Friday, 29 November 2013

Deeper by Blue Ashcroft

About the book
Deeper is a new adult novel by Blue Ashcroft. The book was published on 31st July and it is 226 pages long. I received an e-book for review through NetGalley.

Rain Wilson swore to herself that she would never love again after her boyfriend dies in a water park accident. Although she can never forget what happened, Rain needs to move on with her life and finds herself as a senior lifeguard in a new town and at a new waterpark.

Rain believes that she can get through the summer just fine as long as everyone stays safe. But, before the season starts, she meets a mysterious guy in the water and can’t stop thinking about it. It turns out that the guy is Knight Mcallister, her co-supervisor.

Rain and Knight both have pasts to hide and each’s problems begin to affect their ability to do the job, let alone their attraction to one another. They must learn to trust each other and push their pasts aside in order to carry on with life and to do the job that they’re there to do!

What I thought
I can’t say that I have ever read a book set in a water park before and that was partly what attracted me to this one. I also wanted a summery read for while I was on holiday in Orlando.

Deeper begins with a prequel which explains how Rain and Knight met in the first place. The prequel really sets the scene well and it gives glimpses of both of the main characters. We learn that Rain has secrets, although not what they are, and that her feelings towards the stranger she meets in the water are far from normal for her.

When the two characters meet properly for the first time, each is shocked to find out they’ll actually be working together. Rain is only 19 and this is her first time in a senior role as a lifeguard as a water park. Knight is concerned about Rain’s age and how she will be able to cope with all of the hormone filled boys around the park. Both characters quickly establish the fact that they have something to fight for and reasons for being the way they are.

As plots go, this one was pretty good. I really enjoyed the water park setting as it was something different and exciting. The setting provided a whole host of problems and situations that I hadn’t read about before. However, while the book had a new setting to me, there were also aspects of the plot that I had read about before. Blue Ashcroft manages to blend new and ‘done before’ really well, giving the reader familiar situations while putting them in a new setting.

Unfortunately though, I didn’t exactly love Rain. She puts a lot of pressure on herself in her new job due to events that happened previously. Many times throughout the book, she refers to the boy that died as her boyfriend but he had only asked her out on a date that day (although he had tried many times before). This was the one and only time that she said yes to him and to me, that does not make him her boyfriend. I could understand the pain she felt in regards to his death but she made the guy out to be more to her than he actually was. Because of this, she bugged me a bit throughout the book but she wasn’t all bad really.

Knight, however, was wonderful. His pain was definitely justified after what he had gone through. He is pretty tough a and hard on himself and feels that he could have done more to stop what happened in the past. Whereas I didn’t like Rain for how hard on herself she was, I could understand why Knight felt this way. He was extremely protective of people around him and with good reason. Knight is a caring and thoughtful guy and I really enjoyed getting to know him more.

Deeper was a bit of a mixed bag for me but overall, I did like it. I would have liked it a lot more if Rain had been a bit different though. 

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Wait For You by J. Lynn

About the book
Wait For You is a new adult book by J. Lynn (aka Jennifer L. Armentrout). The book was published by Harper on 15th August and the book is 416 pages long.

Avery Morgansten is desperate to escape her past and the events that occurred five years ago. The only way she thinks she can do that is to move away from everything she’s ever known. Instead of moving into the dorms like most new students, Avery gets a small place of her own and plans to make it to all classes in time and most importantly, hide the past.

When she accidentally bumps into the gorgeous Cam on her first day, she’s shocked at what she feels. Her plans only involved making a few new friends, not meeting someone she could actually be interested in. After their first meeting, Cam is everywhere and even though she knows she should, Avery just can’t keep away from him. When Cam begins to ask her out over and over again, she can do nothing but reject him constantly. However, it seems as though Cam is around for the long haul and as their friendship blossoms, Avery begins to think she might not be as broken as she once thought.

What I thought
I haven’t read any books by this author before and I’m not quite sure why she writes under multiple names, especially as it’s advertised on the front of the book. Anyway, I bought this one (a signed first edition) at the airport on the way back from Orlando just for something to read on the plane. However, I didn’t actually end up reading it until way after we’d gotten back.

As soon as the book starts, protagonist Avery comes across as a bit of a control freak but don’t get me wrong, it was a good thing for me. She likes to live her life a certain way and doesn’t like anything that can make her panic in any way, shape or form. Avery comes across as a very controlled girl who has trouble letting things go… she sounded very much like me. In the same way, she likes to have a handle on everything around her and kind of loses it when something unexpected happens.

Cam makes his appearance only pages in and definitely makes an impact. He’s a 6ft something insanely hot guy who takes an instant like to Avery but he’s a bit put off when she keeps turning him down. He doesn’t understand why she keeps telling him no when it’s obvious that she likes him. The thing about Cam is that although he’s a bit full of himself at times he does it in a joking manner so he doesn’t come across as an asshole.

A large portion of the book is spent watching Avery and Cam becoming really good friends. He goes over every Sunday to make Avery breakfast and they sit around watching films and chatting about all sorts. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know more about both characters and seeing more about them revealed as I turned the pages. Avery and Cam have a really playful banter between them which was a joy to read. The fact that these two characters spend a lot of time building a friendship meant that there was a lot more to them than just your average romance.

My only slight niggle with this book was that Avery took quite a while to open up to Cam about her problems and her past, even though he had been quite open with her. While the plot does generally revolve around their friendship, it could have been better if other issues had been brought up earlier. I would have liked to have seen a bit more depth in some parts instead of them being slightly brushed over.

Overall though, Wait For You was a great book and I can’t wait to read more from this author. 

Monday, 25 November 2013

Star Struck by Amber Garza

About the book
Star Struck is a new adult novel by Amber Garza. It was published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on 27th June and the book is 308 pages long. I received an e-book for review through NetGalley.

Plot Synopsis
Star definitely does not go for rockers or bad boys and she doesn’t believe in love at first sight… until she meets Beckett. He’s the one guy she knows she should probably stay away from but he’s also the one guy she can’t keep away from. Problem is, he wants absolutely nothing to do with Star. What will it take to make him take a risk on her?

What I thought
Bad boys and rockers are a bit of a weakness of mine in books so this was one that obviously appealed to me.

Protagonist Star is a lovely, sweet girl who has just moved away to college with her best friend. Loving to sing, Star takes part in an open mic night where someone asks her to join his band. She’s a nervous kind of girl and isn’t sure what to think of this guy’s proposition but figures she might as well give it a try, considering how much she loves music. However, when she arrives at practice, the band’s leader doesn’t take a shine to her, makes her audition and then says no. Lead singer Beckett definitely doesn’t want Star in the band but deep down he knows just how good she is.

Opposite Star, Beckett is completely different. He’s hard, doesn’t share his emotions and he wants to get his own way all of the time. Beckett takes an instant dislike to Star but he has his reasons, which he isn’t willing to share. I really enjoyed how Star challenged Beckett in this book. She forces her way into his life because she really does want to be a part of his band. She shares his love for singing and is especially drawn to his voice, which she can’t get enough of.

This is a much that really revolves around the music. While that aspect of the book was great, with some wonderful lyrics being shared, I feel that it wouldn’t have stuck together without it. If the music aspect hadn’t have been there, Star and Beckett wouldn’t have had much at all. The music is a way for both characters to share how they’re feeling and for them to express themselves. It is also what both characters have in common.

There are some really great secondary characters in this book in the form of Ryker and Lola although I don’t feel as though either were used in the best way. I wanted to know more about each of these characters and I wanted them to be more at the forefront of the story. I would absolutely love to read another book about either of these characters. At times, they were the characters who made everything happen and held the story together so it was a shame they weren’t around as much as they could have been.

Star Struck is a good book with a lot of emotion written into the pages so it was a shame a few things let it down.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Love is a Thief by Claire Garber

About the book
Love is a Thief is a contemporary novel by Claire Garber. The book was published by Mira Books on 5th July and it is 448 pages long. I received an e-book for review through NetGalley.

Plot Synopsis
After having a bit of a break down after a break up, Kate Winters begins her mission to take back what love stole from her!

Kate has been extremely unlucky in love. She’s the girl without a boyfriend, without children and it’s looking as though she won’t get her happily ever after. Now that she isn’t constantly thinking about a man, Kate wants to get to know herself again, finding out what it is she actually likes. She wants to do the things she never got a chance to do because she fell in love! Kate not only takes on the mission herself but extends it to women around the country.

What I thought
Recently I have been taking a bit of a gamble on books requested on NetGalley. While I love reading in the young adult genre, I sometimes need something different and this is where chick-lit comes in.

The idea behind Love is a Thief was fantastic. How many times have I given something up because of being with a certain boyfriend… I could absolutely relate to protagonist Kate. She moved to France and lived with her ski instruction (who she thought was her soul mate) there only to break up and be forced to move back home. Kate felt as though she had wasted so much time being who her boyfriend wanted her to be instead of doing things for herself. The worst thing is, she works for a magazine called True Love; how much of a bummer must that be when you’ve got a broken heart?

So, she writes an article without permission about what love stole from her and what she wanted to do about that. The response she gets from women all over the country is phenomenal and even though the magazine aren’t happy about what Kate has done, they can’t ignore what their readers want. Not only does the book follow Kate and her lost dreams, but also those of people around her and those of others. I really enjoyed reading about the range of things that people thought love had stolen from them and how they intended to go about fixing that.

The characters in this book were very varied and provided quite a lot of comedy; this was mainly due to the fact that there were a fair few large and loud personalities. What made the characters so great in this book though is that they were so real. The objectives planned by women throughout the book are more than reasonable and I could certainly relate to what some of them wanted to do. It also showed just how different people are and the things that people tend to miss out on in life.

Unfortunately, the romance is quite lacking in Love is a Thief. There is a love interest for Kate in the form of Peter Parker (no, not like Spiderman). While there was so much that could have been done with this pairing, it always fell quite short. Just when I thought something was going to happen, it didn’t. The two have a bit of a history as they were friends when they were children and then something happened to make Peter move away without a word. This was the most interesting thing about Kate and Peter and without this, there wouldn’t really have been much point to Peter’s character.

Overall, Love is a Thief is a pretty good book. There could have been more romance but the actual plot and subject of the story was really captivating.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Film Review: Wind Chill

About the film
Wind Chill is a 2007 horror film. It has a run time of 97 minutes and is rated 15.

Struggling to find a ride home for Christmas, an unknown girl trawls the ‘ride board’ looking for someone going her way. She’s in luck when an unknown guy is heading to Delaware as well and they agree to share the ride. The girl knows literally nothing about the guy although he seems to know quite a lot about her. While on the journey, he takes a scenic short cut where they get into an accident and break down. A weather report on the radio lets them know about an incoming storm and temperatures below 30 degrees but it looks as though the pair are going nowhere and the stretch of road they’re stuck on has a terrible history.

Emily Blunt ... Girl
Ashton Holmes … Guy
Martin Donovan ... Highway Patrolman
Ned Bellamy … Snowplow Driver
Ian A. Wallace ... Priest (as Ian Wallace)
Donny James Lucas ... Stranger (as Donny Lucas)
Chelan Simmons ... Blonde Girl
Darren Moore ... Clerk        
Linden Banks … Proctor

What I thought
Around Halloween there are always plenty of random horror films on late at night. I had never even heard of this one before but seeing as there wasn’t much else on at the time, I decided to give it a go.

Emily Blunt stars as the unnamed girl, known only as Girl in the credits. It’s the day before Christmas Eve and she doesn’t have a ride back to her home in Delaware so she finds someone else who is going that way to help her out. She has no idea who the guy is (played by Ashton Holmes and known as Guy in the credits). A large chunk of the film is spent getting to know both characters and this is when we find out that the guy knows much more about the girl than he initially let on. The girl gets really creeped out by this and when he takes a detour, she begs him to get back on the highway but he doesn’t. This results in them getting lost, being in an accident and ending up stranded with the temperature dropping quickly.

The girl comes across as pretty mean and self-centred while the boy really doesn’t have much going for him at all. Put that together with the fact that neither character has a name, it makes each of them quite unlikeable and I certainly struggled to connect with either of them. By the time they are in the car crash, I really didn’t care about what happened to them and really, this is when the film gets going. Both characters fail to show much emotion until near the end of the film and by this point, they could have died an awful, painful death and I still wouldn’t have cared.

However, while the characters in this film were a complete let down, the plot does make things slightly better, although not completely. The whole film had a pretty creepy feeling to it from beginning to end which I really liked. Getting into a car for a long drive without someone you don’t know would definitely make me feel quite uncomfortable and the girl also feels like this as the journey goes on. Then, the weather, the snow, makes for a quite strange looking film as there is so much white around all of the time. I have always found long stretches of white road to be pretty eerie. I liked the whole road trip aspect of the film but then this was let down by the fact that there isn’t much character development.

It is only when the couple are in a car accident that the horror really kicks in. Not only are they lost but they have no food and are stranded on a long stretch of snowy road. It’s extremely cold and there is no way of getting back to the nearest town without the use of their car. Wind Chill is very much a ghost story but it is more creepy than scary which was unfortunate. There were moments that could have ended up being quite terrifying but they fell short in my opinion. From here, while the plot did take quite a dark turn, it wasn’t executed well enough in my opinion. There wasn’t enough background story, the characters weren’t scared enough and the things that should have been really scary, weren’t.

So, overall, I found Wind Chill to be quite bland as horror films go although it could have been a whole lot better. 

Monday, 18 November 2013

Keeping Secrets in Seattle by Brooke Moss

About the book
Keeping Secrets in Seattle is a contemporary novel by Brooke Moss. The book was published by Entangled: Edge on 25th February and the book is 204 pages long. I received an e-book for review through NetGalley.

Plot Synopsis
Violet and Gabe have been best friends their whole lives and Violet has spent most of that pining after him. But, now that Gabe has decided to settle down with someone else, Violet is heartbroken. If that wasn’t bad enough, Gabe has asked Violet to be his best man. Violet’s roommates urge her to move on, to find someone else and stop pining for a man she can’t have. She meets Landon in a club and he isn’t at all fazed by her funky style or attitude. He likes her exactly as she is.

If only it was only that easy though. Violet is able to see through Gabe’s fiancé’s façade and she’s desperate to let him know exactly what he’s getting himself into. Violet has secrets of her own too and with wedding plans in full swing, they threaten to break out and ruin everything. Will two life-long best friends be able to see past the lies and get what they both deserve?

What I thought
Oh how much I loved this book! This was another random book that I requested on NetGalley so I didn’t know much about the author or the title before reading it.

I absolutely loved the best friend aspect of this book. Violet and Gabe have known each other since they were kids and now all grown up, are still the best of friends. Violet has had a thing for Gabe for so long though and secretly hopes that one day he will realise that he loves her back and they can live happily ever after together. However, I’m not sure that I would have personally waited around for so many years for someone like Violet did.

After Gabe announces his engagement to someone else, Violet finally attempts to move on. I also really liked that although it was clear that Violet wasn’t over Gabe, she did try with a seriously hot guy called Landon. He understood Violet, liked her for exactly who she was and he was so open with her. Landon may have had lots of tattoos and a motorbike, coming across as the tough guy, but he was super sweet, sensitive and romantic as well. Compared to Gabe, who was pretty insensitive and mean at times, Landon was definitely a good option to have.

The plot is very much the case of ‘will she get the guy’ and along with that comes some very predictable moments. However, Brooke Moss throws in some great twists and turns over the course of the book. Nothing is quite as simple as it first seems and there is the big issue of ‘that night’ to address at some point or another. I really liked that this wasn’t just your average best friends falling for one another book and that there was a whole host of interesting characters causing mischief along with Violet and Gabe.

Speaking of Violet, I adored her. She was certainly different compared to the girls in some books that I’ve read. She’s content with who she is, what she looks like and isn’t afraid to make a statement. Violet has a such a strong personality, strong character and is funny as hell. I can’t remember the last time I liked a female protagonist as much as I liked Violet. As I said before though, she has secrets and there is a lot more to her than meets the eye.

Keeping Secrets in Seattle was funny, emotional and such a joy to read. A must read in my opinion. 

Friday, 15 November 2013

Untouched by Melody Grace

About the book
Untouched (New Adult) is a companion novella to Unbroken by Melody Grace. It can be enjoyed before, or after reading Unbroken, or as a stand-alone story. The novella was released on 12th May and it is 90 pages long.

Plot Synopsis
After being forced to spend the summer in Beachwood Bay, Juliet is looking forward to a miserable summer she doesn’t want to experience… until she lays eyes on the resident bad boy Emerson. He makes her feel things she didn’t even know existed and she has a feeling that her life will be changed forever because of him. On the other hand, Emerson has a lot of experience with girls but never has he wanted one as much as he does Juliet. He’s the bad boy with a broken home and he knows she deserves better but he can’t make himself stay away.

The summer is only the beginning of their story…

What I thought
When I bought this book, I didn’t realise it was a novella so I was very disappointed when I realised just how short it was. At only 90 pages long and me being a pretty fast reader, I finished this in less than a couple of hours.

However, having never really read novellas before I found myself surprisingly happy with it. This one tells the story of Juliet and Emerson, or part of it anyway. The two meet during Juliet’s summer in Beachwood Bay and they instantly hit it off. The sexual tension is undeniable and that is the driving force of their ‘relationship’ I guess. But, even with the intense desire they have for one another, there is something else that brings them together. Each character understands what it means to live with someone dealing with addiction and this manages to bring them closer together.

Even though this is a short read, there is a lot packed into the pages. The way in which the characters meet is exciting and interesting, them getting to know each other is even better as they begin to realise that they’re more alike than they first thought. I really enjoyed getting know both characters even though there could have been more given away for those who haven’t already read Unbroken. But, I guess that’s one of the ways that Melody Grace gets readers wanting more.

Another thing that I loved about this novella was the extremely steamy scenes between Juliet and Emerson. The novella is short but there is so much passion packed in. Juliet and Emerson can’t keep their hands off of each other and I couldn’t get enough of the scenes between the two of them. The thing about this couple though is that it wasn’t just the passion. Even while all of that was going on, you could see that there was so much more between them which was a nice touch.

Although this novella was unexpectedly short, I did enjoy it and it made me want to read the full book, Unbroken. 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Haze by Paula Weston

About the book
Haze is the second book in the Rephaim series by Paula Weston. The book was published by Indigo on

Plot Synopsis
Gaby Winters had a pretty normal life living with her best friend and working in a library. The only problem she had was getting over her twin brother’s death. She didn’t think anything of the crazy dreams she was having until Rafa arrived and told her that everything was real. She is one of the Rephaim, a descendent from fallen angels. Since finding out who she really is, everything changed. Gaby knows that demons exist and that they’re coming for her. With a battle on her hands, finding out her brother might actually still be alive could alter everything she had planned on doing.

What I thought
The first book in this series, Shadows, was one of my all-time favourite angel books. I couldn’t put it down and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the sequel.

Haze begins where Shadows left off, with Gaby getting used to her new crazy life and realising that she doesn’t really know her true self at all. She’s constantly being told about the old her, the one she doesn’t remember and that person couldn’t be more different than who she is now. Gaby knows that there is a chance her brother is alive and she, along with Rafa, Jason, Maggie and Simon, will do anything to find him again. Although this does give the book an exciting and mysterious feel to it, there is more. This series has demons, numerous fights with awesome weapons involved and many, many secrets. Honestly, Haze is one of the most exciting books I have ever read due to how much is going on.

Australia isn’t a location used too much in young adult books and that was another reason for me loving this series. Paula Weston uses somewhere fresh and exciting but also as the setting isn’t typical, it makes it different. Australia isn’t the only setting though. The Rephaim are able to travel to any location by shifting there. The use of shifting throughout the book enables the location to change and for the plot to take unexpected turns at any moment.

Although the demons and the fights are exciting, Haze has something even better going for it. Gabe and fellow Rephaim Rafa have been inseparable since the first book due to her not knowing the dangers she faces and Rafa’s friendship with her brother. Since the beginning, there has been a fabulous sexual tension between Gabe and Rafa. Paula Weston doesn’t give much away between these two characters but littered through the pages of this book are sexy as hell smirks, tense moments and a connection that rivals any other. Gabe and Rafa’s romance does not take over the whole book though, unlike in some others, and instead makes for an interesting sub plot. Their connection adds to everything else in the story and makes it a whole lot more intense. I kept reading Haze waiting for something big to happen between them but Weston held out, making me want it even more.

Haze has characters that I deeply cared about, ones that I was hoping would do well throughout but it also has characters who I hated (because they’re pretty evil). There is a fantastic contrast between good and evil in this book and I really enjoyed reading about such diverse characters. Gaby especially was one of my favourites, along with Rafa of course. These two are very different but also very similar due to their backgrounds. Speaking of their backgrounds, this is what makes most of the characters so interesting. Gaby is this normal girl, or so she thinks, but she also has this past that she knows nothing about and finding out about that past is incredibly interesting.

Just like Shadows, I absolutely loved Haze. I stayed up until the early hours of the morning just so I could finish it in one sitting. Haze was also so much better than Shadows, which I didn’t think would be possible. Paula Weston certainly has a gift for writing and this series is seriously addictive.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Film Review: Monsters University

About the film
Monsters University is an animated film which was released by Disney/ Pixar. The film is a prequel to the 2001 film Monsters, Inc. It is rated U and has a run time of 104 minutes.  

A young Mike Wazowski is the smallest and least scary monster in his class at school. He’s always the last one to be picked for anything and doesn’t have any friends. But, at a trip to Monsters, Inc. Mike realises that his dream is to be a scarer when he grows up and to major in scaring at Monsters University. Eleven years later, Mike is ready for his first day as a scare major and meets his new roommate Randy and a big, blue fluffy monster called Sulley.

While Mike studies extremely hard, Sulley think he can get away with passing classes by using his one big roar as a scare tactic. A rivalry brews between Mike and Sulley which eventually causes them both to be drop from the scare program. But, they must join together if they want to get back on it and join Oozma Kappa, a fraternity of unscary monsters. Their only way to get what they want is to win the Scare Games… together.

Billy Crystal as Michael "Mike" Wazowski
Noah Johnston as Young Mike
John Goodman as James P. "Sulley" Sullivan
Steve Buscemi as Randall "Randy" Boggs
Joel Murray as Don Carlton
Sean Hayes as Terri Perry
Dave Foley as Terry Perry
Peter Sohn as Scott "Squishy" Squibbles
Charlie Day as Art
Helen Mirren as Dean Abigail Hardscrabble
Alfred Molina as Professor Derek Knight
Nathan Fillion as Johnny J. Worthington III

What I thought
Monsters, Inc. is one of my all-time favourite films. I have Mike and Sulley toys on top of my DVD case and I could happily watch it over and over again. So, I obviously couldn’t wait to watch the prequel, Monsters University although I had to wait until our flight home from Florida to see it.

This film takes us back to the beginning of Mike and Sulley’s friendship. The plot was great because not only did it focus on how Mike and Sulley met, but it also introduced some fantastic new characters as well as having others from Monsters, Inc. This means that you don’t need to have seen Monsters, Inc. to be able to watch this one but there are added extras for you if you have. Young Mike isn’t popular, he isn’t scary and he certainly doesn’t have much going for him apart from being super cute – not the best thing if you’re a monster. On a school trip, he learns what it means to be a scarer at Monsters, Inc. and that becomes his life’s dream. He knows Monsters University is where he wants to go when he is older and cannot wait for that day.

Monsters University is a fantastic setting for a film. Due to the content and characters, film makers and designers were able to go really wild on the colours and patterns on each of the monsters, making this film a visual delight. I really liked how colourful this film was and can easily say that children will enjoy all of the different varieties of monsters involved. There were also some really nice touches to the characters from the previous film such as Mike wearing braces as it showed a different, younger side to them and fans of the first film will appreciate watching certain characters grow up.

Having seen the first film, it was really quite strange to see Mike rooming with Randy and also for Mike to not be best friends with Sulley. But, I really enjoyed watching their friendship progress throughout the film. At the beginning, Sulley comes across as arrogant and full of himself due to his famous family and I didn’t like him as much. Sulley thinks he can pass his scaring class based on his ability while Mike knows he needs to study everything and this makes them very different characters. I also think the film teaches a good lesson about not being able to be good at everything and that it’s ok to be better at one thing over another. It also teaches a good lesson about people who are very different being able to become very good friends.

As this is an animated film, there are no actors but a voice cast. I think it’s great that some of the original voices as used as well as some new ones such as Helen Mirren as Dean Abigail Hardscrabble. Each voice is extremely animated and really help to add to each character’s personality. I really enjoyed the variety of voice actors in this film. Add in some fantastic characters and an exciting and funny plot and this makes Monsters University such a fantastic film. I thoroughly loved it. 

Monday, 11 November 2013

Breathe by Abbi Glines

About the book
Breathe is the first book in the New Adult Sea Breeze series by Abbi Glines. The book was published by Simon and Schuster on 29th August and the book is 352 pages long.

Plot Synopsis
Sadie White’s life is far from easy. Her single mother struggles to get by even with a decent job but now she’s pregnant again and ready to give birth any minute, she can’t cope with working any more. Sadie is forced to go to work in her place just to be able to pay the bills but she doesn’t know she’ll be working in the house of Jax Stone, one of the hottest teen rock stars around. She’s determined not to let his presence phase her though as money is more important than a hot boy.

However, Jax can’t help but be drawn to Sadie, the normal girl who doesn’t throw herself at him (because that’s what every other girl seems to do). But, Jax knows that in his life of work, relationships just don’t work and he knows he won’t be able to have Sadie for keeps. By the end of the summer though, Jax and Sadie are inseparable. Surely there is a way to make things work?

What I thought
So far, I have read all of Abbi Glines’ Sea Breeze and Too Far novels apart from the first book, which I read last. I know that might sound a little strange but it was one of the books published later on as the rights hadn’t been acquired. Luckily though, the books don’t actually need to be read in the correct order, only in order for specific character stories.

Sadie was a character who I loved from the very beginning. She has a really rough time of it at home with her very pregnant mother being whiney and annoying, and not really being a mother to Sadie at all. Sadie comes across as a character older than she actually is because of the responsibility she has to take on. When her mother finally gets too pregnant, Sadie has to go to work in her place or the bills just won’t get paid. I really did feel quite sorry for Sadie because of what she had to do. Luckily, her job is working at a young rock star’s house and she could have ended up doing much worse.

I also really liked Jax. Although a rock star used to living a life of luxury, he wasn’t nearly as cocky as I thought he would have been. While he knew he was good looking and talented he was still a really nice guy. From the moment he arrives at his Sea Breeze home, Jax shows that he cares about his staff and the people around him which was really nice to see. It made a change for the male lead to not being an asshole player who didn’t really care about much around him.

The plot revolves around Sadie and Jax’s initial attraction to each other and how they both deal with it. Neither character is in a position for a relationship that can last but neither can deny their attraction to the other. Abbi Glines writes a wonderful story about two people getting to know one another and their friendship growing into something more. I really enjoyed watching Sadie and Jax’s relationship progress from one level to another. They were extremely sweet together and as they were from quite different worlds, they each had a lot to learn about one another.

However, although the characters and the plot were great, the writing wasn’t as good. The dialogue was very stiff a lot of the time and it didn’t read like an actual conversation between two teenagers/ young adults. The style of writing and unrealistic dialogue made Breathe really hard to read at times because it didn’t sound like the characters talking. Their personalities didn’t shine through like I know they could have at certain points and each character was made to seem so much older than they really were.

Due to the dialogue problems, I have to knock a this down from a five star book to a four. Other than that though, I was highly engrossed in Sadie and Jax’s story. 

Friday, 8 November 2013

The Forever of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

About the book
The Forever of Ella and Micha is the second book in The Secret series by Jessica Sorensen. The book was published by Sphere on 24th October and it is 416 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

Plot Synopsis
Ella and Micha have finally found happiness with each other after a lot of kept secrets and heartbreak. Ella has gone back to school but is failing to deal with the events of his past while Micha is on the road with his band, worrying about how Ella is coping. Being away from Ella is much harder than Micha thought it would be but he refuses to ask her to leave college just to be with him. They spend barely any time together with their lives being so busy but the few moments they do have are filled with passion and love. Will they be able to work through all of their problems in order to get the forever that they deserve?

What I thought
Jessica Sorensen is one of my absolute favourite new adult authors and I could not wait to get my hands on this book.

The book takes place from where The Secret of Ella and Micha left off, with Micha travelling with his band and Ella at school in Vegas. They had a lot of problems in the first book as they were both dealing with a lot. Now they have been able to admit what they mean to one another, they should be extremely happy. But, Ella is struggling to cope with certain events of her past and Micha isn’t there to help her. I really enjoyed the fact that Ella and Micha were separated for a large amount of this book. Previously, readers go to see how much they relied on each other and how much they needed each other for support. So, it was interesting to see how each of them coped without the other.

However, as much as I liked the separation, I also feel like the balance could have been better. Ella and Micha really don’t get to spend much time together and I think this was needed in order to really show their feelings for one another. While I knew how they felt about each other from reading the first book, I don’t think it was shown nearly as strongly in this one. Many of the things that this couple bicker and fight about this time around seem quite silly at times and are normally resolved by having make-up sex. Due to the lack of time spent together and the silly fights, Ella and Micha came across as a couple teenagers who didn’t know what being in a real relationship was.

Character wise, there is plenty of development though and this is due to the nature of the plot. Ella is forced to spend a lot of time on her own, therefore having to deal with her problems although she doesn’t do this in the healthiest way. She has a problem with the past and worries that she’ll turn out like her mother who was bi-polar. Considering the reason for her mother’s death, I didn’t really understand why Ella was so reluctant to see a therapist. I would have thought she would know that it would be the best option to help with her mental health. Ella grows a lot over the course of this book, being able to deal with her problems and learn from them.

Micha doesn’t do quite as well as Ella though but I think that is mainly because the plot revolves around Ella’s problems more. Still, Micha is the cocky guy that I grew to love in the first book and I have a soft spot for him. He’s the guy with an attitude, a sexy lip ring and has a certain way with words. As much of an attitude as he has, he only has eyes for Ella and most of the time, treats her extremely well. He clearly shows how much he loves her, even if he does make a few silly mistakes along the way.

Overall, while The Forever of Ella and Micha was a good book, it just wasn’t as explosive as the first for me. There is still a hell of a lot of passion in there but the plot could have been a bit better.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

This Much Is True by Katherine Owen

About the book
This Much Is True is a new adult book by Katherine Owen. The book was published as a Kindle e-book by The Writing Works Group on 11th August and it is 432 pages long.

Plot Synopsis
Tally Landon is 17 and desperate to graduate and leave for New York to pursue her ballet dreams. But, her twin sister’s death changes her whole outlook on life and Tally finds it hard to get on with her life. Her best friend Marla convinces her to go to one last party before leaving, a college party, somewhere where no one will know about what happened. When Tally meets Lincoln Presley, the town’s famous baseball player, she sees an opportunity to reinvent herself and lie about who she is. For one night, Tally is able to escape the nightmare of her own life.

What Tally doesn’t realise though is that Lincoln has already met Tally before; he saved her the night her sister died. He’s only ever had baseball on his mind and is set to make it big but he can’t get Tally out of his head. He doesn’t think that getting to know her could do any hard but he couldn’t have been more wrong.

What I thought
I’m always up for trying out a new author, especially those who write new adult books. There aren’t too many well-known authors in this genre so many books that I read at the minute are from authors I have never heard of. However, some of these authors turn out to be fabulous while others just don’t quite hit the mark.

This Much Is True starts off with a pretty explosive bang. Tally and her twin sister are in a terrible car accident and while Tally manages to survive, her sister does not. This is what accelerates Tally’s destructive lifestyle. She no longer knows about to live without her best friend and quickly becomes a shadow version of her former self. At a college party, she meets 22 year old Lincoln Presley who has a very promising baseball career ahead of him. The two instantly have a strong connection and great sexual chemistry, even if Tally does lie to him about who she is and how old she really is.

The beginning of the book was really promising. Katherine Owen puts together two very different characters from varying backgrounds and for a while, they were great to read about. I enjoyed watching their relationship grow quickly and the banter between the two was fun. However, this is one of those stories where love happens far too quickly and it became unbelievable. After a very short period of time, Lincoln wants Tally to stay away from other guys while they go their separate ways but I felt like he didn’t have the right to ask this of her at all.

This is an extremely long book and it took me much longer than normal to get through it. There were quite a few times that I really wanted to stop reading but I carried on in the hopes that it would get better. Owen adds far too much into the plot and draws out everything for as long as possible. For two people who don’t know each other too well, Tally and Lincoln go through a hell of a lot over the course of this book and I just felt like it was far too much and a lot of us was just so unbelievable and silly.

One thing I had a massive problem with in this book was Tally’s lifestyle. Tally studies ballet and goes off to New York for a life with better chances as making it as a dancer. Now, being a dancer I have no problem with at all, that would be stupid, but it was the way in which Tally behaved. She quite openly has an eating disorder and it is brushed aside like it is not a big deal. Considering the target audience of this book, I don’t think it is a very good message to be spreading, especially as it wasn’t dealt with in a responsible way.

This Much Is True is a book that I just could not get on with. While it did have promising aspects, it was drawn out and the plot just didn’t make sense at times.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

About the book
The Naturals is the first book in a new series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. The book was published by Quercus on 7th November and the book is 352 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

Plot Synopsis
After her mother was murdered and the crime left unsolved, Cassie Hobbes has never really felt like she belonged anywhere. Maybe that has something to do with her gift. Cassie is able to tell a lot about a person within moments of seeing them; where they’re from, how old they are and behavioural patterns etc. That’s also the reason why she’s being recruited by The Naturals; an FBI division for naturally talented teens.

Cassie believes that The Naturals could be exactly where she belongs, even if she’s having a hard time with the other girls and attempting to figure out the two hot boys who are also part of the program. When a serial killer begins to recreate Cassie’s mother’s death, she realises that she may be in more danger than she ever thought possible.

What I thought
I’m always on the look-out for something new and different in young adult books and this one sounded like just the thing I wanted to read.

The Naturals is told from a dual point of view with chapters from both Cassie and the serial killer. As the first is told through the POV of the serial killer, it makes for a very dramatic opening and one that immediately grabbed my attention. Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ writing reminded me very much of Kimberley Derting’s ‘The Body Finder’ which I loved so much. The serial killer aspect of the book is what initially made me want to carry on reading but there was so much more to it, which was great.

Protagonist Carrie has had a pretty rough time, with her mother being brutally murdered and the killer having never been found. She also has the ability of profiling; being able to tell a hell of a lot about someone after only a couple of moments. While I loved learning about what Cassie could do, I felt like she was lacking a bit in the development area. She doesn’t really seem to grow or change much over the course of the book. Another thing is that Cassie came across as really indecisive which I didn’t like about her.

Along with Cassie there are some fantastic secondary characters. We have love interests in Michael and Dean, with both boys having something tempting about them. There are also the other girls in The Naturals; one has the ability to tell a lie (and lie well herself) while the other one has a massive thing for numbers and statistics. There couldn’t have been a more interesting group of characters to learn about. Still though, I wanted to know more about each of them and I can’t wait to find out more as I read more of this series.

The plot is really what made this book a great read though. Not only do we have a teenage division of the FBI, with a group who have some insane talents, but we also have a fantastic mystery. The suspense of finding out who the serial killer was had me hooked the whole way through the book. With each snippet from them, we are able to get into their mind a little more as they begin to reveal small clues about what is going on. However, I did not figure out what was going on until it was all revealed properly.

While The Naturals has a great plot, the character development really lets this down. I still really enjoyed reading this one though.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Film Review: 10 Years

About the film
10 Years is a comedy film that was released in 2011. The film has a run time of 100 minutes and is rated 12.

Jake and his girlfriend Jess arrive at the home of one of Jake’s high school friends and his wife. Soon, more and more old friends begin to arrive, ready for their 10 year reunion. Best friends Marty and AJ are in the group, as well as musician Reeves and Scott and his wide Suki. The group of friends are really looking forward to catching up and seeing what everyone else has turned out like but Jake is the only one breathing a huge sigh of relief as his high school sweetheart isn’t going to be there.

As the night gets going, the group get reacquainted with old pals and realise they may not have been the best people in high school. As some attendees have brought with them their wives, girlfriends etc, they begin to show their true colours and revert back to their teenage ways. Each character has something to prove at this reunion but will it all go to plan?

Channing Tatum as Jake Bills
Justin Long as Marty Burn
Kate Mara as Elise
Chris Pratt as Cully
Scott Porter as Scott
Brian Geraghty as Garrity Liamsworth
Max Minghella as AJ
Anthony Mackie as Andre Irine
Lynn Collins as Anna
Rosario Dawson as Mary
Oscar Isaac as Reeves
Nick Zano as Nick Vanillo
Jenna Dewan as Jess

What I thought
I’ll always give a film a go if it has Channing Tatum in it (because I’m a sucker for him!) and when I saw this one for only £3 in Sainsbury’s, I knew I had to have it.

10 Years starts with Jake and Jess heading off to Jake’s high school reunion. They’re a couple and Jess doesn’t really know much of Jake’s high school friends, nor his past with ex-girlfriend Mary. Luckily, Mary has said she won’t be attending the reunion so Jake can breathe a bit easier. Playing Jake and Jess are Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum, real husband and wife couple. Considering these two are together in real life, and had acted together previously in Step Up, I expected the chemistry between the two to be much better. However, what we actually get is quite stiff conversation and chemistry which is extremely lacking. I was very disappointed.

As the film is set around a high school reunion and groups of friends getting back together and reminiscing, the plot focuses on the comedic characters they once were. The plot really doesn’t have much of an actual story to it though and that made me lose interest really quickly. Okay, each character has their own problems but none of them are big enough, or important enough, to make me really care. Not only were the issues not big enough, but the characters mostly came across as really shallow, superficial or just idiots. Not only did 10 Years not have a great plot but the characters could have been so much better and had much more depth, but they didn’t.

However, although the characters and the plot were a lot down, there were one or two redeeming moments in this film. Justin Long was a great addition to the cast as he never seems to do a bad job in films. Long plays Marty, someone who has been very successful since high school but he also has secrets. Long manages to pull off successful and nice all in one go and he was one of the few characters I did care about a little bit. Also, there are some really funny moments throughout the film. The humour in this film is very much what you would expect from a teen film and aimed at those who like gross humour and crass jokes. These kinds of comedic moments gave the film a light feel to it and also makes it a really easy film to watch.

10 Years really isn’t the best film out there and even Channing Tatum and some funny moments couldn’t make me love it. 

Monday, 4 November 2013

Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

About the book
Wild Cards is the first book in the series of the same name by Simone Elkeles. The book was first published in Kindle format on 3rd October with the paperback having a January 2014 release date. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review through NetGalley.

Plot Synopsis
Derek Fitzpatrick has just been kicked out of his private boarding school after seriously breaking the rules. Now, he’s forced to live with his typically blonde stepmother while his dad is away at sea. Not only does he have to live with someone he has no wish to live with, but he’s being moved to Chicago. Derek’s stepmother has a younger sister he knew nothing about but she sure gets his attention when he sees her for the first time. Ashtyn Parker rarely trusts anyone – except for the guys on the football team, her teammates. When her boyfriend betrays her and leaves for a rival team, Ashtyn knows she needs to trust Derek in order to get what she wants but is she willing to risk having her heart broken again?

What I thought
Simone Elkeles has written some of my favourite books, Perfect Chemistry being one I could read over and over again without getting bored.

Wild Cards is something very new and different for Elkeles and centres around Derek and Ashtyn, two people thrown together in strange circumstances. Derek is the bad boy thrown out of school while Ashtyn plays football with a bunch of guys and does her best to not trust because she knows it ends in heartbreak. I really enjoyed the lead up into the story, getting to know Derek and his situation first then throwing him in with Ashtyn straight into the deep end. Derek is a player while Ashtyn wants all or nothing.

As main characters go, Derek and Ashtyn were great and I loved how different they were, not only in personality but in experiences and their pasts. Even though both characters are very different, they are both extremely feisty and fight for what they want. I really loved the passion that each character gave about everything that they believed in. Their feisty personalities meant that there was a lot of banter between the two which obviously ended in a lot of sexual tension. The chemistry between Derek and Ashton was definitely sizzling and I couldn’t wait to see what happened between the two.

Unfortunately, Wild Cards is let down by the plot. There are plenty of good aspects to the plot but not all of them are written to their fullest. For example, Ashtyn has plenty of male friends willing to do anything for her, she plays on the football team and yet, there wasn’t nearly enough of this for my liking. Football is a huge thing in Ashtyn’s life and this wasn’t made a focal point until after half way through the book. Not only that, but Derek has secrets and these aren’t really used/ drawn upon until very late in the book. I think both things would have given both characters much more depth and would have made the development better overall.

The ending was also a bit of a let-down for me. I felt as though it all ended far too quickly. While there is a lot that is wrapped up nicely, and characters given convincing endings, I still wanted more. I wanted more between Derek and Ashtyn, I wanted more between the families and I wanted certain things for certain characters. There could have been so much more to this book and that is why I found it lacking in some areas.

Unfortunately, I just didn’t love this book as much as the Perfect Chemistry series but it was still a good read.

*Also published on my blog and other sites*

Friday, 1 November 2013

The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston

About the book
The Winter Witch is the first book in the Shadow Chronicles by Paula Brackston. The book was published by Corsair on 19th September and it is 416 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

Plot Synopsis
Morgana has not spoken a word since she was a child and there is no one else like her at all in the small Welsh town where she lives with her mother. If not talking wasn’t a big enough problem, Morgana also has the gift of magic – something that she struggles to control. For her own safety, Morgana’s mother marries her off to Cai Jenkins, a widower who knows nothing about Morgana or her secrets. As she starts her new life, falling in love with the mountainous landscape, she begins to win the heart of her husband. But, as Morgana’s life seems to be getting somewhere close to normal, the dark power inside her grows and she must fight to save everything she loves – or lose it all.

What I thought
Witches are one of my favourite subjects in books because there are so many different variations of how they are written so I was really looking forward to The Winter Witch.

To start with, The Winter Witch is told from a very strange point of view. Part of the story is told in the first person through Morgana but then also in the third person at times, which is mostly when the story surrounds Cai. I have to be honest and say I absolutely hated this. I found it very confusing for the narrative to change so often and I just couldn’t get on with this way of the story being told. I would have much preferred for either one or the other to have been picked and for the author to have stuck with that throughout.

I really enjoyed the beginning of The Winter Witch. Morgana is a woman with many secrets and she has a great air of mystery surrounding her. She hasn’t spoken a word since she was a child and no one really understands why. She hides away when things bother her and she’s only really got a friend in her mother. But, that all changes when her mother attempts to hide Morgana’s secrets by marrying her off to a stranger called Cai, believing that it is in her best interests. What really intrigued me was what Morgana could have possibly done to make her mother want to send her away.

So not only did I get to learn of Morgana to start with, but also of what the book may bring. As soon as she is married to Cai, Morgana must start a new life in a strange place with a strange man. They know nothing about each other and it’s not as though they can even have a normal conversation. I really enjoyed watching Morgana and Cai’s thoughts about each other change over time but I do wish there had been more in-depth interaction between the two. It appeared that although they didn’t really spend much quality time together, their feelings for each other still deepened. I wanted more between the married couple and to see more of them together.

Unfortunately, after the beginning, I began to lose interest very quickly. The Winter Witch is quite drawn out and there wasn’t a lot to keep my interest. Morgana’s getting to know herself and her magic was a long time coming and by that point, I felt very disconnected from both her and Cai. I do think this was partly due to the plot not giving them enough time together though and this could have been something easily rectified. Obviously, being a story about a witch, I was expecting more magic from the beginning and this wasn’t something I got either. The magic aspect of the book was extremely slow and I wanted to know more instead of being kept guessing for so long.

The Winter Witch had a great load of potential but it just didn’t live up to expectations for me. I got quite bored after the first third or so and found myself not caring at all about what would happen in either the plot, or to the characters.