Review: The Girl Who Never Was (Otherworld #1) by Skylar Dorset

The Girl Who Never Was (Otherworld, #1)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS is the story of Selkie Stewart, who thinks she’s a totally normal teenager growing up in Boston. Sure, her father is in an insane asylum, her mother left her on his doorstep—literally—when she was a baby, and she’s being raised by two ancient aunts who spend their time hunting gnomes in their Beacon Hill townhouse. But other than that her life is totally normal! She’s got an adventurous best friend who’s always got her back and an unrequited crush on an older boy named Ben. Just like any other teenager, right?

When Selkie goes in search of the mother she’s never known, she gets more than she bargained for. It turns out that her mother is faerie royalty, which would make Selkie a faerie princess—except for the part where her father is an ogre, which makes her only half of anything. Even more confusing, there’s a prophecy that Selkie is going to destroy the tyrannical Seelie Court, which is why her mother actually wants to kill her. Selkie has been kept hidden all her life by her adoring aunts, with the help of a Salem wizard named Will. And Ben. Because the boy she thinks she’s in love with turns out to be a faerie whose enchantment has kept her alive, but also kept her in the dark about her own life.

Now, with enchantments dissolved and prophecies swinging into action, Selkie finds herself on a series of mad quests to save the people she’s always loved and a life she’s learning to love. But in a supernatural world of increasingly complex alliances and distressingly complicated deceptions, it’s so hard to know who to trust. Does her mother really wish to kill her? Would Will sacrifice her for the sake of the prophecy? And does Ben really love her or is it all an elaborate ruse? In order to survive, Selkie realizes that the key is learning—and accepting—who she really is.

For the most part I felt this book toed the line between being cleverly amusing and a hot mess. I think it depends on the author’s intent.

The story is told in Selkie’s 1st person POV. Selkie has recently discovered she’s half ogre, half faerie royalty, and 100% confused. As Selkie’s aunts, protector, and wizard extraordinaire try to explain her life and the differences between Thisworld and Otherworld, Selkie’s head is spinning. Nothing makes sense. Is her whole life an enchanted false reality? If Dorset is trying to really connect the reader with Selkie, then this works. Selkie’s head is spinning. My head is spinning. Selkie doesn’t really know what’s going on. I don’t really know what’s going on. Connection established. However, if any of this is supposed to make coherent sense? – hot mess.

That said, some things did get a little clearer as the book went on. Some of the repeating elements, like time taking forever, or a minute, helps to establish some of the Otherworld concepts.

What really made this book for me was Ben. Benedict Le Faye is a special faerie who has been protecting Selkie her whole life, without her knowledge. She knows him casually, from hanging out in the Commons outside her house, and believes herself in love with him. Ben might be in love with her, too, but you can never really trust a faerie. Ben’s dialogue is what I really found amusing. He reminded me a lot of Jackaby, talking like an insane person who really isn’t insane, but just sounds like it to Selkie. He takes for granted that she should be as knowledgeable as he is and is baffled when she doesn’t understand him.

The rest of the characters – Aunt True, Aunt Virtue, Will the wizard, Selkie’s father, and best friend Kelsey, could have all been a little more developed. While the conversations with the aunts and Will were almost as amusing as Ben, we really don’t get much information on any of them. I’m sort of ambivalent about Kelsey. She didn’t really do anything to make me really like her, or really dislike her. I’m hoping they will all be more developed in the next book.

Overall, I did enjoy The Girl Who Never Was. I don’t think it would be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like faeries and ogres, amusing dialogue, and being slightly confused, but entertained, this book is for you. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, out in December.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 3
Characters: 3
Readability: 3
Enjoyability: 3.75
Overall Rating: 3.18 stars

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Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway: Gone by Anna Bloom

 

Title: Gone

Author: Anna Bloom

Genre: Mature YA (intended for readers ages 16-19)

Publication: July 28th, 2014

Rebecca Walters harbours a dark secret, and as the fifty-three bangles she wears on her wrists as a self-imposed sentence of guilt remind her, she can’t even begin to consider moving on. Not after what happened on that night six months ago… a night which she can’t remember and yet managed to change her life forever.

When Rebecca comes across Joshua Adams, man equally haunted by past tragedies, on a moonlit beach, both of their lives are destined to change forever, and when the girl made out of the sun meets the boy made out of the moon and sea, anything can happen… but will the knowledge of their murky pasts bring them together or drive them apart?

Will Rebecca finally be able to claim her freedom? Will she stay and fight to be the girl she found on the sandy beaches of Cornwall or is she destined to keep running and hiding from a past that won’t stay Gone? One thing’s for certain: either way, nothing will ever be the same again.

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Anna Bloom is a contemporary romance writer who writes about life as it happens. Combining a busy schedule of looking after two small children whilst working in a local school and completing The Uni Files series she also spends a lot of time imagining kissing hot guys – all in the name of her art.

                  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

REVIEW

Welcome! I’m so excited to be a stop on the blog tour for Anna Bloom’s new book, Gone.

I feel like Anna Bloom gets better with every book she writes. I’ve read her Uni Files books and thought they were cute and fun, so I was expecting to like Gone and I was not disappointed! Often times when you read different books/series by the same author they use a lot of the same tropes and character mannerisms and phrases, so I was almost expecting a younger version of Ben and Lilah. But Bloom definitely defied my expectations and wrote a completely different tale with new characters that are nothing like the ones she’s written before.

Let’s talk about POV. If you’ve followed my blog at all, you know that I LOVE multiple 1st Person POV. It can be tricky, but when done well I think it really gives the best emotional payoff. And Bloom pulls it off beautifully. Bex and Josh both have distinct voices and I never mixed up their chapters. They each carry their own guilt and pain, which is a major part of the story, and Bloom manages to convey each in different ways.

One thing that always bugs me in YA books is the insta-love factor, but I actually think it works here. When one of them comments about how they’ve only known each other a couple of days, it almost surprises me, because it really does feel like they’ve been together longer.

While I felt the story was pretty well paced, there were a few chapters towards the middle of the book that dragged a little bit for me. Also I thought that the phrases “the boy made of the sea and the moon” and “the girl made of sun” were used a little too much.

Overall, I really enjoyed Gone. It was a sweet story with a deeper message of forgiveness and acceptance. I would recommend this book to fans of YA contemporary.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

CHECK OUT THE REST OF THE STOPS ON THE BLOG TOUR:

July 28th

Kimberlyfaye Reads (http://kimberlyfayereads.com)

Flutters and Flails (http://fluttersandflails.blogspot.com/)

Camisado Mind (http://camisadomind.blogspot.com)

July 29th

Actin’ Up with Books (http://actinupwithbooks.blogspot.com)

The Phantom Paragrapher (www.thephantomparagrapher.blogspot.com)

Stephanie’s Book Reviews (https://stephaniesbookreviews.wordpress.com)

July 30th

JRRichardson Fics (http://jrrichardsonfics.wordpress.com/)

Holly’s Hot Reads (http://hollyshotreads.wordpress.com)

July 31st

The Book Lovers (http://thebooklovers.org)

I’m Buried in Books (http://wwwburiedinbooks.blogspot.com/)

Books With Izzy (http://bookswithizzy.blogspot.com/)

August 1st

Inside the Pages of a Book (www.insidethepagesofabook.com)

Sleepless in Chicago (http://www.sleeplessinchi.com)

Good Choice Reading (http://goodchoicereading.com)

Get Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout for FREE today!

Obsidian (Lux Series #1)

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time you know I have a lot of love for the Lux series by Jennifer Armentrout. If you haven’t checked it out yet, the first book in the series, Obsidian, is being offered as a free digital download right now through Entangled Publishing! Don’t let the cover art put you off! This is such a fun series!

When I just looked Obsidian up on my Nook store, it wasn’t showing as free. So I had to go to the Entangled link I gave above and click on the Barnes and Noble icon to get it for free. So if you just search for the book at your book store of choice, you might not see it for free. Or maybe it’s just me? But anyways, it’s free! And I’m not sure how long that will last! So go download it!

The last book in the series, Opposition, comes out next Tuesday!

Mid-Year Book Freakout (Survey)

 

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I saw on Brin’s Book Blog that A Book So Fathomless had created a mid-year book survey and thought it seemed fun.


1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2014
Cress by Marissa Meyer. This series really does get better with each book and Cress didn’t disappoint. Meyer has created a terrific cast of characters and seamlessly weaves together multiple storylines.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2014
Perfect Lies by Kiersten White. This series is only a duology and this book ended the series so well!

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to
Landline by Rainbow Rowell! Rainbow is pretty much an auto-buy, but I won a copy in a give-away and I’m still waiting for it to arrive!!

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
Opposition by Jennifer Armentrout! The Lux series is one of my favorites and this is the last book!

5. Biggest disappointment
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. I read lots of hype about this book and for me it just didn’t deliver.

6. Biggest surprise
 City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare. I expected to hate this series ender. While I had some issues with it, it really did end things nicely.

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)
Jojo Moyes! Why did it take so long for me to read her?

8. Newest fictional crush
Sean Kendrick in The Scorpio Races.

9. Newest favourite character
Kami Glass in the Lynburn Legacy series.

10. Book that made you cry
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

11. Book that made you happy
On the Fence by Kasie West was completely adorable.

12. Favourite book to film adaptation you saw this year
The only one I’ve seen this year has been The Vampire Academy, and, yeah….

13. Favourite review you’ve written this year
Oh geeze, I don’t know. I never think any of my reviews are that good.

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)
Ignite Me has such a beautiful cover. The sad part of that, though, is that I have it on my Nook Simple Touch which is all black and white.

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
Opposition by JLA, Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan, Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater, Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins.

Review: Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1) by Kasie West

Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

I’ve read Kasie West’s contemporary YA novels and found them pretty adorable, so I thought I’d give her other series I try. Though it took me a little while to get into it, I enjoyed Pivot Point.

Addie lives in a compound with people with paranormal abilities. She can Search the future when given a specific choice to make to see what the outcome will be. I would personally use this power All. The. Time. because I’m the most indecisive person ever. But, Addie doesn’t like to use it because she keeps “memories” of both paths, even the ones that don’t come to fruition, and it can be hard to keep track of reality. She’s also very careful to not change anything that happens in the future she chooses.

When her parents tell her they’re divorcing and she has to decide whether to stay in the compound with her mom or live in the Normal world with her father, her best friend Laila suggests she search the future to see which parent she should choose to live with. The story then follows what her life would be like on each path, in alternating chapters.

While I definitely enjoyed the chapters of Addie’s Norm life more than her Para life, I felt like the plot was moved along further in the Para chapters. While Addie is a likable character, there were times that she was almost a little too perfect. Laila, in contract, was the typical YA BFF – more beautiful, more popular, more daring than our sweet, innocent main character, and ultimately brings them trouble.

Overall, I did really enjoy Pivot Point. I thought the world building was a little sparse, but it was just enough to give us all the info we need. I really liked the writing style of the alternating chapters being alternate realities. I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series to see her reunited with the path I wish she chose.

Also, as far as I can tell this is just a duology. Does anyone know for sure if book 2 is the end or is there more to this series??

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 3.5
Characters: 3
Readability: 4
Enjoyability: 4
Overall Rating: 3.625 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island

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Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island.

1-5 The Merrick Brothers and Becca from the Elemental Series by Brigid Kemmerer. They would all be super helpful in controlling the environment and they’re fun!

Storm (Elemental, #1)  Sacrifice (Elemental, #5)  Spark (Elemental, #2)

1. Nick – Can control Earth
2. & 3. Twins Gabriel & Nick can control Fire and Air
4. & 5.Chris and his girlfriend Becca can control Water and Spirit

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)

6. Kami Glass from the Lynburn Legacy series by Sarah Rees Brennan. She would work on a way to save us and entertain us with her wit and humor along the way.

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha, #3)

7. Sturmhond from The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo. Everyone’s favorite Privateer! He’s smart, he’s resourceful, and he’s hilarious.

8. Captain Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Because he can hold his own, even without his sight. And he’s entertaining.

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

9. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. Because obviously she’s on EVERYBODY’S list and I can’t be the only one who doesn’t have her. She’s awesome. No explanation required.

Jackaby

10. R.F. Jackaby from Jackaby William Ritter. If anything fishy is going on, a la Lost, then Jackaby will figure it out!

Who would you want with you on a deserted island?

 

Review: Grasping at Eternity (Kindrily #1) by Karen Amanda Hooper

Grasping at Eternity (The Kindrily, #1)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Leave it to Maryah Woodsen to break the one rule that will screw up eternity: Never erase your memories.

Before entering this life, Maryah did the unthinkable—she erased. Now, at seventeen years old, she’s clueless that her new adoptive family has known her for centuries, that they are perpetually reincarnated souls, and that they have supernatural abilities. Oh, and she’s supposed to love (not despise) Nathan, the green-eyed daredevil who saved her life.

Nathan is convinced his family’s plan to spark Maryah’s memory is hopeless, but his love for her is undying. After spending (and remembering) so many lifetimes together, being around an empty version of his soulmate is heart shattering. He hates acting like a stalker, but has no choice because the evil outcast who murdered Maryah in their last lifetime is still after her.

While Maryah’s hunter inches closer, she and Nathan make assumptions and hide secrets that rip them further apart. Maryah has to believe in the magic within her, Nathan must have faith in the power of their love, and both need to grasp onto the truth before they lose each other forever—and discover just how lonely eternity can be.

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

I think that this is one of those novels that suffered from a too detailed synopsis. I didn’t feel like anything was really a surprise because so many major plot points are already given away.

That said, it was still a mostly enjoyable read. I really liked the cast the characters. The kindrily (like a clan of Elements – souls that can choose to retain their memories when they reincarnate and have special abilities) is large and it took awhile to get them all straight, but I think that Hooper does a good job of giving them all distinct personalities. I enjoyed reading all of their interactions.

I’m still a little confused with the explanation of the whole Kindrily process and all the rules. I feel like information was given a little too sporadically and I would’ve appreciated a more detailed explanation given at one time. I also thought that the subplot with Dedrick, the big villain of the story, was not well developed.

Overall, I enjoyed Grasping at Eternity. It was an interesting premise with some well developed characters. While much of the plot was predictable and the explanations a little confusing, I’m still looking forward to reading the next books in the series.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 3
Characters: 3.5
Readability: 3
Enjoyability: 3.5
Overall Rating: 3.25 stars