Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington











Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Publishers: Harlequin Teen
Published Date: August 28th 2012
From: NET GALLEY
My rating:
4 out of 5
Synopsis:
Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret.

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast--and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea's has taken a vow of silence--to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting everyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets if hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there's strength in silence, and in new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way. People she never noticed before. A boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.


Review:
The First 20%
Such a good hook straight into the story. Chelsea is part of the in-crowd and gets noticed. Mainly thanks to her best friend, Kristen, who is the IT girl at school. Chelsea knows the others in the crowd only notice her because of her motor mouth, usually divulging some sort of secret or embarrassing gossip about someone else. But she sees something at a New Years Eve party and, being drunk and without her usual sense of decorum, she announces it to the entire room. She has no regard or care about what she says, and no feelings of who she is about to hurt.

The Main Characters

Chelsea showed her first redeeming quality quite soon into the book. Its not often that you read that. Instantly I knew that Chelsea wasn't really as heartless as she appeared. She told her parents EVERYTHING (I cringe because I don't know how she did it but she did) she takes a vow of silence, after reading about a Buddhist monk. For Chelsea this is her way to atone while self punishing herself at the same time. She sees her flaws instantly, she knows what she is and knows that she's hurt people. But how much she's yet to find out. She takes the harsh cruelty of her so called friends, and brushes off the vandalism to her locker and car. She also tries not to let anyone else get involved knowing that this is her fault. Chelsea changes her point of view gradually throughout the book. Its tough for her but necessary.

Asha is the Indian friend who Chelsea meets in detention. They don't instantly hit it off, but Asha also doesn't point the finger. She's a fun character and very quirky. Her easy friendship with Sam and everyone at Rosie's makes her such a likeable person.

Sam is the gallant knight. Though Chelsea doesn't understand and is confused by his friendly attitude towards her, especially as Sam is the best friend of Noah, she is almost disarmed by the fact that he doesn't want to start any fights or blame her. Throughout the book his calming demeanour keeps her levelled.

The Story
A high school is not a high school without scandal. Chelsea and her friends relish in it. Bigging themselves up on others peoples misfortunes or indiscretions. Believing themselves to be better than others. But when Chelsea takes a step back and starts to analyse her lifestyle she doesn't like what she sees. It isn't an instant 'I'm going to make everything right', because that just isn't possible. Chelsea's announcement has repercussions that travel along unexpected lines. She needed a wake up call and now she's dealing with it, and its a tough journey. This is a story about self discovery in the worst possible scenario.

The End?
So not all severed lines can be fixed. Not all friendships can go back to the way they were and for Chelsea she doesn't want that life any more. She has a new life with funny genuine people and the chance of a proper boyfriend who is actually quite amazing. A great ending!!

Overall
I enjoyed this book thoroughly. I knew people like Chelsea so I was genuinely interested in what would happen to her. There are no 'stop the story - I'm going to make a speech to everyone' moments. There isn't a great anti-climax where everyone realises how great she really is and they all 'group hug'. But Chelsea's journey is tough and there's some great life lessons to be learned from her indiscretion. The book held my interest all the way to the last page and I was left feeling happy! 


-CBx
 


You can reach Hannah Harrington here:
Web   Twitter  Facebook  Goodreads

Review: Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett










Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett

Publishers: Harlequin Teen
Published Date: August 28th 2012
From: NET GALLEY
My rating:
4 out of 5
Synopsis:
Rose Zarelli, self-proclaimed word geek and angry girl, has some confessions to make…1. I'm livid all the time. Why? My dad died. My mom barely talks. My brother abandoned us. I think I'm allowed to be irate, don't you?

2. I make people furious regularly. Want an example? I kissed Jamie Forta, a badass guy who might be dating a cheerleader. She is now enraged and out for blood. Mine.

3. High school might as well be Mars. My best friend has been replaced by an alien, and I see red all the time. (Mars is red and "seeing red" means being angry—get it?)

Here are some other vocab words that describe my life: Inadequate. Insufferable. Intolerable.

(Don't know what they mean? Look them up yourself.)

(Sorry. That was rude.


Review:
The First 20%
I don't even remember reading the first 20% because the book drew me in so quickly that I was at 45% and still going. This is a great story and completely believable and addictive. Early on you find out who the good guys and bad guys in Rose's life are. So much that you automatically have feelings good or bad for them too.

The Main Characters

Rose Zarelli is the self-confessed Angry Girl. At no point in this book did I have to question why she was so angry with everyone and every situation that occurred. It all made perfect sense to me too and if I was in the same boat I wouldn't have done much differently. Rose has started her freshman year, she's 14 years old and everyone around her is changing whether it be what friends people choose or what clubs and activities they go for, or what stage they're at with their boyfriends. Rose is certainly not pushing any of the boundaries yet. She's going slowly with everything in her life because she's still dealing with the huge amount of grief after her father’s death three months earlier.

Her best friend is undecided about having sex for the first time and decides to join the cheerleader’s squad. Both of which Rose is against. But when Tracy actually joins the cheerleaders they start dragging her into initiations that again Rose doesn't like. Rose sees her friend change into someone else, someone who's mean and selfish. Rose commits a massive faux pax, but a good one. She almost saves a girls life from alcohol poisoning but this act makes Rose into a social pariah. Soon no one in the 'cool' team want to know her and they ridicule her at school.

Early on Rose develops a crush on Jamie. He's a nice guy but a couple of years older. Jamie does try to keep his distance, aware of the age difference, but its clear that he does like Rose. The only thing is his girlfriend cottons on to the crush and soon Regina starts making Rose's life even more unbearable. Oh, and she's a cheerleader also so manipulates Rose's friendship with Tracy.

The Story
This is a high school story with all the heartache and tragedy that comes with it. As Rose gets through each day and each week we get drawn into all the usual antics such as school dances, who's dating whom, who hates who, who likes you as a friend but wants more, and who's having sex. There is enough angst and bitchiness to keep this book going on forever! Rose also has a difficult home life, and as most teenagers do, believes her mother has no time for her and her brother can no longer be bothered with her.

The End?
I enjoyed Rose's running try-out when she almost flattened Regina. But the consequence left a huge cliff-hanger for the next book. I'm so intrigued now as to what’s going to happen next between Jamie and Rose, and Tracy and Rose, and Regina and Rose.

Overall
I usually try and steer clear of school based YA because I've read so many and they all tend to blur into the same story. Bitchy girls, high school dance let-downs, the hot boy being a jerk. But this book did entice me in and once I got started I couldn't let go. I was completely riveted and even hooted a couple of times for Rose.


-CBx
 

You can reach Louise Rozett here:
Web   Twitter  Facebook  Goodreads

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry









Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Publishers: Harlequin Teen
Published Date:  July 31st 2012
From: NET GALLEY
My rating:
4 out of 5
Synopsis:
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again


Review:
The First 20%
The first 20 fills you in on most of the back story. We come straight into Echo's family therapy session and instantly realise why she's acting the way she is. Noah is waiting outside for his own therapy session. We catch up on his own tragic story of how he was once one of the good sporty students but fell through the gaps in the foster family system and decided to let the stereotype stick. Early on we get to learn that these two characters have their own scars - on the outside as well as in - and how a crafty clinical therapist puts them together not realising that they will be each others salvation.

The Main Characters

With an overbearing father who doesn't listen to her opinion and a new step mum - or ex babysitter - who talks of nothing but their unborn baby its no wonder Echo feels like second best to everything in her life right now. A restraining order prevents any contact with her mother and her brother has died in Afghanistan. There is not much more alone that Echo can take. She has horrid and ugly scars on her wrists that have sparked enough rumours around school so she's now unable to appear normal and prefers to keep gloves on and long sleeves down to hide them. Her best friend Lila sticks with her for the most part but the two other best girl-friends have a hard time dealing with their own emotions and feel that Echo brings down their popularity at school and therefore they avoid her and don't discourage the gossip. The worst part of Echo's story is that she has a complete blank on the day and night of her 'accident'. And no matter what she does nothing can bring back her beloved brother.

Noah has seen the rough end of the stick. He lived a normal life with loving parents and two younger brothers but a house fire killed his parents and put him and his two brothers in the care system. His experience in foster families is harrowing. His first 'family' forced him to punch his foster-father who scarred Noah. The second had him defending the natural born son from being parentally attacked. Noah is then treated as a liability. But he seems to have found a small amount of solace when he's placed with another foster kid his age, Isaiah, and the niece of his present foster-family, Beth. The trio keep each other together and defend each other like a proper family, even though the parents only keep them for the monthly checks.

Noah and Echo are an unlikely couple. But pushed together by their therapist they begin to help each other unravel the harshness of their plight. Noah understands Echo's need to keep covered while Echo understands Noah's need to recover his brothers and get his family back at whatever cost. They both need something and they only have each other to help in their task. Echo needs to know the truth of the night of her accident, and Noah needs to find out more information on the carers of his brothers, deeming them incapable from an early encounter.

I liked Echo and understood exactly why she was reticent towards her father and step-mum. The new baby means a replacement to her and her brother. Her father can barely talk to her any more. Echo has a great character though and isn't afraid. She's uncomfortable at school but she still goes every day and gets through it. She needed Noah as much as he needed her.

Noah was a stranger character though. Being as he didn't have a bad upbringing and his desperation to see his brothers, I'm surprised that he sank to a lower expectation of himself. He knows he's a hot guy and can bag any girl he wants - and does frequently - but Noah has built a defence around himself, a wall so strong that he doesn't let anyone in. Until he meets Echo, and soon every reputation he has gets tested. Echo is no pushover, and Noah can't resist her.

The Story
The plot is gripping, compelling and emotionally charged. The pieces of Echo's missing night gradually come back but always at a cost. No matter how much Noah bashes against the walls of the system he doesn't get anywhere until Echo. Without even trying he cleans up his act and begins his arduous task of becoming respectable enough to visit his brothers. Noah and Echo hurt each other, bounce off each other with tears and laughter, trust each other but when things go wrong neither of them have anywhere else to turn.

The End?
The only thing that marred this was that Noah asked Echo a question that was completely left of centre which I didn't really feel was in his character. There were also moments when Echo's characteristics and actions were slightly confusing, as if she was going in too many different directions at the same time. The sporadic-ness was a little unsettling. However we did reach a good satisfying ending.

Overall
A great read. I enjoy books where you realise that even though the characters are flawed in so many ways, it’s really only those characters that can help heal or fix the other person.


-CBx
 

You can reach Katie McGarry here:
Web   Twitter  Facebook  Goodreads

Review: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful #1) by Jamie McGuire

Publishers: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Published Date: August 14th 2012
From: NET GALLEY
My rating:
4 out of 5
Synopsis:
The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.


Review:
The First 20%
This book goes straight in at the deep end. Abby visits an underground fight with her BFF America and America’s boyfriend, Shepley. Shepley’s cousin and flatmate is Travis. Travis wins the fight but not before he hits his opponent so hard that the blood flies all over Abby’s cardigan forcing him to look in her direction. As soon as eye contact is made he approaches her. From here on in Travis and Abby begin their connection. It’s not a relationship nor is it strictly a friendship but its clear they enjoy being around one another. Within the first 18% of this book my emotions were all torn and twisted with the angst and hurt that these two main characters managed to fling at each other but it was actually enjoyable that I couldn’t stop at any cost.

The Main Characters

Abby has a past which doesn’t really get discussed in great length until midway through the book. She’s turned away from her old life and is sincerely trying to be everything that her old life wasn’t. I liked Abby a lot. Her weakness wasn’t that she couldn’t resist Travis because she could and did. Her main weakness was that Travis reminded her so much of her old life that she began to miss it including the high’s and thrills that came with it (I won’t tell you what they are for spoilers sake!). Abby could cope with Travis because she’d lived with people like him all her life. A very strong character.

Travis is all about the now. Fighting is something he’s good at, and it helps pay the rent and pay for all the nice things in life that a student needs. He drinks a lot, has sex a lot with a different woman every time and seems unable to make any sort of female emotional connection at all. We find out later why that is and it isn’t as bad as the story tries to imply. But because of Abby’s attitude towards him and the fact that she actually seems to enjoy his company rather than his looks or charm something in Travis changes. He lets her into his life. But unfortunately his possessiveness becomes his undoing.
Travis isn’t written as a character that you should really like or hate. Most reviews hate him, others love him. Either way if his character and attitude affect you then it says something about the author and her ability to make you feel something. As I was reading I had a soft spot for him but he is such a dangerous person I did feel uncomfortable sometimes and worried for Abby. Again, the Author made me think about what I would do in this scenario…

America and Shepley are great side characters. America is always there for Abby, and has been so from Abby’s earlier childhood. Shepley as America’s boyfriend is also understanding towards America, and the only one apart from Abby that can aid Travis when things go bad. They also contribute greatly to the storyline.

The Story
The plot isn’t a clear one. Actually there isn’t much of one. It’s mainly about the journey that Abby takes and about how she and Travis get through their time together. A few random sub-plots were thrown in that didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the story. The mobster Benny and her father’s debt, for one. If her father was such a has-been hot shot I don’t think this was the best way to experience his vileness towards his daughter. The next was the fire and Trent’s involvement. The fire I understand but once everyone was clear with the aftermath of it there didn’t seem to be a point to Trent being there at all. It could have been anyone.

The End?
A surprising end.
Realistic? I’m not really sure about that.
Fun? Definitely.
Character tie ups and loose ends? All sorted.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. Sometimes it had incredibly painful moments that caused me to put my hand to my mouth; sometimes I had tears in my eyes. Personally I love the rich emotion that it drew from me. This is a very powerful book.


-CBx

You can reach Jamie McGuire  here:
Web   Twitter  Facebook  Goodreads

Review: The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1) by Julie Kagawa







The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1) by Julie Kagawa

Publishers: Harlequin Teen
Published Date: October 23rd 2012
From: NET GALLEY
My rating:
4 out of 5
Synopsis:
Don't look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase's unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he's dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister's world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myths and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

My name is Ethan Chase. And I may not live to see my eighteenth birthday.
Review:

It's no secret that I'm a massive Julie Kagawa fan. I've read the Iron Fey series numerous times and still love it every time. The Immortal Rules was a curve ball as I'm not a massive vampire fan, but Julie has the wonderful ability to create and weave such epic stories around the best and well thought storylines that even I was spellbound when I reached the end.

I started The Lost Prince with trepidation though. Which way would Kagawa go? Would there be enough Meghan and Ash? Sure, at the end of the Iron Fey books there are plenty of strings to draw into a new story and create enough drama to fill out another series. And it was no surprise that she chose Ethan, the little brother who started the mesmerising journey for Meghan Chase in the beginning.

The Lost Prince is full of the same gorgeous writing that Kagawa is famed for and transports us back and forth between the NeverNever and the human world. We meet up with past characters and some surprising new ones. For anyone who has read The Iron Knight, we meet up officially this time with Keirran - Meghan and Ash's son - plus cameos with Meghan, Ash, Puck, Leanansidhe and a few others.

But Ethan is the star of this book. Not only is he brimming with attitude and hatred for anything Fey, he is now grownup, and a Kali expert. The Filipino martial art is one of the only things that have managed to keep his anger grounded. And, everything starts going wrong when he starts a new school. Within the first few hours of keeping his head down and trying not to get drawn into a fight that will surely get him kicked out of another school, he reluctantly saves a boy from the school bullies. Except the boy is not just any boy. He's glamoured up to hide his fey features from humans, and Ethan, being one with the Sight, can see exactly what he is. From here on in, every barrier that Ethan has been trying to erect to keep the fey out suddenly start falling. Plus, he's being hassled by a very annoying Kenzie (who turns out to be one of my favourite characters). She persists in a request to interview him for the school paper and eventually he agrees. Kenzie turns out to be his saving grace and voice of reason. At a Kali demonstration events take a peculiar turn when the ghostly corporeal fey attack Ethan and Kenzie. Not only is something is very wrong with the human world but all the exiled and half fey are going missing. And there's only one person Ethan can turn to.

Ethan and Kenzie venture into NeverNever to meet up with his sister, the Iron Queen. A sister who he believes abandoned him long ago. Their reunion is not pleasant. Nor is his first encounter with Ash, who he blames primarily for taking Meghan away. The only person who seems willing to help him is Keirran and soon they head back to the human world to uncover the mystery of the missing fey.

Nearing the end of The Lost Prince I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. I'm not a great lover of male protagonists, so wasn't expecting to get pulled in as much as I was. But Julie has created another platform and a new direction for all of us to treasure. Ethan is a great character to follow and this first book doesn't pull any punches as far as angst and emotions are concerned. Now I'm eagerly anticipating the next instalment. :)

You can reach Julie Kagawa here:
Web   Blog   Twitter  Facebook  Goodreads


Review: The Goddess Legacy (Goddess Test, #2.5) by Aimee Carter






The Goddess Legacy (Goddess Test, #2.5) by Aimee Carter

Publishers: Harlequin Teen
Published Date:  July 31st 2012
From: NET GALLEY
My rating:
4 out of 5
Synopsis:
For millennia we've caught only glimpses of the lives and loves of the gods and goddesses on Olympus.

Now Aimee Carter pulls back the curtain on how they became the powerful, petty, loving and dangerous immortals that Kate Winters knows.

Five original novellas of love, loss and longing and the will to survive throughout the ages.
Review:If ever there was a way for Aimee Carter’s wonderful Goddess series to turn on its head it was by bringing out this wonderful Novella of 5 stories giving us an insight to our favourite Olympians background.

•    CALLIOPE/HERA REPRESENTED CONSTANCY AND YET HAD A HUSBAND WHO NEVER MATCHED HER FAITHFULNESS....

•    AVA/APHRODITE WAS THE GODDESS OF LOVE AND YET COMMITMENT WAS A TOTALLY DIFFERENT DEAL....

•    PERSEPHONE WAS URGED TO MARRY ONE MAN, YET LONGED FOR ANOTHER....

•    JAMES/HERMES LOVED TO MAKE TROUBLE FOR OTHERS—BUT NEVER KNEW TRUE LOSS BEFORE....

•    HENRY/HADES’S SOLITARY EXISTENCE HAD GROWN TOO WEARISOME TO CONTINUE. BUT MEETING KATE WINTERS GAVE HIM A NEW HOPE....

The stories are all wonderfully crafted bringing in the small details that I’ve learned from the first two novels. Of course I’m gripped to find out what happens, especially after reading Goddess Interrupted, and the cliff-hanger ending. But while I want to feel sorry for Calliope it is very clear that her mind has twisted a great deal in the in-between years.

For anyone who, like me, loves the first two books then this is a must read.
An exemplary and insightful read, tantalising us for the 3rd book in this wonderful series due out April 2013.

-CBx

You can reach Aimee Carter here:
 Facebook: Page
Goddess Interrupted ReviewGoddess Test Review

Review: Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel





Dust Girl (The American Fairy Trilogy #1) by Sarah Zettel

Publishers: Random House Children's Books
Published Date:  June 26th 2012
From: NET GALLEY
My rating:
3 out of 5
Synopsis:
Callie LeRoux lives in Slow Run, Kansas, helping her mother run their small hotel and trying not to think about the father she’s never met. Lately all of her energy is spent battling the constant storms plaguing the Dust Bowl and their effects on her health. Callie is left alone when her mother goes missing in a dust storm. Her only hope comes from a mysterious man offering a few clues about her destiny and the path she must take to find her parents in "the golden hills of the west": California.

Along the way she meets Jack, a young hobo boy who is happy to keep her company — there are dangerous, desperate people at every turn. And there’s also an otherworldly threat to Callie. Warring fae factions, attached to the creative communities of American society, are very much aware of the role this half-mortal, half-fae teenage girl plays in their fate.
Review:
Throughout the entire book I got the feeling that the author was trying to convey a message but I had no idea what the message was.

This is a different faerytale from the norm. The author clearly knows her history of the dustbowl of America and human rights concerning blacks at the time the story’s set.

In fact the history knowledge actually got in the way of the story for me. The story itself was a little too weak with random occurrences that don’t hold any purpose in the story. The beginning entrance of the Native American was one of those that occurred.

We have clich├ęd moments such as the scene in the field where our main protags are being chased. Relations that suddenly appear from nowhere assuring Callie that they can help with the most bizarre and unreal get-out scenarios. Our main male protagonist, Jack, does a disappearing act making us believe he’s run out on her, and he has.

The dance-off at the end really ended it for me. How could all the ‘good guys’ allow Callie to even enter a ball room knowing what her family are going to do to her and Jack. Plus any romance was non-existent.

Unfortunately, I found the story a little dull in comparison to the descriptive setting originally created.

-CB x