Thursday, 3 September 2015

Review: Chasing Nikki by Lacey Weatherford

Chasing Nikki (Chasing Nikki, #1)Chasing Nikki

Author: Lacey Weatherford
Series: Chasing Nikki
Pages: 322
Publisher: Moonstruck Media
Release date: 29th February 2012

Synopsis: (Goodreads) Chase Walker used to be a good kid-charming, athletic, and with a bright future ahead, but that was before travesty struck his life, sinking him into deep despair. Caught up in a world of drugs and alcohol, he doesn't notice time slipping away until he's arrested for underage drinking one night. Fed up with watching her son destroy his life, Chase's mom relocates him to live in a small ranching community with his ex-military grandfather. Chase is far from happy about the situation until he meets, Nikki, the cute cheerleader who won't give football players like him the time of day. Chase enjoys a good challenge though and sets out to claim Nikki for his own. He soon discovers she's more than a pretty face-she's a balm to his troubled spirit also. But when tragedy strikes Nikki's life too, suddenly Chase finds himself put to the ultimate test. Can he trust Nikki, and all that she's taught him? Will it be enough?

Review: 2 out of 5 stars

Unfortunately this book didn’t work out for me; it started off quite promising but it just went downhill and by the end of it I was quite detached.

Chase Walker is on a downward spiral and has been since his father’s death, his mum puts an end to his partying ways when he is arrested and she makes the decision to move in with Chase’s grandparents much to his annoyance but things soon pick up when he makes some friends and meets Nikki but his mind wonders to his urges for drugs and drink.

Nikki is a popular cheerleader who has sworn off bad boys like Chase but he wears her down and she gives him a chance. I felt the romance was a little rushed, he was persistent, she was resistant and then all of a sudden they are an item. There were many cheesy moments that had me rolling my eyes, it could have been perfect but they were a little too full-on.

Chase had his witty moments, Nikki was sweet but I really liked Chase’s new friend (I can’t remember his name). I’m not sure where things are heading with Brittany.

Told from Chase’s POV which I enjoyed, we get to see how emotionally broken he was and how Nikki and his family helped him to cope; I quite liked his grandparents; especially his strict ex-military grandpa.

Whilst this book wasn’t for me, it was still written well and Chase’s problems were dealt with in a realistic way.

Chasing Nikki has loss, tragedy, guilt and a twist I completely didn’t expect. The ending shocked me and despite being curious about what will happen next for Chase I unfortunately won’t continue with this series.

I think I may be in the minority in my opinion of this book; many people seem to love it so please check out other reviews - Goodreads.


Quote: “So stop looking at the past and all the things you can’t change. They’re done and over with. Now is the time for you to look to the future, grasp it by the hand, and decide where you want to go. I told you once before, and I’ll say it again—this is your life, Chase. Only you can decide what it’s going to be like. Don’t let outside forces dictate it for you.”

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Review: The Body Institute by Carol Riggs

The Body InstituteThe Body Institute

Author: Carol Riggs
Series: -
Pages: 368
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Amazon

Synopsis (Goodreads)  Meet Morgan Dey, one of the top teen Reducers at The Body Institute. 

Thanks to cutting-edge technology, Morgan can temporarily take over another girl’s body, get her in shape, and then return to her own body—leaving her client slimmer, more toned, and feeling great. Only there are a few catches…

For one, Morgan won’t remember what happens in her “Loaner” body. Once she’s done, she won’t recall walks with her new friend Matt, conversations with the super-cute Reducer she’s been text-flirting with, or the uneasy feeling she has that the director of The Body Institute is hiding something. Still, it’s all worth it in the name of science. Until the glitches start…

Suddenly, residual memories from her Loaner are cropping up in Morgan’s mind. She’s feeling less like herself and more like someone else. And when protests from an anti–Body Institute organization threaten her safety, she’ll have to decide if being a Reducer is worth the cost of her body and soul… 

Review: 3 ½ out of 5 stars

I have been really excited about reading The Body Institute, I find the premise to be fascinating and I adore everything that Entangled Teen usually publishes.

Carol Riggs has written an entertaining, original dystopian that has a premise unique amongst others in the genre, and despite the world itself needing additional back-story, the overall book was quite thought provoking.

Seventeen year-old Morgan Dey is new to The Body Institute, a place where she is able to put her own body on hold, enter another girls body, assist her in losing weight and getting into shape – within a certain time frame and return to her old body with her own brain map as it was when she left it but all memories she had in her loaner body will no longer exist.

The Body Institute explores themes of self-image and identity, the concept is creative and really gets you to thinking about the ethical issues which is truly bought to light by a radical group who fiercely oppose what the institute does.

The plot is fast paced and has a sweet romance that doesn’t overtake the story-line; the world is one where people are taxed for being overweight and shamed  for the way they look; it was unsettling but at the same time also quite realistic.

The characters were written well, Morgan was likeable, she could be shallow at times but it made sense why; she was noble in that she was helping her family to pay off her grandfather’s debt so they wouldn’t have to move to a lower level zone. Vonn was also a great character but I would have liked to have known a little more about him. Grandpa seemed to be the only voice of reason; it was difficult at times to hear what he thought about Morgan and what she was doing.

I really enjoyed Carol Riggs detailed writing, I couldn’t put this book down. There were a number of twists I wasn’t expecting and a huge one in particular that was upsetting; I kept thinking the rich people had paid off the institute and what happened wasn’t actually true - a little vague but it was my wishful thinking.

Thank you to Entangled Teen via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review The Body Institute.

At this time, there doesn’t appear to be a sequel but with the way things left off I’m sure it could be a possibility.



Carol  RiggsAbout the author (Goodreads): I'm a YA (Young Adult) writer, experimenting lately with MG (Middle Grade), which means I write books for tweens, teens, and adults. My sci-fi debut novel THE BODY INSTITUTE explores themes of body image and identity. I live in the beautiful, green state of Oregon and have a Studio Arts degree; I'm an SCBWI member. 

You'll usually find me in my writing cave, surrounded by my dragon collection and the characters in my head. I also enjoy reading--mostly young adult novels--as well as drawing, painting, and quilting. I also attend writing conferences, walk with my husband, and enjoy music and dance of all kinds. 

Find me on Facebook here:https://www.facebook.com/CarolRiggsAu... 
Tweet with me on Twitter. @Artzicarol:https://twitter.com/artzicarol 
Email me! carolriggsauthor [at] gmail [dot] com

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Review: The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

The Scorpion RulesThe Scorpion Rules

Author: Erin Bow
Series: -
Pages: 384
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry
Release date: 22nd September 2015
Source: Edelweiss

Synopsis (Goodreads): A world battered by climate shift and war turns to an ancient method of keeping peace: the exchange of hostages. The Children of Peace - sons and daughters of kings and presidents and generals - are raised together in small, isolated schools called Prefectures. There, they learn history and political theory, and are taught to gracefully accept what may well be their fate: to die if their countries declare war.

Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan-Polar Confederation, is the pride of the North American Prefecture. Learned and disciplined, Greta is proud of her role in keeping the global peace — even though, with her country controlling two-thirds of the world’s most war-worthy resource — water — she has little chance of reaching adulthood alive. 

Enter Elián Palnik, the Prefecture’s newest hostage and biggest problem. Greta’s world begins to tilt the moment she sees Elián dragged into the school in chains. The Prefecture’s insidious surveillance, its small punishments and rewards, can make no dent in Elián, who is not interested in dignity and tradition, and doesn’t even accept the right of the UN to keep hostages. 

What will happen to Elián and Greta as their two nations inch closer to war?

Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This book started out so slowly for me so it was almost a DNF but I am really pleased I persisted because I found the concept to be interesting and unique amongst other books in the genre at the moment.

Premise: Artificial intelligence (AI), Talis keeps order among mankind's opposing countries – with the first rule of stopping war by making it personal.
The children of the world leaders are held in Preceptures until they are eighteen years old or until their parents declare war.

Characters: The main character is Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederacy; a kind, responsible and considerate character she was stoic and selfless. The newest hostage to the Precepture was Elián Palnik who is sarcastic with a hot temper; we also meet a number of other secondary characters, who all play a pivotal part in the overall story such as Xie, Elias and Da-Xia. Talis was also wonderfully characterised.

World & plot – The plot is intricate and full of surprise twists but could also be quite confusing at times, I could never quite guess what was going on. The world we are introduced to was well constructed, environmental changes and war has forced leaders in to an ancient method of keeping peace through hostage transfers and we learn a lot about the tyrannical system under Talis’s reign in this futuristic world, I got more of a sci-fi political feel rather than dystopian with this title.

Writing – Wonderful! Erin Bow’s writing style is masterful and enjoyable; I was hooked on every word of this powerful, terrifying, dark and gritty story. The Scorpion Rules was a thought provoking read.

Thank you to Margaret K. McElderry books via Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow.

 


Erin BowAbout the author: TEN THINGS ABOUT ME: 

1. I'm a physicist turned poet turned YA novelist.

2. I am world-famous in Canada, which is kind of like being world-famous in real life. 

3. I wrote a book about Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederacy: THE SCORPION RULES, coming fall 2015 from Simon and Schuster. 

4. I wrote a not-at-all-cute book with a talking cat in it: PLAIN KATE (called WOOD ANGEL n the UK), Fall 2010

5. I wrote a book about cat's cradles that can repel spirit zombies: SORROW'S KNOT, Fall 2013

6. All these books will make you either cry on the bus or snort milk out your nose. I am dangerous to your dignity and should be stopped. 

7. I think Hufflepuff is the best house, Xander was the best Scoobie, Five was the best Doctor, and Spock was the best everything.

8. I am married to another novelist, and we can actually pay our bills. 

9. My daughters want to be scientists. 

10. My bookshelves will always be full.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Review: What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

What We SawWhat We Saw

Author: Aaron Hartzler
Series: -
Pages: 336
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: 22nd September 2015

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Read an excerpt from WHAT WE SAW for free in the Publisher's Marketplace 2015 Fall/Winter YA Buzz Books Collection. 

Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids.

But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed?

This story—inspired by real events—from debut novelist Aaron Hartzler takes an unflinching look at silence as a form of complicity. It’s a book about the high stakes of speaking up, and the razor thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

What We Saw is the sort of haunting mystery I enjoy, a suspense where you never quite know what has happened or in which direction the book will go. It is also inspired by real life events which is all the more tragic because it is something that happens seemingly all too often.

It all started at a party held by a popular athlete named John Doone; our narrator is Kate Weston who attended but left at an early hour without knowing the details of what went on until people started to gossip and images emerged on social media the next day of a girl named Stacey passed out on another athletes shoulder – she didn’t seem alert but because of her reputation things were overlooked by the party-goers but then charges were pressed against four boys at the party and things became quite serious for everyone involved.

Kate’s reaction to these events were realistically portrayed, anger – confusion – denial. Her best friend now boyfriend is Ben Cody, a character I quite liked but also someone who I was never quite sure whether could be trusted or not, I found Ben and Kate’s relationship to be interesting and I wasn’t completely sold on the outcome of it all.

The setting is a small town and the repercussions of this event weren’t as I would expect, the guys involved were considered heroes because of their sporting status and the girl slutty because of the way she was dressed and her social standing; this is a book that should be in libraries, the message is powerful and the main character strong in her thoughts and convictions, I admired her for her courage.

What We Saw is an intriguing book about small town politics, choices, consequences and the aftermath of a traumatic event, it is wonderfully written and a great debut for author Aaron Hartzler.



Aaron HartzlerAbout the author: Aaron Hartzler is the author of Rapture Practice (Little, Brown), a memoir about getting kicked out of his Christian high school two weeks before graduation. The New York Times called Rapture Practice "effervescent and moving, evocative and tender." It was also named one of Kirkus Reviews and Amazon's Best Books of 2013, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. His next book, a novel called What We Saw, will be published by HarperTeen on September 22, 2015. It's the story of a girl named Kate whose friend is assaulted by student athletes at a party, and how Kate navigates small town politics to find out what really happened. Aaron lives by the beach in Santa Monica with his two dogs, Charlie and Brahms. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook. 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Review: The Veil (Devil’s Isle #1) by Chloe Neill

The Veil (Devil's Isle, #1)The Veil

Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Devil’s Isle
Pages: 336
Publisher: NAL Trade

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Seven years ago, the Veil that separates humanity from what lies beyond was torn apart, and New Orleans was engulfed in a supernatural war. Now, those with paranormal powers have been confined in a walled community that humans call the District. Those who live there call it Devil's Isle.

Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows that revealing her skills would mean being confined to Devil’s Isle. Unfortunately, hiding her power has left her untrained and unfocused.

Liam Quinn knows from experience that magic makes monsters of the weak, and he has no time for a Sensitive with no control of her own strength. But when he sees Claire using her powers to save a human under attack—in full view of the French Quarter—Liam decides to bring her to Devil’s Isle and the teacher she needs, even though getting her out of his way isn’t the same as keeping her out of his head.

But when the Veil threatens to shatter completely, Claire and Liam must work together to stop it, or else New Orleans will burn…
 

Review: 3 ½ out of 5 stars

I am such a huge Chloe Neill fan so I was super excited when I found out she was writing a new UF series; The Veil is the first book in the Devil’s Isle series.

This book started off slowly for me, there was a lot of information to take in and I must admit I almost gave up and started on something else but I am really pleased that I persisted because it ended up being creative an unique with a great cast of well-written characters and an interesting premise.

Our MC is Claire Connolly, she runs a store in NOLA and lives with a dangerous secret: she’s what is known as a Sensitive, a human gifted with magic. The Veil is like a magical barrier that separates the human and the paranormal worlds. Claire knows that revealing her ability would mean being sent off to Devil’s Isle so she needs to learn how to control it before she is found out. 

The world-building is developed extremely well and we are given detailed history about what had happened for things to now be as they are. The Veil that separates humans from the supernatural that lie beyond was torn apart which led to war; now anyone with magical powers are confined in a enclosed community that humans call the District but is otherwise known as Devil’s Isle; the magical aspect was also explained well and was quite imaginative.

As I mentioned the pacing at the beginning was extremely slow for me but it did pick up and became quite exciting; the plot was interesting and quite action-packed and intense; I am excited to see how it all progresses in the next book.

I found all of the characters to be likeable, Claire was kind-hearted, intelligent, resilient and fiercely independent, having recently lost her father she was more or less alone except for her close friends Gunnar and Tadji; we are also introduced to the mysterious and smexy Liam Quinn, a bounty hunter who had me questioning his loyalty throughout so I can’t wait to see how their relationship progresses; we get some strong chemistry but it doesn’t progress much to my disappointment. We are also introduced to the perfect villain, one I couldn’t help but despise.

Chloe Neill’s writing is wonderfully engaging and the world and NOLA setting that we are introduced to was mesmerising. With a fabulous cast of characters, world-building that goes above and beyond and unique magical aspect I am more than eager to read the next book in the Devil’s Isle series.

Overall, The Veil is filled with intense moments, a surprise betrayal, diverse paranormal beings and a satisfying conclusion. It is certainly different to Neill's Chicagoland Vampire series which I appreciated. 



About the author: Chloe Neill is the New York Times bestselling author of the Chicagoland Vampires Novels, the Devil's Isle Novels, and a YA series, the Dark Elite. Chloe was born and raised in the South, but now makes her home in the Midwest. When she's not writing, she bakes, works, and scours the Internet for good recipes and great graphic design. Chloe also maintains her sanity by spending time with her boys--her husband and their dogs, Baxter and Scout.

Connect with Chloe Neill at www.chloeneill.com

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Review: Blood will Tell (Warriors of Ankh #1) by Samantha Young

Blood Will Tell (Warriors of Ankh, #1)Blood will Tell

Author: Samantha Young
Series: Warriors of Ankh
Pages: 273
Publisher: CreateSpace

Synopsis (Goodreads) What would you do if you were born to be a predator? Would you fight your natural instincts or give in to your nature? 

Eden is a soul eater closing in on her awakening. Her family has convinced her that soon she will have to take a life in order to save her own. It’s a decision Eden doesn’t want to deal with even as her hunger for souls grows stronger every day.

To complicate her impossible position, new guy in school Noah Valois’ determination to befriend her puts Eden in touch with a humanity she’s never known. Addicted to his company, his friendship and affection, she becomes more and more terrified that giving into her hunger will mean losing him forever…

… But when she discovers that Noah is not what he seems, his betrayal forces her to face two choices. One will offer her revenge and the destruction of a boy she loved. The other may offer her a life of eternal redemption…

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

I have been in a reading slump for a little while so I have decided to read a few series that have been on my tbr pile for some time but I have continually put-off to read review titles and it has been the best thing for me.

I have previously read a YA series by Samantha Young and really enjoyed it so when I stumbled across her Warriors of Ankh series on Amazon, I instantly downloaded it and then devoured it!

Book 1 is Blood will Tell and follows seventeen year-old Eden Winslow, a soul-eater or Blessed who is coming closer to her awakening where the hunger will become too much and she will need to feed and give in to her dark impulses but she is different to the other members of her family, she is repulsed by what they do and how far they take things – she was torn by accepting her heritage or holding on to her humanity. Eden was such a great character, snarky but compassionate, I felt sorry for the way she had to live; her only saviour in her household seeming to be her older brother Stellan.

Eden’s only friend at school is newcomer Noah Valois, you can tell from the onset there is something going on with Noah and it was revealed early on in the book thank goodness – he has been tasked with keeping watch over Eden and reporting back on changes, he is from a group born to hunt soul-eaters called the Ankh – Immortal warriors so it was great to see their interactions and watch their friendship develop despite the initial mistrust.

We meet some interesting side characters, Stellan was sweet but I couldn’t quite gather whether or not he could be trusted or not; Teagan was a complete creep! I felt some of the side characters were lacking in development but as it is the first book in the series, I wasn’t completely bothered by this. It helped that they were all interesting and made me want to know them more.

Samantha Young’s writing is wonderfully engaging, the Egyptian mythology was done extremely well and was unique; she has created a world that is dark and brutal – there were quite a few graphic scenes. The plot was action-packed; there was never a dull moment, I am really eager to see how she further develops this intriguing world.

Overall, Blood will Tell has betrayal, redemption, interesting mythology and a cast of fascinating characters; it’s a book that grabs your attention from the first page and holds it; I have already downloaded book 2 in the series and can’t wait to read it.



Samantha YoungAbout the author: Samantha Young is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author from Stirlingshire, Scotland. She's been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for her international bestseller ON DUBLIN STREET and Best Romance 2014 for BEFORE JAMAICA LANE. ON DUBLIN STREET is Samantha's first adult contemporary romance series and has sold in twenty-eight countries.

Visit www.authorsamanthayoung.com for more information.