Review: Conspiracy Girl by Sarah Alderson

Title: Conspiracy Girl
Author: Sarah Alderson
Publication Date: 2015 (Simon & Schuster)
Pages: 306
Genre: Thriller
Format: Paperback

Links to buy: |Amazon UK| |Waterstones| |Book Depository|

Everybody knows about the Cooper Killings .
There was only one survivor – a sixteen year-old Nic Preston

Now eighteen, Nic is trying hard to rebuild her life. But then one night her high-security apartment is broken into. It seems the killers are back.

Finn Carter – hacker, rule breaker, player – is the last person Nic ever wants to see again. He’s the reason her mother’s killers walked free from court. But as the people hunting her close in, Nic has to accept that her best and possibly only chance of staying alive is by keeping close to Finn and learning to trust the person she’s sworn to hate.

But the closer they get to the truth and the closer they get to each other, the greater the danger becomes.

To survive she has to stay close to him.
To keep her safe he has to keep his distance. [Goodreads]

Nic is trying to lay low and hide from the past.  But after her involvement in the killing, it’s become tricky to know who to trust, because people seem to be leeching on Nic so they can sell stories of her to the press.

But then the killers are back. Or killers who work just like the ones in the past and Nic has to run. She’s teamed up wth Finn, a genius hacker, and together they dig deep into the network and servers to figure out who the real murders are. It’s the first time that Nic lets go and trusts someone else who isn’t herself. But the closer they get, the more risky everything is and people they hold closest to could also get hurt.

I really loved this book! It was super quick to get through but packed with fast paced action and I was constantly flicking through the pages wanting to know what happens next.

Nic’s exhausted with the fact that she can never feel safe. When Nic and Finn get reacquainted it’s full of lots of awkward tension. He was the one who let Nic’s mothers killers run loose after all. They both know they need to be cautious around one another. Yet they both have flaws and a long unfortunate history, which they are trying to improve from the present, and they find comfort in one another. An escape from the manic chaos that’s happening around them.

Finn was by far my favourite character out of the two (the story being a duel narration). He is perceived to be the ‘baddie’ at the beginning, but when it comes to crime, he always seeks one thing: justice. Alderson planted lines about Finn early on, that almost made us see the worst in him! You’re not only guessing who the killers are but also who Finn is. Seriously fell hard for him and he’s definitely someone I’d like to have by my side if killers are chasing me down.

The climax of the book, wasn’t as climatic as I thought it’d be. The ‘reveal’ threw off the speed and excitement that build the whole book up and suddenly it was like I had to read through a GCSE science text book. The overwhelming pressure that kept Nic and Finn moving was gone and everything came to a stop. It didn’t work well for me. I also predicted who was behind everything…

I was really underwhelmed after reading the Hunting Lila duo, but Conspiracy Girl stole my heart away, crushed it a bit and then fixed it back up together… I thoroughly recommend!

My rating
I really liked it

4 cup

Review: Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely #1) by Melissa Marr

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Title: Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely #1)
Author: Melissa Marr
Publication Date: July 2008 (HarperCollins)
Pages: 328
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Paperback

Links to buy: |Amazon UK| |Waterstones| |Book Depository|

Rule 3: Never stare at invisible faeries.

Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world.

Rule 2: Never speak to invisible faeries.

One of them, a beautiful faerie boy named Keenan, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule 1: Don’t ever attract their attention.

Now it’s too late. Keenan is the Summer King and is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost. Without her, summer itself will perish… [Goodreads]

I don’t read enough fantasy novels, but I’ve always found myself instantly sold when I read a blurb about faes.

Aislinn has always been able to see fairies but they never bothered her so they were easy to avoid. But then she crosses paths with Keenan, a king searching for his Summer Queen, who’s a mortal who can overthrow the Winter Queen. Keenan has been searching for centuries and convinced that Aislinn is the queen so won’t leave her alone. It’s quite an uncomfortable read to be honest. Seeing this guy obsess over a female because of what he ‘thinks’ is right. He becomes a huge stalker, which is apparently okay because he’s the king. I absolutely hated Keenan because of this. He constantly spoke like he was superior to everyone and it was so horrible.

The narration jumps from three character’s: Aislinn, Keenan and Donia, a fae under the chill of the Winter Queen and the previous mortal that Keenan pursued thinking she was the queen. Through the different narrations we are able to learn everyones intentions and their ‘role’ in the story, which made it easier to differentiate the characters from one another. The narration jumps were smooth and easy to follow.

Seth, Aislinn’s best friend, was probably the only person I really loved. He was the only one who made sense to me. It is astounding that he didn’t freak out or laugh when Aislinn told him the truth but I thought the actions after were adorable. Seth was constantly trying to think about things logically and give Aislinn as much help as possible. His living situation is a little confusing (a train carriage??) but it adds to a quirk in his character right? A single male character gives whole book a higher rating. I’m too easy to please…

I will admit that by the end of the book I was confused. Still a little confused. I am definitely missing something. Because although it was a pleasing ending, the pieces didn’t click properly and the emotions on Keenan’s side felt very forced.

My rating:

It was okay

2 cups

Review: The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L Armentrout

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Title: The Problem with Forever
Author: Jennifer L Armentrout
Publication Date: 17th May 2016 (Mira Ink)
Pages: 474
Genre: Contemporary 
Format: Paperback

Links to buy: |Amazon UK| |Waterstones| |Book Depository|

For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard. [Goodreads]

After years of being homeschooled, Mallory wants to stop hiding. She wants to stop being the quiet one and fight her monsters. She wants to go to University to study but before that she must concur her fears and prove how much she has grown to her foster parents. The only way to do that is to go to a public high school for her senior year. And out of all the possibilities that she had in her mind none of them included Rider, her protector from the dangers in their childhood together, sitting next to her in class.

Mallory is an interesting and complex character to read about, even more so because Armentrout wrote in a first person narration. We don’t see her as quiet because her internal dialogue is so present. Her character arc is beautiful but it’s not perfect. Far from it and this is probably the downfall in this novel, but it’s also something that is realistic in a sense.

Both Rider and Mallory come from an abusive childhood and then they get separated. They both struggle. We’re so caught up in Mallory that Rider is sidelined throughout the novel and by the time we get to know him in the present it’s the end of the novel! So here’s what I make of it:
1) The main protagonist is Mallory and because of this we read around her. It’s her internal battle and her world. We are allowed to get caught up in our own struggles and achievements and goals.
But then 2) Mallory questions Rider and he is never responsive. She accepted that Rider was this “protector” figure but never asked how he really is. He is the one asking her the questions. Is she being selfish?

I did adore the interaction between Rider and Mallory. They knew one another so well as soon as they cross paths again it was like they were never apart. The ease in their friendship was really nice to read, though this novel does include the cliché mean and evil girlfriend. The events that rolled out with her were predictable… and there wasn’t really much to her than to be the enemy.

Rider Stark could have his own novel. Almost like Blood Brothers, both Mallory and Rider start out in the same place and part. I’d love to read about his life, though we get a glimpse into it near the end half of the novel.

**Recommend to those who’ve read or liked:
Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines |Goodreads|
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay |Goodreads|

My rating
I really liked it

4 cup

Review: Little White Lies by Katie Dale

17232924Title: Little White Lies
Author: Katie Dale
Publication Date: August 2013 (Simon & Schuster)
Pages: 394
Genre: Contemporary 
Format: Paperback

Links to buy: |Amazon UK| |Waterstones| |Book Depository|

The first time Lou meets mysterious Christian, she knows he is The One. But Christian is hiding a terrible secret. Why does he clam up every time Lou asks about his past? Why doesn’t he have any family photos, and why does he dye his blond hair black? When Christian’s house goes up in flames, his tires are slashed, and he flees for his life, Lou insists on going with him. But as Christian’s secret is unveiled in front of the whole world, it seems everything he’s ever told Lou is a lie. Can what the media are saying about him really be true? Should Lou trust him? Or is she in grave danger? And what if their accidental meeting wasn’t an accident at all…? [Goodreads]

I read Someone Else’s Life a few years back and loved it, so when I came across Dales’ second novel I knew I had to pick it up!

Lou is trying to run away from the past in London. She’s changed her identity and is starting at Sheffield University. But she’s still on edge and nervous that someone will figure out who she is. She meets Christian, who is also in Sheffield for a new beginning, hiding behind his own web of lies. The more time they spend together the more they try to hide, to spare one another the pain, but both their secrets are the thing that’s tying them together.

It’s so refreshing to read a YA novel that is set at a university. I think it’s something that makes this book quite British in a way. Going to university and finding this ‘new self’/creating a new identity was something I expected when I started. And with more mature characters, it is definitely nothing I’ve read about in a UKYA novel before!

I loved reading about Lou, each time learning more about her past and what she really ran away from. She’s constantly looking over her shoulder but when she meets Christian, she relaxes and build her new life.

The book is almost split into two sections, one half panning out like a contemporary romance and the second half speeding up with the crime and mystery elements. The change of pace does have a huge affect on the believability of the story and it only just keeps grounded enough for me to stick with it. It’s very mild and mellow at the beginning, which makes the jump really sudden and either you’re on the train or you’re not – I’m on it! It keeps you on your toes with character’s whipping off and around the page, their decisions frantic and panicked.

The only weak point about this novel was the last few pages, which seemed to keep to the fast pace, and lessened the satisfaction at the end.

But I was glued to the book til the very end!

My rating:

I really liked it

4 cup

Review: Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer L Armentrout

9680718 (1)Title: Half-Blood (Covenant #1)
Author: Jennifer L Armentrout
Publication Date: October 2011 (Spencer Hill Press)
Pages: 281
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Paperback

Links to buy: UK Edition (Hodder): |Waterstones| |Amazon UK| US Edition: |Book Depository|

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi pure bloods have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals–well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.

Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden. Unfortunately, she’s crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn’t her biggest problem–staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is.

If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck. [Goodreads]

{Dug this review out from my drafts folder from a while back – not sure why it was never published! Hope you enjoy!}

I was super excited to start this book. Mostly because it’s a Jennifer L Armentrout book. And so far, everything I’ve read by her is awesome!

Alex’s mother took Alex and ran away from the Covenant. Three years later, after her mum and home have been taken from her, Alex finds herself back at the Covenant. But since it’s been three years since she’s been in training, she’s behind compared to the other students and catching up would take a long time. Luckily, Aiden steps in and offers to help her. She has to catch up with the other students by the end of summer, but the sudden thrust of training takes its toll on her body and when she discovers the truth about her destiny she is determined to be ready to prove everyone she’s not what history says.

I always feel a little out of the loop when I pick up novels based on greek gods. Even more so now that I’ve found myself picking countless of books about myths and legends. Luckily this book fills us in enough to ensure we can follow, although occasionally it get’s a bit too dense. It also became a little overwhelming sometimes, especially during the beginning where there are lots of character intros. Too many names and facts which didn’t sink in properly.

There is so much I love about Aiden and Alex. Firstly, they reminded me of Four and Tris from Divergent. It is obvious that the chemistry is there and it became a huge part of my focus when reading Half-Blood. 

Some phrases are repeats or/and similar to some of the other novels that Armentrout has written. Note, we will always get a sarcastic character in her novels – definitely not a negative! Seth not only brings a possible new love interest for Alex, we also find him shooting out the snarky one liners. Which is a nice lift from the serious build of the novel.

It’s a strong start. Would definitely recommend for those who want to dive into a series.

My rating
I really liked it

4 cup