Nicole William’s Crash makes me see red.

CrashCrash (Crash #1) by Nicole Williams

Genre: YA, romance, 

Published: December 2012, by Harper Collins

Format: Paperback

Rating: Could hardly feel it. 2 birdies. 

Jude Ryder and Lucy Larson are this generation’s Romeo and Juliet: Explosive. Sizzling. Tragic.

A steamy summer encounter with bad boy Jude means trouble for Lucy. Her sights are set on becoming a ballerina, and she won’t let anything get in her way . . . except Jude.

He’s got a rap sheet, dangerous mood swings, and a name that’s been sighed, shouted, and cursed by who knows how many girls.

Jude’s a cancer, the kind of guy who’s fated to ruin the lives of girls like Lucy—and he tells her so.

But as rumors run rampant and reputations are destroyed, Lucy’s not listening to Jude’s warning. Is tragedy waiting in the wings?

My honest opinion is that the plot was ridiculous, the characters were flat and I couldn’t connect with anything this story presented

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This book? I don’t know where to start.  I should probably admit that it was addicting and intense, I stayed up late to read it, and I was still keyed up when it finished. But, my honest opinion is that the plot was ridiculous, the characters were flat and I couldn’t connect with anything this story presented.

Crash tells the story of Lucy and Jude, as they fall in love, have ups and downs and release their demons. Sadly, I had an issue with the characters in Crash. They were hardly characters. I couldn’t connect to them, nor understand them. A big part that played in this, believe it or not, is the dialogue. It’s like these character are hiding behind this exaggerated teen speak the author uses. Fine; a witty, slightly sexy or sarcastic comment is great now and again. But constantly? Well, that’s all the character’s became, for me. Faces with witty words.

Despite this, I had difficulty putting Crash down. Even though I thought it was ridiculous, the suspense of “will they be together? How far will it go? What’s he done this time?” kept me reading. I really just wanted to see if they would end up together and how.

The plot was all sorts of ridiculous. Firstly, it is literally JUST about Lucy and Jude. There wasn’t any side plot (or rather, the romance wasn’t a side to some bigger plot). The romance was everything, and I decided I’m just not that big of a fan. It’s okay in some circumstances; though it would have to be done extremely well for me to like it. Reason being; the lack of plot or something else pushing the story, makes it flat and puts the pacing out.

The climax was just so utterly unbelievable. I won’t give away too much. But basically,

SPOILER ALERT (Highlight paragraph to view spoiler) I cannot fathom a teen boy not just being a rapist, but a serial rapist that takes lengthy, long measures (say, a year) to plan his attack. I just don’t believe it. I also don’t believe it not being reported, or figured out. The whole incident was swept under the carpet like it was no big deal. I see red, thinking of this.

Another thing I didn’t like, was the conveniences. Lucy has all these thoughts about her and Jude’s situation, and one day, Jude just pops up and says everything she was thinking. Exactly. Not cool.

Even though everything was tense, I didn’t like all the pointless arguments and crazy, protective, constantly changing behavior from Jude and Lucy’s clean plate. It’s why I won’t be continuing this series – I feel like it’s just going to be the same stuff all over again.

Sadly, I didn’t like Crash. If you like all encompassing, drama filled love stories, maybe this is for you. But I need more than just romance in my story. And I tire easily from drama.

myrating

barelyrockstheboat

Born by Tara Brown… Unoriginal.

born

Born (Born #1) by Tara Brown

Genre: YA, Dystopia, 

Published: September 2012, by Tara Brown Publishing.

Format: Ebook

My Rating: 2 birdies. 

Emma ran when her daddy told her to. She hid like he said she should. He was the first person she turned her back on. The first one she let die.
Ten years has gone by and she still lives by the simple rules he taught her when she was nine years old.“Don’t help anyone. Don’t go where other people are unless you have to. Trust no one. Always pull the trigger.”Until one night she hears the worst sound in the world, a knock. A simple, timid knock, on the door to her cabin.
Only the voice of the brave little girl, ready to die for her brother, persuades Emma to open the door.
As her fingers turn the lock, she has a terrible feeling she will regret her decision.
But even as regret fills her world, so do love and companionship. Things she never imagined she would ever have again.Everything comes at a cost, you decide what you’ll pay

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Born had a lot of promise, but it didn’t perform for me. To me, this is a very generic dystopia – it’s literally just your basic dystopia setting (crazy plague, natural disasters, warfare and whatnot) with a poorly written plot and undeveloped characters. Unoriginal.

The story follows Emma, who is a survivor that lives on her own with a wolf named Leo. The story starts from when her lonely life is interfered by strangers who are in a similar position she is in. This sets up the rest of the story for her change from uncaring, lonesome Emma to I’m-poster-girl-for-saving-humanity Emma.

The development of Emma is probably the best thing about Born. It is done well. We have a really strong idea about who she is, what she’s been through and how that defines her. We understand that she’s lonely and she begins to crave human contact to point that she creates her own little family of survivors that she cares for, which grows into caring about the life of every single mistreated survivor out there.

Other than this, the story goes downhill. The rest of the characters are poorly developed. I understood the basics of some, but it still left something to be desired. This could be because the book was trying to juggle too many characters at once. Emma’s new “family” grows to the size of a small army, and we are told extensively about each one – pulverizing us with useless information to soak up with nothing to really show us who the characters are.

The romance in Born was awful. I tag insta love on an epic scale. I can see that it was attempted to be realistic and non-insta, but it didn’t pull it off, making it feel too instantaneous for me. You can tell the author tried to make it realistic by there being an initial attraction plus letting the male’s interference let Emma see the joy in life once more. It didn’t work, though. Mainly because we don’t see any of this happen, we were just told so. Plus, there was a love triangle, between two brothers none the less. Ugh. And it didn’t even bother trying to form a connection between Emma and brother number 2 before they were “in love”. It wasn’t done well at all.

To top off poor development and bad romance, the dialogue was beyond cheesy! I hate cheesy, unrealistic dialogue. If two characters can’t speak naturally, then the whole thing has an off, fake feel about it. I felt this every time a character was trying to give an inspirational or emotional talk AND when they were talking normally. Seriously, can you torture me more?

Yes. Yes it can. Not only was the plot poorly written with a totally un-original setting, all the climaxes and action were ruined with way to many “lucky” coincidences. It really is just taking the easy way out of a tricky situation. The same goes with the mysteries in the plot, there always just happens to be someone who knows all the answers in close proximity, at the right time.

If anything could have been improved to make Born just that little more bearable – it definitely would be description. I was so confused as to what was happening at times, simply because there was a distinct lack of imagery.

I did forget to mention the Wolf – I love Leo. Animals in books makes everything better. I honestly think Leo was the only thing keeping me reading to the end of Born. I would describe it as boring, confusing and unoriginal. I think it is a poor example of dystopia and I would not recommend to anyone. Not even younger readers, because there is some heavy content.

myrating

barelyrockstheboat

Julia Hoban’s Willow makes me weep

willowWillow by Julia Hoban

Genre: Contemp, YA

Published: 2009 April, by Dial

Format: Paperback

Source: Bought my own copy from Booktopia 


Seven months ago on a rainy March night, Willow’s parents drank too much wine at dinner and asked her to drive them home. But they never made it–Willow lost control of the car, and both of her parents were killed.

Now seventeen, Willow is living with her older brother, who can barely speak to her. She has left behind her old home, friends, and school. But Willow has found a way to survive, to numb the new reality of her life: She is secretly cutting herself.

And then she meets Guy, a boy as sensitive and complicated as she is. When Guy discovers Willow’s secret, he pulls her out of the solitary world she’s created for herself, and into a difficult, intense, and potentially life-changing relationship.

I was so excited for this novel. Depression and cutting is not something I read very often, for fear of it been done wrong. Sadly, I didn’t think it was done right at all. There was so many cringe worthy moments in this book, with sickly romance and a weird writing style. I didn’t like Willow.

Willow’s story starts after an accident that left her parents dead, and her deep in depression. We follow her road from cutting to forgiveness with the help of Guy (very original name), our love interest.

That was probably the biggest turn off for Willow. The romance was shocking. Let me tell you why.

–          Insta love. At times, I could definitely see a connection between Willow and Guy. They liked a lot of the same things and had plenty to talk about. BUT. That didn’t happen very often. Nope. The majority of their conversations focused on Willow’s cutting situation. What a romance buzzer. I’m sorry, but how can I believe love is in the air when all they ever talk about is cutting and other depressing topics? I can’t. I just can’t.

–           Love conquers all. A boy can fix all of you problems because he constantly tells you how ugly your scars are. Because your biggest conversation starter is the price of razors.  Because having someone love you for those reasons alone makes you feel better, even when you are all sorts of messed up. Ugh. I can’t stand it.

–          Sex can redeem and change you. Yup. Our love interest says so himself (in more subtle words).

P.S The sex scene is REALLY AWKWARD and un-romantic. It was the most cringe worthy thing I have ever come across in a YA novel. Not exaggerating.

Okay, moving on from the god awful romance, the way this was written was really odd. It was third person, present tense. It took me two thirds of the book to get over it. It was just the weirdest combo. I constantly had to re-read sentences because at times, they sounded wrong and I was constantly being disconnected from the story. Very jarring, and prevented me from properly connecting to the story and characters.

Another problem I had, was that I didn’t agree with the way cutting was portrayed. I’m probably going to sound really insensitive here, especially since I have never experienced the kind of depression that urges me to harm myself. But I found it really odd how carefully she looked after her cuts. I did understand and agreed with a lot of it – her reasons for doing so, her worry of someone finding out, the great lengths she goes to keep it hidden. It was just the cynical way she acted about it that felt wrong. I needed something a little more frantic and less logical. It’s hard to explain, but while so much of it felt real, there was just a little something that didn’t sit right with me and left me judging it the entire time.

Okay, so I touched on something there that I actually did like – a lot of the time, Willow’s emotions were very believable. Her train of thought and reasoning was often very relatable and understandable and I could totally picture myself thinking like that if I were in her position. Again, though, it was missing an edge of urgency and pain. It felt almost too logical for something so traumatic.

Sadly, that isn’t enough to redeem itself. I couldn’t connect to the characters, even though Willow was relatable, the writing just ruined any chance I had with her. I disliked the entire romantic aspect of Willow, and I cringe just thinking about it. I can only recommend this book if you can ignore tense and enjoy corny romance. For those more like me, I wouldn’t recommend Willow.

myrating

barelyrockstheboat

Lucy Saxon’s Take Back the Skies died slowly in my palms

takebacktheskiesTake Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon 

Genre: Sci-fi/Steampunk, YA

Published: 5th June, 2014, by Bloomsbury

Format: Paperback

Source: I received a free copy of Take Back the Skies from the publisher to review

Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.
So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all . . .

I have to come right out and say it, I was fairly disappointed in this book. It had all the promise and possibilities of something amazing and it didn’t deliver. I was captured at the beginning. It had such an interesting world to play with, with a spirited MC. But from halfway I just kept facing issues and problems that got in the way of my enjoyment.

(SIDE) This story is more suitable for the younger side of YA. I didn’t have a problem with this, I quite like that younger, childish adventure story. But for those who mind, I recommend it for early teens.

I liked the characters in Take Back the Skies. They were perfect for a story like this; loveable, easy to picture. Sometimes a little too perfect, but otherwise I still liked them. I could really connect with our MC, Cat. She was so spirited and full of life, dreams and opinions. I really enjoyed reading about her!

Sadly, Take Back the Skies suffer’s from some insta love. At first, it was just a cute little crush. But then it blew out of proportion by being full on, devoted, never going to love another, kind of love. Plus, there was a love triangle, but it wasn’t too unbearable.

I noticed a fair few cliché’s in this book that didn’t really need to be there. Actually, they were all over the place. It also started to become a little too convenient, a bit wishful. This starts to take away the adventure, adrenalin feeling for me.

I also couldn’t help but see the plot holes. It’s like the analytical side of me picks these out like I do with olives on pizza. There were quite a few things that just didn’t connect or match up. There was also a part in the book where a lot of careful, thought out plans had to be made. But really, these plans were half made and severely holed. There was a lot of relying on conveniences to pass.

There was also a bit too much “good” vs “bad”. Even though that is expected in a book like this, I’ve begun to have an appreciation for things not being as they seem, for the line between good and bad to be blurred. It would have been good to see a little complexity in Take Back the Skies.

Now the ending.

The ending did not sit well with me. Not only was it flat (I did cry though) but it was slightly awkward. Moving on to the epilogue, I was so so so disappointed. Set two years into the future, Cat is an entirely different person, clashing with all of her beliefs and morals from the girl we had 300 + pages to get to know. This led to an immediate disconnection from Cat. She went from being this spirited, ballsy girl to a complete stranger. I get what the author was trying to say from this, but I personally think Cat should have kept to her guns. It made her different, made us like her, she’s had numerous arguments about her beliefs, and for her just to give in? Nope. There was nothing that made me think it had to happen. I was gutted by this end and not impressed.

This book had such a good concept, great idea’s, characters and settings. But I couldn’t sit back and enjoy it. I kept picking at plot holes and rolling my eyes at the cliché’s. I was appreciating the cute, slow romance until it got out of hand. I was loving Cat, this strong awesome girl, until she was ruined by the end with no justification good enough for her change of character. This book wasn’t for me.

myrating

still stiff & stuffy

Review: Enmity by E. J. Andrews

Enmity E. J. Andrews

Genre: YA, Dystopia

Published: To be published April 2014, by Harlequin Australia 

My Rating: 2 thumbs up

I received Enmity to review from the publishes via Netgalley.

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“Love vs Life.
Good vs Evil.
War vs Warfare.

Which would you choose?

After a solar flare wipes out most of the world’s inhabitants, it leaves behind nothing but a desolate earth and a desperate population. Existence is no longer a certainty. And with factions now fighting for the power to rule, people start to become reckless with their lives. The world has become a dangerous place.

Amongst the ensuing chaos, Nate and Hermia — two victims of the new world order — are taken against their will to The Compound. Joined by eight other teenagers all chosen for a specific reason, Nate and Hermia are forced to train as assassins to overthrow the current president and make way for a new leader of the free world. Here, they learn to plan, fight, and most importantly… to survive.

Except, despite the casual cruelty of their new existence, both Nate and Hermia — two very strong but very different people — begin to form fragile bonds within the group. But they soon realize their happiness is short lived…because their training is just the beginning.

A war awaits…regardless of how ready or willing they may be”

Synopsis from Goodreads

My Thoughts 

I would first like to say that the writing style of E. J Andrews is terrific. When I opened up that first page, read the first paragraph, I actually sighed. I got excited, too. You know when you can just tell your going to like a book, simply from the first page? Just because the author can write well? That’s the feeling I got. If I have any problems with Enmity, Andrews’ writing is not one of them.

Please keep that in mind for the rest of the review, because even though I thought the rest of the book could use some work, I was enthralled by the writing.

Enmity is a dystopia, right? It takes place 60 years after a solar flare wiped out the majority of the human population. This is one of the major problems I had about Enmity – because after the first two or three chapters, it feels like the solar flare never happened. It hardly feels dystopian at all.

The first chapter is when the solar flare takes place in a world that feels like ours today. Fast forward 60 years, and there’s telltale signs that demonstrates the world is ruined: Children and girls doing unimaginable jobs, huge walls to keep the sun out, young people with guns, people fighting for power, ect. After this, however, the only trait we are constantly reminded of is the political unrest. Next thing you know, we are bombarded with things from our world – there are whole intact families living in homes with electricity, running water and abundance of food. They use money, have access to ATM’s (yup, only 60 years after the world ends and there are still plastic cards that hold money in it), Live in houses, go to school, have jobs and normal lives just like ours. Isn’t the whole point of dystopias is to see how much the lives of people have changed compared to how we currently live?

Oh, but the inconsistencies don’t stop there. Not even a century after the population is nearly wiped out and they have developed better technology than we do today.

How is that even possible!?!?

How, after so much knowledge in the form of people, animals, papers, computers and history would have been destroyed in the solar flare, does that happen? How the hell did you get all the knowledge, people, resources and equipment in the span of 60 years post apocalypse? That is hardly enough time to re-populate, let alone get cool gadgets.

The only major thing that reminds us that this is after the end of the world, is that there is a war for leadership. But even that is happening today, in our lifetime.

I was disappointed by this. But even so, I still applaud the style in which it was written. It’s dark and serious, it keeps an air of mystery – some I was able to predict, some I wasn’t.

The two person narrative made the story feel a bit disjointed, though it did finally come together towards the end. I didn’t feel any strong climax in the plot. The romance for both characters felt entirely fake, and I found the badass female lead confusing. There wasn’t enough harsh background for such a harsh character – it just didn’t justify who she is today.

I really wanted to like this – during some parts of the story, I could almost convince myself I did like it, just because of how it was written. But then would come along something stupid like ATM’s or ridiculous romance, and I would go back to doubting and picking out all the plot holes. Sadly, I cannot recommend Enmity.

2thumbsup

Review of Teardrop by Lauren Kate

Title: Teardrop
Author: Lauren Kate
Genre: YA, fantasy
Published: October 22nd 
Pages: 441

16070143

My rating: 2thumbsup
Find it on Goodreads

“Never, ever cry…

Seventeen-year-old Eureka won’t let anyone close enough to feel her pain. After her mother was killed in a freak accident, the things she used to love hold no meaning. She wants to escape, but one thing holds her back: Ander, the boy who is everywhere she goes, whose turquoise eyes are like the ocean.

And then Eureka uncovers an ancient tale of romance and heartbreak, about a girl who cried an entire continent into the sea. Suddenly her mother’s death and Ander’s appearance seem connected, and her life takes on dark undercurrents that don’t make sense.

Can everything you love be washed away?”

My thoughts

I had real hopes for Teardrop – despite all the bad reviews. I enjoyed the Fallen series despite all it’s negative criticism, so I thought I should give it chance. But sadly, I was disappointed. This wasn’t an amazing read – but it wasn’t awful.

Pretty cover, great grabbing synopsis – everything indicates a possible amazing read. Though there was insta love, some poor character development and motives and I personally think there was a poor portrayal of myths and legends.

First off – I did like the plot idea. It had all the possibilities for twists and turns, flexibility and dramatic climax’s. Though it was poorly carried out. There was hardly any twists, the story stayed fairly stream lined and predictable – like a computerized game of chess. And the climax was as gripping as a sack of unwashed potatoes.

The only character that was developed well was the main character Eureka. Straight from the beginning, we get an understanding of who she is, her personal demons, her motives, her undeniable goal of keeping her emotions under lock and key is clear – and works well with her, uh, “curse”. Though everyone else is a little flat. Even her close friend; as eccentric as Cat is, we have no idea why she is even friends with (). How did their relationship form with someone so emotionally unavailable? Even before her mothers’ death, she is somewhat withdrawn. Same goes with other bestie Noah. This is just some of the plotholes I have within the relationships of Teardrop. More includes weird hatred between Rhoda and Eureka, and what the hell is up with her dad? So much is just unexplained, illogical and not clear.

And to hell with the insta love in this book. How does this emotionally unavailable girl, at her lowest of lowest points of stony unavailability, fall insanely in love with the boy she’s come to know as her wired stalker? Well, we can assume in some part that this “love” is formed from their descendants; who also happen to instantly fall in love at first sight – which we learn from the mythical/legend side of things. Ugh.

The mythical legend of Atlantis is what this story is based around, and we grasp this from a translated fable her mother leaves her with after she dies. This is a really poor modern version of events, in my opinion. I used to love the story of Atlantis as a child – and this book has turned it into something corny and overly dark/evil at the same time. Just torture me more, Kate?

Even though I liked Fallen, I did not enjoy his book nearly as much. What’s sadder is that I can see some similarities between Teardrop and Fallen, such as basing a love story from mythical legends. I believe this was carried out much better in Fallen, and Kate is leaving out some important aspect in Teardrop. Such as mystery, logical connections with the legend and twists that actually suit what is trying to be told.

I don’t entirely not recommend this book – maybe someone else will find it enjoyable and worth loving (such as me and Fallen). But for me this was a case of “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”. I’d actually be happy to see anyone who does like this book. Feel free to comment what you think of Teardrop, and any reviews I might like to look at. 