Tuesday, March 31, 2015

REVIEW - TROUBLE by Non Pratt

Trouble 
by Non Pratt
Publisher - Walker Books UK
Release Date - March 6th 2014
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository 

In this dazzling debut novel, a pregnant teen learns the meaning of friendship—from the boy who pretends to be her baby’s father.

When the entire high school finds out that Hannah Shepard is pregnant via her ex-best friend, she has a full-on meltdown in her backyard. The one witness (besides the rest of the world): Aaron Tyler, a transfer student and the only boy who doesn’t seem to want to get into Hannah’s pants. Confused and scared, Hannah needs someone to be on her side. Wishing to make up for his own past mistakes, Aaron does the unthinkable and offers to pretend to be the father of Hannah’s unborn baby. Even more unbelievable, Hannah hears herself saying “yes.”

Told in alternating perspectives between Hannah and Aaron, Trouble is the story of two teenagers helping each other to move forward in the wake of tragedy and devastating choices. As you read about their year of loss, regret, and hope, you’ll remember your first, real best friend—and how they were like a first love.
Oh how this book had so many feels, and I was on the verge of tears when it came to the end. Trouble is a book that I've always been conscientious about reading because of it plot line and teenage pregnancy. Its not something I really want to read about when I see it on a day to day basis. But was I wrong, yes! Miss Pratt created a far more beautiful rendition of a contemporary novel about love, consequences, but most of all friendship and sticking by each other in the toughest times of ones teens life.

What I loved was that it wasn't always about Hannah and her pregnancy, both of these MCs have a story to tell and told through a dual perspective. Hannah is your typical teenager, she likes a drink, she likes to party and she certainly likes having sex too. But one night, when she first took her V card, she didn't realise it was going to haunt her 4 months down the line when she becomes pregnant. She doesn't count on the baby daddy being around. So when a curious, new student named Aaron arrives she feels something right with him and before both too them know it, he's volunteered to be the fake baby daddy. I haven't read something like this before and I was typically a fan even when this book was first released. But one day it peaked my curiosity and I thought why the hell not. I wasn't disappointed instead I was elated, happy, tearful, it was beautiful seeing new lives being born. Not just a new born but the start of something magical.

There were moments in the book that made me inadvertently cringe. Especially in the beginning, I was certainly like 'Really!?', why would a teenager of the age of fifteen want to become someone like that, want to throw away their life and want to grow up in more ways than one. I think Hannah was someone pretty much like that, But she certainly had some slutty friends naming one, Katie. I actually wanted to really slap her. She was nothing but a wannabe bratty child and she makes Hannah's life a living hell while she hasn't got enough on her plate already. However let me highlight the WAS in that sentence. I think having another responsibility for not only yourself is something scary, frightening and is the unknown. Hannah comes a long way to accept that, and that's what aspiring in Pratt's writing and her character.

Aaron has his own story, his own battles that have haunted him. He is lost and lonely. He meets his best friend in a residential home. Oh Neville! Aaron felt safe and happy playing cards and spending with someone who needs some company, friendship. Aaron suffered happiness and sadness in such a short amount of time that he needs a focus. Hannah needs his support, a friend to rely on, and he wants to matter again, he needs to do something amazing. He becomes a fake baby daddy and he takes it with both hands and doesn't let go. There is something deeper between them but friendship is the beginning.

You find with this book you don't really connect with characters but you hear the, you listen to them, you hear their story which makes this a beautifully written and emotional novel to experience. If you know of anything similar in genre of this book. Please let me know. I want to hear people's stories like these to witness their happy endings. A book that makes me cry shows how truly amazing this author is. I need more and I can't wait to read Remix. Something entirely different.

Rating - 5

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

REVIEW - THE SIN EATER'S DAUGHTER by Melinda Salisbury

The Sin Eater's Daughter (The Sin Eater's Daughter #1)
by Melinda Salisbury
Publisher - Scholastic Press
Release Date - March 1st 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

I am the perfect weapon.
I kill with a single touch.

Twylla is blessed. The Gods have chosen her to marry a prince, and rule the kingdom. But the favour of the Gods has it's price. A deadly poison infuses her skin. Those who anger the queen must die under Twylla's fatal touch.

Only Lief, an outspoken new guard, can see past Twylla's chilling role to the girls she truly is.

Yet in a court as dangerous and the queen's, some truths should not be told...

This book really got me out of my reading funk. I really had no idea what I was in for with this book and I can tell you, that I adored it from page 1. How I think of is Princess Fiona (Shrek) meets Throne of Glass (Sarah J. Maas) and the Grisha series (Leigh Bardugo). Your probably thinking what a weird combination but that what makes it a kick-ass fantasy novel from debut author Melinda Salisbury.

Twylla is an untouchable weapon of the kingdom, the perfect source to keep the people, and castle guarded by what habits inside. Her mother, a Sin Eater, performs a ritual when someone has died to clear them of their sins before they pass on, call it a feast of sins, if you like, she eats whatever lays on top of their coffin. Twylla, has learned to be a Sin Eater when her time has come, but the Queen of Lormere had other ideas in mind. When Twylla passed seven harvests (seven years old) she made a choice to be essentially the Queen's executioner, but how did she know at such a young age that choice, could be the biggest consequence of her life. Now, her hand drip with poison at every touch she consumes to the guilty. One touch could kill you, but one touch can set you free.

In the beginning you are intrigued by what Twylla could possibly be. She goes back to the day that she killed her best friend because he was sentenced for treason. For us the readers, I want to know how she became a poison, how an innocent girls who can't lead a normal life has to witness the fear of people's eyes on a daily basis. Like I said in the beginning paragraph, Twylla is like a princess in a tower and a guard or prince saves her from eternity being trapped. I imagine her like one of the Voltouri in the Twilight films with red mist emulating from her fingertips. I was very torn with her character, I pitied her, I'm not a fan of pitying characters when you always find people say 'I don't want your pity' silly, but it's what I live by. Twylla is all but a shell of a character and it's only when her guard Leif and his toothy grin that she starts to feel human again.

Leif is such a character, he seems a bit of clown if I'm honest because of how different he is and he completely turns the book around completely. At times there wasn't only just Leif but the Prince who Twylla is betrothed too. So you can see there is in hindsight a love-triangle. I wasn't really that bothered I sort of disliked the Prince from beginning. Subjecting Twylla to a life like this and watching it was something I wasn't willing to like in his favour. Whilst I was reading this with Donna we both had different characters we were rooting for; I was Team Leif and she was Team Prince. The romance between said character, (no spoilers), was just right and I loved how Twylla unraveled because of him and in end it gave her strength to see what's real and what isn't.

Miss Salisbury writing was phenomenal, I couldn't fault it. So easy to read and to just let yourself go. You know when you have a fantasy novel that is nothing but descriptions, it gets boring, I think I may have mentioned it in my review of The Winner's Curse, in my eyes, a fantasy YA novel needs a balance, and this certainly is a kick ass balance. The plot line is something I've never really read before, maybe because I don't really read very much fantasy YA. But I undoubtedly would recommend an easy, connectable, magical rendition of a cracking plot line and characters. I hear that there will be a sequel but from another POV...looking forward to that immensely.

Rating - 4.5

Friday, March 20, 2015

REVIEW - THE WINNER'S CRIME by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2)
by Marie Rutkoski
Publisher - Bloomsbury Children's Books
Release Date - March 12th 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository 

Lady Kestrel's engagement to Valoria's crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust ...

While Arin fights to keep his country's freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth.

Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking Winner's trilogy.
Sadly, I hate to say this but I did DNF this book at 50%, so your probably wondering why would I review a DNF when I never have before. I loved the first book and the girls, Tanja and Glass and I were going to do a joint review and I wanted to add my opinion to the mix. I don't know what it was about this book that so many people just loved, but I had some major issues and I think my lack of time to read, my slowness didn't help either. I guess you could say that it suffered the middle book syndrome. Would it be weird if I said I still sort of need to know what happens in the third and final book...

1. Did you like the darker side of this story?
When I first began The Winner's Crime I wasn't all the keen on how the story turned around. Wouldn't she had been safer with Arin?! I know it's against all her ideals but to marry in order to save the war and then now she's the Emperor's lap dog, her father, the general fighting for him and marrying the Prince for the Emperor's ideals. So if I'm honest it was the darker to the plotline and characters that lead me to DNF it at 50%.

2. Was the change in style of narration/writing a good choice?
No, not really. I found that it didn't quite have that balance I was talking about in my previous review of The Winner's Curse. I felt it didn't flow properly and I think that it what let it down I think. The pace of the book slowed down dramatically which impacted me with my reading as I wasn't engrossed in comparison to the previous book.

3. Our feelings about lack of romance.
There was nothing there that really continued my interest. Even when that tragic part happen to Arin, which I'm saying anything, because of spoilers, I thought, they might have let bygones be bygones. Kestrel is certainly one to play hard to get. But why won't she give into her passions, her feelings. That was what was frustrating especially after what Arin said at the very end of The Winner's Curse.

4. What do you think of Kestral's character in this book in comparison to The Winner's Curse?
She has only become a shell of what she used to be and that is what I enjoyed about her The Winner's Curse. She had everything a strong, feral protagonist should have. In the sequel, she just lacked that passion in everything, her romance with Arin or the Prince, her ideals and beliefs changed, she had no drive towards them. I think everything in her character was slow, it didn't match the character I loved.

5. Which book is your favourite cover? 
The Winner's Curse

6. The Winner's Curse or The Winner's Crime?
The Winner's Curse

Rating - 2

Don't forget to check out Glass & Tanja's review here.
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