Lies that Bind by Diana Rodriguez Wallach


Lies that Bind by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

Published: March 6th 2018 by Entangled Teen

The Italian Job meets Bourne Identity meets Spy Kids in this sequel to Proof of Lies.

What if saving yourself meant destroying everyone you love?

Still reeling from everything she learned while searching for her sister in Italy, Anastasia Phoenix is ready to call it quits with spies. Then she and her friends learn that Marcus’s—her kinda boyfriend—brother, Antonio, has also gone missing. Luckily, they track down Antonio in a fiery festival in England, only to learn he has been working for the enemy, Department D, the whole time. But Antonio wants out. And so does Anastasia.

But before any of them can leave espionage and their parents’ crimes behind them, a close friend turns up dead. No one is safe, not while Department D still exists. So Anastasia and her friends embark on a dangerous plan to bring down an entire criminal empire, using every Dresden Kid they can find.

As their world becomes surrounded by spies, and the children of spies, Anastasia starts to question who she can really trust. Including her best friends…

NOTE: I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review. This in no way influences my opinion.

Lies that Bind is the sequel to Proof of Lies in the Anastasia Phoenix series. I read the first book a while back and really enjoyed it, so I was ecstatic when the publisher reached out and offered to send an ARC of this book ass well. However, for me, this book suffered from second book blues and I ultimately ended up DNFing it.

This book starts off where the previous on leaves off. Not a lot of time has elapsed between the two, so it was easy to keep track of what had happened in between books and where the characters are now. There were also plenty of reminders about what had happened in book one, so I didn’t need to struggle to remember what had happened previously, which I found to be a bonus.

However, I didn’t connect to this story as I had to the first book. There was no hook that really kept me interested and I often found myself putting the book down and doing something else. It felt extremely repetitive in the way in which the characters were acting and what they were saying and it really put me off wanting to read it because it felt like points kept being rehashed where they didn’t need to be.

Another issue I had with this book was that the plot was slow. I got up to about 25% of the way though and nothing had really happened. The plot itself was slow and it just appeared to be a lot of back and fourth arguments about what they were going to do next. It didn’t seem to be going anywhere and it failed to keep me only toes in the way in which book one did.

I also didn’t connect with Anastasia like I did in book 1. She came across as relatively whiny and it really felt like she had taken a step backward in the character development department. I struggled to care about what was going to happen to her in the long run, which impacted how I connected to the story as a whole. The way in which she started to call all the decisions and didn’t even stop to consider what anyone else had to say irritated me.

Anthony was also a dislikable character to me. His whole personality grated only nerves and I really just wanted to punch him every time he spoke. I struggled to even trust him and I didn’t really care about seeing things from his perspective because of the way in which he treated other characters.

All in all, I was disappointed with this book. It didn’t hold the same spark that hame hooked in book one and the plot and character development was sorely lacking. I gave this book 1/5 stars.

#Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid


#Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid

Published: February 13th 2018 by Tor Teen

A CIA prodigy’s cover is blown when he accidentally becomes an internet sensation in #Prettyboy Must Die, inspired by the #Alexfromtarget story.

When Peter Smith’s classmate snaps a picture of him during a late night run at the track, Peter thinks he might be in trouble. When she posts that photo–along with the caption, “See the Pretty Boy Run,”–Peter knows he’s in trouble. But when hostiles drop through the ceiling of his 6th period Chem Class, Peter’s pretty sure his trouble just became a national emergency.

Because he’s not really Peter Smith. He’s Jake Morrow, former foster-kid turned CIA operative. After a massive screw-up on his first mission, he’s on a pity assignment, a dozen hit lists and now, social media, apparently. As #Prettyboy, of all freaking things.

His cover’s blown, his school’s under siege, and if he screws up now, #Prettyboy will become #Deadboy faster than you can say, ‘fifteen minutes of fame.’ Trapped in a high school with rabid killers and rabid fans, he’ll need all his training and then some to save his job, his school and, oh yeah, his life.

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

When I first saw this on Netgalley, I decided to request it because it looked like a quick, fun, cheesy read – something that would just cheer you up and let you escape for a couple go hours. However, this book did not cheer me up, and I actually ended up DNFing it. The characters, the descriptions and some of the ideas that the author had left me eye rolling pretty hard – to the point where I’m pretty sure that my eyes got stuck in the back of my head.

I’m going to start off with the MC. I struggled to really engage in this story because I found Peter/Jake to be extremely unlikeable. He was constantly complaining and whining and was pretty condescending toward others – whether it was just his thoughts and the way in which he saw people or whether it was things he said to other characters. He was horrible the person who was supposed to be his best friend within this book and it just grated on my nerves. I physically couldn’t connect to him as a character because I found no relatable qualities in him whatsoever. Despite his many mistakes etc. he still acted like he was better than everyone else and it really drew me out of the story.

His best friend’s back story (Bunker) also seemed completely out there and extremely unlikely. His dad took him underground (for reasons I have forgotten) and he doesn’t resurface for 15 years. It then seems unlikely to me that he is able to get into a relatively prestigious school on a scholarship and that he would be relatively sane of mind and pretty current with the times when he has been underground for the past 15 years. Surely he would have various psychological, if not also physical, issues that would confine him to a hospital/unit until he has be rehabilitated into the real world?

I think the biggest issue for me, and ultimately what led me to putting the book down, is the way in which Peter (the author) dismissed the possibility of a character being the hacker he’s looking for because: She’s English and beautiful and she has an amazing English accent and her hair smells English (Strawberries and Vanilla, who knew? Pretty sure my hair currently smells like coconut, so does this make me not English?), and she kisses super amazing and she’s English and Rich as hell… Did I mention that she’s English? This is what the book basically read like for me and to dismiss a female character because of these relatively shallow things got on my goat. It made me angry and I actually put the book down because I just couldn’t face reading anymore.

All in all, I was pretty disappointed, and irritated, with this book. I was expecting something fun and cheesy and got quite the opposite. I gave this book 1/5 stars.

Find Me Here:


Lullaby by L R W Lee


Lullaby by L. R. W. Lee

Published: January 15th 2018 by Woodgate Publishing

You’ve heard of the Sand Man. Meet his counterpart, the Sand Maiden.

Alissandra thrills to help her human charges make sense of thoughts that need refinement, problems that need solutions, worries that beg for action, and things they should or shouldn’t have said, as she weaves their dreams. She’s been doing it her entire immortal existence. But when the most powerful king in Dream realm sets his sights on her current charge, Prince Kovis Altairn, to exploit him in his quest to conquer Wake realm, Ali has no choice but to flee and pray the sovereign doesn’t hunt her down.

Prince Kovis Altairn, crown prince and the most powerful sorcerer in the Altairn Empire, knows nothing about Dream realm, let alone his sand maiden. So when Ali is discovered naked in his bedroom, how will she convince him of her intentions, as well as the danger?

Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from the author. This in no way influences my opinion.

I was a bit on the fence about reading this book. I wasn’t entirely sure if it sounded like it was going to be my kind of thing, but after discussing it over with a friend, I decided to go for it and applied for ARC when they opened up. Unfortunately, this turned out to be not really my cup of tea and I ended up DNFing it about 30 percent of the way through. I found it to be confusing and slow, as well as problematic in certain areas. I will mention that I absolutely love the cover, however. The cover art was done by Charlie Bowater and it is absolutely stunning!

The problems with this book really start from the very beginning. From the very first page of the book, we are thrust into a commotion, without any real explanation of what is happening or why. The first few pages of the book are extremely confusing and it really set the tone, for me, up until the point that I DNFed. Whilst I usually wouldn’t mind being thrown into action from page 1, I expect some form of world building and explanation to follow up so that I have a full understanding of what is really happening and why; and unfortunately, that wasn’t the case with this book. The book carried on from the events at page 1, but without any real explanation as to what was going on and why. The world building and character development was lacking and it really had a negative impact on me as a reader.

The world building itself (the environment, dream realm, wake realm etc.) was really lacking as well. I couldn’t physically picture the places we were supposed to be because there wasn’t enough description for me. Dream Realm and Wake Realm are mentioned, as well as other places that are pretty far off and not where the characters currently are (but are places with rebellion etc.), but I personally had no real idea where any of these places were in regards to where the characters were and what was really going on and why there was rebellion etc. We know it is happening, but we don’t know why and we don’t really find out, even though we have the POV of one of the Princes. I would have liked to have seen more world building itself, along with more of an idea of what is actually going on as opposed to knowing about it and not knowing why.

Another issue I had with this book was the lack of character development. I never really felt connected to any of the characters because they were never developed further from the confusing beginning. Ali was extremely naive and a complete push over. She never exhibited any signs that she was a princess from the dream realm. From the vague snippets that we get about her dad and the kind of person he was, I was expecting her to be tougher mentally, but was left pretty disappointed on that front. She let herself be pushed around in the Wake Realm as well, even after the events of the beginning of the book.

Prince Kovis was a pretty unlikeable character. He often spoke down to and was relatively condescending toward Ali, despite the way she treated him. He often looked the other way and encouraged torture, and only really got involved when it started to affect him. He never really developed from this point on and stayed a relatively unlikeable character throughout. Personality wise, he fell relatively flat and there wasn’t a particular character trait that made him really stand out in a unique way.

I also found this book to be relatively problematic. This book has sexual assault at the beginning of the book. Usually, I don’t mind books featuring sexual assault, when it is written in the right way, because it’s an issue that is extremely relevant within society today. However, I feel that the way in which the author tackled and represented sexual assault actually perpetuates it, rather than shows it to be what it is – an issue that needs to be dealt with and resolved. There was no real consequences for the people who committed the assault and the psychological issues that victims often face in the aftermath weren’t properly represented either. I felt that Ali brushed it off and seemed to completely forget about it afterward. I will add a spoiler paragraph at the bottom so that I can talk about it openly without spoiling anyone.

Unfortunately, this book was lacking in a lot of different areas and left me with more questions than answers. For me, it was relatively problematic and I was disappointed with the way in which Lee represented sexual assault. I gave this book 1/5 stars


As mentioned above, the way in which Lee represented sexual assault was relatively problematic. The prince himself (not Kovis, his brother) allowed his guards to assault Ali, whilst he stood and looked away. There were no repercussions for Prince Kovis’ brother or the guards themselves. It’s also later revealed in the book that their sister was sexually assaulted, and prince Kovis’ brother claims he would never do/allow that to happen to anyone else… except clearly Ali because she’s an exception? Prince Kovis himself doesn’t even do anything about his brother or his brothers guards because “they’re his brothers’ men”. He claimed to have said to his brother that he should get rid of some guards because of questionable morals, but that he couldn’t force him.

My issue with this situations is that there is no accountability in either the guards, the prince or even Prince Kovis, who finds out about it and does nothing. Sexual assault is a societal issue that is extremely relevant, especially with victim shaming and the celebrities who are coming forward to share their stories. I feel that it is ok to have sexual assault represented within any book, as long as it does the subject justice and is dealt with in the right way. I felt that Lee never really had a reason for using it, and never did the subject and the severity of it justice. As already mentioned, nobody was held accountable and Ali herself brushed it off as of nothing ever happened. A lot of the focus for the beginning of the book was Ali either being sexually assaulted or being forced to strip her clothing. It wasn’t used in a way that brought something to the story, or even as a learning device as it should be, but rather as a filler for something to happen. I personally found it to be problematic and it didn’t sit well with me.

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson


The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Published: July 8th 2014 by Henry Holt

Amazon: The Kiss of Deception: The Remnant Chronicles 01

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

I have had this on my TBR for years now. I have always heard amazing things about this book and this series as a whole and I was extremely excited when I picked this up. However, this book turned into a complete DNF for me and I just don’t understand the hype surrounding this book.

I think my biggest issue with this book was that I had absolutely no connection to the characters whatsoever. I didn’t feel anything toward any of them and therefore didn’t really care if they lived or not. I didn’t really feel any connection between Lia and either Rafe or Kaden. I struggled to really like these characters, but their personalities fell completely flat for me and I didn’t really feel like there was any defining personality trait for any one of the characters.

The plot was definitely lacking throughout this book. Lia runs away and doesn’t really do anything else throughout this book (or at least to where I read up to). I struggled to keep focused on the book and often found myself putting the book down to go and do something different. The assassin wasn’t doing much assassinating; the prince wasn’t exactly jilted considering his own feelings about the wedding and, honestly, the plot is basically Lia working in a pub instead of doing her actual duties as a royal/first daughter.  The plot definitely needed a kick start to life with something interesting and it just didn’t happen.

I also wasn’t really feeling a connection between any of the characters. I feel like a lot of what was happening was insta love, with some “romantic” drama in between that didn’t really add much to the story itself. The emotions themselves weren’t actually there for me, which made the book even harder to get through.

All in all, I was pretty disappointed with this book and I don’t really understand the hype surrounding this. I struggled to pick this book up and often found myself going and doing other things. I gave this book 1/5 stars

Find me Here:

Instagram/Twitter/Goodreads/Litsy @ Lauren’s Page Turners

Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano


Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

Published: March 10th 2015 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Amazon: Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles, Band 1)

On the floating city, you can be anything you dream – a novelist or a singer, a florist or a factory worker… Your life is yours to embrace or to squander. There’s only one rule: you don’t approach THE EDGE. If you do, it’s already over.

Morgan Stockhour knows getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though her older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. There’s too much for her at home: her parents, best friend Pen, and her betrothed, Basil. Her life is ordinary and safe, even if she sometimes does wonder about the ground and why it’s forbidden.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially once she meets Judas. Betrothed to the victim, Judas is being blamed for the murder, but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find—or whom she will lose.

I added this to my TBR a while back (I think some time after I read Wither, which was a few years back). I really enjoyed Wither and I was definitely excited to check out more of this author’s work. However, this book fell flat for me and I ended up DNfing it about half way through.

Whilst the plot itself had a lot of potential, I feel like the execution of it left a lot to be desired. I often found myself putting the book down to go an do something else and I really had to force myself to sit and read it for the amount of time that I did. The plot itself was relatively repetitive, as well as the writing, and I didn’t feel like it was going anywhere in particular.

Another issue I had with this book was the fact that I didn’t feel any connection with the characters themselves and, so, I didn’t really care what happened to them or what was going to happen to them throughout the series. I struggled to pick this book back up when I put it down because I didn’t feel that connection that I feel is necessary for a reader to have in order to enjoy the book.

I feel like the world building lacked a little as well. I liked the idea of the floating city and the edge and what could happen to you if you get to close to the edge etc. but I don’t feel like it was executed well. We weren’t given enough information as to why the city is floating and why the things that happened to the people who got too close to the edge happened. I feel like I would have maybe enjoyed this book a little more had the world building been there and the explanations as to why certain things were the way they were.

All in all, whilst I feel like this book had a lot of potential, it definitely fell short for me and my expectations. I found this book relatively boring and the world building was lacking. I gave this book 1/5 stars

The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye


The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye

Published: May 16th 2017 by Balzer + Bray

Amazon: The Crown’s Fate (Crown’s Game, Band 2)

Book Depository

Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.

Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.

For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.

With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.

The Crown’s Game was a book that I highly anticipated reading, which left me underwhelmed – so I went into this one a little wary. I wasn’t sure how the author was going to answer so many question in just this last instalment (this is a duology). I ended up DNFing this book. I found this book even more underwhelming than the first and I was really having to force myself through it.

Whilst this book starts off at the end of the previous one, I feel like it is basically a repeat of book 1 – but on a slightly different level. It is less a game and more of an open warfare between Vika, Pasha and Nikolai. The book is basically Nikolai trying to get the better of Vika and Pasha, whilst Vika hits back and Pasha sort of stuck in the middle. I didn’t feel like there was a huge amount of character development from book 1 (except for Nikolai with what his mother was doing to him) and the characters remained relatively 2D. I didn’t feel a connection with characters to actually care what was going to happen to them throughout the story.

I also feel like I was being given more questions than answers. How was Nikolai in the form he was? How did Aizhana come back? How does the transference of energy work? Why can Galina do magic if there is only supposed to be two people in the entire of Russia who can do it? Why can only two people do magic? There are more, but I feel like all the questions I have would take over this post. I have spoken to a couple of people who read both books and they have had similar opinions in the sense that they have a lot of questions that have, and will remain, unanswered.

The plot didn’t really interest me that much – to the point where I was having to force myself to pick the story up. The style and the form that the plot took was very repetitive from book one, but on a bit of a bigger scale (I don’t want to say too much because of spoilers). I also decided to read the ending after DNFing to see how it would all wrap up and I found the ending to be a little weak. It would have been better had it gone down differently.

I honestly don’t understand either canon for this book. I don’t see a connection between Vika and Pasha or Vika and Nikolai. Jealousy was a huge motivator for what some of these characters did and I honestly didn’t understand why because I didn’t see a spark between any of the characters.

All in all, I was pretty disappointed by this duology. This series was highly anticipated series for me and I ended up not really enjoying either book as much as I thought I was going to! I gave this book 1/5 stars.

Find me Here:

Instagram/Twitter/Goodreads/Litsy @ Lauren’s Page Turners

Other reviews for this book:

Alyssa @ Eater of Books

Jananee @ Head In Her Books

My Guilty Obsession

Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton


Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton

Published: September 6th 2016 by Balzer + Bray

Anna and the French Kiss meets The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks in a romantic and hilarious new novel from Brodi Ashton, the author of the Everneath trilogy. 

Raucous parties, privileged attitudes, underage drinking, and diplomatic immunity . . . it’s all part of student life on Embassy Row.

Piper Baird has always dreamed of becoming a journalist. So when she scores a scholarship to exclusive Chiswick Academy in Washington, DC, she knows it’s her big opportunity. Chiswick offers the most competitive prize for teen journalists—the Bennington scholarship—which would ensure her acceptance to one of the best schools in the country.

Piper isn’t at Chiswick for two days before she witnesses the extreme privilege of the young and wealthy elite who attend her school—and realizes that access to these untouchable students just might give her the edge she’ll need to blow the lid off life at the school in a scathing and unforgettable exposé worthy of the Bennington.

The key to the whole story lies with Rafael Amador, the son of the Spanish Ambassador—and the boy at the center of the most explosive secrets and scandals on Embassy Row. Rafael is big trouble—and when he drops into her bedroom window one night, asking for help, it’s Piper’s big chance to get the full scoop. Except Piper discovers that despite his dark streak, Rafael is smart, kind, funny, and gorgeous—and she might have real feelings for him. How can she break the story of a lifetime if it will destroy the boy she just might love?

I have had this on my TBR since last year, so when I picked it out of my TBR jar I was glad to finally be getting to it. I thought it would be a quick, possibly predictable read – however, I ended up DNFing this book. I got about 30% of the way through this book before putting it down.

My biggest issue with this book was the fact that the characters were superficial. There didn’t seem to be any depth to them and they were relatively boring within the story itself. We didn’t really get to know out characters on a deeper level by 30% of the way through and it led to me being pretty bored for most of the time I was reading. The characters were very cliche in the sense of poor girl who has to work for everything meets rich boy who can get away with anything – and there was obviously the mean girl who hated the poor girl. It was pretty eye rolling inducing.

Another major issue I had with this book was the fact that the writing itself was very repetitive. The same words and phrases were constantly being thrown at me – if I had turned the 30% I read into a drinking game, I probably would have been on the floor, it was that bad. I was constantly being reminded that she went to the same school as the rich kids but was on a different planet and the nickname she gave the rich kids (Diplomatic Immunity (DI’s fo short)) and it got to the point where it was in pretty much every other sentence.

I also felt like the plot took too long to actually kick off with something interesting. By 30% she was just getting an idea of what she wanted to do to achieve her goal within the book and, for me, that was way too long an amount of time to slowly start introducing the point of the book. Had the characters been developed at the beginning of the book to then support the late plot introduction, it wouldn’t have been so bad. As it was, the characters were very 2D and the plot itself lacking.

All in all, I was pretty disappointed with this book. I do have some of Ashton’s other works on my TBR, so hopefully I will enjoy those better. I gave this book 1/5 stars.

Find me Here:

Instagram/Twitter/Goodreads/Litsy @ Lauren’s Page Turners

Six Little Secrets by Katlyn Duncan


Six Little Secrets by Katlyn Duncan

Expected Publication: November 24th 2017 by HQ Publishing

Some secrets can never stay hidden for long…

Six teenagers meet in Saturday detention: a brain, a beauty, a cheerleader, a rebel, a recluse and the new girl.

But someone is watching. Someone has made sure that they are all in the same room at the same time. Someone knows that each of them is hiding a terrible secret…

…and by the end of detention, everyone will know the truth.

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

I stumbled across this book whilst looking through titles on Netgalley. The cover and blurb immediately drew me in and I had to know what was going to happen. Unfortunately, I was hugely disappointed with this book and I found it relatively predictable.

The biggest issue within this book for me was the characters. They are completely superficial and there is no depth created – we see short snippets of the characters a few days earlier (what ultimately lands them in detention) and we find out the secrets they didn’t want everyone to know. However, other than that, we don’t really delve into the lives of the characters; there is no connection created between the characters and the readers and it makes the book difficult to read because I didn’t really care about them enough to not want them to get hurt etc.

The secrets they didn’t want everyone to know were also pretty cliche to the genre. It was nothing mind blowing and they were all pretty predictable. I was expecting something that would have really shocked me and it never came. The reasoning behind what someone was doing to the characters during detention was also uninteresting and cliche. I feel like a better reason could have been thought out than what was given.

The book didn’t have enough time to develop any aspect of it – plot wise or with the characters. We see a couple of the punishments and then the reason was suddenly told by the perpetrator and then… nothing. Suddenly our characters, who previously had NOTHING in common, were suddenly all best friends and walking down the school hallway together? The relationship between the characters never developed during the events to warrant them suddenly being connected to each other. There was no consequences for the perpetrator, either, they just suddenly disappear – which is completely unrealistic. No social media, no online print, not anywhere to be found anywhere even though we eventually find out their real name…

The author also skimmed over the issue of Teacher/student relationships without actually delving into the the societal issues and the consequences that it has on the student as well as the teacher – along with the school and the community itself. It is a problem that we face in todays society and it was gleaned over without enough of an explanation or representation. The other issues from the other students should have also been represented in a much more in depth and personal way to really show the issues and the consequences of those – whether they be the issues the characters themselves face or the effect they have on the society within the book.

All in all, I was pretty disappointed with this book. The characters were superficial at best and the issues were not represented properly to show the consequences for the characters involved, along with the community as a whole. I was expecting a lot more from this book and it just didn’t deliver. I gave this book 1/5 stars.

Find me here:

Instagram/Goodreads/Twitter/Litsy @ Lauren’s Page Turners

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.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E Schwab


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.