Quick Reviews: Second Book Syndrome?

Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris

- Cover - Review Title: Unbreakable
Series: Unraveling
Book two
Author: Elizabeth Norris
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but life is finally starting to resume some kind of normalcy. Until Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths—and Ben is the prime suspect. Now his family has been imprisoned and will be executed if Ben doesn’t turn himself over within five days.

And when Janelle learns that someone she cares about—someone from her own world—has become one of the missing, she knows that she has to help Barclay, regardless of the danger. Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. But as the clues begin to add up, Janelle realizes that she’s in way over her head—and that she may not have known Ben as well as she thought. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?

Review

After reading Unraveling and not enjoying it like I thought I would, I went in with low expectations with Unbreakable. I ended up being pleasantly surprised. I quite enjoyed Unbreakable, it had more of an original storyline which was a huge disappointment for me in the first book and I had a lot of fun reading it.

Unbreakable was entertaining, different to the first book and ended up being really intense. My favourite character was Barclay which was surprising. I found myself enjoying this story including the end which broke my heart just a bit.

Second book syndrome? Definitely not! I loved this book a lot better than the first book!

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight by Sarach J. Maas - Cover - Review

Title: Crown of Midnight
Series: Throne of Glass
Book two
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie…and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

Review

When I read Crown of Midnight I wasn’t sure what I was going to expect. I didn’t like Throne of Glass as much as I had wanted to so I was hesitant about this book. I ended up enjoying this book a whole lot more than I had expected to which was nice.

Celaena wasn’t as infuriating in this book, she wasn’t as arrogant or selfish. There were a few things that still annoyed me, like the romance that was obvious from the beginning of Throne of Glass, but overall I enjoyed this a whole lot more. The plot had potential and it ran with it. I even had a moment of “Oh my god, no!” and was instantly heartbroken.

The only thing is that for me, the huge reveal that had everyone gasping when they found out; wasn’t a reveal for me at all. In fact I had thought it was quite obvious from the beginning. I had figured out the reveal from the beginning of Throne of Glass which was disappointing for me.

I’m not really sure where book three will lead but I’m excited to find out!

Second book syndrome? No, I thought this book was way better than its predecessor.

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter - Cover - Review Title: Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy
Series: Gallagher Girls
Book two
Author: Ally Carter
Genre: Chick Lit
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

Cammie Morgan is back, and it’s clear that her life hasn’t calmed down since the events of I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You. At first, giddy anticipation is in the air. Gallagher Academy, Cammie’s elite spy school, is hosting a visit from a covert training center for boys. Soon after the boys’ arrival, though, everything goes dangerously awry when a series of security breaches are discovered at the academy. Worse yet, teenage agent-in-training Cammie is being blamed for the penetration. With the school’s top-secret status at risk, the Gallagher Girls have to work quickly to save their beloved school

Review

I really enjoyed the first book I’d Tell You I Love You but Then I’d Have to Kill You so I thought I would love Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy too. Unfortunately this was not the case.

For some reason Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy was only an average read for me. The whole first half of the book was very slow and not a lot happened, I was bored. Then the second half picked up but I was starting to get afraid that there will be a love triangle in this book. Josh was back in the picture but I really wanted him to be gone for good, he annoyed me more than anything else. I found that Cammie was making a lot of mistakes that a spy just wouldn’t do, especially compared to how she was in book one.

Overall this was a light, quick read and wasn’t as good of a read as its predecessor for me but I will still definitely be carrying on with this series!

Second Book Syndrome? Yes, I don’t think the book knew where to go with this one. I can see it was setting up a love triangle, I think this book has pretty much set up the rest of the series after the first book which introduced the series.

Miss J

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[Review #80] Born at Midnight by C. C. Hunter

Born at Midnight by C. C. Hunter Cover - Review Title: Born at Midnight
Series: Shadow Falls
Book one
Author: C. C. Hunter
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]
Note: You can get book one AND book two in one book for less price! [Here at the Book Depository]

Summary

One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart. 

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…

Review

I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed Born at Midnight. To be honest I’ve gotten used to paranormal romance books just not quite making the mark. Born at Midnight however surprised me and surpassed the mark. I absolutely enjoyed this book, I found myself addicted to it and unable to put it down; it’s been quite a while that I’ve felt like that with the paranormal romance genre. 

Kylie Galen used to have night terror’s when she was a kid, recently she started having them again. She wakes up screaming bloody murder in the middle of the night but never haves any recollection of why. Her parents started sending her to a shrink to try and figure out why she has the night terrors and the fact that she keeps asking if people can see this creepy soldier dude that she swears is following her around. But no one ever has any idea what she’s talking about. So this only makes Kylie feel even more out of place than she already feels in her world.

Her parents have just told her that they are getting a divorce and her father is moving out. Kylie can’t understand why and is devastated that her father is leaving her. She’s super close with her father so the fact that he won’t let her go with him makes her feel incredibly alone. She loves her mother but she’s always known her to be cold towards everyone, barely ever showing any emotion; Kylie’s dubbed her the ice queen because of this.

That night Kylie goes to a party at her best friend Sara’s house, lying to her mother that parents are supervising. Kylie is so distraught at how she feels like her life is falling apart; parents divorcing, father leaving, her boyfriend Trey recently broke up with her, creepy soldier dude stalking her, she has to see a shrink – that she feels like she deserves to go to a party and have some fun, and by that she just means going to an unsupervised party. Kylie is straight edged. Unfortunately for Kylie Trey is there with the girl he broke up with her for because Kylie wasn’t ready to sleep with him, Sara keeps trying to get her to drink and lighten up, and then the cops raid the party and find drugs.

Her mother is so upset that Kylie lied and that she was at a party where drugs were found that she lets Kylie’s shrink persuade her to send Kylie to Shadow Falls; a camp for troubled teens. Kylie feels even more alone and like she is being punished even though she has done nothing wrong; never consumed alcohol, didn’t do drugs at the party, always home by curfew.

When she arrives at Shadow Falls she soon finds out that it’s different to what she thought, it’s not exactly a camp for troubled teens but more of a camp for teens that are not human but instead supernatural; vampires, witches, faeries, werewolves and shape-shifters are real. Her new roomies are Della; a vampire, and Miranda; a witch. Thing is, Kylie’s not exactly sure what she is. They all say she’s not human yet she can’t read brain patterns like everyone else and even the camp leaders; Sky and Holiday aren’t sure what she is. But they are sure she can talk to the dead. Kylie is convinced that the creepy stalker soldier dude she keeps seeing around is just a ghost that is super charged with energy so she, a normal human, can see him.

I quite enjoyed Born at Midnight because I haven’t really read any paranormal romance’s that have the main character seeing the dead so I thoroughly enjoyed giving it a go. This dragged me in and every chapter left me wanting to read more to see what happened next.

This book starts after Kylie finds out her parents are getting a divorce, after she’s already started seeing the creepy soldier guy and after she feels like her life is falling apart. We miss seeing all of that. I loved this. I loved this because all of these things are crucial but at  the same time we didn’t need to see them happen, only hear about them and how they’re affecting Kylie now. I felt like if we had seen all of those events happen this book would have come across as cliché and boring.

The romances were cute if not sudden but this only bothered me a little bit. Kylie was all for her ex Trey but then she meets Derek who she can’t help but notice how he reminds her a little of Trey, so she tells him she needs to stay friends with him until she figures things out. Then she and Lucas have a thing that feels sudden yet I totally knew it was going to happen because he keeps popping up, but then she’s back to Derek all of a sudden.

As I was reading this book I realised that Hunter’s writing style stops this book from being boring. She skips scenes that are talked about or mentioned before happening but we hear about them after they’ve happened making it feel okay we didn’t get to see it. The scenes that are skipped over are scenes that we don’t need to see. They are scenes that would have slowed the pace of the book down and made it boring yet they were also scenes that are needed to be mentioned. I found Hunter had a great way of letting you know everything that was going out without us having the sit through pages of seeing it happen. 

Overall Born at Midnight was an exciting and interesting paranormal. I fell in love with reading it. Kylie is stubborn but smart and a good girl. I liked that she’s actually a sensible good girl that has a lot of things going on in her life that she’s trying to work out, instead of a troubled young teen that takes her worries and problems out by rebelling and doing something immature and stupid. I found it refreshing.

I definitely recommend giving this book a go!

Similar: Vampire Academy, Half-Blood, Hex Hall, Unearthly, Marked

Miss J
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[Review #76] Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier Cover - Review - High fantasy, adventure Title: Shadowfell
Series: Shadowfell
Book one
Author: Juliet Marillier
Genre: High Fantasy
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her own canny skill—a uniquely powerful ability to communicate with the fairy-like Good Folk—Neryn sets out for the legendary Shadowfell, a home and training ground for a secret rebel group determined to overthrow the evil King Keldec.

During her dangerous journey, she receives aid from the Good Folk, who tell her she must pass a series of tests in order to recognize her full potential. She also finds help from a handsome young man, Flint, who rescues her from certain death—but whose motives in doing so remain unclear. Neryn struggles to trust her only allies. They both hint that she alone may be the key to Alban’s release from Keldec’s rule.

Homeless, unsure of who to trust, and trapped in an empire determined to crush her, Neryn must make it to Shadowfell not only to save herself, but to save Alban.

Review

I am a huge fan of Juliet Marillier’s writing and I love nearly all of her books. I think because of this I loved Shadowfell, like absolutely loved it. I’m used to her style of writing and as for the plot this reminded me of her Sevenwaters books and I love that series. So I do have to say that this book felt typical of her. The travelling, the good folk, the element of suspense of wanting to know why Neryn is running from the Enforcers, why she can’t ask for anyone’s help etc. It did feel like I had read this book because of all of those elements. This is Marillier’s style.

Shadowfell is a high fantasy book about Neryn, a fifteen year old girl, travelling to find a safe haven after her father is killed. She has a canny gift, a gift that is against the law and if she were turned over to the Enforcers; the kings men, she would be turned into a loyal follower against her will. 

At first I was a little disappointed to see that this book was mainly about Neryn travelling, but then as I read on I grew more excited to see what troubles Neryn faced. I grew to like Neryn although I wished she would just open up to someone and at times she really annoyed me because of it. The good folk were very interesting and diverse. I loved this world and the magic that it held.

Another thing that I love about Juliet Marillier’s books are the romances. They are always deep and never shallow. You would never find insta-love in Marillier’s books. The romance in this book slowly grows, Neryn has to overcome her fear, doubt and hesitancy towards Flint. Watching  them slowly fall for each other is exciting.

For me Shadowfell was one of those books that I absolutely adored. I was simply enchanted by the world and by Marillier’s writing that I needed to read more and more, and when I had finally finished I felt sad. This book left a lasting impression and had me thinking about it way after I had finished reading.

Similar: Graceling, Shadow and Bone, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Grave Mercy

Miss J
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[Review #33] Need by Carrie Jones

Need by Carrie JonesNeed by Carrie Jones

Title: Need
Series: Need
Book one
Author: Carrie Jones

Published: 23rd December, 2008
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Young Adult
Rating: ♣♣

[Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Whitcoulls NZ]

Summary

Zara White suspects there’s a freaky guy semi-stalking her. She’s also obsessed with phobias. And it’s true, she hasn’t exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But exiling her to shivery Maine to live with her grandmother? That seems a bit extreme. The move is supposed to help her stay sane…but Zara’s pretty sure her mom just can’t deal with her right now.

She couldn’t be more wrong. Turns out the semi-stalker is not a figment of Zara’s overactive imagination. In fact, he’s still following her, leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There’s something not right – not human – in this sleepy Maine town, and all signs point to Zara.

In this creepy, compelling breakout novel, Carrie Jones delivers romance, suspense, and a creature you never thought you’d have to fear.

Review

What an… interesting… read…

Zara has just lost her step-dad, whom she thought of as her real dad and is finding it incredibly hard to cope. Zara’s mother decides she should send Zara to live with her grandmother for a while in Maine in the hopes of lifting Zara’s spirits. Zara hates her mother for sending her away like this, especially to such a small, cold and dreary little town.

Ever since her step-dad passed away Zara has noticed this creepy guy randomly turning up and watching her, she see’s him back in Charleston before she leaves then to her horror she see’s him again in Maine just as she arrives. She realises this creepy guy is probably stalking her, she decides to find out just who this creep is and why he keeps turning up where ever she goes.

Meanwhile trying to fit in in Maine isn’t as hard as she expected.

Soo I didn’t quite like Zara that much, there was nothing that really stood out about her and I found her to be incredibly stubborn and at times pretty dumb in her actions. I couldn’t really relate to her with her weird fascination of phobias and holding on to things way too much. At first I liked her, right at the beginning, but then as I continued to read I felt like she never really grew or changed. She felt very flat unfortunately.

Issie was a weird little thing. I liked her at times but then she became too bubbly and hardly bearable at all. She was just so energetic that it was a little exhausting near the half way point. Are there really people in the world that are so energetic all the time? She was so trusting and naive just like a little child, I liked this until it started grating on my nerves. I felt this because that’s all she ever was in the book. Always bubbly and energetic, always child-like. No dimension. 

Nick was mysterious and explained as very handsome many times in the book. He was very protective and became Zara’s ‘hero’ after he ends up saving her a few times. I thought he was pretty cool but also I thought he was very stereotypical of the character. He wasn’t very original nor very deep.

I just  couldn’t relate to any of the characters in this book, maybe I could with Zara at first with losing a parent and all but that stopped shortly after she arrived at Maine. I think the writing also had to do with this because the main reason I couldn’t relate to anyone was because of the way they spoke, the way they acted or the way they thought. Nothing clicked with me. I felt like all these characters were flat, as if they had no dimension.

I just wasn’t sold on this world, I just could not believe it completely. Things weren’t real enough. I wasn’t drawn in and made to believe that these things were real. Zara’s actions alone weren’t very believable. Seriously if there’s some creepy guy stalking you you would not go into the forest where you know he’s hiding and try to seek him out. That’s just plain stupid. Common sense would usually step in here.

I feel that the main reason I feel like this is because of the quick conclusion by everyone that there are paranormal beings in this world. They decide to google a stalker (When I read that all I could think of is how does that help the situation? A stalker is a stalker, googling about them will not help them find out who it is) and immediately come up with a paranormal being as an answer. I mean how do you even jump to that conclusion by just googling ‘Stalker that points’? I do not understand. I probably missed something huge.

I have to say that the writing of this book was not that good unfortunately. Yes it was understandable, yes it was easy to read, mostly… But there were so many cliché’s that at times I cringed so much I actually felt dizzy. This book at times felt like a walking cliché its self.

The way Zara spoke sometimes just didn’t feel real, it felt unnatural, she would either state the facts all the time as if no one already knew them, just talk about things that didn’t matter, or she would go on mini little rants and refuse to listen to anyone. Then sometimes she just accepted things without questioning enough. 

I rolled my eyes so much with the dialogue and I found myself cringing in some parts that I just couldn’t get over it.

One thing (Maybe the only thing…) that I absolutely loved about this book was that every chapter was named after a phobia. Then that chapter would be themed after that phobia. I thought that was a pretty cool idea. Phobias was a re-occurring theme in this book that the character pretty much had an obsession over.

Soo I had no idea that this book was about pixies, which is pretty much a type of faerie. I’m not very fond of faerie books. Luckily this wasn’t anything like the faerie books that I dislike so much but there were still some elements that made me cringe. I actually think I’m afraid of faeries, as if they were real… There were also other paranormal beings in this book.

I think when I picked up this book I expected some sort of paranormal, yet I was still wasn’t sold on it as I read. The whole paranormal thing for some reason I found just didn’t tie in as cleanly as one would expect if it were the norm in that world. So I found myself rolling my eyes a lot.

I also found that everything was pretty obvious. As if the clues for the end were wearing fluro coloured vests that light up in the dark while screaming: “I’m the reveal! I’m the reveal!”… Seriously, because it was obvious it felt like Zara was just plain stupid. Or she chose to ignore all of the clues. The readers don’t ignore the clues. So because we figured out the clues before Zara that really made me lose interest in the book. But I kept reading because I wanted to know how it ended. And yet, there were a few surprises that I hadn’t expected, so well done to Jone’s for managing to hide those.

The romance just annoyed me.
1. It was wayy too obvious,
2. There was hardly any proper build up or any ‘getting to know you and fall head over heels for you’ moments, it actually just happened out of thin air, it wasn’t insta-love though,
3. It felt like it was based off of attraction and that was it. No actual emotions involved, no connections, nothing like that,
4. I don’t like it when the romance is too easy. When the guy obviously likes the girl straight from the beginning, that’s just annoying and very boring. It makes it even worse when the girl doesn’t believe he likes her even though he’s said: “I like you, I really like you.” three times to her face. Come on woman! Stop playing dumb!

The development of pretty much everything was lacking. I felt like there was no dimension in anything except Zara’s step fathers death. Everything else was just there, with no past or meaning.

Err, sooo this book annoyed me for many reasons and pleased me with only very few.

Soo, after all of that, I’m not in any hurry to pick up the second book in the series.

Miss J

The Iron King – Book Review #9

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron King
Series: The Iron Fey
Book one
Author: Julie Kagawa

Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Published: 1st February, 2010

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Young Adult

Rating: ♣♣

[Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | Whitcoulls NZ]

Summary

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

Review

Another fey story.

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Wicked Lovely – Book Review #8

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Title: Wicked Lovely
Series: Wicked Lovely
Book one
Author: Melissa Marr

Publisher:  HarperTeen
Published: 12th June, 2007

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Young Adult

Rating: ♣♣

[Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | Whitcoulls NZ]

Summary

Rule #3: Don’t stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty—especially if they learn of her Sight—and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don’t speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don’t ever attract their attention.
But it’s too late. Keenan is the Summer King who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost—regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

Faerie intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr’s stunning 21st century faery tale.

Review

This book was interesting. Faeries, magic, evil, power, what more could you want?

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