Sunday, 24 January 2016

Review: See How They Run by Ally Carter

See How They Run (Embassy Row #2) by Ally Carter
Publisher: Orchard Books
Released: January 14th 2016
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

The second thrilling book in the EMBASSY ROW series.

Grace thought finding her mother's killer would bring her peace. But the truth has only made her a target. on Embassy Row, trust is a luxury. Death is a very real threat. And a girl like Grace should be very careful about which secrets she brings to light...

Ally Carter, once again, has me hooked. She is a magician, and an auto-read author for me. She’s never let me down, and See How They Run was a great addition to her Embassy Row series.

Grace. After the ending of book one, it was quite clear that Grace was going to have a lot to cope with. And she did - she was struggling so much with the secret she had learned - she felt guilty, and so many things kept triggering a flashback of the terrible things that had happened that day three years ago. Everyone wanted to help her but they didn’t know how to. Her brother Jamie kept insisting that he didn’t blame her for what happened - but Grace still blamed herself, and she couldn’t go back to being the little sister she was before she knew the truth. To top it all off, she still didn’t know why someone had ordered her mother to be killed, and more bad things just kept happening. Things that made her question herself even more, again and again. I just, ugh! Grace was so troubled and you could just feel how awful everything was for her and how she couldn’t move past what had happened. She wasn’t sure of anything anymore, she didn’t trust her own judgment and she just kept hiding things from everyone. All she wanted to do was sort out the messes that kept happening and yet she was also scared of making things worse. It was intense at times, let me tell you. I can’t wait to find out what happens in book three.

Alexei, I just. This guy. Sometimes I felt sorry for him, sometimes I wanted to shake him! What did he want? What was his plan? Why was he so nice one minute and then acting weird with Grace the next? And yet he was the only one who really understood what she was going through and Grace was trying to help him and he was always, always trying to help her, but then he was hiding things from her and she was hiding things from him and it was all just a big ball of chaos and uncertainty and when will they kiss, damn it?! Alexei definitely grew on me this book. He was still no Zachary Goode (but let’s face it, how many people are?) but I liked him and I am curious to see what he will do in the next book.

Noah and Megan were back, and I think I loved them more than ever. And Rosie - and even Lila! Her outrage was hilarious. Even though Grace didn’t really confide in her friends, even though they all knew she was hiding something, they were still there for her, and it was just really nice to see that Grace had that kind of support if she ever wanted it. I know she was scared of what they would all think if they ever found out the truth, but honestly, I think they would have accepted it and wouldn’t have blamed Grace. But Grace wasn’t really in the position yet where she could trust enough to risk that, and I could understand why.

Plot-wise, I was a bit confused at the start of this book and had no idea what was going on. But it started to make sense later on and the mystery aspects were really good, I didn’t guess half of it until the end when there was the final reveal (I predicted that a few chapters before). Speaking of the end - ?!?!?! Wtf? How could it end just with THAT bam in your face! I mean WTF!

Overall, this was a great sequel to All Fall Down and I am officially invested in this series. Bring on book three!

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Review: Judged by Liz de Jager

Judged (The Blackhart Legacy #3) by Liz de Jager
Publisher: Tor UK
Released: January 14th 2016
My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Kit's job description includes solving crimes - the supernatural kind...

Glow, a fae-created drug, is rapidly going viral and the suppliers have to be shut down. Teaming up with Aiden and Dante, Kit follows leads across London, tracking down dealers. They stir up trouble, making themselves a target for the gang they're trying to stop.

In the Otherwhere, Thorn stumbles across a secret that could destroy both the human and Fae worlds. The Veil that separates our human world from the fae realms is weakening and the goddess is dying. And if she dies and the Veil fails, madness and chaos will wreak unstoppable havoc upon both lands.

Thorn turns to the only person he knows who'll be able to help him: Kit. Torn between working the Glow case and her loyalty for the young prince, Kit is propelled headlong into a world of danger. She faces enemies from both the Otherwhere and our world. And as the stakes are raised, the consequence of failure for both Kit and Thorn, and two realms, could be devastating.
(from Goodreads)

While Judged wasn’t my favourite book in the Blackhart Legacy trilogy, it was a satisfying ending to a series I’ve really enjoyed, and I’m sad to see it go.

Kit was back and up to her usual antics - I really liked her character and the approach she took when it came to investigating. She was doubting herself a little in this book though, wondering about her magic and why she, as a human, possessed it (I would have liked a bit more explanation in this actually). But despite all the crazy stuff that was happening and everything she had to witness, she managed to get through it. Kit was nothing if not determined and I also really loved her sense of humour (especially her comments and comeback to Aidan and Dante!). Her friendship with Aiden and Dante was wonderful and I loved they could all joke around and make funny comments and get along so well - it was really nice the way they all supported each other as well, whenever one of them was troubled, and the dynamic between them was great to read about. Some of the dialogue could be cheesy at times, but it was bearable amounts, not “I need to shut this book and roll my eyes” amounts.

Speaking of Aiden and Dante, I loved them both! I found their relationship really sweet and funny and they just had such great chemistry. Dante grew on me in the second book and I think I liked him even more in this one. Aiden, I’ve always liked. In this book especially he was concerned about Kit and I liked that he could go from serious to joking around - he was always the person you could turn to when the situation called for it.

Thorn though, he was just not in this book enough! I did enjoy all the scenes he was in and the parts where he and Kit were together were cute, but I would have liked to have seen more of him. I did expect this was going to happen in this book though, after the ending of book two, so I wasn’t that disappointed.

Things started a bit slow in this book and it took a while for me to really become engaged with the story. The beginning was all about Glow and Kit and Dante and Aidan trying to find the dealers - more of what we’ve already seen before, really. They also hadn’t heard from Thorn in a while and a were concerned about him. There wasn’t too much actually going on - it wasn’t really until we started to understand why Glow was being distributed that things really started to pick up - and from then on, I really enjoyed the story. There were a few twists too that surprised me and I didn’t see the ending going down like that! Most things were wrapped up nicely but I wouldn’t say no to another book set in this universe if Liz de Jager wanted to write one!

Overall, I struggled with this book a bit at the beginning but enjoyed it overall, and thought it was a nice way to conclude the series.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #76

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1) by Alwyn Hamilton
February 4th 2016
Find it on Goodreads

"Tell me that and we'll go. Right now. Save ourselves and leave this place to burn. Tell me that's how you want your story to go and we'll write it straight across the sand."

Dustwalk is Amani's home. The desert sand is in her bones. But she wants to escape. More than a want. A need.

Then a foreigner with no name turns up to save her life, and with him the chance to run. But to where? The desert plains are full of danger. Sand and blood are swirling, and the Sultan's enemies are on the rise.
(from Goodreads)

I am so excited about this book! I've read the first two chapters (which are available online) and it sounds amazing! Magicy and awesome and just everything I want in a fantasy novel. And I love the writing style and the characters so far seem very cool. Plus, everyone who has already read this book seems to have loved it, so that's another reason I can't wait to read it! And would you LOOK at that cover? It's beautiful! Beautiful! At least February isn't too far away (oh my God, February isn't even too far away anymore. To quote Ally Carter because it seems fitting- "time, the greatest thief of all").

What are you waiting on this week?

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Released: January 7th 2015
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.

One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them... until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.
(from Goodreads)

It’s been so long since I’ve written a review, I feel like I’ve forgotten how to do it! Bear with me here, I’ll get back into the swing on things. Anyway, I really enjoyed this book. I’d heard a lot of good things about it beforehand, so I went in with some high expectations, and I wasn’t disappointed! It was just the kind of contemp I was looking for, and I’m excited to read whatever Huntley Fitzpatrick writes next.

Sam was our main character in this book, and oh man. Did I feel sorry for this girl. Her mother. She was awful. I don’t even understand how Sam put up with it, or was as forgiving as she was. And when the mum brought home Clay, or Creepy McCreeperson as I liked to call him because he was SO creepy, right from the start, I knew things would get even worse. Sam herself was actually (surprisingly, considering how she grew up) quite funny and never found it hard to come up with some witty sarcastic comments. She often watched her next door neighbours, The Garretts, from her window, wondering what it’d be like to grow up with lots of siblings and live in a normal family. And then she suddenly found herself talking to Jase Garrett - and then meeting his family - and then babysitting his siblings - and everything was changing for her. She was starting to see things outside the confines her mother had kept her in. It was nice to see her changing little by little - though she (of course, as a human being) still was unsure of herself and made a lot of mistakes. The events that occurred towards the end - I just. I really think it was wrong of Sam to have kept that secret. I sort of get why she did it, but if I were an involved party, I would have been angry that she lied about it.

Jase was seriously so sweet and adorable and kind. He knew Sam was a bit messed up and her family life wasn’t great, and he always made an effort to speak to her and hang out and try to make her forget about it all. And he was so great with all of his (SEVEN) siblings! I loved the relationship the Garrett family had, and it was so nice to see a family portrayed that way. I loved seeing Sam with the Garretts, especially the Garrett parents because it was such a contrast to her own home life. The romance was very cute too and built up really nicely. From the start you just knew that Jase and Sam would be great together and it was so great seeing them interact and start to realise that for themselves.

Nan and Tim - well I saw that coming, really. I knew what Nan was up to and Tim? I had mixed feelings. It’ll be interesting to read The Boy Most Likely To (the companion novel to My Life Next Door) where Tim is a main character, because I am interested to find out what happens to him. Hope it will be published in the UK! Though back to this book, I’m just more surprised that the parents of these two had no idea what was going on with their children. I’d say they were almost as bad as Sam’s mum but that’s a lie because Sam’s mum was the worst.

Plot-wise, this book was a lot funnier than I expected (there was a lot of awkward humour that I found hilarious), and while it was mostly slow paced, it was really enjoyable and gave us a lot of time to get to know the characters. The events at the end were surprising and seemed to come out of nowhere at first, but I got used to the change in tone and ended up really enjoying the book as a whole.

Overall, this was a really engaging, very sweet contemp with some more serious parts as well. Recommended!