Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, #1)In 1897 England, 16-year-old Finley Jayne is convinced she's a freak. No normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch. Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special . . . that she's one of "them."

Am I going to get a mob of angry people burning down my house if I say that, whilst most people seem to have caught the Steampunk bug, I haven't really got to grips with genre yet? Seriously, I like it and I've read a few alright steampunk books but I don't get what the big fascination with the genre is... that's the reason that I felt a bit nervous starting this book.

This is, probably, the most enjoyable steampunk book I have read, simply because I LOVED the storyline and I ADORED the characters.

The mystery aspect of this book really gripped me, even though I knew who the criminal was from pretty early on in the book (it's made kind of obvious) I had no idea what their plan was and so I was kept guessing about what was going to happen, but this book is so much more than a mystery; it's a romance and a paranormal as well... I say paranormal but you could also see it as sci-fi.

Anyway, Finley was a great character, I liked the way she struggled to keep control of her darker side, it's like we were getting to know the spunky but normal Finley and suddenly hr dark side comes in and the contrast between the two was great. I liked both of the 'love interests' for different reasons: Griffin was sweet and caring with a sense of roguish charm about him whereas Jack was dark and dangerous and spicy, I preferred Griffin but Jack was a great addition to the book. I also liked Jasper, who is a bit of an enigma, Sam even though he doesn't think things through before acting and Emily who is tomboyish and smart and the 'inventor' that every steampunk book seems to have.

The writing in this book was great and the pacing was spot on, but if I had to criticise anything it;s that the point of view skips around a lot. Instead of just following Finley basically every character get's their own 'screen time' and at times it was disorintating as I didn't know exactly who I was following. 

Overall, a very enjoyable steampunk book that may have piqued my interest in the genre. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel.

Overall Rating: B

Released 24th May 2011 by Harlequin Teen (UK: Mira Ink)
Book bought by myself (eBook)

Review: Emma Hearts LA by Keris Stainton

Emma Hearts LAEmma's not sure that LA's for her, but when she accompanies her sister Jane to an audition, a chance meeting with a teen TV star starts to change her new sunshine lifestyle for the better... 

But what about Oscar, so far her only friend in LA, who's turning out NOT to be the idiot she thought he was?
Soon Emma begins to find herself torn between two boys and reconsidering her entire future.

Maybe LA's not that bad after all.

Keris Stainton is one of those authors that will never disappoint me. I am one of those people who feels nervous going into a book by one of my favorite authors because I just know there is a chance that I'm going to be let down, this doesn't happen with Keris Stainton books because this woman is such a genius with words and her books are pure escapism for me. Emma Hearts LA was yet another laugh-out-loud-funny and squee-sweet release that I literally read in an hour and a half and the second I closed it I wanted to read it again.

I always love Stainton's characters. Jessie and Della will always hold a place in my heart and now Emma has joined them, I liked Emma in Jessie Hearts NYC so I knew that I would love her in her own book. Sure, I didn't love her as much as Jessie but Emma was still funny, unique, relatable and a character that I cared about. I didn't really love Oscar as much as I loved Finn in Jessie Hearts NYC, but I still loved him because he was sweet and nerdy and I love a good nerd boy! Whilst there weren't too many *SQUEE!* romantic moments, the cute moments that they are had me EEEEE'ing in my seat because those two are just SO CUTE!

The storyline was great, Stainton's books are always fluffy, fun reads that don't make you feel anything except absolute happinest and so they don't have the most developed and complex storylines, which I like. I did enjoy watching Emma grow used to her new home, have her fifteen minutes of fame and find love and when i closed this book I felt an absolute feeling of contentment.

Overall, a fun and cute read that I absolutely loved. Keris Stainton is fast filling a place in my heart as my favorite YA contemporary fiction author.

Overall Rating: A

Book released June 7th by Orchard 
Book received through swaps.

Review: Burn Mark by Laura Powell

Burn MarkGlory is from a family of witches and lives beyond the law. She is desperate to develop her powers and become a witch herself. Lucas is the son of the Chief Prosecutor for the Inquisition—the witches’ mortal enemy—and his privileged life is very different to the forbidden world that he lives alongside. 

And then on the same day, it hits them both. Glory and Lucas develop the Fae—the mark of the witch. In one fell stroke, their lives are inextricably bound together, whether they like it or not...

The concept of this book is both gripping and original. Set in an alternative London where witches are a rare race that are discriminated against and witches form gang-like covens to protect themselves against the anti-witchcraft rule, this book shouldn't work, it's very ambitious and I really didn't believe that it could have worked. But it did, Powell pulled off this fantastic concept and the result is a gripping and entertaining book that I really enjoyed.

What I liked the most about this book is the world. I could really see modern day London in the book, with the Glory's chaviness (if you're not British and don't know what a chav is, look it up) and the schools and parties and political side of things but at the same time it's a grittier view of the city, a darker view because of the discrimination and the public burnings. The setting was both striking and real and I really liked that.

I also found that the characters were great. I liked that Glory was tough as nails and a bit of a chav with her way of speaking and dressing, it was a refreshing change from the vulnerable heroines that we read about a lot these days but I do feel that she could have shown her soft side a little bit more. Lucas was a strong character, not as strong as Glory but I found that he was also tough and brave but had an air of fear about him. I think that the romance between these two characters could be amazing but I also like that it wasn't really there and it developed naturally and if there is a sequel I can't wait to read more about these two.

The pacing was great in this book. It wasn't the type of book that I had to keep reading and couldn't put down, but when I did put it down I couldn't wait to get back into it. It's quite a long book but I didn't really find myself getting bored or anything, this book was well paced and well written.

Overall, a well paced and enjoyable book with great characters and a great setting. I'd definitely recommend this one.

Overall Rating: B+

Book released 7th June 2012 by Bloomsbury UK
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Clarity by Kim Harrington

Clarity (Clarity, #1)Clarity “Clare” Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It’s a gift.
And a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare’s ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case—but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare’s brother—who has supernatural gifts of his own—becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

This book has been sitting on my shelf for a painfully long time because I've never been in the mood to pick it up but now that I have read it I have to ask myself what took me so long... this book was fantastic!

I really liked that this was a paranormal mystery where the main character already knows about their powers, most paranormal books nowadays have the characters just discovering new powers and I liked that that wasn't the focus for this book. The murder mystery aspect of the book really had me gripped, so many times I thought that I knew who the murderer was and so many times my mind was rapidly changed. I liked how it ended and the explanation for the motive, it was very well done.

I really liked Clare as a character, she had spunk and I was rooting for her straight away and I liked both sides of the love triangle. Justin was a character that I hated at the start but slowly I began to feel for him, Clare misundersttod what he did and he obviously cares a lot for Clare, Gabriel was a cliche love interest: smouldering hot, a little off with Clare but sweet at times. I mean, I liked him, probably still more than Justin but i thought that he wasn't very original as a love interest.

Overall, a great start to a series, I will definitely be reading the sequel and praying for some character development on Gabriel's part.

Overall Rating: B+

Released in February 2011 (USA) and will be released June 7th 2012 by Scholastic UK.
My copy of the USA hardback was purchased by myself.

Review: Sweetness by Lindsay Paige

Sweetness (Bold As Love, #1)Emily wished she was invisible. But after moving to a new town with her dad, a charming boy makes it impossible for her to disappear. Despite her feelings of unworthiness, Emily soon finds herself drawn to the safety of Jake's world. 

Good looking and the star of the hockey team, Jake has a lot going for him. What most people don't see is the difficult life he has at home. When quiet Emily steals his heart, Jake vows to help her discover she is worthy of love.

Just when the two of them realize the sweetness of their relationship, they are put to the test. Only together can they overcome their haunted pasts to fight for a future together.

I want to start off by saying that considering the authors age, this book is pretty good. I enjoyed it and I came to care about the characters easily and since it's a pretty short book it was a quick and engaging read. However, there were quite a few issues which keep this book from being fantastic, which I know it had the potential to be.

I like reading books about real characters that go through real issues and let me tell you that these characters go through a lot of issues... both Jake and Emily are pretty messed up. My problem with this is that the issues weren't explored - we know what happened to the characters but not how or why these things happened and so I couldn't really sympathise. I also think that the characters were able to deal a lot better than they should have and so it didn't seem that realistic.

I really liked the characters and the romance. Jake was amazingly sweet to Emily and the two of them were so real and so well written. I did have one thing that stuck with me at the beginning though; at the start Emily is all 'nobody likes me... I'm invisible... blah' and then when jake tries to get to know her she doesn't try to listen. It's like... stop complaining if you don't want to make an effort girl!

Overall, a realistic book with real issues that will strike a chord with teens. I found that the book was just to short to fit all of the themes in though.

Overall Rating: C-

Book received from author in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

Celaena Sardothien is a daredevil assassin with unrivalled fighting skills. After a year’s hard labour in the salt mines of the kingdom of Adarlan, Celaena is offered her freedom on one condition—she must fight as handsome Prince Dorian’s champion in a contest sponsored by the king, facing the deadliest thieves and assassins in the land in a series of set-piece battles in the country’s stunning glass palace. But there is more at stake than even her life—for Celaena is destined for a remarkable future...

Dude... awesome book alert right here. Before I continue with this review I will give a caution that anybody that reads this review will be subjected to massive amounts of gushing and excitement!

I absolutely freaking loved this book. I loved the story and the characters and the romance and the world and well... pretty much everything! If I had to describe this book it would be as a kind of mixture between the tournament aspect of The Hunger Games and the supernatural and fantasy aspect of Poison Study, so if you liked either or both of those books I would seriously recommend this one to you. Heck, I'd recommend it to anyone, this is by far the best book that I have read so far this year!

What I fell in love with first was this world. It's the world of a high fantasy but I just loved reading the gorgeous descriptions. Then I fell in love with the story, this book had me on the edge of my seat and I never wanted it to finish and then finally I fell in love with the characters. Calaena is such a layered character, she's sarcastic, cold and tough and yet she also has this girly weakness about her that I liked, I also like Dorian, the crown prince and but I loved Chaol, he was amazing and so deep and mysterious... ahhh... there was the inkling of a love triangle but it's not massively in your face and it went the way that I thought it would, I can't wait to read more romance in the sequel!

Yes, I realised that I'm ending each paragraph with an exclamation mark, I'm trying my very hardest to control my excitement over this book but it's so hard! 

Overall, this book is a fantasy on the level of Maria Snyder, Robin McKinley and Kristin Cashore. I absolutely loved this book, best of 2012 so far!

Overall rating: A+

Released August 2nd by Bloomsbury
ARC received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviews for other books by this author:
Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2)

Review: Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen

Dark Kiss (Nightwatchers, #1)I don't do dangerous. Smart, ├╝ber-careful, ordinary Samantha-that's me. But I just couldn't pass up a surprise kiss from my number-one unattainable crush. A kiss that did something to me...something strange. Now I feel hungry all the time, but not for food. It's like part of me is missing-and I don't know if I can get it back. 

Then there's Bishop. At first I thought he was just a street kid, but the secrets he's keeping are as intense as his unearthly blue eyes. If he's what I think he is, he may be the only one who can help me. But something terrifying is closing in, and the one chance Bishop and I have to stop it means losing everything I ever wanted and embracing the darkness inside me....

Ah, where do I start with this book? I guess I should start by saying that this book was one that I can't make my mind up about but I'll also admit that this is probably my own fault because I had to keep picking up and putting down this book in order to revise for exams and so my reading was fragmented and my mind was distracted even when I was reading... so much for escapism...

I actually really liked the premise of this book. Sure, it's got a similar vibe to most of the other angel/demon books out there but the addition of the 'Grays' adds a hint of originality to the mix and honestly I think that Rowen did her best to make this book live up to it's potential. Does she quite reach it? No, there were some things that she could have done to make it more engaging and exciting but it was a good read. I also really liked that this was pretty much a religion free zone, as very few angel/demon books are.

I was gripped right at the beginning of the book because Rowen doesn't spend ages introducing everything to us, we learn as we go along and overall the pacing was fantastic in this book because it is pretty consistent. I won't say it was 'edge-of-seat' reading but I didn't have to force myself to keep reading. 

The characters were my worse problem with this book. I just didn't like Sam, I don't think she was strong, or smart and every single character is calling special but I really didn't get what makes her so 'special'. Don't get me wrong, I didn't dislike her, I just don't think she did much and she definitlely did nothing for me. I kind of liked Bishop, but once again there was more development needed on his character, I did like finding little bits of information about him out. The romance needed some work as well, uber insta-love... I despise it, it was cute when they did kiss but they'd only known each other for a few days. I liked the character of Kraven, he was snarky and attitudy and actually had a personality but I can see a love triangle coming in and I know which way it;s going to go.

Overall, Dark Kiss was an entertaining enough read that didn't keep me gripped but kept me interested. Everything was great apart from the characters which seriously lacked personalities.

Overall Rating: C

Released May 29th 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Book received as an eGalley from NetGalley

Review: Zan by Dalya Moon

Zan (The Paranormal Poke Chronicles, #1)Magic. Power. Secrets. Everybody has something to hide. 
Zan is a boy with a strange power: the ability to see all of your secrets, past, present, and future … if you’re a girl. Oh, and if you put your finger in his belly button.

With that specific, intimate touch, Zan is able to visit the Secret Town of any girl. There’s just one problem. He never likes what he finds.

When Zan meets Austin, a mysterious girl with long hair and a contagious enthusiasm for life, it doesn’t take long for her curiosity to get the better of her. Zan braces himself to see the worst, but then the unexpected happens.

In his vision, he doesn’t see anything.
How can he be in love with a girl who has no future?

Zan (previously titled 'Poke') by Dalya Moon is a 50,000 word novella, which made it a very quick and fun read for me, I don't usually read novellas but I have enjoyed two of Moon's books and really wanted to try this one. And I did enjoy it, really, I just don't think that me and novellas really get along because I loved the storyline in this book and it started well and ended well with few holes to be patched up but I know that I would have enjoyed it much more if it had been stretch out a little more.

What I really liked about Zan is (aside from the awesome name of the main character) that it was a paranormal book that doesn't take itself too seriously, it's a funny book whereas most paranormal romances these days are pretty dark and this was such a welcome change for me because I barely ever get to read these light-hearted reads unless they are contemporary. As well as the funny side of things, a few issues are tackled but these don't get too serious.  However as I said above, the book could have been stretched out a little more, though I am looking forward to reading the sequel, eventually.

The pacing was pretty great overall though there were a few parts where it seemed to slow a little bit and for a while I was wondering where the plot was before this novella found it's feet, so stick it out a while before you make up your mind whether you're into this book or not.

Finally, the romance aspect of the book was good. I was never completely invested in the romance but that's because this book isn't overly romance heavy, I mean it is there and does play a big part but it isn't too 'serious' about it. I liked the way that the romance developed as it was unconventional for a YA novel because of the one night stand start and the older woman aspect.

Overall, a pretty fun book that I finished pretty quickly, I liked the genre and how quirky this book but it didn't grab me really.

Overall Topic: C+

Released 23rd January 2012
Book received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong. 

In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.

If I was trapped anywhere during the end of the world as we know it, I would so much want it to be a supermarket (obviously one shut off, to keep the looters out) so when I heard the synopsis for Monument 14 I knew that this was a book that I had to read.

I did quite enjoy this book, but I was expecting it to be fantastic and instead I got just good, average and to be honest there are far better novels of this genre on the market. I think my disappointment stems from the way that the synopsis advertises this big 'end of life as we know it' type scene with disasters and the chemical spill, but we didn't really get to see much of that which is a shame because there was so much potential after the awesome hailstorm at the beginning of the book. The beginning of the book was great and I was expecting it to be awesome but from there it starts to go downhill, our characters are trapped and we don't really get to see that much interesting stuff happen to them. I think that after the introduction and after the first time the 'O types' get aggressive it all goes down hill.

Seriously, there were times when I expected things to start happening, like when Niko and Jake are going against each other to lead or when the aggressive man outside the store starts to try and get in, but those things blew over and other than a few little fights within the group very little happened until the very end. I kept reading from start to finish and din't want to put the book down but this was more because of the anticipation that something might happen, not anything actually happening and it was a bit frustrating.

I also think that there were too many characters introduced in the book so none of them were really developed. Each character had their own 'perk' but other than that they all seemed very basic. By far my favorite character was Max, with his little stories that had me chuckling. I did find that Astrid and Dean especially needed more development, Astrid because she's a big part of Deans life but she barely got any development and Dean because he was the main character but he seemed so much younger than he was, my first guess was that he was like thirteen and I had to keep reminding myself that he wasn't throughout the book.

Overall, Monument 14 was a book that let me down quite a bit because it had so much potential but the action and character development was lacking. I will still read the sequel just to see whether we get a solid storyline or not but would probably not recommend this to anybody after an action and suspense packed post-apocolyptic book.

Overall Rating: D+

Book released by Feiwel and Friends on June 5th 2012.
Book received for review via NetGalley

Review: What's Up With Jody Barton by Hayley Long

What's up with Jody Barton?Me and my sister are twins. She's Jolene and I'm Jody. We've both got brown hair, we're both left-handed and we both have these weirdly long little toes which make us look like long-toed mutants. But apart from that, I'd say we're fairly different. Well, actually, we're a lot different . . . It's hard enough being one half of the world's least identical twins, without both of you falling for the same guy. Jolene's turned flirting into a fine art, but Jody? Not so much. And as if a twinny love triangle wasn't messy enough . . . there's something nobody knows about Jody Barton. Something BIG.

Gah, this is going to be one pain of a review to write, not because I'm torn over this book - I really enjoyed it but because there is a big twist in it and I really REALLY don't want to give spoilers, but let me just say that is a twist that had me shocked and laughing because I had so not expected it but looking back on what I had already read I could have worked it out. Just read it, you'll know what I mean.

I really liked this book, it wasn't amazing but it was very entertaining whilst at the same time it covered some serious issues, I especially liked how the cyber-bullying was handled - it's a modern day issue that was dealt with in a very light way. There are other big issues tackled but I won't mention them because they may spoil the premise. I think that this book may not have been what I was expecting but it did what I had wanted - it was a quick, funny and engaging read from a fantastic author for teens.

The characters in the book are great. I liked that Jolene was flirty and girly and had an attitude, it made her very realistic for her age and I actually looked forward to reading about her. Jody also had personality perks that I looked forward to reading about, like the Leap Day birthday, I don't know why but the leap day birthday thing really entertained me. I liked Jody and Jolene's family as well, the football mad Dad was oh so British, I loved it and the girly Mum was also a great read. Jolene's boyfriend was an absolutely horrible character, I hated him but his character was well written. Maybe the characters could have been developed a little more but taking into account that this is a humorous and quick read I personally don't feel that it was necessary.

Overall, I enjoyed this book because it was fun and light-hearted but also deals with some pretty big issues for teens.

Overall Rating: B

Book released by Macmillan (UK) on 31st May 2012
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris

Leaving the beach, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit head on by a pickup truck.
And killed.

Then Ben Michaels, resident stoner, is leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, she knows Ben somehow brought her back to life…

Meanwhile, Janelle’s father, a special agent for the FBI, starts working on a case that seems strangely connected to Ben. Digging in his files, Janelle finds a mysterious device – one that seems to be counting down to something that will happen in 23 days and 10 hours time.

That something? It might just be the end of the world. And if Janelle wants to stop it, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets – and keep from falling in love with him in the process…

Oh my days. I don't know what I was expecting with this book, I was totally expecting it be awesome and this book just blew my expectations to pieces by seriously topping it. I mean, this book was like miles of awesome all rolled into a ball of awesome flattened out and made into a book of awesome. You get my drift? This book was awesome.

So yeah, I kind of liked it.

I started out by thinking, yeah, this is okay, I'm enjoying this book and by the time I closed it with tears in my eyes, extremely tired at three o'clock in the morning I could think of nothing but this book. It set us up with a mystery and at some points I thought that I was knew what was going on, but this book is not predictable and everytime I thought I'd worked out the mystery a twist came in that shocked me and left me reeling. Th pacing in this book was superb and for most of the last one hundred pages I was sat on the edge of my seat, dying to see what was going to happen. The ending was well written, not what I had hoped for but what I know deep inside is what should have happened, I am so excited to read the sequel... eek!

I loved the characters, Ben was by far my favorite because not only was he an enigma in this book but he is also very believable, he has his mystery but he is also a nice, romantic and strong male lead. I also really liked Janelle as a lead because she was so strong-minded but also multi-dimensional. The other characters were fantastic as well, I really did like Alex, Janelle's best friend as well as Janelle's dad and I also found the lesser prominent characters very believable, especially Janelle's mother who is battling a mental health disorder.

The genre of this book is sci-fi, and my days is it done good. I'm relatively indifferent to 'contemporary sci-fi' books, as in sci-fi books that aren't dystopian, unless they are done really well but this one was done so well. I don't want to give any spoilers but whilst the science fiction aspect did catch me off guard I found that it worked so well, and there was a little bit of gore as well. If I had to compare this book to a TV show, it would be like Bones meets Fringe, pretty heavy on the Fringe aspect... but hey, I love both of those shows and it worked so well!

Overall, I'm not going to say that this is the best book that I have read this year (though it's pretty much on par with first place) but it is by far the best science-fiction that I have read in a long time, if not ever. Seriously, take my advice and read it, I doubt you will regret it.

Overall Rating: A+ 

Book released June 8th 2012 by Harper Collins UK
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reviews for other books by this author:

Review: When Dreams Come True by Rebecca Emin

When Dreams Come TrueCharlie is happiest when biking with Max and Toby, or watching films with Allie. But when Charlie reaches year nine (age 13), everything begins to change. 

As her friends develop new interests, Charlie's dreams become more frequent and vivid, and a family crisis tears her away from her friends.

How will Charlie react when old family secrets are revealed? Will her life change completely when some of her dreams start to come true?

After reading Emin's first book, New Beginnings last year I was a little wary about how I would feel about this book because whilst I love Emin's creativity and how well developed her stories are I wasn't a big fan of the writing style itself.

I think I was right to be wary, this book is mostly better than New Beginnings because the way it's written actually seems more authentically thirteen year old but there were still bits where it seems stinted, like it's an adult thinking these thoughts and not a young teen which was off-putting, on a whole though the writing was much better than New Beginnings.

This book is very short and it took me maybe two hours maximum to read, which was nice because I was absolutely absorbed in the story and I didn't really have time to lose interest or want to put it down so I read it in one sitting, the storyline develops at a steady pace, making this book a gentle read: not 'edge-of-seat' reading but also not 'boring'.

I really liked the characters in this book. Charlie was so authentic in that she's going through things that most thirteen year olds go through: discovering boys, confusing friendships as well as family problems that seriously disrupt her life, I also liked all of Charlie's friends especially Allie who was also very believable as the boy-mad more girly girl out of the pair. There was some cute, completely clean puppy love in there that just made me squee with the cuteness, Max was very sweet and caring, bless him!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book much more than the authors first offering, I especially liked how relatable the characters were tough at times the writing did slip a little bit.

Overall Rating: B

Book released 28th May 2012
Book received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Letterbox Love

Books Mentioned:

Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection (The Selection, #1)Thirty-five beautiful girls. Thirty-five beautiful rivals… 

It’s the chance of a lifetime and 17-year-old America Singer should feel lucky. She has been chosen for The Selection, a reality TV lottery in which the special few compete for gorgeous Prince Maxon's love.

Swept up in a world of elaborate gowns, glittering jewels and decadent feasts, America is living a new and glamorous life. And the prince takes a special interest in her, much to the outrage of the others.

Rivalry within The Selection is fierce and not all of the girls are prepared to play by the rules. But what they don’t know is that America has a secret — one which could throw the whole competition… and change her life forever.

You know, despite the fact that there are a load of negative reviews and a lot of drama-lama about the author herself, I actually really enjoyed this book, no I didn't love it but yes there was a lot of enjoyment and it will be getting a pretty high rating.

I am not going to lie, I am the type of person to judge a book by it's cover and the cover of this book is just gorgeous to the billionth degree, seriously! The dress, the font, the colours - I just love the icy blue and then the girly pink, it is so stunning that this may well be one of my favorite covers of the year so far.

Now onto the actual book. I was sucked in from the first page and I was held in until the very last page. I loved the storyline despite the fact that i was sceptical at the start, I mean the whole The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games thing seemed intriguing but I wasn't putting much hope into it, I thought it would just be a book based around a group of catty girls and whilst there was a bit of that in there there was also politics and romance, I was really interested in what was going to happen, was America going to go home? Would Aspen get in touch? Would America fall for Maxon?

Yes... I think i may have found a love triangle that I actually like! I know, shocker.... love triangles are just not something I like in a book but it was done well in this one. There is no insta-love, America has known Aspen for years and the relationship with Maxon builds up slowly. I didn't like America's indecisiveness at the end and I think I know who she'll pick in the end. Nonetheless, at the moment I am Team Aspen but I know that it won't take much to sway me to Team Maxon, because I only like Aspen marginally more than Maxon.

America as a character wasn't fantastic. She was far too wishy-washy and weak and indecisive, I think that there were scenes where she could have been portrayed as stronger but Cass misses the chance. I liked that she was a friend to the weaker girls in the contest and that she looked after her maids and that she'd been through hardships but i'm not sure that I really liked her.

There was one thing that was seriously lacking for me in this book: believable world building. We know how the world works and how the caste system works and we're even given an explanation for how things got that way but I didn't find it all that believable so amybe the next few books need to work on that.

Overall, a good read with a great plot that kept me reading and an interesting love triangle. I didn't really like the main character and the world building was lacking. Nonetheless, I was interested until the very last page and am excited to read the sequel so for that reason this book gets...

Overall Rating: B-

Book released June 7th by Harpercollins Children's Books (UK)
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review... thanks!

Review: Bound by Sarah Bryant

BoundAll Sophie Creedon has ever wanted is a normal life – but normal life doesn’t seem to want Sophie. Strikingly pretty, a top student, with unique musical talent, the London schoolgirl has always stood out from the crowd. But it’s the Revenants that truly set her apart: creatures not quite living, not quite dead, and visible only to Sophie. Hard as she tries to ignore them, her haunting has cost her friends, opportunities, even her parents’ trust.
In a last-ditch effort to free herself of it, she foregoes a university place in favour of a waitressing job in the tiny village of Ardnasheen, on Scotland’s wild northwest coast. Though at first Ardnasheen seems to offer exactly the refuge Sophie has been looking for, she quickly realizes that it harbors dark secrets of its own. Barely a week into her new life, she finds herself caught up in a bitter rivalry between Sam and Lucas, two young landowners. One is charming, the other brooding, and both irresistibly compelling. But the roots of their hostility run deep into a mysterious past that seems to involve Sophie. As they vie for her attention, she is forced to choose which one to trust.

Sophie is about to discover the love of her life – and a secret to die for.

Okay, I'm going to start out by saying that I LOVED this book, it was fantastic and I couldn't put it down, like literally in was two hundred pages in when I had to go to college and I spent the two hours that I was in class thinking about where I'd left off and then I was straight back to it when I got home. As soon as the book was finished I immediately sent an email to my contact at the publishers demanding a copy of the sequel when it becomes available... 

Yeah, I loved this book.

But it didn't start that way for me, for the first couple of chapters I didn't think that the book was something that I was going to enjoy because it just didn't seem to be gripping me in, I think maybe that is because the first couple of chapters are jam packed with description but not much dialogue, but soon I began to get gripped as the characters were introduced and we start to wonder exactly why Sophie has moved so far away. What kept me reading through that slow time was the setting, I love out there settings and a little island off the Scottish coast was so amazing to read about, and the weather seriously set the tone for the book!

It took me a lot longer to get to grips with Sophie's character, I was wary because she is described as super beautiful, super intelligent and can even play the harp but later I realised how all of this ties in with who she is (I'm trying to not put spoilers in this review, so I'm being vague), and I also got a bit annoyed about how cynical she is about the place where she has moved because she chose to go there, couldn't she have like Googled the place or something? In the end though,  I started to like her and by the end I was so attached to her character that i was almost crying... so my feelings managed to turn three sixty!

I loved the romance aspect, it went the opposite way to how I thought it was going to go at the start, the boy that I thought was the good boy wasn't and the one that I thought was the bad guy turned out to be the swoonworthy good boy, the romance didn't develop too slowly but it also avoided being instant and you readers know that if I despise anything it's insta-love. 

The storyline was amazing, I was so wondering where it was going in the beginning but by the middle you think you know exactly what's going to happen but it doesn't! There are so many twists and turns in this book but I loved where the storyline went, the ending left me speechless and now I am dying for Riven, the next in the series.

Overall, I think I can sum it up by saying that this book literally left me on the edge of my seat and absolutely speechless, because of a bit of a slow start and a problem getting to grips with the main character I can't say that this book was full grade, but it's definitely nearly there.

Overall Rating: A-

Book released 1st February 2012 by Snowbooks
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review! Thanks!