Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review of Ignited by Corrine Jackson

Title/Author: Ignited (Sense Thieves #3) by Corrine Jackson
Publisher/Date published: K-Teen, May 27th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Nobody hides forever.

Ever since Remy O'Malley discovered her dual identity as a Healer and a Protector, she's kept alive by staying one step ahead of both sides in this centuries-old war. Now someone's trying to draw her out of hiding, using her kidnapped father as bait.

To save him, Remy will need every friend she's got. But as new alliances form, old bonds fray. Her boyfriend Asher is losing his powers, becoming more mortal every time she touches him. Meanwhile, Remy finds herself growing closer to Asher's brother Gabe, even as a family tragedy drives her sister Lucy farther away.

On a rescue mission to London, Remy decides she's tired of being the hunted. It's time to end this war once and for all, as Protectors and Healers alike hurtle towards a final, violent confrontation that not everyone will survive.


So I was curious enough to pick up Ignited, and again, this one worked better than the second book and definitely better than the first one! I think a whole lot of this is due to the author shipping my ship. But we'll get to that.

I think that over the course of the series, Remy has grown as a person, maybe not as much as I would have wanted her to, but she has matured and has learned to trust some people again, though she still has her moments when she's thrown back into the attitude of if I don't care about people, they won't hurt me, which is understandable, but doesn't leave a whole lot to work with. In Ignited she was taking a whole lot of crap from both Asher and her sister and I was like WTF? Stand up for yourself! And then she did and I was proud of her. And also kinda pissed at both Asher and her sister.

I softened a bit towards Asher, though I still think he was behaving like an ass, in this novel as well. I'm just not feeling his whole attitude towards Remy and UGH! Just no ok. Just go away and let me ship my ship even if that ship happens to be your brother and that is kinda ewwww and a bit wrong, but oh well, I wasn't digging Asher anyway.

Because like I mentioned in my review of Pushed, I'm firmly Team Gabe. Team Gabe is awesome. Because Gabe is awesome. He truly wants what's best for Remy and he's willing to step aside and let her be with his brother if that is what makes her happy. And also, he is totally sweet and funny and challenges Remy and doesn't want to hold her back. Which is a whole lot better than Asher's caveman act. And I believe a whole lot in a potential relationship between the two because they've been getting to know each other and working together while Asher was missing and it just seems more real, you know?

I really liked learning more about the Healer-Protector relationship and what exactly happens when a Healer and a Protector have a kid! It's pretty interesting.
Also, Corrine Jackson doesn't sugarcoat things. There's a whole lot of bad things happening to Remy and her friends and not everyone lives happily ever after, but I kinda liked that I wasn't sure of the outcome.

In the end, I did end up liking this series, the romance took a turn for the better and I felt that Corrine Jackson's writing got better throughout the series, so I'm interested to see what she'll come up with next!

My rating: 3,5 stars

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Review of The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Title/Author: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, May 20th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her — no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be?

Guys, I like my fluff and the plot of The Art of Lainey where fake feelings turn into true feeling is one of my favourite plots in romance. I think it's due to all the tension and of them not being sure if the other feels the same way and just a whole lot of confusion and I JUST LOVE IT OK?

So we were off to a good start. Lainey gets dumped by her ass of a boyfriend, who shows his assness by dumping her at her father's cafe, which is just a big NO. And I'm like NOOOOO why would you want him back? But hey, otherwise there'd be no plot, so I'll deal with my incredulity. And HELLO MICAH! :D Micah is awesome. Micah is a good guy with a mohawk. Which is awesome. I love that he wasn't perfect, but he's perfect for Lainey.

I actually thought it was kinda brilliant of Lainey's best friend to suggest using tactis from The Art of War to go about getting Lainey's ex-boyfriend back. I mean, love is a battlefield right? Might as well take it literally. I also really liked that Lainey and her best friend were REALLY best friends and her best friend wasn't just a necessary side character.

And Lainey herself was a truly wonderful main character! I really like this girl! She's popular and plays soccer and I cannot identify with that at all, but I love how fully she gives herself to everything! And how she's not afraid to try new things and get to know who she really is over the summer. So she sometimes says things that she shouldn't or doesn't mean, who hasn't done that. And OMG, how recognizable is the moment when the music turns down at a club and you're just talking about something with a friend nobody else is supposed to hear about??

Basically I loved Paula Stokes' writing and this is definitely my kind of adorable contemporary! I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish The Art of Lainey and I'd do it again in a heartbeat! Also: I'm now doubly excited to read Venom as it's also by Paula Stokes, only under the penname Fiona Paul :)

My rating: 5 stars

Monday, May 12, 2014

Review of Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn

Title/Author: Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend (Broken Hearts & Revenge #1) by Katie Finn
Publisher/Date published: Feiwel and Friends, May 13 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Gemma just got dumped and is devastated. She finds herself back in the Hamptons for the summer—which puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friend that she wronged five years earlier. Do people hold grudges that long?

When a small case of mistaken identity causes everyone, including Hallie and her dreamy brother Josh, to think she’s someone else, Gemma decides to go along with it.

Gemma's plan is working (she's finding it hard to resist Josh), but she's finding herself in embarrassing situations (how could a bathing suit fall apart like that!?). Is it coincidence or is someone trying to expose her true identity? And how will Josh react if he finds out who she is?

So while I did see some less than positive ratings on Goodreads before starting it, I've heard SO MANY people rave about Morgan Matson (Katie Finn is her penname) that I just dove in regardless. And I did end up liking Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things To Mend!

Gemma was maybe not the most savvy person in the world, she was way naive and I was really wondering how exactly you get yourself in a situation like this, BUT I did like her. Obviously she's done some hurtful things when she was younger, but she was 11 and though I found how everything went down a bit unlikely, it spiraled out of control. And I can see how a 11-year-old would overreact and plan something to try and keep her family together. But still, it was a really bad thing to do. I did think she was sincere in wanting to make it up to Hallie, even though she didn't really handle that all that well either. But she gets points for the effort from me.

And the boy! I totally liked the boy! He was sweet and there were moments between them that were just YES! But I'm also counting on another guy to come into the picture, maybe in the next book? The other guy actually sounds more like the guy I'd crush on. But anyway. Gemma just came from a break-up after a 2 year relationship and the guy ended it in TARGET. I mean COME ON! That is such a crappy thing to do. So her taste in guys has gone up at least.

But back to the plot. I did see it all coming from miles away and I was kinda wondering how Gemma didn't. I mean, COME ON, there were all these 'accidents' happening to her and she couldn't see what was happening? HOW? It was kinda obvious.
I mean, seriously??? How did she not see that it was Hallie from the beginning? I figured out that was the girl in the car with Teddy when she said she always wore her hair down. And the thing with the twins and the bikini was fairly obvious.

But aside from the whole predictability factor, I was enjoying reading it and waiting to see how it would all come crashing down. So I was good right up until the end when I felt that Gemma didn't have the right to feel betrayed and how the message at the end isn't one I would want to broadcast. Because I'm a tiny bit worried about what she'll do next and how I'm cringing a bit at what I think will happen.
I did breeze through this pretty quickly and it's mostly a light read that I enjoyed up until pretty much the last paragraph. So I'm curious the see what the next instalment in this series will bring for Gemma and the others.

My rating: 3 stars

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Review of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Title/Author: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Publisher/Date published: Delacorte Press, May 13 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends — the Liars — whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

OMG, I literally just finished this book and I just can't. The big twist totally slayed me. And I'm still staring at my e-reader, trying to make it take it back, but not really, because OMG that was intense!

I'm gonna be really vague because you have experience this book for yourself without knowing anything about it. I don't usually like going into a book not knowing what to expect, but in this case it totally worked and I wouldn't want to ruin it for anybody. So vagueness it is. I'm not very good at vagueness, so this might be pretty brief as well as vague.

At first I wasn't particularly intrigued by We Were Liars, though there's the whole dysfunctional family and that's always interesting. But there's something about E. Lockhart's writing style that just drew me in, plus it was raining, which makes for perfect reading weather, so I kept reading. And things started getting more and more interesting and then MAJOR TWIST AND OMG SO MANY FEELINGS! I'm still a bit shell-shocked. And I seriously need a hug and nobody's home but me... I'm still a tiny bit confused about why the family called the four of them the Liars, but I'll take it.

So what I'm saying is that you should read this book, because it was intense and tore at my heart, just be sure to have comfort food and a blanket nearby, you're going to want them. There's friendship, love, betrayal, family drama, just go and read it.

My rating: 4,5 stars

Monday, May 5, 2014

Review of Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

Title/Author: Don't Even Think About It (Don't Even Think About It #1) by Sarah Mlynowski
Publisher/Date published: Orchard Books, May 1st 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: This is the story of how we became freaks. It's how a group of I's became a we.

When Class 10B got their flu shots, they expected some side effects. Maybe a sore arm. Maybe a headache. They definitely didn't expect to get telepathy. But suddenly they could hear what everyone was thinking. Their friends. Their teachers. Their parents. Now they all know that Tess has a crush on her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper. Some of them will thrive. Some of them will break. None of them will ever be the same.

I thought the premise would make for a really interesting story and it did! It was also at times pretty funny :)

I kinda loved the omniscient first person POV, WE knew and WE understood, but at the same time a lot of it being told from the third person POV. It totally fit with the everyone knowing everyone's business because of the whole telepathy thing. It was sort of a running commentary on things that were happening and it just worked for me.

The whole idea of getting telepathic abilities as a side effect of the flu shot is awesome. I mean, seriously? Isn't this sort of what people are afraid of? Like parents being scared their kids will develop autism because of vaccinations? Though telepathy is the better option in that case. I really liked the 'rules' for telepathy in Don't Even Think About It and how it was linked to the eyes.

With all the kids in Class 10B Sarah Mlynowski created a full set of colorful characters! Not all of them were as fleshed out, but you got a sense of the group and of most of the individuals she focused on. It's not realistic to have 22 different recognizable characters in a 304 page book, so I was good with the amount we got. I felt that they were pretty distinctive and could easily tell them apart. I especially loved seeing Olivia come into her own.

I laughed at some of the things that were discovered through their telepathy, it's pretty shocking to learn all the secrets people are keeping. And their true thoughts! Even among friends that can make for some surprises and not always nice ones. I thought it was nicely done, and appreciated that these kids pretty much weren't able to censure their thoughts.
There's also the whole discussion about whether or not they should tell others and risk people trying to test them or give them something to make it go away. If it were me personally, I probably would try to find a way to keep it and make it work for me, can imagine what an incredible doctor I could be if I always knew what my patients were thinking? I could stop trying to actually make them say it, but would instead just pick their brain. That would be awesome. Maybe I should actually get my flu shot next year ;)

All in all, a nice read, enjoyable but it didn't blow my mind. I will however be picking up the next one when it comes out, just because it's fun.

My rating: 3,5 stars

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Review of How To Lose a Duke In Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke

Title/Author: How To Lose a Duke in Ten Days (An American Heiress in London #2) by Laura Lee Guhrke
Publisher/Date published: Avon, April 29 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: They had a deal...

From the moment she met the devil-may-care Duke of Margrave, Edie knew he could change her life. And when he agreed to her outrageous proposal of a marriage of convenience, she was transformed from ruined American heiress to English duchess. Five years later, she's delighted with their arrangement, especially since her husband is living on another continent.

But deals are made to be broken...

By marrying an heiress, Stuart was able to pay his family's enormous debts, and Edie's terms that he leave England forever seemed a small price to pay. But when a brush with death impels him home, he decides it's time for a real marriage with his luscious American bride, and he proposes a bold new bargain: ten days to win her willing kiss. But is ten days enough to win her heart?

So I really like Laura Lee Guhrke's writing style! I totally swooned for When the Marquess Met His Match and had already met the female half of this couple in that book and was INTRIGUED! And I do adore a good marriage of convenience turned love match plot :)

So we were off to a good start. And I really did like How To Lose A Duke in Ten Days! I really liked Edie and how she's made a life for herself the only way she could think of and it's worked for her so far. Well, aside from the fact that she's refusing love and everything, but she doesn't know what she's missing alright? And obviously Stuart is the perfect person to show her. Also: otherwise we wouldn't have a plot, so I support her decision. At first.
Edie has had to overcome something truly traumatic and I loved how strong she is and how business-savvy. This woman is running multiple estates without blinking an eye. That is truly admirable! And basically raising her sister aside from that, I totally loved their relationship!

Stuart was a guy I could easily imagine falling for. He's charming and is usually able to find a way to get his way, except for with Edie and it's pretty funny to see! I loved how he persuaded Edie's sister to go away to boarding school by telling her there'd be a trip to Italy (which wasn't planned yet) and then convincing the headmistress to actually go on said trip which he would be paying for. Brilliant!
Also, Stuart is a good guy. He may not have always made the best decisions, but he's a truly good guy who wants to make this marriage between him and Edie work and I love him for that.

So Laura Lee Guhrke deals with a heavy subject: recovering from sexual abuse. And I really appreciated the way she handled it. A lot of times when this is in a romance novel, it's something like 'love (or lust) fixes everything' and I'm like WTF??? That's probably not how it works (not that I have any first-hand experience, but it just feel implausible most of the time)! Things like that that have been with you for years don't just go POOF never to return again. I like that she handled it in a way I could imagine being somewhat closer to reality, even though there's still a little of love cures all going on.

I stayed up pretty late finishing How To Lose a Duke in Ten Days and it was totally worth it! Laura Lee Guhrke knows her stuff! The only thing that was missing for me was a tear-inducing moment, but other than that I was happy with it.

My rating: 4 stars