Monday, February 23, 2015

ARC REVIEW - TWIST by Karen Akins

TWIST (Loop #2)
by Karen Akins 
Publisher - St. Martin's Press
Release Date - 31st March 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository 

The unbelievably thrilling sequel to the time-travel YA novel Loop.

Bree Bennis finally has it all—a non-comatose mother, an uber-hot (albeit anachronistic) boyfriend named Finn, and a newfound mission to protect the timeline from those who would skew it for their own gain. But when she leans over one day to smooch said boyfriend, her lips meet those of her arch-nemesis Wyck instead. The timeline has been altered, and Bree is caught in the crosshairs. But when she goes back to repair the damage, she is stopped by none other than her Future Self, who delivers an urgent message: Someone is kidnapping Shifters from the distant past. It’s up to Bree to stop them. But first, she has to figure out who…and why.

To follow the trail of chronocrumbs, Bree reluctantly accepts her new undercover gig as Wyck’s girlfriend. Everything goes spiffy until Finn shows up in the 23rd century on the eager arm of a gorgeous fellow Shifter. Blark. Even as Bree struggles with jealousy, she battles the nagging dread that Finn might be better off with someone less chronologically complicated. Her worst fear is confirmed when Finn becomes the kidnapper’s next victim. As Bree zeroes in on the culprit, they unravel her life one timeline-change at a time. She realizes that she alone has the power to save herself and everyone she loves. But to do that, she may lose Finn forever.
At the end of last year while on winter holidays I read LOOP in one sitting and I absolutely adored it. It was one of my first reviews of this year and what a way start out. Now TWIST is even better than the first book. No sequel book syndrome, this book sends your spiraling across time and space. 

TWIST continues one from the drama that is the consequences of time travel and changing a specific point in time. Bree Bennis has finally got her life under control even her shifts. Her mum is out of a coma, her boyfriend from the Twenty-First century couldn't be more perfect, and no more cryptic messages from her Future-Self or so she thought. LOOP left off with the danger that is Ice, an organisation hell bent on destroying the lives of Shifters and using and experimenting on them. When she became the carrier of the reverter, an object that can identify when someone is making a change in their own timeline, she shifts and stops it from occurring. But with every change, their is essentially a consequence, another echo of a timeline is created. When Bree tried to stop a major change for her and for Finn, her Future Self showed up once again, to keep his, destroy yours, that is her clue and one that would indefinitely revert everything to the true timeline. Bree has to fix every change, but it could also lose everything she hold most dear. 

Confused yet?! Well that's alright, I was the same, but that the beauty of her time travel books, especially those that leave your mind whirling when you finish for a time. But to be honest when you turn back to it, your just so entranced by it, it's hard not to love it. It literally is a page-turner, so if I could have read this one in one sitting I would and that's what I love about Akins books. Her plot-lines are utterly flawless, her language and stylistic writing is pure genius, there are just some things that just crack you up with her references. What I loved the most was that some of Bree shifts made her end up in 2016. So close to us, which was fascinating to see Akins view of the world too, in different times and places. 

Akins creates the most, engaging, brilliant, comedic, characters. Bree Bennis, has a lot on her shoulders, especially when she has the control of the future in her hand. Bree loves to say 'Oh Blark' or 'Blark' in general which makes me giggle, and I have to say on more than one occasion I have said it myself. Bree isn't your casual, simple, YA character, she has depth, and experience. You can't do anything but just connect and love her. Oh and Finn. Finn, Finn, Finn... he couldn't be more perfect than when he was in Loop. Together, they both face some pure happiness, and love but also loss, sadness and some horrific decisions to be made. No matter what they were destined to be together on any timeline. 

I don't know what is to come of Bree and Finn now... I don't know if there is another book in the series yet. But I can't wait for what this series and Karen Akins has to offer next. If you want to read a YA Sci-Fi series, then I recommend this 100%. I've never been so addicted to a time travel, shifting series as this.

Rating - 5

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

REVIEW - THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Katie Van Ark

The Boy Next Door
by Katie Van Ark
Publisher - Macmillan Children's Books
Release Date - January 15th 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository


In this intensely romantic novel, Maddy falls in love with her skating partner - who is also the boy next door.
Maddy Spier has been in love with the boy next door forever. As his figure-skating partner she spends time in his arms every day. But she's also seen his arms around other girls - lots of other girls.

Gabe can't imagine skating with anyone but Maddy, and together they have a real chance at winning some serious gold medals. So he's determined to keep thinking of her like a sister. After all, he's never had a romantic relationship that lasted for more than two weeks.

But when their coach assigns a new romantic skating program, everything changes. Will this be the big break that Maddy's been hoping for or the big break-up that Gabe has always feared?
Ice skating. Romance. Two best friends destined to be with each other. Fear. Adrenaline. What could be better, I mean ice skating, c'mon that sounds like something you don't read every day. Am I hyping you up for this book, well this is what we were all like, including me for February's chosen book of The Reader's Lounge. It sparked interest, but sadly lacked potential. 

Gabe and Maddy have been best friends, ice-skating partners and neighbours for as long as they can remember. Maddy has been Gabe's friend but she also has much deeper feelings for him, however Gabe has a hard time acknowledging his feelings when he knows he can have a girlfriend for two weeks before he gets bored. So when Igor, their coach tells them to do a new routine,coincidentally named of the classic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. When they they both have an opportunity to see, feel, touch what it's like to be in love through one of their sets and routines on the ice everything spirals out of control for the both of them. Whilst you had everything that creates a perfect winter romance, the potential was certainly there it just sadly lacked the follow through. I was disappointed, I really was, like I said before, the description, the cover sounded just what you needed, but I found myself very confuddled at the end of the book. It kept you wondering til the end but it wasn't necessarily a good wondering, it just left me feeling rather downhearted sadly.

Through a dual perspective, we see both Gabe and Maddy characters unfold. Gabe, how can you describe him, well has the red Viper, girls lining up to date him. He's the one night stand or the two-week relationship status. If I'm brutally honest, he's rather a plain and little boring in places, I hate to say. Gabe was quite an awkward to character to get to know, I felt that he way too literal and didn't really have that depth of character or emotion for us as readers to really get to know. Now Maddy, well, she is fearless, if she falls she gets back up, she is determined and passionate. I really liked Maddy in the beginning, she had potential, purpose on the ice, drive...but throughout the book, I felt her character was withering around edges, I felt she was changing and wasn't her true self and I don't know why I feel like that. I felt sorry for her.

As a relationship there were so many mixed messages from Gabe that I felt that their whole relationship or lack of during the book was so hot n' cold. It certainly felt like a reader whiplash of emotions as I wasn't sure what they were doing, or what Gabe was even thinking of. Everything a skater should be, on ice they are this perfect couple, off ice they really don't know what they are. I think what got me the most was the way Gabe was acting especially to their extra training, I felt that Maddy was totally being used and then the rest of the hours, Gabe brushes her off. I mean who does that if ultimately they really do feel for them. Whilst there was some great moments, I also felt that their were moments of YA bonded with NA, so in itself it's quite a unusual and trying novel to contend with. 

As one of my anticipated reads of this year, the cover, the description sounded almost perfect, and this certainly did remind me of one of my favourite Rom-com films, Chalet Girl. But the difference is, the film is a brilliant, funny, toe-curling romance film you can snuggle into. It's sad to see a book for your club being a disappointment, but it's nice to see what we thought and we alike felt the same away about the book. Whilst it was a cute read, I think it really needed to be developed a lot more and the characters to really be thought out and fulfilled more.

Rating - (Undecided) 2.5-3

Sunday, February 15, 2015

BLOG TOUR: GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY - CONSPIRACY GIRL by Sarah Alderson


Hi Everyone and welcome to my stop of the Conspiracy Girl blog tour. I have already reviewed this book last month and I thoroughly enjoyed. Her thriller books are brilliant, so if you haven't read her latest I would recommend The Sound, another set thriller, mystery YA novel. Today the lovely, Sarah has written a Guest Post for me as well as a giveaway of lots of signed books and prizes so don't forget to scroll down to the end of the post to enter. Before, I introduce Sarah's guest post, here is a little more about the book...

Conspiracy Girl
by Sarah Alderson
Publisher - Simon & Schuster
Release Date - February 12th 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Everybody knows about the Cooper Killings.

There was only one survivor – fifteen year-old Nic Preston.
Now eighteen, Nic is trying hard to rebuild her life. But then one night her high-security apartment is broken into. It seems the killers are back to finish the job.
Finn Carter – hacker, rule breaker, player – is the last person Nic ever wants to see again. He’s the reason her mother’s murderers walked free. But as the people hunting her close in, Nic has to accept that her best chance of staying alive is by staying close to Finn.

And the closer they get to the truth, and to each other, the greater the danger becomes.
Nic's life is based on a conspiracy until Finn arrived to uncover the truth... Have you ever been fascinated or believed in any conspiracies before, that influenced this novel or generally?

Actually the idea for the book came from an article I read in Smithsonian Magazine. I don’t want to give away what the conspiracy is because if you read the book it will ruin it, but suffice to say it’s based on a real event involving one of the biggest and most recognisable luxury brands in the world and one of the most lucrative and glamorous industries in the world. The story involved an eye-popping conspiracy and death threats. I was amazed when I read it and thought ‘that would make such a great background to a book.’

I do tend to be a cynic and a sceptic when I hear official stories. I think we have to be critical readers – question everything we’re told and everything we read. Always ask – who is telling me this and why? What is their agenda?

I love a good conspiracy story. UFOs, the twin towers, JFK, Princess Di... I’m always intrigued.





Sarah is the author of Hunting Lila (winner of the Kingston Book Award), Losing Lila, Fated, The Sound, Out of Control and Conspiracy Girl (all Simon & Schuster).

Having spent most of her life in London, Sarah quit her job in the non profit sector in 2009 and took off on a round the world trip with her husband and daughter on a mission to find a new place to call home (a journey that was documented on this blog and which is shortly to be turned into a book).

After almost a year spent travelling the world, they settled in Bali where they lived for five beautiful years before the vagabonding urge became too great and they decided to embark on Can We Live Here part two. They are currently located somewhere between India, London, Canada and the US.

As well as writing young adult novels and screenplays, Sarah also writes adult fiction for Pan Macmillan (Simon & Schuster in the US) under the name Mila Gray.

Her first adult novel, Come Back To Me, was published in June 2014. The second, This One Moment, will be out in August 2015.

Sarah has co-written the Hunting Lila screenplay, which is currently in the early stages of production, and continues to blog about her life and travels.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads 

Giveaway is International and four prizes are up for grabs!
1 prize of 1 x signed copy of Out of Control, 1 x signed CG, 1 x signed The Sound, signed bookmarks
2 prizes of signed copies of CG, signed bookmarks
1 prize of having a character named after you in next book

GOOD LUCK!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don't forget to visit the other blogs on this tour with Delve into Dystopia tomorrow. 

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