REVIEW: Dead Ringer by Jessie Rosen

Title: Dead Ringer
Author: Jessie Rosen
Publisher: Full Fathom Five
Publication Date: November 11th 2015
Part of A Series?: Yes 
I Got A Copy Through: The Publisher via Netgalley 

Blurb Description: From the moment Laura Rivers steps foot into Englewood High, she notices the stares—and they aren’t the typical once-overs every pretty new girl endures. The students seem confused and…spooked. Whispers echoing through the halls confirm that something is seriously off. “That new girl looks just like her,” they say.

It turns out Laura has a doppelgänger, and it isn't just anyone—it's Sarah Castro-Tanner, the girl who killed herself by jumping into the Navasink River one year ago.

Laura is determined not to let the gossip ruin her chances of making a fresh start. Thanks to her charming personality and California tan, she catches the eye of Englewood’s undisputed golden boy, Charlie Sanders, and it’s only a matter of time before they make their relationship official.

But something is making Charlie and his friends paranoid—and Laura soon discovers it has to do with Sarah Castro-Tanner.

What really happened to Sarah? Why is Charlie unraveling? And how does Laura Rivers fit into it all?

After all, she’s the dead ringer for a dead girl.

**MY REVIEW**

Being the new girl is bad enough. But for Laura Rivers, being the new girl is the least of her problems. 

Almost all of Englewood High sees just one thing when they look at their newest California girl- the face of the their saddest story. The face of Sarah Castro- Tanner, the only girl in this small sleepy town who committed suicide. Terrible, right? Especially for the new girl. And things only get harder when she falls for Englewood's golden boy and star quarterback- Charlie Sanders.

But the girl with the dead girls face is in for a few surprises- for Englewood's star boy has a closet full of dark, incriminating secrets, and a few revolving around the girl who's face she shares...

I thought Dead Ringer had an absolutely brilliant story line- but it didn't live up to what I thought it would be. The story itself was great, but the writing was a bit stiff and I could see the inexperience of the author. The dialogue was awkward, and the descriptions mediocre. The chemistry was nonexistent. And the worst part? All the twists came at the most inopportune moments- they could have had such a great impact, because as I said the idea of the story was gorgeous, but the actual execution could have been so much better!

On the whole, there's not much more I can say- reviewing Dead Ringer makes me feel like I have to be as blunt as I can be! I am a little sad, because that story could have been so much more, and also, it could have been finished in just one book- but then again, that's up to the author!

All in all, I just wish it was a better executed story!

REVIEW: Drowning is Inevitable by Shalanda Stanley

Title: Drowning is Inevitable
Author: Shalanda Stanley
Publisher: Random House Children's
Publication Date: September 8th 2015
Part of A Series?: No, Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: The Publisher via NetGalley

Blurb Description: Olivia has spent her whole life struggling to escape her dead mother’s shadow. But when her father can’t even look at her because Olivia reminds him of her mother, and her grandmother mistakenly calls her “Lillian,”  shaking a reputation she didn’t ask for is next to impossible. Olivia is used to leaning on her best friend, Jamie; her handsome but hot-tempered boyfriend, Max; and their wild-child friend, Maggie, for the reality check that her small Louisiana town can’t provide. But when a terrible fight between Jamie and his father turns deadly, all Olivia can think to do is grab her friends and run. 

In a flash, Olivia, Jamie, Max, and Maggie become fugitives on the back roads of Louisiana. They’re headed to New Orleans, where they hope to find a solution to an unfixable problem. But with their faces displayed on all the news stations, their journey becomes a harrowing game of hide-and-seek from the police—and so-called allies, who just might be the real enemy.

Shalanda Stanley’s breathtaking debut novel explores the deep ties between legacy, loyalty, and love, even as it asks the question: How far would you go to save a friend?

**MY REVIEW**

“She was the ghost I was always looking for.”

I still remember the day I flipped Drowning is Inevitable open…

I was sitting in the car, and my parents and I were returning from somewhere a solid hour away, and the music playing on the radio was a little too mellow for my taste and so, to deal with the boredom, I switched on my Kindle app, and the cover of Drowning is Inevitable caught my attention.

Now now, before I go any further, I understand that it is morally (for a literature lover) to judge a book by its cover, but come on – everybody does it. My own little flaw. Well, suffice to say, the cover is gorgeous - and so is that title!

But, that’s not the point. The point was that within the first minute of properly starting the book (I spent two whole ones staring at that ARC sticker on the cover, thinking for the millionth time how cool it was that I get to read Advanced Copies!) I was HOOKED. There’s just something about powerful openings that get to me – and Drowning is Inevitable definitely had that.

I’m not going to go into the actual story line of the book- because who wants to ruin all of that fun of reading something with no spoilers – but I will tell you what I loved about the book, and why I think you should definitely read it:

First of all, THIS:

“I’m sorry. I wanted to jump off a cliff, and I didn’t want to do it with anyone but you.” (EEEK)

And getting more serious now- I absolutely ADORED how Shalanda Stanley created these characters that have spent their entire lives twirled around each other, and yet somehow, are only now truly realising it – when they’re willing to put all they’ve worked for all these years at risk, just for each other. I LOVED how there was this situation that occurs so frequently and yet so covered up in the world we live in today – one that always disgusts me – but for the first time, the abuse victim wasn’t all alone, and he had this support system, that was willing to go to ends of the earth with him. I loved Jamie and Olivia – and that for the first time ever, the best friend relationship was portrayed in this unquestionable, steadfast manner that left no room for interpretation or anybody else to get in the way off!


All in all, even though the paragraph above that I spent ranting probably makes no sense, I can’t recommend Drowning is Inevitable more!

REVIEW: Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Six Of Crows, #1)

Title: Six Of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Indigo Publishing
Publication Date: September 29th 2015
Part of A Series?: Yes - First in a trilogy
I Got A Copy Through: ARC- Guardian Children's Books

Blurb Description: Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. 
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. 

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first

**MY REVIEW**

Do you know what it feels like to go back into a fictional world, and be able to call it home- to feel like you’ve finally found a part of you didn’t even know was missing? Well, that is exactly what Six Of Crows is to me. A return to the world of Alina and Mal and Nikolai and The Fold and The Darkling and everybody else that I had no idea I missed that much…

I’d heard about Leigh’s new book, of course, but through all my research (I did that extensively, believe me) there was a lot of anonymity about the book, leaving me little to no storyline expectations from the book- except for the hope of a great new story and the hesitation to get into a new trilogy, for fear of emotional strain. And will the billions of other books releasing this fall, this wasn’t exactly on the top of my to-buy pile- but now, I see how COMPLETELY wrong I was.

If you’re considering this book, let me tell you- it is BRILLIANT, Leigh Bardugo is a genius, and you will be transported in a matter of a few sentences, back to the world of the Shadow and Bone trilogy, except from a completely different point of view. In Six of Crows, the Ravkan Civil War is over, and the Grisha (yes, the GRISHA!) are still reeling from it, but we see it all not from the royalty’s perspective, but from thieves and low-lives and we see the whole world in a completely different perspective.

Kaz Brekker is a criminal prodigy. Kaz Brekker is calculating, cold and ruthless. Kaz Brekker has been offered all the money he could ever hope for, in exchange for a prisoner. Simple, right? The prisoner is a notorious doctor who has created a drug that in the wrong hands, could be deadly. So what, isn’t this normal? Except this drug- Jurda Parem- is designed especially for Grisha. And it makes them unstoppable. It can make Healers convince bend rooms full of people to their will. It can make Heartrenders stop unlimited hearts at whatever distance. If it falls into the wrong hands, the drug can mean the end of Grisha freedom as we know it.

To free the scientist, and ultimately hand him over to the merchant lords of Ketterdam (you know, where Alina and Mal ran off to in the end of Shadow and Bone) Kaz Brekker needs a team- a team as deadly, as cunning and as ruthless as he is. He needs a team of criminals that have nothing to lost and everything to gain, to break into the most impenetrable fortress known to their world. If captured, death will be a blessing to them. If they succeed, they earn their freedom- and money, of course!

I absolutely LOVED Six of Crows. Reading it was like getting sucked into this whirlpool of emotions and that feeling of falling hopelessly in love with a whole new host of characters, however unredeemable they might be- and loving every second of it! It was a perfect novel- as perfect as young adult gets- with Leigh Bargudo producing her best work to date.


If you’re hesitant- like me- or simply haven’t hear of this book- I can only say READ IT! It will blow your mind!   

Review: The Kiss by Lucy Courtenay

Title: The Kiss
Author: Lucy Courtenay
Publisher: Hachette Children's Group
Publication Date: July 2nd 2015
Part of A Series?: Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: NetGalley

Blurb Description:'Aphrodite kissed a mortal once by the light of this moon, many thousands of years ago. It drove him crazy. The next person that he kissed - boum. The craziness travelled like this from person to person. It travelled through time. Everywhere - boum! Tu comprends?' 'Where did it end up?' I whisper. His lips are on my cheek now. 'It ended with me. And now I am going to pass it to you. You will like that, mermaid?' Imagine the perfect kiss. A legendary kiss that makes people crazy with love. 

Imagine a summer's night, on a moonlit beach in the South of France, as French boy Laurent kisses 16-year-old Delilah after the best chat-up line she's ever heard. BOOM! Delilah is pretty sure the Kiss is fiction, despite her head-spinning holiday fling. But with all the sudden crushes, break-ups and melt-downs happening back at home, the Kiss starts looking a little too real for comfort. If only Delilah could keep track of where it's gone ...Who knew one kiss could cause this much trouble? 

A hilarious rom-com that will delight Geek Girls everywhere!

**MY REVIEW**

I’m usually wary of books like The Kiss- and for what I think is a pretty good reason- they’re simply overdone. I will elaborate by saying that not all teenagers- myself included (at times)- think in that COMPLETELY irrational manner, but we’re a bit (albeit, tiny) more sensible than that. Despite my initial reservations, however, I decided to request The Kiss- mostly because of the Aphrodite lore, and the personal significance that one particular Greek Goddess’s name has to me.

And can I just say, that The Kiss was one of those books that had all the right drama, in all the right places- a funny, quick read, filled with some super cool art and undeniable chemistry- and for the first time in a long time, I was happy that I got over what I can now describe as my stuck-up-ed-ness, and decided to give Lucy Courtenay a try.

I don’t quite know what to say about this book, really- in fear of completely ruining this contemporary genius, but let me try talking about the bits I loved.

1. THE CHEMISTRY- When you get to reading as much and as quickly as I do, the entire concept of chemistry- and not Insta-Love between the characters gets diluted, and surprisingly enough, and to my complete delight, Courtenay was able to portray this love story in believably swoony amounts with the perfect amount of drama and fun!

2       2. THE BEST- FRIEND AND THE ONION- Something about the less glamourous, more reserved best friend and the boy that got away, all winded up with the plan to win him back had this whole realistic feel to it- and I loved every minute of it!

3       3. THE ART- Okay, you’re going to have to read it to get to know what exactly I mean by the art- because even in the book, it’s a surprise to Delilah, and one that even I enjoyed.

And I’m done. That’s as vague and at the same time not- so vague as I can get about a book like The Kiss. All I can say is that if you’re looking for a light, sexy and funny read- this should probably be your next pick!   

Review: A Thousand Nights by E.K.Johnston

Title: A Thousand Nights
Author: E.K.Johnston
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: October 6th 2015
Part of A Series?: Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: NetGalley

Blurb Description: Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister's place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin's court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.
 

**MY REVIEW**

From the minute I read the synopsis during the cover reveal, I knew that A Thousand Nights was a book I just had to have. I was so excited, that I kept telling even my non- reader friends that I had found this book, and I knew it was going to be the next IT thing...

Maybe I shouldn't have overdone it like I did, because A Thousand Nights, although really good, just didn't reach that level of brilliant that I thought it would be.

The synopsis sets the story up in ways that I never could, but despite all of that, the story itself was vague, had a lot less magic than I thought it would, but a lot more embroidery and pining over a sister.

Let me elaborate on what I didn't like about the book, before I move on to what I did, just to finish on a high note, because I do think that this book is something pretty much everyone should read.

A Thousand Nights has this gorgeous setting, in a desert in the time of camels and tents, with stories told about myths and the king that kills his brides. A Thousand Nights is the story of a girl, who pays the ultimate sacrifice, to save the person she cares about the most in the world. A girl who was rewarded with magic.

“She was not of my kind, yet there was some power to her that was not human, not quite. She did not die, and I wondered if I might at last have found a queen for whom I could set the desert on fire.”

Magic is not something that people in our world simply receive- especially humans.
But then Kings are supposed to be just men, and not something without a conscience. And as every new dawn comes, the new queen finds herself growing more powerful, instead of winding up without breath in her body, and finds that she has to deal with her husband, the monster, with both magic and love, if she can hope to slay the demon and save the man.

What I didn’t like all that much about the book was the terminology- it took a while- like seventy five percent of the book- to get used to things like ‘sister of my heart’ and ‘Lady mother, we must be quick if we are to save your daughter.’ Even more than that, thinking back as it has been a couple of weeks since I finished A Thousand Nights, I now find myself hating the way things ended. I would have loved a better showdown- girl versus creature- and it sort of ruined the whole thing.

What I did love- the Science and Religion co- relation (BRILLIANLY done, especially in an ancient setting) and the debates (in a kingdom where women aren’t allowed to work- this impressed me!) I also loved the concept of how Gods were created- not a metaphorical all hearing, all knowing God, but that Gods could be anyone- a grandfather, a sister- pretty much anyone, that you would pray too for all that they did while they were alive. What I loved the MOST, however was how everything- from the magic to the very narrations and descriptions were told in this fashion that made me feel like I was being let it on this HUGE secret- like a story in a book that only I could read, which no other book has ever made me feel.

For an Arabian Nights book with magic, kings, queens and love- A Thousand Nights should be your next read!