Friday, July 19, 2013

Review That Time I Joined a Circus by J. J. Howard

An Different Kind of Read
That Time I Joined the Circus is the story of a teen girl's journey of self-discovery when she is met with tragedy and has to travel to look for her mother in a circus.

I received this ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

O.k. this book really through me for a loop, overall I liked it. I really appreciated the story line, the writer's descriptions of the circus life, and the characters however I just felt like I was playing catch up through out the whole book.  The story is written in the present and past simultaneously by alternating chapters in the protagonist, "Lexi", "Xandra", or "X's" voice leading up to her tragedy. I kept having to go back and forth to read things and although the concept is brilliant, I just think the execution was off.  I identified with the characters to a certain extent but I just couldn't seem to keep that connection through out. There is an insinuated sex scene but no details and some sweet love scenes. I love the cover. Overall an interesting although different kind of read.

3 Stars out of 5 Stars

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review of Our Song by Jordanna Fraiberg

A Decent Read
Our Song is a YA contemporary romance novel about a girl who hears a mysterious melody in her head after being revived in a near fatal car accident.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review through NetGalley. 

The story told in Olive's POV, was intriguing up until three-quarters of the way into the book. After much awaited and drawn out suspense regarding why Olive was hearing the mysterious melody and who this mysterious boy Nick was, it became a little muddled. I felt like the author lost her train of thought for a moment then suddenly re-focused once again on what she was trying to convey. And although I really enjoyed Olive's personal growth through her life affirming experiences with Nick, there were certain scenes in the book where it was a little confusing like certain things were omitted or maybe time just transcended when Olive and Nick were together? I do have to say that in the end the story did pleasantly surprise me by not turning out the way I expected it to. 

The characters were well developed although some behavior was a bit tiresome; knowing someone personally who went through this, I found myself empathizing with the characters. The writing was a little rushed at times and at others a little confusing but I think it was the author's way of giving us a glimpse of Olive's state of mind as she goes through her NDE(Near Death Experience). It was a ARC so some formatting issues were present but not enough to make a difference in the reading experience. There is mention of sex with one sex scene described in a technical way and drinking. The cover is fitting. All in all a decent read.

3 Stars out of 5 Stars

Review of If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

An Eye-Opening Read
If You Could Be Mine is a coming of age story about a teen girl growing up in Iran who is in love with her best friend, who is a girl.

I received this ARC through NetGalley and Alqonquin Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. A special thank you to the author for writing this book and for the opportunity to read her book.

The story is gripping, sad, and makes you reflect about all the things that we as women in free countries take for granted. The theme is controversial in itself but to have it revealed in the backdrop of Iran where women are not allowed many rights and sometimes the punishment is death if certain codes are violated was impressive. The characters are engaging however I felt a sort of disconnect with Nasrin, Sahar's love interest. The writing was fluid and I read the book easily however because it was an ARC there were quite a few formatting issues, sentences, words, and letters from words missing so it was a little frustrating when sentences were incomplete. I have to applaud the writer for giving us a glimpse of what life is like not only for a young woman in Iran but a transsexual and gay person as well. There is mention of drugs, drinking, details of a sex change, and pregnancy. The cover is lovely. An eye-opening read

3 Solid Stars out of 5 Stars

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Review of The Silver Chain by Primula Bond

A Disappointing Read
The Silver Chain is an erotic contemporary romance about a promising photographer trying to make it in the big city of London when she unexpectedly finds herself in a contract that requires more than showing her work.

I received this ARC via a special invitation through NetGalley and AVON Publishing in exchange for an honest review. 

Well, I am going to go off my format a little, I don't pretend to be a scholar however I love to read especially about other countries and other cultures, ways of life. With that said I enjoy figuring out certain expressions or looking up words from other languages so I get the gist of the conservation or what the author is trying to get across. I am open to all kinds of reads and all kinds of different styles of writing however this book perplexed and confused me all throughout.

Maybe I just wasn't getting the references, dialogue, analogies, and comparisons but I found myself in a whirlwind of confusing and sometimes contradicting situations with characters I really didn't care for. The story line started off with a promising drama element then transitioned into what I thought to be a little tongue in cheek poke at other popular books then it became something more like an attempt to mimic certain situations from those books. I felt let down because the author would build up these promising situations to bring insight to why the characters were the way they were, only to offer some confusing analogy or dialogue sequence that would completely deflect from the situation at hand. The sex scenes were a little awkward and halting. This is an erotic book with elements of BDSM, graphic sex scenes, cussing, drugs, and drinking. In my humble opinion a disappointing read. The cover is simple but eye-catching.

2 Stars of 5 Stars

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review of Pretty Dark Nothing by Heather L. Reid

A Frustrating Read
Pretty Dark Nothing is a debut book in a YA paranormal series about a girl who has some sort of connection between demons and angels.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review through NetGalley and Month9Books. Thank you to the author for the opportunity to read her book.

I was quickly sucked into this story; I loved the horror aspects of this book.  The author's descriptive writing and the flow of the book made it easy but the characters although well developed just seemed a little off especially the protagonist and her love interests. I couldn't comprehend or empathize with some of the behavior especially when it came to the protagonist but I made allowances and just let the author take me where she wanted me to go. In my humble opinion, the secondary characters helped this book immensely, one can only tolerate a certain amount of selfish behavior. The protagonist did eventually redeem herself but at what cost in the story? 

I was blindsided by the abrupt ending when the premise is suddenly revealed in a confusing and obscure flashback not to mention a heck of a cliffhanger that left me quite annoyed. I found myself scratching my head and went back and read the last chapters again to make sure I wasn't missing something. This was a ARC so typical formatting issues were present but I read this book in hours so it didn't take away from the book. There is a sex scene although no graphic details just insinuated, and another sex scene is also implied, mention of teen pregnancy, mention of attempted suicide, cutting, and some cussing. The cover is haunting but beautiful. A frustrating read. 

2.5 Stars out of 5 Stars

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Review of When The Siren Calls by Tom Barry

A Hard Read
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review through NetGalley and Troubador Publishing Ltd. 

Spoiler Alert:
When the Siren Calls is a contemporary erotic romance about a married woman who feels unfulfilled in her marriage and finds herself torn between having an affair with a con artist and being faithful to her husband.

The story line is predictable; the author's descriptions of Tuscany are somewhat engrossing. The pace is rather slow and quite frankly I had to come back to this book several times before really being able to get into it. The story is told in several characters' POV in no particular order. The characters are flat and insipid; I really had a hard time identifying with any of them because they just didn't seem personable at all. It's an adult read; there is cussing, sex scenes, references to drinking and a scene where a woman gets taken advantage of while drunk. The cover doesn't make sense to me however it is a little haunting. A hard read. 

1.5 out of 5 Stars