Thursday, 20 April 2017

New Review! Falling Out of Focus by Brynn Myers, 3 Cranky Stars

Falling Out of FocusFalling Out of Focus by Brynn Myers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

*** 3 Cranky Stars ***

Have you ever wondered what would it be like if Alice had been a full grown woman when she found out she stepped into Wonderland? Well, this would be the answer to that question.

Novaleigh found herself at the bottom of a lake fighting for breath until an internal voice told her to take a breath. Instead of drowning she found herself very much alive and able to swim up to the surface and enter a fantastical world I can only describe as Wonderland.

Sacrife is the land of the fae divided in different lands and kingdoms. Novie meets the twin queens who blessed and gifted her a guide to the land, a talking otter named Oliver. Together, the two of them navigated the land in search of the answers as to why Novaleigh ended up in Sacrife in the first place.

Just like in the childhood fairytale, Sacrife is full of magical beings all of them breath-takingly beautiful and out of this world. And like every story, there would be a villain. But instead of the Red queen of hearts we meet the queen of The White.

As far as comparisons go, that’s about it, for this story is geared towards an adult woman’s internal struggle with life and how she ended up in her current situation. Novaleigh’s journey through Sacrife forced her to look back into her past and question all the decisions she had made. Or didn’t make.

Initially I thought it was a story about self-discovery. A self analysis interwoven into this world full of magic and danger whispering in the fringes of the light and into the darkness. Then I found out it was about forgiveness and second chances.

To be completely honest, the story didn’t grip me. In fact, it took me a few days to finish because it kind of dragged in parts. Yes, there were exciting times and the words were beautifully crafted throughout. But the author took her time revealing the important bits. Then some great reveals were done in narrative instead of rich dialogue which had been a let down for this reviewer. Also at times, world building took precedence over plot progression.

All in all it was an OK read for me.

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New Review! Midnight Ryde by Melissa Merit, 2.5 Cranky Stars

Midnight Ryde: A Bad Boy MC RomanceMidnight Ryde: A Bad Boy MC Romance by Melissa Merit
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

** 2.5 Cranky Stars **

I wish I had a million good things to say about this book. I get that it was meant to be more fluff and sex but it was hard to read at times.

Sara is a typical college girl going slumming. She ends up in a biker bar and her friend gets her to talk to a guy who inevitably turns bad.

Ryder is the leader of a gang. He stumbles upon Sara and defends her honor. He saves her yet ends up in more trouble than he originally started with.

This book had so many odd disjointed things happening. I love fluff and smut trust me I do but this was just....I don't have words. One minute a guy is barely hanging on then he's making phone calls. What happened to the dog?

The overuse of the word cheap. I'm not for violence against women I know it was driving a point home but it was harsh. If you like hardcore sex and some love then this is your book.

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New Review! Delicate Lies by Josephine Brierley, 5 Cranky Stars

Delicate LiesDelicate Lies by Josephine Brierley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

***** 5 Cranky Stars *****

Dylan's life is total chaos. He's hardly had any good lasting memories of his childhood. It's a childhood filled with abuse and neglect and feelings of hopelessness. It's these thoughts and actions that follow him into his adult life. Now he's singing in a bar and drowning his thoughts in every vice known to man even women. Yet one girl captures his attention and this starts the pretend to be my girlfriend for three weeks scenario. What could go wrong?

Zoe is starting a new life in Stonewater. She fled a cheating boyfriend to start over with her cousin Kenzie. Working at a bar isn't what Zoe wanted to do with her life but she's the kind of girl that makes the most out of everything, She's a helper and a fixer it's in her nature. She's always had her eye on Dylan but knew he would be untouchable. They share friends and are always in each others orbit.

This book was a gem. It hurt my heart so bad at times I was like how will I go on? Dylan's childhood broke me in so many ways. How he didn't drown further in self doubt and self hatred was beyond me. Readers need to go into this book with an open mind because this isn't an easy read. Seeing Dylan crash and Zoe trying to save them is love beyond the stars.

While there was some minor spelling and of course the slang that is different that the US I adored this book. I hope readers take something away from this story.

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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

New Review! Groupie by C.M. Stunich, 3 Cranky Stars

GroupieGroupie by C.M. Stunich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Five rockstars and one girl: Lilith Tempest Goode.

On the day from hell, Lilith has a chance meeting with one of the rock band members of Beauty in Lies at a gas station. Her father's just died, her Step-Monster has shut her out, she's just broken up with her cheating boyfriend and has no home, no job and no money.

Selling tickets at a Beauty in Lies concert, Lilith meets Pax, the lead singer of the band and wins a ViP pass.

There starts a poly-amorous relationship between broken people looking for connection. Told in multiple points of view, but with Lilith at its center, this work explores how an alternative relationship can be healing.

Once again, I think I'm outside popular opinion with this book. C.M. Stunich is a lovely writer and this book is well written, but I just couldn't connect to it. In fact, it took me nearly a week to finish it.

This is a big book. 130k words on the slimmest of plots, which is basically sad girl meets sad-bad boys and they have sex. This, of course, is fine, but after 394 pages, the novelty had worn off.

Also, with the multiple points of view, we get snippets of characters (apart from Lilith), but without many answers. I understand this is probably a hook for further works, but I thought it bogged the book down and didn't take us anywhere.

The sex scenes are hot and the rockstars, well, most of them, are lovable characters. I have to say though, apart from Lilith, nearly every other female character who is alive in this work is portrayed as competition or unlikable.

This maybe a case of it's not the book, it's me. So, I'll own it. This book wasn't for me.

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New Review! The Vampire's Mail Order Bride by Kristen Painter, 4 Cranky Stars

The Vampire's Mail Order Bride (Nocturne Falls, #1)The Vampire's Mail Order Bride by Kristen Painter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**** 4 Cranky Stars ****

After witnessing a murder at work, Delaney James goes on the run. Assuming a new identity, she pretends to be a mail order bride. With the mob on her tail, Delaney heads to Nocturne Falls to meet her groom-to-be with Captain, her large Maine Coon, tow.

Delaney discovers a strange small town, inhabited by strange people and with strange goings on. Nocturne Falls celebrates Halloween 365 days of the year. Tourists think it's all for show, but the supernaturals living there know better.

Hugh Ellingham, Delaney's groom-to-be, is a 400 year old vampire who's been forced into this arrangement by his overbearing Grandmother. He has thirty days to suffer his intended or lose something incredibly important to him. His literal time in the sun.

He has no intention of marrying Delaney for real until he meets her. On the other hand, Delaney likes the man she meets and wants to get to know him better. She has no idea, however, that he's a vampire.

This was a fun read with a witty, courageous heroine and a pompous hero with a troubled past who finds himself falling for his mail order bride.

The secondary characters make this story and Painter pushes the narrative along at a great pace sprinkled with lots of laughter and uh-ohs.


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New Review! The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, 5 Plus Cranky Stars

The Hate U GiveThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

***** 5 Plus Cranky Stars *****

This is the easiest five stars I've ever handed out. In fact, this is one of the few books that I'd give more stars to if I could. It's also going to be one of the hardest reviews to write without giving away any spoilers. You don't want to be spoiled on this book. I actually wish I hadn't read it, so I could discover it brand new again.

As a reviewer who often reads hyped books and is disappointed - this is not the case with The Hate U Give. I believe, like others, that this is going to be a modern classic and should be on school curricula for years to come.

The Hate U Give centers around sixteen year old Starr Carter. She moves between two worlds - the poor neighborhood she lives in and the suburban prep school she attends. Her life has been about balancing these two worlds and compromising parts of herself to negotiate the environs she inhabit.

All of that changes when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood friend, Kahlil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was a teen. He was unarmed and he didn't do anything wrong.

In the aftermath, questions about that night are in everyone's minds. Khalil becomes a hashtag, a national headline and the media smear his character.

Protestors take to the streets for justice. Starr and her family are intimidated by both the cops and local drug lords. At a personal level, the two worlds Starr negotiates collapse into one another.

Traumatized and riddle with guilt, Starr must find a way to come to grips with who she is and find justice for Khalil against the very institutions that took his life so easily.

This is a timely book and the sociopolitical importance of the Hate U Give cannot be underestimated, but it's more than that. It's a really good book. It's accessible and has the rare ability to break your heart, warm it and make you laugh out loud.

I absolutely loved Starr and her family - who crosses both sides of the divide. Starr's dad is an activist. Her Uncle is a Police Officer and her mother wants safety and opportunity for her children.

Many current threads and debates run concurrent to the larger arc of this story (justice for Khalil), exploring micro aggressions, such as casual and overt racism as well as macro aggressions - how authority (not to mention other apparatuses, such as the media) picks and chooses how they interact with people.

Quite often, I find these dangling plot threads in other works can be distracting. Not so in The Hate U Give. They added a nuanced, multi-layered depth that made me sit back and think.

Before urging everyone to read this book, I'd like to make a couple of ancillary comments.

1) Hailey - I disliked her at the start, loathed her in the middle, and pitied her by the end. Unapologetic, self-righteous and cloistered privilege is tiresome.

2) Maverick's Harry Potter theory. I laughed so loud I scared the dog. Golden!

3) Nana - you are my role model for old age.

4) I wanted to hang out with Starr and her family. 90's music and philosophy = the best sort of times.

This book is highly recommended and is easily one of the best books I've ever read. I now have a massive book hangover from it, but like most hangovers - it was worth it.

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