Ramblings of a Young Aussie Writer

A writer lost in her own imagination

3.5* Book Review – Iniquity by Amy A Bartol (The Premonition Series) — June 26, 2016

3.5* Book Review – Iniquity by Amy A Bartol (The Premonition Series)

Iniquity – The Premonition Series (Book 5)

Amy A Bartol

3.5 Star Review

I’ve finally finished the series that I thought would never end. I feel like it has dragged on for way too long. It just felt like overkill. I understand that as a writer, sometimes you love writing about those characters and that world so much you never want it to end but there needs to be a conclusion. It might be a bit of a spoiler but there were loose ends at the end of the book. Clearly, Amy Bartol has left a few things open just in case she wants to add a sixth book. *Groan*

Positives The cover is just beautiful – lets take a moment to appreciate that. I really enjoy Amy Bartol’s style of writing, probably most of the reason I persevered with this series (and of because of Reed). The basic storyline was great but I’ve heard that she doesn’t always plan her storyline when starting and I think that showed. I love Reed. How can you not? The ending certainly does him justice. Russell is really well developed and I wished he had had a bigger role in this book. I actually ended up liking Brennus which is no easy feat as I’ve wanted him to die from book one. You were shown very different sides to quite a few characters in this book. I did end up crying at the end of the book but that’s not too uncommon. Evie was well, Evie. There were quite a few moments where she certainly didn’t try that hard to deter some of her many admirers.

NegativesHow many admirers can one person have? Like seriously? I swear the count got up to seven. Yes you read correctly. Evie had a minimum of seven males obsessing over her. There was a lot of build up to a climax that just didn’t live up to it. A few pages and the spectacular climax scene was basically over. It was certainly a letdown. Especially considering this is the final book, the final fight scene. Buns, Brownie and Zee seemed like awkward add-ons in this book which was a shame. A lot of things that needed to be finished properly were just skimmed over. I enjoy finishing a book and still thinking about it days/weeks later but with this one I mostly just keep thinking of things that still confuse me. Whether they were unexplained or left too open, I’m not sure.

Overall I did enjoy this book and was glad it was the final one in the series. Would I recommend it to someone? Maybe. The series as a whole, I loved but it was really long-winded, that was its downfall for me (and of course the fact that there were more than a few handfuls of past, present and future lovers). The best bit – Reed. Now let’s take a moment to once again swoon over Reed. Ahhhh Reed, you gorgeous, perfect angel.

*All my reviews are on Goodreads too*

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Haze by Paula Weston #2 in Rephaim Series 4 Star Review — June 29, 2015

Haze by Paula Weston #2 in Rephaim Series 4 Star Review

Haze – The Rephaim Book 2

Paula Weston

4 Star Review

As soon as I finished the first book Shadows, I absolutely had to start Haze straight away.

PositivesI loved the first book in the series Shadows and my high expectations of Haze were delightfully warranted. Gaby was more confident and stronger in this book. Thankfully she still held her attitude which makes her a more interesting protagonist. Rafa’s bipolar moods were a bit hard to keep up with but it makes him who he is. In some ways you can understand his conflicting emotions and the reasoning behind them although we won’t truly understand it until we find out what happened between the two before Gaby lost her memory. The storyline had some very real scenes that bring you back from the fantasy world and grounds the story. I often found myself awkwardly smiling or laughing from the witty remarks of Rafa and Gaby which means reading this book whilst in the company of others may incur some strange looks.

NegativesThe cover of a book is always a huge part as to why you would select it in a sea of millions of other books. Even though I really liked the cover of Shadows this cover was not great. I understand they wanted to follow a pattern with the covers but to me it looked like a trashy guy in track pants and no top with a sword on his back. It was too badly photoshopped on to be believable. Not a great way to entice readers but the shadowy wings, similar to the first cover, improve it. As much as I enjoyed this book, I found that there were a few scenes that weren’t explained enough and it made some parts hard to understand. There are also a few concepts that are difficult to comprehend but you get the general gist of it all. The real reason that I gave it only 4 stars though, is that I felt the plot was lacking a bit. The build-up was great and I was completely lost in the story but then it didn’t seem to end well. It was as though I was missing the end chapters. It’s great to end in a cliff-hanger but I think the storyline didn’t set up for such an extreme cliff-hanger to ended with.

Overall I’m very excited to read book three – Shimmer after finishing Haze. I’m very thankful I started reading the series now that three out of the four books are published. The ending of Haze would making waiting for Shimmer to be released, unbearable but luckily I’ll be starting Shimmer as soon as I finish this review. If you want to read a fantasy series with a difference then definitely try Shadows and of course you’ll be devouring Haze and Shimmer before you know what you’re doing.

BLURB –

“But what if we can’t find Jude?” 
He leans closer. His breath is warm on my ear. “We will.”
“How can you be so sure?” I want to believe him so badly, but this is Rafa. The guy who’s all action and no plan. His smile is tired, knowing. An echo of a shared past I don’t remember. 
“Because I’m not smart enough to give up, and you don’t know how to.” 

Gaby Winters’ nightmares have stopped but she still can’t remember her old life. Still can’t quite believe she is one of the Rephaim—the wingless half-angels who can shift from place to place, country to country, in the blink of an eye. That she was once the Rephaim’s best fighter. That demons exist. That Rafa has stayed. 

But most of all, she can’t quite believe that her twin brother, Jude, might be alive. 

And Gaby can’t explain the hesitancy that sidetracks the search for him, infuriates Rafa, and sends them, again, into the darkest danger.

After Life – Shelbi Wescott — February 10, 2015

After Life – Shelbi Wescott

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After Life – Shelbi Wescott

4 Star Review

I was lucky enough to receive this book as a giveaway from Goodreads. The cover looked great – very haunting but after reading the blurb I wasn’t sure that I’d enjoy this book. It ended up heading in a very different direction to what was expected.

Positives – After life is very intellectually written for the directed age group and I found that a big positive whilst reading. The storyline moves along at a steady pace and I for the most part didn’t find any part of it that I wanted to skim past. I was drawn into Mara’s character and absolutely rapt up in the storyline by the end of the second chapter. The story went along without any kind of thoughts of a romance within its page but without giving too much away I was glad there was some love tangled in all that anger and fear. Mara was a strange character who seemed to be a mixture of determination, stubbornness, strength yet she was also overdramatic, reckless and even bordering on cowardly sometimes so ultimately a walking contradiction. Despite all of that you couldn’t help but love her and her wild decisions. I loved the twists and turns the story took and was definitely surprised by a few revelations.

Negatives

I found the first chapter lacking and predictable. I knew this book was along the lines of a horror story but it seemed like it was trying too hard. Unexpectedly, the second chapter start to flow and entice me to read more. The first chapter felt disjointed from the rest of the book but once through that I was hooked. There were a few ‘groan-worthy’ moments (as I refer to them) but they were short and easily dismissed. Some of those were almost justifiable but I felt they could’ve been written a bit better. I was also annoyed at the behaviour of her friends multiple times and felt Mara was fairly gullible. I’m not a huge fan of over the top moments and there were some in this book. In saying that though, it certainly wasn’t enough for me to be put off finishing it.

Overall – I found this book a rollercoaster of twists and turns and was excited to finish it. The storyline was interesting and unexpected despite the feeling that it may be very predictable at the start. It’s great for not only horror lovers but anyone likes a bit of a mystery or something paranormal. I loved that this book really sparked intrigued about past lives and peaked my curiosity about the ‘After Life.” For me this book warranted a rating of 4 stars (or 3.75 but I’m rounding up).

Well Done Shelbi Wescott 4 Stars!

The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater 3.5 Star Review — February 2, 2015

The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater 3.5 Star Review

The Raven Boys

Maggie Stiefvater

3.5 Star Review

The Raven Boys Maggie Stiefvater

This book had some great reviews which was the main reason I picked it up. Not at all what I had expected and didn’t really meet my high expectations of it.

PositivesThe first thing that stuck out for me was Maggie Stiefvater’s writing style. I couldn’t believe it had gone through the editing process and had still come out like that. It was strange, disjointed, awkwardly put together yet I ended up enjoying it. The storyline was complicated and rather confusing. She has gone against the traditional male protagonist/lover and that made it interesting. Adam and Gansey both fit into that role but somehow didn’t. It seems to be a trend in the books I’ve read lately that rags to riches or the poor girl unexpectedly falls for the rich male, is a big drawcard. I must admit I do enjoy that sometimes. Of all the character’s Gansey was definitely my favourite, although I suspect that that’s what Maggie Stiefvater wanted.

NegativesI really felt stupid and confused during many scenes in this book. Was I not intelligent enough to understand the strange idea of Ley lines or Glendower? It took a long time to explain both things but I was still left scratching my head. I understand that in a series each book needs to end with a cliff-hanger but I feel like I don’t have any idea where she wanted to point the readers toward at the end. There was ample action and excitement but then the ending seemed to be squashed into a few short chapters. I felt cheated by the ending when the beginning held the promise of an interesting conundrum for Blue but it ended without any kind of hint of an answer. For a book that contained many, MANY unnecessary sentences and descriptions it just sort of flat lined at the end.

Overall For this book I’ll round up to a 4 stars out of 5 (probably because I just loved Gansey). The characters were great, I ended up enjoying the strange writing style and am actually interested to see where this story goes. Instead of gaining answers throughout the book though, it just snowballed into an endless amount of confusing questions. I’m hoping that book two (Dream Thieves) will accentuate the best parts of book one.

BLURB “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before

The Elite by Kiera Cass 4 Star Review — January 28, 2015

The Elite by Kiera Cass 4 Star Review

The Elite

Kiera Cass

4 Star Review

This book is a bit hard to review because as soon as I finished it (at 1am) I started the third book (The One). I needed to know how it all ended! It wasn’t as great as the first book but definitely worth reading.

 The_Elite_Cover

PositivesThis book wasn’t anywhere near up to the high standard of the first book. Of course there were some great parts but there were also some horrible parts; but on to the positives. Kiera Cass’s writing style is always a pleasure to read and she is very gifted. America is a great character although her motives and actions were questionable at times. How can you not love Maxon – most of the time and Aspen was just as wonderful. Marlee was a beautiful character but her part in this book didn’t really work well (for me anyway) and I thought her storyline should’ve been changed. It doesn’t change how much I loved Marlee though.

NegativesI loved this book but it annoyed me in many parts. It had the feel to it that it was the bridge between the first and third book. Necessary but not nearly as enjoyable. America acted very stupidly in some parts and it was pretty darn irritating. There is no way that someone could act like that in a palace and get away with it. The way the main characters acted in some spots was downright stupid and didn’t seem to make much sense in relation to their personality.

OverallI did enjoy this book for the most part and it’s a must read in order to finish the series (which you so have to!) but it was lacking and very annoying in some spots. Those parts almost made me give this book a 3.5 star rating but when there were good scenes – they were fantastic. I’m very glad I finished this book and had the third (The One) ready to start straight away.

BLURBThe Selection began with thirty-five girls.

Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon’s heart is fiercer than ever—and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?

America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want—and America’s chance to choose is about to slip away.

The Selection – Kiera Cass 5 Star Review — January 23, 2015

The Selection – Kiera Cass 5 Star Review

5 Star Review

 The Selection Kiera Cass

I picked up this book because of course the cover was gorgeous, it rated high on Goodreads and because the concept seemed different. I’m very, VERY glad I did.

Positives I realised as soon as I finished the book that a lot of the reason why I loved this book was because of Kiera Cass’s writing style. It was beautiful to read. No awkward sentences, no staggered paragraphs, it just flowed along majestically. Kiera Cass is obviously a very talented writer. Apart from the writing style, the storyline was fresh and new. Oh how I loved America. She’s a great character that has a quirky personality yet strong in many ways. Each scene was written to the point where you were completely engulfed in their world, (yes I did smile like an idiot and laugh out loud at some things). Both Aspen and Maxon were well developed characters that had strong motives and were responsible young men. Their actions were logical and suited their personalities perfectly. I really enjoyed the strong characters that stayed true to their natures.

Negatives There were hardly any negatives in this book. The one major thing for me was that I felt that the climax lacked a little. I was reading it and looking at the page numbers wondering when I’d get into the real action but it didn’t really evolve into anything memorable. Nevertheless the storyline was still enthralling and exciting. The only other thing was the lack of description for the appearance of the character’s sometimes. When America was looking into Maxon’s eyes I wanted to image that but I didn’t remember reading what colour his eyes were.

Overall­For those who love a good love story (or love triangle) this is a must read. It’s different, it’s enthralling, it’s beautifully written, it’s captivating and it should be on the top of your book list. Thankfully the next two books in the series have been released so I can move straight on to number 2 – The Elite. Really looking forward to delving into that book and I have high expectations for it.

BLURB

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself–and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Happy Reading Everyone xo

Perennial By Ryan Potter 4 Star Review — July 9, 2014

Perennial By Ryan Potter 4 Star Review

I can honestly say that I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. I don’t think the blurb does this book justice and the cover threw me off a bit. I only say this because I started it not really expecting it to be as enthralling as it was. Perennial is very well written and I think Ryan Potter has created a great book. I went from thinking I might not finish it at the start to wanting to read the next book as soon as I finished the last page.

I liked the main protagonist – Alix and thought she was fairly relatable. She was a strong character with a kick-ass attitude which I always love. Lewis is a shady but interesting character that suited the book perfectly. Add William into the mix and you have a love triangle that constantly pulls the reader’s heart in two different directions. The reader really feels for Alix because both of her love interests have some great positives and some very negative ones which makes choosing one very difficult.

This book has some amazing twists and turns that really surprise you. The ending is both fantastic and shocking.

There are some negative though hence why I’ve given it 4 stars. I found that the very ending scenes were quite rushed and they needed more time spent explaining and justifying everything. The book went along at a good steady pace but when you get to the climatic ending it seems to be lacking, as though the author ran out of time and needed to wrap it up quickly.

Overall – This book is a great read and once you’ve started it you feel compelled to finish. If you’re looking for a book that gives you a great exciting ending with lots of surprises thenthis is the book. Good job Ryan Potter

**** 4 Stars

Perennial Ryan Potter