Review: A List of Cages by Robin Roe

A List of CagesA List of Cages by Robin Roe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘A List of Cages’ was emotionally destructive. I honestly don’t know how I’m functioning right now, except that I probably won’t be able to cry for another MONTH because my tear ducts have been overused and dried up and on the verge of falling off because they have been put through so much stress. I usually keep away from novels I know are going to emotionally wreck me (mainly because I like to enjoy my books and experience happiness rather than pain and hurt). And I REALLY don’t know why I did what I did and requested this novel for review. However, there is one thing that I definitely know and that is the decision was right one.

And I have one announcement to make which I would like to broadcast to EVERY reader out there:

BE PREPARED TO SOB AND WAIL; YET BE PREPARED TO LAUGH UNTIL YOUR SIDES SPLINTER!

What I loved the absolute most about ‘A List of Cages’ is that it made me laugh and snort shamelessly in public. This is one of those book that can’t help but bring a grin and a smile to your face because it is both so humorous and the character’s goodness shines through in their actions and antics. Adam Blake and his friends are one good group, that I can promise to you, despite all their mistakes as they fumble through life and adolescence.

Yet this novel had me gasping and choking on my own breaths. As I read the not so happy parts – ones that were often so very dark they had me in mental turmoil so deep I had to leave the novel for a little and focus on something uplifting – I found myself emotionally investing myself ONE HUNDRED PERCENT. There was not an ounce of me that wasn’t giving all of myself as a reader into breathing life into the story within my mind’s eye. And that was purely for one reason…

THE WRITING WAS PHENOMENAL. Full stop. Capital letters. I’s dashed and t’s crossed.

One of my greatest fears was that the novel would read and sound poorly DESPITE the depth and beauty of the concept that forged this story. I really dislike stereotypically high-school set novels because it is such an overused setting and it just doesn’t bring out the best in most novels. I also dislike contemporary novels which are based on real-life teens. The teens often seem to dramatise the very smallest and struggle through struggles that seem mediocre. As soon as I was a chapter into ‘A List of Cages’ I considered all my previous worries smashed. Vanquished. Completely and utterly obliterated. Not only because Robin Roe did nothing of what I listed above, but because she worked the entirety of the novel to her complete advantage until she had wrung out only the best and the highest of quality from her masterpiece.

I honestly can’t convey how much this novel had touched my heart and my soul. If I could convey just 10% of the depth of my satisfaction and joy with reading ‘A List of Cages’, I hope it would make its presence know in this review.

Please, go pick this novel up! Then pick a spot to sit and read. I promise you, you will not be able to leave.

Congratulations to Robin Roe on the publishing an astonishingly gripping debut! I CANNOT wait for more from her!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Review: The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga, #1) by Elise Kova

The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga, #1)The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Keymaster Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘The Alchemists of Loom’ is the first, amazing instalment in the ‘Loom Saga’ and one I had placed great expectations on before launching into it. Elise Kova’s ‘Air Awakens’ YA series is my all-time favourite series by a hybrid author and is beyond compare. If you haven’t read any of Elise Kova’s works before, I would highly recommend starting with the ‘Air Awakens’ series!

The ‘Loom Saga’ was different from Elise Kova’s previous works as it was intended for an adult audience instead of a young-adult one. This sort of made me wary as I was unsure how much would change in the author’s writing style and whether this new work would be anything that I would enjoy. However, it was also targeted towards mature YA readers so it made for a more harsh, graphic and sexy read.

Upon opening the novel, I expected more passion, chemistry and unfiltered sexytimes within the writing. However, what surprised me was that although the passion and chemistry between developing romances was definitely more charged and hot, there weren’t any sexy scenes at all. Only once was there a strong illusion towards such an event, but even then it was described as “character A had lain with character B”.

It was interesting reading about a main character, Arianna, who was bisexual. Her relationship with Florence and a slowly blossoming one with Cvareh made for interesting developments within the plot. I enjoyed the diversity this brought to the author’s writing AND the series. It was a good reflection of present day societal opinions and issues, especially since it is acceptable for the Fenthri (the citizens of Loom) to mate to the same sex, but it would prove the mating fruitless.

Arianna was definitely one of my favourite characters and the most engaging and complex one I have come across yet. She was strong and brutal and deeply wounded by a difficult past. She was headstrong, stubborn, clever, genius and resourceful. However, she was able to EVOLVE and change as life and circumstances gave her new knowledge and experiences.

Cvareh was a formidle rival character for Arianna. It was interesting how the two were incredibly similar yet different. The attraction between Cvareh and Ariana was something fragile and delicate throughout the entire novel, yet also beautiful and enchanting for the same reasons.

I honestly can’t describe how fascinating and detailed the world of Loom was to me. Elise Kova did a miraculous job in creating a world which was all too tangible and all too spellbinding. She met all my expectations and then some in her new series!

Congratulations to Elise Kova on publishing we first adult fantasy series! I can’t wait for the sequel, ‘The Dragons of Nova’!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Review: One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank

One Paris SummerOne Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Zonderkidz-Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘One Paris Summer’ was supposed to be the read where I could enjoy a swoon-worthy romance set in the beautiful city of love without having to tear my eye sockets out with the pain of keeping in tears.

‘One Paris Summer’ wasn’t that read.

It made me cry.

Why, you ask?

It was because it made me so completely wrapped up in the relationship of Mathieu Rousseau and Sophie Brooks. (And not because I’m an emotionally and mentally unstable chick who hasn’t stopped crying for two books straight :P.)

I won’t give anything more than that.

I would whole-heartedly recommend this read to lovers of Stephanie Perkins, ‘Anna and the French Kiss’. The love, romance, and emotional connection which I experienced are equally potent and irresistible in BOTH novels.

First of all, the author managed to capture my interest. I find purely romantic novels a bit of a risk to read, mainly because execution is key, and if the author fails in that, than the rest of the novel is not worth reading.

That’s not what happened in ‘One Paris Summer’. Sophie Brooks was a completely charming and intriguing character to follow. She was fiesty, strong-willed, talented, a fury when angry, and generally easily to connect with. Sophie had fears (ahem, her claustrophobia) and not one to stray out of her comfort zone. She was hopeless at navigating streets and she had worries and wounds that echo(ed) within all of us as teenagers.

The plot never let me get bored. There was always progress and something new that would grip my interest. I wanted to see the finale before I got to chapter 2, and delve deeper into the vibrant and tangible city of Paris.

Mathieu’s and Sophie’s relationship was also something skilfully executed. It was tense and highly anticipated and didn’t roll around quickly. The icky bicky thing called insta-love? Not in this novel! And whilst the two definitely experienced attraction towards each other, their romance was completely believable.

I loved the challenged and obstacles the author threw towards her characters. Romance and the chance at true love is often hindered by so many troubles. The author made those challenges appear natural. Not once did I get the feeling that they were written for the sake of the plot.

Her characters were also complex in their simplicity. Each was revealed slowly and had the time to change and develop. They had histories and personalities. They were real. And also beautifully fictional.

The fact that ‘One Paris Summer’ was written from Sophie’s perspective allowed for me to truly take advantage of the situation. Her voice was a clear one and allowed to to fall into her shoes just as easily.

A fantastic read that will get you out of any romantic reading slump you might experience, and AWESOME when for those who want a taste of travel, adventure and swoon-worthy kisses.

Congratulations to Denise Grover Swank in publishing her loveable novel, ‘One Paris Summer’! Readers, you are bound to pick up your French dictionary and looks up certain phrases!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Review: Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands, #1) by Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands, #1)Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Faber and Faber Ltd via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Rebel of the Sands’ was a refreshing read that had me returning to it time and time again. I would highly recommend it to readers who are seeking a little danger, and little Arabian fantasy and a whole lot of heat!

My only problem with this novel was that THERE WASN’T ENOUGH ROMANCE! Amani and Jin had excellent romantic potential and the few times they kissed there was a whole heap of chemistry. I wanted that to be explored more! There wasn’t enough romantic development between Amani and Jin. The two had hardly any time to connect! I was on the edge of my seat for more chemistry and passion between the two, that by the end of the novel it was a letdown to not have enough of that. Literally every single time those two kissed and I was like, “FINALLY, this novel is going SOMEWHERE in the sexytimes department!!!” But NOOOOOOOO. Some random character would always come along to disrupt the two.

WHYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!

So much wasted potential. And I’m even more sad now that the sequel’s blurb says that Amani will be ripped from the arms of her love. NOW HOW IN THE WORLD WILL THERE BE ANT LURVEEE GOING AROUND?????!!!

Now, that the rants over, let me get to what I really enjoyed about ‘Rebel of the Sands’.

I was spellbound by the whole idea of Djinni sleeping/falling in love with mortal women and producing Demjin. Sort of like half-bloods and demi-gods, except heaps better. These Demjin were wild and exotic. It was a pleasure reading about them and their powers.

I loved that I could taste the desert heat and the bite of the wind. It was like Amani’s world came to life right before my eyes from the very first page.

FANTASTIC world-building on behalf of Alwyn Hamilton. I enjoyed the very many countries mentioned as well as the political strife woven so cleverly into the plot. I LOVED the tales of the Djinni, the Baraqui and the Origin myth. I was initially so afraid to pick up this novel, mainly because it had the very strong chance of not living up to the hype. I can easily say that I needn’t have been so worried.

A great writing style and prose. Easy language that allowed me to fall deep into the world and didn’t let me escape it for quite a while.

I feel that the plot could have been a bit better than it currently is. I wanted machinations and betrayals and secrets and surprises. There was just a small lack of them and it was sorely missed. The villains didn’t seem quite so villainous and the dangers not quite as dangerous. I’m extremely excited about the sequel. I feel like that’s where the author will either make or break the series. And from the sound of the blurb and my own need for a spectacular ‘Traitor to the Throne’, I really hope the author makes it.

Congratulations to Alwyn Hamilton on publishing her beautiful debut!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Review: Bloodmoon (Bloodmark Saga, #3) by Aurora Whittet

Bloodmoon (Bloodmark Saga, #3)Bloodmoon by Aurora Whittet
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Wise Ink Creative Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Bloodmoon’ just didn’t appeal to me as much as I hoped it would. I love werewolf tales and shapeshifter stories, but the ‘Bloodmark Saga’ just didn’t do it for me. I felt like it wasn’t as potent as it should have been. It didn’t touch my soul. It didn’t make me laugh or cry – or better yet, angry and thinking of throwing the book against the wall. It didn’t make me hate-love it or love-hate it. It just made me slightly indifferent. And that is what I disliked the most.
I had such high hopes for this series! Reading book one made me feel like this series could go somewhere. That it would enchant me with its unfiltered writing and emotions. I could see myself falling in love with this series. Book two, ‘Bloodrealms’ sorely disappointed me because it dropped in its overall quality. It lost that something that I could see growing and me loving. This was why ‘Bloodmoon’ was so important. It would either make or break my opinion of the series. And sadly it broke it.
The writing just wasn’t what it was in the first novel. It didn’t carry across all that emotion effectively and it failed to establish a bond between me and the main characters. Ashling was a person I seemed to view from behind a glass window. Detached and insensitive.
The writing also failed to enchant me. It failed to paint such a vivid world that it would leave me breathless. I felt as if the author wrote the bare necessities. That she didn’t include as much as she could have. There were so many moments that would have been more awesome if the author chose to polish them more.
The pace was also unbearably slow. It seemed to just drag for me. The action didn’t touch me and all those battles just whipped through my mind and left me bored.
The plot could’ve also been more complex. There was just the one main plot and the sub-plot consisted of Ashling’s romance with Grey, but that was already over and done with. The only problem those two faces was the acceptance of their relationship by those above them. And that problem just dragged for far too long and a lot more than it was worth. There wasn’t anything that made me gasp or startle. Most of the events that happened were so predictable they almost made me fall asleep.
There was barely any character evolvement. The characters just seemed to be stuck in their past and already established selves. I couldn’t find anything that fascinated me about them. They didn’t grow to me or change very much. They were characters I could easily forget. I really hoped that the author could’ve made them more realistic, complex or tangible but they just weren’t.
The grammar was good, but I would definitely work on the prose a little more. I couldn’t spot any typos or spelling mistakes.
The formatting and layout for this novel was great! Very professional!
I loved the artwork done for this novel, especially the Celtic knots and the wolves! They were so out of the ordinary and beautifully rendered.
Congratulations to Aurora Whittet on publishing the third and final instalment in the ‘Bloodmark Saga’!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Review: Bloodrealms (Bloodmark Saga, #2) by Aurora Whittet

Bloodrealms (Bloodmark Saga, #2)Bloodrealms by Aurora Whittet
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Wise Ink Creative Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Bloodrealms’ suffered from MAJOR second book syndrome! Seriously! One of EPIC, GARGANTUOUS proportions! I disliked how everything progressed from the start to the finish and by the end of the book I was at my wits end. I do not EVER DNF a book – but this one almost made me think about it!
What annoyed me a little about the novel was how many times Ashling said that women were not equal to men yet showed no proof of that, except for a few brawls to fight for a lady’s hand, for example, now and again. She also integrated the whole “a lady should not be caught in a compromising position with a man lest she be disgraced”. And Ashling commented in this quite a few times and was often in the presence of men alone without being chaperoned yet she suffered no consequences. The whole situations was quite irksome
The second thing that annoyed me was the quality of the writing. It progressed from this matured, practised style to one worthy of ANY randomly picked out self-published or independently published novel! There was nothing that I could praise about it except that it made sense and the grammar was good. Argh! I was so frustrated! I expected so much more from the author but all I got was lots and LOTS of showing and not telling. Let me clarify myself: the writing told too much and stated too much like the fact that Ashling loved Grey but there was no showing that she actually did. The author kept telling about the subtle moods and emotions but she didn’t provide anything that supported all this. That enhanced it or made it better!
I believe this is also what ruined my ability to form a bond and connection to the book. You can’t love or hate a book if you don’t have the feels for it! If you can’t experience the world as the characters experience it, you are literally reading word after word after word. Sort of like the back of a cereal box. Dry.
There was much that happened which I would have found tangible and full of emotion. So many great events that lost their power on me. The words just crudely told the facts but didn’t hope to establish a link to the reader.
Of course this impacted the chemistry which I felt between Ashling and Grey. They do something REALLY IMPORTANT HERE! But I hated the whole thing because it was…just DRY.
The plot was well laid out and created a great story arc, though it didn’t have enough secrecy or anticipation for me. There was lots of drama but no tension. Everything was a too ordinary and easily predicted.
The world-building suffered in this ‘Bloodrealms’. I hoped that the author would have expanded on the lands she created. Created a better established world and introduced some new things that would have made it all exciting and wonderful. She obviously know the world she has created thus far, but she hasn’t chosen to develop it and get to know it better, and on a deeper level. This really shows.
There was an attempt on a cliff-hanger but I can’t say that I was caught or look forward to the next instalment. My only hopes are that the next instalment really DOES become better!
Congratulations to Aurora Whittet on publishing the second novel in the ‘Bloodmark Saga’!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Review: Bloodmark (Bloodmark Saga, #1) by Aurora Whittet

Bloodmark (Bloodmark Saga, #1)Bloodmark by Aurora Whittet
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Wise Ink Creative Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Bloodmark’is the first novel in the ‘Bloodmark Saga’ and a very solid debut from Aurora Whittet! It captured the very essence of what I love best about werewolf/fantasy/shape-shifter novels! The steamy, sexy, hot romance that permeates every single page!
Whilst it wasn’t a COMPLETELY original idea, it definitely had quite a FEW original ideas thrown in there. I thought if those original ideas were more emphasises or evolved – maybe even more ideas thought up to support them – then they really made for an even BETTER story.
Like most independently published or self-published novels, this one lacked just a little something. I guess a good metaphor for it would be a diamond in the rough, not yet completely ready to see the light, but pretty good in its own self and full of potential. This draft was as polished as it could possibly be but still needs some professional critique.
‘Bloodmark’ was written very well and effectively. It conveyed every bit of that raw emotion pulsing through the plot. It didn’t repeat itself and was executed in a very mature and practised style. However, it could have been written a bit more differently. ‘Bloodmark’ was told like most other novels: in chronological order. I believe if the author disrupted the plot a little with flashbacks and flashforwards it would have created a better effect and would have enhanced both quality and final effect.
It is written solely from Ashling’s POV in first person. I guess this was a good choice but if it was written in a different narrative, such as second person – that would have been awesome!
The world was well built and I enjoyed the historical background which Aurora Whittet created to support the existence of her fantastical creatures. It brought that extra tang and novelty to my reading experience. It wasn’t the most original, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. If you’re looking for a soul-satisfying read: Then there is NOTHING better than this!
I definitely stayed up late reading and finished this book sometime in the middle of the night! There was something there that kept me reading and reading just one more chapter!
Grammar was good and the prose well done! I spotted a few typos but they were easy to ignore and one time quite hilarious!
Congratulations to Aurora Whittet on publishing a solid debut worthy of the most pickiest werewolf lovers!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Review: Second Twin (Legend of Rhyme, #4) by Jaime Lee Mann

Second Twin (Legend of Rhyme, #4)Second Twin by Jaime Lee Mann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Blue Moon Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Second Twin’ is the fourth instalment in the ‘Legend of Rhyme’ series and one that I really looked forward to. I originally fell in love with this series because of the kindness and tranquility it emitted. It felt like one of those bedtime fairytales which stay with you for a long time. ‘Second Twin’ was either going it exceed all my expectations, or let me down… And I really hoped for the initial.
I enjoyed the length of the novella, but I thought it could have been a bit more concise and shorter. It was certainly longer than the previous novellas, so ‘Second Twin’ no longer felt like a bedtime fairytale but a full-length novella.
The writing contained that beautiful, transformative and good essence which it held in the entire series. Jodie Lee Mann’s writing continues to enchant me with its simplistic yet engaging style!
The story idea was quite entertaining but I would highly recommend for readers to re-read this the previous instalments if they haven’t already. The novella launches straight into the story which was left off in the previous instalment. I found the multitude of characters a bit hard to remember and all the unique and secret links/relationships they held with the other characters.
I also felt like this novella’s story didn’t really live up to what I hoped it would be. I expected a lot more about Grimblerod and Asher and Arianna’s younger siblings – which I found to be extremely exciting – and this novel didn’t really explore any of that. I sincerely hope the next instalment does!
I couldn’t spot any typos or spelling mistakes in my ARC. I enjoyed the level of grammar and the effective and meaningful prose.
Congratulations to Jamie Lee Mann on publishing her FOURTH instalment in the ‘Legend of Rhyme’ series!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Review: Reflection – The Stranger in the Mirror (Records of the Ohanzee, #1) by Rachel R. Smith

Reflection: The Stranger in the Mirror (Records of the Ohanzee #1)Reflection: The Stranger in the Mirror by Rachel R. Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Rachel R. Smith via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review

As always before I start a book, I was extremely wary of what to expect. I had this pull and push towards good excitement and bad hesitation with ‘Reflection’. I really shouldn’t have been so concerned! This was a great novel that exceeded all my expectations…and there were a lot of them!
What I noticed first was the writing. It flowed and so well! I loved how mature, confident and professional it sounded. There was not one thing that I would have picked wrong at! It instantly grabbed me in its clutches and refused to let me go. Spectacular!
The story was incredible! The whole idea of myth and a civilisation divided between two heirs was awesome! The novel offers an optional prologue which I strongly encourage you to read. It really made things better in the long run and hiked up the anticipation, drama and tension ten FOLD as I got closer and closer to the end of the book.
There were so many times when I would find myself on the edge of my seat! There were moments when I would want to shout, “No, no, no, no, no!” And throw a mini tantrum! Every single page was filled with something new: a secret or revelation that kept me spellbound.
Character development and evolvement was amazing! Each had a unique personality and history that I absolutely loved! I was constantly in awe at the variety and depth of design that went into every single one. Absolutely OUTSTANDING!
The novel was written in third person narrative and followed the perspectives of a multitude of characters. And the best thing: it wasn’t jarring, irregular or wanting in any way! The author transitioned smoothly from one characters to another with such skill and grace that it significantly raised my rating.
Of all the characters, the main female lead, Nerissa, was probably my favourite. And for good reasons! There was something about her that inspired me and made me want to get to know her better. She is a character I will definitely look put for in the sequels!
The fact that this series was written in a serial style did not push me away. Instead, this was one of those things that I found completely amazing and intriguing about ‘Reflection’. I was interested as to how the author would engage her audience if the each novel was around 300 pages instead of under 100. I was eager but prepared to face the worst.
I really shouldn’t have bothered. The author maintained a constant grip on me through all sorts of events. I felt like the conclusion of the novel was great even without a cliff-hanger. I personally am one in favour of cliff-hangers but the wholesome way everything finished appealed to me. There was plenty of stuff from the rest of the book that kept me hungering for more…and I couldn’t resist!
World building was powerful, strong and elegantly done. Everything had its place and there were no plot holes or question as to why this or that happened. There was a rich history behind the new and amazing world of Renatus.
There were absolutely NO typos or spelling mistakes. The grammar was excellent and I loved everything about the prose. Rachel R. Smith is an emerging talent!
Congratulations to Rachel R. Smith on publishing the first volume of the ‘Records of the Ohanzee’ series! I can’t wait to read more!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Review: Firstlife (Everlife, #1) by Gena Showalter

Firstlife (Everlife, #1)Firstlife by Gena Showalter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Harlequin Teen via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Firstlife’ was one of those novels that I believe I knew intuitively were going to be great – simply to die for! This is not my first Gena Showalter novel and this meant that I already knew what to expect: and that was superb writing, an awesome plot and an ending to cry for.
I was totally “judging the book by its cover”. I mean have you guys SEEN the cover?! As soon as it was revealed I went in search for a high quality version and literally analysed every single part of the cover. And don’t you just love the hourglass? Don’t you just love the cities inside? Don’t you just love the colours? Don’t you just love the blurb? Don’t you guys just love the concept/idea? This was literally me to every one of my friends. I know. Pathetic…
But seriously, the idea was pretty awesome, in my opinion. I loved how after life there was death and then life again but in a different form. This is one of those topics that gets everyone fascinated: is there life after death? I was extremely curious about how the author would explore the whole idea and I must say that she did not disappoint.
How the author chose to start was just awesome. A series of emails: You’d think, boring right? But no. It was spectacular. You get introduced to two of the three main characters with such depth and humour that…well, nothing could stop me reading at that point.
What I also found interesting was how Troika and Myraid were a sort of Heaven and Hell. Both are worlds that come after Firstlife. It was interesting how the two worlds were constantly fighting a battle, like angels and demons and you had to find out which was the good and which the bad. The two representatives who were sent from Troika and Myraid, Archer (or Bow) and Killian, each had their own agendas and acted like Ten’s guardian angel and demon.
I remember reading the first half of ‘Firstlife’ and wondering why the rating on Goodreads was only a mere 3.81. I was seriously outraged! I couldn’t believe that the general population of readers thought it was okay and not spectacular. But then…came the other half. Don’t get me wrong, it was a well written novel, full of everything needed to make it a success but the end… Well, it started to morph into yet another action-packed dystopian adventure with lots of fighting and bloodshed. Basically, the whole theme of life and death, light and dark that the author so successfully explored was starting to lose its power and meaning. I grieved the loss and I am still wondering what happened when the author was writing the second-half of the novel.
Gosh! It could have been so much better!
The characters were awesome and so rich and inspiring! (That is, the good ones.) I love their uniqueness and vitality on the page. They were incredibly well thought through and designed, and discovering more about them was just a pleasure. The villains (or the evil ones) just made sense. They were real people who made mistakes and actions which were bad and/or evil. A lot of this novel captured humanity as it is today with its wars and distrust, manipulation and evil, insanity and illusions. Really, I can’t brag about these characters enough.
The novel was well written but could have used some improvements in the second-half as I’ve stated before. I loved the simple yet effective writing: it made me want to read more, more, more. The prose was great and I couldn’t spot any spelling mistakes but there were a few typos, mainly with words starting with the letter “f”, but that’s all bound to be fixed by now.
Congratulations to Gena Showlater on publishing a crazily insane first novel in the ‘Everlife’ series! I can’t wait for ‘Lifeblood’.

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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