Friday, 28 November 2014

Review: The Hit List by Nikki Urang

The Hit ListThe Hit List

Author: Nikki Urang
Series: -
Pages: 256
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Release date: 11th November 2014
Amazon -TBD

Synopsis: (Goodreads)

The Los Angeles Conservatory for the Arts is supposed to be a new beginning for Sadie Bryant. Moving across the country is exactly what she needs to escape the gossip surrounding her injury, the devastating betrayal of her ex-partner, and to rebuild her career as a solo dancer.

When the school announces that the annual Fall Showcase, a performance that secures a spot studying in London, will now require each dancer to have a partner, Sadie’s fresh start is a nightmare. Now she has to dance with Luke Morrison, the school womanizer with a big ego. Sadie doesn’t know how to trust Luke enough to dance with him after her last partner left her broken, but Luke is determined to change that.

Then, The Hit List comes out. A game of sexual conquest where guys get points for all the girls they hook up with—and it seems like every guy at the school is playing.

The girl worth the most points? Sadie.

Review: 3 ½ out of 5 stars

I really enjoyed The Hit List, thank you to Spencer Hill Contemporary for providing me with a review copy.

Characters: Sadie came across as a bit of a loner, I felt extremely sorry for her but she pushed people away unnecessarily. Her mother was a real piece of work! I liked the past snippets of her time with her former boyfriend/dance partner Patrick. I was wary of Luke and his womanising initially, I felt it was over the top too much but I enjoyed his character progression, side characters Brielle and Adam were written well.

The storyline: We follow Sadie as she moves from NY to LA to pursue her passion for dance, we also learn about the Hit List which was a little far-fetched but it was interesting none the less, I was certainly very shocked by the person and the reasoning behind it.

The Romance: a lot of tension, miscommunications and some drama but they also had great chemistry and some wonderfully sweet moments. 

The writing: Engaging and kept me flipping through the pages, this book was a quick read for me. I love everything to do with dance and this aspect was written very well, you could almost envision the characters movements and choreography, beautiful descriptive details. I will definitely read more books written by Nikki Urang.

The cover: I love the simplicity, the dancer in motion is beautiful as is the vibrant pink text, I'm a huge fan of this cover.

I received a copy of The Hit List from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Spotlight - The Flywheel by Erin Gough

The Flywheel by Erin Gough is hitting the shelves in February 2015. This stellar young adult novel is the latest winner of HGE’s Ampersand Project for debut YA writers. Gough’s debut novel is so irresistible that she has already been invited to Reading Matters at the State Library of Victoria in May 2015.

Gough describes her girl-meet-girl love story as, “a book that's full of humour and slapstick, while still dealing with important issues like sexuality and identity.” Delilah, the book’s main character, is forced to manage the family cafe at the same time as trying to survive her final year of high school. To top it all off, a misguided crush on one of the cool girls makes Del the school punchline as well.

The thing I so love about The Flywheel is not just that Del is smart, gutsy and totally lacking in pretension,” says Hardie Grant Egmont Publishing Director, Hilary Rogers.  “And it's not just that Del's gay, and totally fine with it. It's that all these elements are just the backdrop of the story, as they are in real life. This is a fresh and warm post-coming-out story for teens. Finally!”

“It’s for anyone who knows the agony of falling in love”, says Gough, who has dreamed of being a writer since before she knew how. “I wrote The Flywheel because I wanted to write the sort of novel that I would’ve liked to read when I was dealing with my own questions of sexuality, identity and ambition. I wanted it to be something that was fun to read (so many coming-out stories are full of tragedy and angst) while still acknowledging the challenges that this period in your life can throw at you.”

Described as “an exciting new voice in Aussie YA” (Danielle Binks), Gough’s debut is certain to get YA readers excited. “It's always a privilege helping a new author bring her novel into being,” says Rogers. “But Erin's skill and calm and humour, even under the piercing editorial spotlight, often made me forget this was Erin's debut.”

Gough won Hardie Grant Egmont’s Ampersand Project in 2013.  She’s in good company, with fellow Ampersand Project winner Melissa Keil recently being nominated for the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for Life in Outer Space. Her debut novel was also nominated for a CBCA award in 2014 and won the inaugural Ena Noel award from IBBY Australia.


AN IMPRESSIVE DEBUT

The FlywheelSeventeen-year-old Delilah’s crazy life is about to get crazier. Ever since her father took off overseas, she’s been struggling to run the family’s cafe without him and survive high school. But after a misjudged crush on one of the cool girls, she’s become the school punch line as well. With all that’s on her plate she barely has time for her favourite distraction – spying on the beautiful Rosa, who dances flamenco at the tapas bar across the road.

Only her best friend Charlie knows how she feels about Rosa, but he has romantic problems of his own. When his plan to win an older woman’s heart goes horribly wrong, Del is the only one who can help Charlie stay out of jail.

All this leaves Del grappling with some seriously curly questions. Is it okay to break the law to help a friend? How can a girl tell another girl she likes her without it ending in humiliation and heartbreak? And – the big one – is it ever truly possible to dance in public without falling over?

About Hardie Grant Egmont
Hardie Grant Egmont (HGE) is a joint venture of Australian company Hardie Grant Publishing and Egmont Books UK. As Australia’s largest independent children’s publisher, HGE prides itself on publishing books kids adore. From award-winning and best-selling series such as Billie B. Brown and Zac Power, to classic titles from Enid Blyton and A.A. Milne, HGE is passionate about making the books kids want to read.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy, #1)The Book of Ivy

Author: Amy Engel
Series: The Book of Ivy
Pages: 304
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release date: 11th November 2014

Synopsis: (Goodreads)

After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual. 

This year, it is my turn. 

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power. 

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him

Review: 4 ½ out of 5 stars

I have to admit this is a book I was sold on based on the cover alone! I’m a big fan and I’m pleased to say the story within is just as fabulous.

Sixteen year-old Ivy Westfall has been training for a mission, to kill the president’s son who through an arranged marriage is now her husband and attempt to restore the Westfall family to power but she didn’t expect Bishop Lattimer and his kindness, determination and sheer will; he was very different to what she had anticipated and the plans her family had been plotting for some time began to show fault.

Peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

I thought from the beginning of the book that I knew how this book would end, a number of things were predictable but the twists and turns the author gave us were pleasant surprises. I wasn’t fully sold on the plot, the Westfall’s came across as power hungry and the only thing I believe wasn’t really working in their current situation were the forced arranged marriages (to increase the population) and having no defined way of punishing people who commit crimes but otherwise within all societies there are going to be issues.

I adored the main characters, Ivy was strong, brave and politically opinionated, she was in a difficult position; having been forced to marry a stranger she dealt with it with dignity and questioned what she had always been told; Bishop was a sweetheart, his caring nature and kindness really endeared me to him and I was surprised by a few revelations; the slow to build relationship between them is the kind I enjoy, not rushed but snippets of affection and chemistry showing us the slow build-up of the potential romance to come; I thoroughly enjoyed their interactions although I do wish we had more page time with them together.

Amy Engel’s writing is compelling, the world-building is strong and the characters were all developed well; filled with betrayal, political scheming and a sweet budding romance, The Book of Ivy is a convincing dystopian that had me engaged from the very first page, I was shocked by the end so I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Thank you to Entangled Publishing via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review The Book of Ivy.



Amy EngelAbout the author (Goodreads): 

I was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas, California, Missouri, Washington, D.C.), I settled in Kansas City, Missouri where I live with my husband and two kids. Before devoting myself full time to motherhood and writing, I was a criminal defense attorney, which is not quite as exciting as it looks on television. When I have a free moment, I can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping. 

Friday, 21 November 2014

Review: The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave) by Rick Yancey

The Infinite Sea (The Fifth Wave #2)The Infinite Sea

Author: Rick Yancey
Series: The 5th Wave
Pages: 480
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Release date: 16th September 2014

Synopsis: (Goodreads)

The hugely anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestselling The 5th Wave, hailed by Justin Cronin as “wildly entertaining.”

For Cassie Sullivan and the rest of Earth’s remaining human survivors, the situation was already desperate when the 5th Wave hit. It’s about to get worse.

No one yet knows the depths to which Earth’s conquerors—the Others—will sink in order to rid the Earth of the human infestation, nor have they guessed the heights to which the human spirit can reach. Characters introduced in Book One will come to the fore—and others will face the ultimate test.

Readers will watch in awe as the Others give their answer to Cassie’s defiance.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

Contains spoilers from book 1, The 5th Wave.

The Infinite Sea is the second book in the series and begins where The 5th Wave left off; At the end of the first book, Our MC Cassie Sullivan was reunited with her brother Sam after attacking Vosch’s facility and discovering Ben Parish, among others had been brain-washed into believing they were fighting against an alien invasion unbeknownst to them it was the aliens who were training them. We also learnt that Evan Walker was an alien in a human body and had been ordered to kill Cassie; he obviously didn’t do it as he had fallen for her.

I enjoyed getting to know Cassie that little bit more, she could be high maintenance at times but I liked her as a character, Evan was great but did annoy me on occasion and we get to know a lot more about Ringer, I like her role in the story and her sassy personality is starting to grow on me, I enjoyed her backstory. We also get to know more about Poundcake, another interesting character. All of the characters played an important role in the overall story and interact well.

The plot is intricately detailed and intense, it gives us more of an understanding about the Others and their purpose; I did have a few gripes though, my first being the extremely slow start, I felt things were dragged out and there wasn’t a lot going on, I also think there were a lot of characters and not enough page time to fully develop and appreciate each of them as individuals. The first half of the book I would have rated a 3 and the ending a 5 so I’ve rated it in the middle.

The world Yancy has created is scary and brutal, it is creative and the information he provides is vividly detailed. The characters loyalties are tested and new alliances are formed in this book but there are still many unanswered questions that I hope will be answered in the last book.

My next gripe was the number of POV’s, dual is usually as much as I can take, anymore and my heads starts spinning but in saying this each of the characters had a distinct, unique voice that flowed  flawlessly but I did find myself preferring Cassie or Evan’s over others.

Rick Yancey’s writing is wonderful and the heart-pounding action, surprise twists and turns and melodrama continued in this sequel which I appreciated. I am eager to see the outcome of the final instalment to see if these humans can outwit the supposed superior race of aliens.

Thank you to Penguin Books Australia for the opportunity to read and review The Infinite Sea.



Rick YanceyAbout the author: aka Richard Yancey

Rick is a native Floridian and a graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago. He earned a B.A. in English which he put to use as a field officer for the Internal Revenue Service. Inspired and encouraged by his wife, he decided his degree might also be useful in writing books and in 2004 he began writing full-time.

Since then he has launched two critically acclaimed series: The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, for young readers, and The Highly Effective Detective, for adults. Both books are set in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Rick lived for ten years before returning to Florida. 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - Confess by Colleen Hoover and The Dead List by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Hi everyone!! thank-you so much for stopping by today.

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My WoW’s for this week are Confess by Colleen Hoover and The Dead List by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Confess

Author: Colleen Hoover
Series: -
Genre: New adult
Amazon pre-order
Publisher: Atria Books
Release date: 10th March 2015


Synopsis. (Goodreads)

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

The Dead List

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: -
Genre: New Adult
Amazon pre-order
Publisher: Disney/Hyperion
Release date: 31st March 2015


Synopsis. (Goodreads)

It’s Ella’s senior year of high school and she and her best friend Linds plan to make it the best year ever. At Brock Cochran’s end of summer pool party, the girls vow to have as much fun as possible before they head off to different colleges in the fall. 

But when Ella is mysteriously attacked on her way home from the party, everything changes. Ella’s carefree senior year plans disintegrate as she finds herself at the center of an attempted murder investigation.

Ella is determined to move on; to get her life back to normal, but she can’t seem to shake the feeling that she’s still being watched. Suddenly, the people closest to her seem the most suspicious, like the elusive Jensen Carver. In her seemingly safe West Virginia town, Ella starts to wonder who she can actually trust
  

What are most anticipating this week?

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Review: Once Perfect (Shattered Past #1) by Cecy Robson

Once Perfect (Shattered Past, #1)Once Perfect

Author: Cecy Robson
Series: Shattered Past
Pages: 272
Publisher: Loveswept
Release date: 7th October 2014
Amazon -TBD

Synopsis: (Goodreads)

His life was never easy. Hers wasn’t supposed to be this hard. They come from different worlds, but fate lures them together in a way neither expected in Cecy Robson’s raw, steamy New Adult debut—perfect for fans of Monica Murphy and J. Lynn.

Evelyn Preston’s future once looked perfect—until her wealthy father was caught in an embezzlement scandal and took his own life. Alone and struggling to pay her college tuition and bills, Evelyn finds a job as a waitress at the ultra-hip nightclub Excess, where she used to have more in common with the privileged private-school clientele than her fellow staff members. But something attracts her to the sexy six-foot-four bouncer and underground MMA fighter Mateo Tres Santos. Although they’ve led different lives, their troubled pasts bonds them in both survival and love.

Mateo is ex-army who wound up in prison for assaulting the man who harmed his sister. Now he’s feeling the same protective impulse for this petite blond waitress. When Evelyn experiences a panic attack at the club, Mateo comes to her rescue. And when Mateo is wounded shielding her from a brawl, Evelyn returns the favor and comes to his aid.

As their attraction intensifies, Mateo is determined to find out what nightmares are lurking in Evelyn’s past—even if that means tackling his own to save her

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

I have read some great reviews for Cecy Robson’s Weird series which I haven’t as yet had a chance to pick up but I was quite keen to start on her new adult series Shattered Past.

From the first chapter, you are drawn into the story needing to know the details of what had happened to Evelyn Preston and the demise of her once perfect life; now waitressing at a bar to pay her way through college she attracts the attention of one of the bouncers, Mateo Tres Santos but Evelyn is wary because of the time he has spent in prison as well as his underground MMA fighting.

The relationship between Evelyn and Mateo develops at a realistic pace which I appreciated, their chemistry and the sexual tension was great and I loved the way he protected her and the time they took to get to know one another on a deeper level. I felt Mateo’s family dramas were handled well and I also loved the care he gave to his sisters, his parents on the other hand grated on my nerves. I was surprised by what we came to find out about Evelyn, I knew something had happened but I had no idea what it was, I liked how this element was revealed and dealt with. Both characters were likeable, Evelyn did come across as na├»ve but she was very sweet and Mateo is a good guy with a tragic past, they complimented each other well. 

Despite enjoying this book, the wow factor was missing as I found nothing was new and fresh, I thought things were repetitive and at times lacklustre and some of the secondary characters were stereotypical and seemed to be included without purpose.

Overall, Once Perfect wasn’t perfect for me but I was satisfied with the outcome and look forward to reading the next book in the Shattered Past series.

Thank you kindly to Random House - Loveswept via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review Once Perfect.



Cecy RobsonAbout the author: CECY (pronounced Sessy) ROBSON is the Penguin Random House New Adult author of Once Perfect, Once Loved, and Once Pure, and the award-winning author of the Weird Girls Urban Fantasy Romance series. A self-proclaimed professional napper, Cecy counts among her talents a jaw-dropping knowledge of useless trivia, the ability to make her hair big, and a knack for breaking into song despite her family's vehement protests. A writer, registered nurse, and mother living in the South, Cecy enjoys spending time with her family and silencing the yappy characters in her head by telling their stories.

Connect with Cecy online at www.cecyrobson.com, twitter.com/cecyrobson orfacebook.com/Cecy.Robson.Author

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post {16th November}

 

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Hi everyone!! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog today. 

 The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews 

 It's a chance to share what has happened the past week, showcase books and other bookish things we have received and talk about what is coming up on our blog. I haven’t posted a TSP/STS in a little while now so these books are from the past few weeks.

Current YA/NA Giveaways
Molli Moran – One Song Away

ReVamped (Angel Creek, #1) ReAwakened (Angel Creek, #2) Out of Control One Song Away

Received for Review

Captive by Aimee Carter
(Sample) A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab
A Darker Past by Jus Accardo
The Shape of my Heart by Ann Aguirre 
The Flywheel by Erin Gough
Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano

Captive (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #2) A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1) A Darker Past (Darker Agency, #2)
 The Shape of My Heart  (2B Trilogy #3) Burning Kingdoms (Internment Chronicles, #2)

Purchased

Stone Cold Touch by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Stone Cold Touch (The Dark Elements, #2)

Last week on the blog

Guest Post – Darkness series by Stacey Marie Brown
Author interview - M.R. Merrick (The Protector & Sacred Cities series)
Author spotlight/excerpt – Helia’s Shadow by K.C. Neal
Author interview - Ada Adams (Angel Creek series)
US vs Aust/UK cover contest – Out of Control by Sarah Alderson
Series/Author spotlight – Marie Landry, Angel Creek
Guest post – Jen Fredrick (Woodlands series)
Excerpt – Come Back to Me by Mila Gray aka Sarah Alderson

What exciting bookish goodies did you receive this week?

Giveaways!

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