Friday, 31 May 2013

Diary of a Crush: French Kiss by Sarra Manning


About the book
Diary of a Crush: French Kiss was first serialised in teen magazine J17. It was first published as a book in 2004 and then repackaged on 30th May 2013 by Atom. The book is 240 pages long and is the first in a trilogy.

Plot Synopsis
Edie has just moved to a new town, started at a new college and has to deal with a whole range of new people. Her first few weeks don’t go very well at all as she makes no friends and feels like a complete loner. Then Edie spots messy haired but extremely gorgeous Dylan and he changes her life. He becomes the hot topic in her diary even if she hasn’t actually gotten the courage to speak to him.

Things take an interesting turn when Edie ends up in Dylan’s photography class and then on a college trip to Paris. Dylan has a reputation for being a player and a heartbreaker but Edie is determined to get him anyway. Will the romantic setting of Paris be just what he needs to snag the guy of her dreams?

What I thought
After absolutely loving other Sarra Manning books such as Adorkable and Nobody’s Girl, I will read anything she has published now. Whilst I never read this series when it was in J17 magazine, I had heard nothing but good things about it and was dying to read it. Manning has slightly updated this series from when it was first published to make some pop culture references more up to date and current.

As this was something that was first in a magazine, the diary format works really well. I can see how well this would have worked in each issue and as the diary entries all vary in length, it would have made for easy and quick reading. This also works in a book format as well because it means you’re never having to wait ages for the end of a chapter if you need to put it down. Instead, you can stop at the end of a diary entry and pick it up again easily. I also found the diary format to give the writing an edge as it was fast paced and punchy.

Diary of a Crush: French Kiss follows Edie and her move to a new home. She finds it difficult at first to fit in at college and seriously misses her old friends back home. Edie is one of those characters who I fell in love with straight away. She’s quirky, different and has a fabulous dress sense. She wears what she wants, even if it means a posh looking dress with her favourite converse. At 16, I definitely wasn’t that sure about what I wanted to wear and how I wanted to be portrayed. I think 16 is also a scary age to move and to have to start over again but I think Edie coped pretty well.

The friends she does make at college though are older than her. At 19, they have more life experience, have had more relationships etc and have more maturity (at times anyway). Dylan is the brooding bad boy who everyone seems to love. Dylan’s behaviour gave Edie every single reason to be angsty over him. One minute he seems to want her, the next he doesn’t and then he does again. What a way to mess with a girl’s head, especially one three years younger and with very little experience. This book gets the idea of mixed signals spot on and I was thinking does he/ doesn’t he the whole way through. As annoying as Dylan was though, I did love him a little bit. It was clear did he did like Edie but was just torn about what the best thing to do was.  

Secondary characters also help to show the kinds of relationships and friendships teenagers have. Some of the funniest moments were between Edie, Mia and Shona. I remember having bitchy fights with my friends as a teenager and these scenes made me think back to these times. These characters also made me think about the boyfriend swapping, boy drama and going behind other people’s backs in order to get what you wanted. Being a teenager was so dramatic. Manning gets the voice of a teenager perfectly right too, honing in on all of the emotions that can be felt and the mood swings which are inevitable.

The additional setting of Paris made this book even more perfect for me. I remember going away on both a school trip to Germany and then a college trip to Prague and this book brought back so many memories. The trip is what helped to really explore the relationship between Edie and Dylan. Before the trip, the pair had been having a very informal kind of fling, with random kissing going on. Edie wants more but Dylan seems quite happy with what they have. There isn’t much actual talking before the trip to Paris so it was nice to see the pair on a deeper level.

Diary of a Crush: French Kiss is a wonderful book about teenagers and one that is very entertaining. I can’t wait to read the other two books in the trilogy.  

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Between the Lines by Tammara Webber


About the book
Between the Lines is the first book in the New Adult series of the same name by Tammara Webber. It was published by Penguin on 14th February and the book is 384 pages long.

Plot Synopsis
Seventeen year old Emma is about to star in her first big film, after plenty of indie roles and commercials and the role is opposite Hollywood It Boy Reid. Even before going on location, Emma feels out of her depth but Reid is right at home. He’s used to the all night parties, girls throwing themselves at him and being followed by fans is all a part of everyday life for him. Luckily, the rest of the cast befriend Emma quickly and fellow actor Graham makes her life a whole lot easier. While Reid may be the obvious choice, Emma thinks Graham could be interested until she sees him coming out of another girl’s room.

On the other hand, Reid is extremely interested in Emma and cannot get her out of his head. With Emma, he’s experiencing something he never has before… genuine feelings and not just a one night stand. Is it possible for the player to win the girl?

What I thought
I absolutely loved Tammara Webber’s other book, Easy and was looking forward to read more of her New Adult titles.

Between the Lines is a bit different from the other New Adult books I have read so far, mainly due to the setting. This book is set within the film industry and more importantly, on location in Texas. Most of the other books in this genre that I have read have been set in college so it made a change to read about characters in a completely new and different setting. It was also interesting to see the characters reacting to such a different situation than we are used to in this genre. The book also takes on a modern day story of Pride and Prejudice, which is the film Emma and Reid are filming. It really reminded me of something along the lines of 10 Things I Hate About You.

This is a book that is told through the dual narrative of both Emma and Reid. I do like dual narratives due to really being able to get to know both of the main characters. Emma I really liked while Reid I wasn’t so hot about though. Emma is quite naive when it comes to the film industry due to her lack of major experience but Reid is completely the opposite. He knows exactly what he’s doing and how to play the people around him. He thinks he’s a big hot shot and can do whatever he wants while Emma is trying to get her head around everything that is happening and how it’s changing her life.

The romance in this book wasn’t at all what I was expecting it to be. I was expecting for this to be quite straight forward and for it to be a bit of a chase between Reid and Emma and while it was, there was so much more going on at the same time. Fellow cast member Graham is a large part of the story but one who is never quite in the forefront of what is going on. I can’t say that I was the biggest fan of Reid and Emma and their relationship. I always felt as though Emma was getting the rough end of the deal and Reid still did whatever the hell he wanted. There are also smaller plot lines regarding the romances of some of the other cast members which spiced things up a bit and broke up what was going on with Emma and Reid.

As a New Adult book, this one is extremely tame in the ways of sex scenes, which some readers will be happy to know. I, however, was quite disappointed. With this genre, I expect to get some of the stuff that isn’t included in Young Adult books and considering the majority of that characters are young and pretty much living in hotel rooms without supervision, I would have thought there would be some more crazy antics and fun going on.

Although not the best New Adult book I have read, it was certainly enjoyable and the ending was fantastic. I’m glad I have the second book waiting as I think it will be a much better book than the first. 

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson


About the book
The Madness Underneath is the second book in the Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson. It has a publication date of 28th March and is published by Harper Collins Children’s Books. The book is 352 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

Synopsis
Not long ago, Rory Devereaux had a very close call with a Jack the Ripper copycat that nearly ended her life. Instead of staying at school, she was forced to live in Bristol with her parents and attend counselling. When her counsellor suggests going back to school, Rory jumps at the chance. She’s had enough of sitting around being a victim and wants everything to get back to normal. However, after the events with the Ripper, Rory has now gained some extra powers. She’s able to eliminate ghosts with just one touch.

Rory’s good friends, the Shades, were responsible for her return to London though as new deaths cause questions to be raised. The Shades are a secret ghost fighting police and without a terminus to get rid of the ghosts, they need Rory’s help. She knows the deaths are no coincidence but will the Shades listen to her before it is too late?

What I thought
I absolutely loved the first book in this series, The Name of the Star. The whole story with Jack the Ripper, ghosts and the London setting were all extremely interesting and exciting and I couldn’t wait to get back into that world. The Madness Underneath is set a short time after the first book, with protagonist Rory in Bristol with her parents, trying to sort herself out. I really loved getting to know Rory a lot better in this book as she begins to air out her problems and concerns about her life. Nothing is straight forward for her anymore and along with moving to another country, she can’t have it anywhere near easy.

As Rory heads back to London and her school, Wexford, she begins to realise that everything is not as okay as she had hoped. She’s extremely behind in her school work, feels out of place and also has to deal with the ability to see ghosts. I could really sympathise with Rory in this instalment of the trilogy because of her situation. People were there trying to reach out to her although there really aren’t many people around who truly understand what she is going through nor can they help with her problems.

Along with characters from book one being back, there is also a great new range of new characters in this second book. These new characters help to form the plot of The Madness Underneath, which is very different from The Name of the Star. I was a little disappointed though to see that the dark, old and creepy side of London was not included in this book like it was previously. I felt that because of the plot change, and the changes in setting, this book was not nearly as eerie as it could have been.

The first half of this The Madness Underneath was pretty slow going, with us getting to know Rory again and for us to catch up with everything that has been happening with her. The second half of the book though is where it really gets exciting and where the new characters really come into play. Johnson adds in some fantastic twists which I would have never seen coming. With there only being three books, this one ends on such a big cliff-hanger. As soon as I put the book down, I instantly wanted the third and final book in my hands. I have no idea how I’m going to wait to find out what happens next.

Maureen Johnson’s writing is incredibly funny and quirky, which is partly why I love reading this series so much. Although it has a quite serious plot and a scary setting, Johnson injects her personality into the writing. There were numerous times I found myself giggling out loud at suggestions such as pirate bikini models. I wasn’t expecting to find this book as funny as I did but it was nice for everything to not be doom and gloom the whole way through. Johnson sets herself apart from other young adult writers due to her unique style.  

Although not quite as dark as the first book, The Madness Underneath is a great middle book which sets the scene for the final book extremely well.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Book to Film Review: Oz The Great and Powerful



About the film
Oz the Great and Powerful is a fantasy/ adventure film that was released at the cinema on 8th March. The film is based on the books by L. Frank Baum and is set 20 years before the film, The Wizard of Oz. Oz the Great and Powerful is rated PG and has a run time of 130 minutes.

Plot
Oscar Diggs is a magician in a travelling circus but really, he is just a trickster. In Kansas, he is swept away in a hot air balloon only to collide with a tornado. Begging for his life and promising to be a better man, Oscar finds himself land in a strange world – the land of Oz. The witch Theodora is there to meet him and explains about the King’s prophecy, that a wizard will come to take the throne and save them all. Thinking he is going to have it easy, Oscar admits to being the wizard and cannot wait to get his hands on the gold provided as King. However, it soon becomes clear that he is not the wizard everyone is expecting and there is more than one witch in Oz. The lines are blurred between good and evil and Oscar must decide which witch is really good and true. He must also convince the people of Oz that he really is there to save them and must transform himself into the great and powerful wizard of Oz.

What I thought
I have to be honest; I don’t really like The Wizard of Oz. I don’t know why, but I prefer the sequel, Return to Oz so much more. However, I was absolutely dying to see this film.

Oz the Great and Powerful begins in Kansas where Oscar Diggs (played by James Franco) is working as a small time magician in a travelling circus. The beginning of the film is shown in a different way than with usual films. The screen size is smaller and it is all in black and white. Although I did think for a few minutes the cinema had messed the screen up, I quickly realised what was going on. This is one of the many little nods to the original film and I loved that a similar beginning was kept because it shows just what a different place Oz really is.

James Franco plays a womanising trickster who is a pretty bad magician but I liked him. He was sly and cunning, mean to his one and only friend who is played by Zach Braff and he just doesn’t care about people. I was actually quite glad to see Oscar swept off away on a hot air balloon and into the tornado. The opening of the film isn’t too long which means it doesn’t take long for us to get widescreen and colour back too. When Oscar lands in Oz, we are treated to a vibrant and colourful place bursting with magic of its own. I really enjoyed seeing a new kind of Oz; one that wasn’t run down and broken all over. I wonder what Dorothy would have made of it.

Oz the Great and Powerful has a great range of characters which I loved. We have Theodora the witch who greets Oscar on his arrival in Oz – she is played by Mila Kunis. When Oscar shows her a little more attention than he probably should, she fancies herself in love and wants to be with him forever. I really liked Theodora and Kunis playing her. Unlike the witches in the original film, this one is extremely stylish in leather trousers and heeled books along with a wonderful large, red hat. Then there is Rachel Weisz who plays Evanora, the wicked witch. Compared to The Bourne Legacy which I also watched recently, Weisz is great as Evanora, giving the character such a fantastic personality and performance. She and Theodora are sisters and I liked seeing the differences between the two.

A character more well-known from the original film is Glenda, the good witch although here she is from the South instead of the North for some reason. Anyway, playing Glenda is Michelle Williams. With a wonderful crown on her head, long flowing white dresses and such a lovely personality, Williams was the perfect choice for this role. I certainly couldn’t have imagined her playing one of the other witches. Just like the original, she is sickeningly sweet and nice to everyone but that is just who the character is. Again, here, the filmmakers have given a nod to the original film with Glenda’s big bubbles and her being friends with the Munchkins.

As the plot unravels, you soon realise that not everyone is who they seem and the real good and bad witches are revealed. The film turns into a race to create an army of sorts in order to defeat the evil witch. This is also where Oscar comes into play and needs to finally be the wizard everyone thinks he is. I really enjoyed the plot regarding the wizard and being able to see how he came to be the illusionist he is in the original film. I enjoyed seeing certain characters develop while keeping the plot moving at a steady pace. While not all of this film is as exciting as maybe it could have been, there are moments for everyone to enjoy. I have to say, two particular characters (Finley the monkey and The Little China Girl) made me giggle and smile throughout and were two of the reasons I ended up loving this film.

While this is a PG, there are some moments which younger children would maybe find quite frightening such as the flying monkeys. However, I do think that this is a wonderful family film and one I enjoyed thoroughly.

Monday, 27 May 2013

The Sea of Tranquillity by Katja Millay


About the book
The Sea of Tranquillity is a Young Adult/ New Adult novel by Katja Millay. It has a release date of 4th June and is published by Atria Books. The Sea of Tranquillity is 448 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy through Netgalley.

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

What I thought
I think I’m going to find it quite hard to really do this book justice in a review because I loved it completely. However, here goes…

The Sea of Tranquillity is told through a dual narrative of Nastya and Josh, the two main characters of this story. At the beginning of the story, Nastya is just registering for high school, with her aunt explaining to the principle about her special condition. This, however, does not become apparent until she actually starts school. Nastya does not talk. At all. To scare people away from asking questions, she turns up to school in the shortest skirt, highest heels and lowest cut top she can find. Her eyes are rimmed with black eyeliner and even without talking, Nastya has an attitude. Nastya had such a strong narrative voice and I absolutely loved her. At times, she kind of explains little bits about her past and why she is the way she is but never everything, never in detail.

Even though Nastya doesn’t talk, it doesn’t stop her from gaining the attention of Drew, one of the really popular guys at school. He doesn’t ever take no for an answer and when they go to a party together and she gets wasted, Drew drops her off at his friend Josh’s house. Previous to this, Josh and Nastya had a moment in the courtyard, just looking at each other, but they don’t know each other. After Josh looks after her, the pair end up with a very strange kind of relationship. Josh loves to build things and is often found in his garage, making something or other out of wood. Seemingly fascinated, Nastya turns up nearly every night, sitting on the side and watching him work, without a word.

I absolutely loved both Drew and Josh. As the second narrator, we get to know Josh very well. Unlike Nastya, whose problems are kept under wraps, Josh’s life is not such a mystery. Josh is emancipated due to his whole family being dead. He lives on his own and has problems with letting people get too close to him. However, Josh was an absolute sweetheart and he made my heart melt a little bit. Even though he is lovely, Josh still speaks out about certain things and isn’t afraid to call people out on their BS, especially Nastya. It was also interesting to see both the relationship he and Nastya had with Drew and also how they were so different.

I would never have guessed that this was a debut novel. Katja Millay’s writing, and her story, is absolutely stunning. I can’t remember the last time I read such an amazingly beautiful book that I just couldn’t put down. Not only are Millay’s characters so interesting and deep, but the story is addictive. I wanted to know the story behind Nastya and her problems. I loved watching Nastya and Josh trust each other more and more with every passing day. I couldn’t help but love the secondary characters, who are such a big part of this book. There are so many things that I want to say about this book but also don’t want to give away the surprises. Because there are some. A lot actually.

The Sea of Tranquillity has a wonderful pace to it. At 448 pages long, Millay gives us plenty of time to get to know and love her characters. While a large chunk of the book is spent getting to know Josh and Nastya, weaved into these parts are little snippets of information about each of their pasts. At first glances, this book appears to be a story about finding love but it is quite a lot darker than that. The secrets bubbling inside Nastya are absolutely shocking and heart breaking at the same time. When some things were revealed, I cried my eyes out. I couldn’t help it and I could barely stop once I had started.

The Sea of Tranquillity is going to be on my list of favourite books this year and probably for years to come. I read an e-book version of this but I will be buying the paperback to read over and over again! 

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Film Review: G.I.Joe: Retaliation




About the film
G.I.Joe: Retaliation is an action/ adventure/ sci-fi film that is the second in the G.I. Joe series. The film was released at the cinema on 27th March  with a run time of 110 minutes and a rating of 12A.

Plot
After being framed for crimes against America, the G.I.Joe team are terminated after a command from the President. However, the President is actually an imposter. The man standing in his place, Zartan, has the ability to take on the looks and voice of someone else and plans to take over the world. Zartan knows that the Joes are the only people able to stop him so attempts to get rid of them altogether. A few survive though and are hell bent on putting things right and stopping Zartan before he goes too far.

What I thought
My main reason for going to see this film was because of Channing Tatum. I’m easy persuaded to see a film if there is a hot guy in it, even if I have no interest in the film itself. I also remember seeing the first G.I. Joe film and thinking it wasn’t too bad so didn’t mind going to see this one at all.

With a pretty strong cast, you would think that would make up for the terrible plot of this film. It doesn’t though. Channing Tatum doesn’t stick around for very long, Elodie Yung gives a terribly stiff performance as Jinx and Dwayne Johnson is good but he has been better in many other films. None of the cast members are given characters with much depth either, which doesn’t help things at all. Although Johnson’s character, Roadblock, is given a family and small children, I still didn’t overly care about what happened to him.

Bruce Willis also makes an appearance but his role screens desperation. His character, the original Joe, General Joseph Colton is used to help out the surviving Joes. His character does very little for the plot apart from give Willis the chance to blow up some more stuff. The character is also very stereotypical for Willis and doesn’t show anything new from the actor. Although I do really like Willis, I didn’t see the need for his involvement in this film whatsoever.

G.I.Joe: Retaliation has a plot worth laughing at. The bad guy is someone impersonating the President, even though he acts nothing like the real guy, and makes decisions he never would. Pretty much, Zartan is planning to either take over the world or bomb it with nuclear bombs, and doesn’t care too much about the consequences. There were some really bad moments regarding Zartan’s plans and the other world leaders, which could be seen as extremely offensive or funny, depending on where you stand on particular topics. While other bad guys are also brought in, they never seemed very evil or original. The film does try to be interesting though but it fails miserably. One character, Storm Shadow is given quite a large background story but it is skimmed over quite quickly and not used as well as it could have been.

As an action film, you can expect plenty of fight scenes and explosions. However, these were also not all that impressive. Instead of having some really great gadgets like in the first film, this one is more military based so it relies on big tanks and big guns and this was not nearly exciting enough for me. Also, I have to say that I didn’t watch this in 3D or IMAX and I am bloody glad I didn’t. What a waste of money that would have been. There is one really nice fight scene though, which takes place on the side of a mountain. This was really well choreographed and looked great on the big screen but a large part of that was due to the location of the shoot.

With weak characters, a weak plot and weak action scenes, I could not recommend this film at all. I was highly disappointed with it and wish I hadn’t bothered going to see it. 

Friday, 24 May 2013

Wild Boy by Rob Lloyd Jones


About the book
Wild Boy is a debut novel by Rob Lloyd Jones. It was published by Walker on 3th April and the book is 312 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC for review.

Plot Synopsis
In Victorian London, a young boy covered in hair is recruited for a travelling freak show to be known as Wild Boy. He has nothing else to do apart from be tormented by the other boys he lives with but he also has no choice but to go with the man who come to collect him. Other people see the young  boy as a freak due to his physical appearance but he sees more than they do. He sees everything.

When a murder happens, all fingers are pointing to Wild Boy and along with a red-haired acrobat, Clarissa, he ends up on the run from the authorities. The only way to prove his innocence and to solve the mystery of the murderer using his very unique skill set.

What I thought
Wild Boy isn’t something I would have normally taken for review, as it is aimed at a slightly younger audience than what I normally read. However, after loving books such as Pantomime and The Night Circus, I decided that I love these kinds of settings so figured I would give this one a go.

Wild Boy is set in Victorian London, with the young boy covered in hair living in a place where he is constantly belittled and bullied because of how he looks. Instead of rising to the other boys around him, Wild Boy spends his time watching people, learning more about them. One day though, a strange man comes to take him away to a travelling freak show and circus and he has no option but to go with him. He believes it cannot be any worse than what he already has to deal with.

Wild Boy was such a wonderful character. First off, he was abandoned in a London work house and teased beyond belief, then he’s shipped off to a freak show. I couldn’t have felt more sorry for him. It wasn’t his fault he looked the way he did, nor did he have any say over what happened to him. It doesn’t get any better for him either once is he a part of the freak show. He’s alone all of the time, is forced to perform and has no friends which is something he wants more than anything.

It doesn’t take long for the mystery and action to begin in this book, which was a really good thing. Wild Boy manages to stumble across a very important letter which warns of extremely bad things. He, along with acrobat Clarissa, are brought right into the middle of a strange murder mystery and they must both fight to clear their names. I loved the aspects of the circus people, the involvement of an outside organisation and Wild Boy being able to use his special ability to find sets of clues about the murder. This also sparks a strange friendship between Wild Boy and Clarissa as they are forced to work together, even though they dislike one another.  

The travelling freak show setting was fantastic, especially when contrasted with the dark, seedy streets of Victorian London.  While one setting is colourful, busy and exciting, the other is creepy, dark and quite disgusting. I especially liked Wild Boy and Clarissa’s adventures on the streets of London and where else it led them to. There are dark, damp sewers along with a mansion hiding secret rooms which are filled with bodies and bones. Rob Lloyd Jones certainly makes his world a place to chill you to the bones, and to never want to go there yourself.

Overall, Wild Boy is a fantastic read filled with interesting characters and a great mystery to solve. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. 

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Sever by Lauren DeStefano


About the book
Sever is the third and final book in The Chemical Garden trilogy by Lauren DeStefano. It was published by Harper Voyager on 14th February and the book is 320 pages long.

Plot Synopsis
Time is running short for Rhine. The virus running through her body means that she doesn’t have long left to live and there are no signs of a cure. After enduring everything that her husband’s father, Vaughn, has put her through, she finds peace within the home of his brother, Reed. Reed is somewhat of a crazy inventor but understands Rhine’s need for answers and the need to find her own brother, Rowan. While Rowan has a high level of involvement in an underground resistance, destroying everything their parents built, Rhine wants to preserve their ideas.

Rhine is determined to leave her home, husband and sister wife Cecily behind, they all want to be there to support and help her. This final book reveals all the secrets that have been kept hidden and the trilogy comes to a shocking end.
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What I thought
The Chemical Garden series is one of the most original and exciting trilogies I have had the pleasure of reading each time a new book came out, I was dying to get my hands on it. As this is the last book in the trilogy, there may be minor spoilers for the previous books in the series.

Sever begins where Fever left off, with Rhine stuck back in her home with husband Linden and sister wife, Cecily after being subjected to Vaughn’s awful experiments. Rhine is still determined to go and find her brother, who has been a part of a range of bombings. He believes that Rhine is dead and she wants to prove him wrong. She also wants to get away from the marriage she was forced into and her terrible father in law who does things like stick needles into her eyes. Who wouldn’t want to get away from that.

In this book, both new and old characters play a big role in Rhine’s life and her decisions. Although not mentioned before now, we get to meet Linden’s uncle Reed, Vaughn’s brother. What I loved about this new character was that he was so different from Vaughn, who is terribly scary. Reed has been kind of outcast from the family, living in a run-down house with his inventions. Reed’s house becomes a safe haven for Rhine but through this, we get to learn more about both Vaughn and Linden, and their lives before Rhine.

Vaughn has to be one of the most well developed characters throughout this trilogy. To begin with, in the first and second books, we see him as only the villain. He does some terrible things in the first books and torture/ experimenting are two of his favourite pastimes. However, up until this point, we have never been able to understand his actions or the reasons behind them. In Sever, we get to see a completely different side to Vaughn which made me have a completely different opinion of him than I did before. I never thought Vaughn could be anything other than evil but there is a lot more to him than originally thought.

Another character I thoroughly enjoyed reading about in Sever was Cecily, Rhine’s sister wife. After Jenna died, Cecily became the ‘main’ wife as she ended up having a baby with Linden. Previously, she was an immature and naïve child who didn’t really know much about anything. In this book though, she has grown up to be a determined and strong minded young woman and also a caring wife and mother. The transformation and growth within this character was fantastic and it was great to see such strong development.

Sever’s plot spends most of its time answering mysteries that have previously been unanswered. We finally get to find out what the deal is with Vaughn, what Rhine’s brother is really up to and we get to find out what happened to Gabriel and also how everything ends. I found the plot to be fast paced and really exciting. The setting changed constantly, which made the story really interesting for me. I liked how there were so many places to see and how different each of them were to each other. Each different setting also gives up a variety of answers and it was like pieces of a puzzle finally fitting together.

One aspect lacking throughout the whole series, and especially in this book, is romance. There have been, and are, romantic aspects but none have ever been enough for me. To begin with, Rhine falls for Gabriel but the passion was never really strong enough. I never believed the feelings that were supposed to be there. Also, Linden is clearly torn between Cecily and his feelings for Rhine but again, they weren’t absolutely believable. I would have loved for there to be a lot more romance in this book, especially as everything was being wrapped up so nicely.

Sever is a fantastic end to a really good series. If you haven’t read any of these yet, I urge you to. The Chemical Garden world is beautifully created, written and explained. There is so much intrigue and mystery in this unique series.   

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt


About the book
Skin Deep is a young adult book by Laura Jarratt. It was published by Electric Monkey on 5th March and the book is 320 pages long.

Plot Synopsis
As a young teenager, Jenna was in a car crash that left two girls dead, one of them her best friend and her own face burned and permanently scarred. For nearly the past year, Jenna hasn’t wanted to leave the house or look in a mirror – she struggles to get her previous life back, especially when all people do is stare and call her names. Then she meets Ryan, a travelling boy stopping through town with his mother. He also has a hard time, as people don’t always give travellers the best reception. His mum tells him that this place will be different but he doesn’t believe her, until he meets Jenna.

Jenna and Ryan grow closer, building their friendship and beginning to believe life might not be as bad as they once thought. The aftermath of the car crash is still having an effect on the town though and when a body is found, it might just be the end for Jenna and Ryan.

What I thought
Within the first few pages of Skin Deep, I was hooked. Laura Jarratt has a way of drawing the reader in immediately and not letting them go. The book begins with scenes of the car crash that ruined Jenna’s life. Jarratt gives a hard-hitting and very emotional opening to the story which is why I wanted to read more. I had to know what happened to Jenna and what her life was like. She’s had to live with a mask on her face to help the burns for months and she doesn’t want to leave the house. What a hard thing that must be for anyone, let alone a 14 year old who will just becoming more aware of boys, her appearance and make-up etc. Jenna doesn’t want to leave the house due to people staring at her all of the time and calling her names like ‘Shrek’, which really hurts her. Jenna was a wonderful character and it hurt me to read about her experiences sometimes. I felt so sorry for a girl so young having to go through so much.

The book is written with a dual narrative from Jenna and also Ryan. He’s a travelling boy, moving from place to place on a boat with his mum. Although for different reasons, Ryan is also used to people staring at him a lot and calling him names. He was also a wonderful character. Whereas Jenna attempted to shy away from people who stared, Ryan was confrontational and stood up for himself. He hated the things people called him and wouldn’t just stand there and take it. This did get him into a bit of trouble a few times as he seemed unable to control his anger. I also loved that Ryan really wanted to settle down and live a ‘normal’ life. All of the moving around was hard for him and his mum didn’t really see that.

Jenna and Ryan’s friendship was a very beautiful thing. Unlike with other young adult novels, this one is not really based around romance, although it does have that too. Jarratt gives Jenna and Ryan a friendship to work on, one that revolves around spending time with each other and really getting to know more about their lives. It was great to see each character begin to change slightly due to the influence of the other. Not changing in a bad way either. Jenna came out of her shell more, become more confident in herself without caring too much about her face. Ryan realised what he really wanted in life and how protective he could be over someone he really cared about.

Skin Deep also has a deeper plot revolving around the car crash. The community are still reeling from the event and not everyone can forget about it. This aspect of the plot was a good contrast to the friendship between Jenna and Ryan although it still tied in with that too. It was interesting to see different people’s reactions to the crash and how it affected them. I was a little surprised to see so many people’s reactions to Jenna be so negative though. In what seems to be a small town where everyone knows what happened, I would have thought they would be more understanding about why her face was the way it was.

This was a really lovely read and one with a deep meaning. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Book to Film Review: The Bourne Legacy



About the film
The Bourne Legacy is an action film that was released in 2012. It is a part of The Bourne series of films which are based on the books by Robert Ludlum. However, while the first book is called The Bourne Legacy, the film does not follow the same plot. The film has a rating of 12A and a run time of 135 minutes.

Plot
The Bourne Legacy runs alongside events from The Bourne Ultimatum, although this film does not follow Jason Bourne. Instead, the film follows Aaron Cross, a member of Operation Outcome. The US Defence Department runs a program where field operatives take a series of pills which enhance their metal and psychical abilities. While Cross is completing as assignment in Alaska, he runs out of pills and begins to worry when he makes his target and isn’t given anymore.

A reporter in England is assassinated due to writing an expose on other operations Treadstone and Blackbriar. As these two operations are publicly exposed, retired US Air Force Colonel, Eric Byer is enlisted to help out – to fix all of the problems. He believes that the only real way out of this mess, with researchers of Outcome and Treadstone being seen at public events together, is to kill every single operative under Operation Outcome. However, Cross does not die and thinking he needs more medication, visits the lab that he usually visits. Dr. Marta Shearing, the sole survivor of a colleague gone mad shooting is the only answer to Cross’ questions and with her in tow, the chase is on to find more meds and manage stay out of the way of the people trying to kill him.

What I thought
I loved the original three Bourne films but was really unsure about whether or not to watch this one. I loved Matt Damon as Jason Bourne and wasn’t sure what the story of this one would be considering that Jeremy Renner had the lead role. I have tried to write the plot synopsis as simply as possibly because quite frankly, this film was quite confusing at times. However, it actually started off quite slow, spending quite a bit of time in Alaska with Aaron Cross, even though there was no idea of why he was there for a long time. I also haven’t seen The Bourne Ultimatum for a long time, with it being released in 2007 so I couldn’t remember any of the plot from that film but you don’t really need to have seen it anyway.

There is a lot to get your head around in this film, which is why I ended up being quite confused. Operation Outcome is all about science and medication which makes field operatives stronger in every way possible. However, instead of just saying this, there is a lot of scientific mumbo jumbo being thrown around all over the place and I didn’t really know the difference between Outcome, Treadstone and Blackbriar. Because of all of this information being thrown at you, you do really need to pay attention. I was doing my hair and make-up while watching this film so no wonder I lost what was going on easily. I think once you get your head around what is going on and why the government want all of the field operatives dead, it is pretty easy going from there.

While Jeremy Renner is nowhere near as good as Matt Damon, he does an impressive job playing Aaron Cross. His character is an interesting one as he is the only one of the field operatives to not die but as well, he really doesn’t want other people running his life and having such a control over everything. While I have seen Renner in films such as The Avengers and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, I think he was best in this film by far. He plays an action character really well, does a good job in the fight and chase scenes but was also a likeable guy.

In other roles are Rachel Weisz as Dr. Marta Shearing and Edward Norton as Eric Byer. While I normally love Weisz, she was a bit disappointing in this film. As a doctor with such expert knowledge, working in an extremely high security job, she was so weak and annoying for a large amount of the film. I was expecting her to be a much stronger character. However, her time with Cross does toughen her up a lot and make her a better and more likeable character. Edward Norton is someone who can do no wrong in my eyes and he is wonderful as Eric Byer, a no nonsense, get to the point kind of guy. Now he is a strong character willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done and Norton does so with great conviction. He isn’t likeable, due to his job, but I could also understand the situation he was in and why he made certain decisions.

The Bourne Legacy is a really exciting and fast paced film. While some of it is extremely clichéd where it could have been more original, it was still enjoyable to watch. I wish it had been a little more simple to follow though.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Dare You To by Kate McGarry


About the book
Dare You To is a companion book in the Pushing The Limits series by Kate McGarry. It was published by Mira Ink on 7th June and the book is 3014 pages long. I received this for review through Net Galley.

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
"I dare you..."

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....

What I thought
Kate McGarry’s debut novel, Pushing the Limits was one of my favourites from 2012. When I saw Mira Ink’s tweet about this one being up on Net Galley, I clicked the link and requested as soon as I could! Even though this was up for review in January and the release date not until June, I didn’t care. I had to start reading straight away.

Dare You To tells the story of Beth Risk, a minor character from Pushing The Limits. From what I remembered from the previous book, Beth was an absolute bitch but then I wasn’t about to judge her before reading her story. As Dare You To starts, it quickly becomes clear that Beth actually is a bitch. She swears a hell of a lot, says exactly what she thinks and doesn’t give a damn who she hurts by telling the truth. Strangely, I loved how Beth acted. She was a breath of fresh air and I completely loved her.

Dare You To really explains why Beth acts the way she does though. Her family life is a complete mess and after some really bad things happen, her estranged Uncle Scott comes in to rescue her. However, Beth doesn’t think she needs rescuing though and hates Scott for taking her away, forcing her into a new school and a town she really doesn’t want to be in. I really enjoyed seeing the dynamics of Beth’s family, both immediate and not. The new characters introduced here were all fascinating in some way and they all also had secrets of their own which was interesting.

So, love interests… Well, as you can see from the synopsis, the love interest here is not Isaiah. After reading Pushing The Limits, I was damn sure Beth and Isaiah would be getting together but it seems this is not the case. If like me, you have read the previous book, be read to do some shouting at the pages and to be utterly shocked. However, I did also really like Ryan who is the love interest. Ryan and his friends love dares, which is how he comes to meet Beth in the first place. Ryan is also a jock and his life revolves around baseball (quite a nice change from American Football, I thought). Ryan came across as full of himself and a stereotypical jock but it was so good to see there was a lot more to him than that.

Mixed in with the plot concerning Beth and Ryan was an extremely exciting story! There is a lot going on regarding Beth’s mother and her family life but there is also a lot going on with her old friends from back home. Beth has to learn to live a completely different life while living with her Uncle and she is not comfortable with that at all. Kate McGarry shows no fear when it comes to tackling some really serious issues, which you will already know if you have read Pushing The Limits. The issues written about in Dare You To were really different but just as important and shocking at the same time. It was quite hard reading at times due to how scary the situations were but that also helped make this such a good book.

Unfortunately though, while I did really enjoy this one, I didn’t like it quite as much as Pushing The Limits. I’m not completely sure why either, considering I liked all of the characters and the plot. I think Pushing The Limits got more emotion out of me so maybe that’s why. Still though, Dare You To is fantastic read, full of excitement and a bad ass protagonist. 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Book to Film Review: Fairytale


This is only a sort of book to film review, as the film comes from a fairy tale!

About the film
Fairytale is a horror film that was released on DVD on 14th January. The film is rated 15 and has a run time of 84 minutes.

Plot
After a recent divorce, Sophia and her daughter Helena move to Latina in the south of Italy. When Helena loses her first baby tooth and Sophia explains all about the tooth fairy leaving her money, she becomes obsessed. Most night she recalls being visited by the tooth fairy, even without having lost any more teeth. Worried about Helena’s strange behaviour, she seeks the advice of a local doctor, only to find out about the sinister past of her new apartment. With Helena’s life in danger, Sophia must find a way to stop the terrible things that are happening.

What I thought
I’m a huge fan of both horror films and fairytales so when I heard about this film, I wanted to watch it immediately. I haven’t seen many films revolving around the idea of the tooth fairy, expect for Del Toro’s ‘Don’t Be Afriad of the Dark’.

Set and filmed in Italy, Fairytale provides a very pretty setting against a dark plot. Main characters Sophia and daughter Helena have just moved to Latina after divorce. The mother and daughter duo appear to be settling in very nicely, having a lovely looking apartment and Sophia appearing to have a good job. It isn’t long before the plot takes a twist though and Helena loses her first tooth only to become obsessed with the idea of the tooth fairy. The plot, unfortunately, was pretty basic. Girl loses tooth, tooth fairy has some wicked intentions. Whereas Del Toro’s idea of the tooth fairy was very dark and twisted, I thought that this film was very unoriginal. The idea of the tooth fairy was basically taken from other horror films and just given a different name.

However, although the plot was basic and not at all unique, it was pretty creepy. Maybe not completely scary but it did make me shudder a couple of times. The effects were pretty basic throughout the film, without any really shocking scenes that could be very scary. While there are one or two scenes which could really freak some people out, Fairytale is a film that relies on the story of the tooth fairy and the idea the story told to you as a child is far from the truth. Here, the thought of the tooth fairy being evil is where the horror comes in. Unfortunately though, the weak plot wasn’t enough to make this truly terrifying.

Not only was the plot weak but acting skills were pretty poor. Playing Sophia is Harriet MacMasters-Green. During the moments where Sophia is just playing a normal Mum, she does ok. She makes it believable that she is Helena’s mother, and that she cares. However, when the plot really kicks in and things begin to get a bit strange, her performance was extremely lacking. Very little concern was shown towards what was happening and she looked pretty bored most of the time. As Sophia finds out about past events in her apartment, I expected utter shock from MacMasters-Green but I didn’t feel this at all. While MacMasters-Green does attempt to be scared, to be worried and to think of a solution to everything, she was just really bland.

Luckily, this film runs at just over an hour and 20 minutes long. I’m not sure that I could have put up with it for much longer than that. As for the ending, it was completely expected from me. While it is clear that this was supposed to be a pretty big twist, I saw it coming a mile off and not find it remotely shocking or different. Again, filmmakers believe they are attempting to do something new and different but really, they’re just using the same tried and tested methods in a different setting. I wish that Fairytale had a much more exciting ending and one that I hadn’t been expecting. This, at least, would have saved the film a little for me.

I absolutely cannot recommend this film and wish I hadn’t wasted my time on it. 

Friday, 17 May 2013

Guest Review: The Dead Ways by Christopher Edge


Today my fiancé talks about The Dead Ways by Christopher Edge.

About the book
The Dead Ways by Christopher Edge is the first in a series of the same name. It is 191 pages long and was published on 1 October 2011.

Synopsis
Ghostly apparitions on abandoned motorways...corpses escaping from hospital morgues...sketons crawling out of their graves...THE DEAD WAYS ARE OPENING. 

The Government has a plan to clean up the environment - closing down motorways and returning the roads to nature. When Scott Williams' Dad is found dead in his government office, Scott resolves to find out the truth behind his death. What he discovers is a far reaching and sinister conspiracy to open ancient lines of power sealing this world from the next.  As the roads close, the dead will wake. Soon Scott is thrust headlong into a deadly race against time. It'll be the end of the world if he loses.

What I thought
Hmmm Zombies...like Vampires and Werewolves...like teenagers with smartphones...they're every bloody where. I therefore wasn't completely convinced when picking up this book that I would enjoy it as I thought it was more of 'that sort of thing' and not really sure if it would be mine.

The good news is that I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The bad news is that I don't think I care enough to bother with reading any more in the series.
I picked this book up from my wonderful fiance's reading shelves because (a) I needed something to read on the train and (b) because the cover looked quite cool.

Scott Williams is the son of a civil servant. His Dad is seemingly involved in a Government Green scheme to help the environment by replacing motorways with efficient high speed trains (this is in England - how far fetched is this?!) to allow nature to reclaim the land that we have built roads on. Of course it's a front for something more sinister...namely the opening of The Dead Ways - ancient lines in the Earth that keep our world apart from the next...queue creepy ghosts, the recently dead rising, skeltons crawling out of their graves...all that good stuff.

The pace is blistering from the first page to the last. The prologue kicks it all off and it is pretty unrelenting all the way through. Some of the creepy scenes are a little creepy but there is no intestine eating going on here - probably because of the target audience - shame.

I enjoyed Scott as a character. He is courageous, rebellious, resourceful. He is likeable and easy to root for as he tries to find out exactly what his Dad was involved in and why he died...often dealing with threats to his own life and hardly anyone to turn to for help. Detective Jason becomes involved, a cynical sort, unwilling to believe the evidence of his own eyes but driven to do the right thing, especially by Scott. They make a good team.

I did enjoy it from start to finish but I'm not sure I care enough about what happens next - at least not enough to actively seek the next one when it comes out. If someone hands it to me and I have a few hours to spare I'd probably read it (and probably enjoy it) but I won't go looking for it otherwise.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekle


About the book
The Kissing Booth is a contemporary young adult novel by Beth Reekle. It was published by Corgi Childrens on 22nd April and the book is 448 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with an e-copy for review through NetGalley.

Plot Synopsis
Rochelle Evans is pretty and popular but she has never been kissed. Her best friend Lee’s bigger brother has seen to that. Noah is a bad boy and full of himself. He knows he’s hot and all of the girls want him.

When Rochelle and Lee have to come up with a booth for the school’s Spring Carnival, they decide on a kissing booth – something all the other girls are extremely excited about. Unintentionally, Rochelle ends up kissing Noah which sparks something very unexpected between them. She knows having anything with Noah could ruin her lifelong friendship with Lee but is he worth taking a risk on?

What I thought
The Kissing Booth was originally written through wattpad.com and this is the author’s first book to be published. The author is actually only 17 herself and The Kissing Booth became an internet sensation.

The book follows the story of Rochelle, aka Elle and Shelly. She’s one of the popular girls in school but has never had a boyfriend. Her lifelong best friend Lee is like her twin and they are scarily connected to one another. To start with, I have to say that I absolutely loved the fact that Elle had a guy as a best friend and that there were no romantic feelings between either of them. It’s about time a friendship like this wasn’t ruined and turned into a relationship. Ella and Lee are wonderful to read about together as they are so refreshing and different together.

While I did like the idea of the kissing booth at the carnival, I do think it is a little outdated. Also, the author is British but sets the story in America. This I don’t have a problem with so much but lack of experience in that particular setting shows. Would this kind of thing be done nowadays and would a school even allow it?! There are also problems with British terminology being used and this bugged me quite a bit. I would have much preferred for American words to be used instead of things like jumper or trousers because they just didn’t fit in very well.

The plot is pretty clichéd and predictable. However, I really did like the plot. With a young adult contemporary, I don’t look for complete uniqueness and a tried and tested formula is ok by me. Elle has had a semi-secret crush on Lee’s big brother for some time now but has never done anything about it because of who he is and his reputation. Noah is known as the bad boy who every girl wants to be with. Elle sees him slightly differently though due to knowing him a lot better than the other girls. Her dreams come true when she is asked to step in on the kissing booth and manages to kiss him.

From here, the majority of the plot revolves around secrets and lies. Elle and Noah have chemistry but she doesn’t want to ruin what she has with Lee. She also doesn’t want to think they have something they don’t as Noah has a reputation for sleeping around. I liked the secretive meetings between Elle and Noah as they were exciting and fun.

While I did really like the plot, there were things that I just didn’t understand. Elle’s Dad seemed to be completely ok with her going out to parties without much explanation as to why she doesn’t come home some nights. Noah is a straight A student but constantly gets into fights and trouble without even the smallest detention. Surely these things wouldn’t get passed most parents or schools. If Noah was a bad boy through and through, I could have understood but how on earth did he get away with having the best of everything? That would never happen.

Overall, The Kissing Booth was a bit of a mixed bag for me. While predictable, the story was cute and enjoyable but there were quite a few problems with the writing. 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

This Beautiful Thing by Amanda Heath


About the book
This Beautiful Thing is a new adult novel by Amanda Heath. The book was independently published on 9th February and is 182 pages long. This Beautiful Thing is available in both e-book and paperback formats.

Plot Synopsis
Due to having two controlling and overprotective brothers, Teagan Harper has no experience with guys. The twins, Jaden and Caden make sure that she doesn’t have boyfriends and that guys pretty much stay away from her. At a college party though, Teagan ends up in the arms of a guy after an altercation with his ex-girlfriend. However, she doesn’t even know his name or that he is in fact Jaden’s best friend.

Declan Sage thinks that he has control over absolutely everyone. When his girlfriend of years dumps him, and he meets a mystery girl at a party, his life begins to become more and more out of control. The girl whose name he didn’t even bother to find out before kissing her, is ready to change her own life as well as Declan’s.

What I thought
A while back, I bought quite a random selection of new adult (NA) books on Amazon for my Kindle as they were pretty cheap. I didn’t really know what I was getting but there just isn’t enough NA out there to be picky. Like most of what I bought, I didn’t know the author and didn’t look at whether they were self-published. I didn’t really care.

This Beautiful Thing tells the story of Teagan, a girl with a controlling family who don’t really let her have too much of a wild life. She even goes to college really close to the family so she couldn’t even move states. It is clear from the get go that Teagan is quite the quiet teenager and doesn’t have a whole lot of life experience. Her roommate Grace drags her out to parties for a bit of excitement. At one party in particular, right at the beginning of the book, Teagan gets a bit drunk, breaks a girls nose and ends up in the room of some guy she doesn’t even know the name of. This does not sound at all like the girl described previously does it? Teagan was a character with quite the split personality. One minute she would be all quiet and nice and the next she was doing/ saying things she thinks were shocking unlike herself.

I found it hard to like Teagan too much because of the problems with her personality. The constant changes meant that I never really felt like I knew her properly as a character. The whole thing with the initial party threw me completely. Just when I thought I was getting a nice, sweet female protagonist, she punches someone in the nose and ends up topless with the unknown guy. For someone with no experience, she sure jumped into his bed quickly. I know this sounds a bit judgemental. I wouldn’t have minded her actions at all if she had been described as a character that did such things to begin with.

The plot really begins with the events of the party. After hooking up with the random guy, both he and she are desperate to find out who the other is. It turns out his name is Declan and Teagan’s brother’s best friend. Here lies the ‘problem’ aspect of the book. Teagan and Declan, after realising their attraction goes much further than a quick fumble around at a party, sneak around and begin to date. Teagan is the girl with the temper who gets mad at the smallest thing while Declan wants to be the cool and composed guy who wants something deep and meaningful. Declan was a lovely character compared with Teagan. He had a life goal which was nice to see; he was a caring person and took on a hell of a lot for a guy his age.

While I didn’t really understand Teagan as a character, I did sort of like her relationship with Declan, even though she annoyed the hell out of me sometimes. This Beautiful Thing shows how much meeting one person can change so much in your life and that relationships are never straight forward or simple. I liked the obstacles that were thrown in their way and the reactions to certain events. I do think some readers could really grow to hate Teagan for some reasons but I could completely understand where she was coming from during one big part of the book.

Although the plot centres on Teagan and Declan’s relationship for the most part but secondary characters also make a big difference in this book. Teagan’s large family and her best friend Grace were wonderful to read about. Each had different personalities and all brought something different and fresh to the book. Also, Heath took the time to add in smaller plots regarding certain characters and weaved these in to the main plot. For me, the secondary characters by far outshined the protagonists, which isn’t really the way it is supposed to be.  

Unfortunately, the plot is extremely relationship focused and there isn’t too much else there. There are plenty of steamy sex scenes but too much repetition and the use of my most hated pet name, ‘baby’. At one point, Teagan states that she likes Declan because he makes her feel special because he calls her baby. Surely not the strongest reason to like someone? Heath’s writing isn’t the best, honestly and the editing of the book could have done with a hell of a lot more attention. There are spelling and grammar mistakes galore which were very off putting whilst reading this book. I can easily overlook a tiny mistake but there were a lot, all the way through.

While I did like some aspects of this book, there was quite a lot wrong with it. I struggled to finish the book due to mistakes and the terrible dialogue at times.