[BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY] REVIEW: Olivia Decoded (Olivia Twisted #2) by Vivi Barnes

Olivia Decoded by Vivi Barnes
Series: Olivia Twisted #2
Published by Entangled: Teen on 6th September 2016
Pages: 320
Source: *Received in from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

This isn’t my Jack, who once looked at me like I was his world. The guy who’s occupied the better part of my mind for eight months.

This is Z, criminal hacker with a twisted agenda and an arsenal full of anger.

I’ve spent the past year trying to get my life on track. New school. New friends. New attitude. But old flames die hard, and one look at Jack—the hacker who enlisted me into his life and his hacking ring, stole my heart, and then left me—and every memory, every moment, every feeling comes rushing back. But Jack’s not the only one who’s resurfaced in my life. And if I can’t break through Z’s defenses and reach the old Jack, someone will get hurt…or worse.
Oh. My. Goodness. This is honestly the fastest I have read a book in a
long time. Thank you Vivi Barnes for getting me out of my incredibly long and frustrating reading slump! I thoroughly enjoyed this. This series is unlike one I have read for a long time. I love novels about hacking and problem solving, maybe its the maths geek in me, but I get so addicted to novels like this. I was not sure how Barnes was actually going to do a sequel as the last novel felt as though it finished at a good place. But my goodness. The mystery, intrigue and emotion! I am so hoping there is at least novella! And these new covers! Love them!

Liv has not seen Jack for eight months. But when Valentine's day comes around, she finds a rose on her bed, and an expensive bracelet in her car, whilst simultaneously on Monroe street they find a bill for a bracelet matching the same description. Yet they did not buy it. And Liv cannot find out who gave them to her. As Liv continues to receive creepy pictures and messages, whilst money is stolen from bank accounts on Monroe street, the mystery stalker slowly brings Liv and Jack back together one last time to find out who the stalker is that is pushing them back together.

Barnes' characters feel so real. Liv is a strong and persistent protagonist, who shows true emotions and doesn't just brush it all under the rug. And for once, the characters actually tell the police and her family! THANK YOU! I cannot tell you how many novels I have read where they do not tell the police or their family about the creepy and unsettling things that are happening to them, especially because someone is stalking Liv. I really think it is the relationships in this novel that got me addicted. They are complicated, but they are built on, and not just thrown in. It feels like they are real. Then we have Liv's relationship with Jack... man, the angst! But their chemistry was amazing, and I really enjoyed reading about them reconnecting with one-another, and Liv with her old friend Sam.

The plot! Holy moly. I was addicted from the first chapter. It was very creepy and eerie, and I felt rather nervous just reading it; it was unnerving. I did know, and figured out who was behind the stalking pretty quickly, however it was intriguing to find out why and how it came about. Barnes really tackles some topics in this novel, the awful past Liv has been through, and she handles them well. Although the novel is a great story, it is emotional and really makes you think; there is certainly a serious side to this novel and not one to think of as an 'easy, simple read'. But I really thoroughly enjoyed it, it added depth to the novel. It was so creepy, the mystery was laid out carefully and made for a very addictive novel.

This was an emotional yet thoroughly addictive novel, that is creepy and a little unnerving, making you really think. I cannot wait to read Barnes' future works.

ViviBarnesVivi Barnes was raised on a farm in East Texas where her theater-loving mom and cowboy dad gave her a unique perspective on life. After college, she convinced her supportive husband to
move with her to be part of the sunshine and magic in Orlando, Florida. On a good day, she manages to divide her time writing, working, reading, goofing off with her three kids, and avoiding dirty dishes. Vivi is a proud member of SCBWI and attends conferences whenever she can.


REVIEW: The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's #3) by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's #3
Published by Bloomsbury Childrens on 24th March 2016
Pages: 496
Source: *Received from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Following the intrigue and danger of The Winner's Curse and the revolution and romance of The Winner's Crime, Kestrel finds herself in the tundra's mines and Arin has sailed home. The empire seems unstoppable. 

Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin will learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this third and final installment in the heart-stopping Winner's trilogy.
Such a poignant and emotional finale to a wonderfully addictive and powerful trilogy. The Winner's trilogy is certainly not one to miss for those whom love a powerful female protagonist, a complex yet easy-to-understand plot and a beautiful romance. And these covers! Plus, the look of these spines on your bookcase will make even non-readers jealous of their beauty!

Following The Winner's Curse, The Winner's Kiss begins as Arin has sailed home with the simultaneous imprisonment of Kestrel. However, I really do not want to say much more, as this is the last novel.

Our characters! Rutkoski does a brilliant job in their betrayal. Kestrel, as in the first two novels, is a strong and powerful woman, whom stands up for what she believes in. In this final novel, I loved seeing her intelligence shine through, as we really got to see this more sure and confident Kestrel revealing her knowledge of strategy, giving the reader a different angle to read from. Of course, we also have Arin. I loved being able to read the novel from both of their perspectives as we witnessed them finding their way back to one another. Arin's perspective will be intriguing to any reader, it really showed Arin's true self, his inner conflict and the battle he has with himself in his head; at times it was very emotional and really made one think as he battles with himself in doing what is right in a war setting.

The writing, as always, was beautiful. Rutkoski really has this way of capturing you within her first sentence, and truly takes you on a powerful journey. The plot was fast-paced and surprising. There were certainly twists and turns I was not expecting, which made this all the more addictive and compelling. The setting was powerful and haunting, paired with Rutkoski's powerful writing, you truly felt as though you were there with them. And the emotion! My goodness, I certainly teared up at one point!

Overall, The Winner's Kiss was the beautiful yet emotional novel that really tied the knot for this trilogy, it was compelling and addictive, yet really made you think. Plus, that ending! I had not seen that coming, and for that I highly praise Rutkoski and am very much looking forward to reading more of her novels, especially The Shadow Society.

REVIEW: You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

You Were Here by Cori McCarthy
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on 1st March 2016
Pages: 400
Source: *Received from Publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Grief turned Jaycee into a daredevil, but can she dare to deal with her past?

On the anniversary of her daredevil brother's death, Jaycee attempts to break into Jake's favorite hideout—the petrifying ruins of an insane asylum. Joined by four classmates, each with their own brand of dysfunction, Jaycee discovers a map detailing her brother's exploration and the unfinished dares he left behind.

As a tribute to Jake, Jaycee vows to complete the dares, no matter how terrifying or dangerous. What she doesn't bargain on is her eccentric band of friends who challenge her to do the unthinkable: reveal the parts of herself that she buried with her brother.
Such a powerful and thought provoking novel, as you witness the struggle of a group of teens trying to carry on with their lives after the death of a brother and friend. This cover really says it all to the reader, it really reflects the feelings of our protagonist, and it feels rather powerful.

Jaycee loves dares. A year later after the death of her older brother after he was dared and broke his neck, Jaycee attempts to break into her brothers hideout, and reconnect with her brothers best friend. But what she does not expect to find is a map of dares laid out by her brother, and Jaycee will not let herself carry on with her life unless she completes them.

Jaycee is a very complex and awkward character, though one that the reader cannot help but be intrigued by. As the reader, you witness her inner turmoil in coming to terms with the death of her brother, paired with the emotional scar it has left on her. I would not necessarily say Jaycee is a likeable character, mainly because of the way she treats other people, however she is witty and McCarthy really defines her from the other characters. However, you do see Jaycee's evolvement as a character, becoming her own person and not hiding behind the shadows of her bother. Though a saddening and emotional novel, the reader witnesses Jaycee strip herself of her guilt and allow herself say that it's okay for her to go to college and achieve. Although Jaycee is our main protagonist, the reader witnesses the reveal of the emotional trauma caused by the incident to others, not just herself. It is powerful seeing her friends reveal the way the tragedy affected them, and it really opens the readers mind in looking at how although they appear okay on the outside, they too are struggling and that Jaycee is not alone. And this show of friendship will warm your heart, especially as they all realise they are not alone with their struggles.

The plot was perfectly paced and poignant. Although upsetting and thought-provoking, the adventure these friends go on brings them together, and although they are struggling with following this map, they are doing it together. Contemporary's are not my usual genre, for some reason I commonly do not enjoy them, however You Were Here really stood out to me and truly made me think, and I felt McCarthy did a brilliant job of tackling a tricky topic. As the reader, you witness how grief is unique to everyone and effects people in many different ways; Jaycee is daring, risking her life, Tyler whom tries to forget by drinking, Mik who no longer speaks to anyone and, Natalie who tries to make her life appear as perfect as possible to not let anyone see what is really happening. This real mix of characters made the novel very poignant, realistic and intriguing as you witness how very different people come together and help one-another in different ways.

Overall, You Were Here leaves an emotional yet thought-provoking impression, though also leaves you satisfied as you witness a group of friends rid themselves of their feelings of guilt to allow themselves to carry on with their lives.

REVIEW: Stealing Snow (Stealing Snow #1) by Danielle Paige

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
Series: Stealing Snow #1
Published by Bloomsbury Childrens on 6th October 2016
Pages: 384
Source: *Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn't belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door – and Snow knows that she has to leave … 

She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she's destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate …

A wonderfully icy fantastical romance, with a strong heroine choosing her own destiny, Danielle Paige's irresistibly page-turning Snow Queen is like Maleficent and Frozen all grown up.
I have been reading Stealing Snow for the whole of August, a whole month, and only read 48%. Sadly I have no interest in carrying on, mainly because I do not understand what is going on. The beginning was very intriguing and the setting was one I had never read about before, so I could not wait to read on. However, it is almost like it just hit a brick wall, things seemed to happen far too quickly without explanation, and I just completely lost interest. I do love this cover though, it is rather eerie and spooky. I much prefer it to the US cover.

Stealing Snow is a retelling of the Snow Queen. Snow has been at the Whittaker Institute, a mental hospital, for the majority of her life, after an attempt to walk through her mirror. However, with strange dreams becoming more consistent and the meeting with a strange man, Snow finds herself in Algid, a land frozen by the evil King, and her true home. Although, Snow soon finds out about the royal lineage her mother tried to protect and hide her from as she soon has a price on her head.

I did like our protagonist Snow. Being in a mental hospital, I was pleased to see she was strong and questioned the awful actions of others, and what they were giving her. She was intelligent and perceptive, whilst caring about those around her. However, the other characters in this novel just seemed to fall flat. Many had little or no character building and just seemed to appear and disappear throughout, meaning the relationships that were apparently built between them just seemed as though they were plucked out of thin air, and became 'insta-friendship'. Whilst on the topic of 'insta-friendship', the insta-love between Snow and Kai might as well have been declared in the beginning. For the first day or two he seems to hate her, then BAM! He kisses her and claims his undying love for her! What!? Thank goodness she had the other guy she was looking for, otherwise they would have been declaring their undying love for one-another in the first quarter of the book!

The plot. Oh! I was so looking forward to this. I am a big fan of Danielle Paige's Dorothy Must Die series, and so could not wait to read another series from her. There was so much potential, yet it all seemed to fall flat. Things seemed to happen way too fast with little explanation leaving the reader feeling as though they have just been in a tornado of words which make little sense to them. There were a lot of mysteries and questions posed by the reader throughout, yet although I know many answers occur at the end, with this plot and novel we really needed some of those answers brought forward to enable us to make more sense of the plot. That therefore leads me onto the world building. I have praised Danielle Paige throughout all the Dorothy Must Die novels for her amazing world building and descriptions, yet sadly in this novel it was such a shame to not witness any of that magic; I just became very confused, bored and rather fed-up.

It was such a shame to have to DNF Danielle Paige's new book Stealing Snow having thoroughly enjoyed her previous works, yet the lack of world-building and answers, left me rather confused and fed-up.

REVIEW: Unraveling (Unraveling #1) by Elizabeth Norris

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Series: Unraveling #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on 24th April 2012
Pages: 464

Sixteen-year-old Janelle Tenner is used to having a lot of responsibility. She balances working as a lifeguard in San Diego with an intense academic schedule. Janelle's mother is bipolar, and her dad is a workaholic FBI agent, which means Janelle also has to look out for her younger brother, Jared.

And that was before she died... and is brought back to life by Ben Michaels, a mysterious, alluring loner from her high school. When she discovers a strange clock that seems to be counting down to the earth's destruction, Janelle learns she has twenty-four days to figure out how to stop the clock and save the planet.
I have reread Unraveling so many times, yet each time I have been unable to put into words my review for this novel, mainly because it is so unique, different and addictive. Although admittedly, the covers of this duology are rather cheesy, but I like the colours!

Janelle Tenner is sixteen years old, looking after her mother, father and brother, whilst working and keeping up with her studies. What she wasn't expecting to add to that list, was being brought back to life by Ben Michaels. When Jannelle uncovers a case her father is working on involving an unusual countdown, Janelle takes on the responsibility of figuring out what is going on, and how she was brought back to life.

Norris's characters really make this novel understandable, and not too confusing. Janelle is a strong female protagonist, who knows what she wants and how to go about it. She is straight to the point and does not paddle around, just getting on with it. For me, this makes Janelle a likeable character due to her determination but also dry sense of humour. And to be honest, the secondary characters of this novel make it feel that more realistic, with five very different personalities Norris did a brilliant job of forming these acquaintances and friendships; they were realistic, and were not pushed.

THE PLOT! This novel is certainly unique and refreshing. Norris does a brilliant job of creating a complex world and sci-fi novel, that is easy for one who is not very good at science (Me!) to understand, and actually engage the reader into wanting to learn more. The plot was addictive, fast-paced, shocking and thrilling. Scenes where carefully crafted and there to shock you which made it feel more realistic and unstable, as though you were there. Norris does not conform her novel to conventions and expectations, with brutal and emotional scenes which created multiple twists in the novel to really engage the reader

Therefore Unravelling is a must read for anyone who loves sci-fi and/or thrillers, but also for those looking of a unique and refreshing read!

REVIEW: Ungifted (Supernaturals #2) by Kelly Oram

Ungifted by Kelly Oram
Series: Supernaturals #2
Published by Bluefields on 20th February 2014
Pages: 398
Source: *Received from the Author in exchange for an honest review*

Even though her father is running for President of the United States, Grace St. Claire is as normal a girl as they come. She’s clumsy, shy, and an outcast among her peers. She even manages to nearly die in a freak accident in front of the entire school. But when Grace survives a vampire attack she quickly learns that she is anything but ordinary. 

There’s something about human Grace that has all the supernaturals around her going crazy. Her best friend’s brother suddenly wants to date her. Her worst enemy has sworn to protect her even against her wishes. Someone with very powerful magic wants her dead, and the vampire that attacked her has developed an obsession with making her his eternal mate. 

In order to survive—and not as Count Dracula’s undead bride—Grace dives head first into the terrifying world of the supernatural. She teams up with a charming but mysterious warlock who strolled into town causing trouble and spouting stories of a Prophesy and Chosen One that looks exactly like Grace. Together they must figure out why Grace is different, who wants her dead, how she’s connected to the Chosen One, and who they can really trust.
Oh how I so wanted to love this. I really, really tried. I read to the end, yet I just did not enjoy it as I had hoped. I do love the covers of this series though, they remind me so much of posters for tv series.

This second novel in the series is a companion book, yet does link to the first novel in the series. Grace is the daughter of a possible future president, and therefore she has her own bodyguards, but what she never imagines is that they are actually protecting her from the supernatural... and that she is one of them. Grace's life soon becomes more confusing and dangerous with the introduction of her best friends brothers, who are supernaturals, and the claim a very old vampire believes he has over her.

As a character, I thought Grace was actually okay. She was strong, strong-willed, determined and caring, she was a main character who actually stood up for herself and didn't just do something because she had to. Alongside that, we did have a special appearance from Russ, which I couldn't complain about, it actually added a bit more excitement to the novel.

Now for the romance... Yeah. Forget love-triangles, this is a sort-of love-pentagon. There were five love interests, FIVE: Russ, Caleb, Andrew, Preston, and Ethan. I mean really. This is one of the main things that pushed me away from this novel, all they kept doing is whispering to her, picking her up... I was just like, "tell them to stop!".

The plot. The plot. It had a lot of potential, at points it certainly was dangerous and action packed, and I cannot fault Oram's imagination. Yet, I couldn't see the point in it. I just felt like there was no end goal, nothing to work towards, and scenes were just thrown in at random. Though it was enough to keep me reading due to Oram's imagination, I got rather bored at parts and just... Some scenes were just creepy and uncomfortable. What really gave it the two stars was the ending, although I would not have seen it and it felt very rushed, I am still rather shocked. Goodness, the first emotions. 

Therefore, I was not overly happy with this novel. Yet for some reason I still feel compelled to read the last book; it was that ending that saved it.

REVIEW: Chameleon (Supernaturals #1) by Kelly Oram

Chameleon by Kelly Oram
Series: Supernaturals #1
Published by Bluefields on 25th June 2013
Pages: 356
Source: *Received from the Author in exchange for an honest review*

For small-town rebel Dani Webber magic and monsters are no more real than the Easter Bunny… until the day she accidentally stops time. Dani quickly discovers that not only do supernaturals exist, but she herself is one of them. This is great news for her life-long best friend Russ, who can finally come clean about his own supernatural status and his undying love for her. Before the two can start to enjoy the long overdue relationship, Dani is taken by a powerful council of supernaturals who believe she is the Chosen One destined to save them from extinction. 

As if being kidnapped and expected to save the world isn’t bad enough, an ancient prophecy warns of the Chosen One’s dark nature: “Only the truest love will keep her an agent for good.” The council believes they know who this “true love” is and, unfortunately, that person isn’t Russ. The mysterious, powerful and devastatingly handsome Seer is the last person Dani wants in her life, but when she starts having visions of a horrific future, she has no one else to turn to for help. 

Soon Dani finds herself torn between two very different boys with two very different opinions of whom she can trust. With the visions getting worse and time running out, Dani is forced to put aside her feelings and work with both the Seer and Russ before an ancient evil is unleashed upon the earth.
Such a shame. I was so excited to read Oram's first paranormal series, but I found myself a little disappointed. I don't really mind the cover, it looks almost like a poster for a TV series.

Dani lives in a small, quiet town with her only friend Russ. Yet what Dani never imagined could happen in her small town came true, as she finds out she has supernatural powers, and her best friend that she has known her whole life, is actually a warlock. But when other supernaturals begin to sense Dani's power equaling to that of the believed Chosen One, Dani is kidnapped, yet she is still at risk of those trying to kill her.

To begin with, I found Dani to be a very likeable protagonist. She was fun, funny yet kind and realistic. Dani to begin with was determined and strong-willed, however I was disappointed to see most of these qualities leave her, and instead she just seemed to go along with everything, and didn't put up with much of a fight. I was rather shocked. Only towards the end did she get a little bit of determination back in her. Otherwise, the rest of the characters I got rather bored with. They all appeared so childish, not to mention Russ who acted extremely jealous all the time. It was relentless. Then, what really frustrated me was the insta-love. I have never really seen it so obvious. Dani should have been putting up much more of a fight than she did.

I did enjoy the plot, it was fast-paced and adventurous, with twists that certainly had me wanting to know more. Yet, it all felt as though it went a little flat. I became uninterested very quickly as I felt like I was reading similar situations over and over again. And therefore, the ending felt rather predictable.

Sadly, I was disappointed with the first instalment in this series, however I am going to try and read the sequel as it is a companion novel.