Review: Perfect (Flawed #2) by Cecelia Ahern

Title: Perfect (Flawed #2)
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Publication Date: 6th April 2017 (HarperCollins Children’s)
Pages: 288
Genre: Dystopian
Format: Hardback

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

Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine’s life has completely fractured – all her freedoms gone.

Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with the complicated, powerfully attractive Carrick, the only person she can trust. But Celestine has a secret – one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground.

Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save only herself, or risk her life to save all the Flawed. And, most important of all, can she prove that to be human in itself is to be Flawed…? [Goodreads]

Frustration. That’s all I felt until the end of this book because being perfect isn’t a thing!

Celestine is Flawed, making her an outsider to everyone around her who are ‘Perfect’. But no one is Perfect and she knows it. Especially when the man in charged should be marked Flawed, Judge Crevan, the man who gave her the sixth Flawed brand on her spine. But Celestine has been marked as a threat to others and is on the run.

Perfect picks up shortly after Flawed. Celestine is in hiding, but she knows her time is running out. But after a surprise raid from the Whistleblowers, Carrick finds her.

It’s a little slow during the reunion between Celestine and Carrick. Their relationship and romance is so bizarre to me. After a few intense stares through glass and the shared moment of knowing about the sixth branding, they are in love? They hardly know one another! Which is how the complications roll out but this is all after they go way too far with one another first. Part of me thinks, is that the point?

Luckily after the reunion, a bit of GCSE science and rushed romance, it all kicks in. The pressure resumes and we’re reminded that Celestine and Carrick are wanted. And unlike the first novel, they are both more vocal and active. They don’t stand the hatred against them and take charge of the situation. Celestine and Carrick both have the same intentions, though like the Divergent series, miscommunication makes the journey longer than needed. People and trust issues…

Celestine follows an un-perfect, and yes flawed, journey to get where she wants to be. But she keeps going until she get’s what she wants. She’s our UK Katniss.

 

My rating:

I liked it

Review: Swear on this Life by Renée Carlino

Title: Swear on This Life
Author: Renée Carlino
Publication Date: August 2016 (Atria)
Pages: 306
Genre: Romance
Format: Paperback

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

When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J.Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. As an adjunct writing instructor at UC San Diego with her own stalled literary career and a bumpy long-term relationship, Emiline isn’t thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a young and gifted writer.

Yet from the very first page, Emiline is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life beyond the long dirt road that winds through their impoverished town in rural Ohio.

That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.

The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction? [Goodreads]

Carlino outdoes herself as she gives us two stories in one novel: the present world, which follows Emiline struggling with her current relationship, and a novel written by J. Colby. But the J. Colby novel is also Emiline’s childhood. It did get a little exhausting at times and I am guilty of skimming one part of it.

After Emiline’s housemate, Cara, raves about the novel From All the Roads Between, Emiline reads it to escape her real life dilemmas. She gets she’s sucked in straight away, not because of the fiction but because it rings the truth. Her truth. And she knows who J. Colby is, Jase, her childhood best friend and someone she hasn’t seen in over a decade. But now he feels it’s okay to write about her life?! Fury and rage! Especially when he spills the truth about her private home life, with exaggeration to make it more dramatic.

Emiline reacted like any normal person and I liked how Carlino touched on the complexity about using personal and real life situations in a novel. It challenges the idea of writing as a whole – what is real? what is made up? But also what is acceptable. To Emiline and everyone in the book it seemed acceptable. I didn’t feel that way but each to their own…

It’s funny how when we get older we think more about our childhood freedom and friendships, but there was something in Carlino’s writing that didn’t hit a cord as much. From All the Roads Between was too gimmicky and left me feeling detached from Emiline, as we weren’t reading Emiline’s real feelings but a retelling and from Jase’s view point.

Writing a novel for someone and reiterating the terrible life someone once had doesn’t sound like a romantic gesture, no matter what the ending.

My rating:

It was okay

2 cups

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