Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Review: Olivia Decoded (Olivia Twisted #2) by Vivi Barnes

Olivia Decoded (Olivia Twisted, #2)Author: Vivi Barnes
Series: Olivia Twisted
Publisher / Source: Entangled Teen
Release date: 6th September 2016
Pages: 320

Synopsis (Goodreads)

This isn’t my Jack, who once looked at me like I was his world. The guy who’s occupied the better part of my mind for eight months.

This is Z, criminal hacker with a twisted agenda and an arsenal full of anger.

I’ve spent the past year trying to get my life on track. New school. New friends. New attitude. But old flames die hard, and one look at Jack—the hacker who enlisted me into his life and his hacking ring, stole my heart, and then left me—and every memory, every moment, every feeling comes rushing back. But Jack’s not the only one who’s resurfaced in my life. And if I can’t break through Z’s defenses and reach the old Jack, someone will get hurt…or worse.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

I was quite intrigued by the Olivia Decoded blurb so I was eager to read it, unknowing that it was the second book in this series (oops). I never at any time felt confused or lost as enough background information was given to fill in the blanks.

After the events that took place in the first book, Olivia is now living with her grandfather, attending a private school and living a life of privilege; she has left her old foster family life behind – including Jack ‘Z’ but when she starts to receive gifts that include expensive jewellery, she starts to question the sender and whether Jack and her past has returned.

Jack is a criminal hacker along with a foster family of teens that are trying to keep a low profile and start afresh but he isn’t finding the change easy, especially without Liv but he easily slots back into her life despite their differences to help her find her mysterious stalker, especially when clues start to point his way.

The characters were great, Olivia is a determined and resilient young woman whose computer skills and her desire to find a place where she fits in make her seem vulnerable, her inner monologue was quite sad. Jack was a conflicted character, he has suffered loss and can’t see a life away from hacking despite his potential; I enjoyed their interactions and the way that they complimented one another.

This book was light on the hacking and romance and focused on the mystery surrounding the cryptic gifts, roses and events surrounding Liv; to be honest I was completely clueless about who was behind it all and in the end I was wrong in my guesses.

The book is very well written, I was glued to the pages right from the beginning; I was engrossed in the story-line and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the characters. I will definitely be reading more books by Viv Barnes.


Thank you to Entangled Teen via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review Olivia Decoded.


Vivi BarnesAbout the author: Vivi Barnes was raised on a farm in East Texas where her theater-loving mom and cowboy dad gave her a unique perspective on life. Now living in the magic and sunshine of Orlando, Florida, she divides her time writing, working, goofing off with her husband and three kids, and avoiding dirty dishes.

Find her on her blogs: http://vivibarnes.com/ and http://4chicks.wordpress.com/

Find her on twitter: https://twitter.com/ViviBarnes

Find her on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/vivibarnes.au...

Check out http://www.oliviatwisted.com/ for the Olivia Twisted official trailer!

Friday, 2 September 2016

Review: Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton

Diplomatic ImmunityDiplomatic Immunity

Author: Brodi Ashton
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Release date: 6th September 2016
Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Aspiring reporter Piper Baird decides to write a scathing exposé on the overprivileged students at an elite Washington, DC, school, only for her life to change when she begins to fall for the story's main subject, in this new realistic contemporary romance from Brodi Ashton, the author of the Everneath trilogy.

Raucous parties, privileged attitudes, underage drinking, and diplomatic immunity...it’s all part of student life on Embassy Row.

Piper Baird has always dreamed of becoming a journalist. So when she scores a scholarship to exclusive Chiswick Academy in Washington, DC, she knows it’s her big opportunity. Chiswick offers the country’s most competitive prize for teen journalists—the Bennington scholarship—and winning will ensure her acceptance to one of the best schools in the country.

Piper isn’t at Chiswick for two days before she witnesses the intense competition in the journalism program—and the extreme privilege of the young and wealthy elite who attend her school. And Piper knows access to these untouchable students just might give her the edge she’ll need to blow the lid off life at the school in a scathing and unforgettable exposé worthy of the Bennington.

The key to the whole story lies with Rafael Amador, the son of the Spanish ambassador—and the boy at the center of the most explosive secrets and scandals on Embassy Row. Rafael is big trouble—and when he drops into her bedroom window one night, asking for help, it’s Piper’s chance to get the full scoop. But as they spend time together, Piper discovers that despite his dark streak, Rafael is smart, kind, funny, and gorgeous—and she might have real feelings for him. How can she break the story of a lifetime if it could destroy the boy she just might love?

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

I’m still unsure how I completely feel about this book, I fell for the interesting synopsis but there were aspects in it that I didn’t fully connect with at all.

Our MC is Piper Baird who has earned a scholarship to the exclusive Chiswick Academy in Washington with an opportunity to compete for the Bennington journalism prize which will ensure her receiving an offer to one of the best schools in the country. She is willing to do anything it takes to win, including writing a piece exposing her wealthy classmates.

Piper is a character that needs to grow on you, she is a little too self-absorbed yet focused, passionate and driven but also blind to the fact that she’d be hurting others, especially Rafael Amador, the son of the Spanish ambassador and the boy at the centre of the scandals.

Rafael was an interesting character, I quite liked him but I couldn’t work out his motivations when it came to Piper. He was smart, intelligent and funny and I enjoyed getting to know him.

One of the main things that I didn’t like in this book were the stereotypes, rich kids versus the poor and of course the diplomatic immunity in which the privileged were exempt from certain laws. You could tell from the onset the dramas that would arise from Pipers investigations, I honestly couldn’t see how things would work out in her favour.

There is a small amount of romance, it certainly wasn’t at the forefront of the story and for me it wasn’t believable, it felt forced and they weren’t a couple I completely loved together.

This book was well written and kept me interested but I didn’t completely love it, that may be because of the MC or me wanting more from the storyline overall.

Thank you to Balzer and Bray via Edelweiss for the opportunity to read Diplomatic Immunity.


Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Review: Dreamology by Lucy Keating

DreamologyDreamology

Publisher: Harper
Author: Lucy Keating
Release date: 12/04/2016
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 336

Synopsis: Goodreads

For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist.

But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. It turns out, though, that Real Max is nothing like Dream Max, and getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.

When their dreams start to bleed dangerously into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

What initially drew me to Dreamology was the wonderful premise, it sounded quite unique.

Dreamology is about sixteen year-old Alice who has been dreaming about a boy named Max for as long as she can remember; but that’s all he has ever been – a dream; that is until she starts at a new school and discovers Max is in fact very real but the boy of her dreams is nothing at all like she expected.

Alice was a nice enough character, sweet and imaginative but she put herself out there for embarrassment a little too much, she was overly eager. Max was an ass at the beginning of the book, but he did grow on me as the story progressed.

The plot is character driven and is what let it down for me, there were many sweet, cute and light-hearted moments but I felt that any conflict that arose was solved too easily. Despite the dream sequences being quite interesting, I still don't fully understand the explanation and how Alice and Max ended up being in each other’s' dreams. I wish this aspect could have been explored further.

I really enjoyed Lucy Keating’s writing style, some of the chapters were Alice's dream sequences which I quite enjoyed. It was a light and easy read with an entertaining storyline that kept the pace moving at a steady pace.

The side characters were all quirky and likeable, I thought Oliver and Sophie were great friends to Alice. Alice’s slobbering puppy Jerry was great!

Overall, Dreamology was an interesting, imaginative and entertaining contemporary YA romance. If you are after a quick and easy read, I recommend this book.

Thank you to HarperTeen via Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review Dreamology.



Lucy KeatingAbout the author: Lucy lives in Los Angeles, California. She grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, attended Williams College in the Berkshires, and still misses the East Coast very much. 

When she's not writing, Lucy can usually be found obsessing over the latest music, inventing new flavors of ice cream, or having what she feels are perfectly acceptable conversations with her dog, Ernie.

You can follow Lucy on Instagram @lucy.keating, and Ernie The Dog @ernsboberns
 

Monday, 15 August 2016

Review: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor, #1)The Thousandth Floor

Author: Katharine McGee
Release date: 30/08/2016
Publisher/Source: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult / SciFi

Synopsis (Goodreads) New York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.


A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall….

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

I almost didn’t finish reading The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee, I was fascinated by the futuristic premise but I found the start confusing and with it being told from so many POV’s, I couldn’t initially connect with any of them.

The Thousandth Floor is set in the year 2118 in a high tech NY City tower, the higher up in the tower that you live then the richer you are; the lower the level the poorer.

At the beginning of the book, someone falls from the thousandth floor, throughout the book we try to determine who it is or who we’d want it to be, I certainly tried to guess but I guessed completely wrong. We meet everyone two months prior to this event.

The characters:

Each of the characters were interesting but none of them really wowed me and I wasn’t fully invested. What I did enjoy is how they were all connected in one way or another.

We meet Avery Fuller who lives on the highest level with her parents, her brother is Atlas and she was genetically created to be perfect. I couldn’t quite figure her out but I was most curious about her life.

Rylin Myer is a character I felt for, taking on numerous jobs to take care of her sister after the death of her mother; she takes up an opportunity to work on a higher floor but doesn’t realise how it will change her life. She was an interesting character.

Eris Dodd-Radson is a fascinating character and Avery’s oldest friend; we see her life slowly spiral out of control as the book progresses.

Watt Bakradi is intelligent and a great hacker, he is secretive and for good reason.

Leda Cole is Avery’s best friend and is fresh out of rehab for being addicted to drugs, she has many secrets that she holds close to her chest. She was my least favourite character.

Setting / World-building / Plot:

The tower was a unique setting and I enjoyed learning about how it all came to be. We aren’t inundated with a lot of information but there are aspects that could be further explored.

The futuristic aspect is one that I appreciated, with all of the advanced technology explanations and advancements, I thought that it was written well. It’s a vast and intriguing world and showed what wealth depending on the tower level could afford.

I liked the mystery aspect, the ongoing drama and the complex relationships between the characters; learning about their lives, their secrets and their families was entertaining and kept me wanting to know more. I especially curious to learn about who had fallen at the beginning of the book.

Overall:

As I mentioned, I almost didn’t continue this book; I found the pacing at the beginning to be slow and there were too many character POV’s for me but as I continued each stood out for themselves and I became intrigued by the mystery within the tower.

Katharine McGee’s writing is gripping and the overall story is mysterious and engaging. The Thousandth Floor is a nice debut.


Thank you to HarperTeen via Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review The Thousandth Floor.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Review: The Epidemic (The Program 0.6) by Suzanne Young

The Epidemic (The Program, #0.6)The Epidemic

Author: Suzanne Young
Pages: 384
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Series: The Program 0.6
Release date: 19 April 2016

Synopsis: Can one girl help others find closure by slipping into the identities of their loved ones? Find out in this riveting sequel to The Remedy and companion to New York Times bestselling The Treatment and The Program. 

In a world before The Program…

Quinlan McKee has spent her life acting as other people. She was a closer—a person hired to play the role of the recently deceased in order to give their families closure. Through this process, Quinn learned to read people and situations, even losing a bit of herself to do so. But she couldn’t have guessed how her last case would bring down her entire world.

The only person Quinn trusts is Deacon, her best friend and the love of her life. Except Deacon’s been keeping secrets of his one, so Quinn must set out alone to find Arthur Pritchard, the doctor who’s been trying to control her life. The journey brings Quinn to Arthur’s daughter, Virginia, who tells Quinn the truth about Pritchard’s motives. The former closer will start to see that she is the first step in fighting an epidemic.

But Quinlan doesn’t want to be a cure. And with all the lies surrounding her, she realizes she has no one left to rely on but herself—even if she doesn’t know who that is anymore.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

Contains possible spoilers from The Remedy.

The Epidemic is the sequel to The Remedy and companion to The Treatment and The Program.

The Epidemic begins where The Remedy left off. Quinlan McKee has spent her life as a Closer – a stand-in as other people, she takes on the short-term role of a deceased loved one to give them their final closure. The premise is always one that has intrigued me and in The Remedy Quinn finds out something that completely shocked her, her life has been a lie – her journey throughout this book showed of her pain but also her immense strength.

Deacon is the only person Quinn can trust – or can she, he’s been keeping secrets of his own, so she must set out alone to find Arthur Pritchard, a doctor who’s been attempting to control her life and the man who erased her memories. Quinn ends up meeting Arthur’s daughter, Virginia, who is definitely nothing like her father and is just as much a pawn in his plan as what Quinlan has been, she learns that she may be the first step in fighting an epidemic.

The plot is engrossing and flows at a steady pace, we are taken on an exciting journey as Quinn and Deacon as well as other closers try to find out the mystery behind some surprising teenage deaths and how it is all linked to Quinlan and Pritchard.

I have adored Quinn and Deacon together but I really questioned his loyalty and motives in this book, he wasn’t as forthcoming as what he should have been and it drove me crazy! Despite this, I still think he is a great love interest and support to her.

The Epidemic is a book about self-discovery, I have enjoyed every moment and each of the side characters who all play a pivotal role in the overall story. Arthur Pritchard is a character I despise, he is truly the perfect villain.

Overall, The Epidemic is a creative YA novel that explored difficult themes of emotions and identity. The characters are each wonderful, the romance is enjoyable although I was questioning it at one stage and the intricate plot keeps me entertained – I highly recommend this series.

Thank you to Simon Pulse via Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review The Epidemic by Suzanne Young.


Suzanne YoungAbout the author

Suzanne Young is the New York Times bestselling author of The Program, The Treatment, and several other novels. She currently lives in Tempe, Arizona where she teaches high school English and obsesses about books. Learn more about Suzanne at www.suzanne-young.blogspot.com

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Review: Torn (A Wicked Saga #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Torn (A Wicked Saga, #2)Torn

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: A Wicked Saga
Publisher: JLA
Release date: 19th July 2016
Pages: 299
Source: Amazon

Synopsis. (Goodreads)

Torn between duty and survival, nothing can be the same. 

Everything Ivy Morgan thought she knew has been turned on its head. After being betrayed and then nearly killed by the Prince of the Fae, she’s left bruised and devastated—and with an earth-shattering secret that she must keep at all costs. And if the Order finds out her secret, they’ll kill her. 

Then there’s Ren Owens, the sexy, tattooed Elite member of the Order who has been sharing Ivy’s bed and claiming her heart. Their chemistry is smoking hot, but Ivy knows that Ren has always valued his duty to the Order above all else—he could never touch her if he knew the truth. That is, if he let her live at all. Yet how can she live with herself if she lies to him? 

But as the Fae Prince begins to close in, intent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld, Ivy is running out of options. If she doesn’t figure out who she can trust—and fast—it’s not only her heart that will be torn apart, but civilization itself.

Review: 4 ½ out of 5 stars

Contains possible spoilers from the first book

I have been really looking forward to reading Torn despite not completely loving the first book, Wicked; it was the first book by JLA that I didn’t completely love but the sequel was all sorts of wonderful.

This book is a continuation of Wicked, so they should be read in order so that you know who is who and what is going on.

At the beginning of this book Ivy Morgan is recovering from being betrayed by her best friend and fellow order member Val and almost killed by the Prince of the Fae. After finding out what she is, she doesn’t know who she can trust but she does know that she needs to prevent the fae prince from creating an apocalypse baby with the Halfling and opening the gates to the otherworld.

Ren is Ivy’s newish boyfriend and part of the Order’s Elite, he is committed to his job and despises the fae so Ivy is petrified that he’ll want nothing to do with her once he finds out what she is. Ivy and Ren are both amazing! I loved their chemistry and their banter; you couldn’t help but hope for happiness for both of them after everything that they have been through, I felt they both grew as characters from the first book.

The Prince of Fae is the type of villain you love to hate, emotionless, powerful and cruel he is intent on opening the gate to the otherworld and will do it by any means necessary. His treatment of Ivy was harsh but she stayed strong despite what he put her through.

Many secrets were revealed which had me shocked! Everything that Ivy thought she knew about the Order and the fae has been wrong so it was great learning the truth as she did.

The biggest surprise in Torn was Tink! Oh my gosh, I adored him; he definitely brings the humor to the story and I loved his big reveal and the way he looks out for Ivy, their friendship has really grown.

JLA’s books have been more miss than hit for me lately but this was very well written and wasn’t filled with trademark snark which at time does become too much, this had the perfect blend of everything that I have always adored about her books.

My only gripe was the wait between books, I know that this is sometimes out of the authors control but I originally read Wicked in 2014 so I had forgotten a lot of what had happened, JLA did a great job of rehashing everything but it is hard to keep up with such a long break in between books.

Overall, Torn had a great blend of romance, mystery and wit; it’s a thoroughly entertaining NA Paranormal and I am excited for the next book in the series Brave which has an anticipated 2017 release date.



Jennifer L. ArmentroutAbout the author: # 1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout Lives in West Virginia. 

All the rumors you heard about her state aren’t true. 

Well, mostly. When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write.

She is the author of the Covenant Series (Spencer Hill Press), the Lux Series (Entangled Teen), Don't Look Back (Disney/Hyperion) and a yet untitled novel (Disney/Hyperion), and new YA paranormal series with Harlequin Teen. 

Jennifer also writes New Adult and Adult romance under the pen name J. Lynn. The Gamble Brothers Series (Tempting the Best Man/Tempting the Player) and Wait for You. Under her pen name, she is published with Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.