Mixed feelings about Mercy by Rebecca Lim

mercyMercy (Mercy #1) by Rebecca Lim

Genre: YA, paranormal (angels)

Published: October, 2010 by Angus&Robertson

Format: Paperback

My rating: Sweetly soft. 3 Birdies. 

Mercy ′wakes′ on a school bus bound for Paradise, a small town where everyone knows everyone else′s business — or thinks they do. But they will never guess the secret Mercy is hiding ….

As an angel exiled from heaven and doomed to return repeatedly to Earth, Mercy is never sure whose life and body she will share each time. And her mind is filled with the desperate pleas of her beloved, Luc, who can only approach her in her dreams.

In Paradise, Mercy meets Ryan, whose sister was kidnapped two years ago and is now presumed dead. When another girl disappears, Mercy and Ryan know they must act before time runs out. But a host of angels are out for Mercy′s blood and they won′t rest until they find her and punish her — for a crime she doesn′t remember committing …

I don’t know what to think about Mercy. It was a quick, enjoyable read – yet it was lacking something.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m in two minds about Mercy. I really liked it, but I didn’t at the same time. Mercy is obviously a story about Angels. However, Mercy is almost ignorant to this aspect of herself. Like she has amnesia. All she knows is that her soul travels between person to person, where she has a job to carry out – such as preventing the person from dying or self destruction.

I like how Mercy doesn’t really know who she is. Normally things like that are annoying, but I like the layer of mystery it presents. If she was aware, we would just have all the knowledge and wouldn’t really feel like reading. Overall, the plot was well paced and present throughout the story. It was never pushed back, paused or put aside for another event. The plot just kept rolling, making it somewhat enjoyable and non-difficult to read.

I really liked Mercy’s character as well. Despite making me frustrated at her naïve-ness, she was straight forward, no – nonsense kind of girl. She doesn’t completely understand human emotions and that is clearly portrayed in her blunt nature – which she shows despite being present in another person’s body. I was actually surprised that I liked this, even though it makes her unrelatable. But, I think Mercy was a good comparison against Ryan, the human boy character who is consumed with emotions by his missing sister.

I didn’t really believe in the romance that sort-of came about in this book. This hindered my opinion of the book a little. I also couldn’t connect with the characters to an emotional level, which is also important in a book for me. Though one big problem I had was the lack of description!

The writing style in Mercy is short and to the point. Some people may love this, but, I am a description lover. I love flowing sentences and paragraphs filled with imagery. This is a very personal thing, but I am not a fan of short and snappy stories.

Despite my dislike at this, the ending was left at such a cliff hanger with so many unanswered questions and so many possibilities that I have to continue with the series! Overall, Mercy was an enjoyable read that I had a few, personal disagreements with.

myrating

asoftbreeze

Not Fangirling Over Fangirl

fangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Genre: YA, Contemp. 

Published: September 10th, 2013 by Pan Macmillan 

Format: Paperback

Source: Bought my own copy. 

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life. Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She’s got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words …And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realizing that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible …

Oh I can already smell the controversy this review may cause.

WHY do I not like the books everyone dies hard for?

Again, as I do for most popular books, this will not be my typical style of review.

What I didn’t like:

Simon Snow.

I didn’t like the Simon Snow bits in-between chapters or when Cath read out her Fan Fiction. WHY? It felt so pointless. I GOT that Simon Snow is Cath’s life, okay? I didn’t need to read a book inside of a book to understand that. I barely coped with the snippets at the start of each chapter, but when Cath started reading her fan fiction? I have one word – boring. It was boring, useless, didn’t really add to the story. I read Fangirl for Cath NOT SIMON SNOW. I DON’T CARE about Simon Snow. I just needed to understand that Cath does, but I didn’t need to read pages and pages of pointless Simon Snow fan fic to understand that.

I actually didn’t find Cath all that relatable. Sometimes, she would say or do something and I was like AH, THAT’S ME! But it didn’t happen very often and it wasn’t all that spectacular. I can find a little of myself in a lot of fictional characters. She wasn’t something special for me like she is for a lot of my bookish, fangirl friends.

I didn’t like Levi all that much – in saying that, I probably related to him more than anyone else in the book. I also didn’t believe Cath and Levi’s attraction. They were a weird couple and I just couldn’t invest myself in it because I didn’t believe they liked each other.

I DID like Raven, though again, I thought Cath and Raven’s friendship was really weird. I just didn’t get it.

I liked the other components of the book – it was told really well, all the characters were unique and real (ish), I followed the story easily and enjoyed it! Though it didn’t make me feel anything. I didn’t get emotional. It was entertaining, but didn’t reach that spectacular level because it didn’t get me, the girl that can cry over anything to feel anything.

So… 3 breezy birds from me.

asoftbreeze

REV GIRL by Leigh Hutton! Dirt, Bikes and Girls galore

revgirlREV GIRL by Leigh Hutton

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Published: May 25th, 2014 by Leigh Hutton Books

Format: Paperback

Source: I received a free copy from the author to review 

Inspired by a true story

It’s hard to be the new girl, but it’s even harder being the new girl who races dirt bikes . . . 

Ever since her parents forced her to move from Canada to Silvertown, Colorado, Clover Kassedy hasn’t fit in. So how do you deal when everyone hates you?

Focusing all her energy on racing her motorcycle did it for a while, but now that Clover’s managed to find a bestie and a boyfriend, the pressure on the sixteen-year-old is worse than ever.

She’s determined to get to the World Championships, where she could finally meet her idol – an Australian, the World Champion – and have a shot at becoming a professional dirt bike racer. But with her super- competitive dad, workaholic mother and relentless bullies at races and at high school, Clover is struggling to make her dreams a reality.

Will it be her scheming ex-best-friend who shatters her world? Or will she let her ‘perfect’ boyfriend – the guy who has finally made her feel like she belongs in their school and their town – stop her from becoming an international racing star?

A big thanks to the author, Leigh Hutton, for providing REV GIRL for review! 

REV GIRL by self-published author, Leigh Hutton, was a very intense, exciting and empowering read. I did have some issues when it came to dialogue and certain events throughout the book were hard to connect with.

REV GIRL follows Clover, a very real, teen girl who loves to dirt bike race, as she sets out to follow her dreams. Let’s start with the fact that I loved Clover! She is a little steam ball of motivation. She’s very emotive and I can relate with a lot of her feelings. Plus, she was empowering. I loved her more and more as she matured from the girl who nearly wanted to give up dirt bikes to dedicating everything she’s got to what she loves. I loved her growth, her attitude, everything.

Sometimes, it felt like REV GIRL was a bit rushed. There is so much packed into this 300 page book, that at times I hardly knew what was going on and it was over before I could make sense of it. It wasn’t a quick read, but “fast paced” can certainly be used to describe REV GIRL.

Even though REV GIRL is inspired by true events, I personally felt like a lot of what happened was unrealistic. This affected how I connected to the story at times. For example: making best friends in 2.5 seconds. As a girl who has serious trouble making friends, I found this annoying. It just doesn’t happen, okay? Not for someone like me, and not for someone like Clover, and not really for anyone. Yeah, you can connect with people quickly, but not like that. Not on that level. It felt way to optimistic and wishful. Like Clover rubbed a lamp, found a genie and wished for a bestie.

I also had some trouble connecting to the story when I was made aware of the differences in geographical location – this can’t be helped, obviously, but I feel as though I have to point it out because it is something that nagged on me whilst reading. These are little things, like wearing high heels to school. I mean, I’ve grown up here, in Aus, where I wear a uniform to school with some seriously strict policies. And when I see things like this I’m immediately shocked at the difference. I kept thinking, “pft, who on earth would do that?”. But what would I know? Maybe American girls DO wear high heels to school, like they do in Mean Girls and Clueless.

In turn with feeling a little unrealistic, the dialogue was a little cheesy at times. Like texts, declarations of love and “boyfriend hunting” just felt weird. Again, this stopped me from connecting to the characters and story.

I’m iffy about the romance. At first, I groaned, because it was most definitely insta-love. But then as the story went on and it was upsy downy for the love struck couple, I began to feel okay about it. Because young, fast, first love is real – it happens. It’s awkward, fun and beautiful, and I feel like the book explored this well.

Even though some of the socializing and dialogue is cheesy and awkward, I was thoroughly impressed with the description of dirk bike racing! For someone who’s never even touched one, I actually felt as if I had after reading one of the racing scenes. I’m a visual and sensual person, so this was brilliance! Every time Clover was on her bike, I felt like I was, too, and the adrenalin would start pumping. No doubt my favourite thing of the entire book!

So, I had some connection problems with the story for various reasons, though a lot of them were personal and won’t apply for everyone. I thought the dialogue was a little on the cheese side, though I had no problems connecting to Clover and really enjoyed watching her grow. This got my heart pumping with the racing and I totally applaud Hutton for making a girl like me who will probably never touch a dirt bike, dirt bike race in my mind. Fast paced, fun, energetic are just some of the ways I would describe REV GIRL. I recommend to anyone who likes a story about first love, growing up and a little action.

myrating

asoftbreeze

Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder suffers second book syndrome

16129491Scent of Magic (Healer #2) by Maria V. Snyder 

Genre: YA, fantasy 

Published: This edition published January, 2013 by HarlequinTEEN Aus

Format: Paperback

Source: Bought second-hand. 

As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.

Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.

War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible … again

I don’t know how to feel about Scent of Magic. I was excited to read it, and I DID enjoy it, but by the time it ended I was left with an overwhelming “what even happened” feeling. It lacked a plot, lacked meaning and depth, and I still have a problem with the lack of description. I call second book syndrome! 

I couldn’t quite place why I was having this disappointed, I expected more feeling, until I re-read my review of the first book. Then It all became clear.

What did I love Touch of Power so much? It had goals, plot, motives, meaning, lesson’s, life questions and deep, meaningful messages and themes. This is everything that Scent of Magic lacked.

Warning: there may be some spoilers from the previous book

One big, big problem I have with Scent of Magic, is that it is missing a goal. It is missing a straight plot. It has plenty of catalyst, things that made me want to keep reading, but nothing concrete I could follow. Whereas Touch of Power did have – a quest to save a prince.

Due to this, the book felt clumsy. There were slow and fast moments. There were times when I had no idea what the intensions were of the main characters. There were barely any confliction of emotions or dynamics, because there was nothing to conflict against, as there was no goal. It didn’t feel like a whole, composed story. It sorta just floated along and going with the flow. The best way to describe it would be a space filler – something to connect it with the third book. I don’t know this for sure, however, because I haven’t yet read the third book.

Another problem? There was no meaning or themes or conflicting emotions or growth! What I LOVED about Touch of Power is the growth Avery goes through as she sifts through what is worth sacrificing herself for. What is worth dying for was a huge theme in the previous book.

Did this book have a theme, or underlying message? No, it didn’t. The characters were just going through the motions. It is basically a lead up to the ending and just creating issues and conflicts for the following story.

What did this mean? I didn’t see an ounce of character growth or development. The characters mostly stayed the same (bar a few side characters) and didn’t change, learn, grow, develop. Nothing. Nada. I wasn’t taken on an emotional roller coaster, either. I felt flat for most of the book – besides a few, choice moments.

I would mention the few side character’s that DO show some development, but that would be giving away too much. Let’s just say I was OVERJOYED and SO SO HAPPY I CRIED at one certain character’s reappearance. Snyder did something right!

I feel really bad for mostly bagging this book out. I did still enjoy it. I especially liked how the book started right where it left off. I liked the distance between Kerrick and Avery, and how the story didn’t focus on them but the ruined state of the realms. I still love Poppa Bear and the Monkeys. I love how the mysterious power of the lilies is fleshed out even more. I loved the inclusion of the “Tribes” and the new material it brings.

I also have the same problems with this one as with the last one – the lack of description and background is killing me!

That said, I do feel like I have a better understanding of this world and society. I just need MORE than what’s given.

Despite my earlier negative comments, I breezed through this book quickly and still enjoyed it. After I got passed that shocking ending, I felt a little flat by the rest of book – leaving something to be desired. Otherwise, I still really want to finish the series and read the last book, Taste of Darkness.

 

myrating

asoftbreeze

Sexy zombie futuristic romance? Lia Habel’s Dearly, Departed

dearlydepartedDearly, Departed (Gone with the Respiration #1) by Lia Hable 

Genre: YA, steampunk, dystopia

Published: September 2011, by Doubleday Children’s Books

Format: Paperback 

Source: From Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity 

Love can never die.


Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love. Goodreads 

 

 This was certainly an interesting book and like nothing I have ever read before. It has such a crazy genre mash up! With a combo of dystopia, historic/futuristic + zombies and warfare, I had no idea what to expect. I had difficulty getting through the intro, and then some more difficulty getting into the story line with my mind selectively choosing what it wants to read. Though I absolutely loved the characters and was crazy over the romance!

Dearly, Departed is a dystopia book after the worlds’ left over population decides to re-live the days of English Victorians. The book follows Nora – a young lady who’s status and strong personality allows her to defy social norms, after she is taken hostage by a group of walking dead. Yup. Zombies. Woo hoo!

Because this is such a strange and complex world, the beginning takes it’s time to explain everything to us. For some reason, my mind didn’t agree with this. To be blunt, I found this long intro to be boring, even though it was fairly interesting – if that makes sense. So I had heaps of difficulty getting into this book – taking me nearly 4 days to read 100 pages.

After this, another problem occurred – the book didn’t have my entire attention. After dragging myself through the intro, I was searching for something to love. I started too really like the scenes with Nora and Bram, and seeing their reactions to each other. So when other perspective came into it, I barely paid attention to them. Because of this, I missed a lot of the plot line.

Luckily this problem was short lived – by about halfway I began to be interested in the plot again and started to actually pay attention to the other perspectives. Though I became super confused towards the end when all this stuff is revealed, and I had no idea what was going on. I got it eventually, it just wasn’t effortless and required lots of careful reading.

Despite this slow start, I have nothing but good to say about the characters. I loved them all! Even the bad guys. They were all very well developed, the badies having understandable motives and the goodies were mostly well balanced and realistic.

Nora and Bram were great leads.. Bram has such honesty, moral and will power; it’s almost humbling. While Nora is this stubborn, strong, real character who I loved. I loved that even though her world had gone back to the days of women meaning little to society other than looking pretty, Nora still took pride and fought to be herself.

I also adored the friendship she had with Pam. It was so believable. In real life, there usually is a position of power between friends. You can see this in the relationship between Nora and Pam. It was obvious that Pam looked up to Nora immensely. What I loved even more, is how this character grew more into herself and became more independent as the story went on. I loved watching her transformation.

I also like how clever Habel is with her characters! There were a few slimey’s in there that I never would have guessed. I really admire how she makes me believe one thing when the opposite is actually true!

And I can’t not mention the romance. Even though it was somewhat quick, I believed it entirely. I also liked how the zombies weren’t just bad, mindless things as they are in most books. And I liked how even the good ones were fairly balanced with both good and bad.

So I had a few issues with the plot, pace and reading experience of Dearly, Departed. But I thought Habel did a terrific job with characters and setting, creating this awesome vibe from the strange era and Victorian/futuristic themes. Everything down to the clothes, the society, behaviors and attitudes were awesome and so much easier to understand than it is in a historic book, without all the fancy words and writing I can’t quite understand. So, despite my issues with this book, I’m giving it a three because I most definitely want to read the next book!

myrating

asoftbreeze

 

 

Fated by Sarah Alderson

fated

Fated by Sarah Alderson

Genre: YA, Paranormal

Published: 2012, January by Simon & Schuster 

Source: I bought my own copy from Basement Books. 

Format: Paperback 

Goodreads 

When Evie Tremain discovers that she’s the last in a long line of Demon slayers and that she’s being hunted by an elite band of assassins –Shapeshifters, Vampires and Mixen demons amongst them – she knows she can’t run. They’ll find her wherever she goes. Instead she must learn to stand and fight.

But when the half-human, half-Shadow Warrior Lucas Gray is sent to spy on Evie and then ordered to kill her before she can fulfil a dangerous prophecy, their fates become inextricably linked. The war that has raged for one thousand years between humans and demons is about to reach a devastating and inevitable conclusion. Either one or both of them will die before this war ends.

If your life becomes bound to another’s, what will it take to sever it?

inabreeze

Fated by Sarah Alderson was a quick, short and enjoyable read. It fell flat in certain area’s of the story line, such as romance and certain character motives. But otherwise I really enjoyed its quirkiness, action and different outlook on fate.

thewindstorm

In Fated, we are thrust into a world of Unhumans and demons hunters – humans equipped with extra skills to kill off these creatures from other dimensions. I thought the whole concept was cool – especially since we get the perspective from someone who is deep into the society of unhuman’s – giving them personality and edge, rather than just an evil entity that needs to die.

So of course, we have our MC Evie, who is naively unaware of what she is and what she is capable of until someone comes around and has to explain it all to her. Normally, I hate this kind of info-dumping in books. Strangely though, this is an exception. I didn’t mind it at all and was captivated by the idea of demon hunters. Maybe it was because we get the insider perspective, or maybe it’s because of my inner Buffy days shining through. Either way, I didn’t have a problem with the stranger-come-along-and-info-dumps-everything scenario for a change.

I also loved how this concept made the book action packed. There were a few unclear moments in the fight scenes, but otherwise, it was kickass. Again, my childhood love of Buffy comes back! The action was great!

It was refreshing to see that the book wasn’t too one-dimensional. The good guys were bad guys, too. The badies could be a bit more realistic and multi-sided – as the only thing I got from them was want of death, power and world dominion. But otherwise, the fact that they were real with personalities and desires makes up for that. They weren’t just evil.

As you can tell by the title, “fate” is a major theme in this book. Now, I really hate fate in books (skip ahead to see how much). But in Fated, it had a twisted outlook and conclusion of fate. It’s more like you have to break and defeat fate to make destiny happen. If that makes sense… Anyway, I liked it!

So now to the character’s – I really loved our female lead, Evie. Even though I called her naive before, she really isn’t like that in personality. I totally believed her and found her utterly believable. Her pain and heartbreak and reaction to her experiences was very realistic. I found myself raging and crying with her. Feeling numb when she felt numb. Angry when she was angry. Passionate when she stood up for herself. There was a little bit in the middle when she turned into a sooky, defeated, “FML” kind of person, but otherwise I could really connect and feel for her.

Lucas, on the other hand, I didn’t feel much for at all. I thought he was totally gorgeous, yeah, but he fell flat in personality for me. I didn’t feel his angst or pain. I couldn’t connect with him. The only thing I did like, is that he was our link to the unhumans, being half unhuman himself. He did pose another terrible cliché in the book (fated is just full of them), but instead I didn’t like this one and hated it immensely because I couldn’t see the purpose. Another reason I couldn’t connect with him, is because I couldn’t believe his motives which boils down to the poor representation of love between Evie and Lucas.

Okay, so even though the title of “Fated” looks more into the plot, it could have also been the title for the romance. I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was “meant” to happen – making it entirely to sappy and fake for my liking. And really, if these two didn’t fall in love, the rest of the plot wouldn’t have happened and therefore destiny wouldn’t have happened. So there. They fell in love ‘cause destiny told them too. Making it cheesy and fake with no sustenance. Just, no.

If only the love felt a little more real , then I could have given this a killer rating. For me, that’s a big component of the book and it just didn’t work. So I’m giving this a three today. I loved Evie, felt disconnected from Lucas, soaked up the action and was very, very disappointed by the romance, despite swoony Lucas.


asoftbreeze

Review: Forager by Peter R. Stone

Forager by Peter R. Stone

Genre: YA, dystopia

Published: 2013, November by Amazon Digital Services 

Formats Available: Kindle or Paperback

Pages: 297

My rating: 3 thumbs up! 

A big thank you to the author, Peter R Stone and Alana Munro from Reach For the Stars for this opportunity. I received Forager for free to honestly review. My opinion of the book is not influenced by this.

forager

Eighteen-year-old Ethan Jones lives in Newhome, a town built upon the decaying ruins of post-apocalyptic Melbourne, ruins haunted by the ferocious Skel, a nomadic tribe of degenerate savages.

 The Skel are ramping up their attacks on Newhome’s foraging teams and infesting Melbourne’s ruins in ever greater numbers. Is this part of a larger plan that could spell the town’s doom?

 Meanwhile, the last thing Ethan expects when he and his companions rescue a two-car convoy from the Skel is a Japanese teenage girl with an outlandish dress-sense, who after they take her back to Newhome, goes to great lengths to ingratiate herself into his life. But is it in gratitude for saving her life or is she seeking something more?

 And what a quandry she places him in, for he knows the rules, that no man is permitted to be alone with an unmarried woman. But how can he drive such a gentle soul away when she touches his heart so deeply, even though she clearly carries the pain of a broken heart.

 At the same time, Newhome’s police force, the Custodians, are suspicious of Ethan’s foraging team’s successes and are pulling out the stops to find out which member of his team has the illegal mutant ability that gives them an edge over the other teams.

Should these peacekeepers discover Ethan is the mutant they seek, they will haul him away and dissect him like a frog.

Amazon Buy Link

Website/Blog Link: Forager

My Thoughts 

A dystopian set in Australia? In the lovable Melbourne no less! How could I say no to reading this! Forager was not what I expected though. I’m of mixed opinions about how I feel. There were some things that I really liked, but there were also things I feel could have been improved.

The story is set after a war that wiped out most of the human population from earth. Some survived, which have made their own small communities spread out for survival. These communities are in desperate need for resources such as metals, which are foraged from the ruined cities. The story follows the head of one of these groups, who happens to have abilities due to mutations. He has to hide these abilities though, because they could get him killed. This is combined with a missing memory, a cute, mysterious Japanese girl and scary people who run around wearing armour made of human bones.

I’ll kick off with what I liked – I especially liked the setting. An Australian dystopian is definitely for me! There really aren’t enough YA books set in Australia. However, I feel as though this could have been expanded upon in the description; as in, there was nothing to tell the setting apart from any other ruined city in the entire world. I mean, c’mon, this is Melbourne! I’ve been to this city, and I fell in love with it. I know it’s been destroyed, but I’m sure that some significant sights that sets it somewhat apart from everywhere else could have been identified, right? Like NY has it’s Lady of Liberty? What about some ripped up Tram rails? Or unique Aussie art found in the cool museums down there? Or an intact wall of that awesome street art?

Maybe I’m too pro Australia. I just really wanted something to distinguish it from everywhere else.

Now, back to the actual story. I also liked the idea of mutated humans. I thought Ethan’s abilities were quite cool. I liked that this was well thought out, too. With every possible plot hole covered and filled in. Also, his abilities are detailed, which is great because you can tell the author did his research. It also gives us a great imagery and picture when trying to imagine it

I didn’t like that the plot didn’t really follow this idea through – it mostly focused on his missing memory and love life. I wish the plot focused more on Ethan’s abilities and why people like him disappear. Maybe it will in the books to come. I personally think Ethan’s love life and memory loss would have done much better as a side plot to add depth to the story. This is because I felt as though Forager was missing something to push it along. The pace was sort of jumpy and I never really knew where it was going. A more focused goal and plot would have fixed this issue.

I liked the characters in Forager, though I did not connect to them. Ethan is very likeable. Maybe a little too perfect and nice at times, making him not as relatable, but still likeable. Same goes for the love interest; she was a little too perfect for my tastes. They both could have done with a little more character development to really explore their positive and negative character attributes. All I got was that Ethan has a little anger management problem.

I did really like the character dynamics, though. This was shown especially well in the forager group. The friendship felt realistic and I got a real sense of camaraderie between them. I felt for the group of boys when they started to fall apart, but it was a good thing because it kept things real, showing the flaws and cracks in everything. The best books are when these flaws are shown, but the characters can still overcome them.

Dialogue and language were a major issue I faced with Forager – especially when it came to Ethan. Ethan is portrayed as a slightly rebellious, strong, leader material and brave – but his language and the way he spoke did not match his personality. It actually felt really unnatural and odd. Even stranger, this changed a quarter way in. At first it felt natural, then his sentences turn overly formal and unusual. This was even odder because the other characters kept their natural dialogue (or what they had from the beginning).

I won’t give anything away, but I cringed when the word “wife” came out of a certain character’s mouth. It just felt completely wrong for such a young, vibrant person to talk like he’s 30 and settling down. (This is completely in my perspective, though, maybe some people are cool with that).

Overall, Forager has mixed feelings from me. It’s one of those books I liked, but could have been improved easily. If the plot was a little more focused, a deeper character development and the dialogue was worked on more, then this easily could have increased the rating by one or two. Otherwise, Forager has a rating of 3 from me, and I would recommend any young dystopian readers to give it a go.

3thumbsup

THE AUTHOR

peter

Peter Stone, an avid student of history, was reading books on Ancient Greece from the age of four. His periods of interest include the ancient world, medieval era, Napoleonic times, and the Second World War. He still mourns the untimely passing of King Leonidas of Sparta and Field Marshal Michel Ney of France.

A child of the Cold War Generation, Peter Stone studied the ramifications of a nuclear missile strike when he was in his senior year of high school, learning the effects of nuclear fallout and how to (hopefully) survive it. He has ever been drawn to post-apocalyptic and dystopian novels and films, and eagerly devoured The Day of the Triffids and John Christopher’s Tripod Trilogy when he was a child.

Peter Stone graduated from Melbourne School of Ministries Bible College in 1988. He has been teaching Sunday School and playing the keyboard in church for over twenty-five years. His wife is from Japan and they have two wonderful children. Peter Stone has worked in the same games company for over twenty years, but still does not comprehend why they expect him to work all day instead of playing games.

Book Tour & Review: The Wolf’s Cry by Natalie Crown!

Hi Guys!
Thanks for stopping by my tour stop for The Wolf’s Cry by Natalie
Crown. I’m really excited to share this book with you. The Wolf’s Cry was released this year in January, and is the first book in Natalie’s The Semei Trilogy – a really exciting, original, young adult, Fantasy novel!
This tour will run March 10th-21st and consist of reviews, author interviews, guest posts, top tens and a giveaway.  Stop by the tour page for the full list of tour stops!

The Wolf’s Cry (Book One in the Semei Trilogy)

Author: Natalie Crown

Genre: YA Fantasy

Recommended Age: YA

Length: PDF is 199 pages

She is his weakness.

And she will ruin everything.

Kammy Helseth’s idea of adventure never amounted to more than getting a boat across to the mainland and finally escaping to London. That was until she stumbled through the mouth of the forest into a world beneath our own, the world of the Semei.

Her only wish is to find her way home but when Jamie, her best friend, is taken into this new world of shapeshifters and Crystals she has no choice but to stand up to her fear and to remain beneath the surface. Hunted by Bagor, King of Alashdial, and those that are loyal to him, Kammy finds herself in the company of a group of outlaws led by Jad, a Prince with a bitter past and a similarly bitter demeanour.

They overcome age-old prejudice to find a way to work together. But Bagor knows a secret about the Crystals that threatens to change everything. Kammy and Jad must find a way to thwart the king and to save Jamie, but that is just the beginning. For Kammy is in possession of a Key and the fate of countless lives, both human and Semei, may rest in her hands.

Book Links:  
My Thoughts 

The cover and title of The Wolf’s Cry suggests something paranormal with werewolves, but it’s defineltly closer to fantasy rather than paranormal, don’t be fooled! In The Wolf’s Cry, we are taken into another world of shape shifters under our current world. This, among other things, I loved, but I did have a few concerns with connecting to characters and the pace of the plot.

One of the best parts of The Wolf’s Cry is the world building. In my mind’s eye I have a fair idea of what the world looks like from a Semei’s (shape shifter’s) point of view. There were a few times during the book that I wished there were more descriptions, but otherwise I believe this was done really well!

Another thing I liked about this book was the plot. You could tell through reading that it was well planned. I liked that the climax was strong and included lots of anticipation. Despite this I feel as though the plot was jumpy. Some parts I could barely get through, while others sped by in a blur. The purpose of the plot also wasn’t very clear until a quarter way in, where we began to see another perspective.

I liked how the book included more perspectives where necessary. It was mostly Kammy, the female lead and Jad the male lead. I think it would be interesting to include someone who follows the villain in the book, because for me, him and his motive’s were vague. A major problem I did have with the characters though, is that Kammy was not characterized very well. I couldn’t really connect with her as much as I would have liked.

Despite this, I did feel that every other character was developed and dished out. This includes Tayah, Jamie, Fii, Jad – all of them. What Kammy lacked, these characters had, which almost makes up for it.

I liked how mysteries in the book were released slowly, though I did feel that Kammy’s situation was a little predictable, and her response to the revelations about her felt a little off and unnatural. This coulbe be because I didn’t really understand her. Also, sometimes the dialogue felt very jumpy and unnatural, though this was rare and I’m just nit picking.

I do think that Crown has demonstrated relationship and friendship dynamics amazingly in The Wolf’s Cry. I believed in every relationship shown and how their actions reflected this. Per chance, these dynamics did add to the overall storyline immensely.

Overall, I did enjoy The Wolf’s Cry. Despite how I feel about Kammy and the plot pace, the last half of the book I read without disturbance or any other thought other than just enjoying the story. I found myself shipping for Jad and Kimmy, getting teary and emotional, and just hanging to see what happens next! Can’t wait to see what the 2nd installment of The Semei Triolgy brings. I recommend the Wolf’s cry to any young fantasy reader!

About the Author:

I grew up in a village called Swilland, in the countryside of Suffolk,
England. There wasn’t much around, other than farms and fields, but for
the most part I loved it, and I still do. I’m a passionate person by
nature. I don’t just LIKE things, I LOVE things. Whether it’s a book, a
film, or a sports team. Once I decide to enjoy something, I enjoy it to
the MAX.

I’m a terrible cook. I prioritise essential social media work over keeping my flat tidy, because I know best. I

Onto my love of reading and, consequently, writing – it was my dad that
played a big role in encouraging me to read. He didn’t push me towards
books necessarily; he simply read a lot himself. Then I would pick up
his books and read them after him. I was reading high and epic fantasy
from a very young age. I guess that might explain why I have always
loved adventure stories with magic and intrigue and princes and
princesses in.

I was aware that I wanted to ‘be a writer’ from a very young age. I was
convinced I would be the first best seller that hadn’t reached double
figures in age yet! I wrote about the Danshees, furry creatures that
lived through a mirror. I wrote about a Sand Bottle that transported a
boy into a world of magic. I wrote about a sick girl finding a music boy
that healed her, but transported her back in time. (Wow, I always have
loved alternate universes…)

When I was eight I wrote my first novel called The Land of No Return.
Despite the title, I am determined to return to it one day. I feel like I
owe it to my past self. So, as you can see, I have always been writing.
There have been times when I have gone weeks without scratching down a
word. Then there are days where I churn out multiple chapters and only
my body’s silly desire for sleep and/or food can stop me.

I write because I enjoy it. I write fantasy because I enjoy it. I try my
hardest to put something of myself into my writing. I like to think my
characters have depth, I like to think that my fantasy worlds reflect
upon the real world in some way. You guys will be the judge of that but
even if you don’t agree I know that I at least try and I can do no more
than that.

These days I live in North London and I love it. I work full time and
London is a hectic city. Juggling work, writing and a social life is
tough but nobody is forcing me to do it so I can’t complain. The dream
is that writing will be my career one day but it doesn’t matter if I
never quite make it. I love writing too much to ever pack it in.

I am desperate to get a dog. My mum suspects I miss my cats at home more
than I miss her. I am a devout Arsenal/Ferrari/Rafael Nadal fan. I get
all mad when confronted with a case of social injustice and then I get
all mad when people take the fight for social justice too far. I mostly
keep those thoughts to myself and simmer with rage. I watch good TV and
bad TV, because I can. What I can’t do is enjoy bad books (subjective
opinion of course). I just can’t.

Find the author:
2 $50 Amazon Gift Cards (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This tour was organized by CBB Book Promotions

Review: Darkness Watching by Emma L. Adams

Darkness Watching by Emma L. Adams

Genre: Paranormal

Published: September 2013, by Curiosity Quills 

My Rating: 3 thumbs up!

18657107

Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she’s losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back.

Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone, in the middle of nowhere – little knowing that it isn’t coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.

All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life – but demons never give up, and their focus on Ash has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she’s looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is. 

In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be…

My Thoughts

Darkness Watching, by Emma L. Adams, is a dark, paranormal novel focusing on demons. I was so intrigued by the premise and I really enjoyed reading the book. I did spot a few concerns on the way, such as jumpy pacing concerning the level of excitement I had to continue and some unsatisfactory character development. Though I did enjoy the story itself, the mood it set, the themes and the overall plot, leading to an exciting ending I was not expecting.

Ashlyn is the main character and we follow her journey to college, where some unexpected events come out and she discovers new things about herself while she is followed by demons that can communicate with her. This is what I liked most. There was always constant mystery and unanswered question to help pull the story along. And even though it had one of those characters that give all the answers, she was a confusing fortune teller who made no sense and just created more questions. Brilliant.

The different themes the demons bring to the story adds depth to Darkness Watching. Demons are typically bad. They are negative beings and spirits wanting power and domination. However, I like that Darkness Watching takes this stereotype and twists it, so that everything is not boring black and white, good and bad, but a dynamic mix.

I also liked how writing and description really sets the mood for the story. It feels dark and cold, shocking and magical.

However, I wasn’t too fond of the pace. Some places were really slow and I felt like I was slogging through mud because I just wasn’t excited for what comes next. Whereas other parts were paced just right and I wasn’t keeping tabs on page count, but actually excited to continue.

Despite pace issues, the plot was well thought out and ended with a bang and some unexpected resolutions. I was actually not expecting some of what happened. The element of surprise always adds to a story.

The characterization of the main character was done really well. But not so much for the other characters. I felt as though the story was juggling too many characters. There was the MC, MC parents, the best friend, the 5 other people she shares a room with, the 5 other people she befriends, plus a fortune teller. That is a lot of characters for a somewhat short novel. If there were less to juggle, I believe development could have improved 100%, thus improving the quality of the story.

Because of this, I didn’t fall in love or connect with any of the characters, though I did find Ashlyn relatable in the straight forward sense. Uh, I’m a book worm, rather be by myself kinda person too! But there was no emotional, deep connection.

With the exception of some poor pacing and character development, I really enjoyed Darkness Watching. I believe Adams has done a wonderful job at describing, mood setting and ensuring the plot has depth. I would recommend Darkness Watching to all young, paranormal readers!

3thumbsup

Review: Captivate by Vanessa Garden

Captivate (Submerged Sun #1) by Vanessa Garden 

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Published: 1st January, 2014 by Harlequin TEEN

My Rating: 3 Thumbs up! 

18683518

In a glittering underwater world, nothing is as it seems…

For the past twelve months since her parents’ death, seventeen-year-old Miranda Sun has harboured a dark secret — a secret that has strained the close relationship she once shared with her older sister, Lauren. In an effort to repair this broken bond, Miranda’s grandparents whisk the siblings away on a secluded beach holiday. Except before Miranda gets a chance to confess her life-changing secret, she’s dragged underwater by a mysterious stranger while taking a midnight swim.

Awakening days later, Miranda discovers that she’s being held captive in a glittering underwater city by an arrogant young man named Marko…the King of this underwater civilisation.

Nineteen-year-old Marko intends to marry Miranda in order to keep his crown from falling into the sinister clutches of his half-brother, Damir. There’s only one problem. Miranda is desperate to return home to right things with her sister and she wants nothing to do with Marko. Trying to secure her freedom, Miranda quickly forms an alliance with Robbie — Marko’s personal guard. However, she soon discovers that even underwater, people are hiding dangerous secrets…

From Goodreads 

My Thoughts 

I was really intrigued by the cover and premise of Captivate. It is by an Australian author, set in Australia, and involves the ocean. So you can say I was super excited to get my hands on this book! It didn’t really meet my huge expectation, but it was an enjoyable read. I saw a few inconsistencies and plot holes in the story and some of the characters weren’t as developed as they could have been, but I still loved the setting, the easy to follow plot, the mystery and that ending!

The story follows Miranda Sun as she is dragged away from her life and family to marry and have the child of the King to this underwater city. The story includes a lot of mystery and personal demons, which I loved and kept me reading. The plot was steady, with a solid pace, making it easy to read (a lazy readers’ heaven!)

Though the pace was good, the ending wasn’t very climatic and a little predictable. The story didn’t evoke any super strong emotions from me (even when a loveable character was put in jeopardy) because I could predict how things were going to turn out. This lessened the overall enjoyment of the book for me.

The story was set in an underwater city. What’s not to love? That held such intrigue for me, since I was a lover of Atlantis as a child. I liked how the place was described, but I think there could have been a little more description, as I was a little confused at times.

There were a couple of noticeable inconsistencies within the story that left me questioning it. For instance, the fact that 3rd gen females in this underwater city become infertile is why the King must steal a girl to make an heir with. However, there were heaps of girls there that had just come from above ground because of near drowning’s – why didn’t the prince just marry one of those girls instead of stealing someone? How could those girls be infertile if they have only been there for a little while? If they did, doesn’t that mean any girl they steal will just become infertile, too?

I also feel as though some character development is off. Such as, a character would be described in a certain way, though then they would do something that just goes totally against what they are – and it’s not even a big deal? I would give examples of this but that would be spoiling.

Despite this, I liked the romance the blossomed between Miranda and the king Marko. I didn’t see it as entirely believable, but I still liked it. What I didn’t like though is that where ever you look, there are love triangles. They are everywhere! Though they don’t rule the story, so that’s not a major thing.

Overall I enjoyed Captivate, and found it easy to read. Despite the few plot holes and lack of character development, this is a good book that can easily transport you to another place. I would recommend to any fantasy reader!

3thumbsup