Keepers by Sacha de Black

Saving the world is easy: all Eden has to do is die.

Seventeen-year-old Eden East’s life is perfect… until her soul is bound to her worst nightmare. Then her parents are brutally murdered, and everyone’s a suspect, including her best friend.

As her world spirals out of control, a charismatic Siren, from a past she can’t remember, returns offering help, hope, and a heap of distractions.

Eden must put aside her grief to solve the mystery of her parents’ murder. In a race against time, can she break the binding to her enemy before he destroys her and her world? 

Three lives. 
Two murdered parents. 
One deadly choice.

(blurb taken from Goodreads)

 

Disclaimer: a free copy of this book was kindly sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

This book was AMAZING. I cannot express how much I loved it and how I wished it were longer. The characters were rich and complex and had such detailed and well script backgrounds (which is not often the case with YA) that I couldn’t help falling madly in love with them. The ending sort of broke my heart a little because there is a HUGE PLOT TWIST but I loved every second of it.

The first thing I noticed while reading this book was how well the author created the world in which the story is set. Basically the country is divided into sections or smaller countries and each has its own peculiarities and they were all intriguing, I loved reading about them and wanted to learn more. I think Sacha de Black did a lot of research and it shows in the quality of her writing.

The characters were so lovable and complex, they weren’t just goody goodies but they also struggled a lot. Trey had a great background story, he was so interesting and I loved reading about him, I started swooning every time his name was mentioned. Eden’s was a very brave character and I really admired her for it. I wasn’t a huge fan of Victor, much less Evelyn but I did love the side characters and felt like they were my new best friends.

The romance, oh, the romance. So sweet and gentle and powerful, I absolutely loved it. I rooted for them all the way (I won’t say who because I don’t want to spoil it for you, just go and read the book, it’s really good!). I think this book offers so much it is a must read for fans of YA and fantasy. It’s the best self-published book I’ve come across so far.

The overall story was well structured and balanced. I didn’t like the whole prophecy bit just because it reminded me a bit of Harry Potter and the identity of the main villain was also pretty obvious. The only thing that bothered me was the length of the novel, I really wished it was longer, more descriptive but since it’s the first part of a series I look forward to finding out more about this wonderful and interesting world.

I want to thank the author for gifting me a signed copy of the book, I will treasure it forever and I hope we’ll get to read more about Eden soon. I know I’m dying to find out what happens next!

 

Advertisements

Mariana by Susanna Kearsley

The first time Julia Beckett saw Greywethers she was only five, but she knew that it was her house. And now that she’s at last become its owner, she suspects that she was drawn there for a reason.

As if Greywethers were a portal between worlds, she finds herself transported into seventeenth-century England, becoming Mariana, a young woman struggling against danger and treachery, and battling a forbidden love.

Each time Julia travels back, she becomes more enthralled with the past…until she realizes Mariana’s life is threatening to eclipse her own, and she must find a way to lay the past to rest or lose the chance for happiness in her own time. (blurb taken from Goodreads)

 

This book is a classic example of a good plot turn wrong. Looking back, I honestly don’t know why I didn’t DNF-ed it at the beginning, I was probably hoping it would improve (spoiler alert: it didn’t) but this was such a waste of my time, I grow frustrated  when I think about it. The plot sounded really interesting to me because it reminded me of Outlander and I saw such good reviews on Goodreads, I thought to myself, this must be a wonderful book. IT WASN’T.

The characters were seriously under developed, even the main two characters, Julia and Mariana. You basically don’t know who these people you’re reading about really are. The book is classified as a romance novel but there is hardly any romance there. Sure, you have the story set in the past, but you basically jump from two people meeting for the first time directly to the you-are-my-true-love part. It didn’t make any sense.

The ending was totally unexpected and again, DID NOT MAKE ANY SENSE. If you choose to encorporate such a big plot twist, then you need to add some hints or at least don’t do it on the final page. Come on. What was the point of everything else then? I always prefered Iain to Geoff but the ending just made me angry.

The historic background is a joke. There is some, but very little, historical descriptions which this book desperately needed. The writing style was plain and simple, nothing special. It ruined the story (which was already bad) for me. The dialogue of Mariana and Richard was just weird. I get you’re trying to be historically accurate, but it came out just plain weird.

The story has so much inconsistencies and loose ends. It held potential but it disappointed me a lot. I was bored while reading it. I wanted to learn more about everything and all I got were vague remnants and impressions. Honestly, I don’t know why this book has such a high rating and why people love it. The story doesn’t work well at all, the characters are flat and boring, the plot line is all over the place and the language is that of a high school writer. This will be the first and the last Susanna Kearsley novel I ever read. Diana Gabaldon is a goddess compared to her.

 

Happily by Chauncey Rogers (spoilers free)

Happily Ebook Cover

 

If the shoe fits, wear it.
If it doesn’t, make it.

Laure is a teenage street urchin just trying to get away. Where the rest of the world sees an enchanting love story, Laure sees royal incompetence and an opportunity to exploit it. She’ll have wealth and a way out of a life she detests, if she can only manage to hoodwink the royal family and survive to tell the tale.

 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

While Cinderella isn’t my favourite fairytale, I do like fairytale retellings and I especially love characters who aren’t your typical goody goodies and can perhaps be classified even as criminals (which Laure totally is – I mean she steals stuff). So I was delighted to read Rogers’ take on Cinderella to see his spin on the story we all know (and love or in my case feel like it’s too cheesy).

The book starts off at a fast pace and that never slows down. I loved the fact that we were thrown into the action and there wasn’t time for being bored. Laure was a refreshing character, selfish, yes, but still a good person which is how I think most of us are. Luc wasn’t your typical good guy, ultra handsome and splendidly skilled, he was just a regular guy who tried to provide for his family and he was also extremely kind which I loved.

I laughed on several occasions, I especially liked how the royal family was portrayed. There is no prince charming in this book. King Justin scared me a bit and I was annoyed with him so I was glad to read about where he ended up. The relationship between Laure and Luc grew slowly but surly and alhough you could argue that they fell in love pretty soon, the amount of obstacles they had to plow through in that short amount of time was huge. So I understand why they would feel the way they did so shortly after they met.

What bothered me the most was the ending because it was a bit too sappy for my taste (though it wasn’t really what I expected) and I would’ve liked to see more complexity in the story. Sure, the turns were unexpected and they were far from typical, but at the end of the day it’s a pretty simple story. Fairytales are simple as well, so if you look at it from that point of view, this story works. But I do prefer more dark themes and complex story lines and that’s why I gave this book 4 stars out of 5.

I would definitely recommend this book to fans of fairytales, Cinderella and to those who love to read a fun, fast paced and funny YA novel. You will certainly enjoy yourself a lot.

 

 

My guilty pleasure reads

Everyone is ashamed of certain books they like. I tend to hide mine and read them at home because if I read them say on a bus, I feel embarrased and I don’t want other people to know I read these kinds of books. In conversations I usually (always) “forget” to mention them because I feel like people would judge me for it, saying “but you are so smart and you read so much, how can you possibly like those sorts of books?” Well, I DO! And I’m done hiding it. So without a further ado here is the list of my guilty pleasure books which I LOVE to read:

  • the Benedicts series by Joss Stirling
  • romance novels, especially authors like Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Nora Roberts, Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn
  • some YA fantasy literature, for example the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

My ultimate favourite guilty pleasure read has to be Joss Stirling’s series about savants, people with extraordinary abilities. Her books are a mixture of romance, YA, crime, science-fiction, adventure and I LOVE THEM. Not all of the book in the series, but especially the first three and the last one (there are six books in total). They are easy to read and funny and I just get this warm feeling in my stomach when I pick them up.

The books revolve around a family of seven sons, the Benedicts, who all have special abilities and they are trying to find their soulfinders a.k.a. soulmates. Despite the fact there are seven of them, each one has a distinct personality and I love how the auhor describes the family relationships, they are so welcoming and warm. Their family is probably one of my favourite fictional families.

In between more “serious” reads I like to occasionally indulge myself by reading a romance novel. My favourite authors are Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Nora Roberts (her old novels, Chesapeake Bay Saga, Born in Trilogy, Dream Trilogy) when it comes to contemporary novels and then there are Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn for historical romance. I know, I know these aren’t exactly literary giantesses but I love picking up their novels once in a while because they allow me to simply relax and enjoy the ride because I know everything will be all right in the end.

And my last guilty pleasure books are some YA series. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading YA but I am more picky about which ones I read than I used to be and so I don’t just read anything with a title YA on it. There is some quality YA out there but there is also some pretty average one available to read and when I’m not in the right mood to deal with more serious matters, I pick up the latter one.

For example Vampire Academy is one of these easy breezy books and when I read them, my brain just shuts off and I can read the books with no emotional involvement whatsoever. I’m sorry to say this if you’re a fan of VA but the series is pretty shallow when it comes to emotional complexity. I have yet to read the Bloodlines series (though I doubt I’ll even pick it up) but what I remember most about reading VA is that they are easy to read in one day but when you finish them you can’t really remember what was it that you just read. That’s why I started rereading them and guess what I found out: the reason I didn’t remember what happens in them is because NOTHING HAPPENS.

So these are my guilty pleasure reads (not so guilty anymore though), what are yours? I’d love to find out so please leave a comment below and we can compare our choices.

 

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

This review will contain spoilers.

I have severely mixed feelings about this book. While I was reading it, I quite enjoyed it but since then my rating has dropped and I keep finding new things that went wrong in the novel. There is so much going on in this book and some issues are just not represented right.

First of all what is up with this Syria involvement? The refugee crisis is a serious matter and I got the feeling that CoHo only touched the surface and she sort of inserted it in her book but it was just so wrong. So very very wrong. You can’t mention it once and then move on like nothing happened. If you are going to make it a part of a story then you make it a big part because it’s serious business.

The portrayal of depression in this book is horrific. Yes, the symptoms are listed correctly but then again it feels like the author just googled depression symptoms and then inserted them in her book. And the fact that Merit goes from one extreme situation to the next in a matter of two weeks is literally not possible. You cannot go from attempting suicide to feeling hopeful in a matter of week. You cannot! This was just so awfully portrayed that it gives the impression one can simply shake off depression like it’s nothing. Well, it is something, it’s huge and overpowering and exhausting and YOU CANNOT SNAP OUT OF IT AT ALL MUCH LESS IN A WEEK.

Some comments on the sexuality were just off. I get that Merit is trying to come to terms with the changes in her family but come on, she was just mean and again HAVING DEPRESSION DOESN’T EXCUSE HER ACTING LIKE A BITCH. Her comments on Luck’s sexuality were borderline homophobic. It bugged me a lot.

Sagan was actually lovely though the whole family-is-lost-in-Syria part was off, it should have played a much bigger part in the book. Although I liked the romance part of the book, it was so minor that I really don’t understand why this book is classified as a romance novel. It’s more of a coming of age story.

What I loved about this book were the characters and the family drama. Moby was so adorable and I loved how the relationship between the siblings was portrayed. I also found it fascinating how the whole dad-mom issue was dealt with. That being said I did find it too much to occur in only two weeks. I think the book would’ve worked much better if it took place over a course of several weeks/months.

This books contains so much ideas, too much, if you ask me and I just can’t get pass the whole depression and Syria issues which weren’t handled properly. They deserve a much more in depth approach. Also, the book would work much better if it were longer. The characters and their dialogues was what saved this book from giving it a 1 star rating.