Friday, July 26, 2013

School Spirits: Review

Author: Rachel Hawkins
ISBN:  1423148495
Release Date: May 14th 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Book Source: Netgalley

Buy From: Amazon - Barnes & Noble

Goodreads Synopsis:

Fifteen-year-old Izzy Brannick was trained to fight monsters. For centuries, her family has hunted magical creatures. But when Izzy’s older sister vanishes without a trace while on a job, Izzy's mom decides they need to take a break.

Izzy and her mom move to a new town, but they soon discover it’s not as normal as it appears. A series of hauntings has been plaguing the local high school, and Izzy is determined to prove her worth and investigate. But assuming the guise of an average teenager is easier said than done. For a tough girl who's always been on her own, it’s strange to suddenly make friends and maybe even have a crush.

Can Izzy trust her new friends to help find the secret behind the hauntings before more people get hurt?

Review:

The second I was done with The 'Hex Hall' series I had to start up on School Spirits. I had it for review way beforehand, but for some reason it never really occurred to me to read it until, well, I got Hex Hall. But I did love the idea, and was wondering whether it can be treated as a standalone book or not. I think it definitely works as a standalone book - aside from some rare references to the Hex Hall series and Sophie.

Izzy's sister is missing, and Izzy's been out of it since then. So her mother decides she needs a simple mission this time around, a minor ghost haunting to take care of, no big deal. The problem with that is, it requires Izzy to go to school - something she's never done before - and try to fit in whilst taking care of the ghost issue. Before she knows it, she's friends with a group of misfits who believe in the supernatural and are searching for the ghost as well. They have these gadgets - which Izzy finds ridiculous - but it's the most fun she'd ever had. The thing is, one of those friends, Dex, is supernatural, she can sense it, she just doesn't have a clue what. To make matters worse, the ghost is acting a little bit difficult.

After reading Hex Hall from Sophie's point of view, this book was definitely new and different, since it tells the story from a Brannick's point of view, a.k.a a supernatural being's hunter instead of a supernatural being. Izzy is this very new and complex character. Hating most supernatural creatures, but having to tolerate them since her cousin is one. She's obviously more in terms with what her cousin is now, that doesn't mean she's very happy with the whole thing. Then the added part of blaming herself for her sister's disappearance and the uncertainty of starting a new life in school. It was all new to her, and I loved the way she adapted to things.

Rachel Hawkins' writing is incredible. It has this very funny way about it that you can't help but laugh your way through the book. But also, when things get bad, the writing switches to increasingly intense and I enjoyed the interesting ride between the books in the first series, which led me to this series obviously and having so many high expectations. Writing-wise, and character-wise, this book did not disappoint, it was as incredible as I had expected.

When I first started reading this book, I hoped it would shed some light on the relationship between Izzy and Torin - the warlock in the mirror from the Hex Hall series. I don't think it explained as much as I had wanted, which really disappointed me. I wanted more on Torin's story and his odd relationship with Izzy. I guess maybe in time - had this book turned into the series it should have been - it might have been cleared up. Other problems arising from the fact that this book is NOT a series are: The relationship between Izzy and Dex, where is that going? The second one is the major plot line, and so yes, I'm a pile of frustration at the moment. Is there any way to get another book out of this series? It's so bad to have it end right where it started!

Rating: 4/5!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Feature & Follow #12



The Feature & Follow is hosted by two hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Click here to read the rules and join in the follows!Hey guys so it's Feature & Follow time!





Q:Where is the best destination reading spot for you (where do you like to go to read other than your home.)?



The beach.

I really really love reading on the beach. It was one of the great perks of living across from it, I could always go to the beach whenever I feel cranky or just need a break and chill with nature.




Book tour stop: Review of True Connection


Author: Rachel Walter
ISBN13: 9780615849768
Release Date: July 15th 2013
Publisher: Independent
Book Source: Tour Host

Buy From: Amazon - Smashwords

Synopsis:

'It's going to take a fight, I know that. But it's more than just a fight for my life. It's a fight for my soul and my soul mate.'
Jazzy Williams is not your average coffee-loving teen. She's struggling with her grief, her famous uncle’s fans, an overprotective big brother, and a depressed mother, all while trying to make friends at her new school. In the first week, she meets a gorgeous green-eyed hottie who turns out to be more than just some high school crush - he's more than human. And she unknowingly enrages a very dangerous breed of immortal who wants her soul or life as payment. With the help of supernatural friends and protectors, Jazzy thinks she's safe until what remains of her family is put in danger. Does Jazzy have what it takes to save her family, life, soul and soul mate, or will all be lost?

*Warning* Mature Content. This contains some profanity, mild sexual situations, innuendoes, and violence. Recommended for ages 17 and up, depending on maturity level.

Review:

When my friend told me about Rachel's book tour I jumped right in because I never really read anything for her before - whether it was just an article, a blog post, tour stop, anything. So it was very exciting getting to see a new side of her in writing. Because Tweets don't count okay?

To be honest, I didn't really read the synopsis before starting the book, I had no idea what it was talking about. I did love the cover though, and the title interested me. Then I read the first line of the book and dove right in.


"Two months, four days and twelve hours ago, my life was perfect, whole. But now? Now it's shattered and missing some important pieces."


See, naturally I was hooked. The book had a very ominous start to it, with a lot of hidden details that show up one by one as the story progresses, Jasmine -the protagonist - doesn't give it all away in the first chapter, she wants you to get to know her better before she spills the beans, which is exactly how the story is told, from Jasmine's point of view.

What really annoyed me about the story is how fast things seemed to happen. How quickly Jasmine became close friends with Seth and Skeeter, or how quickly she adapted to the change from being in the rival school of the one she's going to now, especially with how much she claimed she disliked said school. The fact that she admitted too quickly to both Seth and Skeeter her 'secrets' and Seth in turn admitting his, not to mention the fact that she didn't even take a day or two to think it over, she accepted it way too fast.

But I think after that admission, things started to look up and the story really headed in an interesting direction, although Jaz as a character did not sit well with me. I did love Seth though, he was pretty cool, and how worried he was about blowing things with Jaz was adorable. He was definitely a solid character and seemed wise and mature I guess. I also loved how over protective Henry was, and his relationship with Jaz. I don't think there's any chance of me ever having such a close relationship with my siblings, but it's great for Jaz, especially with all that they've been through with their family, you definitely need someone that completely understands.

Personally, I can't remember the last story I read on Greek Mythology and Gods. I remember a retelling of Theseus's story, but that was a while back. Naturally, Rachel implementing that supernatural element gave her extra points in my book, I love reading something new and this was definitely that. I enjoyed the nonchalant way Seth explained everything to Jasmine and the details Rachel added in the mix.

Anyhow, it was such fast paced, intriguing read.

Rating: 3/5



Giveaway:
US


International


Author's Bio:


Rachel lives in Central Pennsylvania, is a stay at home mom, has a wonderful husband, total of 4 kids, 3 of which are step kids. She’s a true Pittsburgh Penguins and Steelers fan. She’s an insomniac that loves coffee, Johnny Depp movies and bonfires, dislikes driving on the interstate, bugs of any kind, and a too quiet house. When she’s not playing with the people inside her head, making her family think she belongs in the loony bin or writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, finding new music, new books, helping someone or plotting something equally crazy with her Critique Partners.
Links:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Review: Invisible

Title: Invisible
Author: Marni Bates
ISBN:  0758269382
Publisher: Kensington Teen
Publishing Date: August 1st 2013
Buy Now: Amazon - B&N
Book Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Synopsis:


Jane Smith has survived three years of high school without making a single enemy, all by keeping a low profile. Not even her three best friends, Kenzie, Corey and Isobel, can say the same. But with Corey dating the lead singer from ReadySet and Kenzie in a relationship too, being invisible tends to be lonely. But now she's written an article for her school newspaper that has accidentally snagged the attention of some celebrities. Turns out, people get really upset when their innermost secrets are splashed all over the front page. And new her well-ordered life is being blasted to hell, with results that are wildly unexpected.



Review:

To be honest I have no idea if I like this book or the first one "Awkward" more. Which is actually very strange, since I expected to hate both of them based on their synopsis alone. I don't know why but the ideas felt strange. With Awkward, Kenzie gets famous for being a klutz who doesn't know CPR, I mean really? It sounded so lame. But Marni, for some reason managed to make it turn out great! I still don't think it was that convincing of an idea, but the story itself held its own with the characters and their development.  Now onto the second book with Kenzie's best friend Jane, you get to see how Kenzie's sudden fame affected the girl.

Jane is of the quiet type. She's nerdy, quirky, and okay with being invisible. That is, until her best friend  ends up famous and getting a lot of attention, not to mention her other best friend starts dating the lead singer in a band. She suddenly hates being invisible, hates being left out among her own friends, hates not being a part of their group again. But if there's one thing about Jane, it's that she doesn't handle confrontations, she keeps it in. She loves to write but can't bring up the courage to talk to her school newspaper teacher advisor to add a fiction page. She's also known as 'Grammar Girl'. Things change when she finally tries to speak up and ends up with the front page article to write for the school paper. To make things worse, she's forced to spend all her time with Scott, a photographer she had hoped to be friends with upon his arrival, only to find out he's a total jerk, and come up with the article together. To make things worse, one of the articles from her private notebook is used for the front page and she ends up in so much trouble with everyone, especially her best friends.

When I started reading the first page or two, I didn't feel like this was my kind of book. I did enjoy the first one, but something seemed off about this one. That opinion didn't last for long though, before the end of the chapter I was very interested in where the story was heading.

The characters in the story were a bit off at times, but the premise itself as well as the development of the story were great. I enjoyed Marni's writing very much, she's actually quite good. I didn't like Logan in this book, or Kenzie either. Hell, even Corey. Corey and Kenzie being Jane's best friends, I've seen more support on their part with Kenzie in Awkward, but they were very neglectful in this one, inattentive and neglectful. I mean, in book one when Jane was first invited to the ReadySet concert with her best friends, she was very excited about going, and had a blast there. So why on Earth would Corey assume she wouldn't want to go again and invite Kenzie's boyfriend Logan instead? Not to mention, I found it very cruel that he was talking about it all in front of Jane without attempting to invite her. Then there was the whole Logan thinking he should 'deal' with whatever problem Jane was having with Scott, when he only made everything worse for her with the guy. I mean, what right did he have to do that? Hell, he didn't  even bother to ask how she felt about the whole thing with Scott before interfering, it annoyed me.

So yeah, I enjoyed reading this book, it works as a very light summer read, I finished it in almost no time actually. I don't enjoy Marni's tendencies to limit down the good parts of the story. Like in book one with Kenzie's apology to Logan, which would have been the most interesting part of the book had it been prolonged, but it wasn't. Same goes with the ending of this book. But overall, a very entertaining read.

I don't think I'll be reading the next book in this series 'Notable'. I wasn't a big fan of Chelsea in the past two stories, and well, the premise of the third one does not sound the least bit appealing. Then again, maybe I'd be as surprised with it as I was with the first two books? I am not sure yet, we'll see once it's out.

Rating: 3/5.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Mini-Reviews #2

Hey guys! I've been super busy with writing and traveling, but I have had some time to read a couple of review books, so here goes my recent reads!



Author: Amy Andrews
ISBN:  0373207247
Release Date: 23rd July 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Kiss
Book Source: NetGalley

Buy From: Amazon - Barnes & Noble

Goodreads Synopsis:


Talk nerdy to me
Samuel Tucker is absolutely the last person scientist Cassie Barclay would ever date. Yes, he's gorgeous, but he's also far too cocky for his own good and thinks that Pi is a tasty afternoon treat. So when he asks her to dance at her friend Reese's non-wedding she's wondering why on earth she says yes!

Tuck is used to people assuming he's all brawn and no brain, and amuses himself by winding Cassie up. But when he finally takes her to bed, suddenly it's Tuck who can show Cassie a thing or two! Can he convince her that love and sex have nothing to do with logic and everything to do with chemistry?

Review:

When I first saw this book, I had no idea it was a sequel in a quartet. But the books do work as standalones so I didn't really feel confused or anything whilst reading it. I am not always fond of Harlequin KISS reads, but this one sounded really interesting, not to mention the title and cover in particular were very catchy.

The thing with this book is, I wasn't a big fan of Cassie. She annoyed me to no end, and I guess maybe it was the author's attempt at making her sound so intelligent and hard to love because she's brutally honest and not really the touchy-feely type. But that didn't make sense to me, because if she was that ignorant of feelings and didn't count them for anything, she wouldn't have remained friends with the girls in her group. None of them had anything in common with her, or were anywhere near how smart she was, so technically remaining friends with them would be considered as a waste of time for her. I hated how she over analyzed everything. What made me read on though, was Tuck. Tuck's character was very charismatic, a touch arrogant, but also ridiculously irresistible. Which made for a fun clash between him and the exceptionally messy Cassie. I enjoyed his amusement to all things Cassie, and his strange interest in her. He was also very romantic and his grand gestures were quite sigh-worthy. The sparks between them were very cute.

I enjoyed Amy's writing, it made for an easy and quick read, but I didn't like the development of Cassie's character. 

All in all, a fun summer read!

Rating: 2.5/5




Title: Runaway Groom
Author: Sally Clements 
ISBN: 1489530320
Release Date: July 7th 2013
Publisher:  CreateSpace
Book Source: NetGalley

Buy From: Amazon - Barnes & Noble

Goodreads Synopsis:


Seven years ago, Matthew Logan ran out on his wedding to June Leigh.

Life is good for fledgling dress-designer April Leigh. She couldn’t be happier that her sister has found a new love, and is excited about her very first commission, June’s wedding dress.
On learning June has invited runaway groom Matthew Logan to the wedding, April has to intervene. Matthew’s presence will ruin everything – her father hates him, and just the sight of him in the church might give her mother a heart attack.

Matthew Logan has no intention of going to June’s wedding, but intriguing April’s arrival on his doorstep sparks his interest and he can’t resist getting to know her better. When a disaster forces them together neither can deny the passion that combusts into a red-hot affair.

Discovering the truth about the past shifts April’s feelings from lust to love, but bitter experience has taught Matthew to guard his heart.

When it looks as though Matthew will lose her forever, will he fight or flee?


Review:

The second I saw this book I had to have it. I am not sure why, but I really wanted to read it ASAP. So I requested it, and the second I got approved, I started reading it straightaway. I am not sure if it's the fact that I'm really in a contemporary mood this summer, or it's the fact that the story idea itself was very intriguing, but I just had to read it and see how it goes.

The reason why this book interested me should be quite understandable. After all, it's about a runaway groom with whom the protagonist's sister feels such a connection that she invites him to her wedding to another man. How does that work? I had to read in order to understand what would drive a girl to invite the ex who walked out on her to her wedding. Was she trying to get back at him? Showing him how she's finally over him and doing better than she could have with him? Or was she trying to show him she was over it and no hard feelings, they can now be friends?

The problem is, I did have another problem with the characters just like with the other book 'Girl Least Likely To Marry'. They didn't feel real, or well developed anyway. I liked Matthew's character, though at times he annoyed me. And I hated April's complete faith in her sister to the extent that it's gone overboard, especially with how spoilt and inconsiderate June was to her.

But that could be easily ignored once you get into the mood of the book. It's such a quick flowing read,  I was done with it in mere hours.

Rating: 2.5/5.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Feature & Follow #11





The Feature & Follow is hosted by two hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Click here to read the rules and join in the follows!Hey guys so it's Feature & Follow time! 






Q:Today's the US Independence Day. Share your favourite book with a war in it, or an overthrow of the government.



Wow, this is just a hard choice really. I had so many books lined out, but I had to give the precedence to "Goodnight Mr. Tom" by Michelle Magorian. This book was so amazing, and moving, it had me on an emotional roller-coaster. I've reread it so many times after that, but it never fails to make me cry. I love it!

Goodnight Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian

Synopsis:

The gruff and surly Mr Thomas Oakley is less than pleased when he is landed with a scrawny little city boy as a guest, but because it is compulsory that each villager takes in an evacuee he reluctantly agrees. It soon becomes obvious to Mister Tom that young Willie Beech is hiding something, and as the pair begin to form an unlikely bond and Willie grows in stature and in confidence he begins to forget the past. But when he has to return to war-torn London to face his mother again he retreats into his shy and awkward ways once more.