Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Shelf Control: A Witch in Winter

This is a feature from Bookshelf Fantasies

This feature allows bloggers to discuss books that they want to read that they already own.

Shelves final

My pick this week is A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton


The first in a taut supernatural trilogy filled with action, suspense, witchcraft, and complicated romance

Anna Winterson doesn't know she's a witch and would probably mock you for believing in magic, but after moving to the small town of Winter with her father, she learns more than she ever wanted to about power. When Anna meets Seth, she is smitten, but when she enchants him to love her, she unwittingly amplifies a deadly conflict between two witch clans and splits her own heart in two. She wants to love Seth, to let him love her—but if it is her magic that's controlling his passion, then she is as monstrous as the witch clan who are trying to use her amazing powers for their own gain. When love is tangled up in magic, how do you know what's real?

(Synopsis from Goodreads)

How I got it:

I got it at Chapters.

When I got it:

Three years ago!

Why I want to read it:

I often go through "phases" where I want to read books with specific themes and creatures, for example vampires, werewolves, etc. I bought this during my magic phase! That was my original reason for buying it, but I also still want to read it because I think it sounds interesting, especially the idea of wondering if Seth really loves her, or if its just the magic.

Have you read A Witch in Winter? What did you think? Feel free to comment below!   

Monday, 29 August 2016

Chasing Truth by Julie Cross


 Series: Eleanor Ames
Author: Julie Cross
Page Count: 400
Published: September 27th, 2016
Publisher: Entangled Teen
  4 Stars ★★★★

I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley.

Eleanor is dealing with a lot in her life, including her family's past as con artists and the suicide of her best friend. She believes that Simon didn't actually kill himself, and she meets Miles, the new guy at school, who believes the same thing. 

As she struggles to keep her past a secret, and to use her secret skills acquired from past ventures to get to the bottom of things, she begins to investigate people whom she never would have suspected as potential killers. But Miles might be suspecting her as well, and tensions rise. Will she be able to keep her past a secret? Will she ever find out who killed Simon?

This was definitely an impressive read. While it started out a bit slow and was occasionally hard to follow, it picked up pace very quickly and things were explained in detail later on in the book. I think my favourite part about this novel was the ending when all is revealed. I appreciate that everything ended up having a fairly believable explanation and I don't feel let down by the ending in any way.

As I've noticed with many other thrillers and mysteries, the guessing game the characters were playing during the whole book was incredibly well executed. However, this one stood out to me because it didn't feel overshadowed by romance or shrouded by paranormal events. Often I find that thrillers with paranormal happenings can get old very fast and that it can be super easy to guess what's going to happen. So finding a thriller that kept me hooked without any paranormal elements was a very welcome change. As for the romance, there was lots of romantic tension but it didn't take over the plot or seem forced.

I really liked the main character, Eleanor. I like that she wasn't squeaky-clean, that she wasn't some pure heroine or damsel in distress. While she seemed grateful to have escaped from living her life carrying out con after con, she still participated in morally questionable activities and she lied a lot, which I found added even more thrills to the story because I was always wondering if she might get caught.

Miles was a good love interest for Eleanor, in my opinion, because of how different they both were. While I can't say much without possibly spoiling some parts of the book, I will say that their families are very, very different. With Eleanor hiding her secrets from Miles and his family, this brought about some serious dilemmas for Eleanor which were interesting to read about. I thought it was great that I found myself hooked on the overall plot along with Eleanor's personal issues.

However, I find that Miles was a bit stereotypical at times. He displayed the whole 'arrogant, cocky, overconfident YA male' trope which I found annoying, especially since besides these qualities, he was actually a fairly complex character, considering his past and all. I like when characters have flaws, but these flaws didn't add to the novel or Miles's characterization at all.

I think that it's important to note that there are a few steamy scenes. I have no problem with them, including the fact that they are in a YA book, but some people might so I thought that I should mention this just in case.

Overall, this was an awesome read and I can't wait for the sequel! I'm so glad that I downloaded this book off of NetGalley. If you like YA thrillers or mysteries this is a must read!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Shelf Control: Compulsion

This is a feature from Bookshelf Fantasies

In this feature, you're supposed to discuss a book that you want to read that you already own.

 Shelves final

My pick this week is Compulsion by Martina Boone


Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead—a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn't what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

(Synopsis from Goodreads)

How I got it:

I got it for $1.50 at the dollar store!

When I got it:
I got it a few weeks ago at the same time I bought Bleed Like Me.

Why I want to read it:

Curses, spirits and magic, of course.

Have you read Compulsion? What did you think? Feel free to comment below!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It's the start of the school year again, which means I'll be busy with classes, homework, etc. I'm going to try to post at least once a week, hopefully more often, but I can't guarantee that my posts will be very consistent or regular at this time. I'm going to try to read whenever I can, but there's a chance that I won't be posting reviews as often as I did this summer. I thought I'd let everyone know so that you'll know what's going on if I only post features for the next little while or if I miss a post or skip a week. Thanks for understanding! As always, happy reading. 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Shelf Control: Bleed Like Me

This is a feature from Bookshelf Fantasies

In this feature, you're supposed to discuss a book that you want to read that you already own. Once again I've decided to take part in this feature because I've got a lot of books to read! I think I'll be making lots of Shelf Control posts from now on because it's a fun way to show off my books and hear my followers' thoughts on the books!

Shelves final

My pick this week is Bleed Like Me by Christa Desir


From the author of Fault Line comes an edgy and heartbreaking novel about two self-destructive teens in a Sid and Nancy-like romance full of passion, chaos, and dyed hair.

Seventeen-year-old Amelia Gannon (just "Gannon" to her friends) is invisible to almost everyone in her life. To her parents, to her teachers-even her best friend, who is more interested in bumming cigarettes than bonding. Some days the only way Gannon knows she is real is by carving bloody lines into the flesh of her stomach.

Then she meets Michael Brooks, and for the first time, she feels like she is being seen to the core of her being. Obnoxious, controlling, damaged, and addictive, he inserts himself into her life until all her scars are exposed. Each moment together is a passionate, painful relief.

But as the relationship deepens, Gannon starts to feel as if she's standing at the foot of a dam about to burst. She's given up everything and everyone in her life for him, but somehow nothing is enough for Brooks-until he poses the ultimate test.

Bleed Like Me is a piercing, intimate portrayal of the danger of a love so obsessive it becomes its own biggest threat.

(Synopsis from Goodreads)

How I got it:

I got it for $1.50 at the dollar store, believe it or not.

When I got it:

I picked this up a few weeks ago.

Why I want to read it:

While I prefer paranormal romances, it's nice to take a break from vampires and demons every once in a while. Contemporary novels are perfect for this, and this one looks unique and different from other YA contemporaries such as summer romances and books dealing with things like illness. 

Have you read Bleed Like Me? What did you think? Feel free to comment below!

Monday, 15 August 2016

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray


 Series: Gemma Doyle
Author: Libba Bray
Page Count: 403
Published: December 9th, 2003
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
  5 Stars ★★★★★ 

Gemma has a vision of her mother's death which comes true. She moves from India to England, where she is enrolled in a boarding school with a burned up East Wing, snobby peers and an outcast roommate. She finds that a boy from India, Kartik, has followed her to England, and he warns her about her visions which continue to baffle, frighten and intrigue her.

She forms a group with a few of the girls from her school and they call themselves the Order, after the mysterious organization somehow tied to a strange journal and her own dead mother. But as Gemma delves deeper into her own abilities and includes others in her secret, she puts herself and everyone else at risk.

Once again, I've found myself surprised that I've enjoyed a historical fiction so much! Despite Gemma and her peers living in a different time with different issues and worries, I was able to connect with the characters and care about what they were going through, and I feel like this made this book all the better. I was often really angry at what they had to deal with, especially since they lived in a time when women were treated like less and their wishes were ignored. I did dislike some of the characters, for example, Gemma's brother for being so misogynistic and snobby, but on the plus side, the author did a great job of making me feel like I was in the era that Gemma and the others were living in.

I feel like there was a lot of suspense in this book and that kept me reading. I really wanted to know what was going to happen to the characters, both in their normal lives and in terms of the powers and realms of which Gemma had introduced to them. Their personal situations were just as gripping as the mystical dilemmas they had to sort out, and because of this I was reading this book whenever I could!

While the writing style took some time to get used to, I found it flowed extremely well and that Gemma's voice as a narrator was entertaining and easy to follow. Her emotions, especially considering her mother's death, her family in general and her friends' problems were well conveyed and made the situations seem more real and believable. There were some humorous parts within the story as well, like when the group uses their new powers to prank others, and this provided a nice break and variety from the general dark atmosphere of the story.

There wasn't really much romance within the novel except for a few minor scenes. However, I don't feel that they were very relevant to the plot. I usually prefer reading books with lots of romance but this one entertained me even without a romantic aspect which I am very impressed with. I'm glad that I already own the second book, and if I didn't it would absolutely be on my list of sequels to buy as soon as possible.

I definitely recommend this book! YA readers and those who like historical fiction should read this. If you like books about magic and mystery and you want something that will keep you hooked, this book is for you.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Shelf Control: Cinder

This is a feature from Bookshelf Fantasies

In this feature, you're supposed to discuss a book that you want to read that you already own. I've got plenty of those so I thought I'd join in this week!

 Shelves final

My pick this week is Cinder by Marissa Meyer.


 Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

(Synopsis from Goodreads)

How I got it:

I bought it off of Amazon! It was on sale.

When I got it:

I got it approximately 2 years ago

Why I want to read it:

It seems like a really unique book and the average rating on Goodreads (4.14 stars out of 5 as of 8.10.2016)  has me wondering what makes this book so awesome to so many people! With a high rating like that, how could I resist giving this one a try?

Have you read Cinder? What did you think? Feel free to comment below!

Monday, 8 August 2016

Bloodlust by Alex Duval


 Series: Vampire Beach
Author: Alex Duval
Page Count: 233
Published: June 1st, 2006
Publisher: Simon Pulse
  3 Stars ★★★

 Jason has moved to Malibu and starts attending a new high school where he makes friends quickly and meets Sienna; hot, popular and taken. With a new crush and invitations to parties, things seem to be going fairly well for Jason. That is, until someone turns up dead.

When one of Jason's new friends reveals his crazy theory about the student's death, that she was killed by a vampire, he's skeptical but wary. But as the evidence begins to add up, Jason learns that there's something dangerous in Malibu, and everything is not as it seems. 

I think the best way for me to sum up my feelings concerning this book is that it was enjoyable, but it wasn't memorable. It's an easy, quick read, but it's not the kind of book that you'll be recommending to all your friends, rushing out to get the sequels or hoping that it becomes a movie. This is the kind of book that you read after you've read a long novel or you've just finished a series. It's a fill-in book, something to entertain yourself with while taking a break from a regular reading schedule or a big to-read pile. 

The characters weren't all that special, they were pretty flat and stereotypical. However, they did make the story move forward effectively, albeit predictably. Jason was a likeable main character because he seemed like a decent guy, but there was nothing really unique about him. He didn't really stand out from the crowd or make an impression like some characters in other books. 

The plot overall was really predictable, except for near the end where there was a twist. I thought it was a pretty good ending and a decent twist, however I wish that there had been more evidence or foreshadowing leading up to what happened. I don't really like it when twists seem random, or when clues only appear near the end of the book. I like to be able to guess, and this book didn't really fulfill that for me. 

While this doesn't really stand out from the rest of the YA books I've read, I do recommend it for fans of vampires and YA novels. If you're looking for a short read or a break from long, intricate books, you may want to give this one a try. 

Find Bloodlust on Goodreads

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Pink by Lili Wilkinson


Series: N/A
Author: Lili Wilkinson
Page Count: 310
Published: February 8th, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
  4 Stars ★★★★

Ava has come out as a lesbian and is dating Chloe, who prides herself on not being like others her age, and who encourages Ava to do the same. However, Ava wants to try new things, to go to a new school, and maybe even to wear pink. 

She tries to keep her school and personal lives separate, hiding her relationship with Chloe from her classmates, and not telling Chloe that she's signed up to help with the school play. But as Ava questions her sexual orientation, her relationship with Chloe, and what she wants for her future, her secrets catch up to her and she can't hide who she is, or who she thinks she may be, any longer. 

I was impressed by this book because I often find it hard to get into YA contemporary novels, but I had no trouble getting into this one. While it felt a little bit slow at times, overall I found it quite fast-paced and I was never bored.

I thought it was interesting to see characters who were all so different compared to each other. There's Chloe, the rebel. Then there's Ava, who wants to fit in. Other characters included various outcasts, goths, theater kids and the popular crowd. However, while these groups are often found to be cliche, they didn't feel that way in this book. The presence of characters from these cliques seemed, to me, to mirror real life through a portrayal of the way that high school and life in general is often divided up, including prejudices, secrets and all.

I liked the way that real-life issues, such as sexuality, school, and the future were addressed and discussed through Ava's thoughts and experiences. I understood a lot of Ava's confusions, worries, and hopes, which helped me to care about Ava, and kept me reading on. I found her to be an interesting and relatable character.

However, I feel that a few things were missing from this book. For example, I wish there had been more discussion and scenes considering Ava's relationship with her parents. I wanted to know about her past with them, maybe about less happy times, or when they disagreed. I feel that this would have made for some interesting dialogue.

I also wish that this book hadn't completely skipped over multi-sexual identities such as bisexual and pansexual. When Ava is exploring her sexuality, it would make sense that these words would come up at least once somehow, whether in conversation or Ava's own research. Considering Ava's struggle, and the context of much of her dilemmas and thoughts expressed throughout the novel, the idea that people don't actually have to "choose" between feeling attraction towards men, women, or nonbinary people would probably have crossed her mind at some point. And yet, I don't feel like this idea was present, in any significant way, throughout the book.

I found it interesting how the author approached the theme of belonging, whether belonging to a social group, a clique, or a relationship. Usually when this theme is addressed, I've noticed more of a trend towards the protagonist wanting to be different, wanting to escape the clutches of normalcy and venture into the unknown. Ava's story was the opposite. She wanted to fit in, to be like everyone else and to be "normal". This was a nice change and made for a refreshing read.

This was an enjoyable, quick read. I recommend this to readers who enjoy YA contemporary, and to those looking for books with themes such as sexuality and belonging.

Find Pink on Goodreads