite a few twists at the end. Twists that should have made the book shocking and psychological but instead brought out a lot of inconsistencies in a certain character's behaviours earlier in the book. It seemed like a twist added on in the end and to me, showed a lack in forward planning.

Overall, Follow Me Back was disappointing for me. I wanted psychological mystery, suspense and secrets. Instead I got something that seemed together for some kids idea of an episode of Without a Trace.

Overall Rating: D

Book released 4th February by Hot key Books
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson

Gena/Finn

The story follows the unlikely friendship of two young women forged via fan fiction and message boards, and is told entirely in texts, chats, and blog posts.

Gena (short for Genevieve) and Finn (short for Stephanie) have little in common. Book-smart Gena is preparing to leave her posh boarding school for college; down-to-earth Finn is a twenty-something struggling to make ends meet in the big city. Gena’s romantic life is a series of reluctant one-night-stands; Finn is making a go of it with long-term boyfriend Charlie. But they share a passion for Up Below, a buddy cop TV show with a cult fan following. Gena is a darling of the fangirl scene, keeping a popular blog and writing fan fiction. Finn’s online life is a secret, even from Charlie. The pair spark an unlikely online friendship that deepens quickly (so quickly it scares them both), and as their individual “real” lives begin to fall apart, they increasingly seek shelter online, and with each other.

As somebody who has been involved in quite a few fandoms in my time, a few of them very deeply (my obsession for books being one of them, but I was also a part of a kpop fandom a few years ago - I wrote fanfiction and made some deep friends and when life got in the way I felt so depressed that I grew out of the fandom), I can totally get involved in books like Gena/Finn. That's why I couldn't not request this book when I saw it on Edelweiss. I was expecting something cute and lighthearted, what I actually got was something so. much. more. 

This book was more ridiculous, more dramatic, more odd. Written in a series of emails, texts, blog posts, fanfictions and other such mediums, this was a quick and fun book. It never gets too involved but it does get deep. Gena has some mental health issues that she is struggling to get through, and a past that she wants to put behind her. Finn is stuck in a relationship which doesn't feel like it's moving anywhere. The two meet and forge an instant online connection which, over time, becomes something much more complicated and unbreakable. I did feel at times that Gena and Finn sometimes sounded so similar that I got confused about who was who - who was in school, who was in college? Who was with Charlie etc. This was a problem through the first half of the book, until a big event happens and their lives become drastically different.

I did feel like the book had a certain not too deep, not too shallow feeling up until said big event then after that it takes a much more serious tone. it threw me off guard and made me feel like the book itself felt rather fragmented.

Another issue that I had was that there are suggestions of a romance between Gena and Finn. This in itself isn't a problem - don't worry, I'm not homophobic - the problem is that nothing comes of it. Why even put it in there if it amounts to nothing - I get that Finn is in a rut in her life and Gena is someone new, I'm in a long term relationship and I know sometimes that it feels wrong to settle down so young, but Charlie is a great guy and the whole Charlie, Finn and Gena dynamic totally threw me off. It confused me.

Overall, Gena/Finn was a fun read, but parts of it totally threw me off and I felt like it was something totally different to anything. It doesn't fit into the hardhitting contemps, but neither does it fit into the cute contemps like Fangirl etc. I wouldn't know where to put Gena/Finn.


Overall Rating: C+

Book released 5th April 2016 by Chronicle Books
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Holding Court by K.C. Held

Holding Court

Sixteen-year-old Jules Verity knows exactly what's in store at her new job at castle-turned-dinner-theater Tudor Times. Some extra cash, wearing a fancy-pants dress, and plenty of time to secretly drool over the ever-so-tasty--and completely unavailable--Grayson Chandler. Except that it's not quite what she imagined.

For one, the costume Jules has to wear is awful. Then there's the dead body she finds that just kind of...well, disappears. Oh, and there's the small issue of Jules and her episodes of what her best friend calls "Psychic Tourette's Syndrome"--spontaneous and uncontrollable outbursts of seemingly absurd prophecies.

The only bright side? This whole dead body thing seems to have gotten Grayson's attention. Except that the more Jules investigates, the more she discovers that Grayson's interest might not be as courtly as she thought. In fact, it's starting to look suspicious...

I knew from the very second that I saw Holding Court's blurb that I would absolutely love it. I was totally right, Holding Court is super-cute, super-fun and then there is the whole murder mystery plot which made this book a little bit more than I was expecting.

I loved Jules from the start. she's funny, witty and she's strong-willed as well, despite the fact that she's quite often a laughing stock due to her psychic tourettes, I just really enjoyed her and the whole 'psychic' aspect really made this book.

There was a cute little romance as well, between Jules and Grayson, and somewhat of a love triangle too but it isn't one of those really annoying ones. I loved the interactions between Jules and Grayson, and Jules and her family... and just Jules in general. The dialogue was so well written that it always seemed to flow.

There's also some high tension, white knuckle scenes in this book. Scenes which I wasn't expecting but really worked.

When I started Holding Court I was expecting a cute romance book, what I got was a cute romance with a darker murder-mystery, a brilliant cast of characters and brilliant writing. it probably won't stay with me for that long, but it is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone.


Overall Rating: A-

Book released 1st March 2016 by Entangled Teen
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: How Willa Got Her Groove Back by Emily McKay

How Willa Got Her Groove Back (Creative HeArts, #2; Willa and Finn #1)
When Willa Schofer’s father comes home from a business trip with an über-famous new fiancée, Willa’s senior year blows up in paparazzi-fueled flames. Overnight, she has a new house, a new car, and a new soon-to-be stepbrother—the unbelievably hot, unbelievably arrogant, Finn McCain. Thank god he’s constantly pushing her buttons, or she might do something irresponsible. Like fall for the jerk.

Just when Willa’s decided to avoid him for, oh, ever, Finn lands in the center of her senior project team. Seriously—how hard is it to shake a guy? At least her work on the project snagged the attention of the (second) hottest guy in school. He might only be into her because of her famous stepmom, and he’s not quite as exciting as a certain annoying housemate, but at least she’s allowed to crush on the guy.

Because crushing on your annoying stepbrother? So not cool.

This was an okay book, but I wasn't aware it was a series, so I was expecting a fully concluded cute story and instead I just got some kind of annoyingly unconclusive cliffhanger. It wasn't even a cliffhanger, even, it was just an abrupt ending that made me sort of go "oh... that's it?!". 

That being said, I did get through How Willa Got Her Groove Back. There wasn't a whole lot of characterisation, which was kind of annoying because I didn't connect to anyone in the book. Willa is the main character and Finn is the love interest, then there are other characters like Mia and Willa's Dad and friends that keep popping in and out when it was convenient, but the relationship dynamics are never really built up for anyone but Willa, Finn and her Dad, at the end. There was potential for some deep, meaningful storylines with Finn's background and Willa's friends, but they were ignored for a pretty flat relationship between Willa and Finn.

It was insta-love, based mostly on looks and, on Finn's part, an attraction that he can't explain. There could have been much more development but it all just felt very 2-dimensional to me, flat and undeveloped.

I guess I just wanted more. It was an okay read, if you want something kind of brain dead and lacking substance, but I'm not sure if I will really feel motivated to read any subsequent books in this series.

Overall Rating: C-

Book released 22nd February 2016 by Entangled Crush
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann

A Drop of Night

Seventeen-year-old Anouk has finally caught the break she’s been looking for—she's been selected out of hundreds of other candidates to fly to France and help with the excavation of a vast, underground palace buried a hundred feet below the suburbs of Paris. Built in the 1780's to hide an aristocratic family and a mad duke during the French Revolution, the palace has lain hidden and forgotten ever since. Anouk, along with several other gifted teenagers, will be the first to set foot in it in over two centuries.

Or so she thought.

But nothing is as it seems, and the teens soon find themselves embroiled in a game far more sinister, and dangerous, than they could possibly have imagined. An evil spanning centuries is waiting for them in the depths. . .

This was absolutely nothing like anything that I was expecting and for that, this book get points. 

I was absorbed into the book from the very start. Before we even start guessing about the mystery behind the Butterfly Palace we have other mysteries put on us, like why Anouk is the way she is and what happened in her past to make her that way. We're then introduced to the menacing Dorf and the big mystery of the book. Then things change direction in a reeling way and the book changes from atmospheric mystery to some sort of crazy survival sci-i type thing - think the Triwizard Cup maze in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, just a lot more terrifying. 

So the whole thing is pretty fast paced with new things being thrown in at every turn. The only thing is, despite the mystery and all of the new dangers, I was thoroughly bored halfway through the books. Of course, there were parts where my interest peaked a little again, but the book failed to hold my attention which surprises me because of how high-stakes the whole thing was.

I think the mixture of characters was very interesting, and the whole background story was terrifying and great, but I think the writing style just didn't work for me, and this book hasn't really stuck in my mind since.

Overall Rating: D+

Book released 15th March by Greenwillow Books
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Review: Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson

Dreamland

Odea Donahue has been able to travel through people’s dreams since she was six years old. Her mother taught her the three rules of walking: Never interfere. Never be seen. Never walk the same person’s dream more than once. Dea has never questioned her mother, not about the rules, not about the clocks or the mirrors, not about moving from place to place to be one step ahead of the unseen monsters that Dea’s mother is certain are right behind them.

Then a mysterious new boy, Connor, comes to town and Dea finally starts to feel normal. As Connor breaks down the walls that she’s had up for so long, he gets closer to learning her secret. For the first time she wonders if that’s so bad. But when Dea breaks the rules, the boundary between worlds begins to deteriorate. How can she know what’s real and what’s not?

I don't know what I was expecting from Dreamland. Honestly, I don't think I really knew what to expect, so I was pleasantly surprised when I got an original enjoyable book that both fit into the typical YA paranormal mould as well as managed to do something original that kept me interested. 

I can't claim that Dreamland was an amazing book because it definitely had it's flaws. I can, however, say that it did something new and original that kept me absorbed into the book. Odea was such a great character to read about, she was tough - that starnge girl that holds her head up even though people see her as weird. I did feel that at times her actions were a little inconsistent with what we have been lled to believe about her personality - I also felt like that about Connor.

The story was engaging from the start but up until around two-thirds in I felt like not much happened, Of course, that all changed when we learn about Dea's origins. Then things got interesting, albeit a little confusing as well. I didn't feel like I completely connected with the story or the characters, but I definitely enjoyed them enough to keep on reading.

Overall, Dreamland was a good enough read that brought something new to the YA market. I don't feel like it was in any way, shape or form a great read, but it was certainly good enough to keep my attention. One to check out, just don't rush to do it.

Overall Rating: C

Book released 22nd September 2015 by HarperTeen
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Review: Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

Flawed





Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.

Ahhhh.... Cecelia Ahern. When I heard that one of the only adult author that I tend to read writing a YA novel - a YA dystopian style novel to that point - I couldn't get over it. Cecilia Ahern always manages to write devastatingly romantic and original speculative themes. I expected the same from Flawed.

Unfortunately, I think Ahern went down a very predictable path with Flawed. The world building wasn't anything at all special and the whole plot itself - idyllic world, girl becomes unwilling representative for some kind of rebellion. The world itself was weak - I got lost at the point where we learn that criminals are criminals and the Flawed people aren't criminals.... they just have undesirable traits. It sounds a ridiculous in review as it did when Ahern tried (and failed) to justify it in the book.

Then there's the characters. None f which were anything at all special Celestine started out as a character with nothing to her and this didn't change witht he book - she doesn't actively do anything, she just goes with the flow. Then there's a messed up love triangle and a bad guy who just seemed like a rehashing of President Snow, just with less dynamics.

Honestly, for me there was nothing about Flawed which stands out for me. The whole thing was just very uninspiring and flat for me. It was neither memorable or original and for something from one of my fav adult spec authors, I am completely unimpressed and, dare I say it, disappointed.

Overall Rating: E+

Book released 24th March 2016 by Harper Collins Children's Books
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Shelf Spotlight (05.03.16)


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.

This is somewhat of a big one since I haven't done a Shelf Spotlight in 5 weeks.:D

Edelweiss

The Season of You & Me   Ivory and Bone   Winning   We Were Never Here


Change Places with Me A Season for Fireflies  Unrivaled (Beautiful Idols, #1)  Please Don't Tell


Meet Me Here  This Is My Brain on Boys  Lies I Live By  What Happens Now


The Lost & Found  Red Velvet Crush  The Taming Of The Drew  For This Life Only


NetGalley

And I Darken (The Darken Trilogy, #1)  The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3)  The Forbidden Orchid  Follow Me Back

Purchased

Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands, #1)  Waiting for Callback

So what do you have on your haul list this week? Leave me a link and I'll check it out!



Random Act of Kindness Giveaway


So yesterday I had a driving test and I failed. I was planning on holding a road-trip book centered giveaway if I passed. But instead I'm holding a RAK Giveaway!

You don't need to jump through any hoops. No need to follow me anywhere, no need to repost or share this giveaway. Just leave a name and email address and your entry is valid!

The only rule is that you must be in a place where The Book Depository delivers (or be able to offer an alternative that fits within the prize cost)

AT LEAST one person will win, but if I'm feeling generous on prize day I may declare more people winners.

Winners get any book up to £18 ($25) - backlist or pre-order! Hardback or paperback, you choose!

Of course, if you do want to follow me my Google Friend Connect and Bloglovin' buttons are to the left.

Follow me on Twitter @ink_jade

Oh yeah, I'm trying to be more social on twitter so please, strike up a chat with me. I want to make some bloggy/bookloving friends!

And do share if you'd like to spread the kindness <3



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Review: Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

Seven Ways We Lie

Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like every high school, every student has something to hide—whether it’s Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage; or Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal.

When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change.

The first thing that I wanted to mention is that I have never seen multiple narrators done so well. There are seven narrators in this book and each of them had their own individual voices - it was so unbelievably well done and I never had to go back and find out who's voice I was reading.

This book revolves around seven characters and their intertwining lives. There is a mystery aspect, but for the most part this book is about those seven characters - some more prominent than others - growing, their lives changing and realising that there can be more to their lives than they think. My favourite story was Olivia's - she's broken, and as a result she sleeps with different guys and has earned herself a title as being easy. This book deals with that slut-shaming in the best way possible. I remember conversations on double standards and it was so well done. Olivia's story intertwines with Matt's - also a brilliant character. It's absolutely brilliantly done.

There were just one or two times when the conversation didn't quite flow as easily as I would have hoped and I ended up being pulled away from the story for a moment, but for the most part I loved this book. It was so well done.

Overall Rating: B+

Book released 8th March by Amulet Books
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins

The Great Hunt (The Great Hunt, #1)
Kill the beast. Win the girl.

A strange beast stirs fear in the kingdom of Lochlanach, terrorizing towns with its brutality and hunger. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona—kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage.

Princess Aerity understands her duty to the kingdom though it pains her to imagine marrying a stranger. It would be foolish to set her sights on any particular man in the great hunt, but when a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention, there’s no denying the unspoken lure between them…or his mysterious resentment.

Paxton is not keen on marriage. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast and protecting his family—yet Princess Aerity continues to challenge his notions with her unpredictability and charm. But as past secrets collide with present desires, dire choices threaten everything Paxton holds dear.

The start of this book was slow, but that's about where the flaws in this book stops. As soon as the plot picks up after the first couple of chapters I was hooked - and as soon as we get to know Paxton I was in love. Damn, the relationship between Aerity and Paxton -  I was so sold by every aspect of it. I loved them both individually and I loved them both together. Aerity was the perfect heroine - she's a princess, but she's not afraid of stepping over her bounds and she isn't stuffy. I expected Aerity to be a stuffy main character, as did Paxton, but she wasn't. Paxton was also an amazing human being, he was upright and hid himself away a bit, but he has his reasons for it.

At the start, there was a lot of information given to us and it was difficult to keep up, but throughout the book I began to understand the characters, the setting, the magic and it's history. It was such a brilliantly crafter setting and I just loved it so much. At first I felt the whole plot set up was ridiculous, but the great beast is terrifying and Aerity's father had absolutely no other options but to offer Aerity's hand to anybody who could hunt the great beast. It led to some brilliantly written action scenes as well, I love me some brilliantly written action scenes.

This is the first book by Higgins that I have ever read and I will read the others.  This was such a well written and engaging stories, it's rare these days that anything takes me off guard - I definitely enjoyed The Great Hunt much more than I had expected and I honestly cannot wait for the next  book to be released!

Overall Rating: A

Book released 8th March 2016 by HarperTeen
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review