REVIEW: Unearthly (Unearthly #1) by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly #1
Published by HarperTeen on 4th January 2011
Pages: 435

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees...
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.
*Please note: there are a few spoilers*

Oh how I really, really wanted to love this!! So disappointing, especially as so many people seem to love this trilogy!  It was okay. But that's it. I think I enjoyed to some extent because it has been a long time since I read an easy, paranormal romance. But otherwise, it was just that, okay. But these covers 😍 They are so beautiful!!!

I realised what really stopped me from feeling immersed in the novel and that made dislike this novel the most,  was our protagonist Clara. I still cannot quite put my finger on what it is I really did not like about her. I found her rather selfish and immature. And she was obsessed with appearance; you were either pretty or not; she didn't believe in everyone being beautiful in their own way. There was this quote that made me think, what? I'm sorry, but your at high school, pretty sure nearly everyone wears a t-shirt and jeans, what did she expect, everyone to be in smart dresses and suits!? Thats how I constantly felt throughout this novel, nothing was ever good enough for her, she had an expectation that everyone wanted to know her, and be her friend. She expected everyone to think she was pretty and amazing. It was like she was in her own fantasy world.

Then the romance. The love-triangle, I knew about this going in, but had heard positive things about it. But what a sadly boring love triangle. She wanted Christian, who she just stared at all the time and felt they were 'meant-to-be' even though they hadn't even spoken to one another. And she would obsess over him then suddenly she is declaring her love for Tucker, then went back to Christian! I much preferred Tucker. Tucker all the way!

The plot was okay. It was addictive, I will give it that. I just felt as though it dragged on too much, there was too much there that did not need to be. Though it was certainly fast-paced and I liked the ease of it, it was easy to understand, nothing complicated and made for an interesting plot. But I would not say: "WOW". There was nothing there for me to think that.

Overall I am rather disappointed in this first novel to the trilogy, and sadly one I imagine I will not be continuing.

REVIEW: Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #2
Published by Orion on 11th February 2016
Pages: 464

If there's one thing Mare Barrow knows, it's that she's different.

Mare's blood is red - the colour of common folk - but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from the prince and friend who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by the Silver king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red and Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?
A great sequel to an explosive first novel. These covers though! 😍

I am not going to give a summary on this one, simply because it is a sequel, but also because so much went on I feel it would be best to just direct you to the summary given above 😊

As a character, I found Mare to be very different in this novel, but also to those I have read before. It was strange, Mare seemed to understand what she was doing was not right and unfair to the lives of others, yet she carried on. It was as though we were reading about her internal self challenges, as she  attempts to justify and proceed under the pressure of others to do what she believed she had to do. I came to the conclusion I didn't really like her in this sequel. She succumbed to pressure too easily, yet one might say on the other side, like herself, that she had to do it to help save the lives of thousands. Although, all she kept going on about was how she was the strongest, that they were after her, and how she is, of course, the only one able to defeat them because SHE WAS THE STRONGEST 😒. Goodness. I don't know how many time she told the reader that, but it was certainly way too much. It was also strange though, all the things the reader would think or question, like 'Mare has just left her family, did not say goodbye or anything, and just ditched them after she had only just seen them for one day, disappearing again', Mare would then question it herself, almost as if it has just been put in to satisfy the reader instead of having a page of her saying goodbye or similar situations like this; it was frustrating and as the reader, it felt like the easy way out of a situation.

As a reader, I have always appreciated when authors don't forget the secondary characters, and actually give them a voice, making them a key aspect of the novel. And my wish was granted! Some of our secondary characters got their own voice in this sequel. It felt more like a team this time, instead of everyone just fighting against one another. And the relationship between Mare and Cal really took a backward step and, although spoken about, it didn't take much of the attention, it was more of them arguing all the time which got rather annoying.

Otherwise, I did enjoy this sequel. Before I started this sequel I felt it could go one way or another due to how much I enjoyed the first book, and the level of hype surrounding this one. The plot was addictive and action-packed. I loved the description and visualisation, and as the reader I was really able to picture the places and events occurring and was really impressed by Aveyard's imagery. It admittedly took me ages to finish, but this was mainly due to me not wanting to read the curve-ball that was going to be thrown in at the end! The action and strategic elements incorporated in this novel was intriguing and you really got to explore more about it making you, as the reader, feel more involved, as though you are sitting round the campfire with them. The only issue with the plot I had was that sometimes it felt as though I had missed big chunks of action and information, leaving you feeling as though you had accidentally missed a chapter, yet you hadn't. On multiple occasions I had gone back to check if the chapters and page numbers aligned, simply because of this reason. It was especially apparent a particular scene involving the Queen, as it swiftly moved on to the next chapter with little explantation, as though they just cut it out to make the novel shorter. This was disappointing, especially because it was a key event within the novel. Otherwise, the plot was dangerous and thrilling, and I was pleased that I did not get confused with all the new characters coming and going throughout.

Therefore, Glass Sword is certainly worth the read if you enjoyed Red Queen, however one would say this this has the 'middle book problem', so fingers crossed the third book redeems it for us! Also, I didn't realise this is a series, not a trilogy, so I am very intrigued as to how that will pan out! 😄

[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!