Friday, 26 July 2013

Review: Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend by Louise Rozett

Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend (Confessions #2) by Louise Rozett
Publisher: Mira Ink
Released: July 5th 2013
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

If you're not true to yourself, why should anyone else be?

In her second year of high school Rose Zarelli is determined to become Rose 2.0 - as in, innovative...superior...improved. Improved how? Well, Rose is setting some ground rules. This year she absolutely most definitely will NOT:
1) do things just because other people want her to
2) randomly shoot her mouth off
3) worry about whether she's someone's girlfriend or not.
And most important of all she determined to tell off Jamie Forta, the boy who might just have broken her heart, once and for all and move on.

After all she's older and smarter now. She can totally pull this off. How hard can it be? Right? Right?
(from Amazon)

Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend was a great follow up to Confessions of An Angry Girl, and I’m already looking forward to book three!

Rose’s character developed in this book (though in my opinion she was still very young and the relationship with Jamie still caused me concerns but more on that later) and she was getting better at controlling her anger – she didn’t have as many outbursts or do stupid things because she was frustrated. It was interesting to see her relationship with her mother and brother and how things had changed so much between them all since her dad died. And while she still had enemies, like Regina, her feeling towards them had changed – she still really did not like Regina, but after understanding her circumstances, she could sympathise with her and she did what she thought was right – even if other people didn’t view it that way. I liked Rose, and have always liked her, and could sort of understand how she was feeling. She was overly-critical of herself and I was glad that in this book, she was learning to accept compliments and the fact that sometimes when people said nice things to her, they weren’t just being polite or sarcastic. It didn’t make her any less herself, any less Rose (and I’m glad, because I liked her personality the way it was), but it did give her that little extra boost and motivation to do things she might have been too afraid to do before.

Jamie – hmmm. I’m not sure how I felt about him. First of all, I think Rose was just too young for him. He was eighteen! She was fifteen! Ahhck. Maybe I’m changing in my old age, but it just seemed weird to me. I mean, if she were twenty-five and he were twenty-eight, fine. But like I said in my previous review, things are very different when you’re a teenager. Fifteen may as well be ten years apart from eighteen, because the difference in what it’s like to be fifteen and what it’s like to be eighteen is pretty big. If I look back, I could not imagine that at fifteen, I would be emotionally mature enough to be with someone who was eighteen. I’m not saying there aren’t fifteen year olds out there that are mature for their age or eighteen-year-olds that are immature (God knows there are) but a) Rose was not one of those people (she was smart, don’t get me wrong, and was thinking about the future, but she was very noticeably fifteen) and b) it just seems weird. And illegal. And weird.  I think Rose turned sixteen at the end of the book, so it wasn’t as bad (if you can forget the whole thing started when she was fourteen).But setting that aside...Jamie was...okay. He had sort of a messed up childhood (he lost his virginity at thirteen o_O) and he was protective over the Deladdo family and while he seemed to care for Rose (and was evidently an excellent kisser), he just couldn’t get over what he thought was his responsibility to the Deladdo family. He was really stubborn and rash and while I could see his appeal...I also didn’t love him as much as I thought I would, especially after that ending.

I was a lot more interested in Tracy and Rose’s friendship in this book. It wasn’t perfect and they had their ups and downs, but I felt they were both more supportive and understanding of each other (by the end, anyway) and they stuck up for each other when it was necessary. Though, Tracy going out with Rose’s brother Peter...once again, age gap that sort of creeped me out. This was even worse because Peter was a university student. He was even older than Jamie! Why couldn’t these guys find girls their own age? It made me think that they actually just liked intimidating their girlfriends, and I didn’t like that at all. Not exactly an equal and healthy relationship. My favourite character by far, however, was Angelo, who I really hope has more of a role in the third book, because he was hilarious and supportive and I loved him!

Plot-wise, it was mostly just following Rose’s life, and there wasn’t too much crazy stuff going on. I guessed why Conrad, Regina’s brother, didn’t like Rose from the start, but it was still interesting to read how everything panned out. I’m definitely up for another book and I am interested to find out what happens with all the relationships!

Overall, I enjoyed Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend, despite my reservations about the ages of the characters (am I seriously the only one slightly concerned about this?) and would definitely recommend this series to contemp fans.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Review: Ink by Amanda Sun

Ink (Paper Gods #1) by Amanda Sun
Publisher: Mira Ink
Released: July 5th 2013
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

A MAGIC MIGHTIER THAN ANY SWORD

A DESTINY THAT CAN’T BE DENIED

Katie Greene is lost in the wake of her mum's death. Sent to Japan, she meets gorgeous but aloof artist Tomohiro, whose tough attitude intrigues and scares her. Then things get really strange. When they're near each other, Tomohiro's drawings start to come to life…

Soon the wrong people begin to ask questions, and Katie and Tomohiro must risk everything to protect the truth.
(from Goodreads)

I really didn’t know what to expect with Ink but I ended up really enjoying it and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series

First of all, I loved the setting. I won’t pretend to be an expert on Japan or Japanese culture (though I am a massive anime/manga fan), but it seemed like Amanda Sun really knew her stuff and that was reflected in her writing. The characters didn’t come across as fake or unbelievable and I really liked the main character, Katie. She moved to Japan to live with her aunt after her mum died, and she was struggling with her grief as well as adjusting to a completely new environment and language. I was really impressed at how she picked up the language and went to a local school instead of an international one (at her aunt’s request, but still, she could have decided against it). She seemed to be managing quite well for a newbie, though she was finding it difficult to make friends. I could empathise with her – she was pushed into this entirely new situation, didn’t really have any idea what to do and understandably was frustrated about it all. She did have a good friend in Yuki, who was really supportive, and Tanaka who just seemed like a really nice and genuine guy. I liked that Katie wasn’t afraid to say what she was thinking, and she also had this habit of sometimes blurting out things when she felt awkward which I loved because I do that too (remind me to tell you the story about my French teacher and how I completely embarrassed myself in front of her some time).

Tomohiro, the love interest and source of conflict/crazy happenings, was quite a fascinating character. Perhaps I should have, but I really didn’t guess the mystery behind the moving pictures, and even when that was revealed, I wasn’t sure where the storyline could be going. It was actually a mystery for me instead of something obvious that I could work out in the first ten pages (which, believe it or not, happens quite often). His personality as well – one minute he was acting like a complete jerk, the next minute he was being as sweet as can be. I got that he felt he needed to act like a jerk so people would stay away from him but I felt kind of sad that he felt it was necessary to do that. He was a bit of a tormented soul. I did like his relationship with Katie as well – it was just so cute when he would blush because she’d called him by his first name! It was a little bit instalovey, but luckily it wasn’t too bad and I still enjoyed the romance.

Plot-wise, I feel like it was quite simple – interesting stuff going on but not too complicated, yet that was enough - it was still really engaging and I still stayed up way later than I should have finishing the book. I was drawn in immediately – and I seriously mean like from the first page or so. I loved that there were actual drawings as well! The artwork was great and really added to the story. I really liked the inclusion of Japanese words/phrases too (was so proud when I could understand some of the non-translated parts without referring to the glossary – I guess I picked up a few phrases watching so much anime over the years! If only I could actually hold a conversation...:P).

Overall, I’m really glad I read Ink and if you’re looking for something a little different from your normal YA but not drastically so, definitely give it a go.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Review: The Pirate's Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke

The Pirate's Wish (The Assassin's Curse #2) by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Released: June 18th 2013
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword, their wits, and the secret to breaking the curse: complete three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani and a rather unusual ally, Ananna and Naji make their way south again, seeking what seems to be beyond their reach.

Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must still face the repercussions of going up against the Pirate Confederation. Together, Naji and Ananna must break the curse, escape their enemies — and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction.
(from Goodreads)

Did I already tell you about my love for these characters in my The Assassin’s Curse review? I did? Well tough, because I’m going to tell you again. I LOVE these characters. Ananna and Naji need some kind of award for being so amazing. READ THIS SERIES. Just do it.

Ananna was once again an amazing character and I loved her so much. We saw a slightly different side to her in this book but she retained her great sense of humour and her relentless sarcasm towards Naji (never afraid to take on her assassin :P). I think we got to see more of her emotions in this book – her embarrassment at Naji finding out that she liked him, her anger, her jealousy (this was somewhat painful and funny to read about – Ananna attempted the classic “make him jealous by paying attention to some other guy” technique which can only ever lead to embarrassment and awkwardness and made the rookie mistaking of constantly staring at Naji while she was doing it – because that wasn’t obvious at all! :P) , her feelings about her growing friendship with the manticore – I could honestly read about this girl forever. And speaking of the manticore, she was awesome. She started out as some terrifying creature that Ananna didn’t trust and was using for her own benefit, but somewhere along the way they actually started to become friends and I LOVED reading about their developing friendship. Ananna ended up confiding in the manticore quite a bit, and the manticore, in her own way, did what she thought would make Ananna happy (though it was totally misguided) and was actually a pretty good friend. I was actually surprised at how much I came to like the manticore – first time I’ve liked a character who wanted to eat the protagonists at the beginning :P.

Naji – that man. Can you believe he was still completely oblivious until the manticore intervened? He really did not handle Ananna’s feelings well. It was actually kind of funny how clueless he was at the beginning. But, slowly, you could see him start to realise that he had feelings for Ananna too and ahh! It was just so awesome. I can’t explain it to you, but the romance was written so well and you just need to read this book. And even though it wasn’t perfect and Naji was an assassin and Ananna was a pirate and there were loads of complicated things going on, you still couldn’t help but root for them! And I think that Naji, who covered up his scars and didn’t like people to really look at him, felt more comfortable and at ease with Ananna. She didn’t care about those things, and she stuck by him the whole time while he was trying to break the curse. AH SUCH BRILLIANT CHARACTERS.

Plot-wise, it was always exciting and I liked finding out how the next tasks would have to be accomplished. It was never easy and sometimes things just seemed downright impossible. The return of Marjani was one of my favourite parts – I really liked her in the first book and knew she’d come back! It was interesting to find out more about her and her past too and she acted as a kind of mentor for Ananna which was really cool. My only real problem was I think the ending was slightly rushed and I wasn’t too sure how I felt about it being left like that. But it did fit the book pretty well, and while I didn’t adore this book as much as I did with The Assassin’s Curse, it was still an excellent and enjoyable sequel.

Overall, I am sad to see the end of this series and I absolutely recommend it to everyone. Even if you don’t like fantasy, just try it! You deserve to experience the awesomeness of these characters :P.