Monthly Archives: February 2013

What A Boy Wants

What a Boy Wants

What A Boy Wants by Nyrae Dawn

Series: What A Boy Wants #1

Genre: Contemporary, Young-Adult, Romance

Published: April 6th 2012

The Plot.

Courtesy of watching his mom’s relationships, Sebastian Hawkins knows what girls need to do to get a guy. He has what he considers a PHD in hooking up. When he needs extra cash for a car, Sebastian starts up an online venture as The Hook-up Doctor, to anonymously help girls land the guy of their dreams. Of course, his services don’t offer a happily-ever-after guarantee. He’s seen firsthand getting together never means staying together.
And then he falls in love…
With the last girl he would expect…
Totally not in his game plan.

Suddenly, Sebastian finds himself muddled in the game he’s always prided himself on. He can’t even pick up girls at parties anymore! Why would anyone want to be in love when it turns you into a stuttering, screwed-up, mess with really lame stalker tendencies? Stalking? Totally not his gig.

But the Hook-up Doctor won’t let himself go down easily. He’s always known how to give a girl what she wants and now it’s time to figure out what a boy wants… and he definitely plans on getting it.

The Review.

What A Boy Wants was a huge disappointment for me. I expected something light, funny and just an easy read and I got this for the first 40% and could have easily awarded the novel four stars for that without a thought, but then once we got past this the novel began to drag, the plot fell apart and it became exactly why I stay away from contemporary novels. Sebastian who had wormed his way into my heart became a possessive crazed teenage boy that wanted to posses his girlfriend as well as being a huge jerk. He did things that I didn’t like and couldn’t really forgive him for. I didn’t understand his girlfriend all that much and there was very little substance to the novel. It might be light and fluffy but that doesn’t mean the characters should have no background.

Sebastian claims to be the “Hook-up Doctor” and he’s cocky, arrogant and assured in his sexuality and ability to attract girls. He was humorous in his all knowing state even if he was a little annoying, but I could deal and he made me laugh. He was a charmer and a guy that was fairly easy to like and his easy going relationship with Woodstock his best friend was really nice. However, there was no mention to how he become the “Hook-up Doctor” or why which annoyed me, his family history and his mum’s inability to keep a guy was brushed over and his raging possessive attitude that showed him to be pretty misogynist frankly annoyed the hell out of me. I am far from being a feminist, but his objectification of women was blood boiling. He just saw them as disposable and that he was protecting them from himself. I don’t claim to be the worlds expert on the mind of a guy, but it seemed a little extreme.

“Don’t be an asshole.”

“I’m not. I’m just sayin’. You go over there all me-Tarzan-my-woman before she even knows you’re into her and you’re going to look like an ass. You need to chill. They’re just talking.”

Woodstock Sebastian’s best friend was fun enough, but I didn’t feel like we ever got to know her through Sebastian. The novel seemed to assume that because she was Sebastian’s best friend that he knew everything and therefore the reader did and we didn’t need to know anything about her. I liked her enough, but I don’t think there was that much depth to her character or her relationship with Sebastian. I liked the nickname and her supposed family that we never really met and I have to admit, Sebastian did touch me when he made a grand gesture for her, but it still wasn’t enough to redeem himself.

The secondary characters consisted of their two best friends Jaden and Pris who seem to be a couple brewing that are the next novel and this novel seemed to set those two up in the process as well. There was also Bastian’s mother who was a huge influence over his life. It was nice to see a caring parent who clearly loved her son, but there weren’t many secondary characters in the novel that really rounded it that makes up my favourite part of a novel.

Pris: “You’re such a cerdo.” She turned to face Aspen and they started girl talking about clothes and that British guy who sparkled in all those vampire movies.”

The plot was utterly predictable and although the author attempted to make a plot twist, it wasn’t honestly that believable and still didn’t really surprise me. I’m sad to say I didn’t enjoy this novel so much and I think it’s put me off contemporary for a while again.

Overall I wouldn’t really recommend this novel even being so short because of Bastian’s behaviour. However it can be fun and entertaining in parts and I think the author has lots to offer if she draws it all together a little more.

2.5 books

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Waiting on Wednesday (26)

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This meme highlights some of the books whose releases bloggers are most anticipating this year.

What Am I Waiting On?

The Ward

The Ward by Jordana Frankel

Expected Publication: April 30th 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books

Sixteen-year-old Ren is a daredevil mobile racer who will risk everything to survive in the Ward, what remains of a water-logged Manhattan. To save her sister, who is suffering from a deadly illness thought to be caused by years of pollution, Ren accepts a secret mission from the government: to search for a freshwater source in the Ward, with the hope of it leading to a cure.

However, she never expects that her search will lead to dangerous encounters with a passionate young scientist; a web of deceit and lies; and an earth-shattering mystery that’s lurking deep beneath the water’s rippling surface.

 

Why Am I Waiting?

This is the author’s debut book and it just sounds awesome. A little bit of dystopia and science-fiction mixed together and the talk of the “passionate young scientist” caught my attention. I like the idea of Manhattan being entirely swamped by water. And mystery? Count me in. The cover also kind of just does it for me too with the impact of the gold lettering and the blue water. And the girl in the A just looks great.

What Are You Waiting On?

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Through the Eyes of a Nerd: Rebecca

Through the Eyes of a Nerd

This week I’m looking at Rebecca directed by Alfred Hitchcock, my very first black and white movie and first Hitchcock movie! It was quite the experience and I was eager to watch it after reading the book which you can find my review of here.

Rebecca

These are the two main stars of the show, Laurence Olivier playing Maxim and Joan Fontaine playing the unnamed protagonist. I have to say the acting was brilliant because I despise both characters. Laurence Olivier played Maxim up really well with his moody, brooding ways and his fits where he would storm off. He also played the creepy, dominating older man that I didn’t like about him and whilst I quite liked Maxim in the book Olivier brought out the worst in him making me shudder! 20120215_rebecca_promo1He didn’t actually look how I’d imagined Maxim, so I’m glad I read the book first, but he perfected Maxim’s character and I think he really got into the role well.

Joan Fontaine played the typical wet fish protagonist who is deluded by her love for Maxim and this picture displays her innocent little hopeful face as she tries to dote on Maxim and throw herself at him. She frustrated me beyond belief and I don’t think she really grew throughout the novel whereas I don’t think this was really seen on the film. Still, Fontaine played a brilliant role to act rather stupid if you ask me and I think she really got the insecure, naive young girl thing going for her that stayed true to du Maurier’s novel which is the most important thing if you ask me.

The relationship with Mrs Danvers was exactly how I’d imagined in the novel, if not better with Rebecca danversthe atmosphere that Hitchcock brought to the film with the swaying curtains and eerie sounds as well as all the mist. I even think filming it in black and white made it so much more sinister and the shades of white and black really made it so stark and atmospheric in those moments. Particularly this scene between Mrs Danvers and the unmanned protagonist at the window I was holding my breath to see what would happen. It was really exciting. I think for those who haven’t read the novel will find the tension even more suspenseful and engaging because Hitchcock really is a master.

I have to say the black and white filming didn’t take anything away for me and I think I enjoyed it more and felt that it was really dark and exciting filled with anticipation because of this, so don’t let it put you off if you’re afraid to try a black and white film. I’ll be eager to watch a few more even if the effects were totally comical I could enjoy the black and white style. I have to admit though I am too used to all the awesome technology of today that makes things look more realistic, however I still docar rebeccan’t think we’ve come that far when it comes to filming in a car because films I see today look nearly as corny as the rolling screen behind this!

The film was fairly true to the novel, I noticed a few changed scenes and skipped scenes along the way that made up ‘Rebecca’, but there was nothing drastic that totally detracted from my overall enjoyment of the film that made me think it ruined a masterpiece of literature. Therefore I was really happy with watching Rebecca as it stayed so true to the novel and I thought it really managed to capture every element.

I think the most exciting think was seeing Manderely as I’d had so many pictures in my head, but this exceeded my expectations. It was HUGE, like a mini-palace. I never expected it to be so big. In my head it was like a quarter of the size so it quite shocked me to see it on the big screen. However it was such a fabulously rich house that I did adore and was steeped in beauty and darkness that added to the tensions of Rebecca and feel that really rounded the film.

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Spooky house right? Gives me the shivers just looking at it with those glowing windows.

Overall I really enjoyed Rebecca finding it suspenseful, enjoyable and really true to the book. I loved how the characters came to life and have to admit, although it was quite long and I laughed at some really corny bits, it’s a good film and Hitchcock did du Maurier real justice!

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Stacking the Shelves (27)

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

Reviews posted since last time. Movie Reviews: Les Miserable and Warm Bodies. Book Reviews: Contemporary Blend #2 – Game for Marriage and Vanilla on Top. Sister Assassin/Mind Games, Blood Red Road and Play of Passion. Contemporary Blend #1 – One Night with A Hero, Recipe for Satisfaction,

Books for Review.

Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies is a film I enjoyed, and now a book I can’t wait to read which I hear is a little bit different. However it looks equally fun.

In the Shadow of the BlackbirdsThe Nightmare Affair 

I’ve heard brilliant things about In the Shadow of Blackbirds and I love the cover and the atmosphere it seems to convey. Along with that The Nightmare Affair which I’ve heard lots of mixed thoughts, but I’m excited to try.

Books Bought.

Sins and NeedlesThe Opportunist

It was Rachel over at The Reader’s Den that convinced me to pick up The Opportunist and I am really looking forward to getting into that one. It looks so exciting. Sins & Needles looks different and I’m intrigued by it, so we’ll see where it takes me.

114331296What a Boy Wants

What A Boy Wants is a novel that I didn’t enjoy nearly as much as I thought I would, it disappointed me more than I expected. Endgame is a novel that was free on Amazon and it’s by Nenia Campbell one of my friends on Goodreads, so I was interested in picking it up.

Books Borrowed.

photo (3)

Fire Study is the third novel in the trilogy by Synder and I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into it. The Map of Time caught my eye in the library and it sounds really interesting. The idea of toying with time-travel really has me excited and romance and being a bestseller. It has to be selling something right.

photo (1)photo (2)

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Descension

Descension

Descension by B. C. Burgess

Series: Mystic #1

Genre: Young-Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Witches

Published: April 4th 2012

Hosted by AToMR Tours. The full tour schedule can be found HERE.

The Plot.

The Angel
After three years caring for her dying mother, Layla Callaway learns she was adopted under unusual circumstances. Following a cryptic message to seek her birth family in Oregon, Layla uproots her lonely life, quickly finding she descends from witches and wizards. Magic is in her blood, and a handsome family friend is eager to prove it. Through a ring imprinted with her birth parents’ memories, Layla’s enigmatic past comes to light, presenting possibilities and trials more chimerical than her wildest dreams.

The Guardian
Quin’s natural charisma yields plenty of witches, but he longs for the lost witch – the mysterious Layla. He’s dreamed about her his entire life, envisioning the day he would lay eyes on her face and aura. When that day arrives, not only is he breathless, he’s confronted with the challenge of a lifetime – an innate need to keep her safe and forever by his side.

The Hunter
Employing fiendish manipulation and manpower, Agro uses the arcane force of others to elevate his supremacy and wealth. Nothing pleases him more than latching on to a mystical vein, and never has there been a more enticing source. The divine witch will be his.

Descention Tour Banner

My Review.

Descension was undoubtedly a pleasant surprise for me. I signed up to this tour thinking the premise sounded really interesting and was eager to read the book, but at the back of my mind I had doubts about whether I’d like this book. Concerns aside, Burgess captured my attention with Descension and I’m certainly eager to get my hands on the next book in the series. However, I do feel like Descension was a more introductory novel to the series than one filled with action, whilst this didn’t detract from my enjoyment and Burgess maintained my attention throughout the whole of the book with the two entwined romance stories across two time spans, I feel like to keep my interest the next novel will have to kick up the action. Despite this, I was fully invested in the idea and growth of the characters and the love story that Burgess delivered.

I find that the synopsis is rather misleading because at first I believed the novel would be about angels, but in fact it’s witches. Either way it fulfilled my love of the paranormal. I haven’t read a witch novel in a while and I thought Burgess approached the dynamic in an interesting way, but I want to see how she develops the witch dynamic further because we only began to touch on the idea of witchcraft and spells in the present day. I felt more invested in witchcraft in the time jump to the past with Layla’s parents and I feel like we are still left I felt with many questions to the witches and their story as a general. However, I thought they were entirely realistic and believable in their powers that manipulated the earth elements and I liked the community feel of the covens.

“You don’t have to do that,” he said, opening his eyes.

“What did I… I didn’t mean.. Did I hurt you?”

“No,” he answered, “bur it’s an uncomfortable feeling when you’re not expecting it.”

“What did I do?” she squeaked, beyond mortified and so ashamed.

“You used magic on me.”

Burgess splits her novel into two, the present day and Layla’s story which didn’t really move anywhere in terms of actions and the story of her parents who abandoned her as a child (not through their own choices) and that was particularly where we saw more action, but nothing that got my heart racing. Burgess focuses on the relationship between Layla’s parents in the past and Layla uncovering the truth of her life in the presetn. However we don’t really explore much after her parents story is uncovered by Layla and this left me disappointed because I was expecting to see a reaction from Layla and I think the first novel would have benefitted Layla in terms of character growth to explore her response. I however did enjoy the time jump and I think Burgess worked the slip really well into the past and kept my interest, I just wish it had been a little shorter.

There is a strong focus on the relationships in this novel and romance is certainly a focal point, this helped to drive the novels. However I do feel that the characters immediately jump into their relationships rather quickly, the parents of Layla particularly. In addition to this Layla taking to Quin so quickly disturbed me a little when he was a total stranger, I felt she should have been more cautious. Despite the “insta-love” kind of romance, they built up the foundations for Layla’s parents relationship and I hope to see Layla develop further in her romance with Quin since there was very little chance for this. I liked that we also met the majority of characters through Layla’s parents and that these foundations will be useful for the many characters I feel will be coming shortly. The dynamic of the two relationships also gained to give the novel more substance, but I fear Layla’s parents relationship in the end overshadowed her story. However there were some cute moments between Layla and Quin.

“As they walked to her car, he remained remarkably close without touching her, his gaze rarely left her long enough to look where he was going. When they crossed the street, one of his palms lightly touched the small of her back, shooting tingles up her spine and vibrating her shoulders. She was sure he felt her tremble, but he didn’t mention the ridiculous reaction.”

My one disappointment with the novel is the fact of the hunter who I feel I know very little about, and whilst we have met Agro he does not appear to be the main villain. I hope Burgess explores this aspect to strengthen the novel as whilst the romance is incredibly touching and the family bonds in this novel are felt strongly, I feel there needs to be more to the series to sustain my interest. There was a touch on the hunter in the epilogue, but this only left me confused and it needs to be approached in the next novel to keep me on board.

Burgess certainly crafts the idea of a strong family unit and I liked that I really sensed family love and affection because many young-adult novel seem to discuss parents who don’t care. This is where Burgess steps away from the others and focuses on family which fits perfectly with the witch covens. This also builds up a plethora of secondary characters who I hope will be explored more in future novels as they are one of my favourite elements to a novel.

The characters in general I feel like I don’t know them well enough because I didn’t spend enough time with them so I knocked half a star off for that. By the end of I felt disconnected from Layla because her parents story had detracted from our time with her and I felt more invested in them as a couple. Therefore I hope this will be rectified in the next novel and I become more attached to Layla as I don’t feel like I could particularly talk about her character at the present.

Overall I enjoyed Descension but it didn’t blow me away so I struggled writing my review. However, I do recommend trying the book as I think it’s well written, engaging and it’s emotional that makes it an enjoyable read and it sweeps you away to a different place filled with love and family strength. I think Burgess has kicked off a great start to a series and I’m sure lots of people will indeed fall in love with it as I’m looking forward to reading more of her work too!

You can enter HERE to win a chance at a e-copy of Descension and it’s open internationally.

3.5 books

Links:

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Contemporary Blend #3

Vanilla on Top

Game for Marriage

 

 

 

    Versus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vanilla on Top by C.J. Ellisson                                Game for Marriage by Karen Erickson

Series: Walk on the Wild Side #1                                                Series: Game for It #1

Published: January 11th 2013                                                     Published: January 11th 2013

As you know I’ve recently developed an obsession for Entangled Publishing books, particularly their Brazen collection and here are two more, very different books to add to my collection. So I thought I’d try and mix something up with my review and do a little bit of a rating system.


  Vanilla on Top Game for Marriage
Seduction 7 / 10 9 / 10
Angst Levels 8 / 10 4 / 10
Fun 6 / 10 8 / 10
Male Candy 6 / 10 8 / 10
Sexual Adventures 8 / 10 7 / 10
Strong Female Character 8 / 10 6 / 10
Plot 6 / 10 6 / 10
Set-up for Sequel 4 / 10 7 / 10
Clichés 7 / 10 6 / 10
Overall Rating 6 / 10 8 / 10

Mini-Reviews

Game for Marriage

Game for Marriage was an awful lot of fun and exactly what I needed to put a smile on my face and make it stay there. It had very little angst as it focused on a fake wedding between a super hot, quarterback, Jared and struggling artist, Sheridan. They have lots of laughs and problems, but they tend to work them through with minimal pain and angst that can get a little oppressive in the contemporary genre. My favourite quote from the book has to be…

“No, not really. My grandma said she was like Elizabeth Taylor. I guess Elizabeth was once quoted saying she was in love with falling in love. My grandma said that described her to a T.”

Jared was all around sexy, he had me drooling and sighing in all the right places and he was certainly the man for me. I couldn’t have wanted anybody else. He balanced confidence, arrogance and the ability to let loose as well as being serious to give him a fairly rounded character. He plays the “bad boy” appeal, but beneath the surface he genuinely cares about Sheridan and watching their relationship blossoming is exciting.

It’s not perfect, they’re not perfect, but Game for Marriage has to be a fun, flirty read and my only complaint is it was far too short. I felt that the author could have added more to flesh out the time period because she seemed to skim over it all very quickly to cram it into the time period and that she would have gained much more in adding in a few more details just to give substance to the characters and the plot as we moved through several months in a very quick time.

Overall, I recommend this to contemporary and romance fans alike and somebody looking for a little fun.

4 books

Vanilla on Top

Vanilla on Top takes on a very different approach to the contemporary genre, and it wasn’t quite what I expected. It was nothing alike to my recent read, Game for Marriage but I appreciated the differences and found Vanilla on Top to be a refreshing addition to the contemporary genre. Vanilla on Top focused on Heather our main character coming out of herself from a rather downtrodden character to somebody with confidence, esteem and authority and whilst she still had her doubts, it was enchanting to watch her progression since the story focused around her character.

“Turn it off,” I say, with a challenge in my tone. I sit up straighter and stare into the depths of his caramel eyes. “You want someone to tell you what to do?” He nods, his calculating gaze on me as the phone continues to ring, “Turn off that damn phone,” I bite out, pretending I’m issuing a command. “Now.”

Vanilla on Top very much entwines business and pleasure and we get a lot more angst as we look at relationships, confidence and personalities and changing images, but it works for the novels approach and whilst it felt well placed in Vanilla on Top it hasn’t in previous angst novels. Heather and Tony have sexual encounters a dozen, but the real entertainment comes when they realise who the other is and how they develop from there on out.

I loved how Heather took the control of the novel and whilst it isn’t entirely my thing, she was very much an assertive woman and she knew what she wanted. I like how she teased Tony, yet again the typical “playboy” which to be honest, I didn’t really see it.

I didn’t like the supporting characters in Vanilla on Top and I felt very little time was given to developing their characters and especially if they are to be in the sequel to this as a series, which I fear they will. I found that the secondary characters changed their attitudes a lot and were very self-centered and unsupportive of the protagonists so I didn’t take to them at all.

Overall, Vanilla on Top was an interesting read and I may read the sequel, but I haven’t fully decided.

*Quote taken from an uncorrected e-arc provided through Netgalley by Entangled Publishing.

3 books

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Waiting on Wednesday (25)

Waiting-on-Wednesday_thumb1_thumb

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This meme highlights some of the books whose releases bloggers are most anticipating this year.

What Am I Waiting On?

the Menagerie

The Menagerie by Tui T. Sutherland and Kari Sutherland

Expected Publication: March 12th 2013 by HarperCollins

Logan Wilde is accidentally drawn into the mysterious, dangerous world of the Menagerie when he discovers a griffin hiding under his bed . . . and it leads him straight to the weirdest girl in seventh grade, Zoe Kahn.

Zoe is panicking. Her family has been guarding the Menagerie for centuries. If they don’t get the cubs back fast, the whole place will be shut down. To save the griffins’ lives, she’s willing to break all the rules, even if it means letting an outsider like Logan help. But the real mystery remains: Is someone trying to sabotage the Menagerie?

Who let the griffins out…and why?

Why Am I Waiting?

Well, I know some people are wary of Middle-Grade fiction, but I have no qualms about reading it if it sounds good. And make no mistake, The Menagerie sounds awesome. It is very rare that there are books about Griffins, so this one immediately caught my attention. It sounds really cool and I just love the cover. I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of this one!!

What Are You Waiting On?

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Through the Eyes of a Nerd: Warm Bodies

Through the Eyes of a Nerd

Unfortunately I never managed to get in reading Isaac Marion’s novel, however the film has definitely made me want to read it. I can imagine it to be a very quirky read and I can’t wait to get around to it, now I have my hands on it.

warm-bodies-quad-poster

 

Warm Bodies is definitely a film I recommend, if not for it’s originality and star cast, but the one liners that were rather brilliant! Nicholas Hoult who plays R is a terrific actor, he really perfects the art of being a zombie. On one of his interviews, he actually said that he didn’t think zombies would blink, so therefore for the whole film his director suggested he do just that. And no joke, the guy does a darn good job. He doesn’t blink unless he shuts his eyes. It’s rather unnervingNicholas-Hoult-in-Warm-Bodies-2013-470x470, but just a tribute to his brilliant acting! Many of you may be familiar with Nicholas Hoult as the child star from About A Boy but he’s come a long way since then.

I loved his narration since as a zombie, he can’t talk so most of the true narrative comes from his over voice that really punctuated the humour and attitude of his character.

Over the whole film R grew on me and I was shouting for the guy. His zombie run was pretty darn funny. My friends and I actually re-enacted our own zombie run as a laugh because we are utterly crazy like that. The picture above shows the kind of humour that R brings into Warm Zombies giving it a very dry tone, but really comical and cheesy. It’s lot of good fun and some of the movie posters show the lines. A few of my favourites are below.

hdhekimagesCABEXABTwarm-bodies-characters-posters-warm-bodies-movie-33030930-1053-1561

Hoult’s co-star, Teresa Palmer was a really good actress too. She looks really like Kristen Stewart actually, but it’s safe to say she is a much better actress and she can do more than one emotion. Here she’s attempting to mimic zombie motions and R is telling her off for overdoing it. They build up an affectionate repertoire between the two and their little friendship blossomed and really won me over. I have to say, Teresa Palmer really worked the angle well as mixed emotions to a zombie kidnapping you.

 warm-bodies9

The other main guy of the show is John Malkovich. I remember him most clearly from What Happens in Vegas one of my favourite rom-coms and he plays up his role as R’s only zombie friend well in Warm Bodies. I think he’s a hilarious guy and his attitude and humour that he brought along with R had me laughing and smiling. He also managed to show that he can be a serious guy when he needs to be because there was a particularly touching moment when he notices R and Julie holding hands and it’s so cute!

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My one regret is not reading the novel before I went to see the film since I’m getting pretty lapse with that. I know there are a few things that are different between the film and movie such as zombie camps not quite being the same, but overall I think Warm Bodies is a film that can be equally enjoyed without reading the book and I’m looking forward to that experience to see what has changed.

The villains of the film the bones were pretty grim creatures, but not so terrifying that this film became a horror. However I tell you, fast moving skeletons will never be seen quite the same in my eyes again! Not that you tend to see them casually strolling down the street every day…

Warm Bodies is a solid, fun and loveable film that wormed it’s way into my heart and something I would definitely watch again. It’s light-hearted and something that I definitely needed to cheer me up. I recommend the movie without reserve and cannot wait to check out the book after Aa’Ishah’s awesome review here and a comparison of book and movie at Alisa Selene’s Picture Me Reading here.

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Sister Assassin

Sister Assassin

Sister Assassin by Kiersten White

Series: Mind Games #1

Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Young-Adult

Expected Publication: February 19th 2013 by HarperTeen

The Background.

Some of you may know Sister Assassin more commonly as Mind Games, the American version of the book with an entirely different cover.

However on with the book, I felt like none of the synopsis really captured the book for me or they have away too much. Sister Assassin is undoubtedly full of mystery (and unfortunately for me it was full of confusion). I went into reading the book without really reading the synopsis and in a way I am glad, because for me it told you everything that I didn’t expect in the novel and that would have detracted from my enjoyment.

Sister Assassin focuses on the relationship between two sisters, Sofia and Annie (Annie being the older) and how they have abilities (not the only people in the world) and how these are used to help them survived. They are trapped in a vicious circle of heart-break, betrayal, pain, hurting and this is all confined within a school that is designed to “mould” the girls and ultimately use them. There’s lots of subterfuge and excitement along the way and a little bit of romance. However the novel is driven by the two sisters and their relationship and the extent in which having these powers will mean they have to go to.

The Review.

Sister Assassin unfortunately is not a novel I enjoyed, and I am sure I will be one of the rare few and it is not often that I feel that way. For me, the problem with Sister Assassin lay not with the structure of the narrative which switches between Annie and Sofia, the two protagonists and sisters and jumping from present to past. This did discombobulate me, but I learned to deal and pay close attention to the time frame, it was the characters themselves that truly grated on me. Despite this, I think Sister Assassin has an awful lot to offer as a novel and that is its true selling point, I have not read any of Kiersten White’s other novels, but this one contains, fantasy elements, mystery, romance and lots of thrills and action. My brain was constantly ticking over to try and find out what was happening and it wasn’t so overly complicated that I couldn’t figure out things.

Sofia and Annie are two sisters who supposedly love each other and care very deeply. Annie is the older sister and this took me a while to figure out, since it didn’t seem to be entirely clear for me (or I likely skipped this part for some unknown reason). Still, this confused me as to the real dynamic of their relationship as sisters for the first half of the novel because the time jumping failed to lay the foundations for their relationship and I couldn’t get a connection to the two. I thought Sofia was the older sister purely because of the way she acted and then it took me by surprise since Annie appeared to be the child. Unfortunately for me, first impressions count and it’s hard to remove them after that. I didn’t like the sisters in all honesty. I felt that they were both destructive towards each other and despite all this caring and their environment  being destructive they were not healthy for each other. There seemed to be little vindictive digs between the two and a hatred that made reading sour for me. Whether this was Kiersten’s intention to rebuild something between the two of them, I felt that it was too far gone to truly be fixed and that the girls were so damaged that it twisted my stomach.

“Why? And thanks to Keane’s rules, I can’t visit her or even call her without being spied on. How could she do this to me? To us? She used me.”

When the novel is called Sister Assassin I fear that the title is slightly misleading because it creates the idea of a duo. This is not to be seen because the title Mind Games I feel is infinitely more applicable to the novel and that the characters within the novel play mind games upon the girls because Sofia and Annie are far from being equals. They are used against each other and manipulated and this is what I didn’t like because it slowly disintegrated their relationship and left a sour feeling in my gut. I hated how the siblings who had to rely solely on one and other were dragged apart and how they both got the idea they were of lesser value to the other. I liked the initiative of White to take on this dynamic, but to use the girls to abuse one another so emotionally that they became even more frayed grated on me. I don’t think I’d have minded so much if I felt that something positive came of this, but it just felt pointless.

Even without liking the destructive relationship between the girls, I neither liked their personalities. I felt that both of them were self-absorbed and choosing to blame themselves too much for every problem. Everything was me, me, me, and they didn’t look for each other.  They failed to communicate. This may all seem to be part of the dark, twisted novel that definitely gets points for being gritty and full of hardship, I just couldn’t connect with these whiny, characters that seemed to emphasise so much about not doing it that they eventually would. Not everything fails though because they do both have redeeming moments in the fact that they eventually seem to reach a point of resolution that doesn’t fully give an ending to their relationship just represents their intelligence and bond. It didn’t leave me satisfied enough to give this book a higher rating, however I believe that a lot of people will truly appreciate the novel and its ending for its subtle cleverness.

Having said that, Sister Assassin takes on a unique, brave approach in the young-adult world and it is quick read at just over 200 pages, pushes forward an action packed and thrilling novel that will tick an awful lot of boxes for people with a desire for heroines that push themselves into the thick of things and still manage to show vulnerabilities, I just couldn’t connect with the characters or appreciate them.

The romance in Sister Assassin frustrated me beyond belief because I was rooting for all the wrong things. I think this left me disappointed and I couldn’t understand the characters and their actions. I’m not for happily ever afters in every novels because this isn’t what Sister Assassin delivers and with such a title it’s not really what I expected, but neither am I for entire paths of destruction or stupidity. I just felt like wringing the characters necks. Having said that, the love interests that we gain and note the word “interests” however this is used with the utmost care and it does not really create a love triangle, it much more becomes a pinnacle of direction of choice for Sofia who is the focus of this novel much more. Despite this, I couldn’t connect to either boy that she has in her life nor truly like them. There was always undercurrents that left me unsettled from all the characters and this book.

“I wish she were my dog and I had an alcoholic father and I was the type of girl that Adam could date and rescue and fall in love with. I wish my left arm didn’t hurt so much I wanted to die…”

The one element of Sister Assassin I wish had been focused upon much more was the school and the whole dynamic surrounding this. I feel like we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface and White eluded to so much more and she left me rather disappointed if I’m honest with her eventual unveiling in Sister Assassin and this is the sole reason to my contemplation to pick up the next novel when I didn’t truly connect with this one. However I feel like there is lots of potential on a mystery and political front that can be dragged from the school and the direction White is taking her novel in. Maybe if she’d allowed herself to continue this one I may have been able to engage more with her direction. However at the moment I feel isolated from the characters and her direction.

The other point to note is the narrative. We split between both Annie and Sofia and then from past to present and you have to pay close attention to the changing time frame. It can certainly draw you away from the novel, but eventually I managed to get into the narrative after a while and looking out for the specific changes and I think the time frame added to the subplots of the novel and the complexity to slowly unveil the events and different elements that are contained in Sister Assassin to make it so dynamic.

Overall, I don’t suggest you ignore Sister Assassin, but I suggest an air of caution. I know plenty of people who have adored this novel and I feel I will be a black sheep in not liking this, but I found it hard to change my mind by the end of the novel despite its improvement. For me, White has lots of lost potential here in Sister Assassin that I don’t think she used in the right way for her characters to work in a believable, damaged way without everything seeming to be one abuse after another between every relationship that led to a breakdown. I’ve found it hard to truly put all my feelings into Sister Assassin because I really felt rather ambivalent by the end and whilst I appreciate the ending I still couldn’t find myself to like it more. However just to show you that there are people who loved it, check out  Rebekah’s review at The Reflections of a Bookworm here and Tonya’s from The Midnight Garden’s review here, both who gave the book four stars.

*Quotes taken from an uncorrected e-arc copy provided through NetGalley thanks to HarperCollinsUK

2 books

Nerd Fact

The use of a different title and cover is largely due to the HarperCollins UK buying the publishing rights for Mind Games and choosing to take a different marketing approach to the UK market, nothing exciting really. I think whilst the Mind Gamestitle is less apt, the tagline fits perfectly to the novel. This is the American cover that some of you may be more familiar with. 

This year both Mind Games and Sister Assassin will be released to America and the UK, Australia etc on the same date, because of HaperCollins UK buying the rights, so all those UK buddies will not have to wait to get their hands on this!

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Filed under 2 Books, 2013 Publication, E-book, Fantasy, HarperCollins, Kiersten White, Mystery, Romance, Young Adult

Waiting on Wednesday (24)

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Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This meme highlights some of the books whose releases bloggers are most anticipating this year.

What Am I Waiting On?

The Falconer

The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Series: The Falconer #1

Expected Publication: September 19th 2013 by Chronicle Books

Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844

18-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined to a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery kills her mother.

Now it’s the 1844 winter season. Between a seeming endless number of parties, Aileana slaughters faeries in secret. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, every night she sheds her aristocratic facade and goes hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.

But she never even considered that she might become attracted to one. To the magnetic Kiaran MacKay, the faery who trained her to kill his own kind. Nor is she at all prepared for the revelation he’s going to bring. Because Midwinter is approaching, and with it an eclipse that has the ability to unlock a Fae prison and begin the Wild Hunt.

A battle looms, and Aileana is going to have to decide how much she’s willing to lose – and just how far she’ll go to avenge her mother’s murder.

Why Am I Waiting?

Historical. The cover. And Fantasy? What more do I need from a book. This just looks all around awesome and the Scottish setting caught my eye.

What Are You Waiting On?

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Filed under Waiting on Wednesday