Monday, 31 March 2014

Pepped Up (Pepped Up #1) by Ali Dean

Pepped Up
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Pepper Jones is ready for an epic cross country season. She wants to qualify for Nationals, and she’s willing to do anything it takes to make it happen. She can handle long miles and hill sprints, but boys? That’s an entirely different challenge.

Pepper’s never considered revealing her deeper feelings for her longtime friend, Jace Wilder. After all, he’s got the personal magnetism and good looks to hook just about any girl in town -- and he has. Their friendship stands apart from high school social circles, and they’re both just fine with that (or at least they pretend to be).

That is, until running star Ryan Harding moves to town.

When it comes to running, Pepper’s goals are clear. But when it comes to Jace and Ryan, it’s nowhere near as simple.

Pepped Up by Ali Dean

My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

Pepped Up(Source: I own a copy of this book.)
17-year-old Pepper is a cross-country runner, and while she knows how to run, she doesn’t necessarily know what to do when boys start to take an interest in her.
Ryan is also a runner, and Pepper really likes him, but her best friend Jace seems be acting weird, and she wonders if he might feel the same way about her that she feels about him.
Does Jace really like Pepper? Or should she go for it with Ryan?

This was a good YA story about cross-country running, and the problems of a love triangle!

I liked Pepper, and I liked how committed she was to running. Her passion really came across throughout the story, and I was desperately hoping to see how she would do at the competitions.

The storyline in this was pretty good, and really tense in places. When Jace started acting like he maybe did have feelings for Pepper, but at the same time seemed to be pushing her away, I really didn’t know how to solve the problem! It was so frustrating when it seemed like he didn’t want her, but he didn’t want anyone else to have her either.
The romance in this was in the form of a love-triangle, with Ryan also competing for Pepper’s attention. It was so difficult to choose between the two boys though because whilst Ryan was sweet, and Pepper obviously had feelings for him, Jace was an old friend and such a big part of her life that it was impossible to know how things could possibly work out!
There were other things going on in the story, and the running was a big part of it. There were also other things going on that were also difficult problems to solve though, and things really did seem messed up in places.

The ending was okay, but it did seem to happen really quickly. At 97% I was wondering how this could possibly be about to end, and at 99% it was all over! I did think that this ending did lack a little something, and I was surprised to learn that this book is only the first book in the series! Now I have to wait to find out what happens next which is a bit frustrating.
Overall; a good YA contemporary romance with cross-country running,
7.5 out of 10.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Delicate by Steph Campbell

Blurb (From Goodreads):
Sydney Pierce has just met the guy of her dreams…just don’t tell her psycho boyfriend, Trevor.

With a gorgeous boyfriend, a thriving gymnastics career and a stellar academic record, anyone would assume that Sydney has it all. That's precisely what the seventeen-year-old perfectionist wants you to believe, and she works hard to keep up the pretense. Especially now that there are cameras following her for a documentary on Olympic hopefuls.

When Grant, the charming new student, disrupts her carefully crafted routine, the cracks beneath her perfect façade begin to rise to the surface and despite Trevor's objections to their friendship, she can't stay away from him.

As her connection to Grant pulls her closer to him, the once lighthearted relationship with Trevor takes an intense and dark turn, forcing her into a position in which not only her happiness, but her safety is at stake. Can Sydney learn to let go of everything she is clinging to in order to gain everything she has ever wanted, or will she realize her breaking point too late?

Delicate by Steph Campbell

My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

Delicate(Source: I own a copy of this book.)
17-year-old Sydney is a gymnast, but she’s also trying to make it through high school, and keep her boyfriend Trevor happy.
When new guy Grant starts at school, Sydney is shocked at the way that Trevor doesn’t trust her around him, and even starts hurting her when he gets angry or jealous.
Should Sydney stay with Trevor? Or should she be trying to get away from him?

This was an interesting YA contemporary romance, and is definitely the best book I have read by this author so far.

I liked Sydney, and I liked how passionate she was about gymnastics. The connection between both her and Grant, and her and Trevor was obvious, and she really did go out of her way to do nice things for both Grant and Trevor which showed how much she cared.

The storyline in this was pretty good, and even though I was shocked at the way Sydney took the blame when Trevor hit her, or made excuses for him, I know that that is probably the sort of thing that really happens in real life. I did get really annoyed at the way Trevor treated Sydney, and found it really bad the way he didn’t even care that he was hurting her!
I did like the gymnastics elements of the book, and I liked that Sydney had to train, and wasn’t the necessarily the best in the competition. There wasn’t as much made of the TV show element as there could have been though.
I liked the romance in this (with Grant, not Trevor), and I thought that Grant was really sweet. It was a little predictable in places, but I still liked it.
The ending was okay, and I liked that Sydney was finally happy, even if we didn’t really find out what happened to Trevor.
Overall; good YA contemporary romance,
7.5 out of 10.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

The Chase (The Forbidden Game #2) by L.J. Smith

The Chase (The Forbidden Game, #2)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Jenny's friends are lost one by one to a ghostly wolf and a phantom snake, instruments of the sinister but attractive Shadow Man, who has returned from the Shadow World with a deadly game called ""Lambs and Monsters.""

The Chase by L.J. Smith

My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

The Chase by L.J. Smith(Source: I own a copy of this book.)
Jenny and her friends thought they’d won the game, but with the game missing, and Julian possibly on the loose, are any of them really safe? Or is this just the pause before a new game begins?

This was a great second instalment in this paranormal trilogy.
I love the way Julian always aims big, he doesn’t just want Jenny, he wants to make sure that her friends suffer too!
I loved the little clues, even the ones that didn’t make sense, and Julian. Oh my! Julian I really love! He is just perfection! Got to love that bad boy with those beautiful blue eyes! Yes please!
The ending was good, even though we got a cliff-hanger, so it is on to book 3!
Overall; great second instalment,
8.5 out of 10.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Popping the Cherry (Popping the Cherry #1) by Aurelia B. Rowl

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to author Aurelia B. Rowl.
Popping the Cherry
Blurb (from Goodreads):
You only get one first time . . .

From driving tests to relationships, Valentina Bell thinks she’s a failure, with a big fat capital F. At this rate, she’s certain she’ll be a virgin for ever. So Lena’s friends plan Operation: Popping the Cherry to help her find the perfect man first time.

Yet somehow disastrous dates with bad-boy musicians and fabulous evenings with secretly in-the-closet guys aren’t quite working out how Lena planned.

Soon Lena’s avoiding Operation: Popping the Cherry to spend time with comforting, aloof Jake, her best friend’s older brother, who doesn’t make her feel self-conscious about still clinging to her V card. But could Jake show Lena that sometimes what you’re looking for most is right by your side?

A FOREVER for the twenty-first century

Popping the Cherry by Aurelia B. Rowl

My rating: 3.25 of 5 stars

Popping the Cherry(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to author Aurelia B. Rowl.)
17-year-old Valentina just got dumped because she wouldn’t have sex, so now her friends are determined that she needs to lose her virginity.
Will ‘Operation: Popping the Cherry’ be a success? Or should Lena wait for things to happen naturally?

This was an okay story, and I liked how it ended.

Lena was an okay character, but she did need to stand up for herself a little more, and stop letting other people push her around. I didn’t blame her for being annoyed at her friends and their little intervention where her virginity was concerned, but I wish she’d told them that she was happy waiting, rather than being forced to go along with their plans.

The storyline in this was okay, although it wasn’t 100% what I expected. I thought the storyline strayed a bit from the main ‘popping the cherry’ theme, and did stray onto more serious territory, which I wasn’t really expecting.
The romance was one of the main storylines, and I have to say that I got really frustrated! I wanted Lena to stand up for what she wanted more – why go out with guys you don’t like when you know which guy you really want? And even if she wasn’t sure about Jake, why not flirt a bit and take advantage of the fact that he wanted to spend time with her? And when he is flirting back that is a good thing! Don’t push him away when you don’t really want him to go!
The ending was okay, and there were some important lessons that Lena learned, I just wish she had had a bit more self-confidence.
Overall; okay story about peer-pressure and virginity,
6.5 out of 10.

The Hunter (The Forbidden Game #1) by L.J. Smith

The Hunter (The Forbidden Game, #1)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
He sold her the game, and Jenny Thornton walked out mesmerized by Julian, the gorgeous cyber-punk with electric blue eyes and frost-white hair. When she and her friends open the plain white box at her boyfriend Tom’s birthday party, she chills to the warning: “Entering the Shadow World can be deadly. Do so at your own risk.” Spellbound, they piece together the rooms with their darkest nightmares. Suddenly the game is real! They’re in the house of horrors, running from The Shadow Man – Julian himself, who forces them to confront their worst nightmares or be lost in a private hell. It’s Julian’s game, and Jenny is the prize he’s stalked for years. He’ll do anything to win her as she bargains desperately for her body – and soul . . .

The Hunter by L.J. Smith

My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

The Hunter by L.J. Smith(Source: I own a copy of this book.)
16-year-old Jenny is just looking for a party game when she comes across a strange store, and a gorgeous boy who wants to sell her exactly what she wants.
What is the game that Julian sells her? And will Jenny and her friends make it to the end alive?

I haven’t read this book for years, but thankfully it was as good as I remembered.

I liked Jenny although she did irritate me a bit at times. As fearless as she was in some respects, she was a bit of a pushover when it came to her boyfriend and her friends, and seemed to want to do anything to please them.

The storyline in this was pretty good, a bit of a Jumanji meets Labyrinth kind of thing, and I liked that the nightmares that each player faced were actually pretty creepy.
My favourite part of this book was definitely Julian though. I don’t care that he is supposed to be the bad guy; he’s just so charismatic and charming that I would have stayed with him in a heartbeat. What was Jenny thinking – she should totally choose Julian!
The ending was a bit of a cliff-hanger and to be honest I can’t really remember what happens in the second book, but I do remember that we get more romantic scenes with Julian! Yay!
Overall; a good paranormal adventure story, with a little bit of romance,
8.5 out of 10.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Witchfall (The Tudor Witch Trilogy #2) by Victoria Lamb

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Harlequin TEEN and Netgalley.
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Her darkest dreams are coming true...

In Tudor England, 1555, Meg Lytton has learned how powerful her magick gift can be. But danger surrounds her and her mistress, the outcast Princess Elizabeth. Nowhere is safe in the court of Elizabeth's fanatical sister, Queen Mary. And as the Spanish Inquisition's merciless priests slowly tighten their grip on the court, Meg's very dreams are disturbed by the ever-vengeful witchfinder Marcus Dent.

Even as Meg tries to use her powers to find guidance, something evil arises, impervious to Meg's spells and hungry to control England's fate. As Meg desperately tries to keep her secret betrothed, the Spanish priest Alejandro de Castillo, out of harm's way, caution wars with their forbidden desire. And with her most powerful enemy poised to strike, Meg's only chance is a heartbreaking sacrifice.

Witchfall by Victoria Lamb

My rating: 3.12 of 5 stars

Witchfall(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Harlequin TEEN and Netgalley.)
Meg has survived to practice witch-craft another day, but unfortunately her scrying reveals that Witch-hunter Marcus Dent still has it in for her.
Meanwhile the Queen remains in bed with child, and a dark shadow is seen floating near the ceiling in the dining hall.
What is wrong with the Queen? Who or what is this dark shadow? And will Marcus Dent succeed in removing Meg’s head once and for all?

This was an okay story, but had a few too many dull moments for me.

I felt frustrated for Meg in this book, because she had so much power, but because of the witch-hunters was rendered totally powerless. To know that you should be able to do something about something, but to be unable to for fear of being outed as a witch must be really frustrating.

The storyline was okay, but it did drag at times for me. It did take me a while to get into the story, and I found some of the history-lesson type stuff a little stale.
We did get some action a bit later in the book, which I certainly appreciated, but again the book did then have its slow moments.
We did get some romance, although not a lot, and it was touch and go at times how successful this romance was going to be.
The ending was okay, and was a bit more exciting than the rest of the book, but it didn’t 100% save this book for me.
Overall; okay sequel, but had it’s dull moments.
6.25 out of 10.

Beautiful Things Never Last by Steph Campbell

Beautiful Things Never Last
Blurb (From Goodreads):
It’s been a year since Quinn's life was changed for good by that Christmas kiss from Ben.

A year spent getting her life together. No more crazy parents looking over her shoulder, no more self-destructive behavior or secrets. Now, she and Ben share everything— including a tiny apartment, and a beautiful love.

Since he met Quinn, Ben’s life has been full of change. After finally standing up to his mom, he’s cut ties with his family and moved across the country with the only girl he’s ever wanted. But there’s something to be said for feeling needed, and he’s not sure that he is anymore.

When Quinn’s accepted into a month long culinary program in Italy, she’s ecstatic. But while she’s in a gorgeous country learning gnocchi and pesto, Ben’s blowing off her calls and pulling back.

But someone from Ben’s past walks back into his life, and he finally feels like he has a purpose again. Someone to take care of... Someone to save.

When Quinn returns, and the who's and why's of Ben's behavior are revealed, how does she have any choice but to walk away from the only guy she's ever loved?

And how can Ben ever learn to let her go?

In this follow-up to the 2011 release, GROUNDING QUINN, love and loss take on new meanings when roles are reversed, and the lengths that we go to to protect our hearts are challenged in new ways.

Beautiful Things Never Last by Steph Campbell

My rating: 3.25 of 5 stars

Beautiful Things Never Last(Source: I own a copy of this book.)
Quinn and Ben have made up and have been living together for a while, but now Quinn is off on a month-long trip to Italy, and Ben is getting calls from his ex-girlfriend Caroline.
Can Ben remain faithful to Quinn? And will Quinn believe him even if he is?

This book started out okay, but it lost its way at the 70% mark.

Quinn and Ben were like totally different people in this book compared to Grounding Quinn, and it was a bit weird! The girl who took pills for fun had disappeared, and instead been replaced by a girl with a passion for cooking. Unfortunately at the 70% mark she slipped back to her old ways, and started to irritate me again.

The storyline in this was okay, both Quinn and Ben made mistakes though, and things got a bit immature and irritating when Quinn and Ben started arguing again.
The romance in the first half was okay, but was pretty much absent from the rest of the book, and in my personal opinion this book should not be classified as YA. Quinn and Ben have sex, and not behind-closed-doors sort of sex. I’m talking about details about rosy nipples and hard lengths kind of sex, and I would not recommend this book for young teens.
The ending was okay, but by that point I was glad that the book had finished. That second half just killed it for me.
Overall; started off good, but lost its way.
6.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Wanderers (Wasteland #2) by Susan Kim, and Laurence Klavan

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
Wanderers (Wasteland, #2)Blurb (from Goodreads):
The Emmy Award-nominee and Edgar Award-winning duo bring readers back to the Wasteland in this thrilling sequel.

Karin Slaughter, bestselling author of Criminal, called Wasteland, "A Lord of the Flies for future generations. An irresistible page-turner."

The former citizens of Prin are running out of time. The Source has been destroyed, so food is scarcer than ever. Tensions are rising…and then an earthquake hits.

So Esther and Caleb hit the road, leading a ragtag caravan. Their destination? A mythical city where they hope to find food and shelter-not to mention a way to make it past age nineteen.

On the way, alliances and romances blossom and fracture. Esther must rally to take charge with the help of a blind guide, Aras. He seems unbelievably cruel, but not everything is as it seems in the Wasteland.…

In this sequel to Wasteland, the stakes are even higher for Esther, Caleb, and the rest of their clan. They're pinning all their hopes on the road...but what if it's the most dangerous place of all?

Wanderers by Susan Kim

My rating: 3.12 of 5 stars

Wanderers (Wasteland, #2)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)
Esther and Caleb won against Levi, but what happens next? And where will their food come from with Levi out of the picture?

This was an okay sequel, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first.

Esther was the main character in this, and she had grown up a bit after her experiences in the first book. She seemed to be a bit more aware at some points, and then totally clueless at others though.

The storyline was okay, although this was a fairly formulaic second book though, with loads of travelling. The things that happened to the group on the road were okay, but I just didn’t find them all that exciting.
We did have one very sudden and unexpected death, which certainly caught my attention, and we had another twist a little later in the book that was interesting, but unfortunately for most of the book the story was pretty dull.
There was some romance, but not a lot, and not from the characters expected either. We did get a very interesting development with Skar though.
The ending was okay, and certainly wasn’t where I expected the story to end. I did think that there was generally just a bit of a lack of excitement in this book though.
Overall; okay sequel, but not as good as the first.
6.25 out of 10.

The Dark Divine (The Dark Divine #1) by Bree Despain

The Dark Divine (The Dark Divine, #1)
Blurb (From Goodreads):
Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.

The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.

The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

The Dark Divine (The Dark Divine, #1)(Source: I own a copy of this book.)
16-year-old Grace Divine is shocked when she sees a boy called Daniel in her art class – a boy that she hasn’t seen since he disappeared years ago.
For some reason Grace’s family won’t talk about Daniel, even though he was once like a member of the family, and her brother Jude insists that he is dead to him.
Grace has always loved Daniel though, and she can’t stay away from him, especially when it seems like he might return her feelings.
What happened the night that Daniel disappeared? Why is her family so against him? And what will it take for him to be accepted again?

This was an interesting YA paranormal story, but the pace was a bit slow.

I liked Grace, and I had to laugh at the fact that her name was ‘Grace Divine’! She really did spend a lot of time caring for people though, and it was obvious that she would give up time to help other people whenever she could. I also really liked the way she tried to help Daniel, even to the point of making her mother look like a total hypocrite!

I liked the storyline in this book, but the pacing was way off. This was one of those books that felt twice as long as it actually was, and it really dragged. Every time information was dangled in front of our noses and then whipped away again I felt like screaming ‘Tell Me Already!’, but it seemed to take a long, long time to get answers!
I did like the romance in this, and there were some really sweet moments between Grace and Daniel. I really did think that Daniel was putting a hell of a lot of faith in the fact that Grace loved him at one point though!
The ending was okay, and there were a few twists in this that I didn’t see coming. We were left with a couple of cliff-hangers, and I’m interested to see where the next book goes, but I really hope that the pace isn’t quite so slow in the next one!
Overall; good YA paranormal romance,
7.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Algonquin Book and Edelweiss.
The Summer of Letting Go
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Just when everything seems to be going wrong, hope and love can appear in the most unexpected places.

Summer has begun, the beach beckons and Francesca Schnell is going nowhere. Four years ago, Francesca s little brother, Simon, drowned, and Francesca s the one who should have been watching. Now Francesca is about to turn sixteen, but guilt keeps her stuck in the past. Meanwhile, her best friend, Lisette, is moving on most recently with the boy Francesca wants but can t have. At loose ends, Francesca trails her father, who may be having an affair, to the local country club. There she meets four-year-old Frankie Sky, a little boy who bears an almost eerie resemblance to Simon, and Francesca begins to wonder if it s possible Frankie could be hisreincarnation. Knowing Frankie leads Francesca to places she thought she d never dare to go and it begins to seem possible to forgive herself, grow up, and even fall in love, whether or not she solves the riddle of Frankie Sky.

The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Summer of Letting Go(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Algonquin Book and Edelweiss.)
15-year-old Francesca/Frankie still feels guilty over the fact that she was supposed to be watching her brother when he got swept out to see and drowned. When she meets a little boy at the swimming pool who looks just like her dead brother, and was even born the day that Simon died, she begins to wonder if this little boy (also called Frankie) is the reincarnation of Simon.
But does Frankie even believe in reincarnation? And is it really a good idea to start looking after Frankie, after her negligence caused her younger brother’s death?

This was an okay story about a girl searching for peace and acceptance after her younger brother’s death.

Frankie was an okay character, although I was surprised that she took on a job looking after a child when she was the one looking after her little brother when he drowned. I was even more surprised though when it seemed that she hadn’t learned her lesson, and didn’t watch Frankie properly at the swimming pool!

The storyline was okay, but I did get bored at points. I was also quite surprised at the direction the storyline took with regards to reincarnation! There were a couple of other things going on, but the thing with Simon and Frankie was the main storyline.
There was some romance, but not a lot, and we did get a bit of a love triangle going on. I wasn’t 100% impressed with the way this romance progressed, crushing on your best friend’s boyfriend is one thing, but acting on it is certainly another!
The ending was okay, but I just didn’t really love this book.
Overall; okay YA contemporary,
6 out of 10.

Release Day Blitz - Twelve Steps by Veronica Bartles

Twelve Steps
by Veronica Bartles
Release Date: 03/25/14

Book Summary:
Sixteen-year-old Andi is tired of being a second-class sibling to perfect sister Laina. There in Laina's shadow, Andi's only noticeable feature is her pretty awesome hair. And even that is eclipsed by Laina's perfect everything else.

When Andi’s crush asks her to fix him up with Laina, Andi decides enough is enough and devises a twelve-step program to wrangle the spotlight away from Laina. After all, great hair must count for something.

Step 1: Admit she’s powerless to change her perfect sister, and accept that her life really, really sucks. OK, maybe that's two steps in one.

Step 4: Make a list of her good qualities besides great hair. There have got to be at least three good qualities, right?

Step 7: Demand attention for more than just her shortcomings, and break out of her shell. Easier said that done, but worth the effort in the long-run. 

When a stolen kiss from her crush ends in disaster, Andi finds that her prince isn’t as charming as she'd hoped, and realizes she may need a new program--perhaps with less steps!

As cracks in Laina’s flawless façade begin to show, the sisters work together to find a spotlight big enough for both to shine.

About the Author
As the second of eight children and the mother of four, Veronica Bartles is no stranger to the ups and downs of sibling relationships. (She was sandwiched between the gorgeous-and-insanely-popular older sister and the too-adorable-for-words younger sister.) She uses this insight to write stories about siblings who mostly love each other, even while they’re driving one another crazy.   When she isn’t writing or getting lost in the pages of her newest favorite book, Veronica enjoys knitting fabulous bags and jewelry out of recycled plastic bags and old VHS tapes, sky diving (though she hasn’t actually tried that yet), and inventing the world’s most delectable cookie recipes.  TWELVE STEPS is Veronica Bartles's first novel.

Author Links:
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1 ebook of Twelve Steps & $10 Amazon gift card (INT)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz Organized by:

@vbartles @swoonromance

Monday, 24 March 2014

Hush (Lakeview #1) by Stacey R. Campbell

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Gemelli Press LLC and Netgalley.
Hush  (A Lakeview Novel, # 1)Blurb (from Goodreads):
For small-town girl Blakely Henry, any hope of finding her biological parents died when she stopped believing in fairy tales and Disney princesses. That is, until she spots her boarding school’s new British exchange student, Max Ryder, staring at her. Why would a boy who looks like he stepped out of the pages of a magazine be looking at her? Because Max knows something Blakely doesn’t.
Following the tragic demise of one of Europe’s most beloved royal families, Max has stumbled upon information he thinks may lead to a lost royal heir, and now he is on a quest halfway around the world to see if he’s right.
Sworn to secrecy by his university professor and the headmaster of Lakeview Academy, Max is admitted into an exchange program with the sole purpose of finding out the truth. But will his personal feelings for Blakely get in the way?
When a stolen email surfaces, Blakely and her friends’ lives are threatened, and Max starts to question what he is really after.
From the exclusive rolling lawns of Canada’s most prestigious boarding school to the University of Saint Andrews’ hallowed grounds, Blakely’s quiet, unassuming life is turned upside down. Is she really who she thinks she is? Can she survive long enough to help Max unearth the truth?

Hush by Stacey R. Campbell

My rating: 3.12 of 5 stars

Hush  (A Lakeview Novel, # 1)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Gemelli Press LLC and Netgalley.)
17-year-old Blakely is the daughter of a foreign Princess; as a result of an affair with her chauffer’s son. Blakely has no idea that this is the case though, and instead believes herself to be a regular American teenager, even if she was adopted.
Max is intent on graduating top of his class, and when he finds information that leads him to discover Blakely’s true identity; he goes undercover to find out the truth.
Is Blakely really royalty? And will Max want her to be once he gets to know her?

This was an okay story, but it was a little slow in places.

Blakely was an interesting character, and she was pretty down-to-earth about things. I have to say that I liked her a lot more than Max, who seemed a bit conceited at times! I really wanted him to get over himself when he was complaining that she wasn’t falling all over him, and that he hadn’t had this problem before.

The storyline in this was fairly straightforward ‘girl who doesn’t know she’s really a princess’ sort of story. We did have some bad guys, and they did try their best to dispose of Blakely, but to be honest I almost thought that Max was the worst of the lot because if it wasn’t for him, nobody would ever have worked out Blakely’s heritage.
There was some romance, although I just couldn’t like Max. I thought he was pretty conceited and arrogant, and when he started wishing that Blakely wasn’t a princess, just so he could have his way with her, I was again less than impressed.
The ending to this was pretty good. The story was quite slow up until the 75% mark, but thankfully we got a bit of action after that. I can’t say I was 100% impressed with the outcome in terms of the romance. If her mother wasn’t allowed to date her chauffer’s son, I very much doubt that Blakely would be allowed to date whomever she wanted!
Overall; an okay ‘lost princess’ story,
6.25 out of 10.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Earth Star (Earth Girl #2) by Janet Edwards

Earth Star (Earth Girl, #2)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Sequel to Earth Girl.

18-year-old Jarra has a lot to prove. After being awarded one of the military’s highest honours for her role in a daring rescue attempt, Jarra finds herself – and her Ape status – in the spotlight. Jarra is one of the unlucky few born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Derided as an ‘ape’ – a ‘throwback’ – by the rest of the universe, Jarra is on a mission to prove that Earth Girls are just as good as anyone else.

Except now the planet she loves is under threat by what could be humanity’s first ever alien contact. Jarra’s bravery – and specialist knowledge – will once again be at the centre of the maelstrom, but will the rest of the universe consider Earth worth fighting for?

Earth Star by Janet Edwards

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Earth Star (Earth Girl, #2)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Harper Fiction, Harper Voyager, and Netgalley.)
This is the second book in the ‘Earth Girl’ series, and picks up a short time after the end of book 1 ‘Earth Girl.
**Warning – some unavoidable spoilers for book 1 ‘Earth Girl’.**
It’s been a short time since the end of the first book, and Jarra and Fian are back to being history students.
Then they both receive calls from the military. The Alien Contact Programme has been activated, and the military need Jarra and Fian’s help. Both initiated into the military, and elevated to Major status, Jarra and Fian are on the front line to help earth deal with an alien invasion.
What can Jarra do to help? Are the Aliens peaceful? Or is humanity threatened?

I had hoped that this book would have more pace and excitement than the first. Unfortunately I was wholly disappointed.

Jarra was once again a very stilted character. We were once again TOLD how much she liked history, and she once again was standoffish with regards to Fian, and didn’t seem as invested in the relationship as he was. She would then come out with the occasional comment to make you think that she liked him, but I just didn’t feel the relationship. I didn’t feel like she loved Fian, I didn’t really feel anything from her, she came across as very wooden to me, and I just could not work her out.

As for the storyline, I didn’t find it plausible that the military would call on two 18-year-old kids because they’d detected aliens. Surely they would have more experienced personnel than a couple of teenagers with a superiority complex? What exactly did the military think Jarra and Fian would be able to help with? They obviously had this ‘Alien Contact Programme’ all mapped out, so why on earth would they need Jarra and Fian. This really did boggle me.

I was also in two minds about the fact that the aliens came to earth as well. While the characters in the story had assumed that when they came across aliens it would be on another planet, and were then to some extent surprised when the aliens came to them, for the reader, a storyline of aliens invading earth has been done so many times it is certainly not all that original any more.

I once again felt like there was too much info dumping in this book. I thought that after the amount of info we got in the first book, the second would not suffer from this, but unfortunately not. We once again had whole sections of text devoted to the workings of certain equipment, and procedural stuff that just dragged and dragged.
We once again had Jarra injured during a dig (she obviously learned nothing from book 1), and again with the romantic proposals at the most ridiculous moments, and I really didn’t feel like the author had really improved at all between the two books, they are both extremely similar.

The ending of this one also annoyed me. After sitting through another stilted story, with lots of info that didn’t move the story on, I at least expected to find out what the Alien’s had to say for themselves! But no, Super-woman Jarra somehow gets credit for saving the day, whilst actually doing very little, a non-existent threat is eliminated, and everyone celebrates that the Aliens just wanted to talk, without having a clue what the Alien’s actually had to say. Quite ridiculous. I will most definitely not be sitting through another instalment of this. Thanks to Harper Voyager, but I’ll sit the next one out.
Overall; a less than captivating second instalment, I won’t be reading the third.
4.5 out of 10.

Stacking the Shelves - March 23rd 2014


Books Read:

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin Dangerous Dream by Kami Garcia The Dark Discovery of Jack Dandy by Kady Cross Camp Christmas by J.K. Rock The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins Unravel by Calia Read Camp Payback by J.K. Rock Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost Frostbite by Richelle Mead Crossed by Ally Condie Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan Altered by Gennifer Albin

Books Received:

Legacy Code

1. Dark Metropolis (Dark Metropolis, #1) by Dolamore, Jaclyn -
Thanks to Disney Book Group and Netgalley. 

2. The Forever Song (Blood of Eden, #3) by Kagawa, Julie -
Thanks to Harlequin TEEN and Netgalley. 
3. The Girl with the Windup Heart (Steampunk Chronicles, #4)  by Cross, Kady -
Thanks to Harlequin TEEN and Netgalley.  
  4. The Lost by Durst, Sarah Beth -
Thanks to Harlequin and Netgalley.
5. Legacy Code by Kalquist, Autumn -
Thanks to author Autumn Kalquist.
6. The Rules for Breaking (The Rules for Disappearing, #2) by Elston, Ashley -
Thanks to Disney Book Group and Netgalley. 
7. Foretold by Elliott, Rinda -
Thanks to Harlequin TEEN and Netgalley.

8. The Break-Up Artist by Siegel, Philip

Thanks to Harlequin TEEN and Netgalley.