April 24, 2015

Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Written in Red by Anne Bishop
Series: The Others #1 
Source: Kindle Copy
Publisher: Roc
Publication Date: March 5th 2013
Age Genre: Adult (graphic violence)
Challenges: TBR-Paid For
Challenges: Flights of Fantasy
Meg Corbyn is on the run. Alone and desperate, she stumbles into the Lakeside Courtyard, where the Others reside. Meg knows entering a Courtyard is a dangerous risk - most people who tangle with the Others end up dead - but it's the only place she'll be safe from the people chasing her.
For Simon Wolfgard, leader of the Others residing in Lakeside, Meg is a puzzle and he has to decide if she is worth the fight to keep her in the Courtyard. It will be a fight not just with the humans hunting her down, but with some of the Others - as well as a fight with his own confusing feelings towards Meg.
For Police Officer Montgomery, Meg is the property he's supposed to recover - and the spark that could start a confrontation with the Others that would wipe out the human city of Lakeside.
And for Meg, who has seen her own future, living in the Courtyard is a chance to have a life - for what little time she has left.
(I chose this summary because it is the least revealing, and I think you should go into this book with as little background as possible to feel the full impact)
I'm not even sure if I have enough words to describe the amazingness of this book. And certainly I don't have enough words to explain what's so amazing about it. I don't even know how to explain that to myself, but I will try to anyways. Don't ever say I don't love you guys.

Have you ever read a book so good you just... want to re-read it the moment you finish it? Like, you know you've got other books that need your attention, but you want to go back to these characters and world you almost don't care? You just crave to be there again? Written in Red is literally THAT book. I applaud my self discipline for not re-reading it again immediately. I did, however, had to order the sequel.

The world in Written in Red is beyond incredible, both in the way it's built up throughout the book and the way it just is. It's all constructed slowly, sometimes between the lines, and so believably and seamlessly; from the mythology and the creation story, to the dynamics, the multiple povs and the un-romanticization of the supernatural.

That's right. Written in Red doesn't gloss over the reality of The Others. That is, they're the predators... and we're the prey. You're going to see your favorite characters kill, and they never hesitate about it. They never second guess. They never show remorse. And it's not going to make you love them less. If anything, you'll love them more for being so blatantly what they are. 

That said, they do... soften, throughout the book... thanks to Meg. 

Meg's the girl on the cover--though that's hardly how I imagine her. She's the human that starts to change things. She's running from something (and trust me, it's way creepy and way worth discovering on your own when you read it), and to escape, she applies for the job of the human Liaison in the Lakeside courtyard, where human laws do not apply.

Throughout her stay, she wins over both the humans and Others at the courtyard, with her kindness and innocence that kind of clash with her spunk and bravery (which she shows even in the face of Big Bad Wolves). And she just may be the bridge to create a different world. Already, the Others who have met her start to show more... considerations to the useful humans they don't plan to eat.

Others like Simon, Meg's surly boss and the leader of the courtyard; Vlad (can you guess what creature he is?), Sam (cutest cub ever), Tess, Winter, Jester.... And all of these characters, while being so Other, are also so very lovable. I adore each and every one of them--even when they murder in cold blood!

And while I can't categorize this book as romance, there is a big enough hint of it to LET THE SHIPPING BEGIN!
Luckily, I'm pretty sure my ship is going to be cannon, and I am going to have SO much fun seeing it come to life!

And finally, I could not stop reading this book. Like, for reals. It's been a long time since a book managed to hold me prisoner like that--and it's not like the book was filled with excitement all the time (a huge part of it is day-to-day life). It didn't need that to keep me interested.

My message to you? Read this book. RIGHT NOW. Go, do it! you're not going to be sorry!


April 17, 2015

Tattoo Thief by Heidi Joy Tretheway

Tattoo Thief by Heidi Joy Tretheway 
Series: Tattoo Thief #1
Source: Free kindle copy
Publisher: Jasper Ridge Press
Publication Date: October 6th 2013
Age Genre: New Adult 
Challenges: TBR-Read Your Freebies
Challenges: Contemporary
22-year-old Beryl doesn't know why Gavin Slater trashed his penthouse, abandoned his dog and fled the country. But as his house sitter, she must pick up the pieces for the front man of the white-hot rock band Tattoo Thief.
When ultra-responsible Beryl confronts the reckless rock star, she wants to know more than just what to do with his mess. Why is he running? What’s he searching for? And is he responsible for the death of his muse?
New York newbie Beryl must find her footing in Gavin’s crazy world of the ultra-wealthy to discover her own direction and what can bring him back.
If Tom says so, it must be right ;)
Okay, color me shocked. I never really expected to like this book much. Maybe that's mean of me (who am I kidding? It's definitely mean of me), but I just... I was apprehensive. Still, I'm a sucker for the Rock Star x Normal Girl trope (and, if anybody knows of a book featuring this trope but opposite, please share), but it's also not a secret that I've been disappointed by some of the so called best of the lot.

Tattoo Thief tells the story of Beryl, a twenty two years old woman who feels stuck in her job, so when her late dad's best friend shows up and offers her a job in NY, she takes it. And then her roommate deal falls off, and a house sitting gig falls in her lap...

And not just any house - Gavin Slater's. Oh, c'mon. Don't pretend you don't know who that is. Just the hottest lead singer in the hottest rock band alive - Tattoo Thief. He seems to have gone through some form of meltdown, though, and Beryl might be just the person to bring him back.

Now Beryl... she's a tough one for me. I both loved her and hated her. I loved the brave, takes-shit-from-no-one kind of girl she proved herself to be in New York. I loved that she looked at houses and saw people, and that she often wanted to fix them. I liked her dynamics with Dan, Charles and Jasper (who is the most perfect doggie ever!).

I didn't like her shameless snooping. I didn't like that she went on that drive with Peter (seriously?!). And I supremely didn't like the Lulu's Clothes thing. It's a relatively small thing to be so putout by, but I couldn't suppress my distaste and disdain with the fact she was wearing a dead woman's clothes.

Now the love story... I did feel like they fall for each other a bit too fast. I mean, I loved their email chats, but every conversation kind of ended with them mad at each other, so why are you also falling in love? But they were cute. Even if there was way too little of actual Gavin.

Stella... Stella reminds me of Stella from winx club. Same type of person; self-centered, kind of boy-crazy, easily hurts her friends without noticing (and sometimes, definitely noticing and still does it). See what you did there, character? You made me draw Winx Club analogies. Shame on you!

I don't think I could've forgiven Stella if I were in Beryl's shoes... though, she clearly uncovered something earth shattering about herself to Beryl at the end there to gain her forgiveness... and I can't wait to find out what! (Sadistic of me, I know)

And the ending.. well, I feel cheated! I was reading along, my kindle telling me I still have 48 minutes in the book when BAM the end and turns out those 48 minutes are previews for the next book. Seriously?! Bad book, you fooled me!

I wanted more time with Beryl and Gavin just being Beryl and Gavin together!


April 10, 2015

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Source: Bought Hardcover
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: February 26th 2013
Age Genre: Young Adult
Challenges: TBR-Cleaning My Shelves
Challenges: Contemporary  
Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.
Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
I joined the Rainbow Rowell bandwagon a while ago, when I read and loved Fangirl, so Eleanor & Park has been on the top of my TBR list for a while now. I was just so darn excited for this one! But from the get-go, this book and I... we didn't click.
It started with the slang. I know, what? Well, this book is set in 1986, right? 1986 slang should be different than contemporary slang. Maybe not by much, and maybe not all of it, but some. And yet, the boys and girls cursed and swore same as they would today. And that bothered me to no end! I wanted to feel like I was in 1986. I didn't.

Then there was the love story. I loved the love story in Fangirl. I expected to be similarly bespelled by Eleanor & Park's. Can you sense the 'but I wasn't?' coming? Because I wasn't. It started out good. Them not talking. Then them starting to kind-of-maybe be friends through comics. Then them saying they need each other---wait, what? Huh?

This is insta love. They know almost nothing of each other. They've known each other for such a short while in which they were talking. I'll buy lust. I'll buy attraction. I'll even totally buy them starting to go out because let's face it, when you're sixteen loving the same comic books can totally be a reason to start dating.

But that excessive "I need you's" and "I live for you's"? Were they necessary at that point? Couldn't they have been pushed back eons and be given at a more appropriate time in the plot, where I could believe them?

From the moment those words were uttered, I was over the romance. Big time. I seriously considered DNFing when this line of dialogues continued, but I was so damn interested in Eleanor's family story. I wanted to know what will happen with this heartbreaking background too damned much to give up on the book.

And the ending? I've seen plenty who hated it. I did too, but not on account of Eleanor & Park. No, I disliked the ending because SPOILER we have no idea what happened to her family. We know from Park's POV that they left Richie (thank god and it's about effing time and good riddance), but we also know through Eleanor's POV that they're not at their uncle's with her, because she doesn't mention them once. The sole reason I read on - and I wasn't satisfied! END SPOILER

All in all, this is not the Rowell book I'd recommend. It's not bad, but it's far from perfect.


April 3, 2015

Sins of the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Sins of the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: Dark Hunter #6
Source: Bought paperback
Publisher: Piatkus
Publication Date: November 1st, 2011
Age Genre: Adult
Challenges: TBR - Cleaning my Shelves
Challenges: Sequel-Prequel
Challenges: Flights of Fantasy
In the realm of the Dark-Hunters there is a code of honour that even immortal bad boys must follow: harm no human; drink no blood; never fall in love. Alexion is the defender of that code. He is judge, jury and executioner; if they step over the line it's his wrath they will face. For centuries Alexion has survived alone. Isolated and haunted by his human past, he has learned to distance himself from his emotions and his role ensures that even his fellow Dark-Hunters give him a wide berth.
However, this time the rouge Dark-Hunter is an old friend. Alexion cannot destroy him without at least allowing him one last chance at redemption. But to do this he needs the help of a female Dark-Hunter who goes by the name Danger. And the last time Alexion ran into her, she tried to kill him...
It's been a few months since I last read a Dark Hunter novel. But for the life of me, I can't figure out what changed. I used to really enjoy these books, but if this one is any indication... I am no longer impressed. It was so mediocre. 

This review is going to be written in points.

1. The writing. I came into reading Sins of the Night from reading The Woman Who Rides Like a Man. I know, a bit of a leap. But had I not done that, I would've never realized I don't notice much different between the two, writing wise. And considering I feel The Song of the Lioness series is kind of childish in it's writing style, I suddenly noticed I feel the same way about this book. I don't remember feeling that way about the rest of the books, though...

2. Insta love - yes, all the DH novels have a very Insta Love vibe to them. But this was probably the worst of the lot. You know right ahead this has to be insta love, as Lexi only has ten days in his human body. But did it have to be... this bad? Did they have to sprut words of deep understanding of each other and undying love by the end of those ten days? guh.
3. Danger is not kick ass. Aside for her name, Danger reads like any other heroine out there. I was so excited to be in the head of a Dark Huntress, but was sorely disappointed by how un-kickass she was. She lacked an edge that all the counter male Dark Hunter in the series so far had, and I was looking forward to seeing that specific edge play in a woman.

4. It wasn't hot. Maybe it's me. Maybe I've read so many "adult" novels by now that this no longer impresses me. But these books were synonymous with "Hot" in my head before, and after reading this book, I'm wondering if my memory is playing tricks on me. This... didn't do much for me. It felt so very blah. 

5. How can the Dark Hunters be so stupid? I swear, after seeing them fall for that stupid lie about Acheron from the mouth of a freaking Daimon, their enemy, my respect for them was taken down a notch. Like, seriously? Maybe I'm biased cause we've freaking read of him being whipped for these ungrateful brats, but shit! THEY'RE YOUR ENEMIES! why do you trust them!?
6. No cameos! I love seeing old characters, and that's the main charm of series like Dark Hunter. I was waiting to see some of my friends to alleviate my sinking thoughts on this book, but it was not meant to be.

1. SIMI! my god, the only redeeming feature in this book was Simi and Acheron. I love these two, especially together, and I loved watching their family dynamics - especially with the added role of Lex. Though, correct me if I'm wrong, but we haven't heard a peeps on Lex before, did we? That left a sour taste in my mouth, considering he's apparently one of the only things Acheron truly loves...



April 2, 2015

Rock and a Hard Place by Angie Stanton

Rock and a Hard Place 
Series: The Jamieson Collection #1
Source: bought paperback
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: September 24th 2013
Age Genre: Young Adult
Original Post: October 14, 2013
Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Susane Colasanti, Angie Stanton's swoon-worthy romance--about an ordinary girl and a young rock star--will keep readers on the edge of their seats . . . and leave them wanting more.
In an instant, Libby's life went from picture-perfect to a nightmare. After surviving a terrible car accident, Libby is abandoned by her father and left with her controlling aunt. A new town, a new school, no friends--Libby is utterly alone. But then she meets Peter.
The lead singer in a rock band with his brothers, Peter hates that his parents overly manage his life. Constantly surrounded by family, Peter just wants to get away. And when he meets Libby, he's finally found the one person who just wants to be with him, not the rock star.
But while Peter battles his family's growing interference in both his music and personal life, Libby struggles with her aunt, who turns nastier each day. And even though Libby and Peter desperately want to be together, their drastically different lives threaten to keep them apart forever.
There is only one way to describe Rock a Hard Place:
The story starts with a chance meeting between two very different people: Peter and Libby. A meeting that each comes out from feeling a little... different. Like the other frees and soothes something in them. Attraction ensues. A relationship starts.

They were both great characters; Libby is easy to relate to, because of how human and strong she grows to be.

Peter is easy to love, because he never let fame get to his head, and what he truly loves is the music - not the attention that comes with it.
this feels like Libby and Peter to me. 
The book mostly revolves around their romantic relationship, which is pretty insta love, BUT, I felt like it was okay like this. And trust me, as an advocate against insta love everywhere, this means something.

They both drew strength they might've otherwise not possessed from the relationship: Libby finds the will to stand up for herself, and Peter finds inspiration and a renewed energy to face the limelight now that he has the solace of Libby's company.

I find that this is the type of relationship I like best.

But the thing that really convinced me of them happens half way through... and it's a spoiler. A long one.

SPOILER Libby and Peter get separated, and quite dramatically. But what makes this book beautiful and unique is how they both handle it. 

How many times have we watched a main female character break apart and fall to pieces over a breakup? But don't worry, there's no Bella Syndrome for Libby. Instead of letting their time together bring her down, she uses it to draw strength to move on and become better. To become an independent, strong young woman who knows exactly what she wants and gets it. 

I cannot express the amount of love I have for Libby (and Angie, who wrote her), for choosing this path.  

On the other hand, it's Peter who shows the more traditional symptoms of depression and unhappiness. But it's not pathetic, because he doesn't let it stop him from doing his job--or stop him from finding Libby. It was heartwarming ♥ END SPOILER

This book was just so good. I read it in one sitting, the pages flew by this fast. And When I was done, I wanted more.