Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Jessie Hearts NYC by Keris Stainton

Jessie Hearts NYC (Hearts Series, #1)


Series: Hearts
Author: Keris Stainton
Page Count: 255
Published: July 2011
Publisher: Orchard Books
  2 Stars ★★



Jessie is going to New York for the summer with her best friend after a breakup. They're staying with her mother, and hoping to see all the amazing sights! A local named Finn is dealing with feelings for his best friend's girlfriend, and some inner conflicts concerning what he wants to do for a career. If they find each other, a new friendship or even a relationship could bloom. But will they find each other?



I got this book a long time ago because it looked fun and cute. I like to stray from the deep, dark paranormal stories that I tend to gravitate towards at times. However, this book wasn't fun or cute.



The characters were all pretty annoying, except for Finn. I could relate to him a lot. Unsure about the future, worried about careers and school, and what his family might think. Jessie, however, seemed a bit immature and I don't think I'd like her much were I to encounter her in the real world. Her friend, Emma, seemed very flat as a character, and her family wasn't all that interesting.



This book was pretty slow. I read it quickly because it was pretty short and the writing style was simple, but as for actual events and the plot, there wasn't much going on. This book wasn't horrendous, but it really wasn't that enjoyable.



I wish Jessie and Finn had met earlier in the book. Then they could have talked about their issues together, and made it seem like there was any point whatsoever to them meeting, besides "what if they end up together????" I think that this book could have been a great exploration of the issues surrounding growing up, while still remaining a light read, had the author done this. I think it would have developed the characters a lot more as well.



Overall, I don't have too much to say about this book. It wasn't the worst thing in the world, but it was slow with mostly boring characters and it appeared that there was no ultimate point to the story. If you like light-hearted, short contemporary stories, you may enjoy this one.



Find Jessie Hearts NYC on Goodreads




Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Romance Trends, Tropes, and Themes that I Don't Like

So with Valentine's Day coming up, I thought I'd talk a bit about romance books! I love romance, whether it is young adult or adult, erotica or paranormal, contemporary or suspense. However, I've gotten tired of certain themes, or I find myself rolling my eyes at tropes and trends that I haven't personally read yet, but see mentioned often. I thought I'd share a few of those today and see what all of you think!



Disclaimer: my opinions shift around a lot. So whats annoying me today might have been my favourite trend ever yesterday, and it could end up captivating me for months starting tomorrow. So these thoughts may not necessarily last forever, and don't be surprised if they don't! I am also not passing judgement on people who do like these trends, tropes, and themes, nor am I placing moral judgement or value on them. As I like to say, fiction is fiction. I don't read novels to affirm my morals, I read to be entertained.



The mafia


I see tons of books about mafia-themed forbidden romance. I personally don't see the appeal, I mean I like romance books featuring crime, but when I think of the mafia I think of old men in gray suits smoking cigars in 20th century Chicago or something. (Please don't judge me if my perceptions are way off!).



Bikers/biker gangs


 Ride Hard (Raven Riders, #1)


I don't find bikers/biker gangs in romance novels to be appealing. I tend to avoid books featuring these kinds of characters, although I will admit I have a few on my to-read list. As I've mentioned before, I do remain pretty open to various types of books, and my taste is always changing. 



Very specific titles 


Sometimes I find myself cringing or chuckling at some oddly specific romance titles. As a fan of Maya Banks, I ran into this one: The Tycoon's Pregnant Mistress. Personally, I find this humorously specific. Other examples include The Billionaire's Blackmailed Bride , The Sicilian's Ruthless Marriage Revenge , and of course, The Sheikh's Virgin Bride



"Cardboard" love interests


You know him....he's hot, he has abs and bulging muscles, and he has a crooked, bad-boy smile. He may or may not have a leather jacket, ride a motorcycle, and have short, dark hair. That's right, it's cardboard cut-out romance hunk! Now available for the low price of $39.99 (head not included)!



Exaggeration


This really gets on my nerves, especially concerning the men's appearances (I mostly read female POV m/f romance). The ladies will be like "I turned around and saw him, and literally fell on my face because he looked like a divine angel, hallelujah, everything was perfect, oh and did I mention he was super rich?" And the world ceases to exist for that precious moment during which she lays her eyes upon this blemish-less, perfectly fit, radiant man. The end! Ugh....some romance books I ended up really enjoying lost stars because of this! I roll my eyes every time. Other exaggerations include declarations of 'true' (insta) love, almost inhuman levels of "romantic chemistry", and too much emphasis placed on abs and (rippling) muscles. 




Things aren't perfect? We can never be together! 


I find many romance books tend to feature unnecessary, often temporary break ups between couples. One thing goes wrong, they don't see eye to eye one time, and of course the world is ending. They have to always be on the same page, or they must burn the whole book! There's a loose nail in the bridge? Tear it down! Goodbye, there is no other choice! It's like some characters have never heard of sleeping on an issue, thinking it over, trying to compromise, or taking a temporary break while things cool down. I mentioned that the break ups in these books tend to be temporary, but its rarely due to a calm, rational cooling-down period. It's usually caused by unnecessary angst and black-and-white thinking between characters. I find this trope so unnecessary and annoying! One of the books I read recently lost a few stars because of this very thing!



Well, those are a few annoying trends, tropes, and themes in romance that bother me (for the time being...). Do any of these bother you as well?

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Legacy of Lies & Don't Tell by Elizabeth Chandler


Legacy of Lies & Don't Tell (Dark Secrets, #1-2)


Series: Dark Secrets
Author: Elizabeth Chandler
Page Count: 431
Published: March 8th, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
  3.5 Stars ★★★


In this bind-up, two suspenseful stories are told. In Legacy of Lies, Megan is being haunted while staying at her grandmother's house. She is adopted, and along with dealing with her grandmother's cold attitude towards her, she has to deal with Matt, her "almost-cousin"'s aloofness as well. The story of her late great aunt comes to light, with many mysteries surrounding her death. How did she really die? And how does her death connect to the present, to Megan and Matt? Megan may not live to find out the truth. 


In Don't Tell, Lauren has returned to Wisteria for the first time after her mother drowned there years ago. With her cousin Nora seemingly unhinged, and her cousin Holly and old friend Nick welcoming her with open arms, Lauren isn't sure if she's ready to face the dock where her mother died. Her aunt Jule doesn't have much empathy towards Lauren's remaining sadness, but more is at stake than Lauren's feelings. Nora claims to hear Lauren's mother asking for her child, and mysterious knots begin to appear, things tying up themselves. Is Lauren going to survive this trip? Or will she face the same fate that her mother did?


I gave Legacy of Lies four stars, and Don't Tell three, with this averaging out at 3.5 stars. As you can see, I enjoyed the first book a bit more than the second. 


Both stories had characters with very sinister pasts, pasts that threatened to affect their present lives. I liked this connection between the past and the present, this idea that the characters couldn't outrun the past. Both stories contained suspicious deaths, deaths that may or may not have turned out to really be murders....the mystery behind what happened to Megan's great aunt and Lauren's mother were the main issue behind both stories, the events that started it all.

Legacy of Lies took place in a creepy mansion-like home, with a grandmother that I hated and an interesting paranormal component. I have to say, I did not see the twist coming at all. I was very surprised by the ending and I think it wrapped up the story very nicely. Megan was a great narrator, and I enjoyed reading about the creepy events she was experiencing, through her own eyes.

Don't Tell also had a very interesting twist that I wasn't able to guess. There was also a possible paranormal component throughout the story: I often found myself debating whether it was paranormal or simply a living person mundanely messing with Lauren. I won't give away the truth, but I think the explanation was fitting for the story. I liked this story less because I think some of the explanations were a bit hazy....most were fine, but at times I was really confused as to why people were acting the way they were. On the one hand, it made me keep reading. Yet on the other, it made some events a bit unclear. However, the story was enjoyable overall.

I recommend this bind-up to people looking for short, creepy stories. If you're a fan of Elizabeth Chandler or you want to read books about secrets affecting peoples' lives, this is a great pick for you.


Tuesday, 23 January 2018

The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy


The Creeping


Series: N/A
Author: Alexandra Sirowy
Page Count: 400
Published: August 18th, 2015
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
  3 Stars ★★★


As a child, Stella and her friend Jeanie disappeared. Jeanie never came back, and her body was never found. Eleven years later, the mystery still haunts the town of Savage. 

Stella's summer is ahead of her, and she's hoping for a relaxing break spending time with friends and hanging out at the beach. Her hopes are shattered when a body is found... a body that looks like Jeanie. Suddenly, old wounds are ripped open and Stella fears that she may be targeted by a killer. With her old friend Sam and Jeanie's brother Daniel, she hopes to uncover the truth of what's happening in Savage. But the truth may be more disturbing than she expects, and a monster may be killing the residents of Savage. 

This book looked quite creepy to me. I mean look at that cover! And the idea of a monster going after people..... Sounds really, really creepy. While parts of this book certainly held a good creep-factor, other pieces of this book annoyed and disappointed me. 

I liked the mystery behind it all. Who took Jeanie? Is she dead? Who is the body that was found? I was kept reading because I just needed answers to these questions. The element of suspense was really used well by the author. I loved how folktales and superstitions played a big role in the story, with the main characters actually considering that a monster might be terrorizing their town. 

I also really liked Sam. He was my favourite character: sweet, forgiving, and determined, he decided to help Stella out even after she ditched him years ago. He was honestly the only character that I really liked, though. 

I didn't like Stella, I thought she was kinda of superficial. I really, really hated Zoey, Stella's friend. Zoey was so freaking annoying. She was like that mosquito buzzing in your ear when you're just trying to enjoy a campfire, but no matter how much you swat at it, it won't go away. I rolled my eyes so much at her. I think the book would have been a lot better without her, to be perfectly honest. 

I think the big reveal at the end was very anti-climactic. I was hoping for something creepier, but the explanation for everything was mundane and disappointing. 

Overall, while I liked the creepy atmosphere of the book, I only like Sam and disliked the other characters. The ending was also disappointing. 

I recommend this book to readers looking for a creepy book with a main character in the "popular" crowd. If you like books about mysterious disappearances, you may enjoy this one. 



Friday, 12 January 2018

50/50 Friday - Best/Worst Book Read in 2017







This feature is hosted at The Butterfly Reader and Blue Eye Books


This week's topic is best / worst book read in 2017



Best


 The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

 I read lots of awesome books in 2017. But one of the best was The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die. It was a really suspenseful mystery and I loved it! 



Worst


 Neuromancer (Sprawl, #1)


I'm only counting books that I finished, because some I dnf-ed. Neuromancer, by far, was the worst book of 2017. I had to read it for school, and I hated it.