Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Date Read: November 23 - 26 2012
Release Date: June 12th 2012
Publisher: Dial Books For Young Readers
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 
"A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over."


The perfect summer read! I loved everything about this book. Despite the serious issues it dealt with concerning family and the much more controversial, morality, I still found it to be a really relaxing, chill and refreshing read.

When I first picked up this book, I thought it would be a light read about summer love - first crushes and small differences in family but this turned out to be something so much bigger. And it was perfect.

Sam's life looks easy and perfect at first - her mother, being a senator, has given Sam and her sister Tracy quite a luxurious life with their immaculate house and private schooling. Sam has good grades, she's pretty and doesn't seem deprived in anyway. I thought I'd get annoyed at her character because she seemed so perfect but I really liked her. Sam has so much strength and it really comes through near the end and I admire her so much for that. From the beginning it's seen she secretly wishes she was one of the Garrett's next door and who can blame her? They're like a real family - where her mother is always away doing campaigns, Mr and Mrs Garrett are always at home for their kids. There's warmth, affection, attention and liveliness the Reeds lack.

Along comes Jase Garrett, the sweet boy next door who pulls Sam into his world. He's not the bad boy I've been accustomed to reading about and fallen in love with lately. Rather, he's kind, caring, the "fixer" of the Garretts and this sweet, honest six foot two of amazing just swept me off my feet. I loved the solidarity of his character; the way him and the rest of the Garretts are raised just ooze this air of goodness! I loved the moment he first appeared:'"Hey," he says again, sitting down next to me as though he knows me well. "Need rescuing?"' Any other boy and it would seem cocky and over-confident the way he just comes up her trellis and plops down next to her, but the way Jase does it, I don't know, it felt so sincere.

And the rest of the Garretts! Love them love them love them. There's something unique about each of them but put them together and there's really this sense of family that comes through when times are hard. Joel with the bad boy image and motorcycle becomes responsible when required; Alice with her ever-changing hair colour and constant flings can turn on her nurse training and mothering on a whim. I really liked that about the older kids - being able to put everything aside for their family as they'd been raised with so much love. And ah the sweet younger kids. My favourite from the moment I met him was 4 year old George. WHAT 4 YEAR OLD TALKS LIKE THIS: "Did you know that in space it's very, very cold? And there's no oxygen? And if an astronaut fell out of a shuttle without his suit he'd die right?" While sucking on a popsicle right after having wet the bed because he dreamed about black holes. YES A 4 YEAR OLD DREAMING ABOUT BLACK HOLES. I thought black holes was something from a kid show but nope, this kid is a walking and talking National Geographic magazine. How adorable is that? -Gushes- I want a kid a like that omg. But yes all the Garretts have something so lovable about them!

Anyway, as I'm reading away assuming this is a chill summer read and thinking I really need a glass of Grace Reed's home made lemonade with lemon zest and mint ice cubes... shit gets real. And I'm like scrambling around going WOAH WHAT DID THAT JUST HAPPEN OHSHIT. I thought I knew right from wrong, left from right, up from down. But not after what happens. And poor Sam is left wondering which choice will leave the most and least impact. Fitzpatrick uses another incident that deals with morals earlier on to foreshadow and ease the reader into this bigger issue which I loved. I could totally understand the seriousness of the issue and how Sam was so confused about the RIGHT thing to do (I mean we think it's right... but heck). I put myself in her shoes and really, my own family versus the family of the boy I loved? It's betrayal either way. The way this was written really conveyed the turmoil Sam faces.

Now, the way this was written. I haven't seen a writing style like this since The Fault in Our Stars. This a lot lighter, but the wit and humour interwoven into serious matters at hand made me fall in love this book from the first page.
Things characters say like "Have you ever wondered what the hair on your toe serves?" or "Where's the baby? In the toolbox?" Had me cracking up throughout the whole book. The little bits of sarcasm made this such an enjoyable read and unparalleled with any book I've ever read.

Everything about this book was perfect - the pace of the romance, the tone/wit/humour/sarcasm and the amazing plot! It really made me question my morals. When we're not the ones facing the issue, we think it's so easy to pick the "right" side. I loved how this book made me feel, laugh, but most of all THINK.

What I didn't like about this book: that it had to end... but all summers end aye?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Review: Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful #1) by Jamie McGuire

Date Read: November 24 2012
Release Date: May 26th 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 

Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match."



I loved Beautiful Disaster so much I'm sitting here trying to fathom how I'll write this review. I was hooked from the first page and COULD NOT put this down until I'd finished - and when I did I was like ERMAGHERD GIMME MORE!

This bet Abby and Travis made really turns into something else. It becomes something so much bigger and friendships/relationships/hearts and I realised even lives are at stake where one particular "bet"... well more like "game" is concerned.

I think the blurb is a bit misleading though - it says "Abby Abernathy doesn't drink or swear and she works hard." but in fact she does drink and this isn't due to Travis or her secret past or anything. She just does and it's seen from the beginning that she does party. So I thought the first chapter description of her in a pink cardigan was a bit of a misconception compared to her in the second chapter on-wards. She really isn't THAT much of a good girl, just resistant to Travis's charms.

Now I quite liked Abby, she didn't annoy me or anything and all her actions were really justifiable - especially near the middle. However, what I DID find weird was that she didn't acknowledge any feelings during her friendship because honestly not only were they right there, but she was acting on them and the whole time I thought they were together. But no apparently it's all just friendship which I thought was really stupid! STUPID STUPID STUPID BECAUSE YOU JUST DON'T DO THOSE SORT OF THINGS WITH FRIENDS OK ABBY? Anyways other than that, I really liked the past she tried so hard to hide. At first it didn't seem all that big, I understood her need to run away but to hide? THEN it's like BAM, her past smacks her in the face and it's like I got hit by a truck full-force because EVERYBODY gets affected and it all blows up in their faces. Butterfly effect people, butterfly effect... Her one decision to go back to that past just about ruins everything! Actually it not only ruins relationships but it DESTROYS people. But I understood her need to do it.

Oh and how I loved the destructive of this book. Abby and Travis are so perfect together but they really are a tornado like Shepley said. Actually I liken them more to a bushfire - they just keep burning and the fire grows and heightens, raging it's way through everything and destroying all around it before it finally dies out once it has nothing left to burn. Their feelings create so much chaos and pain to each other. A lot of the hurt they bring on themselves as well and sometimes I think it could have been avoided, but if so there would have been different outcomes and more people hurt and their relationship wouldn't have been able to withstand as much. This whole BUSHFIRE thing they had going on = ALL THE FEELS OMG ;_______________; I can't even... like omg what even... my heart was breaking and being put back together again and everything hurt AND IT WAS SO PERFECT.
"I can't win with you. I can't win with you! You say you're done... I'm fucking miserable over here! I break my phone into a million pieces to keep from calling you every minute of the damn day - I've had to play it off like everything is fine at school so you can be happy... and you're fucking mad at me? You broke my fuckin' heart!"
"I am begging you." My arm lowered and tugged as he fell to his knees...
They destroy each other but they need each other.

Travis Maddox. This boy is absolute perfection. The things he does. The things he gives up. The things he says. EVERYTHING!!!!!! Travis looks like the average bad boy at first but his grades and protectiveness of his friends show there's a softer side to him. And then his relationship with Abby! He really has met his match with Abby and I love their friendship. For most of the book I forget it's even about a bet because there seems to be no more boundaries. All the lines are blurred and like I said before, is it friendship or A LOT MORE? Travis's feelings for Abby are so obvious and it's real love when all he wants is for her to be happy. My heart broke for this amazing boy over and over because he kept making mistakes with good intentions. But you just can't stop loving him. There is a part of the book that is quite ironic as Abby does something Travis usually does and he feels the full impact of what his usual actions cause. It would have been funny and poetic justice IF IT HADN'T BEEN SO HEARTBREAKING.

I loved all the other characters too - especially America. She's the much needed best friend and support that puts her friend above the boyfriend; she sees what's really important and I loved her presence throughout the book. Travis's cousin/America's boyfriend, Shepley is amazing too and I always felt bad for him when he was torn between sides. Absolutely loved Travis's family and even Parker who really showed what Abby THOUGHT she wanted versus what she REALLY wanted. Actually, Abby's room mate Kara. I have no idea what the hell her role was. Useless; get out please.

I really liked the idea of bets throughout this book as it ties in with Abby's past so it really is like she can never escape from it no matter. What I didn't like was the lack of imagery. Especially where food was concerned. There were so many mentions of FOOD and dates throughout this book but THEY WERE NEVER DESCRIBED. I would have liked to know what the Thanksgiving dinner tasted on, what food at an expensive Italian restaurant tasted like and how that compares to a cheap pizza place. But no :( failwhale.

All in all, this was amazing. Abby and Travis are a disaster but what they have is beautiful too. This was seriously a beautiful disaster no joke. ERMAGHERD MY FEELS ATM QQ

Friday, November 23, 2012

Review: ReVamped (Angel Creek #1) by Ada Adams

ReVamped (Angel Creek, #1)

Date Read: November 21 - 22 2012
Release Date: February 20th 2012
Publisher: Self-published
Source: Bought
Genre: Paranormal
My rating: 

"A simple mission turned deadly.

Nineteen-year-old vampire Dawn has led a sheltered life within the confines of her father’s presidential headquarters. Upon being sent on a mission to revamp four goofy misfits into guardians of a peaceful little town of Angel Creek, Dawn believes that all her dreams have finally come true. What starts off as a simple task, turns into something unexpected, changing Dawn’s life forever and leading the action-loving, thrill-seeking vampire teen on a path of mystery, danger and intrigue.

When a human girl is kidnapped by a group of rogue vamps, Dawn discovers that there is more going on in Angel Creek than meets the eye. And it all connects to Ethan, the cute newcomer who seems too perfect to be true, Sebastian, the mysterious vampire with a turbulent past, and even Dawn herself. Dawn must not only succeed in revamping the troubled recruits, but must also prevent the vampire race from being overtaken by a malevolent villain who has a strange and obsessive fascination with her. As threat escalates, romance blooms, and ghosts from her past begin to surface, Dawn is sure of only one thing: her life will never be the same."


Such an original story! Must admit this was different to any vampire story I've ever read. It broke the boundaries of traditional vampirism and merged technology/modern science into a really awesome plot!
I loved the twist around Dawn and Aurora and her origins! Pulled me in and had me speculating since the prologue.

I quite liked Dawn's character - especially her feelings and reactions 3/4 of the way through and on-wards. I really admired her strength and perseverance and need to protect others. But I also liked how she wasn't completely invincible! She could still be broken - BUT she could get through it with the help of friends.
Absolutely love love LOVE Brooke! She maybe some (fake) blonde bimbo but she's a blonde bimbo with overall good intentions! I loved the stuff she said, the shit that came out of her mouth was HILARIOUS!
“No way! Does that mean that I finally get to join the Fab Five? Those guys are so hot! And the girls are so pretty and oh so very catty. I’ll fit in perfectly! Ahh! I’ve always wanted to be one of them.” - LOL at the cattiness bit omg.
I wish there were more Dawn x Sebastian moments! I liked his presence (albeit hidden at first) a lot and wanted more than just a car ride of them alone. I really wanted to witness more of his character but I guess that's for ReAwakened...

The descriptions were also really nice!
"The intense way he studied me caused my skin to tingle" - awww yeah I could really feel that penetrating stare!
"... his gray eyes devoured every inch of me." - yummy!
"The pain in his voice was so agonizing; I could feel it reverberating through every cell in my body." - ALL THE FEELS

"He smelled like a sultry summer storm—cool, refreshing rain, sweltering, hot wind, and charged, electric thunder..." - THIS. OMG THIS. I don't know how you can describe someone like the weather - it's crazy and ridiculous and I've never heard anything like it BUT IT'S AMAZING AND I LOVE IT. That sentence completely stunned me and I was like HOT SHIT YES HOW IS IT POSSIBLE I CAN ACTUALLY SMELL HIM BUT I CAN!!!

I think I didn't like the pace though, things were either happening too slow or too fast. The training of the new town guardians and the plot in general was too fast but the romance was too slow.
The prologue hinted at not only a plot twist but a lot of heartache regarding Sebastian too. I felt I didn't really get the latter - there was passion and heated moments but not to the degree I was expecting :(

Overall, a great read! Awesome plot, original twist, unique take on vamps and that writing style UNF <3

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Review: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, #1)

Date Read: November 20 2012
Release Date: September 11th 2012
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Source: Bought
Genre: Time Travel/Historical
My rating: 

"On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother-to-be and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?"


This was such a fun, cute and refreshing read! I initially picked up this book thinking it would be a fun trip to the past but when I finished, I realised it was so much more than that - it was a coming of age book about growing up and that there are sometimes more important things in life.

I really loved the way this was written. Imagery, extremely descriptive, it was verb and simile paradise!
There were so many types of imagery utilised:
Aural: "the clanging church bells...", "birds are singing and chirping happy music"
Olfactory: "the overwhelming stench of sewage overwhelms me", "the heady scent of incense tickles my nose and I sneeze"
Visual: "vibrant red poppies explode against the deep jade of the grass and the lush gold of the wheat fields" THEM COLOURS OMG
Tactile: "I feel soft fabric brush against my leg"
Gustatory: "he tastes like the wildflower-honey pastries inside, sweet and intoxicating"

"Warm water sloshes over the sides of the wooden tub as I scoop up a handful of gardenia-scented bubbles and blow gently, creating a iridescent, rainbow-infused cave". 
Like shit it was sensory overload and I loved it. As nobody really knows what Renaissance Florence feels like (or Renaissance anywhere really) these descriptions were crucial in placing the character in said time period.
The book is filled with amazing descriptions and I really felt I was in 1505 Italy. I think other than the meadow, I loved the way Michelangelo's David was detailed:
"Look at how his right leg is tense and supporting him while the left one is bent like a warrior's. His furrowed forehead perfectly shows he's facing incredible odds, yet his nostrils are flared and his eyes are fierce... Look at the veins in his hands and feet, the cords of his neck, the folds of skin on his upper thigh" WOAH I don't even know a block of marble can be described like that but after reading that I'm bowing down to Michelangelo (even more than before that is).

And the juxtapositions and antitheses! It really helped iterate the difference between Cat and Patience's worlds.
"Dejected, I fling the phone and watch it crash into the painted chest... Hanging over the chest is my wrinkled ball gown from last night."

The story itself was cute, interlaced with heartbreak, humour and lessons-to-be-learnt. I really liked what the main character, Cat, learnt on her trip back in time. What she thought was her redeeming qualities because of the way her mother acts (Cat stays out of the spotlight so she doesn't make mistakes that land her on the front pages of tabloids like her fickle mother), are actually what's holding her back from who she really is.
Lesson learnt: it's ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.

Cat finally gives her heart to someone - and what I REALLY like about this is that because she's 16, Harris doesn't explicitly say she falls in love at first sight and all that crap, but rather that he ignites feelings in her she hasn't felt before. Then Cat PROGRESSIVELY starts falling harder for him, longing for his presence more and they admit they CARE for each other. And the love that blossoms from that ERMAGHERD BE STILL MY HEART "You want to be with me; I know that you do". Cue my wrenching heart and burning eyes. The romance is entirely believable so that was a winner for me.
Lesson learnt: it's ok to let your guard down and let your heart guide you - but sometimes love is not enough, there are things you have to sacrifice. And in the case of Lorenzo? That love might just set you free.

The presence of her bubbly aunt Francesca and beautiful cousin Alessandra remind Cat of her future-stepmother and it's here that she finally sets her prejudices of her stepmother aside and realise Jenna isn't all that bad. The comparison of her Renaissance ancestors and their parallels to her stepmother allow her to see the good in Jenna!

I loved all the characters in here. I especially LOVED Lorenzo. His gentlemanly behaviour was expected of someone of that period but there was that extra spark and other side to him that made me (ahem I mean Cat) fall in love with him. The passion between Cat and Lorenzo was definitely there and god so many teary eyed moments! Alessandra was a breath of fresh air with her innocence but fiery passion to be an actress. I think her presence helped Cat understand the importance of having a friend there when times are hard. Lesson learnt: don't try to tackle everything on your own, friends are there so you can tell them your problems and it sucks to lie to them. Even characters like Antonia had something important to say. Basically, all the characters had a purpose and they weren't there just for the sake of it. I also liked how there was no guarantee of a happily ever after. I mean yeah another boy shows up but Cat doesn't immediately replace Lorenzo and that's what I loved - the uncertainty!

Was there anything I didn't like about this? I think the sheer amount of slang and colloquialisms that even I didn't understand. It got a bit too much for me at times... but I'm going to assume that's how 16 year olds talk nowadays and I fear for that generation. I also wondered how a lot of said slang would be phrased in Italian (typed some stuff into Google translate and that's some weird shit but whatever I'm not Italian so I can't say).

Overall, beautiful imagery, characters with personality and relevance, lessons learnt all in the middle of one of the world's most renowned cultural movements. And that uncertain happily ever after? As my friends say, "shit got real". Yup this did it for me.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review: Breathe (Sea Breeze #1) by Abbi Glines

Date Read: November 16 - 18 2012
Release Date: May 16th 2011
Publisher: Self-published
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 
"Sadie White's summer job isn't going to be on the beach life-guarding or working at rental booths like most kids her age. With her single mother's increasing pregnancy and refusal to work, Sadie has to take over her mother's job as a domestic servant for one of the wealthy summer families on a nearby island.

When the family arrives at their summer getaway, Sadie is surprised to learn that the owner of the house is Jax Stone, one of the hottest teen rockers in the world. If Sadie hadn't spent her life raising her mother and taking care of the house she might have been normal enough to be excited about working for a rock star.

Even though Sadie isn't impressed by Jax's fame, he is drawn to her. Everything about Sadie fascinates Jax but he fights his attraction. Relationship's never work in his world and as badly as he wants Sadie, he believes she deserves more. By the end of the summer, Jax discovers he can't breathe without Sadie.

But can their love overcome the disparity in their lifestyles? Or will they have to learn how to breathe again?"


Ok so I had really high hopes for this because I liked Just For Now. Imagine the disappointment I felt when I started reading and the good story was ruined by the writing style! The sentences felt too short and the writing unsophisticated. I also found it really hard to believe that Sadie fell in love with Jax THAT quickly.

HOWEVER, it did get a lot better after the second half of the book and I mean A LOT better. The story smoothed out, sentences had more a substance to them and I felt like emotions were finally conveyed. For the first half of the book, it didn't feel like a first person point of view, more like some retelling which annoyed me but as I said, this improved with the second half - I could finally feel Sadie's hurt and emotions.


Elaborating on my dislike of Sadie's falling in with Jax: it was extremely quick and I was just like how did you go from your heart skipping a few beats at his smile one day to being IN LOVE with Jax after another 2 days? It took her like less than a week to fall in love with him. WTF?! But I guess this was made plausible by his actions like the supermarket-9-year-old-girl scene. Again, this would have been way more believable had everything been expressed and written better!
"His fingers never left mine as walked back to the house. The only way to explain it is to say that it was very close to an out of body experience. Holding hands with Jax Stone and feeling we connected. He didn't seem like a rock star anymore. He wasn't the guy I saw on posters and in magazines. He wasn't the hottie I'd seen on MTV. He was just Jax."

So um ok I know using short sentences is good for emphasis and that was relevant to the latter of the paragraph but the first bit? I swear there are these things called commas that can be utilised. "Holding hands with Jax Stone and feeling we connected." Um what. That was all there is to explain the "out of body experience"? How about some verbs like "the way his fingers lace through mine made my skin tingle, his long fingers stroking the palm of my hand sent electric currents up my arm and warmed me. That current was like a pull that connected me to him" OR SOMETHING IDK? Because well yeah I had to suffer through paragraphs like that throughout so much of the first half which was why I really didn't connect to Sadie and feel the romance till the second half.
Ah now the second half. Heart-wrenching to say the least. The second half was the saving grace of the novel which was good because I'd rather it get better than it start off good and just go downhill. I finally felt more of Jax's emotions for Sadie and could relate to her and heartbreak as well as everything that was going on in her life (YES FEELS!)
"I love you more than anyone or anything. You've somehow become the song inside of me. It's because I love you so much I'm going to walk out of your life and allow you to heal and find someone worthy of you..."
See the improvement? More descriptive, more heartfelt, more emotions! So yes for me it got a lot better second half onwards and at one point I really teared up and my heart was clenching and I was like "ERMAGHERD JAX!"

Character wise I thought Jax was a bit too good to be true/fake at first but I soon realised he really WAS drawn to Sadie's immunity to his stardom. I grew to really love him by the second half (yes always that second half of the book I know) and I found his need to be with Sadie really sweet and romantic.

Sadie was annoying at the start because she kept saying how she was so mature (this got really repetitive and I'm just like "OK I GET IT NOW SHOW ME MORE OF HOW YOU'RE SO MATURE") but she seemed really selfish with Jax at times with her jealousy - I'll attribute that to first love and let it slide. I like how she becomes stronger for her mother's birth and finally puts thoughts of Jax aside and she comes out the better person. Now THAT is the maturity I was looking for.

Now, Marcus Hardy. YES I LOVE THIS BOY. Here was a character I liked INSTANTLY. As I was reading, I was aware of Because of Low so I had him and Low at the back of my mind but I still really wanted Sadie to pick Marcus at some point in the story. I think it would have been a nice growing up lesson/self-realisation experience for her - how she would feel dating a normal guy as opposed to how she felt about Jax. But alas it didn't happen and the whole time I was thinking "I'LL HAVE YOU MARCUS <3" lol. I could really feel his love and pain and his actions made me feel so bittersweet. He's so caring, considerate and selfless I just wanted to hold him (*rocks in corner as I said about his feels*) and take away all his hurt.

The good eventually outweighed the bad and I was glad I didn't put this down. The end was definitely worth it!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Review: Easy by Tammara Webber

Date Read: November 15 - 16 2012
Release Date: May 25th 2012
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 
"A girl who believes trust can be misplaced, promises are made to be broken, and loyalty is an illusion. A boy who believes truth is relative, lies can mask unbearable pain, and guilt is eternal. Will what they find in each other validate their conclusions, or disprove them all?

When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she's single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex's frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night--but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.

When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he's hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy."


This really lived up to its expectations so I was extremely pleased.

At first I was going to give this 4 or 4.5 stars, but when I slowly thought about this book and all the things that made it whole, I realised it really was worthy of 5 stars. For me, it wasn't one of those books that kept me going "OMG WOAH WHAT... WHAT EVEN HOW" every time I turned the page. Rather, it was subtle smiles and "oh I see, yes that really makes sense" and everything slowly came together and at the end it's like the book changed and moved something inside me.

Sexual assault is a really touchy subject and I generally shy away from books like those because it's hard to take away the icky (yes icky lol) feeling the issue brings while also concentrating on other things the book is about.

But Easy did it perfectly. The assault wasn't downplayed at all and yet the book managed to focus on the budding romance and college life - it was a really nice balance. Easy dealt with the consequences of somebody not reporting a sexual assault and the effects of that - how assaulter becomes stalker, becomes obsessive and in need of that control that he couldn't get the first time, and also how it could happen to someone else. These events are all weaved throughout the course of the book which I really liked. The assault isn't just something that happens and is left there as a starting point for the novel - it's what this book is about and it keeps it that way while drawing in other themes like friendship, love and trust.

The thing I liked was the pace - the events aren't all happening too slowly or too quickly, it's extremely realistic and I could really relate to Jacqueline. Emotions are conveyed amazingly and my heart just broke for Lucas.

All the characters are really believable and had great personalities. Jacqueline was quick to like, Lucas I was quick to fall for and Erin's support I loved. However, if that's college life in the States, I'm not sure I want to be part of it.

With all the YA sci-fi/fantasies that are out and manage to suck me in completely, it's hard to find a contemporary that lives up to that. Other than The Fault in Our Stars and the Slammed series, there aren't many I'd re-read and give 5 stars to, but Easy did just that!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review: Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Date Read: November 10 - 11 2012
Release Date: October 18th 2011
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Source: Bought
Genre: Paranormal/fantasy
My rating: 
"The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi-pure-bloods-have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals-well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures. Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden. Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck."


2 words: TEAM AIDEN! <3

As much as I want to give this 5 stars I found it lacked that "wow-factor" that makes me instantly know a book is a fiver.

I know I shouldn't be doing this, but I just kept comparing Half-Blood to Vampire Academy. There were way too many similarities despite VA obviously being about vampires and Covenant about Greek gods. But alas the similarities were there and Half-Blood paled in comparison to Vampire Academy. I still remember the first page of Vampire Academy and how it sucked me in immediately, and kept me hanging on to every word until the last page. I didn't feel that rush with Half-Blood... as much.

Alex's character pissed me off A LOT. She was annoying at times and all I kept thinking was "how stupid does a 17 year old have to be that she doesn't know when to shut up and that her future/life is on the life?". Alex is strong mentally, emotionally and physically and also extremely stubborn. She reminded me a lot of Rose, but for some reason Rose seemed a lot more mature and her attitude wasn't AS reckless (Rose was still reckless) as Alex... and my reckless I mean like a 7 year old who thinks they can fly if they jump off a roof because they have superpowers. Alex could be THAT stupid at times - especially with her mouth. Rose always talked back but it was just the WAY Alex said things.

I quite liked Aiden and Seth, their characters were really nice and I would definitely like to see more of them, especially Aiden. I liked how mature he was and how much he cares for Alex, so much so that he'll put his feelings aside to ensure her future.

Despite Alex's dislike of Marcus, I actually really really liked him. Unlike Lucian who has a hidden agenda I got a feeling that Marcus is/was so hard on Alex because he doesn't want her to fail but succeed in being a Sentinel.

Now the story itself, I love Greek mythology so I definitely excited. However, the daimon addition was really weird. They're just basically vampires to me and I thought it was weird to mix descendants of Greek gods/demigods with vampires... It was like "you should stick to one or the other". There were heaps of other abominations that could be the result of stealing a Pure's aether rather than vampire-like creatures. Heck some soul sucking thing would have been better. I found that it ruined the whole Greek gods thing.

All my negative opinions aside, this was very well written as is customary for Armentrout. She adds the right amount of (sexual) tension here (although this was definitely a lot more downplayed due to the caste system, compared to Lux) and as with all her works, written in quite a sophisticated manner. I love the touches of humour she gives to scenes and the conflicting sides of characters like Aiden. I still like the Greek god thing and how furies were brought in - the Greek gods aren't just something of the past, they're still in action which has me anticipating some "godly" ass-kicking hehe!

Onto Pure now!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Review: Point of Retreat (Slammed #2) by Colleen Hoover

Date Read: November 8 - 11 2012
Release Date: September 18th 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 

"Hardships and heartache brought them together… now it will tear them apart.

Layken and Will have proved their love can get them through anything; until someone from Will’s past re-emerges, leaving Layken questioning the very foundation on which their relationship was built. Will is forced to face the ultimate challenge…how to prove his love for a girl who refuses to stop ‘carving pumpkins.’"


"My sweet is right now"

This was BUTTERFLYING amazing! Absolutely LOVED Will's POV.

I didn't think I'd be able to laugh and cry EVEN MORE than in Slammed... But I did!
I love how the slamming continues on here and extends to the kids too. I thought it was great how the kids matured as well. Kiersten is a great character and I loved her wisdom throughout this book - she was this ball of energy but also a breath of fresh air with her bluntness and knowledge. I loved how we see another side of Kel and Caulder - Kel after the incidents of part 2 and Caulder with his slam and appreciation for Will.

And Will... oh my god how do I even begin to describe Will Cooper? What a kind, loving, fiercely passionate, strong, smart and beautiful guy. As I've said, I wish I had a Will in my life. As this was in his POV we really get to see how reacts to Lake and what he thinks of her. So many of the uncertainty I had about his reactions in the first book were answered here so I got my closure lol (yay!) But gosh his love is so UNCONDITIONAL it made my heart ache. The way he wrote his feelings at the start of each chapter really conveyed his emotions and reading from his POV cemented those words.

What made this book all the more believable was that, amazing as everybody is and how beautiful they are inside, they've all been through shit to put it simply. Nobody in here has had an easy life, is privileged or perfect in any way. Their flaws are what made them stronger, better people and shaped them into the amazing characters I was reading.

Eddie and Gavin: Eddie's been through so much foster care and yet she still maintains that happy demeanour and ability to make others around her smile. Her and Gavin have more obstacles to face as well, and here I could see Gavin isn't the perfect guy - he's indecisive as well but his love for Eddie pulls them through.

Kel and Caulder: despite both losing their parents at such young ages, they can still get up every day. One might say they're too young to understand, but they do and we see that through Caulder's slam and Kel's emotions in part 2.

Kiersten: she's so smart for her age and gives amazing advice. She's a great girl but she gets bullied constantly; she smiles even though it hurts her and her school does nothing about it.
Sherry: this mother figure came in at just the right time but she doesn't appear too much that she's interfering with Will and Lake's parenting. Her heart ache and experiences with love add to everything that happens in this book.

Lake: need I say more? This girl is so strong and she nearly loses Will here but she's still so strong.
Will: Will... oh Will... where do I ever begin? Part 2 nearly killed me. How he managed to make it through I don't know. His undying support and love for Lake made it all the more harder to read the beginning of part 2 as I was left wondering (won't put any spoilers here!) A part of me thinks Lake pulled through because she was fighting for them too. But he's been through so much and SO MUCH MORE to lose than in Slammed. I didn't think it was possible but he did and it killed me inside.

After just finishing this book I can say "My sweet is right now".

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Review: Slammed (Slammed #1) by Colleen Hoover

Date Read: November 7 2012
Release Date: January 4th 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 
"Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope.
Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.
Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart."


I need Point of Retreat RIGHT NOW! This was bloody, freaking AMAZING!
I loved how this wasn't just some YA focused on romance - it didn't just delve into issues such as death, family, futures and sacrifices but made those themes what the whole book was about.
And the way it was expressed? Extremely original! The character's stories and feelings were shown through slamming (reading poetry) so everything was really layered. I loved that - you had to strip back the layers which contained hidden meanings and symbolism, to get to the real meaning behind everything.

Lake and Will both have so much to lose through their romance (especially Will) but they also experience pain without it. In a way they were like a balm to each other's wounds - and gosh did they have wounds: gaping, weeping wounds. Poor Lake, after losing her father and moving to a new state and realising she can't be with the guy she's falling in love with, soon finds out that more heartache is coming her way. Will has already lost so much but meeting Lake means he could lose even more, and yet he needs her and she needs him - especially with what she faces from the middle of the book on-wards.

Loss is prevalent throughout this book and really opens the reader's eyes as to how fleeting life is.
- Death is the only inevitable thing in life, that's why we have to live it to its fullest and spend it as much as possible with those we love. Live with no regrets and push our boundaries.

This is a huge eyeopener - it shows how much we take for granted and how much of what we have and think is normal for a teenager, can be ripped away from us in a single moment. As a nineteen year old myself, I'm the same age as Will was when he lost everything and had to give up being a college student for his brother. At nineteen, I can't imagine myself being able to raise a kid and quitting uni, finding a job to feed two mouths AND pay the bills.

I don't think there's anything bad to say about this book - maybe Lake and Will should have had a few more dates to establish their feelings but otherwise this was perfection.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Review: When Summer Ends by Isabelle Rae

Date Read: November 6 - 7 2012
Release Date: September 27th 2012
Publisher: Self-published
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 
"Chloe Henderson has never been one to break the rules or push the boundaries… but during her summer break, she and her friends use fake IDs to sneak into a club. It’s there that she meets handsome and alluring bartender, Will Morris. The pair hit it off immediately, growing closer with every passing day. But as with every summer, it has to end sometime.

Chloe’s senior year approaches and there’s a shock in store when she returns to do her final year at school. Will is there too, but he’s not one of her fellow students…

A tale of forbidden love, broken hearts, friendship, and rivalry."


Ah this was so sweet and worth trading in some exam study time!
I absolutely LOVE Will, he's so sweet, romantic, considerate, passionate and just plain amazing. I wish I had a guy like Will! I absolutely love how he calls Chloe 'Cutie'.

What I didn't like:
The writing itself I felt was a bit unsophisticated at times - I felt phrases could have been written better with sentence structures more mature sounding. I mean I know it's written in the POV of a teenage girl but it literally felt like I was reading some 17 year-old's diary/blog recounting events sometimes. Also, I felt that a lot of the things were repeated unnecessarily (A LOT) and some things were written with no purpose of being there e.g. "I blushed and did a little curtsy before walking off quickly towards where my parents were waiting and talking to Trevor, Nick’s dad." The part about her walking back to her parents was enough (she was talking to Will), I didn't see the point of saying that they were talking to Nick's dad when Rae had stated earlier Amy's parents and Nick's parents were all talking. There was also a SHITLOAD of grammatical and spelling errors throughout that really really pissed me off. You can confuse "your" and "you're" maybe ONCE as maybe you weren't thinking as you were writing but even self-published, doing that like 5 times or more should really get picked up. There were so many spelling mistakes I wondered if this had been edited at all - I write essays with less errors in a given ratio.
I just thought there could have been so much more potential for it to be 5 stars.

What made this awesome:
All those negatives aside, this actually was an amazing read.
Chloe's character annoyed me sometimes but I really felt her pain. Sometimes I feel like a masochist because I love reading these things and feeling so many emotions: happiness, then SO much heartache and sadness. Chloe's pain was so tremendous I had my hand over my mouth half the time I was reading to cover my sobs and my wrenching heart was protesting that I couldn't take anymore. The torment Will and Chloe went through made this so worth it. I loved the way the emotions were conveyed (albeit a little repetitive at times) but when he finally confessed his love for her, oh my gosh it was like everything just fell into place because they're so perfect together.
I loved the way Will is seen through Chloe's eyes - especially at school when he couldn't have her but you could see how much he wanted her, and how much that wanting came out as anger and frustration on Chloe making her hurt even more! The tension was certainly palpable at times when they were alone at school... or even in their calculus class because it seemed like the world fell away around them.
I also loved the humour here. Chloe and Will's witty, flirtatious banter had me laughing so much all the time, and their activities were so entertaining (the tubing and snowball fight!). I also loved the Erika part, it added just the right touch of mischievousness and humour to balance a really daunting situation.
The supporting characters were amazing too - I especially loved Nick, Sam and Amy. Nick for his undying support of Chloe even when he still loved her, Sam for his brashness and willingness to support his brother and Amy for her loyalty as a friend. Some of the qualities might have seemed a little stereotypical at times but once I thought about it, it made sense given how long each character has known the other for.

I've heard this isn't as great as Slammed (can't wait to read that) but dang I thought this was a beautiful story!

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