All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis

all rights reserved

All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis

Published: September 1st 2017 by Harlequin Teen

Speth Jime is anxious to deliver her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood. The moment she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks (“Sorry” is a flat ten dollars and a legal admission of guilt), for every nod ($0.99/sec), for every scream ($0.99/sec) and even every gesture of affection. She’s been raised to know the consequences of falling into debt, and can’t begin to imagine the pain of having her eyes shocked for speaking words that she’s unable to afford. But when Speth’s friend Beecher commits suicide rather than work off his family’s crippling debt, she can’t express her shock and dismay without breaking her Last Day contract and sending her family into Collection. Backed into a corner, Speth finds a loophole: rather than read her speech—rather than say anything at all—she closes her mouth and vows never to speak again. Speth’s unexpected defiance of tradition sparks a media frenzy, inspiring others to follow in her footsteps, and threatens to destroy her, her family and the entire city around them.

This book was one of my highly anticipated reads for 2017 – the concept is completely unique and it had the potential to be amazing. However, I was completely disappointed with this book and ended up dnfing it.

The beginning of the book started out promising. We are immediately introduced to a world in which almost everything is paid for – words, gestures, fashion etc. We meet Speth, who is about to deliver her first speech (her first paid words) on her 15th birthday.  However, after witnessing her friend commit suicide, she decides to go silent instead – which causes chaos within both the system/society and her family. The beginning of the book had me hooked – I had to know about the world that Katsoulis had created and how it came about. However, I feel like, after a while, the book became relatively boring and repetitive, whilst not much was really happening plot wise.

I struggled to relate to the characters and the relationships between the characters because there was no real way that Speth could communicate. Her inner voice moaned a lot about the fact that she couldn’t communicate with anyone and how much she wanted to, but she decided to stay silent. It became repetitive and it affected the way in which Speth reacted and related to the other characters around her.

I also wish that there had been more world building around the way in which the laws came to be. There wasn’t much explanation as to why words became copyrighted and paid for and how society ended up the way it did. It would have helped the story along to know the backstory a little earlier – it took too long for the little information we did receive to come out.

I was extremely disappointed with this book, especially because it was one of my most highly anticipated reads of 2017. I did, however, like the concept of this book and the uniqueness of this book. I gave this 2/5 stars.

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Goodreads Monday

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend 🙂 My pick for this week is a group of novellas all packed into one book!

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The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

Published: March 4th 2014 by Bloomsbury Childrens

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

This needs to be read before I can read Tower of Dawn, which releases tomorrow! :-O Looks like I need to snap to it!

Alone by Cyn Balog

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Alone by Cyn Balog

Expected Publication: November 1st 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire

When her mom inherits an old, crumbling mansion, Seda’s almost excited to spend the summer there. The grounds are beautiful and it’s fun to explore the sprawling house with its creepy rooms and secret passages. Except now her mom wants to renovate, rather than sell the estate—which means they’re not going back to the city…or Seda’s friends and school.

As the days grow shorter, Seda is filled with dread. They’re about to be cut off from the outside world, and she’s not sure she can handle the solitude or the darkness it brings out in her.

Then a group of teens get stranded near the mansion during a blizzard. Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter, even though she knows danger lurks in the dilapidated mansion—and in herself. And as the snow continues to fall, what Seda fears most is about to become her reality…

Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley. This in no way influences my opinion.

I absolutely loved Cyn Balog’s Unnatural Deeds, so when I saw that she was releasing a new book later this year I just had to read it. I was not disappointed! I was completely hooked on this book and read it in one sitting.

We are introduced to our MC from the very first page – along with the problems she has (I don’t want to say too much because SPOILERS!). The way in which we are introduced to her and the description had me immediately hooked – I absolutely had to know what was going to happen to this character and where certain aspects of her personality etc. were going to take us. Seda was a likeable character throughout the book despite the way we are introduced to her and I enjoyed watching her develop as a character as things progressed because it was easy to forget about certain things (again, trying not to be spoilery). She definitely came across as someone who could be a friend once she comes out of her shell. She definitely started changing with the arrival of the stranded teens and I feel like the interaction helped her to come out of her shell and to be a bit more loose.

What I also really enjoyed about this book was the family dynamic that Seda had with her mother and siblings. It was easy to empathise with Seda and the problems her parents were having and it made her more of a likeable character when watching her interact with the two sets of twins and her mother. We also learn other various aspects of her family, which become important later on in the book, which also made her easier to like and relate to.

Another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed was the setting itself. At the beginnign of each chapter was a little chapter heading describing something about either the house/rooms in the house or the way that Seda’s Aunt and Uncle used to run it. The author cleverly wove bits of fact of certain historic people and slightly changed their stories to make it fictitious at the same time – which gave it the air of creepiness. The set up of the house with certain props etc. definitely helped to set the scene for events that happened later in the book, whilst constantly keeping an air of subtle creepiness.

The pacing of this book was just right. It starts off at a relatively normal pace and then things start to get creepier, which had me completely hooked. It also begins to speed up as events start happening later in the book and keeps readers on their toes right up until the very end!

What I most enjoyed about this book was the fact that this was not an ‘in your face’ kind of scary book, but rather took a more subtle and psychological approach, whic made the ending even more shocking. I absolutely did not see the big reveal that came at the end and was left utterly shocked when this book ended! Certain things were revealed, other things happened and it just led up to a finale that left me completely gobsmacked! I recommended it further as soon as I had finished!

All in all, I absolutely loved this book and I cannot wait to have a finished copy on my shelf! Balog is fast becoming one of my favourite authors and I cannot wait to see what she writes next. I gave this book 5/5 stars.

Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted here. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off! Don’t forget to link back here and feel free to link up in the comments below so that others can see what you picked.

Hey everyone, hope you all had a great weekend. I have been on a complete contemporary kick recently – more with a mystery element to it – so I feel like this weeks pick for me should reflect that.

Seven ways we lie

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

Published: March 8th 2016 by Harry N. Abrams

Seven students. Seven (deadly) sins. One secret.

Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like every high school, every student has something to hide—from Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage, to Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal.

When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the seven unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change.

I’ve had this on my TBR for ages now, and I have an E Copy waiting on my kindle – so hopefully I will get to this soon!

Have you read this before? What were your (spoiler free) opinions?

The Girl Who Wasn’t Dead by Samantha Boyette

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The Girl Who Wasn’t Dead by Samantha Boyette

Expected Publication: September 12th 2017 by Bold Strokes Books, Inc

Prom was supposed to be the biggest night of senior year, but for Jenny Lewis it was the night she almost died. The night someone drugged her, loaded her in a car, and dumped her body in the river.

The next morning, her soaked prom dress was found on the riverbank. Her body was never found. People whispered that she’d killed herself or gotten drunk and stupid. People moved on, went to college, and stopped thinking about her. Months later, her ex-girlfriend and three other classmates received a text from an unknown number accusing them of her murder and claiming to have proof.

The text? It came from Jenny, not dead and ready to figure out who tried to kill her. There’s going to be an impromptu reunion and no one is leaving until the would-be murderer steps forward.

Note: I received an ARC copy of this via Netgalley. This in no way influences my opinion.

I first discovered this book on Netgalley, and after reading the blurb, I absolutely had to request it! It instantly drew me and I knew I had to read it and find out what happened. Unfortunately, I didn’t love this book as much as I wanted to and had to force myself to finish it toward the end.

This book centres around what happened to Jenny on the night of prom and trying to figure out who nearly killed her. She sends texts to characters who she believes may or may not have had something to do with it and gets them to meet her in a secluded cabin. The book is told from various POVs as each character recounts their version of what happened that night and where they were etc.

I think the biggest issue I had with this book was the fact that, for me, the multiple POVs all blended together. I didn’t feel like any one of the characters really had a voice that stood out on their own and I had to double check from who’s perspective I was reading before I carried on. I don’t feel like any new or explosive information was added by each of the characters every time the night was repeated, so the book felt extremely repetitive to me, to the point where I just wanted to put it down and do something else.

Another issue I had with this book was that it didn’t feel realistic enough for me. I understand Jenny being scared, but if someone had tried to kill me, I would not be meeting them in a secluded cabin four years after the fact – but rather would have gone to the police on the same evening! Jenny was too friendly with people she suspected to have had something to do with her attempted murder and even let a couple off the hook far too easily based seemingly on the history they have together. After certain events (no spoilers), I felt like the characters didn’t really care about it and it almost felt like it was thrown under the rug despite the seriousness of it.

Another issue with this book I had was that I had already figured out who it was based on their behaviour. It was easy to see who had done it because they were acting guilty – so the supposed plot twist that happened wasn’t really that much of a surprise to me. I don’t feel like the explanation that was given was really sufficient for the character to have done something that crazy and, again, I feel like it was thrown under the rug after the events were over.

What I did like about this book was the pacing of things after the ‘plot twist’ arrived. Whilst it was relatively slow through the first 70% and the last 10%, things started heating up and it made it interesting to read after the issues the rest of the boo faced. The events in the cabin in this 20% made me want to continue reading again – until about 90% where it slowed down and I didn’t really feel that the characters cared all that much.

All in all, I was relatively disappointed with this book and was expecting a lot more. It was repetitive and unrealistic, and the characters also felt 2D. I gave this book 2/5 stars.

Antisocial by Jillian Blake

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Antisocial by Jillian Blake

Published: May 16th 2017 by Delacorte Press

Alexandria Prep is about to be exposed.

Senior spring was supposed to mean sleeping through class and partying with friends. But for Anna Soler, it’s going to be a lonely road. She’s just been dumped by her perfect basketball star boyfriend—with no explanation. Anna’s closest friends, the real ones she abandoned while dating him, are ignoring her. The endearing boy she’s always had a complicated friendship with is almost too sympathetic.

But suddenly Anna isn’t the only one whose life has been upended. Someone is determined to knock the kings and queens of the school off their thrones: one by one, their phones get hacked and their personal messages and photos are leaked. At first it’s funny—people love watching the dirty private lives of those they envy become all too public.

Then the hacks escalate. Dark secrets are exposed, and lives are shattered. Chaos erupts at school. As Anna tries to save those she cares about most and to protect her own secrets, she begins to understand the reality of our always-connected lives:

Sometimes we share too much.

I’ve had this book on my To Read list since I first read the blurb. I was instantly drawn to the concept of this book especially because it is so reflective of today’s society and ‘Generation Z’.

Right from the beginning of the book, we are introduced to a relatively chatty MC who lays out the scene of who’s who at Alexandria Prep. We are introduced to the various Cliques of the school and we, as readers, already know that there are some tensions between certain characters, but we don’t know why. introducing us to the various groups  of the school is relevant to later on in the book when the hacks start. The secrets that are exposed become more shocking because we already have an idea of what their public faces look like before we are introduced to private faces.

What I enjoyed about this book was the fact that the MC has anxiety disorder (SAD). It’s rare that we have characters such as these in contemporaries like this, so it was a unique twist on the story. What I also enjoyed about it was the way in which is was portrayed, in the sense that her anxiety was better on some days than others – which is how people with anxiety have described it before. Blake also showed the stark contrast between someone who is getting help and has willingly accepted help for her anxiety, to another character who has anxiety, but has no help for it and feels like they have no one to turn to (will not tell you who because of spoilers).

Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed was the technological side of it – the hacks, the app that started it all and the fact that people really do share too much on the internet without ever thinking about the idea that it could be hacked. It was interesting to see how an accident (the schools ‘prep for the future’ app being wrongly written) lead to it recording everything the students were doing and they effect it had when it was hacked and released in the way it was. Gen Z, who grew up with this technology, are definitely tap happy and this book definitely reflects the consequences if ever they got hacked and the results posted for everyone to see.

I do feel like the pacing could have been a little better. The first half felt a little slow and certain aspects of the book could have been brought forward to make things more interesting, rather than having them happen later in the book. Hacks could definitely have happened sooner and the chaos that ensued could have been panned out a little more. The pacing led to the end of the book feeling a little rushed and under developed or explained. We only ever find out who one of the hackers are (again, no spoilers, but I had already figured it out) without finding out who the others were that was responsible for the rest.

I also feel like the book ended abruptly. The way the book ended, I was expecting something else when I turned the page, but I got acknowledgements instead. I didn’t really enjoy the ending and felt it could have been written better and I also feel like more justice could have been served. I was left feeling a little confused by the end of the book, but at the same time, it could be open to interpretation from the reader as to what the characters do next.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book despite the pacing and the ending. It was a relatively quick read and reflected the technological and societal issues of Gen Z. I gave this book 4/5 stars.

The Border by Steve Schafer

The Border

The Border by Steve Schafer

Expected Publication: September 5th 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire

One moment changed their lives forever.

A band plays, glasses clink, and four teens sneak into the Mexican desert, the hum of celebration receding behind them.

Crack. Crack. Crack.

Not fireworks―gunshots. The music stops. And Pato, Arbo, Marcos, and Gladys are powerless as the lives they once knew are taken from them.

Then they are seen by the gunmen. They run. Except they have nowhere to go. The narcos responsible for their families’ murders have put out a reward for the teens’ capture. Staying in Mexico is certain death, but attempting to cross the border through an unforgiving desert may be as deadly as the secrets they are trying to escape…

Note: I received an ARC copy of this from Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley. This in no way influences my opinion.

I had seen this book floating around on Netgalley before I was approached by Sourcebooks Fire in an email asking me if I would be willing to review it. I wasn’t entirely sure whether it was going to be my kind of thing, which is why I hadn’t gone and grabbed a copy on my own. Unfortunately, this wasn’t my kind of thing! I ended up DNFing this book at around 35% after a variety of issues.

I think the biggest issue I had with this book was the portrayal of the main character. For the first 25%, I actually thought I was reading from the perspective of a female! I was shocked to find out that this wasn’t the case and I still have no real idea as to what our MC is called. It was never really made clear who they are, what they do etc. I feel like a bit more of a background was needed into the family etc. before the author decided to dive into the events of this book. I struggled to connect with the MC on a level where I could empathise with them – along with the other characters. I didn’t really see enough of Gladys to really form any kind of bond with her and Marcos was too secretive for me. I did like the friendship between the MC and his best friend/cousin!

I also struggled to get into the plot itself. I liked the concept of this book, but I felt like the execution was too dragged out – even with the action moments that were going on in between. I think more information into the gang and why they targeted the family was needed to help the plot along. A lot of it felt extremely rushed without really giving much information other than what they were planning to do in that moment.

Another issue I had with this book was the Mexican words that were used every now and again. Sometimes they were repeated in English so we knew what was said, whilst there were other times where they weren’t repeated. If I am reading, I don’t want to have to keep stopping to translate something because it takes away from the story itself and proves to be a distraction from the book in the long run.

All in all, I went into this unsure about whether or not it was really going to be my kind of thing and it turned out that it wasn’t. I was hoping that it was going to surprise me and I would absolutely love it. I gave this book 1/5 stars.

Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted here! To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off! Don’t forget to link back here and feel free to add your links to the comments.

Hey guys! I hope you all had a great weekend! This weeks pick for me is the first book in a series that I have been eyeing up for a while now! It sounds really interesting and I hope I can get to it soon!

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Jackaby by William Ritter

Published: September 16th 2014 by Algonquin Young Readers

“Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion–and there are many illusions. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

 

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E Schwab

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A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Published: February 27th 2015 by Titan Books

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

I have seen the hype surrounding these books for absolutely ages now. I bought all three of them from amazon at the same time because I was absolutely expecting to love it – I had heard so many amazing things before hand, I wondered how I couldn’t?!? However… I ended up dnfing it *ducks*. I really didn’t enjoy it, to the point where I was forcing myself to pick it up. So, unpopular opinion is abound, people!

I think my biggest issue was that I wasn’t feeling any kind of connection to any of the characters. I often felt like they were superficial and I really struggled to actually care about what was going to happen to them – much less like them. I didn’t like the chopping and changing between the character arcs because I often felt like none of them had their own voices. To me, they all sounded pretty similar. For me, it is really important (especially in fantasy books) to have that connection to the characters because that is a large part of what makes me pick the book back up. When I am invested in the character’s well being, I obviously have to know what happens to them and if they make it to the end of the books/series. I wasn’t feeling that with Kell, Lila and Holland. I just didn’t really get it.

I also felt like the plot was slow and dragged. Maybe book one is used to set up the rest of the series? I don’t know, but I often felt bored and I would end up having to re read passages of the book because my mind had wondered to different things and I had forgotten what I had just read. I found it too easy to put the book down and pick it up again at a later time. The plot could have had a little sprucing up and been made a little more fast paced… or even have something of interest happen in the first part of the book.

I also felt like aspects of the magic system that were being created were a little too coincidental. Like the magic sword that Kell enchanted himself to stop magic users from being able to use just that. I felt like Schwab sort of bent certain aspects of it to fit into the plot that she was trying to write and I just didn’t really enjoy it.

All in all, I was expecting to love these and I just… didn’t. I feel a lot like I felt after This Savage Song, in the sense that it was missing something that should have kept me hooked throughout. I’m thinking that maybe Schwab’s writing just isn’t for me… I gave this book 1/5 stars.

Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted here. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off! Don’t forget to link back here and link me up in the comments so that I and others can see what you picked! 

Hey guys! I hope you all had a fab weekend! I am writing this post Monday morning rather than sunday evening (as is my usual ritual) because I was reading last night and got so into the book that I was reading, that I actually forgot to write this post! *Facepalm* So… better late than never!

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Freeks by Amanda Hocking

Published: January 3rd 2017 by St. Martins Griffin

In a world of magical visions and pyrokinesis, Mara just wants to have a normal life. But is that possible?

Mara has become used to the extraordinary. Roaming from place to place with Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Carnival, she longs for an ordinary life where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future.

She gets her chance when the struggling sideshow sets up camp in the small town of Caudry and she meets a gorgeous local guy named Gabe. But before long, Mara realizes there’s a dark presence lurking in the town that’s threatening the lives of her friends. She has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she had in order to save everyone she cares about—and change the future forever.