Saturday, 31 May 2014

Review: Stronger Than You Know

Stronger Than You Know by Jolene Perry

Title: Stronger Than You Know
Series: none
Author: Jolene Perry
Published: Albert Whitman Teen; 2014*
256 pages, kindle edition
Source: Netgalley

Rating: 2 stars
 Description (from Goodreads):

After police intervention, fifteen-year-old Joy has finally escaped the trailer where she once lived with her mother and survived years of confinement and abuse. Now living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in a comfortable house, she’s sure she’ll never belong. Wracked by panic attacks, afraid to talk to anyone at her new school, Joy’s got a whole list of reasons why she’s crazy. With immense courage, Joy finds friends and grows closer to her new family. But just when hope is taking hold, she learns she must testify in her mother’s trial. Can she face her old life without losing her way in the new one? Will she ever truly belong in a world that seems too normal to be real?

My Thoughts:

 Stronger Than You Know was a heart-warming story about a young girl named Joy who is trying to heal after being through every sort of hell and more. Not only has she had one hell of a childhood but was constantly abused verbally, physically and sexually. Now, living with her uncle, aunty and two cousins, she is trying to move on so she can start to really live her life.

Joy was a beautiful character. I admired her not only because of her strength of will but because of her frame of her mind. She knew that she wasn't quite okay, at least not fully, and acknowledged that. She did that because she wanted to move past it, she wanted control back in her life and was willing to fight for that - how can you not admire this sort of quality in a character?

The other characters were also very well written. I liked their variety and diversity and also the fact that they were flawed. This made them completely realistic and relatable. I really admired their perseverance and their acceptance of Joy. They did what they could to help her out and the relationships they established with this trust was admirable and simply gorgeous.

To summarise, the character development in this book was spot on and simply superb. However, that was all that this book had: character development. I understand that Joy was on a journey of healing and that it was going to take a hell of a lot longer than a few days, or even a few months, for her to recover but I struggle to read this because it was so slow-paced and... well, dull. Nothing actually happened. Joy healed and that was about it. There was some light romance attempted but I wasn't fully on board with that either. I needed something more. My attention span is about as big as the memory span of a goldfish - that is, very short. I got very bored reading this then.

However, saying that I absolutely loved the way that this was written and the characters were perfect. I would easily recommend this for people that enjoy a character-based contemporary romance and I will be happily checking out the author's other novels.

Note: a copy was provided courtesy of Jolene Perry and Albert Whitman Teen, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given or taken during this process

Release date: September 1st, 2014

Friday, 30 May 2014

Review: Harp's Song

Harp's Song (Harp's Song #1) by Cassie Shine
Title: Harp's Song
Series: Harp's Song, #1
Author: Cassie Shine
Published: Patchwork Press; 2014
302 pages, kindle editon
Source: Netgalley

Rating: 2 stars
Description (from Goodreads):

In just a few months Harp Evans will be officially coming of age and graduating from high school. She will be free from the mother that never wanted her, the house that never felt like home, and the disappointment of the last seventeen years. What she doesn’t know is that her mother has been holding onto a secret that has the potential to derail her dreams and destroy her already faulty sense of self.

A self-proclaimed recluse, Harp spends most of her time practicing the cello, in the hopes of earning a full scholarship that will grant her freedom, but will also send her away from her best friend Connor Williams, who is becoming more than just a friend.

As revelations are made, will Harp still feel the same way about leaving everyone that cares about her behind? Or will she continue to pursue the life she’s been dreaming of, for as long as she can remember?

My Thoughts:

Harp's Song was a toughie for me. I just couldn't get into it, no matter how hard I tried. There was something missing from the writing. It was choppy and lacked a rhythm. I found it very, very hard to follow. Add that to some asshats for characters and a dull plotline, and this just wasn't my book.

Harp was an okay character to start with. I wasn't fond of her but I've read about much worse and was interested to see how she would develop across the book. Unfortunately, she didn't. In fact, she only got worse. I ended up being simply irritated by her. She was rash to act, made some stupid decision that made no logical sense and she didn't stop to think about her actions. I didn't like any of her friends either. Connor and Ethan were both two-faced at times, and I could never figure out if they were decent guys or not. One minute they were sweet and the next they were beating the crap out of a guy for no reason. Harp's mother did nothing but infuriate me. Her character was not handled well in the slightest. Her sudden personality change was not only unrealistic and completely random, but it made the plotline change directions - and that just made the book take an even more boring and unbelievable route.

The twists and turns were not plotted out well. Not only did they include many clichés but they were random and... its really hard to explain more without giving anything away. I'll leave it by saying that the "twist" I am talking about was simply not handled well.

The ending also didn't work for me, if you could call it an ending. The book simply stopped. Now I have to pick up Harp's Voice if I want to know how Harp's story ends!

Note: a copy was provided courtesy of Cassie Shine and Patchwork Press, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given or taken during this process.


Thursday, 15 May 2014

Review: Glitch

Glitch (Lost in Time #1) by Brenda Pandos

Title: Glitch
Series: Lost in Time, #1
Author: Brenda Pandos
Published: Obsidian Mountain Publishing; 2014
300 pages, kindle edition
Source: Netgalley
 Description (from Goodreads):

Perfect world. Lies. Blue eyes.

When a mysterious guy from the forbidden zone sneaks an illegal slip of paper to a beautiful young girl from Brighton, she must decide if she should turn him in or follow what the note says.

Eighteen-year-old Abigail has no trouble following Brighton’s rules. For one, she’s OCD about checking her Date of Death clock latched to her wrist, making sure her decisions never shorten her timeline, and two, she enjoys the peace Brighton has to offer. In no way would she bring on another attack that destroyed earth’s inhabitants. But when her best friend returns from her Advice Meeting--a glimpse into the future--shocked and won’t tell Abby what’s happened, Abby is worried what awaits her glimpse. The stranger with blue eyes knows something, but does Abby dare enter the forbidden zone to get answers? Or is she doomed to live the life set in her glimpse?

My Thoughts:
1.5 stars

Time travel is something that I normally love to read about. The idea is simply fascinating to me. The very thought of travelling into the past, or even the future, excites me - probably, a little more than it should! It was only yesterday, in fact, that I was having a bit of a umm, well, discussion *cough* argument *cough* with a guy in my maths class about some of the finer details of it. We didn't agree on the details of the "time ripple" that would occur if someone was to travel into the past / future and influence a decision there that would led to a change back in the past / future etc. Anyway, getting back on track, let's just say that I rather enjoy time travel.

Glitch however bought time travel to shame.
Brenda Pandos really needed to research more when attempting to construct her rather complicated system of time travel because it just didn't work. It contradicted itself so many times that I lost count and it was simply impossible to follow what was happening. I had no idea how Abby "jumped" through time, I had no idea how it worked with futures, pasts and presents that just didn't connect and I had no idea who and what came from which time period (past, present or future?) or just anything really! I was simply baffled when it came to the last few chapters where Abby decided all of a sudden that she had these time-travelling powers and then - bam! We were thrown into all this confusing time travel stuff and I just gave up.

The zombie element didn't help me understand either. How did the past have zombies yet the present didn't but it was the future that had the cure? Why didn't half the present believe there even were such things as zombies when there actually was? Wait, was there? Or were they in the past only? But now are they in the present or is it the future?... I honestly couldn't follow it all, everything was a blur of different times with different zombie statuses and I just got confused.

The characters were just... gah! We have yet another female protagonist that has every breathing male in sight lusting after her because of her oh-so-hot looks when she doesn't seem all that remarkable at all really. She then has to string along two brothers at a time (is it really so hard to pick one?) and goes from hating one and loving the other to the other way around. It was stupid, petty and just damn right annoying.

Abby was far too stupid and naïve for me to really like her character. She acted like a four-year-old half the time, throwing temper tantrums when she didn't get what she wanted and complaining the rest of the time. Kaden wasn't much better. I am so over the moody and brooding persona now - its become far too cliché and dull.

Glitch ended up being a real disappointment. I wasn't impressed by the characters or the plot. The ending was left open for the next book - Switch - but I don't know if I could muster enough enthusiasm to read it. We will have to see...

If you are looking for a good time travel book, I would recommend you to check out
TimeRiders instead or if you were interested in Brenda Pandos' work I much preferred her Everblue.

Note: a copy was provided courtesy of Brenda Pandos and All Night Reads, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given or taken during this process.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Review: Disruption

Disruption by Steven B. Whibley

Title: Disruption
Series: none
Author: Steven B. Whibley
Published: Steven Whibley Books; 2014
340 pages, kindle edition
Source: Netgalley
 Description (from Goodreads):
At fourteen, Matt Cambridge has executed so many pranks-the latest nearly destroying his school-that his parents are out of discipline options. So his father pulls a few questionable strings to get his son into Camp Friendship: a camp that promises to strengthen the moral compass of today's youth. With a name like Camp Friendship Matt imagines three punishing weeks of daisy chains and Kumbayas.
Within minutes of arriving at the camp, however, Matt's nearly killed-twice. It doesn't take long for him to realize there's more to this picture-perfect place than meets the eye. What sort of summer camp has classes in forging passports? Why do they have endless fight training, and weapons drills, and what is with the hidden rooms?
Matt wonders if his parents realize they've enrolled him in what seems to be some kind of freakish, elite spy school. What Matt doesn't yet know is that Camp Friendship's ultimate purpose is far more sinister than he could possibly have imagined. With each dot he connects, he begins to understand that in the end he'll be left with two choices: pull the prank of a lifetime to escape this place... or die trying.

My Thoughts:

I think I am a little too old for this book. The story was grabbing, the characters were alright and the mystery wasn't the worse I've read, but I just couldn't get into it.

There were two main issues I had with Disruption:

1) The implausibility of it:

Personally, I found it a little too much of an Alex Rider wannabe. I mean, the CIA holding spy training camps? Well that isn't that unbelievable, I guess, expect the part where the campers are children.

Also, if these kids are supposedly "spies in training" how could they not realise that Matthew is lying about well, everything really? He isn't a very good liar - not in the slightest. Why is that only Rylee got suspicious? I would have been if I saw that he literally had no freaking clue what he was supposed to be doing and yet everyone else at the camp, including his teammates, were partially born and raised in these sorts of camps. Shouldn't they be able to tell if their Delta was a little suspicious - especially since he was meant to be the best of them?

Also the last challenge was taking it too far. Did he seriously think that these people would be okay with setting off fireworks in a subway station? I agree with them that's just lame really.

2) Matthew and his lie:

I was completely frustrated that not once did Matthew think to ask what the hell was going on? He is thrown into this camp where the very first thing they ask you to do, is run thrown a field bobby-trapped with land-mines - live ones that explode when you touch them. Does that not set some warning bells off in your head - especially after you have been injured and there are others, like Becca, walking around battered and on crutches? Shouldn't you be asking your teammates some questions - like what sort of camp is this!? I have never been to camp myself (we don't have them here anyway) but even I know that isn't a normal camp activity.

Also, how the heck did he get appointed Delta? How deep does his Dad's involvement in this shady Agency run - otherwise how the heck did he get in and all that stuff happen? Surely, these sorts of people don't make mistakes that enormous. Where are our answers?

Disruption was not up to the expectations I had set. I have to say that I am very disappointed. Maybe younger readers would appreciate this more? I am not sure, but I won't be hasty to recommend this regardless.

Note: a copy was provided courtesy of Steven B Whibley and CrushStar Multimedia LLC, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given or taken during this process.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Review: Two Wolves

Two Wolves 
by Tristan Bancks

A Cherokee Indian grandfather tells his grandson that there is a battle raging inside him, inside all of us. A terrible battle between two wolves. One wolf is bad - pride, jealousy, greed. The other wolf is good - kindness, hope, truth. The child asks, 'Who will win?' The grandfather answers simply, 'The one you feed.'

One afternoon, police officers show up at Ben Silver's front door. Minutes after they leave, his parents arrive home. Ben and his little sister Olive are bundled into the car and told they're going on a holiday. But are they? It doesn't take long for Ben to realise that his parents are in trouble. Ben's always dreamt of becoming a detective - his dad even calls him 'Cop'. Now Ben gathers evidence and tries to uncover what his parents have done. The problem is, if he figures it out, what does he do? Tell someone? Or keep the secret and live life on the run?

Review copy provided by Random House Australia in exchange for an honest review. 


Two Wolves is a hard book for to write about. I honestly am confused by my feelings towards it. On one hand, I enjoyed the honest and sweet perspective of Ben but on the other hand, I was bored and could barely follow the dull and plodding plotline. 

The writing is what made me tolerate reading this. It was kept simple as the protagonist is quite young, but it was filled with a raw honesty and innocence that worked quite well to create the intensity of the situation that Ben and Olive found themselves in. The descriptions of the barren cabin land where they were staying painted a clear picture about just how confused and scared both Ben and Olive were.

Ben was an okay protagonist. I like how he questioned his own motives and wanted to be the best man he could despite his young age. His ideas about what makes a person "good" was cute and I really appreciated that despite everything going on he only wanted what was best. Olive was wonderful. I really loved her feistiness.

What let this down for me was the fact that I wasn't kept engaged by the "mystery". Honestly, I didn't really care about it. It was rather dull and I kept waiting for something to happen, something dramatic, something exciting, but nothing did and I was just bored. 

While the writing was good, I have to say my lack of interested really bought this down. In the right hands, I can see that Two Wolves might work for some other readers, but just not for me.

Review: The Dead Girls Detective Agency

The Dead Girls Detective Agency (Dead Girls Detective Agency #1) by Suzy Cox

Pop quiz: What would you do if you had to solve your own murder to get anywhere in death?

Maybe if I hadn't slept through my alarm, slammed into Kristin (my high school's reigning mean girl) or stepped in a puddle, destroying my mom's new suede DVF boots (which I borrowed without asking), I wouldn't have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I wouldn't have been pushed in front of that arriving train. But I did, and I was.

When I came to, I was informed by a group of girls that I'm dead. And that because I died under mysterious circumstances, I can't pass straight over to the Other Side. But at least I'm not alone. Meet the Dead Girls Detective Agency: Nancy, Lorna, and Tess--not to mention Edison, the really cute if slightly hostile dead boy. Apparently, the only way out of this limbo is to figure out who killed me, or I'll have to spend eternity playing Nancy Drew. Considering I was fairly invisible in life, who could hate me enough to want me dead? And what if my murderer is someone I never would have suspected?

My Thoughts:

The Dead Girls Detective Agency promises for a gripping murder mystery with some ghostly fun thrown in for the hell of it, yet all we got was a pathetic wannabe mystery. Where was the clue solving? The detecting? All that fun tracking-the-killer-from-beyond-the-grave stuff? I know it was in there somewhere but I guess it was just piled beneath all the cheese, overdramatic boy drama and twelvie nonsense. I have to say that I am really disappointed that this wasn't as good as it could have been.

The characters were shallow and rather immature for their age. The bickering and whining and bitching was just dull. I didn't have the patience for it all. David wasn't worth the drama and neither was Edison. All the mysteriousness centred around them was just dull, dull, dull.

The only thing that I really enjoyed in this was the paranormal aspect. I really loved the idea of being obliged to solving your own murder before you can "move on". I loved the idea of the Keys, the doors, the hotels, the apparitions and possessions, the Jabs and all the other ghostly elements. It was fun to join Charlotte as she explored what she could do, but I wish there had been a heavier focus on it rather than the melodramatic soap opera stuff.

The murder mystery was also disappointing, and so bland that I really don't have anything else to say about it, other than to say that the killers identity was completely anti-climatic.

Overall, this wasn't great and it could have been so much better. I hope the series improves over the next two books or a lot of potential would have been wasted.

2.5 stars