Review- Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

dont look back

Title: Don’t Look Back
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Young Adult/ Romance
Release Date: 2014
Pages: 384
Reviewer: Kelly

BLURB:

Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it’s one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took “mean girl” to a whole new level, and it’s clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She’s getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she’s falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn’t just buried deep inside of Sam’s memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

OPINION:

The moment I opened the first page of this book, and read the opening lines I was hooked- line and sinker! I didn’t know where this story would take me. Having read a lot of Armentrout’s previous novels I knew she could have taken me to a universe full of mythical creatures, or included an alien invasion, instead she kept it really simple and let this story play out in the ‘real world’. It was relatable as the situation that Samantha found herself in could happen to anyone, anywhere or at anytime.

The story was written in the first person point of view, through the eyes of Samantha, the main protagonist. She begins the story with her memories and her best friend missing. As a reader we are learning all about her life at the same time that she is! Then as her memories begin to come back in dreamlike, flashbacks and visions you start to wonder, just like Samantha, where is Cassie? The plot thickens when mysterious hand written notes begin to appear, sending very cryptic messages, turning this novel into a real “who done it?”

The foreshadowing techniques used throughout the story really kept you guessing until the very last page. Armentrout was very clever to give out little hints and clues throughout the book, but never enough to give the ending away. This created a gripping and enthralling read that was refreshing and different to any other novel I have ever read!

SUMMARY:
Wow! Armentrout can do no wrong! This book was an intriguing, heart-stopping, page turner. I finished it in a day. I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!

lips grey 5

Review- Out of the Ashes (The Ashes Series # 1) by Diana Gardin

Out of the Ashes Covef[1]

FLAMING HOT!

Title: Out of the Ashes (The Ashes Series #1)
Author: Diana Gardin
Genre: Young Adult/ Romance
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 179
Reviewer: Kelly

***Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review***

Blurb:
Out of the frying pan and into the fire…
Paige Hill is discovering who she is again after losing everything she loves in a tragic fire. She’s endured a long road to recovery with the help of her best friend Gillian and is finally beginning her life again: college, a job, and a blossoming love she never even saw coming.
Clay Forbes is the notorious campus playboy. He’s a star athlete, a senior architecture major, and the only son in a family with power and money back in his hometown. When he crashes into Paige, his whole perspective on life shifts, and his world as he knew it becomes nonexistent. He’s wrapped up in her.

They’re both learning how to love, but Clay’s ex-girlfriend Hannah won’t make it easy for them. She puts a target on Paige’s back, and won’t stop until she’s derailed their budding romance once and for all. Who will be left standing after the ashes settle for the second time?

Opinion:
Out of the Ashes grabbed me from the first page. It already had an intriguing premise, with our main protagonist Paige waking up in a hospital bed. From the first moment the reader is absorbed in the story, wanting to know how and why Paige has been injured. As the title suggests Paige’s injuries are resultant from a fire, and from here the story progresses from the aftermath of the fire, to her loss and her ability to rebuild her life.

While rebuilding her life to some sort of normalcy Paige meets Clay, the dreamy love interest. This love story is a little different, as Paige is so damaged, both physically and emotionally. Gardin alternates between Clay and Paige’s perspectives so that the reader was able to garner a true understanding of what each character was thinking and feeling. This technique was also useful in introducing other secondary characters to the reader, such as Paige’s best friend Gillian and Clay’s frat buddies. Through the use of alternating points of view, the reader could appreciate just how important these characters were to both of the main protagonists.

Gardin added depth and variety into the plot line to keep the reader guessing all the way to the end. The ending floored me! It was not what I was expecting at all. Without being to cryptic or giving anything away, it was as if all the things I wish would happen did, but not with the consequences that I wanted! It is going to be very interesting to see how things play out in the sequel, as I have come to expect the unexpected!

Summary:
I read this book in a day so, needless to say, I cannot wait for the release of Book 2 later in 2014! If you love a good romance with a few twists and turns then this is the book for you.

lips grey 4.5

Review- Awakening (The Destined Series # 2) by Ashley Suzanne

Awakening_FrontCover_Web[1]

AMAZING AWAKENING!

Title: Awakening (The Destined Series # 2)
Author: Ashley Suzanne
Genre: Young Adult/ Romance
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 206
Reviewer: Kelly

***Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review***

Explanation:
Awakening is the third and final book in The Destined Series. It completes the story of four college friends Mira, Skylar, Danny and Kylee. Awakening begins with Mira waking from a coma in hospital. It explores her recovery, both physically and emotionally, as well as how each of her friends copes with the aftermath of her accident. The love triangle between the main protagonists, Mira, Skylar and Danny is the crux of this story. The use of multiple viewpoints within the novel helps to explain every detail of the story.

Opinion:
After getting over my initial shock that Inception was a prologue to Mirage, which took us back in the story, I finally got my hands on Awakening. I read this book within 24 hours as I was dying to know what happened! Awakening did not disappoint. It finally told the present day story of Mira and her friends, and oh and was it fantastic. It was a little predictable in some parts, but it was so satisfying in other parts that it all but made up for it!

Suzanne delivered Awakening using multiple viewpoints once again, changing between Mira, Skylar and Danny. The reader had access to how Mira was really coping after waking from her coma, as well as where her true feelings lay. The reader was also privy to Skylar and Danny’s thoughts and actions in this very unique situation. Suzanne also used clever dialogue and descriptions to explain each circumstance from every angle.
I loved how this book ended with so much closure. I hate it when books leave things very open ended. Suzanne did a marvellous job in closing up all major storylines without leaving the reader guessing. Every characters storyline was explained with great plotlines.

Summary:
Well done Ashley Suzanne, Awakening was a great conclusion to The Destined Series. If you cannot get enough of these characters Suzanne has created a spin-off series from Mira’s best friend Kylee’s point of view. Facade is out February 17, 2014.

lips grey 4.5

Review- Mirage (The Destined Series # 1) by Ashley Suzanne

61XV5yYCSRL._SL1000_[1]

Marvellous Mirage! 

Title: Mirage (The Destined Series # 1)
Author: Ashley Suzanne
Genre: Young Adult/ Romance
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 182
Reviewer: Kelly

*** Copy provided by Author in exchange for an honest review***

Explanation:
Mirage is the story of Mira Adams a newly graduated college student who tragically loses her fiancé to a motorcycle accident. Mira and Danny met on orientation day in their freshman year. They have been inseparable ever since. Danny’s best friend Skylar was always around, as was Mira’s best friend Kylee. Together this foursome navigated their college years, all graduating on the same day. On graduation day they decided to take the boys bikes out for a ride. This is when tragedy arose. The bike Danny and Mira were on wrecked and Danny didn’t make it. Mirage follows the lives of Mira, Skylar and Kylee in the months following Danny’s death and how they survive without him.

Opinion:
The story starts with a bang! Mira has just lost Danny to a motorcycle accident and is left utterly devastated. As a reader you are invested from the very beginning as you want to find out what becomes of Mira, Skylar and Kylee and how they can possibly recover without Danny. The plot line of the story then follows a seemingly predictable path, where you know just how and who Mira is going to seek comfort from. Then WHAM, the predictability ends in Chapter 4 and the path you thought this book was going to take does not go there at all!

The rest of the book has you grappling for answers, wondering what is going to become of the main protagonists and how Ashley Suzanne will end it. The paths you think the characters will go down are completely different now, especially with Danny’s passing. The once inseparable foursome seems to be poles apart. The best part, that leaves you GOBSMACKED, is the ending!

Suzanne wrote this book using dual protagonists Mira and Skylar. It was necessary to have the two characters points of view as they are often in different situations throughout the story. The time jumps within the novel also require this dual point of view so that the reader can catch up to what has been going on in each characters life. This style of writing also allows the reader to see how each character was feeling, how they were coping without Danny and through their inner monologue- if this was the life they thought they would be leading.

My one and only criticism with this novel was the poor editing! There were grammatical and punctuation errors in at least every chapter. Although tiny and sometimes irrelevant it makes it hard to appreciate the story as a polished and published piece of fiction with so many mistakes. My advice would be to have it re-read and edited!

Summary:
Mirage was an unpredictable, romantic and engaging read. The ending made me jump straight into Inception, the next book in The Destined Series.

lips grey 4

Review- Allegiant (Divergent Series # 3) by Veronica Roth

allegiantuk[1]

I  SWEAR MY ALLEGIANCE!  

Title: Allegiant (Divergent Series # 3)
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Dystopian
Publication: HarperCollins
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 526
Reviewer: Kelly

Blurb:

The faction- based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered- fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties and painful memories. 

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature- and of herself- while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.

Explanation:

Allegiant opens with the discontent people of Chicago hoping to make a stand against the Factionless. The discontent, become the Allegiant, a small group revolting against Evelyn Johnson, the new leader. The Allegiant want to find answers and resolve order to the city of Chicago. Tobias, Tris and their friends are chosen to go where no one else has gone before, outside the city limits into the world beyond. In leaving the city they enter a society they know nothing about.  Here they learn the truth about their home, and must decide what to do with this knowledge. The Allegiant have two choices- to assist the citizens of this strange new world and walk away from the only home they have known or to fight for the people they have left behind.

Opinion:

Every once in a while a book comes along that is so different, exhilarating and refreshing that it takes your breath away- Allegiant is one of those books! Veronica Roth elevated Allegiant from what could have potentially been a mediocre read to an EPIC novel, by creating a diverse and unpredictable plot. How do you make a book truly EPIC? You leave the reader reeling, with the most unsatisfied taste in their mouth after turning the last page! This feeling makes the reader ponder what could have been, long after the book was completed.

When I first began reading this book I did find it a bit ‘ho-hum’. It took me a week to get halfway through and I really wasn’t interested in getting to the end because I thought I knew exactly what was coming- oh how wrong I was! I think my reluctance to read the book too quickly was also because I didn’t like some of the earlier revelations in the book, and I didn’t want to know how anything else could damage these characters.  I preserved though and all I can say is wow, Veronica Roth, WOW!

Roth also did not do the one thing that turned Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series into a mediocre read. She did not close every loose end up by the conclusion of the book. Now I am a fan of stories being completed properly, and I hate movies that leave you guessing. But Roth created her story without its neatly packed endings, which elevates this book to the beyond impressive level.

The dual perspective writing also gave more insight into both Tris and Tobias‘s thoughts and feelings. The previous two books in the Divergent Series are told only from Tris’s point of view. That sufficed for those books, but Allegiant very much needed the two viewpoints in order for the reader to understand the whole story. Tobias’s point of view allowed the reader to see how deeply he cared for Tris and how much his parents have impacted upon his life choices. Tris’s chapters were written in the same strong, determined and selfless voice of the heroine we know and love.

Summary:

Allegiant could have been just another nice, teen book series where the heroine always gets what they want. Instead Roth has turned it into a best seller. Allegiant was fantastic. The Divergent Series was amazing! The movies are going to be phenomenal! Kudos to Veronica Roth!

lips grey 5

Review- Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

wicked-appetite[1]

A WICKEDLY GOOD READ!

Title: Wicked Appetite
Author: Janet Evanovich
Genre: Mystery/Paranormal/Romance
Publication:  Headline Review
Release Date: 2010
Pages: 373
Reviewer: Kelly

Blurb:
Seven Stones of Power, each representing one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Sought after for thousands of years, the Stones have found their way to Salem, Massachusetts, and so has Gerwulf Grimoire. He’s a dangerous man with unusual abilities and a compulsion to possess anything he desires. Including Elizabeth Tucker, the woman he needs to find the Stones.

Elizabeth’s life is pretty much on track…until it’s suddenly derailed by a man named Diesel, a rude monkey, and a ninja cat. Lizzy can handle the monkey and the cat. She’s not sure about Diesel.

The Seven Deadly Sins pretty much cover everything that is wicked. Diesel thinks they also pretty much cover everything that’s fun. And Lizzy thinks Diesel and the Seven Deadly Sins cover everything her mother warned her about.

Explanation:
Wicked Appetite is the first book in the Wicked Series by Janet Evanovich. It centres on Elizabeth ‘Lizzy’ Tucker a twenty-eight year old, recently single cupcake baker who has just moved to Marblehead, Massachusetts. Lizzy inherited an old house from her kooky Great Aunt Ophelia and moved herself from New York to Marblehead. Marblehead is near Salem, the mystical town known for its witchcraft and wizardly, and the place where Lizzy is employed at Dazzle’s Bakery.

Lizzy easily makes friends with Clara, the owner of Dazzle’s bakery and Glo, the shopgirl. She is quite happy with her baker lifestyle, until she meets Gerwulf Grimoire and his cousin Diesel. Diesel explains to Lizzy that she is an Unmentionable, which is a person with special skills or powers. He also explains that she must work with him to find the Seven Deadly Sins stones and keep them away from his cousin Gerwulf.

Opinion:
Wicked Appetite is a loveable easy read. The main crux of the story is explored straight away. The sleuthing the characters need to do in order to search for the Stones leaves the reader searching for clues of their own to solve the dilemma. While reading this story I felt like a police officer on the hunt for clues to solve a case.

The lustful tension between Diesel and Lizzy is endearing. As someone who likes romance, Evanovich built up their relationship steadily to keep the reader intrigued. Her use of first person perspective allowed us to only see inside Lizzy’s mind, but through the use of detailed dialogue and descriptive language we were also able to assume what Diesel was thinking and feeling. Their love story is not a simple one, as they are technically work partners, so it will be interesting to see how Evanovich develops this relationship as the series continues.

The one downfall I found within Wicked Appetite was the lack of explanation Evanovich provided toward the foundation of the story. She describes everything at the beginning in a very hasty, matter-of-fact manner. For example, the issue of Lizzy being an Unmentionable is just a fact of the story, as is her working with Diesel. The setting is also not explained in detail to allow the reader to really get a sense of the scene. Thus Evanovich does not allow time for the reader to really appreciate and understand the characters or their surroundings.

Summary:
This book was an easy and entertaining read. I read this book after reading a very intense, sad and dramatic story so it was a perfect counterpart. If you are looking for something “light and fluffy”, humorous and that isn’t too hard to decipher, get reading today!

lips grey 3.5

Review – Entwined with You by Sylvia Day

 

Frustrating with a capital F!

Title: Entwined with You (Book #3 Crossfire Series)
Author: Sylvia Day
Pages: 356
Genre: Romance – Erotic Fiction
Reviewer: Nicole
 

Blurb:

From the moment I first met Gideon Cross, I recognized something in him that I needed. Something I couldn’t resist. I also saw the dangerous and damaged soul inside – so much like my own. I was drawn to it. I needed him as surely as I needed my heart to beat.

No one knows how much he risked for me. How much I’d been threatened, or just how dark and desperate the shadow of our pasts would become.

Entwined by our secrets, we tried to defy the odds. We made our own rules and surrendered completely to the exquisite power of possession….

Review:

Entwined with You is the third, supposed final, installment to the Crossfire Series.  While I did enjoy this book, I have to express my disappointment. This series was presented as a “Trilogy” and what the reader finds out only after purchasing and reading the book, is that it’s no longer a Trilogy (obviously, for the story is nowhere near resolved), there is going to be another book and who knows how many after that?  As the reader I now find it frustrating not knowing when this story is going to be completely resolved.

While I had anticipated plot resolution from this installment what I received was far from enlightening.  I was actually left with most of the loose ends untied and presented with new information, which I assume is to cater to new sub plots and crisis for the two main characters of Gideon and Ava to explore in the upcoming books.

The highlight of this book for me was the character development taking place within Gideon and Ava.  Both protagonists really matured in this installment, not only in regard to their individual insecurities but as a couple as well. Ava became less annoying and Gideon became more loveable. They feel stable at the moment but I don’t know how long that will last, as I am sure the next installment will test this greatly.

What I hope for in the next installment are answers and plot resolution – I don’t want this series to drag! I want resolution regarding Gideon’s past – including whatever confrontation is to come between him, his mother and his family.  Overall, I think we are due for a more direct focus on Gideon’s back story as we have seen enough from Ava.  I guess we will just have to wait and see where this next installment will take us – fingers crossed it’s not a letdown.

lips grey 3.5