Monday, February 24, 2014

Review: White Hot Kiss

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
ISBN: 0373211104
Book Genre: YA Paranormal/ Supernatural
Release Date: February 25th 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Book Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Synopsis:
One kiss could be the last 
Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses. 
Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever. 
Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul. 
But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.


The first thing I need to say about this book is that I hate the cover, the title and the synopsis. Why? Well, they give a completely wrong impression about the book. When I first saw this book on NetGalley I assumed it was a romantic contemporary read, and I was feeling like contemporary at the time. Only from the first chapter you realize it isn't that at all. So I went back to the synopsis, and sure enough there are gargoyles, demons, wardens and whatnot. But still focused on romance. Then I read the book, and realized it isn't entirely focused on the romantic sides of the story, and I really hated that. 

Now, don't get me wrong, sure I hated the cover, the title and the synopsis, but I seriously loved the book itself. I just feel like it could have attracted the right crowd if all three were done differently. The story is about so much more than just the romance, there's self- discovery, there's a whole paranormal world of mystery, there's attempts to accept yourself, being torn apart about what is right and what is wrong, and yeah there's also romance. Anyhow, back to the book. I've never really read a Jennifer L. Armentrout book before. I've heard a lot about her books though and have been thinking a lot about buying either the Lux or the Covenant series, but I've never gotten around to it. Also, I heard that her contemporary books were great as well, and now after finishing this book, I'm inclined to believe that yes I do need to start reading more of her books. And that yes I think her contemporaries would be completely fabulous if they were written anything like this one.

Layla is a seventeen year old living a very odd double life. She tries to appear like a normal girl on the surface, going to school, hanging out with her friends, and thinking of colleges to apply to once she graduates. However, she has extracurricular activities that no one but her stitched up family knows about, and that's tagging demons. Layla grew up in a household of Wardens - gargoyle like people who protect the world by killing demons. Not being completely a demon or gargoyle she's stuck in this weak state that makes her feel both ashamed of her demonic origins as well as her lack of use to her adopted family, the only thing she can do is actually see the souls. Which helps her identify as well as tag demons for the Wardens to find later. Now, due to her demonic nature she can't exactly have a normal life, because she can suck the soul out of any person she kisses, that in turn means her ridiculously handsome adopted brother Zayne is completely out of bounds. Her life changes drastically once she is attacked by a seeker demon and another one, Roth, comes to her aid. Layla was raised to despise anything with a demon pulse no matter how innocent it is - which included her own self - so being around Roth confuses her, especially when he seems to be saving her life more frequently than her so called guardians. Roth is more accepting of who she is, her true nature, and is more than willing to share more with her about her own origins than the Wardens, which confuses her all the more. She has no idea who to trust anymore and who is out for her safety. It doesn't help that whilst going through all of those new developments, someone really badly wants her dead.

The idea of this book was very interesting for me once I got into it, and once I did, I found myself devouring it in less time than I expected from a non-contemporary read. Layla is a very unusual character and she reminded me so much of Anna from Sweet Evil, she has those two conflicting sides inside her and she has no idea how to balance them out. But with Layla, she knows she has two sides and has been brought up to hate her demonic one. It was so sad seeing her hide herself from everyone, including people who claim to care about her and all. Plus in a way they've all been disregarding her feelings of just anything that might not coincide with their beliefs. They know she's always been crushing on Zayne, but they expect her to never fall in love or understand that she can't end up with anyone because she's not meant to spread her demonic genes onto devilish spawn and whatnot. Which I personally find completely unfair, I mean, aside from the urges to suck human lives of the purely evil or just plain pure people, she's just like any normal teenage girl.

The character that confused me the most in classifying was Zayne. I wasn't sure if I hated him or if I liked him. I mean, he was sweet enough to her growing up, and he was such a sweetheart when she first arrived and everything, but I felt like he was perpetuating the whole 'demons are bad no matter what so don't give in to your whims' crap his father kept telling her. Like, no matter how badly she's treated, how bad things get with her, she's never allowed to give in and suck a bit of a soul or she will be killed. And he keeps telling her to not think badly of herself because she can be good and can ignore her demonic side. I disliked that. He kept making her hate herself without realizing it, and then forgetting about her when this other Warden his father wants him to mate with comes? Ugh, yeah I don't like you Zayne.

Now, as for the character I fell hopelessly in love with, that would have to be Roth. Gosh, think of him as like a really sassy demon and you'd get why I love him. I mean, he's a demon so he's obviously very badass, but he's also ridiculously hilarious, with good comebacks to everything, and basically, just awesome. Also, he has a pet snake, that curls into a tattoo on his arm, who is also called bambi, how can you not love him?

In conclusion, this book was so much better than I first thought it would be. I fell in love with the story and the characters, and who knew how incredible an author Jennifer L. Armentrout was? I do now, but man am I late to the party huh? So yes, please ignore the unsuitable cover/title/synopsis, dive into this read, fall in love and just think of it as Supernatural, but with characters more sassy than Sam and Dean, okay?

Rating: 4/5.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Review: All That Glows

Author: Ryan Graudin
ISBN: 0062187414
Book Genre: YA Supernatural / Paranormal
Release Date: February 11th 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Book Source: Edelweiss

Goodreads Synopsis:
Emrys—a fiery, red-headed Fae—always embraced her life in the Highlands, far from the city’s draining technology, until she’s sent to London to rejoin the Faery Guard. But this isn’t any normal assignment—she’s sent to guard Prince Richard: Britain’s notorious, partying bad boy and soon-to-be King. The prince’s careless ways and royal blood make him the irresistible for the dark spirits that feed on mortals. Sweet, disheveled, and alive with adventure—Richard is one charge who will put Emrys’s magic and heart to the test.
When an ancient force begins preying on the monarchy, Emrys must hunt through the London’s magical underworld, facing down Banshees, Black Dogs and Green Women to find the one who threatens Richard’s life. In this chaos of dark magic, palace murders and paparazzi, Emrys finds herself facing an impossible choice. For despite all her powers, Emrys has discovered a force that burns brighter than magic: love.


I suffer from a severe case of cover lust. Which is precisely why I requested this book from Edelweiss. Also, it kind of sounded like an interesting read. Personally I haven't had much of a good experience with Fae books, aside from the Iron Fey spinoff series Call of the Forgotten, so I was also kind of wary of the book. But it is a standalone, so I got closure by the end of it and didn't have to feel torn up on whether to continue the series or not if I hated it.

Emrys is sent to guard Prince Richard as punishment from Queen Mab. She's his Guardian Fairy but he doesn't know she exists, or at least he shouldn't know she exists. Emrys is a powerful fey, yet she seems to have some sort of problem keeping her veil up against Richard. Slowly they both form a bond as she tries to keep him safe from immortal threats - ones that were becoming quite frequent. There's an Old One rising to power, uniting fallen immortals and creating more threats against the crown. Emrys has her work cut out for her, and it's worse now that she's falling in love with Richard, especially when she knows nothing can happen, and the threat of what Mab would do to her if she found out.

This story was most definitely an interesting take on Fey and the courts. It's very unique with the setting of the world of Monarchy in England and in our times. There's also the inspired addition of King Arthur's history and intertwining it with both the current Monarchy as well as the Fey, yes, that was definitely a new take I hadn't seen before.

This book was heaps better than the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr, that much I can tell. However, I didn't find it exactly mind-blowing. Don't get me wrong, I quite enjoyed it, as well as the added mystery of who the traitor was, and how it was all going to end. The pace of the story was perfect, and the characters were all interesting and unique. However, I wasn't mind blown. I found the story lacking a particular element to keep me on my toes. Anyhow, I did enjoy it, it's quite a light read considering it's a standalone. 

Rating: 3/5.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Review: Side-Effects May Vary

Author: Julie Murphy
ISBN: 1743484879
Book Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: March 18th 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Book Source: Edelweiss

Goodreads Synopsis:
What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you? 
When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.
Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most? 


So… I was very uncertain about this book. I wasn't even sure if I should request it but a lot of people were liking it, so I thought to give it a shot. The problem is, the impression I got was of a sad story about a girl struggling with cancer, doing a list of things before she inevitably dies, but then bam, she's alive and faces the consequences of her actions, but you as a reader deal with it alongside her and you all get closure or growth or whatnot. All right, essentially this is what the book is about more or less BUT I didn't get closure. Or sense much growth. I'm giving you guys a rant warning here, there may be spoilers.

Alice was diagnosed with cancer, and the first thing that came to mind to her when she thought she was going to die soon was to make a list of things she wanted to do before she died. She couldn't do it alone so she recruited her once upon a time close friend who she's pretty sure loves her to help her scheme and accomplish things. All goes well for Alice until she goes into remission… then? Not so much. She has to face the consequences of her scheming, which is not something she had counted on.

The idea of the story was intriguing at most. The going back and forth in point of views between Harvey and Alice both now and in the past, wasn't the best part of the story since there was no chronological order to the now and then, it could take place any time in the past and any time in the assumed present. I was prepared to deal with the entire book and hoping to be pleasantly surprised by the turn of things, and hopefully enjoy the book. I was pleasantly surprised, but sadly, not for long. What I didn't anticipate was hating the protagonist so very much. 

I think Alice is one of the worst people ever. She's the most ridiculously self-centered, selfish, arrogant, egocentric, and vindictive people I've read about in quite some time. I guess one of the great things of having a religion or faith or even Karma, is that when life hands you bad news, like really really bad news, as in your much closer than anticipated imminent death, you kind of start thinking of your purpose in life, what you're leaving behind, what your legacy would be, how people will remember you. You start thinking about praying, or making it up for people, or helping others deal with your death when your gone. But oh no, definitely not Alice.

"I laughed. We were so different. Harvey wanted good. He wanted to leave the ones he loved in a good place. I'd just wanted the last word. But I wouldn't be sorry for that now. It's too late for sorry."
 Instead of trying to forgive the transgressions that were committed against her, instead of thinking above it all, since she's dying and should probably be at peace rather than anything else, she plots her revenge. She wants to cause havoc, wreck things and people, so she can remain the centre of attention. All she cared about was making the year she was going to be alive for the most heavenly experience for herself, and if it included Harvey - because hello he makes her happy - then so be it. Who cares if this experience was tearing him apart? Who cares if he would never recover from the experience when she was gone? Who cares if she was potentially scarring him for life? What mattered was that she got what she wanted, how she wanted, when she wanted, and that's that. Why think of what she wouldn't be there to witness anyway?

"I think I'm going to die." There was an eerie calm to her voice that terrified me more intensely than any cancer.
"Don't say that, Alice."
"We all die. We are dying. I'm just in the fast lane, I guess, dying faster than the rest of you slugs."

The most thing I personally loathed her for, was her treatment of Harvey. She'd ignored him for years, but once she was about to die, she decided she might as well let him in her life again, because now that she has an expiration date, she can let him love her the way he'd always wanted to and just give him hope for the year she was staying alive. She dragged him through hell, put his heart on a freaking grinder and just tore him to pieces. Over and over and over again. She kept leading him on, giving the poor guy the impression his feelings were reciprocated and that even though she was dying, they were something. Until of course she was in remission and the poor lad excited over the potential of a future between them realizes that the Alice that survived was back to the one before she was diagnosed with cancer. Except much worse. I was upset for the poor guy. The thing is, she didn't want to be with him anymore, she treated him like freaking crap, but she had the gall to not want him with anyone else either.

"I'd always heard that when you truly love someone, you're happy for them as long as they're happy. But that's a lie. That's higher-road bull shit. If you love someone so much, why the hell would you be happy to see them with anyone else? I didn't want the easy kind of love. I wanted the crazy love, the kind of love that created and destroyed all at the same time."

And boy did she destroy. The problem is, I never got why Harvey loved her in the first place, not one freaking redeeming quality in this atrocious human being. Okay fine, I'll give her one act of kindness. But that's not enough to love someone so heinous, full of hatred and ugliness inside, so not worth it. Whenever Harvey talked about why he loved her, there was nothing solid, nothing from her core, just that she was a beautiful dancer, he loved her looks… I don't know, nothing about why he loved her made her sound like a person that one could love. More like an addictive drug that's so horrible for you but might seem just good at the time, except later on you realize the amount of damage it's inflicted, the harm it can do and you still come back for more. Harvey was one of the most singularly amazing people out there. I think I would have had a very big book crush on him if it wasn't for the fact that he was a doormat to Alice, a slave of her every whim, no backbone to actually save and protect himself from her. The poor guy was a hopeless goner. His life turned upside down when hearing she might be taken away from him for good.

"I have leukemia, Harvey."
Your life changes sometimes and it only takes a few words to bridge the gap between now and then.

In conclusion, the story had an interesting plot. However, hating Alice and her character as much as I did, made it very difficult to appreciate it. Alice did 'attempt' to redeem herself, but not in anyway that matters. I didn't get the right confrontations, I didn't get to see her understand how screwed up she made everyone, she never got to understand how wrong she was to treat Harvey the way she did, not in a way that counts. I didn't get closure, I was more angry by the ending than anything.

Rating: 2/5.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Review: Waking Up Pregnant

Author: Mira Lyn Kelly
ISBN: 0373207522
Release Date: February 18 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Kiss
Book Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Synopsis:

The night that changed everything!
Waitress Darcy Penn is the smart, sensible type—flirting with the extremely cute guy in the bar just isn't her usual style. As for ending up in his hotel room? Definitely not! Sneaking out while he's in the bathroom to avoid the post-sex awkwardness? Much more like it.
If Darcy had stuck around, Jeff Norton could have told her about their "epic latex fail." So he shouldn't be quite so shocked when months later, Darcy turns up at his classy L.A. office and throws up in his wastepaper basket. She's got a bad case of morning sickness, and she's here to find out what he's going to do about it!


Well hello back Mrs. Cynicism, yeah, that's me in a nutshell with this book.
Let's start with the most important part here: of all the Harlequin Kiss books I've read so far, this is definitely the the best. Now, that doesn't necessarily imply that this book was incredible or anything, just that in comparison to the rest, it was heaps better and much more plausible.

I didn't hate the setting or the storyline or even thought it ridiculous or anything, really that much in itself should be considered as miraculous. What I completely disliked were the main characters: Darcy and Jeff. It was like the book was on loop, Jeff had a bad experience with a girlfriend that left him burnt and anti-relationships - which I personally didn't find traumatizing to that extent, he was seriously overreacting. And Darcy was insecure and didn't trust anyone but herself. Okay, so now Jeff's the overly sensitive type that liked to talk with his best friend for hours about his feelings and Darcy didn't talk about hers at all, or even acknowledge them, she can't trust her own feelings. See the strangeness here? I seriously rich and successful businessman does not spend hours talking to his best friend then being surprised when his friend tells him what he from his words should have known. A cocktail waitress who looks out for herself and 'trusts' herself, should trust her own feelings as well, isn't that a part of herself? But it feels more like the author is telling us she trusts only herself, but found no way to prove that to us readers. 

So in conclusion? Interesting, fun, light read with completely flawed and underdeveloped characters.
Rating: 2.5/5.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: I See London

Title: I See London
Author: Chanel Cleeton
ISBN: 145925547X
Book Genre: NA Contemporary
Release Date: February 3rd 2014
Publisher: Harlequin
Book Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Synopsis:
Maggie Carpenter is ready for a change— and to leave her ordinary life in South Carolina behind. But when she accepts a scholarship to the International School in London, a university attended by the privileged offspring of diplomats and world leaders, Maggie might get more than she bargained for. 
When Maggie meets Hugh, a twentysomething British guy, she finds herself living the life she always wanted. Suddenly she’s riding around the city in a Ferrari, wearing borrowed designer clothes and going to the hottest clubs. The only problem? Another guy, the one she can’t seem to keep her hands off of. 
Half French, half Lebanese, and ridiculously wealthy, Samir Khouri has made it clear he doesn’t do relationships. He’s the opposite of everything Maggie thought she wanted…and he’s everything she can’t resist. Torn between her dream guy and the boy haunting her dreams, Maggie has to fight for her own happy ending. In a city like London, you never know where you stand, and everything can change in the blink of an eye.


The first thing that struck me as I read this book was the similarity between it and Anna and the French Kiss. Except that this story was more adult and less funny. I think that's the main reason I kept on reading, the idea was very interesting, and I loved how the main character wasn't exactly perfect, not getting into the college of her choice, making it out on her own and just trying to make the best of a bad situation.

 What I found absolutely refreshing was the background of all the characters. Especially the ones from the Middle East. Even though sure, there was a lot of generalizing and giving in to many prejudices, but hey, there were Arabs mentioned, so that was definitely an added bonus and some things did have merit, so I couldn't be angry at them, just the generalizing.

I think this is definitely going to be one of my top guilty pleasure books I'll probably be reading again soon. It's quite long for a contemporary novel though. I'm used to them being around 190 - 250 pages or 300 max, but this one got up to 400 or more. Which meant it definitely had a lot in it, and wasn't as simple and quick a read as other contemporaries. I felt sometimes that things were dragged out and a bit repetitive, but I still enjoyed it very much. The writing was also quite good, and the characters were so flawed I couldn't help but love them.

I think this is the first contemporary book series I actively enjoyed. I am ridiculously impatient at the moment to know what happens next in the sequel!

Rating: 4/5.

Review: Alice Close Your Eyes

Title: Alice Close Your Eyes
Author: Averil Dean
ISBN: 077831586X
Book Genre: Mystery Thriller
Release Date: December 31st 2013
Publisher: Mira Ink
Book Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Synopsis:
With haunting prose and deft psychological insight, Averil Dean spins a chilling story that explores the dark corners of obsession–love, pain and revenge.
Ten years ago, someone ruined Alice Croft's life. Now she has a chance to right that wrong–and she thinks she's found the perfect man to carry out her plan. After watching him for weeks, she breaks into Jack Calabrese's house to collect the evidence that will confirm her hopes. When Jack comes home unexpectedly, Alice hides in the closet, fearing for her life. But upon finding her, Jack is strangely calm, solicitous . . . and intrigued.
That night is the start of a dark and intense attraction, and soon Alice finds herself drawn into a labyrinth of terrifying surrender to a man who is more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. As their relationship spirals toward a breaking point, Alice begins to see just how deep Jack's secrets run–and how deadly they could be.

Warning: before you read this book, if you're hoping for a story with any sense of euphoria, happy ending, brief moments of justice or basically any good conclusion of any sort, this book is seriously not meant for you. 

Now, to be honest when I requested this book for review from NetGalley, I had absolutely no idea what it was about. No really, all I read were the first couple of sentences in the synopsis which gave me the impression that this is a book about a girl seeking revenge, she breaks into a guy's house and wants him to help her. Intrigued, he doesn't call the cops on her, but wants to know her story. That's the impression I got. That's what I thought I was going to read. But a month after I got my copy, a friend was quick to remedy my impression of this book, which got me ridiculously hesitant to read it. At some point, I decided to just get it over with, it couldn't be as bad as I was thinking, now could it? - It was worse.

I am not a fan of 50 Shades of Grey, or books on BDSM or submissives, especially since as of late I've become some form of book feminist where I hate a protagonist if she's weak, feeble, and is led around like sheep, so clearly, that's one large point against this book. During the entire read I kept expecting there to be a triggering point that let the protagonist to be so erratic and volatile, but a small part of me suspects that she's always been that way, since she was four - evidence in book, will not spoil it. Sure, things piled up together to turn her into the psychotic creature she was now, but what was her pushing point? What led her to the edge? That's basically the only reason I kept reading this book and didn't stop at chapter six or so. I needed closure, I needed to know the purpose behind this, I needed to know what made her click. And for the most part, I really didn't discover the key to her character at all. There were minor points where I did happen to relate to her, or found her character a little bit lucid and sane, and those were the times when she talked about her book, or writing.

Writing is unexplainable, one thing today and something else tomorrow.

Then there's Jack, a seemingly charming, large, mysterious, and capable of humor type of man. I expected him to be her salvation, or at least to be some form of guide, good influence, anything, on her life. He wasn't. I'm not sure if she drove him down with her, or that he had those hidden sides of him we never got to see at first. He's violent with a Dom complex clearly. Alice was very submissive with him that irked me to no end, and not just sexually, but in day to day life, with things. Maybe he knew her better than I did? Maybe I was wrong in my assumption of her character? Most likely. But with this point? I have no clue. At the start of the book there's definitely insight to his character and how there's a hard edge to him that may appear visible when he talks about his time in prison:

"People throw the word nightmare around," he says. "A crowded store is a nightmare. A wait in line. A tax audit, whatever. But in a real nightmare, there's a sense of unexpectedness. Nothing makes sense. You're going along and suddenly your house, or the person with you is not that person. And you're still applying waking logic, you're trying to make it make sense. You want to wake up, not just because you want to get the fuck out, but because you're looking for order in the chaos. You want things back the way they were when you were awake."
"Prison is that kind of nightmare. Anything can happen and nothing makes sense. It's a circus of freaks and you're locked inside."

Other points against it? Well, for one I don't feel like it had any particular purpose. There was no clear message, no moral, no nothing. Was the author venting? Was the message the very dark and horrible one I tried to dismiss? There was nothing accomplished from this story, no silver lining, no good. Just a journey in the mind of a very psychotic girl as she appears on the surface very stable, yet is anything but. She wants vengeance and yet her road to get her that particular brand of revenge is a bit mysterious, slow, meticulous and planned in a sociopathic kind of way. Wanting, hoping, attempting to get a point with Jack where he'd do it for her. But the thing is it felt like she had given up at some point, or maybe it was all a part of her plan? Basically she was dangerous. Yet, not really? Not when it should count?

The story is told in both present and past at the same time in the same chapters, she'd stop to explain in flashback - which can be a little bit confusing at times - something that happened then continue on what she was saying beforehand, surprisingly that wasn't one of the things that bugged me about this book. I liked the writing, I liked the style Averil used. The descriptions were adequate and gave a very bleak and dark sort of setting throughout the entire story, no colors whatsoever. The characters were so flawed, no sense of moral compass, with inner badness riding to the surface. They concealed it well, which made them all the more dangerous in my opinion, all the more evil. Also, this book has very graphic and violent sexual scenes - more often than not without consent or safe words.

Rating: 2/5.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Review: Perfect Lies

Title: Perfect Lies (Mind Games #2)
Author: Kiersten White
ISBN: 0062135848 
Book Genre: YA Paranormal
Release Date: February 18th 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Book Source: Edelweiss

Goodreads Synopsis:

Annie and Fia are ready to fight back.
The sisters have been manipulated and controlled by the Keane Foundation for years, trapped in a never ending battle for survival. Now they have found allies who can help them truly escape. After faking her own death, Annie has joined a group that is plotting to destroy the Foundation. And Fia is working with James Keane to bring his father down from the inside.
But Annie's visions of the future can't show her who to trust in the present. And though James is Fia's first love, Fia knows he's hiding something. The sisters can rely only on each other - but that may not be enough to save them.


ONCE UPON A TIME, I WAS A LITTLE GIRL WITH A mom and a dad and a sister, and the only monsters in the world were imaginary.
Then I became one of the monsters.

This review was not easy to write, honestly I'm still trying to recover from the book. It hasn't been easy so far. But at some point I better suck it up and do it. Also, I should point out that if you haven't read Mind Games, there may be a few spoilers in this review, so seriously, just read Mind Games first.

Perfect Lies is the sequel to Mind Games which happens to be a dualogy, so in case you didn't know how high the stakes are in this book, this should give you a clue. The stakes are freaking high.

I was disappointed with the ending of book one because I was hoping for the story to go in a particular direction for most of the book and the last couple of chapters wrecked that completely, which meant I couldn't exactly hope for the same things in the sequel, I had entirely different hopes yet no idea how Kiersten was going to get it there, and boy was she brilliant in accomplishing it. 

It is pretty obvious in Mind Games that the focus of the story was Fia, but that is not the case in book two, even though the story is being told from dual point of views, the focus appears to be Annie. For the majority of Mind Games I seriously hated Annie, I hate what happened to Fia because of her. In Perfect lies I got to like her a little bit more. As for other people playing a big part of this story, there are many recurring ones from book one, yet still with a little bit of ambiguity with some of them. Rafael comes back, Cole, Sarah, Nathan and Adam all return, and you get to see them play a bigger part than they did in book one, however, not much is told about their background stories. I did want to know more about Rafael and Cole though, but I guess it made sense since they weren't the leads in the story.

The interesting thing about this story, actually the pretty amazing part about it, is the way it's told. Fia's side is more often than not taking place in the present, what is happening right now with her. Annie's on the other hand is told from the moment she's left 'dying' on the ground, and the months leading to the inevitable point of clash that was expected. It may not seem like it right now, but the ingenuity in the writing and the chronological order of things taking place back and forth until the full story is finally unravelled was mind-blowing.

Fia as a character has reached a very psychotic level at this point. In book one I had hoped she'd end up with Adam and have her happily ever after because I thought that it was all she needed to get better and escape the Keane life. However, the second she went back with James to save Annie, I knew that in book two that will not be the case anymore, that she's spiraling out of control and the only inevitable thing in my mind for her to heal was... well, if she killed herself. But I hated that, I really didn't want it to reach that point, so I was in a constant state of terror when her chapters came to be, she had reached a level of insanity that made you think there was no going back in it.  At the same time you're constantly thinking that there is something missing, something bigger going on, something behind the scenes, beyond what Kiersten is showing you one point at a time, and it's freaking fabulous. You reach a point where you just don't know anymore how you want the story to end, who you want to win. All the characters are in between shades of grey, the moral sides of things becomes very hazy, and differentiating between what's right or wrong, what you want to happen and what should happen becomes very difficult.

This book had me in a constant state of uncertainty and obscurity that I found very gripping. It was very heartbreaking and exhilarating. The characters were all ridiculously flawed, none of them fully good, and I liked how that made them seem more human to me than anything else. Humans make mistakes, humans are wrong, humans don't always make the right decisions. No one is one hundred percent good.

To be honest I had two problems with this book, one, that I thought Keane should have made more appearances in the story than the minor scenes in which he met Fia. But for a super badass villain who ruined many lives, he surprisingly had a limited amount of contact with them. I feel like he should have had more presence, more evidence of his evilness firsthand rather than hearing about what he's done. His character was definitely lacking. The second problem was the length of the story. I needed more of it, and the amount I had was pretty much not enough. I need more Cole, more Annie, more Fia and Mae. I can't believe it's completely over, yes I believe it was well done, very well done actually, I wouldn't have it any other way, but at the same time, a part of me feels foolishly numb and distraught to have it over with no potential of more.

I definitely recommend you buy a copy of this book the second it comes out. Seriously. You'll feel like a part of your life has been missing and that it needed to be filled, then torn into pieces by this book. It's just pure brilliance.

Rating: 5/5*!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

16 Things I thought Were True - Guest Post

So this won't be a conventional guest post, or an interview really, it's a mix of both perhaps? As you guys know I recently read and enjoyed 16 Things I Thought Were True by Janet Gurtler, and you can check out my review for it here.

Author: Janet Gurtler
ISBN: 1402277970
Book Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: March 4th 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Book Source: NetGalley

Buy Now: Amazon - Barnes & Noble

Goodreads Synopsis:
Heart attacks happen to other people #thingsIthoughtweretrue
When Morgan's mom gets sick, it's hard not to panic. Without her mother, she would have no one—until she finds out the dad who walked out on her as a baby isn't as far away as she thought...
Adam is a stuck-up, uptight jerk #thingsIthoughtweretrue
Now that they have a summer job together, Morgan's getting to know the real Adam, and he's actually pretty a nerdy-hot kind of way. He even offers to go with her to find her dad. Road trip, anyone?
5000 Twitter followers are all the friends I need #thingsIthoughtweretrue
With Adam in the back seat, a hyper chatterbox named Amy behind the wheel, and plenty of Cheetos to fuel their trip, Morgan feels ready for anything. She's not expecting a flat tire, a missed ferry, a fake girlfriend...and that these two people she barely knew before the summer started will become the people she can't imagine living without.

After reading the book 3 questions came to mind to ask the author, which were the following:

(Why I asked the question: The main character has been lied to all her life about her father's negligence and how he had never wanted her.)

1)What would you do if you knew your family was not exactly what it seemed? If one of them hid something very important from you.

My family now, my husband is one of the most honest people in the world. Seriously. So if I found out something he’d been hiding it would FREAK ME OUT because it would be so unexpected. When I was a kid, I used to sometimes think I was adopted. I don’t know why, I think sometimes it just seemed like it would have been fun to have this “other” family who were secret agents or something.

(Why I asked the question: The protagonist takes a road trip with her new friends to meet her father and it does sound like a lot of fun.)

2) Have you ever had a road trip with friends only? Did you want to?

I took a girls only road trip when I was 21. And I also did a half road trip with a girlfriend in our late twenties. The first one was decadent. Actually so was the 2nd. The kind of road trip I’ do now, would be writer friends, driving to a writing retreat. I’ve slowed down A LOT since I left the youth behind me. ;)
(Why I asked the question: The main character has a slight addiction to twitter and can't seem to stop using it.)

3) How strong is your attachment to twitter?

I like Twitter, but I actually still prefer Facebook. Must be my age. Most of my “real life” friends are on Facebook, while Twitter is my writing world. I love keeping up with Twitter, but sometimes I feel like I get a little lost if I’m not on it all the time. Right now I’m on a deadline so my social media time is cut way way down! That said, I do learn a lot of thing from the trending topics on twitter!

Now Janet had asked both two author friends things that they thought were true when they were kids. Here are two from awesome YA Authors, Sarah Ockler and Saundra Mitchell!
I thought that if you got a splinter in your finger and didn't remove it
immediately, it would travel through your bloodstream, stab you in the
heart, and kill you. I thought this until college. Seriously.
#thingsIthoughtweretrue - Sarah Ockler

I thought that the new president LITERALLY beat up the old president up to
get the job. Like, fisticuffs style.
#thingsIthougthweretrue- Saundra Mitchell

How about you share some things you thought were true but really weren't?

About The Author
Janet lives near the Canadian Rockies with her husband and son and a little dog named Bruce. She does not live in an Igloo or play hockey, but she does love maple syrup and says “eh” a lot.