Monday, 24 November 2014

Stolen Child by Laura Elliot

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins UK, Avon and NetGalley.
Stolen Child
Blurb (from Goodreads):
It's every mother's worst nightmare.

Carla Kelly wakes to find her two-day-old baby daughter's cot empty.

Isobel has been taken.

Susanne Dowling has been keeping a terrible secret following her fifth agonising miscarriage. But when at last she welcomes her new baby daughter into her life nothing else matters. They will both be safe as long as Susanne keeps her daughter close and confesses her lie to no one. Ever.

Carla, a top model, launches a fierce national campaign to find her child – but the trail is cold. She receives threats and recriminations from strangers – she flaunted her pregnancy in the media, she cashed in on it, she deserves everything she gets – and, encouraged by well-meaning loved ones to move on, she begins to fall apart.

But one letter Carla receives stands out from the rest. It offers support from a surprising quarter. And it sets in to motion a chain of events that opens wounds and exposes shocking secrets from Carla’s past that suggest what happened to her daughter was revenge a long time planned.

And it will bring Carla unknowingly close to the stolen daughter she has sworn she will do anything to get back …


Stolen Child by Laura Elliot

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Stolen Child(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins UK, Avon and NetGalley.)

This was an okay story, but it wasn’t what I was expecting.

I felt a little split over the characters in this, because while I felt sorry for Carla and the way her baby was stolen, I also felt for Susanne and the way her baby died. Losing more than one baby and not having anyone to talk to about it must have been beyond difficult.

The storyline in this was okay, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I expected there to be more of a search for the baby, but instead it took years for Carla to find out what happened to her daughter! I found the pace to be quite slow, and it felt like the book would never end. 515 pages seemed way too long for the number of events that actually happened.

The ending was as much of a ‘happily ever after’ as you could expect in the situation, but I didn’t expect it to take place such a long time after Clara’s baby disappeared.
Overall; okay story, but not quite what I was expecting,
6 out of 10.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending #1) by Rachel Harris

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Spencer Hill Contemporary and NetGalley.
The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending, #1)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you're friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.

With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from “funny friend” to “tempting vixen” is only a matter of time.

But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable “break up” leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want.


The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending, #1)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Spencer Hill Contemporary and NetGalley.)

This was an okay story, but I lost interest.

Aly and Brandon were okay characters, and there was some obvious chemistry between them. I didn’t really love either of them though, and kind-of just wanted them to get a clue and get together.

The storyline in this was alright, but it seemed to drag for me. This pair just seemed to be a bit clueless, and I wanted them to get together and realise how right they were for each other, instead of messing about!
There were a couple of hot kisses in this book, and there was some real chemistry between Aly and Brandon. It was a shame that we didn’t get more of this pair together.

The ending was a classic ‘happily ever after’, and I was glad that these two finally wised up and worked out what they wanted.
Overall; okay YA contemporary romance,
6 out of 10.


Saturday, 22 November 2014

Lessons I Never Learned At Meadowbrook Academy by Liz Maccie

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Diversion Books and NetGalley.
Lessons I Never Learned At Meadowbrook Academy
Blurb (from Goodreads):
"Liz Maccie's debut novel is as tough, optimistic, and beautiful as her heroine, Roberta Romano. Roberta's voice is heartfelt and funny. Her story is exceptionally moving and honest. I love this book and the hope it has for young women everywhere." ​—​Stephen Chbosky, New York Times bestselling author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower
​​
The most important lessons aren't learned in the classroom.

It’s the first day of sophomore year for Roberta Romano, but instead of the comfort of her local high school, she's been thrust into the elitist embrace of the affluent Meadowbrook Academy.

Surrounded by wealth, Roberta battles her own insecurities, as well as evil teachers and mean girls, to prove her worth and maybe land the boy of her dreams. With the help of two unlikely allies—​and an inflatable toy raft—​Robert embarks upon a journey of dark secrets and self-discovery to learn the true meaning of friendship and acceptance.

"Roberta will charm and delight you with a voice that’s candid, hilarious, and hopeful, as she narrates her first day at a new high school, reminding us of the epic nature of each hour in our adolescent lives. Lessons I Never Learned at Meadowbrook Academy will make you laugh, cringe, cry, and cheer for the power of friendships that can change us in a single day." —​Ava Dellaira, author of Love Letters to the Dead

"You wish your first day of prep school was this epic! Every single page of Lessons I Never Learned sparkles with heart and humor. Like a teenage Bridget Jones, Roberta Romano will make you laugh, cry, and cringe as she tries to navigate her first day at Meadowbrook Academy. She finds friends and enemies, earns detentions and serious respect, and makes memories that will last her a lifetime." —Siobhan Vivian, author of The List.


Lessons I Never Learned At Meadowbrook Academy by Liz Maccie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Lessons I Never Learned At Meadowbrook Academy(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Diversion Books and NetGalley.)

This was an okay story, but I didn’t like the main character.

Roberta wasn’t a bad person, but she was selfish and stupid. Why she was surprised that her parents wanted her to change schools when she was drinking, smoking, and failing all her classes was a bit silly. Did she really expect them to just let her carry on that way? And why didn’t she consider how much it was costing her parents to send her to the new school?

The storyline in this took place over the course of Roberta’s first day at her new school, so actually covered only a small amount of time. It seemed that Roberta had learned nothing concerning her behaviour at her old school though, as she spent most of this book slacking off, and getting herself into trouble, both at school, and with the law! I couldn’t believe that she thought ‘I didn’t feel like going’ to be an acceptable excuse for why she didn’t go to class, and lying about her Nonna being dead was just disgusting!

There was some romance in this in the way of a major crush that Roberta had concerning a boy at her new school, and there was some kissing. Considering that this book was about her first day at school, she certainly moved quick.

The ending to this was alright, but I was just glad it was over really. I don’t think I’d want to read another book if this turned into a series.
6 out of 10.


Friday, 21 November 2014

The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1) by Amy Engel

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Entangled Publishing, LLC and NetGalley.
The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy, #1)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…


The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

My rating: 3.25 of 5 stars


The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy, #1)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Entangled Publishing, LLC and NetGalley.)

This was an interesting dystopian story, but I felt like it took a while to get going.

Ivy was a bit like a limp lettuce leaf for the first half of this book. She did as she was told, she didn’t complain, and she was amenable. It wasn’t until the second half of the story that she actually started to show what she was made of, and started to make her own decisions.

The storyline in this didn’t really interest me until the half-way mark. The pace felt a bit slow, and I just found it all a bit dull. It wasn’t until the halfway mark that things got a bit more interesting. We finally got a bit of action, and some big decisions needing to be made.

I liked the slow and gradual romance in this. Ivy didn’t immediately fall for Bishop which I liked, and I liked how they grew to like each other over time. Bishop’s actions towards Ivy at the end were incredibly sweet, and I liked his assurances that he knew her after their time together.

The ending to this was quite bold, and very self-sacrificing of Ivy, I am really interested to see what happens to Ivy in the next book!
Overall; good dystopian once it got going,
6.5 out of 10.


Thursday, 20 November 2014

A Breath of Frost (The Lovegrove Legacy #1) by Alyxandra Harvey


A Breath of Frost (The Lovegrove Legacy, #1)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
In 1814, three cousins—Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope—discover their family lineage of witchcraft when a binding spell is broken, allowing their individual magical powers to manifest. Now, beyond the manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, an alluring underworld available only to those with power is revealed to the cousins. By claiming their power, the three cousins have accidentally opened the gates to the underworld.

Now ghouls, hellhounds—and most terrifying of all, the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters—are hunting and killing young debutante witches for their powers. And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders…because she keeps finding the bodies.

Can the cousins seal the gates before another witch is killed…or even worse, before their new gifts are stripped away?


A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


A Breath of Frost (The Lovegrove Legacy, #1)(Source: I own a copy of this book.)
This was an interesting story about witchcraft, but the pace was a little slow.

I liked the characters in this book, Emma wasn’t afraid to do things that society would frown on, and Cormac was a bit of a bad boy, and a total flirt.

The storyline in this was good, although I did find the pace a little slow. It seemed to take a long time to get through this one, and even though the story was good, it dragged a bit. I liked the witchcraft storyline, and I l didn’t guess who the murderer was!
There was a little bit of romance, but it didn’t detract from the main storyline. I would have liked the romance to be a little more developed really, because I really liked Cormac.

The ending was good, and I’m looking forward to reading the second book in the series.
7 out of 10.


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

I Belong to You (Inside Out #5) by Lisa Renee Jones

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Lisa Renee Jones and Emily McGee.
I Belong to You (Inside Out, #5)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Master…

Being that person, that man is how I define myself, how I allow the rest of the world to define me as well. And now, with a terrible loss shredding me inside out and someone trying to destroy my family to punish me, control is more important than ever. It is everything. It is what I need. It is all I need. Or maybe I just need…her.

 

I Belong to You by Lisa Renee Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I Belong to You (Inside Out, #5)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Lisa Renee Jones and Emily McGee.)

This started out quite slow, but turned out to be a really great end to the series.

I liked Mark and Crystal in this book, and it was really good to finally get a full-length story about them! Mark was as usual assertive and bossy, but I loved how well Crystal could put him in his place, and how much she affected him! Go Crystal!

The storyline in this was good, although it did start out a little slow. Once it got going it got good though, and I was hooked and hoping to finally find out what was going on with Ava!
The romance in this was steamy, and I liked how Crystal didn’t immediately let Mark dominate her the way he wanted to, and how she caused him to change the way he acted in the bedroom.

The ending to this was good, and we finally got some action with regards to Ava! Yay! Can’t wait for the final book in the series ;)
Overall; great romantic suspense,
7.5 out of 10


The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Orion Publishing Group and NetGalley.
The Walled City
Blurb (from Goodreads):
There are three rules in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run.

Jin, Mei Yee, and Dai all live in the Walled City, a lawless labyrinth run by crime lords and overrun by street gangs. Teens there run drugs or work in brothels—or, like Jin, hide under the radar. But when Dai offers Jin a chance to find her lost sister, Mei Yee, she begins a breathtaking race against the clock to escape the Walled City itself.


The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The Walled City(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Orion Publishing Group and NetGalley.)

This was an okay story, but it wasn’t for me.

The characters in this just didn’t appeal to me, and I found it had to keep up with the unusual names. This is probably just because I don’t come across many people with these names, but they started to blur together a bit for me, and I kept having to go back and remind myself who each person was.
I got that Jin wanted to find her sister Mei Yee, but I just didn’t particularly care.

The storyline in this was based on real-life issues of children being sold into the sex slave industry, and problems with illegal drugs. While these are real-life and important issues, I just couldn’t get into the story much at all, and I ended up feeling a bit bored at points. It’s not that I don’t see the importance of these topics; I just didn’t find the story entertaining.

The ending was okay, and I was glad that the characters got a happy ending, even when it seemed extremely unlikely! There were parts of this story that were alright, but overall I didn’t enjoy this one much, it just didn’t hold my attention well, and I felt like I was forcing myself to keep reading.
6 out of 10.


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Forget Me by K.A. Harrington


Forget Me
Blurb (from Goodreads):
An edge-of-your seat psychological thriller with a romantic twist

On the three-month anniversary of her boyfriend Flynn’s death, Morgan uploads her only photo of him to FriendShare to get some closure—but she’s shocked when the facial recognition software suggests she tag him as "Evan Murphy." She’s never heard of Evan, but a quick search tells her that he lives in a nearby town and looks exactly like Flynn. Only this boy is very much alive.

Digging through layers of secrets and lies, Morgan is left questioning everything she thought she knew about her boyfriend, her town, and even her parents' involvement in this massive web of lies.


Forget Me by K.A. Harrington

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Forget Me(Source: I own a copy of this book.)

This was a really good mystery story, and it kept me guessing ‘til the end!

Morgan was a girl who loved her friends and family and would do anything for them. I felt really sorry for her at having to witness her boyfriend’s murder, and then again as the book progressed and it seemed like everyone she loved was hiding something from her.

The storyline in this was pretty good, and it kept me guessing all the way through. There were so many different clues to what was going on, and we learned enough as the story progressed to keep me happy.
There was some romance, but I really did wonder how Morgan was going to introduce her new squeeze to her parents! (I can’t say any more because of spoilers)

The ending was pretty good, and I was glad that we got a happy ending. I really did enjoy this story overall, and I would definitely read another book by this author.
8 out of 10.


Monday, 17 November 2014

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Pan Macmillan and NetGalley.
A Little Something Different
Blurb (from Goodreads):
The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together...


A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


A Little Something Different(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Pan Macmillan and NetGalley.)

Well, I have to say that the title is right. This is definitely different.

This book is told from multiple points of view, which are all different people working around a university campus, who all see these two students Lea and Gabe and think that they should get together. We also get the points of view of a park bench and a squirrel. Certainly different.

While this book was certainly different, I wasn’t 100% sure why these people (park bench and squirrel too) were all so interested in Lea and Gabe’s lives? Did it really matter to them if these two students had the same classes, liked the same foods, and looked cute together? Did the bus driver really care that two random passengers might have a romantic relationship in the future? Did the Chinese delivery man really think that it was so unusual that two people liked the same foods that they should be together because of it?

Other than this book having this slightly strange method of delivery, I didn’t really find it all that great. It was basically a story about two people finding each other, and because I didn’t feel like I really knew the two people, I found it quite difficult to have any feelings about their romantic relationships or what happened to them at all. It was like listening to a friend discussing a cousin’s relationship, when you have never met said cousin, are unlikely to ever meet said cousin, and could not really care less if you ever met said cousin, or what happened to their relationship.

Overall; interesting delivery, but the story didn’t grab me,
6 out of 10.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen


Evil Librarian
Blurb (from Goodreads):
#EvilLibrarian He’s young. He’s hot. He’s also evil. He’s . . . the librarian.

When Cynthia Rothschild’s best friend, Annie, falls head over heels for the new high-school librarian, Cyn can totally see why. He’s really young and super cute and thinks Annie would make an excellent library monitor. But after meeting Mr. Gabriel, Cyn realizes something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the creepy look in the librarian’s eyes, or the weird feeling Cyn gets whenever she’s around him. Before long Cyn realizes that Mr. Gabriel is, in fact . . . a demon. Now, in addition to saving the school musical from technical disaster and trying not to make a fool of herself with her own hopeless crush, Cyn has to save her best friend from the clutches of the evil librarian, who also seems to be slowly sucking the life force out of the entire student body! From best-selling author Michelle Knudsen, here is the perfect novel for teens who like their horror served up with a bit of romance, plenty of humor, and some pretty hot guys (of both the good and evil variety).


Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Evil Librarian(Source: I borrowed a copy of this book.)
This was an okay story about a girl battling a demon in human form in an effort to save her best friend.

Cynthia was an okay character, although she did sometimes speak without thinking. Obviously people were going to think that she was nuts when she started talking about the school librarian being a demon, and obviously the demon wasn’t going to like that information getting out.

The storyline in this was okay, and there were a couple of interesting plot points. As expected Cynthia was immune to the demon’s influence, but I found it amusing that rather than this having some awesome name, she got called a super-roach! I did find the pace a little slow, and wanted things to move a little quicker throughout this story, and it did feel like it dragged a bit.

There was some romance, and it was a little weird between Cynthia’s best friend Annie and the Demon! Cynthia finally getting to talk to the boy she liked was pretty good though.

The ending was alright, and we did get a bit of action. This book was okay for me overall, but I think it would probably appeal more to younger YA readers.
6.25 out of 10