Book Review: A Summer Like No Other – Elodie Nowodazkij


She’s his best friend’s little sister. He’s the biggest player of them all.

They shouldn’t be together. But this summer’s just too tempting.

Sixteen-year-old Emilia Moretti’s goal for the summer is simple: forget her brother’s best friend—Nick Grawsky—ever existed. It should be easy: He’s spending his summer in the Hamptons, adding girls in tiny bikinis to his list of broken hearts. Guarantee he won’t be telling them they’re like his little sisters. This summer, Emilia won’t stay awake at night thinking about him. She’ll need flawless ballet movements to have a shot at next year’s showcase, and she’s finally ready to search for her birth parents. But when Nick decides to stay in the city, Emilia’s resolve disappears in a pirouette. Maybe it’s the spin they needed to be together. As long as she doesn’t get stuck believing in happily ever after…

Nick is tired of pretending to be the happy, let’s-have-fun guy. His father wants him to change his career from professional dancer to…lawyer. He needs to put all of his focus on dancing to prove to Daddy Dearest he’s good enough to make it big. And he may have a case of the bluest balls in history courtesy of Emilia. She’s off-limits: The bro code with Roberto even forbids the dirty thoughts he has about her. Besides, he’s not boyfriend material. He only has time for flings, for girls who don’t expect much, for girls he doesn’t want to kiss goodnight. He knows he should resist her, but he’s not sure he wants to…

I received an e-edition of this book courtesy of Victory Editing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book left me feeling disappointed. It wasn’t awful, don’t get me wrong but there just wasn’t much that I could hang on to when it came to things that I actually could say I loved about it.

In fact, the best thing about this entire book was probably the fact that it was in split POV between Emilia and Nick and after reading many reviews where people have enjoyed books more solely because of this factor, you’d think authors would have gotten the gist by now and would have provided us with more of these sorts of books… But no, we are still left with the same (rather low at that) number of these novels and it’s a darn shame because it’s good to have the guy’s perspective in a romance novel – a lot of the time there’s a lot more to their characters than a singular girl POV let’s on and a lot of their motives and actions are explained better in their own words (which makes total sense of course.)

However, on the other hand – this romance missed the point of belonging to the romance genre. I felt no chemistry between the characters – their relationship was as bland as plain crackers (and we’re talking the salt-less kind here as well) which didn’t bode well with the fact that it seemed to be based on primarily physical aspects. And while I respect the fact that both of them being dancers would have provided them with quite attractive bodies… it just didn’t work for me.

In saying that, the ‘romance’ took over the story almost entirely which was a shame because Emilia’s quest to find her parents was probably the only remotely interesting thing about her character and that was taken away by her constant desire for all things Nick related… However, I did admire her resilience when it came to that particular issue – on the rare occasion that she remembered that she should be actively looking for them she did actually manage to get a few things done which was really commendable as she stuck through the hardships of it all.

The supporting characters were pretty good and I feel like they did a decent job at keeping our heroine on track when she was down (which of course would happen as a result of baggage which came along with the fact that she was adopted) which was quite nice to see despite the fact that she didn’t seem to acknowledge the fact herself.

The novella read at a pleasing pace thanks to Nowodazkij’s style which I think saved it, and while I think that it sets the scene quite well for the next novel. I don’t think that I will be reading the sequel in the near future, solely because I think I can tell what will actually happen within it and so don’t particularly see the point. Albeit I think it’d be a pleasant surprise if I turned out to be wrong so I guess we shall see.

My Rating: 2.5/5 Stars


ARC Review: Rikki – Abigail Strom

Synopsis: rikki-cover

Ever since junior high and an ill-fated game of seven minutes in heaven, Rikki Eisendrath and Sam Payne have hated each others’ guts. But when they end up at the same college—and the same dorm—they figure it’s time to declare a truce.

They even become friends . . . sort of. But when Sam asks Rikki to model for his sculpting project, they start spending more time together—and her feelings for him get more complicated.

She tries to focus on the guy she’s been crushing on instead. But Sam’s the one she can’t stop thinking about, even though their arguments are starting to heat up as much as the chemistry between them.

With antagonism and attraction this intense, there’s bound to be an explosion. But when the dust settles, will Sam and Rikki be enemies, friends . . . or something more?

I received a free e-edition of this book courtesy of the author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was a pleasantly light read, which was definitely helped by its short length. At just over 200 pages, this book was barely over the length of a novella. And yet it contained enough storyline development to appease me which was good to see  – although some things would have definitelly benefitted from more development, I can’t really complain as the majority was developed to a good standard. I also really liked Strom’s writing style, it gave the story the kick it needed at points and definitely was a big bonus of the book.

There were concepts in the story that didn’t sit quite right with me – for one, a person basically a year older than me admitted to sleeping with over 20 individuals… and NO-ONE was even the slightest bit concerned? This is freshman/ first year of university we are talking about, these people are barely adults – when or how have they found the time to do that?? Unless of course they were partial to one night stands, and even then… why did no one question that?

The heroine bugged me at times, but the hero was quite a pleasant addition to the story and made it all the more bearable.

This book was actually quite innocent as far as New Adult novels go, there was the right balance of angst and romance (which was gloriously slow burning unlike many other books of this genre, it was given plenty of page time to develop which made it all the more realistic and pleasing) which created the basis of a good story.

The story did fall apart at one point, when Sam decided to do something that really didn’t seem to fit in his character’s description but Strom managed to pull it back together enough for me to want to pick it back up after throwing it into the corner of despair and shame after a certain event happened.

Whilst I hadn’t really found many bad things in this book, it was much alike to other books in the NA genre and maybe that was where the majority of my problem lay, I feel like I have burned out reading this particular genre and would benefit from a break from it in order to provide more objective reviews.

Overall, I think that the book set up hope for the rest of the series and I will probably look into reading its successors to see whether the story develops complexity wise as more characters are introduced.

My Rating: 2.5 /5 Stars

Book Review: A Hold On Me – Pat Esden

My synopsis:a-hold-on-me-cover

She never wanted to return.
He wants nothing more than for her to leave.
But the fire between them is as strong as the past that haunts them.

Annie Freemont grew up on the road, immersed in the romance of rare things, cultivating an eye for artifacts and a spirit for bargaining. It’s a freewheeling life she loves and plans to continue–until her dad is diagnosed with dementia. His illness forces them to return to Moonhill, their ancestral home on the coast of Maine–and to the family they left behind fifteen years ago, after Annie’s mother died in a suspicious accident.

Once at Moonhill, Annie is shocked when her aunt separates her from her father. The next time Annie sees him, he’s a bizarre, violent shadow of his former self. Confused, she turns to an unlikely ally for support–Chase, the dangerously seductive young groundskeeper. With his dark good looks and powerful presence, Chase has an air of mystery that Annie is irresistibly drawn to. But she also senses that behind his penetrating eyes are secrets she can’t even begin to imagine. Secrets that hold the key to the past, to Annie’s own longings–and to all of their futures. Now, to unlock them, she’ll have to face her greatest fears and embrace her legacy…

I received an e-copy of this book courtesy of Kensington Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was definitely a surprise, I mean I suspected that there must have been an element of the supernatural in this book, given its paranormal genre. But I honestly didn’t expect Esden to implement it in the way that she did.

I loved the eerie atmosphere, from the gothic setting to bits of pathetic fallacy (thanks, GCSE English) to the uncertainty of everything that was going on. The element of slow-reveal was potent throughout, but it really worked.

The MC was largely realistic, and I liked the fact that she knew exactly what she wanted and that she wasn’t scared to do everything in her power to do it. Her loyalty to her father was impressive, she went to great lengths in order to help him, despite people telling her that it was practically impossible and that she should stop trying.

However, the romance part of the novel basically didn’t exist for me. Which did pose a few problems, seeing as the book was supposed to be a paranormal ROMANCE… I just wasn’t feeling the chemistry between Annie and Chase in the slightest and found myself skipping a lot of the “romantic” parts or barely skim reading them enough to follow what was happening in the rest of the novel, which of course just gradually increased over the course of the novel. So I lost interest very quickly and skim read for a large part, which was probably why I didn’t appreciate the novel as much as I possibly could have.

Of course, this book was the first in the series, and it definitely felt like one – whilst the secondary character were developed (and man, did I dislike some of them – not necessarily because they were badly written, just that they were horrible people who didn’t deserve to be liked), the plot revolved largely around Annie’s father and didn’t go further than that until the very end of the book.

So I am inclined to read the second book, just to find out where it all goes  and to see whether I enjoy it much more than its predecessor, especially in the aspects I have mentioned above.

My Rating: pushing 3/5 Stars, probably closer to 2.5

ARC Review: Saint Death – Marcus Sedgwick


A potent, powerful and timely thriller about migrants, drug lords and gang warfare set on the US/Mexican border by prize-winning novelist, Marcus Sedgwick.

Anapra is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the Mexican city of Juarez – twenty metres outside town lies a fence – and beyond it – America – the dangerous goal of many a migrant. Faustino is one such trying to escape from the gang he’s been working for. He’s dipped into a pile of dollars he was supposed to be hiding and now he’s on the run. He and his friend, Arturo, have only 36 hours to replace the missing money, or they’re as good as dead. Watching over them is Saint Death. Saint Death (or Santissima Muerte) – she of pure bone and charcoal-black eye, she of absolute loyalty and neutral morality, holy patron to rich and poor, to prostitute and narco-lord, criminal and police-chief. A folk saint, a rebel angel, a sinister guardian.

I receieved an eARC edition of this novel courtesy of Hachette Children’s Group/Orion Children’s Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t know what to think of this book, it was honestly strange, the story felt disjointed and I really didn’t know whether to continue reading at a few points but I guess I’m glad I did ?

I think the story definitely got better as the book progressed, I even felt for the main character at the end and nearly shed a few tears.

 But I did also find him annoyingly irresponsible, he knew fully well what was going to happen and the fluctuation between him berating himself for the stupid things he was doing (and about to do) and him doing the things anyway for some godforsaken reason, multiple times. I mean I’d understand if he made the same mistake once, maybe twice, but multiple times in the same night? That’s just pushing it a little. Although in saying that, I do realise that that is the sort of vibe Sedgwick had wanted the character to have, so I guess kudos for achieving that?

I found the concept of Santa Muerte being such a huge part of Mexican culture incredibly interesting, I felt as though without it, the book wouldn’t have been as interesting. The blind faith that the MC had in her was eerie to read about, mainly because I just can’t imagine putting so much trust into something that technically wasn’t real (although, it seemed like in a lot of cases they treated her as a real entity), enough trust to literally gamble away your life; the book brought the “sinister guardian” part of the synopsis to life and took it beyond that… The concept of that was slightly crazy and eluded me a little, but it was an interesting thing to read about nonetheless.

I also thought that Sedgwick did the right thing in showing the dark reality faced by Mexicans through their eyes, it made a change from what the media usually presents them as, especially in current American political standings in the current elections.

I did really like the fact that the book introduced me to a completely different culture, despite it being a disturbing one, it was well researched and well written, and only lost me because I did not really know much about Santa Muerte herself to begin with (I’d say it’s a good idea to read up on her a wee bit before beginning to read the story) and also that I just couldn’t for some odd reason, connect with the MC on the level at which it should have been possible. Although overall, I’d definitely say that this book is still very much worth the read.

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

On the top of the hill Christ himself stands with his arms outstretched, facing both Juarez, and, on the other side of the river, El Paso, in a gesture of brotherly love. It’s a misleading gesture. His arms are outstretched because he is nailed to a cross.”

Proof Review: Replica – Lauren Oliver

Synopsis:replica cover.jpg

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. ‘A sickly child’, her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father’s connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she’s always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father’s name seems inextricably linked to it.

Amidst the frenzy outside the institute’s walls, Lyra – or number 24 as she is known as at Haven – and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven’s purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever…

I receieved a proof copy of the novel courtesy of Chapter 5 Books in exchange for an honest review.

I feel as though the concept behind the two part book was incredible, but one of the narrators sadly let it down.

While I was gripped reading Lyra’s side of the book because her story was captivating – I do love to read books with slightly sci-fi/futuristic twists on the society in which we live , I found the concept of Replicas interesting, and yet odd at the same time. I can’t imagine an island full of copies of people just walking about, it just doesn’t seem plausible. Well, it does; given the modern day advancements in technology, but I’m not completely happy with the thought of it actually being a possibility.

However, once I flipped to Gemma’s POV (I read the book alternating chapters because I felt that it provided much more continuity) my interest was lost because she just didn’t seem to be as three dimensional and developed as Lyra. Not that Lyra was completely padded out either, but at least we were given information about her, which was developed past the simple statements about Gemma’s diseases which seemed to have nothing to do with the actual plot of the book, nor did they require an explanation as to what diseases they actually were, and how she coped with them (past the gist of “not very well”)… all things would have made the book more interesting.

But I have to say that both of the characters were realistically flawed which I really appreciated. Both Gemma and Lyra were incredibly reckless throughout the novel, and acted like typical (in my humble opinion) teenagers, which was nice because Oliver didn’t make them handle their respective situations in ways that only the most mature of us could handle. It was just nice to see an aspect of realism within the story.

Although in saying that, the love triangle/square/pentagon (depending on which part of the book you read) got on my nerves a few times as it always does but I’m glad that it didn’t take more than a novel for those to resolve as it does in many other books.

There were also countless “coincidences” which eventually rendered the book so predictable it honestly hurt.

I  wish that the book was either two longer, separate companion novels or a much longer novel of its own because I largely felt that because of the tropes I have grown to despise which were ever-present throughout the book, the story/ies felt rushed which resulted in me having rather “meh” feelings about the characters, and that’s at best – because I honestly can’t say I felt much for most of

Because I really found it hard to…

On the whole, this book wasn’t entirely what I hoped it would be, but the concept behind the story, as well as the deconstructed dual POV saved it in my eyes, therefore deserving a higher rating than it would have received otherwise.

My Rating: 2.5/3 out of 5 Stars

“Normal is a word invented by boring people to make them feel better about being boring.”


ARC Review: Unrivalled – Alison Noël

Synopsis: unrivalled-cover

EVERYONE wants to be someone.

Layla Harrison wants to be a reporter.
Aster Amirpour wants to be an actress.
Tommy Phillips wants to be a guitar hero.
But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her own a long time ago.

She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.

That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and are lured into a competition. The prize, or rather the target? Madison Brooks.

Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.

I received an eARC edition of this book courtesy of Harlequin (UK) Limited via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Whilst this book wasn’t quite the thriller we were promised by the various synopses, it was rather interesting in terms of what actually happened within it, I think the competition was a great topic to write the book about- it definitely showed a lot of Hollywood’s reality with the way in which some of the characters acted.

Their manners and behaviour towards other people were outright atrocious at times.
I found that through this Noel aptly commented on the competitive nature of human beings and how harmful the effects of this competition may be. The utter selfishness that shone through literally all of the characters at one point or another (some more than others I must admit) was disgusting to see, but I do realise that that is very much the reality in which we live nowadays.

The way that some of their relationships worked was saddening, from blackmail to being set up by their publicity team, the characters’ interactions were completely new to me (I could not believe what I was reading for a large portion of time), but yet again; I think Noël took a very honest approach in her description of Hollywood life.
In other words this novel made me think.

On the contrary the plot, while actually somewhat interesting could have benefited from less than the 4 POVs it had. I think that because of it, the writing wasn’t as developed as it could have been, just as I was catching onto one of the ‘voices’, the story plunged into another and I do admit I found it hard to differentiate between POVs throughout reading it, so much so that I really did not see any character development in any of them… In saying that, I did think that having 4 POVs gave a completely different dimension to the book which made me want to read on, it made me disorientated enough to not guess the endgame, which I guess was commendable despite maybe not being the aim of it in the first place.

Also, I felt that the book was largely cut rather short, despite being an incredibly slow read of 400 pages, the moment things got interesting – there was only about 20% to go. Which was disappointing, I really felt that the author could have gotten away with writing less at the beginning and instead focused on the ending which was the only thing I found remotely interesting and “thrillery” about this book. sigh gif.gif

Am I disappointed? Yes. Would I still recommend the book? Also, yes. I think that the aforementioned things are largely me being rather a picky reader who focuses too much on the genre which the book is published under and because of the fact that I generally don’t like books with multiple POVs, I do encourage you to read it to establish your own opinion on this particular novel.

My Rating 2.5/5 Stars

“Everyone wants to be someone”

ARC Review: The Loneliness of Distant Beings – Kate Ling

Synopsis: the loneliness of distant beings cover

‘It is that quick, it is that strong, it is that beautiful. And it is also totally impossible.’

Even though she knows it’s impossible, Seren longs to have the sunshine on her skin. It’s something she feels she needs to stay sane. But when you’re floating through space at thousands of kilometres an hour, sometimes you have to accept there are things you cannot change.

Except that the arrival of Dom in her life changes everything in ways she can barely comprehend. For a while he becomes the Sun for her; and she can’t help but stay in his orbit. Being with him flaunts every rule designed to keep their home in order, but to lose him would be like losing herself.

In the end they must decide what is most important: loyalty to the only home they’ve ever known, or to each other?

I received an eARC edition of this book courtesy of Hachette Children’s Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Either I’m being really harsh on books this year, or they’re just not good books because quite frankly this was yet another slight let down (yet of lesser proportions than my previous reads, seeing as I did like quite a few things about it).

I loved the sci-fi, spacey twist on the dystopian genre… Yes, I did just say that I liked a dystopian book shocked cat gif.gif

I really liked the aspect of the lack of freedom for once, well, maybe not “liked” but definitely found the fact that people would sign their descendants up for a lifetime of what was basically slavery to a REALLY corrupt political system IN SPACE interesting. I just couldn’t completely comprehend why on earth (shameless pun) anyone would put up with some of the things happening on that ship. I think that the sci-fi twist on the typical same ol’ dystopia was really what I needed to warm up to the genre which has been an interesting discovery.

However, the book also had elements which really really annoyed me, like the ever present love triangle, which I could smell a mile off after the MC decided to descibe a guy’s moles upon their second encounter, after already being engaged to another man as per dystopian tradition. Which of course led to an overly dramatic and plot consuming insta-love/lust story which was put into the spotlight by the absence/flatness of supporting characters.

Although admittedly, this got slightly more bearable as the book went on and we met a few characters and also discovered more about some of the main(er) ones which was quite nice to see as that doesn’t happen very often at all in dystopian novels so big kudos to Ling for not forgetting to develop her story beyond the MC.

In saying that, I felt as though the main character, and Ezra and Dom were slightly immature and definitely fell a bit flat. However, the ending of the book was pleasing and it definitely provided a lot of hope for the next book to be slightly more fast-paced and action filled which would be something to look forward to.

Overall, I’d definitely say that this book is worth reading if you’d like to see something new brought into the dystopian genre, I honestly really liked the idea of sci-fi being such a key part of this story. The writing style and really well written and thought-out description were also great strength of this particular title.

My Rating: 2.5 Stars

“It is that quick, it is that strong, it is that beautiful. And it is also totally impossible.”