Thursday, 31 July 2014

Before You by Amber Hart

Sponsored post: : I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley.
Before You
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Some say love is deadly. Some say love is beautiful. I say it is both.

Faith Watters spent her junior year traveling the world, studying in exquisite places, before returning to Oviedo High School. From the outside her life is picture-perfect. Captain of the dance team. Popular. Happy. Too bad it’s all a lie.

It will haunt me. It will claim me. It will shatter me. And I don't care.

Eighteen-year-old Diego Alvarez hates his new life in the States, but staying in Cuba is not an option. Covered in tattoos and scars, Diego doesn’t stand a chance of fitting in. Nor does he want to. His only concern is staying hidden from his past—a past, which if it were to surface, would cost him everything. Including his life.

At Oviedo High School, it seems that Faith Watters and Diego Alvarez do not belong together. But fate is as tricky as it is lovely. Freedom with no restraint is what they long for. What they get is something different entirely.

Love—it will ruin you and save you, both.

Before You by Amber Hart

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Before You(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley.)
18-year-old Faith is a pastor’s daughter, but she’s not quite as perfect as people might assume.
18-year-old Diego is from Cuba, and has also made some mistakes in his life.
Will Faith and Diego be a match made in heaven? Or will they be better off apart?

This was an okay story, but something just didn’t sit right with me.

Faith was an okay character, and it was nice that she wasn’t the stereotypical ‘good girl’ that her image suggested. I felt quite sorry for her with regards to the problems she had had following her mother’s departure from her life, but I didn’t expect her to feel the way about Diego that she did.
I felt that Diego’s character was pretty stereotypical Cuban to be honest. He carried a gun, he got in fights, and he was part of a drug cartel. Underneath it all he was nice, but not all Cuban people are like that (involved in drugs etc. I mean). I just felt like maybe this book didn’t show Cuban people in the best light? I don’t know, something just didn’t sit right with me about Diego.

The storyline in this was quite predictable I felt, and strangely enough Faith’s best friend made some predictions at the start of the book which were pretty accurate. There was some romance, and it was supposed to be the main part of the book, but I just didn’t fall for it. Again, it was predictable, and it just didn’t sit right with me, I tried to like it, but I just didn’t feel it. I also didn’t enjoy the number of trips to the hospital there seemed to be in this book.

There was a twist at the end of this story which I really didn’t like. Talk about putting the person you’re supposed to love through absolute hell, and then expecting forgiveness. Things did work out okay in the end, but again, I just didn’t really enjoy this all that much.
Overall; okay story, but something just didn’t sit right with me,
6 out of 10.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Blog tour and #Giveaway - Magnolia by Kristi Cook

by Kristi Cook
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: August 5th 2014
Rate: 3.5 stars


In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.

(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Simon & Schuster and Edelweiss.)
17-year-old Jemma wants to go to film school, and doesn’t want to date the boy her entire family wants her to date – Ryder.
Magnolia by Kristi CookCan Jemma make it to film school? And does she really hate Ryder?

This was a sweet contemporary romance novel, and I liked that Ryder and Jemma didn’t let their parents influence their relationship.

Jemma was quite a harsh girl, she held grudges, and wasn’t going to let anyone dictate to her how she should live her life! She called Ryder a jerk, but in truth Ryder had done one thing wrong, and she had it held against him for 4 years! (Best not to get on this girls wrong side!)
I liked Ryder, and I liked how he continued to love Jemma, and to support her when she really needed it, even when she was being mean to him.

The storyline in this was okay, and we did get some tornados, and unexpected death, and the truth finally coming out to liven things up. Having never been anywhere near a tornado before it was actually quite interesting to read about tornado warning alarms and tarpaulins and parcel tape.
The romance in this was actually quite light, and while we did get a couple of kisses and a bit of flirting, the relationship built quite slowly, and was based more on trust and real feelings than lust.
The ending was pretty good, and I loved how Ryder and Jemma managed to fool their parents into agreeing to their college plans. I do however think that this pair’s relationship is never going to be simple or easy though!
Overall; fun, light, YA contemporary romance,
7 out of 10.

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Follow the FFBC Magnolia Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

As a child, Kristi Cook took her nose out of a book only long enough to take a ballet class (or five) each week. Not much has changed since then, except she’s added motherhood to the mix and enjoys penning her own novels as much as reading everybody else’s. A transplanted southern gal, Kristi lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

That’s the official version–here are some other fun facts:

~ As an undergrad, I majored in History and minored in English at the University of Southern Mississippi. While at Southern Miss, I was a member of Phi Mu sorority, and I was a Dixie Darling. And yep, Brett Favre was our quarterback at the time!

~ I studied American History in grad school at Columbia University. I *love* history, especially the Civil War era (U.S.) and Regency- and Edwardian-era British history.

~ My all-time favorite book *and* movie is GONE WITH THE WIND. My favorite literary characters are Rhett Butler, Atticus Finch, and Mr. Darcy. I kind of want to add Peeta Mellark to that list!

~Weirdly enough (or maybe not so weirdly?) I’m also a big fan of STAR TREK (the original series). I never can remember if I’m supposed to call myself a “Trekkie” or a “Trekker,” though!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Dark Hope by Monica McGurk

Sponsored post: : I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Greenleaf Book Group and NetGalley.)
Dark Hope
Blurb (from Goodreads):
A new young adult saga in the Twilight tradition about the love between a human and an archangel.

For years, Hope Carmichael, survivor of a shocking child abduction, has lived a sheltered existence under the protection of her fanatically religious father. Now, liberated by her mother, Hope prepares to start life over as a normal kid in an Atlanta, Georgia, high school.

Normal, that is, until Hope meets Michael, a gorgeous emancipated teen with a mysterious past and a strong interest in Hope. And soon, Hope’s life is filled with questions. What’s behind the angry looks Hope gets from Lucas, leader of a gang of students? Who’s responsible for sending Hope a strange valentine inscribed with Bible quotations? How does this relate to the sinister business of human trafficking that operates on the periphery of Hope’s suburban world? And is Michael really a protector, or something more sinister—and just why does he seem so familiar?

In an epic narrative that takes readers from the back streets of Atlanta to the height of Vegas penthouses and beyond, Dark Hope introduces readers to The Archangel Prophecies, a new young adult saga that blends the feeling of Twilight with a vast mythological scope and moral urgency, as well as to Hope Carmichael—a young woman instantly memorable for her endurance, heart, and determination—and Michael, Hope’s dangerous companion who’s fated either to save Hope—or to kill her.

Dark Hope by Monica McGurk

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Dark Hope(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Greenleaf Book Group and NetGalley.)
When Hope was a toddler she was kidnapped, and then found with the remnants of a man burned to death, and with a strange tattoo on her neck.
What happened to Hope? And what does the tattoo mean?

This started out okay, but I lost interest.

Hope was an okay character, although she seemed to make excuses for her father instead of being angry at the way he had kept her so sheltered all her life. Maybe she had a touch of stockholm syndrome?

The storyline in this started out okay, but I soon lost interest. The whole angel thing was so cliché and nothing new at all, and I got really bored. There were quite a few info dumps which bored me, the pace was too slow, and when Michael suddenly turned around at the half-way mark and told her he was in love with her, I just didn’t buy it.
The ending was also quite disappointing. 400 pages and there isn’t even an end to the story? Not impressed, and I certainly don’t want to read another book in this series to find out what happens. I’m done.
Overall; dull and cliché,
4 out of 10.

Monday, 28 July 2014

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #2) by Michelle Hodkin

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.
She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.
They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.
She’s wrong.

In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

My rating: 2.25 of 5 stars

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2)(Source: I own a copy ofthis book.)
This book and I? We did not get on.

I ended the first book not knowing what was going on, and thinking that Mara was most likely suffering from paranoid delusions, I hoped that this book would clear at least some things up, but it was so freaking dull I barely made it through it.

I have to say that I also had issues with the believability of this book. (view spoiler)

Issues of believability aside, this book dragged, and dragged, and dragged some more. We didn’t get any answers, we just got more weird things going on, with zero explanation as to what was really happening, and then we got (view spoiler) freaking happening? I mean really? Give me a break! As if we needed more freaking madness in this book?!

I got so irritated with this book, it dragged, it was irritating, it had a lack of answers (again) and it was just dull! Ugh! Not impressed.
4.5 out of 10

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood #1) by Victoria Scott

Fire & Flood
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Time is slipping away....

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

Victoria Scott's breathtaking novel grabs readers by the throat and doesn't let go.

Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

My rating: 1.75 of 5 stars

Fire & Flood

I finished!!!

I have to say that I now know why this book is called 'Fire and Flood', it's because if I had to pick a book to throw into a fire, or to use as a sandbag in the event of a flood, this book would most definitely be gladly donated.

Telly was an irritating character, and I really did not like her. She never questioned anything, gladly took random drugs that someone she didn’t know handed her, wasted water in a desert rubbing it on her face, and couldn’t possibly be seen without makeup. Ugh.

The storyline was just awful, although that was partly due to Telly. She never questioned where this weird hearing aid had come from, never wondered how winning a race would win a cure for an incurable disease, and thought nothing of driving for 20 hours on a whim. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I just didn’t like this story, it bored me, it irritated me, and I couldn’t wait for it to end.

I can’t remember how many times I said ‘ugh’, during this book, and wanted to physically throw my kindle out the door. Needless to say, I will not be reading the sequel.
3.5 out of 10.

Stacking the shelves - July 27th 2014


Books Read:

Feed by Mira Grant Deadline by Mira Grant Blackout by Mira Grant One Moment by Kristina McBride Night Road by Kristin Hannah The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher The Arrangement 12 by H.M. Ward Ghost Town by Rachel Caine Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare Urchin by S.K. Munt Friend is a Four Letter Word by Steph Campbell

Books Received:



Saturday, 26 July 2014

Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)(Source: I own a copy of this book.)
I actually enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected to!

I felt really sorry for Tris in this story, it was obvious how badly she was affected by Will’s death, and clearly seemed to be suffering from PTSD. I did feel that some of her decisions and choices were maybe a little short-sighted, but her heart seemed to be in the right place.

The storyline in this was pretty good, although I am really glad that I re-read Divergent before reading this one! Parts of the storyline were quite complex, and I had to read a couple of things 3 times before really understanding what was going on!
There was a little bit of romance, although Tobias and Tris did fight a bit in this one.

The ending to this wasn’t exactly what I had been predicting, but it was close. It will be interesting to see what happens in the last book.
8 out of 10.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Mosaic (Dragonfly #4) by Leigh Talbert Moore

Mosaic (Dragonfly, #4)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Love is stronger than time...

The future never goes as planned.
People are never what they seem.
Time changes everything.

So you want to know what happened to Anna and Julian? Well, listen up, because I’ve got the whole scoop. I’m Jules, btw, and I am an artist, as you already know if you’ve read Watercolor. What you might not know is I inherited my mother’s cute little newsy nose, thank you very much.

It’s high school reunion time, and everyone’s coming back to Fairview—everyone who’s not already there, mind you. What went wrong, who’s fault it was, and why the heck nobody knew about me… it’s all coming out.

Long-distance relationships rarely last, and a lot of water has passed under that bridge. Big Secrets will be exposed, and in the end we’ll know if that old saying is true: Love is stronger than time.

> Mosaic is the exciting conclusion to The Dragonfly series.

Mosaic by Leigh Talbert Moore

My rating: 3.38 of 5 stars

Mosaic (Dragonfly, #4)(Source: I own a copy of this book.)
This was a good end to the series, and it was really interesting to see Anna all grown up.

I liked Anna and Julian in this, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of Jules! I did find it an interesting choice to tell the story in flashbacks when Anna and Julian were a lot older, but it was good to find out what happened, especially so far in the future.
I did enjoy this book overall, and I’m glad I finished the series.
6.75 out of 10.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Ascendant (Killer Unicorns #2) by Diana Peterfreund

Ascendant (Killer Unicorns, #2)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Astrid Llewelyn is now a fully trained unicorn hunter, but she can't solve all her problems with just a bow and arrow. Her boyfriend, Giovanni, has decided to leave Rome, the Cloisters is in dire financial straits, her best friend's powers seem to be mysteriously disintegrating, and Astrid can't help but feel that school, home, and her hopes of becoming a scientist are nothing but impossible dreams.

So when she's given the opportunity to leave the Cloisters and put her skills to use as part of a scientific quest to discover the Remedy, Astrid leaps at the chance. Finally, she can have exactly what she want--or can she? At Gordian headquarters, deep in the French countryside, Astrid begins to question everything she thought she believed: her love for Giovanni, her loyalty to the Cloisters, and most of all her duty as a hunter. Should Astrid be saving the world from killer unicorns, or saving the unicorns from the world?

Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Ascendant (Killer Unicorns, #2)(Source: I own a copy of this book.)
This was an interesting story, but I did get bored in places.

Astrid was brave as usual in this story, but I also found some of her choices a little odd. I wasn’t sure why she’d want to leave her unicorn hunting behind her, or why she’d want to spend time with her ex-boyfriend, but she did.

The storyline in this was okay, although it wasn’t really what I expected. I was surprised when the true mystery behind the Remedy was revealed though!
I really want there to be another book in this series, because it doesn’t really feel complete to me. As it’s now 4 years since this was released though I don’t hold out much hope that this story will continue.
Overall; interesting revelations!
7 out of 10.