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Sunday, November 05, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Synopsis From Goodreads
Love hurts...

Makani Young thought she'd left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She's found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn't far behind.

Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series f gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.
  
 
Source: Bought from Waterstones
 
 
My Review
4.5 Stars

It's the end of Halloween week and Bonfire's Night today so I hope everyone has been enjoying their fortnight of parties. I don't really celebrate Halloween -had a night in front of  back to back Adam's Family films instead- but I decided that this year to would read a scary book (at least compared to ones I normally read), and I saw this YA horror everywhere on Friday the 13th so decided I would make it my Halloween read this year, after all it is written by a contemporary romance author and it is YA so I figured it wouldn't be overly petrifying or gory. Anyway, I started late on the 31st and finished it the next day and here is what I thought about it:
 
I have to admit the first chapter confused me, the main character Makani wasn't mentioned at all, it was the kind of confusing I normally get from a prologue not a first chapter. However, this first chapter does an amazing job of introducing the kind of book you are getting into, spooky and mysterious, full of anticipation and - of course - murder.
 
We get introduced to Makani in the second chapter, and at times in about the first half you could almost forget that you were reading a horror. You can see the authors contemporary romance roots as it focuses on the buddy romance and the day to day life of a student in a small town. However, there was this undercurrent of fear, and I loved the way that the development and spreading of rumours was portrayed, as the student body theorised and speculated on who the murderer could be. As the reader I was analysing everyone, suspecting every comment and thought, and dreaming up what 'dark secrets' Makani might have tried to leave behind.

"There we rumors about everyone. Makani knew better than to believe any of them outright. Rumours, even the true ones, never told the complete story" -  Page 10

There is a 'natural' acceleration of the murders, which left me turning the pages to see who from the Osborn student population would actually survive. I think it was this anticipation which make this book so great in my eyes, firstly because we get to see the murders from the victim POV you begin to see a 'trade mark' and you know when a murder is coming. Also there is the anticipation to know who the next victim is, and then of course who, the murderer is! I liked that at the end we got a bit of hint as the motives behind the killings but no definitive explanations.  
 
  
This book was the perfect YA horror story and was exactly what I was looking for. Stephanie Perkins, has created a book which somehow mixed  a story of teen romance with a hunt for a serial killer. It has the great measure of a creepy, mysterious, murderer on the loose, while also, allowing the readier to put the book down and sleep at night. But also making them want to reach for it the moment they wake to find out what going to happen next. Can't rave about this book enough, highly recommended. I would love a sequel or even a epilogue novella, as I would to see how Osborn picks itself up after the loss of so many of it's residents, and to see how the survivors cope with the direct aftermath, and the last it effect it has on their lives.
 

 


  

Thursday, October 19, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Royal Outlaw (#1) by Kayla Hudson

Synopsis from Goodreads

Mariel was born royal, but has spent most of her life as an outlaw, working for the Resistance—an underground organization attempting to overthrow Natric’s corrupt monarchs. When the royal grandparents who left her for dead long ago offer her the future crown, she declines, but when they threaten the life of her commoner father she is left with an impossible choice: become something she hates or watch her father die.

As Mariel fights against the new responsibilities and expectations that confine her, forgotten memories of her mother’s murder threaten her sanity and a creature who hunted her as a child returns to finish off his prey. Mariel quickly discovers that she may be a master sword-fighter, but not all enemies can be defeated with a mere blade . . .
Source: kindle unlimited
 
My Review
(4 Stars)
 
So I have to admit that I pick up (or more accurately downloaded) Royal Outlaw because from the title and the cover it looked a bit like a Robin Hood like re-telling with a female heroine. Although there are similarities with Mariel being born into royalty but now lives as part of the resistance as a outlaw and thief, I would recommend going into this book from more a fantasy expectation. Otherwise your (like myself) will be surprised my the magicians, the snake-shifters, unicorns and other non-human creatures.

Despite my self-made confusion, I still really enjoyed this book. Mariel was a great character a kick-ass heroine, with sword swinging skills and lock-picking ability as well as being well educated and intelligent. It has interesting and sometimes funny as she is thrown into the life of an upper-class lady, my, my the trouble she can get herself into! However, my favourite character by far has to be James, the air of mystery as well as caring and protect nature - just love him. I would have liked to see more of Mariel's father, from the few scenes we get with him it seems like they have a good relationship but it would have been good to see more interactions between them. I would have also liked to see more of zreshlans, but I am guessing we will get to see more of them in the sequels.

Apart from the characters, the main plot drive and what keep me turning the pages has to be Mariel's memory loss and the mysterious assassin which she can't remember. I don't want to go into this part of the plot as it is the mystery of the unmemorable horror which kept me reading.

Royal Outlaw was a bit different from what I was expecting but a great read. I enjoyed watching our kickass outlaw heroine as she is thrown into the royal life, her attempts to be dismissed as heir and discovering her forgotten past, all while under the threat from a childhood assassin.
 
 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: The Young Elites (#1) by Marie Lu

Synopsis from Goodreads

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.
 
Source: Bought
Series: Book One of The Young Elites Trilogy
 
MY REVIEW
4 Stars
 
The Young Elites is one of those book which everyone was raving about a few years ago, at the time I didn't get involved but was still interested as I had read the Legend series and enjoyed it. So this week I decided it was time to finally start blasting through some of the book which I bought last year but hadn't read yet, so I picked Young Elites up without reading the back (and it has been quite a few years since I read any Marie Lu books) so I went in completely blind.

From my vague recollections I thought this book was gonna be more dystopian/ post apocalyptic setting. So was surprised with the dramatic opening chapters introducing us to this fantasy world, in which we meet Adelina who is in the equivalent of death row, awaiting her death for murdering her father.Although we get thrown into the middle of this situation we are quickly given a bit of a back story - something I was really glad about, the books i have read recently have withheld backstories to 'add to the mystery', so this made a nice change.

Adelina appears to quickly make a few friends within the society, I personally particularly like Raffaele as a character he is very perceptive and isn't scared to say it as it is. He is also world wise but he still has such a calm and caring personality. I felt as though the romance was a bit predictable but Adelina, oh Adelina ... she does manage to dig herself a hole by keeping such big secrets and you could tell it was all going to blow up in some way. I just didn't see it all going down quite like that! That ending was a complete shock and I really don't know how Marie Lu is going to take this series forward, but it will be interesting to see how these experiences impact our characters in the next book.

The Young Elites, was everything I was expecting, a few much loved tropes, some shocks and surprises, and some interesting grey characters which will leave you wondering who acted in the wrong.


 
         

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

RE-READ REVIEW: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Synopsis From Goodreads

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she's not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She's even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won't risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty... no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time's running short. Sam must decide who she can trust... and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.
 
Source: Bought Second Hand
Series: Sadly Still a Standalone
 
 
This is my second review of Rites of Passage, my original review from my first reading of this book back in April can be found here. I don't know how many of my follows have heard of the BBC TV series Our Girl (?) but we are due to start the third series next week. I mention Our Girl because as I re-read this book I began to draw parallels between this book and the first series of Our Girl (which I have just finished re-watching in preparation for the new series). 
 
So Our Girl follows Molly Dawes on her first tour as a army medic in Afghanistan, while Sam is trying to survive Military School, but there are some similarities in their situation. Both are in a male dominated world trying to prove their worth as soldier's as well as making a point that woman are as strong as men - they are both got a bit of a determined streak. They both have to battle with those in there rank (and above) who would rather see the back of them, although this is less of a feature in  Our Girl than it is in Rites of Passage where this is the major plot. There relationship with there fellow recruits/soldier's go though similar flows, in that swing from them wanting her gone (with a few sticking up for her) to becoming a group of over protective brothers. There is also a bit of an alikeness in regard to the romance apart from one difference which I won't share in case of spoilers.
 
Anyway moving away from my Our Girl comparisons, I still I love this book. I was as hooked almost as much as the first time, it keep me up reading and it was the first thing I reached for in the morning. There were a few wee details that I had forgotten so it was fun to rediscover them. I had completely forgotten the last few pages, which just made me want a sequel all over again. Just looking back at my original review and this time I had remembered the harshness of the academy so this wasn't as gripping for me, as the first time I just didn't know how much 'worse' it could get for girls but this time I had more of an idea. Also the romance didn't feel as though it took me as long to get to this time and I enjoyed watching there interactions before they showed any romantic interest.  
 
Still highly recommend Rites of Passage, and for all those who enjoyed Our Girl I particularly recommend you check this book out, and let me know if you see the same similarities as me.