Thursday 26 September 2013

Review: The Edge of Never

Title: The Edge of Never (The Edge of Never #1)
Author: J.A. Redmerski
Publisher: Harper
Released: 28th February 2013
Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hype can be a dangerous thing - and, sometimes, for me at least, utterly baffling.  Perhaps on some level I can understand why this book got the attention it did.  I did like it enough to give it the midway rating.  But those things weren't enough for me to justify anything higher, and I did have some concerns while reading this that put a damper on my enjoyment.

An incident from the past and following the same routine every day leaves Camryn feeling confined by life.  Unwilling to follow the same path that society seems to live by, she impulsively grabs a few things and boards a bus, intending to get some answers and just see what's out there.  What Cam didn't expect was someone to help her figure out who she was and try things she'd never done before.  Namely, Andrew Parrish.  On his way to see his dad in hospital, Andrew has secrets of his own that he isn't willing to share, and in a relationship that grows closer by the day, that could be the thing that splits them apart.

I may as well tell you straight away, I did want to keep reading this.  Even as I had concerns and wished certain things had been done differently, there was something about this that did pull me in.  It was funny at times, and I liked getting to know Cam at the start.  It did feel like something of a guilty pleasure at times, but there were character insights that left me intrigued and wanting to see more and even deeper into their minds and personalities.  There was also an emotional element that occasionally rose to the surface, and when the ending came, the emotion I felt actually surprised me because it seemed I cared for more Andrew than I'd initially thought.  There was a dual POV that I wish had been more equally weighted because I wanted to see more from Andrew about certain events, but I think we get more of him in the sequel?  (That is actually a question.  Please tell me we do.)

Having said all of this, my issues with this book are not such that I can just dismiss them.  Even now I can still recall them, nearly a month after reading it, and I'm unhappy at the memory.  One of the problems was the way the author phrased certain things.  I'm actually surprised that I came across this.  It seems to me that there are some words that are so meaningful, or whose connotations are so strong, they can only be used within a certain context worthy of the meaning.  I felt uncomfortable with the way Redmerski was describing little things like goosebumps because the way she described it really seemed both irrelevant and unnecessary.  What I also didn't like was how jumpy it all seemed.  It felt like there were thought processes missing, things I wanted to see to know more about the characters and actually see them grow.  Instead it was like, one minute Cam is not in a million years going to do this; the next she was doing precisely that.  Things were left unexplained.  The speech and overall flow just didn't feel right.

Those are the more technical issues.  On a much more personal level, I was somewhat uncomfortable with the type of relationship Camryn and Andrew have.  It wasn't massively bad, but I'm not into the whole dominance thing.  Even if it's not completely full on, it's just not for me.  Which actually reminds me, this wasn't as deep a book as I was hoping it would be.  It was fine until Cam and Andrew were together, and then it just seemed like Cam's development in particular took a backseat.  Also, 'baby' as an endearment.  The more I see it in books, the more it irritates me.

With all of my qualms, then, why am I even considering the sequel?  I'm not entirely sure.  There is something about Redmerski's writing, something about Cam and Andrew, that leaves me wanting more.  I do want to see it through to the end of the story, find out what more is in store for them - and, by extension, me.  I'm hoping that I'll enjoy it more.  The Edge of Never drew an entirely mixed reaction from me which wasn't easy to pin down.  That does make it more memorable, even if not for wholly the right reasons, which might help to explain why I'm so reluctant to let go.  With my complicated relationship with this book, all I can say for certain is that it was not worthy of the hype, yet somehow left me wanting more.

Monday 23 September 2013

Review: Keeping Her

Title: Keeping Her (Losing It #1.5)
Author: Cora Carmack
Publisher: Ebury Digital
Released: 15th August 2013
Rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book came at exactly the right time for me.  I was feeling quite low, and what I really needed was a pick-me-up.  Then I remembered that I had been approved for this that very day, so I started...and I was laughing in minutes.

Keeping Her sees Bliss and Garrick head off to London for Bliss to meet her soon-to-be in-laws.  Of course, this wouldn't be a trademark Cora Carmack book without the mishaps and mayhem, and all its accompanying hilarity.  Bliss being her usual self, put her together with Garrick's parents and you really can't say it's ever boring.  I absolutely love Carmack's portrayal of Bliss.  She's as adorable as ever.  Her clumsiness and awkwardness are charming, but she's also quite intelligent and has a core of strength.  At the same time as retaining Bliss' personality, the author also allowed her some growth, which was wonderful to see.  She seemed to be coming into herself that much more, and helping Garrick keep himself along the way.

Garrick.  My wonderful Garrick.  I know I said I didn't love him in the first book, but I think I'm much closer to that feeling now.  (His POV might, possibly, may be the reason I enjoyed this one more than the other two.)  I could see how much he was worrying about seeing his parents and introducing Bliss.  His obvious love for her was completely endearing.  The relationship between the two of them really seemed to solidify and strengthen, and it was amazing to see.

I wanted something light and funny that would lift me out of my mood, and this did not disappoint.  Instead, it was even better than I expected.  Carmack's writing is such that it leaves a lasting impression - perhaps not the deeper kind that I might usually strive for, but this impression was special in its own right.  This novella is one you want to pick up as soon as possible.

Monday 16 September 2013

An Apology and an Update

Hey, guys!

As you might have noticed, I've been quite lax when it comes to the blog for the past few weeks.  My reading mood has been a bit (read: way) off, so I've been reading erratically, and as for reviews...yeah, they kind of went out the window.  And now I have to catch up.  And I am sorry about that, especially since I promised both you and myself that I'd try not to let that happen.

What this post is for, is to let you know that I will be scheduling things - review things - but I might not be commenting for a while longer.  Because...I'm starting university.

Yep.  I move in on Saturday, term starts the following Monday, and things are going to be crazy hectic for a while while I find my footing and unpack and go from meeting to lecture to event and try not to get lost.  I have no idea how much free time I'll have, how things are going to work.  This week itself is going to be full of packing.  It might be that I do actually have time and will find my way around your blogs.  If I do have the time, I will absolutely be making the rounds.  But this is to let you know just in case.

So that's all.  I hope everyone's okay and reading amazing books.  Hopefully I'll see you soon!  And if you want or need to contact me, you can catch me on Twitter or through email. :)

Happy reading,

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Cover Reveal: The Wicked We Have Done

Author: Sarah Harian
Publisher: Penguin/InterMix books
Released: 18th March 2014
Evalyn Ibarra never expected to be an accused killer and experimental prison test subject. A year ago, she was a normal college student. Now she’s been sentenced to a month in the compass room—an advanced prison obstacle course designed by the government to execute justice.

If she survives, the world will know she’s innocent.

Locked up with nine notorious and potentially psychotic criminals, Evalyn must fight the prison and dismantle her past to stay alive. But the system prized for accuracy appears to be killing at random.

She doesn’t plan on making friends.

She doesn’t plan on falling in love, either.

About the Author
Sarah Harian grew up in the foothills of Yosemite and received her B.A. and M.F.A. from Fresno State University. When not writing, she is usually hiking some mountain or another in the Sierras, playing video games with her fiancé, or rough-housing with her dog.
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