Review: Atlantis Rising by Gloria Craw (DNF)

Atlantis Rising

I am different. I have always been different, but no one can know or my life will be in danger. So I hide in plain sight, wearing drab clothes and thick glasses and trying to be invisible. I’m so good at hiding, no one has ever noticed me. Until Ian…the mysterious and oh-so-cute boy I know I need to avoid.

Now I have been seen. And more terrifying still, I am wanted—by those who would protect me and those who would destroy everything and everyone I love. But if they’re all terrified about who I am, wait until they see what I can do…

I really desperately wanted to love Atlantis Rising, but unfortunately it just didn't do much for me. In fact, I tried so hard to get into it over the past month but I had to just admit that it was not for me - not at all. I managed to push through to about half way through the book before I gave up and skimmed the last half. It's difficult because I so don't want to DNF this book, but I don't want to review a book in full when I haven't read it in full.

I feel like so many characters were thrown at us in the start and the plot seemed very rushed that I feel like I was left behind at the start. However, despite the rushed start the writing felt very simplistic and long winded. I just couldn't find anything to get a hold on, which isn't a great start for me.

I can't really say much more - if you like cliche paranormal (and that isn't necessarily a bad thing) - this is a book for you to try. For me though, it wasn't really my thing.

Overall Rating: DNF

Book released 6th January 2015 by Entangled Teen
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Review: A Work of Art by Melody Maysonet

A Work of Art

Shy, artistic Tera can't wait to attend a prestigious art school in France to prove to her famous artist father that she can make something of herself. But Tera's hopes for the future explode when the police arrest her dad for an unspeakable crime. Her father's arrest must be a mistake, so Tera goes into action, sacrificing her future at art school to pay for his defense. Meanwhile, she falls head over heels for Joey, a rebel musician who makes her feel wanted and asks no questions about her past. Joey helps Tera forget her troubles, but he brings a whole new set of problems to Tera's already complicated life. Then, to make matters worse, as her relationship with Joey deepens and as her dad's hotshot lawyer builds a defense, fractures begin to appear in Tera's childhood memories--fractures that make her wonder: could her father be guilty? And whether he's guilty or innocent, can she find a way to step out of the shadows of her father's reputation and walk free? Can she stop him, guilty or innocent, from tainting the only future she ever wanted?

A Work of Art was an interesting read, but I didn't feel that it was terribly unforgettable. It was gripping as I read it, but now that I come to review it I realise that it wasn't the most gripping, memorable book in the world.

That being said, I did enjoy it. Maysonet's writing is raw as she delivers this story which is not the easiest to tell. The story sits in the middle of something which is not furious and angry and not forgiving and simple. The story is one which takes no sides, even though it is clear to the reader that Tera's father is guilty, we don't get angry at Tera's blindness of the matter because she isn't oblivious. She has just accepted things that she shouldn't have accepted. The premise is gritty and it is delivered well and Tera's story is one that I loved to follow.

I did feel like Tera accepted things too quickly at the end - it did warrant more stages of guilt and denial, however I think the ending needed to be quick.

Overall, A Work of Art was a great, gripping read but it isn't something that I will remember in the long term. It delivers a strong message and delivers it well, but it wasn't the most poignant and strong of all reads. 

Book released 1st March by Merit Press
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Review: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)
The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

2016. 2016! That is how long I have to wait for book 3 of this series. Where is the freaking justice. Why do I choose to start incomplete series and let my whole entire life revolve around that series and then have my hopes and dreams dashed when I have to wait a unfair amount of time for the third book. Marie Rutkoski, you are not human, nobody human could write a book as awesome as The Winner's Crime, so if you are a robot or an alien from the planet Write and you have super awesome writing skills, why can't you write superhumanely fast?

None of that top paragraph makes sense does it? Oh well...

But seriously, in my review of The Winner's Curse I stated that I was worried that book two wasn't going to live up to my standards. I was so worried that it was going to be a victim of second book syndrome, but that was definitely not the case. Actually, I think I may have enjoyed this one more than the first (if that is even possible). It was full of intrigue, full of passion, full of meetings and misunderstandings and tactics and... well, it was just full of awesome.

Arin and Kestrel spend this whole book dancing around each other, which make the parts where they are together so much tenser, because tense is the only word for it. Their relationship here is nowhere near romantic, it's all need and regrets and disgust and I just could not get enough of it. Seriously, this book ended on the worst cliffhanger ever and I need book three because if  Arin and Kestrel don't get their well needed happy ended  I swear I might cry and give up reading forever.

I seriously don't think I have shipped anything this hard in a very long time.

Marie Rutkoski is an amazing author and she really brings this series to life. I cannot wait to see how she concludes this series. Just wow. This book left me breathless. 

Overall Rating: A+

Book released 12th March 2015 by Bloomsbury Children
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.
It is so very rare for me to finish a book and immediately want to read the second in the series. Usually I like to switch between series and genres, but as soon as I finished The Winner's Curse I immediately started The Winner's Crime, which I got as an eGalley from NetGalley a few days ago. It's weird, because I hadn't actually had massive expectations. I had been let down by The Shadow Society, Rutkoski's last YA offering, and overlooked this one for a while.

I nearly made a serious mistake.

Honestly it is so rare for me to love a book as much as I loved The Winner's Curse. Don't be nervous because of the girly dressy cover because Kestrel was an amazing character. She isn't the world's best fighter, but she is sly and tactical and wow, she was just a fantastic character to follow. Arin was also amazing, because he wasn't the typical doting YA man, he has his own agenda, he is almost a bad guy and the end gave me such mixed feels because of what he does and how ruthless he is. That being said, I loved the two of them together and I really feel like this is the start of a romance which is neither predictable or one hundred percent good. I cannot wait to read more about them.

The story gripped me pretty quickly. Despite the slow start, the writing was so good that I read on and it really did pick up soon. The political side of things could have used more expansion, however when books get too political I tend to lose interest so it worked for me. 

Ugh I could gush and gush, because that's what I feel like doing. But my time could be spent doing much better things, like reading the second book RIGHT NOW.

Guys, seriously. This may be one of the best books I will read this year, you can quote me on that.

Overall Rating: A+

Book released 3rd July 2015 by Bloomsbury UK
Book purchased by myself

Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

My Heart and Other Black Holes
Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner. 

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.

This was a great read that really dragged me in and had me feeling for all of the characters, but off the bat I need to say that I never really connected the way other reviewers seem to have. I was expecting a soul-wrenching, life-changing kind of book and in that way I feel like this book fell short. However, it was a good, emotional read and I would have really thoroughly enjoyed it if my expectations hadn't been so bleeding high.

Aysel was the type of character that everyone can relate too. She is going through a tough time, struggles to talk to anybody, she's struggling her way through life with the thought that in a matter of time it will all be over. Roman was another character who was so imperfect that he shone through, I loved him even though he was selfish and unempathetic. Their story is woven with sadness and dark humor and I absolutely adored Jasmine Warga's writing style - flawless.

The story itself had a lot of unfulfilled potential - I felt that we could have had some big, revealing moment where we find out about Aysel's past, but instead it sort of comes ot in bits of pieces which mean that it doesn't seem as important as it is. Everything seems to be written in this lyrical, closed-off way which helps us get inside Aysel and Roman's heads, but makes it hard for us to really get gripped.

Don't get me wrong, My Heart and Other Black Holes was a great read. I did enjoy it and I think that Jamine Warga's writing style is amazing, she built fantastic, relatable characters and wrote them in a gorgeous way. That being said, I feel like this book could have been much more. it didn't touch me in the way I had really hoped for, so I can't give this book tha 'A' rating it really deserves.

Book released 10th February 2015 by Balzer+Bray
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

CALLING ALL BLOGGERS: Your opinions needed

About a year ago, I started a weekly feature on my blog which featured blogger tips and tricks. You can see the existing posts here:

So far, I have done guides on what ARCs are, how to request them, how to use NetGalley and Edelweiss and how to go about DNF and negative review. What I was trying to do was put together a comprehensible guide addressing all aspects of book blogging, not just talking about my opinion but also talking to authors, publishers and especially other bloggers to get their opinion.

Then I went on a semi-involuntary hiatus and have only just got back.

Now I am looking to pick this feature back up, and I need your help!

Here are the topics I want to look at in the next few weeks:
  • How to format a book review.
  • How to stay organised when running a book blog and having a life.
  • What makes a good blog?
  • How important is social networking when running a book blog?
  • Reading slumps, what they are and how to escape them?

And as well as putting my own opinions out there, I want your thoughts on these topics, so below is a list of questions. If you could answer even just one of these, I would be very happy. Please also make sure I can access your blog so I can link to you in the post.

1. What do you think makes a good book review? Format and structure wise as well as any 'turn offs' in book reviews you may have.

2. Bloggers, do you schedule your reviews? How do you keep on top of your TBR to review pile? Do you list? Etc.

3. How often do you blog, how often do you want to blog. Does real life keep you from blogging as much as you would like to?

4. For you, what makes a good blog design? What makes a bad blog design?

5. What do you think should be the most visible things on a blog?

6. How often do you social network (for your blogging, not personal).

7. Do you feel like social networking benefits you as a blogger? Why?

8. When is the last time you had a reading slump? How long did it last and how did you get out of it?

9. Is it important to you that reading stays something fun for you?

Review: The Testing by Joelle Charbonne

The Testing (The Testing, #1)

Every year, the United Commonwealth invites top graduates from each colony to participate in The Testing. Successful candidates will go on to the University and help the government work to rebuild our war-stricken world. This process is not optional.
Disclaimer: The United Commonwealth is not responsible for candidates' psychological or physical heath during The Testing.

The Testing is the type of book that is always going to be a good read for me. It has all of the things that I love in dystopian world books, but it also has the touch of originality that I really appreciate. Now, I'm not going to say this was the most innovative or original read in the world, because the Divergent/Hunger Games/Battle Royale influence is definitely there, but I think that the dystopian genre is so well tried and tested these days that it is so hard to find anything original, and if you want an action-packed, psychological adventure style dystopian, like this is, there is no way to avoid similarities to well-known books. 

So yeah, this book is similar to other books in the genre, but it was also gripping and exciting. I read it in one sitting and couldn't bear to put it down. Cia was a strong character and I really appreciated that - to start with I thought Tomas was a little flaky but towards the end we learn some things about him that make him stand out as a stronger character. It wasn't until the very end of the book that I started to support their developing relationship, which is strange for me since usually I get dragged into romance very quickly.

That being said, we don't see a whole lot of Tomas/Cia interaction for much of the first book, and what we do see is holding hands (seriously, there is a lot of "Tomas took my hand", seriously Cia!). Thankfully there is very little romantic competition so we have (so far) avoided the inevitable love triangle.

The plot was gripping, I was dragged in from the first chapter, through Cia's hopes that she would be picked for the Testing. Then I was even further gripped when her father delivered the all-is-not-as-it-seems speech and by the time they reached the university I was hooked. From there it was a mixture of heart pounding tension and action until the very last page, I loved it.

Overall, The Testing stood up to the hype and whilst it sin't the most original YA dystopian around, it definitely kept me gripped. A heart-pounding thrill ride of a book, I'm almost nervous to read the second one as this was so good!

Book released 1st August 2014 by Templar
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Waiting on Wednesday (18th February 2015)

"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!

This week is witch week, with two picks both about witches and witchcraft, but to different sorts of world, so I think it's okay!

The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
June 2nd - Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

The Witch Hunter

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king's best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. When she's accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to die at the stake. Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can track down the person who laid a deadly curse on him.

As she's thrust into the world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and all-too-handsome healers, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate

When My Heart Was Wicked by Tricia Stirling
February 24th - Scholastic Press

When My Heart Was Wicked16-year-old Lacy believes that magic and science can work side by side. She's a botanist who knows how to harness the healing power of plants. So when her father dies, Lacy tries to stay with her step-mother in Chico, where her magic is good and healing. She fears the darkness that her real mother, Cheyenne, brings out, stripping away everything that is light and kind.

Yet Cheyenne never stays away for long. Beautiful, bewitching, unstable Cheyenne who will stop at nothing, not even black magic, to keep control of her daughter's heart. She forces Lacy to accompany her to Sacramento, and before long, the "old" Lacy starts to resurface.

But when Lacy survives a traumatic encounter, she finds herself faced with a choice. Will she use her powers to exact revenge and spiral into the darkness forever? Or will she find the strength to embrace the light?

-Link me up to yours and I'll call by and comment!-

Review: Disappear Home by Laura Hurwitz

Disappear Home
In 1970, as the hippie movement is losing its innocence, Shoshanna and her six-year-old sister, Mara, escape from Sweet Earth Farm, a declining commune, run by their tyrannical and abusive father, Adam. Their mother, Ella, takes them to San Francisco, where they meet one of her old friends, Judy, and the four of them decide to head off and try to make a life together. Finding a safe haven at the farm of kind, elderly Avery Elliot, the four of them find some measure of peace and stability. Then their mother's crippling depression returns. Confused and paranoid, Ella is convinced that she and the girls must leave before Adam finds them and extracts revenge. The girls don't wish to leave the only stable home they've ever had. But as Ella grows worse and worse, events conspire to leave them to face a choice they never could have imagined. Shoshanna has always watched over her sister and once again she has to watch over her ailing mother. Will she ever live a "normal" life?

My general opinion of Disappear Home is that it was a good story, with characters placed in difficult situation, but it just lacked a whole lot of heart. I think this could have been a very enlightening and harrowing story, but Hurwitz just doesn't write well enough for me to connect to the story. I could have been more afraid of Adam, or more empathetic of Shoshanna and Mara, but I just couldn't really connect with the characters or the story so I really struggled with this one.

I feel like this book was one big infodump where we are told to be afraid of Adam, we're told that the girls have to get away, we're told that Avery and Judy are good but we're fed that information, rather than these things being demonstrated so that we can come to our own opinions.

There really isn't a lot more that I can say about Disappear Home (Which is sad because I hate posting short reviews). there was nothing wrong with this book - there is nothing I want to rant about. I just feel like Hurwitz skimmed the surface of what could have been a much deeper story.

Book released 1st March 2015 by Albert Whitman and Co
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Review: Little Peach by Peggy Kern

Little Peach
When Michelle runs away from her drug-addicted mother, she has just enough money to make it to New York City, where she hopes to move in with a friend. But once she arrives at the bustling Port Authority, she is confronted with the terrifying truth: she is alone and out of options.

Then she meets Devon, a good-looking, well-dressed guy who emerges from the crowd armed with a kind smile, a place for her to stay, and eyes that seem to understand exactly how she feels.

But Devon is not what he seems to be, and soon Michelle finds herself engulfed in the world of child prostitution where he becomes her “Daddy” and she his “Little Peach.” It is a world of impossible choices, where the line between love and abuse, captor and savior, is blurred beyond recognition.

Little Peach is like a pomeranian of a book. It's little, it's small, but it has a bite. 

Okay, maybe a pomeranian isn't the right simile, but it makes sense in my head. This is the type of book that reels you in with simplistic writing and an easy to follow story, but then it kicks you right where it hurts and pummels you until you can't breathe.

In other words, this is a very powerful book.

I knew, the second Michelle met Devon and felt that ounce of hope for the first time, that it wasn't going to last. I wanted to scream at Michelle, stop her from being so stupid and so naive, but I couldn't. This is the effect this book had on me. I was furious, I was afraid, I was angry, I was hooked. 

I can't even put it into words.

God, this book hit me in a way that so few books ever have. The sad thing is knowing that this harrowing, terrifying story is something that is happening to young girls across the world every day - this isn't fiction, because Michelle is the realisation of thousands or real people. So is Baby, so is Kat, so is Devon.

Peggy Kern doesn't hold back, and for that I respect her. She tells the tale in the narrative of a 14 year old girl, but with all of the maturity of someone trying to get a message out. It's a conflict, but it just goes to show the reality of the issue. I can't comment on the plot becase I almost feel like that isn't the main thing in this book. For me, Little Peach is just the story of real life girls in this grimy, unforgiving world.

And that thought terrifies me.

Just... read this book. Trust me.

Book released 10th March 2015 by Balzer + Bray
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Review: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

A Wicked Thing (A Wicked Thing, #1)
One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept. 

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

It's an idea that I had never really thought about, what happens to Sleeping Beauty after she wakes up? I always thought that was the happily ever after, not taking the time to consider that the princesses family are dead, or the kingdom is ruled by somebody else. It was a fantastic premise to build on and really there is no way this book could fail on the delivery.

This book reads as part fairytale retelling and part fantasy on it's own, with all of the court intrigue that keeps me going in this type of book. I did feel like at times the book felt rather plotless and it definitely took a while to get to the bit where Aurora starts to make things happen - up until then Thomas seemed to just be building up this world and this character so the start was a bit slow, but I got past that. I loved Aurora's character from the start as well, she isn't a princess that does as she is told and I appreciated that. Aurora waking up from the kiss and screaming was fun, and it was definitely a great way to get me interested in this book. Although the pacing did pick up later in the book, the ending was definitely very weak to the point where I can't actually remember what really happened. I know I enjoyed it at the time though...

The love triangle (square?) did fit the needs of the book, that being said it was very annoying that such a feisty character was bogged down with a cliche love triangle. I did really like Rodric (poor guy just couldn't get a break) and Tristan. Finnegan is one I wasn't sure about, but I guess he was just the typical rogue character - I don't really now what direction that triangle is going, but I'm not massively excited to follow it through...

Overall, A Wicked Thing was a feisty, sassy take on the Sleeping Beauty fairytale. I really connected with Aurora and I enjoyed her story. That being said, the pacing needed a lot of work and the love triangle left a lot to be desired, so I can't say this was the most amazing book ever....

Book released 24th February 2015 by HarperTeen
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

GIVEAWAY: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

This week there has been a bit of a mix-up with Amazon, meaning that I have ended up with duplicate copies of some amazing books!

I ended up with TWO copies of Defy by Sara Larson and Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page as well as THREE copies of The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury and The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski.

Which means that I now have a few surplus books to give away (YAY).

So just to test the waters, I am going to hold an international giveaway for 
(Paperback, UK edition, see below)

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)

If I get loads of entries I may give away both new copies, but I was hoping to give that away in a big bundle giveaway later in the year.

  • Competition open to anybody, anywhere.
  • Competition will end on 6th of March. Winner(s) will be contacted on that day and must respond within 48 hours. Books will be posted on next available post day.
  • Entrants must follow me on either Bloglovin' or Google Friend Connect (I really need to get my head around that Google+ thing so I can use that too in future giveaways...). Links to both on left sidebar. Extra entries can be gained by following me on twitter and tweeting the giveaway.
  • Winner must have a postal address for me to send book out to.
  • I will not take any responsibility for any items lost in post. I will retain proof of postage in the case of this and I will post the package as tracked as long as the cost is not too high.

Shelf Spotlight (15th February 2015)

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

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

I've been out of the count for the last week due to an awful dose of glandular fever (ugh)! But I have been doing a lot of reading, just not a lot of blogging~!

Review: NetGalley/Edelweiss

Model Misfit (Geek Girl, #2) Under the Spotlight (The Jamieson Collection #3) Blank-133x176

Black Dove, White Raven The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)

Bought - print

Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1) Defy (Defy, #1) The Darkest Part of the Forest

Due to an Amazon mix up, I also got an extra copy of The Sin Eater's Daughter and The Winner's Curse, so I will be giving them away as well.

Spotlight Sunday (8/2/15)

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

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

Review: NetGalley/Edelweiss

Chasing Ravens Ever Darkening  We All Looked Up

Forsaken (Daughters of the Sea, #1) A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1) Cleo 

So I decided to buy some of the books I never got the chance to review or never caught up on, mostly because they came out last year when I was on my blogging break.

There is also another which I forgot to put in this picture,

It was 3 for 2 on kids books at my local W.H. Smith and I was only going to buy 3 but I bought six, the others I bought from Waterstones... oops. 
I am super excited for The Testing and The Winner's Curse because I have heard great things. The Sin Eater's Daughter sounds like all of my favorite things and We Were Liars has had such a hype I feel like I need to get on board.
I bought Perfect Ruin because I know the rest of this series is soon on it's way!

Ugh... time to get reading these.... I DON'T KNOW WHERE TO START!!!

Leave me a link to yours and I will call by and comment! :)

Review: Phantom's Dance by Lesa Howard

Phantom's Dance
Christine Dadey's family uprooted their lives and moved to Houston for her to attend the prestigious Rousseau Academy of Dance. Now, two years later, Christine struggles to compete among the Academy's finest dancers, her parents are on the brink of divorce, and she's told no one about her debilitating performance anxiety and what she's willing to do to cope with it. Erik was a ballet prodigy, a savant, destined to be a star on the world's stage, but a suspicious fire left Erik's face horribly disfigured. Now, a lonely phantom forced to keep his scars hidden, he spends his nights haunting the theater halls, mourning all he's lost. Then, from behind the curtain he sees the lovely Christine. The moldable, malleable Christine. Drawn in by Erik's unwavering confidence, Christine allows herself to believe Erik's declarations that he can transform her into the dancer she longs to be. But Christine's hope of achieving her dreams may be her undoing when she learns Erik is not everything he claims. And before long, Erik's shadowy past jeopardizes Christine's unstable present as his obsession with her becomes hopelessly entangled with his plans for revenge.

Can I make a confession? I have never seen, heard or read The Phantom of the Opera, so this review is not going to make any judgements on this book's role as a retelling. No, this is going to focus on Phantom's Dance as a story of it's own so that may affect my judgement a little. Just a little disclaimer there on my part.

Now for this book: UGH! I LOVED IT!

After reading a few less than impressive books recently, Phantom's Dance was just the right level of creepy and engaging and freaking great that I needed to pull me back into the right mindset. It was just awesome. Christine was a fantastic character from start to finish; a gifted dancer, she is aiming to make it into her school's prestigious ballet company, the last time she auditioned she completely flunked it, and her dance teacher seems to have a bit of an issue with Christine. Cue Erik, a self-named ballet afficionado, he guides Christine in secret dance lessons. He hides behind a curtain, teaching Christine to dance and when he does come out he wears a mask. He tells Christine he was burnt in a fire that destroyed his ballet career. Christine takes his words hook, line and sinker. 

What I really loved was the way that I, as a reader, knew that something was wrong with Erik. Something was missing and this could never end well, but Christine never did. She shakes off any doubts that she has and is nice to Erik. A mistake that she later lives to regret. It was like watching a horror movie where I was close to shouting "No! Christine! Don't!" but I couldn't! 

I also loved that romance wasn't the main part of this book. Christine has a love interest, Raoul, but he pops in and out of the book where he is needed and isn't actually a key part of the plot. Usually I love a love story, but there is a semblance of a twisted on in  the main plot so it isn't exactly necessary. The downside of that is that it did seem like Christine and Erik are the only characters developed enough to care about that much. It can't really be helped in this book though.

The ending could have used a little more development, but I was mostly happy with how it all panned out, so I can't complain too much!

Overall, a great retelling of something I haven't even seen anyway. It was creepy, thrilling and engaging and I loved that about this book.

Book released 6th April 2014 by Boot in the Door publications
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Waiting on Wednesday

"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!

Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
June 2nd - Dutton Juvenile

Daughter of Deep Silence
In the wake of the deadly devastation of luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace, rescued from the ocean after torturous days adrift with her dying friend Libby, knows that the Persephone wasn’t sunk by a rogue wave as survivors Senator Wells and his son are claiming—it was attacked.
To ensure her safety from the obviously dangerous and very powerful Wells family, Libby’s father helps newly orphaned Frances assume Libby’s identity. Frances has spent years in hiding, transforming herself into Libby, and she can no longer allow the people who murdered her entire family and Libby to get away with it. After years of careful plotting, she’s ready to set her revenge plans into motion—even if it means taking down the boy she’d once been in love with: the senator’s son.

-Link me up to yours and I'll call by and comment!-