Friday, 6 March 2015

Review: Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

Falling into Place by Amy Zhang
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: September 9th 2014
My rating: 3 stars 



On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road. Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect?


Falling into Place really was a beautifully written debut from Zhang; she was able to weave a story of loss, hope and friendship exquisitely. To be honest I didn’t really like our MC Liz, yes I appreciated getting to know her character better with the flashbacks that we were given over time, but they didn’t really make me like her anymore. But at the same time I did really feel sorry for her, she had nobody her mum was constantly working away, one of her best friends had turned to drugs and the other one was going through her own problems. I could see how the silence at home could be unbearable, but the only way Liz could deal with it was by getting totally wasted and forgetting everything. Also I knew the flashbacks were there to give us a better understanding of Liz’s character, but some of the things she did, she could be so hateful at times, totally ruining people’s lives and when you thought that Liz would take that step to make things better again, she just wouldn’t. Another thing despite the horrid things she did you still had people sweet like Liam hanging on to Liz, I just couldn’t get why. 

My feelings about Liz aside, I did like how Zhang gave us this story, we were able to learn about our characters through many different perspectives. It was horrible seeing them go through so much heartache, but in the end one thing still brought them together and that was Liz. Liz wasn’t the most caring character, but she was the rock that kept everything stuck together, no one really realised just how much dependent they had become on Liz until there was the chance that she wouldn’t be around anymore.

From the beginning I had all but given up hope on Liz surviving, she had planned everything in such an articulate way and had given up on everything. The way that Zhang had told the story it did seem that Liz wouldn’t make it, but as the story progressed and more characters started coming through and sharing their stories of Liz, the more I didn’t want Liz to die, I wanted her to keep on fighting because life has so much to offer.

I wasn’t able to form the best connection with Liz’s character; I just kept alternating between feelings of disappointment and annoyance. But characters such as Julia and Liam definitely made up for this lack of connection, seeing Liz’s character and life through their and many other characters eyes did at times make me see things differently. And for that I’m grateful for. Falling into Place was a story I had been expecting to be an emotional wreck over, but surprisingly I wasn’t, but nevertheless it was a beautifully written debut.



Thursday, 5 March 2015

Review: Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop

Vision in Silver (The Others #3) by Anne Bishop
Publisher: Penguin Group
Publication date: March 3rd 2015
My rating:  5 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository 


The Others freed the  cassandra sangue  to protect the blood prophets from exploitation, not realizing their actions would have dire consequences. Now the fragile seers are in greater danger than ever before—both from their own weaknesses and from those who seek to control their divinations for wicked purposes. In desperate need of answers, Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter leader among the Others, has no choice but to enlist blood prophet Meg Corbyn’s help, regardless of the risks she faces by aiding him.

Meg is still deep in the throes of her addiction to the euphoria she feels when she cuts and speaks prophecy. She knows each slice of her blade tempts death. But Others and humans alike need answers, and her visions may be Simon’s only hope of ending the conflict.

For the shadows of war are deepening across the Atlantik, and the prejudice of a fanatic faction is threatening to bring the battle right to Meg and Simon’s doorstep…
 



My Thoughts:
I’m sad after finishing Visions of Silver because I truly didn’t want the book to end!  I kept thinking “nooooo” as I saw the percentage on my Kindle climbing to 100.  I have to say this is my favorite fantasy series out there to date.  This installment was very much about Monty and his daughter Lizzy, and the changing relationship between terra indigene and humans. 

As we know from the previous books, Elayne, Monty’s former lover, had taken up with Nicolas Scratch, prominent spokesperson of Humans First and Last and this becomes very important to the events that play out in Vision in Silver.  HFL’s movement stirs up much hate towards the terra indigene and forms a divisive line between the humans who are friendly towards terra indigene and those who are not. 

The lines between humans and terra indigene in the Lakeside Courtyard, on the other hand, have become blurred. Now instead of thinking of them as just “clever meat”, they’re viewed as members of their human pack, or Meg’s human pack, affording them consideration and protection.   These changes in attitude are thanks to Meg, she’s the catalyst, “The Trailblazer” in a new friendship forming between the two kinds.

Living outside of an institutionalized situation is also becoming an issue with the rescued Cassandra Sangue girls, as well as Meg.  The outside world can easily overwhelm these girls to a dangerous level.  But because Meg is a little more self-aware and been on the outside longer, she’s able to recognize triggers that set these girls on edge.

There are so many aspects to this series I love to think about, like the “verbal hierarchy” The Others used to indicate the degree of interaction with an individual: they’d use the Lizzy to indicate more of an outsider, or worse that Lizzy to indicate a human they didn’t like. As soon as humans became closer they became just Lizzy or in the case of Meg where there’s special affection and possession assigned, our Meg. The interactions between the humans and terra indigene in the Lakeside Courtyard continue to be fascinating and hilarious at times.

Of course the development of the romance between Simon and Meg continues to be my favorite part of the story.  Simon and Meg are very new to the dynamics of a romantic relationship (not that they actually know they’re in one) and so some of their feelings take a while click.  It’s very entertaining to witness the light coming on.  

Things are coming to a head with the humans and the terra indigene, especially in regards to the powerful, more dangerous, wild forms of terra indigene.  They are for the moment quietly sitting back and watching all the interactions, but could very quickly step in and wipe out all the humans if they become more of a threat. 

It’s hard to properly express how special and unique this series is. All I can say is if you haven’t picked it up, you are definitely missing out! 






 

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Publisher: Orion
Publication Date: 12th February 2015
My rating: 5 stars 


This is a world divided by blood – red or silver. The poverty-stricken Reds are commoners, living in the shadow of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers. To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from the Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change. Then Mare finds herself working at the Silver palace, in the midst of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.


Red Queen simply blew me away. It was a book which I had been hearing a lot of praise for a few months back, but with new releases I usually tend to follow them for a while to see people’s opinions, this time however I decided to just dive in without reading much about it and to be honest this made reading Red Queen a much better experience for me.

Mare’s conscription is coming up pretty soon with three older brothers already sent out in the army, Mare doesn’t really have herself set up for big things, her sister Gisa is the talented one and Mare gets by, by stealing off unsuspecting people. But one night when she gets caught everything changes over night, she is called to serve in the King’s castle, Mare is a red, so considered lower than the silver. But having to serve silver is much better for her than what Mare would have expected. But quickly again things change for Mare in the blink of an eye, when she goes to show an ability no red was expected to have, she is forced to stand beside the King’s family, its either this or death, a no real brainer.

I was immediately swept away by this world that Aveyard had created I wanted to know about the silver and red groups. Despite getting the story from Mare, as a red I was curious to find out more about silvers, they all couldn’t be as bad as everyone was saying they could be could they? And the silver had all these cool abilities, honestly I felt like I was caught up in another X-Men movie, it was like a dream for me, as I’m the biggest fan ever of X-Men type abilities. And Aveyard actually wrote this aspect in pretty well, the abilities she described and how individuals coped with them was made truly believable, and the detail that she went into describing them gave a great picture of what it would be like standing by watching a magnetron take on a burner (controllers of fire and heat). And even though it was the silver who possessed all these special abilities I enjoyed being thrust into their scary world.

Mare was given a difficult task to deal with, her real existence could be revealed so easily with just a slight cut and everyone would know that Mare wasn’t the silver that she claimed to be. And it wasn’t as if Mare fell into this situation in the best way either, there were plenty of people that wanted Mare out of the way and would do anything possible to do so. But I’m glad that Mare did find some respite in people such as Lucas and Julian, it was clear to say they had her best interests at heart. The rest of the family close to the King though, it was hard to just judge who was telling the truth, and just who could you trust? I did have an inkling about some characters, and when certain things would go a certain way (Highlight to view spoiler) Mare would push Cal away, I really didn’t want her to, you know from the first moment two characters meet, you know they’re meant to be together? That’s what it was like for Cal and Mare, so things that Cal did; I was easily able to forgive. I was just watching for the little glimpses, touches between them, and the small amount that we did get were worth it. Maven was a sweet guy, but something in my gut was just telling me I couldn’t trust him, I didn’t however have any inkling to how far his treachery would go, but deeply I didn’t want him to be with Mare, and I think that reason contributed a lot to why I couldn’t fully like him, root for him or really want to understand his character. And I suppose with the way things turned out it was a good thing 

Aveyard really went out her way to create wonderfully endearing complex characters. It was natural to want to root for Mare and want her to maintain her lie for as long as possible and hopefully go on and achieve great things for reds. Some say that there’s a sort of love square in Red Queen, but I knew and I think Mare knew who she really cared for, she found herself in a situation that really couldn’t allow her to show any sort of affection for this person, but now as well with the way things have gone down, I know it could take some time to get back what could have been. But to me Aveyard has given subtle glimpses of hope that this could be possible and I really hope that it does.

Red Queen was an exquisite debut from Aveyard, usually it takes a few books for an author to become a favourite, but Aveyard has managed to become a favourite author of mine with just one book. I’m really struggling to describe just how hard I fell in love with the book, world and characters that Aveyard created, I was never left wanting for something to happen, as there was constantly something lurking around the corner waiting to deal a swift blow on your head and heart. I will be eagerly counting down the days that I can finally be with these fantastic set of characters once more.




Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Release Day Review & Giveaway: Becoming Rain by K.A. Tucker

Becoming Rain RB Banner
  I really enjoyed Burying Water so I'm excited to take part in the Release Blitz for K.A. Tucker's BECOMING RAIN! BECOMING RAIN is a New Adult Romantic Suspense novel, and the second novel in K.A. Tucker’s Burying Water Series, published by Atria books, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster.  I have my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway for my post.

Becoming Rain 

 

BECOMING RAIN US BUY LINKS:

UK BUY LINKS/BECOMING RAIN:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple | Google | Waterstones | Foyles


About BECOMING RAIN: Luke Boone doesn't know exactly what his uncle Rust is involved in but he wants in on it-the cars, the money, the women. And it looks like he's finally getting his wish. When Rust hands him the managerial keys to the garage, they come with a second set-one that opens up the door to tons of cash and opportunity. Though it's not exactly legal, Luke's never been one to worry about that sort of thing. Especially when it puts him behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 and onto the radar of gorgeous socialite named Rain. Clara Bertelli is at the top of her game-at only twenty-six years old, she's one of the most successful undercover officers in the Washington D.C. major crime unit, and she's just been handed a case that could catapult her career and expose one of the west coast's most notorious car theft rings. But, in order to do it, she'll need to go deep undercover as Rain Martines. Her target? The twenty-four-year old nephew of a key player who appears ready to follow in his uncle's footsteps. As Clara drifts deeper into the luxurious lifestyle of Rain, and further into the arms of her very attractive and charming target, the lines between right and wrong start to blur, making her wonder if she'll be able to leave it all behind. Or if she'll even want to.


My Thoughts:
Mysteries and romantic suspense have been my first love when I truly became passionate about reading.  I’d stay up into the wee hours of the morning to find out who did it, or to make sure our hero and heroine would come out of their dangerous situation, catch the bad guy, and live happily ever after.  So I’m happy that K.A. Tucker has been taking New Adult into that territory. Becoming Rain was less mysterious and dangerous than Burying Water (the first book in this series), falling more into the category of romance with a bit of danger and suspense thrown in, but definitely an addictive read.   

Clara is a dedicated police officer who finds satisfaction bringing criminals to justice, mostly through undercover work. When the offer to catch and shut down a car theft-ring, one that doesn’t care if they hurt people to make a profit, she jumps at the chance.  Getting close to Luke Boone won’t be as unpalatable as her last marks, even if he is a criminal, because he’s gorgeous.  So Clara assumes the identity of Rain Martines, a rich daddy’s girl living off her father’s dime in a million dollar condo directly across from Luke’s luxury digs.  Clara doesn’t think she’ll have any qualms about deceiving and nailing Luke until she meets him and realizes the situation is not as cut and dry as she thought.  Luke is a genuinely nice guy, someone who cares about others, who is about to get strung up because of his family and their illegal mess. The more Clara/Rain is around Luke the more her heart and conscience won’t allow her to just hang him out to dry. The attraction simmering between them becomes combustible and irresistible. Will Rain be able to keep Luke at arm’s length or will she give in and put her whole career in jeopardy?

We met Luke Boone, Jesse’s best friend, in the last book, Burying Water.  He was an ambitious, ladies man eager to make money and live the glamorous life his uncle dangles in front of him. But he still had a conscience and passed on information to Jesse that ended up saving Water’s life.

Luke has knows not all of his uncle’s business is above board and legal, but he’s not prepared for the tugs at his conscience when all it revealed.  The situation is quickly becoming more dangerous and tangled by the day, making him more and more uncomfortable.  Can he carry on the business as his uncle expects and live with himself?  When Rain shows up in his life and he ends up falling, his doubts and questions take on more urgency.

K.A. Tucker successfully blended this romance full of moral dilemma that made you long for a happy ending.  Both Luke and Rain faced difficult decisions, and at times gave into weaknesses, but I could sympathize with their predicaments. I enjoyed watching them get to know and fall for each other in these dangerous circumstances. Both did the best they could with their circumstances, and I was happy with how it all turned out.




Becoming Rain - Teaser 1
Excerpt:



“Let us know if you have any more problems.” Luke flashes that wide, charming smile that stalls my feet just a little.
Still no mention of connecting again. In fact, I’d say Luke has gone out of his way to skirt the subject. He’s just not interested. That’s all there is to it. Or maybe he’s waiting for me to bring it up again. But if he’s not, then bringing it up will make me look desperate. I’m guessing he doesn’t like desperate women.
Luke Boone has me in a tailspin. No target has ever had me second-guessing myself this much, this early. It’s just the pressure of the case, I remind myself. “I’m sure I will.” I take long, slow steps, ensuring my movements are sleek and appealing, the opposite of my frantic thoughts, as I desperately search for another hook, since nothing I’m casting has caught so far.
“So, when did you say you’re cooking dinner for me?”
I fight the urge to groan with relief but I can’t keep the smile from exploding across my face. “Whenever you call me.” I turn to regard him, to see his smug face—like he knew I was waiting for it all along, like he was toying with me—and nod to the sheet on his desk. “You have my number.”
“I do.” His eyes twinkle. “I’ll call you soon.”
Thank fucking God.
I wait until I’m in my car and around the corner before turning off my wire and squealing like a fourteen-year-old who just got asked out to the movies. I dial Warner to debrief, my heart still racing. It’s standard protocol to call in after every meeting with my target. Up until now, I’ve had nothing but failure to report. And, while this may not seem like much . . .
I think I’m finally in.
 


Burying Water
  BURYING WATER, the first book in this thrilling series…

Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iBooks ** Kobo ** IndieBound


About BURYING WATER: The top-selling, beloved indie author of Ten Tiny Breaths returns with a new romance about a young woman who loses her memory—and the man who knows that the only way to protect her is to stay away. Left for dead in the fields of rural Oregon, a young woman defies all odds and survives—but she awakens with no idea who she is, or what happened to her. Refusing to answer to “Jane Doe” for another day, the woman renames herself “Water” for the tiny, hidden marking on her body—the only clue to her past. Taken in by old Ginny Fitzgerald, a crotchety but kind lady living on a nearby horse farm, Water slowly begins building a new life. But as she attempts to piece together the fleeting slivers of her memory, more questions emerge: Who is the next-door neighbor, quietly toiling under the hood of his Barracuda? Why won’t Ginny let him step foot on her property? And why does Water feel she recognizes him? Twenty-four-year-old Jesse Welles doesn’t know how long it will be before Water gets her memory back. For her sake, Jesse hopes the answer is never. He knows that she’ll stay so much safer—and happier—that way. And that’s why, as hard as it is, he needs to keep his distance. Because getting too close could flood her with realities better left buried. The trouble is, water always seems to find its way to the surface.

Becoming Rain - Teaser 2

Author Photo About K.A. Tucker: Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.        

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Sunday, 1 March 2015

Monthly Recap: February


Hi all, I hope you all had a great reading month! I was planning to be really great this month like so many other bloggers at fitting in all the TV shows with the books, but that didn't really happen this month, but I did finally buy the box set to Suits and watch a few episodes and I can easily say I am a fan already! This year I'm planning to tackle my tbr pile, so the monthly poll is back this month, where you guys can choose which book I should read, the poll can be found at the bottom of the post and you have until the 4th to make your choice. And here's our recap of February for you!

Number of Books read:
Jasprit: 11
Rachel: 17

Highest Rated Book(s): 
Jasprit: 
Three 5 star reads



Rachel:

Four 5 star reads!


Once Upon a Rose (La Vie en Roses, #1) Worth the Risk (The McKinney Brothers, #2) Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3) Envy

Lowest Rated Book(s):
Jasprit: 
Both of these were DNF's for me




Rachel: 
1 star for Fading Out and DNF for Clear

Fading Out (Living Heartwood, #3)  Clear: A Death Trippers Novel

Books reviewed:

Jasprit: 
(click on titles for review link)


  
    

  
  

Rachel: 


(click on titles for review link)

Crash & Burn (Tessa Leoni, #3)  Once Upon a Rose (La Vie en Roses, #1)  Worth the Risk (The McKinney Brothers, #2)
The Trouble with Texas Cowboys (Burnt Boot, Texas, #2)  Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)



Best read of last month:
Jasprit: I don't think I'd be able to choose between Archetype and Red Queen, both books were amazing in their own respects, and had me literally sitting on the edge of my seat throughout.

Rachel: 
Well you see I have four 5 star reads above, but I think my favorite (hard choice to make!) was Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand.  It was just so much fun to read. 

Book which surprised me the most: 
Jasprit: Archetype by M.D Waters. A lot of my blogging friends had enjoyed this one, but as I hadn't heard a lot about it, I waited before finally giving it a go, and boy did it take me by surprise with Waters writing such a exceedingly good storyline.

Rachel: 
I was surprised the most by Clear by Jessica Park, but not in a good way.  The story was so different from her other books and it was not my cup of tea at all. I don't like stories with a faulty/unreliable narrator, and there was one more issue that I can't mention because it would spoil the premise of the plot. It was a DNF for me.

Fictional crush of the month:
Jasprit: There were quite a few swoon worthy guys this month, but I'm going to have to go with Michael Moskowitz, I loved this guy when I was growing up and reading the Princess Diaries series, but now he's all grown up, I fell for him even more! Honestly I would go further to even say he would be my dream guy in real life!

Rachel:
Big and growly, teddy-bear at heart Matt in Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand.  He had a gruff exterior and a sweet, gooey marshmallow center!  Plus, he was flipping HOT!!


Three books I'm most looking forward to this month:

Jasprit:
(Click on titles for Goodreads link)

  
  

I ended up devouring Archetype by M.D Waters last month, so I can't wait to finally dive into the crazy world of Prototype, I'm grateful that I have Rashika reading this one with me, as I am super scared. My first book I read by Kirby was last year and I simply loved it, the reviews have been great for Things We Know by Heart so far, so I'm hoping that I will end up loving this one too. And The Winner's Crime really needs no introductions, I have been reading about all the feels people have been having, so I'm ready, sort of...

 

Rachel:
(Click on titles for Goodreads link)

Return to Me (Covington Cove, #1)  Breath of Scandal  It's Always Been You (Coming Home, #5)

I do love a good second chance romance and Return to Me sounds wonderful! Kelly Moran has high ratings on Goodreads. I've been loving Sandra Brown's mysteries and so I'm excited to read Breath of Scandal, although I do hear it's darker than her other books. We'll see. I really enjoyed Jessica Scott's writing and so I'm looking forward to continuing the Coming Home series. 


Bookish Photo:

 

How cool is this display of The Girl on the Train at my local bookstore? I like how they've come up with their own train ticket for this. I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on this book soon. 


Monthly poll:

Which book should Jasprit read this month?

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