Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review of The Elusive Lord Everhart by Vivienne Lorret

Title/Author: The Elusive Lord Everhart (Rakes of Fallow Hall #1) by Vivienne Lorret
Publisher/Date published: Avon Impulse, March 24th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Gabriel Ludlow, Viscount Everhart, will never marry, and thus is sure to win the bachelors' wager amongst his friends. Assuming, of course, that his deepest secret — a certain letter containing a marriage proposal made in a moment of passion — doesn't surface. After all, without Calliope Croft to tempt him, there's no danger of losing. Or of falling in love.

Calliope wants revenge. Five years ago, an anonymous love letter stole her heart and ultimately broke it. Now Casanova has struck again, and Calliope vows to unmask the scoundrel, stopping him from breaking any more hearts. Yet, time and again, Gabriel distracts her from her task, until she can no longer deny that something about him calls to her...

Gabriel was a fool to ignore the depth of his feelings for Calliope, but the threat that kept him from her five years ago remains. Now he must choose between two paths: break her heart all over again or finally succumb to loving her... at the risk of losing everything.

Guys, I was truly ready for a cute, swoony romance and that's precisely what I got from The Elusive Lord Everhart!

The Elusive Lord Everhart was just complicated enough that it was interesting to read, but not so complicated that it took away from the overall romance and the feelings and I actually loved that the hero knew his heart before the heroine did. You do have to take some things that go down with a bit of a romance-believer's heart, because there are some pretty big coincidences. But I didn't care, because it was beautifully executed and awesome.

I really liked both Calliope and Gabriel, these are two intelligent, passionate people and they fit perfectly together. And I totally loved how Calliope was reading Gabriel all wrong and had actually been doing that for LONG time and he's genuinely confused by how she thinks he doesn't like her and awww, it was just adorable! There are sparks and illicit meetings and KISSING! The kissing was awesome! I loved when they finally got to the kissing, because the build-up was so good!

So there's some drama that's both in the past and still very present in the future and OMG I just wanted to shake Gabriel and tell him to tell Calliope because I think EVERYONE could see coming that it would not end very well if he didn't. Also, I was having this sense of something still being off because of his injury and it not being revealed how exactly he got this injury and I can definitely imagine Calliope jumping to the conclusion she did when she finds out, because yeah, I would too probably.

But the important thing here is that with all their flaws and their less than great decision making at times, I was still really rooting for Calliope and Gabriel as a couple. They had this beautiful tension and I was just there in the moment with them and yeah, this made for a very happy afternoon of reading!

My rating: 4,5 stars

Friday, March 20, 2015

Review of Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes

Title/Author: Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, March 24th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up — terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called "Captivating to the very end," Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.

I totally loved The Art of Lainey and was really excited to learn that Paula Stokes had a new release coming up, and while I didn't enjoy Liars, Inc. as much as The Art of Lainey, it did have that same gripping writing style.

So Liars, Inc. is a mystery/thriller, which isn't a genre that I usually read, but that I do try every once in a while and it's by Paula Stokes, so I knew it should be good. And it really was. I struggled a bit at first, getting used to Max's voice and ignoring the confusion I always feel at this name, cause it's also my brother's name, but after that we were off to a good start. I did really like Max, he's a good guy at heart and gets in a lot of trouble, but sorta does it with the best intentions? Also, it's totally interesting to see his relationship with both Preston and Parvati, sometimes I got a bit of a Cruel Intentions feeling and it was all so convoluted and messed up and I totally loved when I finally started getting some answers!

I'm not spoiling anything by mentioning that Preston disappears, because the summary tells you this, but even knowing this, the events leading up to the moment when he actually disappears had me feeling this sense of impending doom. Paula Stokes really did a great job of getting the amosphere just right and it made me want to reach through the pages to shake Max and tell him to just TELL SOMEONE THE TRUTH OR SOMETHING. SAVE YOURSELF! So yeah, obviously I became invested.

Towards the end I started suspecting what had happened and I was partly right, but I hadn't realized the full extense of the craziness and the intrigue and just the whole of everything that was messed up. It was pretty fascinating. Do you know that hollow feeling that you get when you finish a book and you have all these questions left? Liars, Inc. isn't like that. I felt like Paula Stokes told me everything that I desperately wanted to know and then wrapped it all up rather nicely.

I was however a bit bugged about something at the end of the book, which is non-spoilery and doesn't really have to do with the story, but Max describes love as looking like 'a dog after getting hit by a car', WTF? I really hate this description because WTF?? I mean, vulnerable ok, but a dog after getting hit by a car??? REALLY?? Worst. Description. Ever. (and also now I feel sad because I keep thinking about dogs and other pets getting hit by cars)

Rant over.

But aside from that last bit that left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth upon finishing this novel, I did really enjoy reading Liars, Inc. Paula Stokes really has a way of creating characters and a storyline that suck you in and make you care for them and OMG what a mindblowing conspiracy and craziness is happening in Liars, Inc.!

My rating: 3,5 stars

Monday, March 16, 2015

Review of 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

Title/Author: 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen
Publisher/Date published: Harper Teen, June 17th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can’t seem to find a decent boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t rather date her gorgeous best friend, Megan. Someone who won’t freak out when he learns about the tragedy her family still hasn’t recovered from. Someone whose kisses can carry her away from her backwoods town for one fleeting moment.

Until Claire meets Luke.

But Megan is falling for Luke, too, and if there’s one thing Claire knows for sure, it’s that Megan’s pretty much irresistible.

With true love and best friendship on the line, Claire suddenly has everything to lose. And what she learns—about her crush, her friends, and most of all herself—makes the choices even harder.

This book and I did not get along. The blurb tricked me into thinking it would be a cute, fun contemporary and instead I got frenemies, an abusive relationship, lots of slut-shaming and basically not even one character to root for.

It REALLY bothered me that Meghan and Claire are called 'best friends'. Seriously, with a friend like that, you really don't need enemies. The rest of their band is just as bad. And OMG, how do you let a boy you know for all of 5 minutes get in the way of this so-called friendship? Ok, you both have the hots for him and that's a tough situation, but I just cannot even with this. It was so dysfunctional! And Meghan already stole one of Claire's boyfriends a couple of years ago, but to be fair, he was Meghan's boyfriend first. WHAT?? I was just staring at this trainwreck of a friendship and being thankful for my own friends.

And I really didn't like Claire. She's constantly slut-shaming other girls, looking down on everyone and it was just not pretty. Also, I didn't like how she went behind Meghan's back with Luke. And also, Luke was no prize either. He was constantly talking shit about Meghan, even though she was his girlfriend and it just really bugged me! And it bugged me that Claire wouldn't stand up for her best friend while he was doing this.
Also, I cannot even begin to tell you how annoying it was to read about this revenge-kissing that Claire did after a bad break up, she went and kissed the guy's 4 bandmates, basically leading one of them on who seemed like a really good guy and didn't seem to really feel bad about this. I don't know who would do such a thing. Not someone I would want to have around.

I'm not entirely sure why I finished this book, I guess I was hoping for it to be fun in the end or something? To have the characters redeem themselves? Neither of these things happened.

My rating: 1,5 stars

Sunday, March 15, 2015

What's on my playlist (1)

One of my other passions, beside reading, is music. I LOVE listening to it, singing along (badly) and shaking my bootie to it. Here's some of what I haven't been able to get out of my head lately:

This song is awesome! And also, I totally got the boyfriend (who doesn't really dance) to dance with me on this one a couple of weeks ago, so good memories :)

I love Taylor Swift, she's awesome.

This song haunts me! I mean, I would have preferred if it wasn't part of the soundtrack of a movie I have no interest in watching, but this song! I just can't help it. Also, I wish Jamie Dorman would star in something I wanted to watch, because I have the hugest celebrity-crush on him every since he was the huntsman in Once Upon a Time and OMG WHY DID THEY KILL HIM OFF?? Sad...

So what have you been listening to?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Review of Love Bomb by Jenny McLachlan

Title/Author: Love Bomb (The Ladybirds #2) by Jenny McLachlan
Publisher/Date published: Bloomsbury Children's, March 12th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

I'd never read anything by Jenny McLachlan before, but this sounded cute and quirky, so I was good to go.

And I did enjoy reading Love Bomb, though it took me a while to get used to Betty's voice. She's 15, but it's a pretty young 15 in my opinion. Also, she's a bit odd, which is not a problem, but I could not immediately groove with her particular kind of oddness, so we had to get to know each other for a bit before I could go with the flow of the story. I think that Betty is one of those people that I can envy, who can embrace being weird around other people and make it charming. Also, she has awesome friends.

I mean, seriously, let's hear it for her friends, who totally have her back and really KNOW her. They call her out on it when she's being selfish and support her in everything else. This is what friendship should be in my opinion, especially with the honesty when she's doing something that hurts one of her friends.
I also really liked the letters from Betty's mom with her advice on love, first kisses and heartbreak. They were straight from the heart and I was wishing for Betty that she could haave known this woman, who sounded amazing.

Aside from the romance department, Betty also struggles with her dad having a girlfriend, who she very maturely nicknames Poo. I was actually a bit annoyed at Betty for how she handled this at first. I mean, I can understand that you don't like having to share one of your parents after it being just the two of them for years, but she was REALLY rude and that was just not ok. It's mostly due to the girlfriend's efforts that this changes, rather than Betty growing as a person, so I felt this was resolved maybe a bit too easily.

The boy Betty crushes on, Toby, is a bit of a weird, douchy guy and I wasn't really into him, but the other romance that slowly develops over the course of this novel and that I could gleefully see coming from miles away, was pretty cute.

In the end, I did like Love Bomb, but Betty was a bit too juvenile for me to fully get swept up into the swoony part, but it was a cute, quick read.

My rating: 3 stars

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Review of Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee

Title/Author: Gates of Thread and Stone (Gates of Thread and Stone #1) by Lori M. Lee
Publisher/Date published: Skyscrape, August 5th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.

In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret — she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from — or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.

So this has been on my radar for a while. I have to admit that I thought it was something mythology-related at first, but it turns out to be a really interesting fantasy type novel (I think it's fantasy at least).

I had a bit of a rocky start with Gates of Thread and Stone, because, while I immediately really liked Kai and everything seems really interested, I was pretty clueless about what exactly my setting was. I mean, I'm not a fan of the info-dump thing at all, but I could have really done with a little more information about how this world works and some more about their leader and the history of this place and just EVERYTHING. I was feeling a bit helpless and grasping at straws to try and understand how this story fits into the bigger picture. Towards the ending, some of my questions have been answered, but definitely not all. But I do feel that I have a better grasp on how things work. I was actually wondering if I had somehow skipped pages and missed the part where things are explained at first, but I checked back and I hadn't. But after a while, I decided to work with it, but it did prevent me from just going with the flow of the story, cause I couldn't place things, you know what I mean?

Anyway. Like I said, I did really like Kai. She's determined and loyal and strong and I liked that. She had a really strong bond with her 'brother' Reev and would do anything for him and it's logical when you think about how it's been them against the rest of the world for years. It's right. I also liked how she kept getting distracted by Avan and would tell herself that this really wasn't the time to be thinking of him like that with her brother missing. Obviously, you can't ignore those butterflies forever, but she did have the good sense to realise that it was really not a good time right then.

I'm not much of a fan of Reev himself sadly, while he seems like a good guy, I didn't get much of a feel for him as a person before he went missing. I did however really like Avan. He's a complicated character and I'm not entirely sure of his age and if I should be thinking that he's a pervert for the whole flirting with Kai thing, but I'm going to believe the best of him here and say he's not that much older than she is. But it's not mentioned anywhere and that always bugs me. But he's definitely a good guy, looking out for Kai and he's got some serious secrets of his own.

So there's a lot of build-up and I got tiny pieces of the bigger puzzle and then BOOM there's the big reveal and it was AWESOME! I mean, seriously, it was really good and it made me even more interested in finding out more about how the system with their gods works and how everything fits together and what the heck is going on with some of these characters and what it will mean for the future and OMG I did totally predict the final twist, but it's one that I can definitely be ok with.

I really liked Gates of Thread and Stone with its twisty plot! But it would have been even better if I'd gotten a little more information in the first part of the novel.

My rating: 3,5 stars

Monday, March 9, 2015

Mini-Reviews (6) On the Fence, The Stepsister's Tale, Lady Windermere's Lover

So ever since June of 2014 I've been failing at writing reviews for the books I read. I know. And because it's been AGES since I read these, I'm just gonna do mini-reviews of them, so as to clear my need-review shelf.

Title/Author: On the Fence by Kasie West
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, July 1st 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

I LOVE Kasie West's writing! She knows how to build an interesting story AND make me swoon over the romance! On the Fence was SO cute, while also dealing with loss and a one-parent family. And I really enjoyed reading about Charlie's family, the siblings really care about each other, I LOVED her brothers! And I loved her dad for trying to also do the girly thing with advice from his 'co-worker' and sometimes failing epicly, but still, he gets bonus points for trying!

I really liked the slowly building romance and how Braden and Charlie have a real history and a foundation for their relationship. They've known each other for ages and I loved the glances and the insecurity and misunderstandings and just the tension! And boys being dumb boys and just all of it! I really cannot recommend Kasie West's books enough, they are amazing!

My rating: 4,5 stars

Title/Author: The Stepsister's Tale by Tracy Barrett
Publisher/Date published: Harlequin Teen, June 24th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

I was intrigued by the premise of Cinderella told from the perspective of one of the stepsisters. I mean, history is written down by the victors right? And in the original tale, the stepsisters are definitely NOT the winners. And while I appreciated the concept, the execution could have been better. I almost DNF-ed this several times, mostly because the beginning was SO slow! Seriously, if it hadn't been for hours spent on a train while travelling through Morocco, I probably would have put this down. It really takes forever to take off, and everything was bleak and there was not even the least sense of hope and Ella was ANNOYING and weird and OMG I did not need 100 pages of them being hungry (I don't know if it was 100 pages, but it felt like it).

But then the story started to really come together and things started happening aside from them scavenging for food and it was VERY interesting! And I actually liked the second part of the novel, and there's a pretty cute romance, but I really cannot get over the slowness of the first half of the book. I'm glad I stuck with it for the later part, but I think it will turn a lot of people off.

My rating: 2,5 stars

Title/Author: Lady Windermere's Lover (The Wild Quartet #3) by Miranda Neville
Publisher/Date published: Avon, June 24th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

I hate to say it, but I really did not much like this book. And that's mostly because the hero, Damian, is an ass and then the heroine, Cynthia just takes his crap.
So Damian is pissed that he's being forced to marry a commoner to get back the property that he foolishly gambled away as a youth. Ok. Fine. But that's no reason to treat Cynthia, his wife, the way he did! Constantly demeaning her and just being insulting and snobbish and UGH! I really wanted to slap him. And she falls for him ANYWAY because he's 'so handsome'. SERIOUSLY??? I wanted to shake her to wake up and recognize his assness.

Then he leaves her for a year and in that year she decides to flirt with his best friend, who she kisses once and he doesn't believe that they haven't been having an affair all year long when she tells him. But because she's beautiful now he decides to seduce her (WTF?) anyway. There's also this vendetta he has against his best friend that's basically him blaming Julian for something his stupid drunk self did when he was younger. I mean, SERIOUSLY?? I'm not even sure why I finished this, I get annoyed again writing this review.

My rating: 1,5 star (half star extra for cute kitten that's in it)