Book Review: Secrets and Lies by Ella Monroe

Title: Secrets and Lie (Capital Girls #2)
Author: Ella Monroe
Genre: contemporary, romance, chick lit
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: November 
Pages: 304 pages
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Jealousy, rivalry, and dark secrets threaten to tear the girls apart in this sizzling follow-up to Capital Girls

It’s the start of senior year, and Excelsior Prep is on Code 3 lockdown. Secret Service agents swarm the halls searching for the First Son’s girlfriend, Jackie Whitman. Outside a SWAT team hunts for the man who’s been threatening the First Family for weeks. Only this time he’s singled out Jackie, leaving a menacing message on the school’s voicemail. Jackie’s safe for now, but for the Capital Girls—three privileged kids who live in a political fishbowl in the nation’s capital—every day is filled with tension and thrills. Though, even for them, a raid on the school by AK-47-toting marksmen is a standout.
And a stalker isn’t Jackie’s only problem.  Still shattered by the shocking news that Andrew cheated on her with Taylor the night Taylor died, Jackie’s whole world has fallen apart.  Not only did the love of her life betray her, so did her best friend and idol.  What made Taylor do it? Who was she really?  On top of it all, Whitney Remick is plotting to take Taylor’s place, and Jackie will do anything to stop her.

My Review:

Secrets and Lies is the perfect title for this book – there’s not a character that’s not lying and carrying secrets around with them. After the accident in the end of the first novel, Capital Girls, Lettie, Laura Beth and Jackie are all trying to come to terms with the loss of their friend. But the drama doesn’t stop there. Several kidnapping threats have been made regarding Jackie, Lettie’s facing deportation and Laura Beth still has Whitney on her tail causing trouble wherever she goes.

This book has a Gossip Girl vibe to it but instead of just the social politics there’s a Capital Hill flavour to it all. I thought the characters were mostly well written and interesting but I didn’t really feel like I connected with any of them. They’re all a little selfish and well… a little bitchy if I’m being completely honest. They all get preoccupied with their own drama that they aren’t all that supportive of their friends but they’re the first to recognize the shortcomings in others. Mean Girl Whitney was probably my favourite but that’s mostly because she knows how awful she is and makes no apologizes for her behaviour.

I liked the time frame in which Secrets and Lies took place – roughly a six month period – with different stories having time to develop. I did feel a little dissatisfied with the plot in terms of action. I thought the first couple of chapters were more dramatic than the ending and I felt a little let down by that.

The supporting characters – boyfriends and mothers – were an interesting touch. For the most part the boyfriends are shown in a negative light. There’s a cheater, a suspected cheater, a stoner who’s father’s political connections are what get him out of trouble and a very angry young man who’s convinced that one of the other boyfriends is a murderer… Like I said, interesting. I felt like more could have been explored with each of them. And the mothers are fascinating in their own way.

If teen series that deal with the social politics of high school along with healthy doses of sex, lies and the White House are your thing then I can definitely recommend Secrets and Lies. However if you want a little more plot, action and likeable character, it’s probably not the book for you.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Griffin for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 

Also by Ella Monroe:

   Capital Girls (Capital Girls 1)
Amazon / Book Depository

Movie Trailer: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments)

The teaser/trailer for the City of Bones movie has been released! It’s based on the first book (City of Bones) in the best-selling Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare.

The film comes out in August 2013 and this trailer looks so good that I’m considering reading all the books in this series and the prequel series before the film comes out in. I’ve not been this excited about a movie since the Harry Potter films.

And for some reason it’s not letting me post the video onto my blog…

But here is a link to watch the video on the MTV website: City of Bones Trailer

Not a YA Book Review: Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey

Wool isn’t a young adult or even a new adult book but I felt like sharing my review on this blog anyway. Whilst not falling under the genre of YA fiction, I still think this series could be read and enjoyed by young adults or adults of any age.

Title: Wool Omnibus (#1-5)
Author: Hugh Howey
Genre: Science Fiction; Dystopia;  Post Apocalyptic
Publisher: Century (an imprint of Random House)
Publication Date: January 2013
Pages: 448
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
This Omnibus Edition collects the five Wool books into a single volume. It is for those who arrived late to the party and who wish to save a dollar or two while picking up the same stories in a single package.

The first Wool story was released as a standalone short in July of 2011. Due to reviewer demand, the rest of the story was released over the next six months. My thanks go out to those reviewers who clamored for more. Without you, none of this would exist. Your demand created this as much as I did.

This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

My Review:

Whilst these books are available as individual ebooks, I’m so glad I had a copy of the five so as soon as I finished each one I could start the next one immediately.

From the few pages of Book 1, I was drawn into the world of Silo living when the mere expression of unhappiness with living in the Silo is the same as signing your own death sentence.

There’s so much drama and suspense throughout these books – Howey isn’t afraid to kill main characters whenever he feels necessary. But whenever new ones are introduced it feels natural and not just as a replacement for a former character. The titles of each of the books being knitting terms was not lost on me.

During some of the books it did feel a little like I was playing catch up – the reasons for the decisions reached at the start of the book not being revealed until the final pages (like in book 1) – but at the same time the with the fast paced nature of the books I never felt lost. There is always something happening.

I found the second book (Proper Gauge) a little on the dull side (especially considering how exciting Holston was) but it did give vital information about the daily living and structure in the Silo as well as the hold the IT had on the Silo.

There’s a little bit of everything in this omnibus – politics; society; a slight love story; treachery – and so much more. The many different narrators add to the complexity of silo living and made it that much more suspenseful – knowing that anyone could die at any moment regardless of whether they were a “main” character or not.

I enjoyed these first five instalments in the Wool series and will definitely be tracking down book 6 as soon as I can.

Thanks to The Reading Room and Random House for the review copy

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Top Ten Tuesday: Desert Island Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

This week’s topic is: Top Ten Books if you were on a deserted island.

Amazingly enough – this is something I think about all the time. Why? Because I’m always trying to sort out my book collection. I have one shelf that is books I can’t live without. Another full of books that I’ve wanted to read or attempted to read and just not been able to finish for whatever reason. The final category of books I would need are survival books.

Favourites that I could read a thousand times and still want to read again

1. Persuasion by Jane Austen (because that letter… oh my. I think it’s the most romantic thing I’ve ever read)

2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Books that I’ve been trying to read for ever and would need to be stranded on a deserted island to finish reading… (and plus… if all else fails there is plenty of paper in these to be used as fuel for the fire I’d need to survive)

3. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

4. Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien (which is sort of cheating as it’s many books in one)

5. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Books that have necessary lessons to be learnt within their pages

6. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

7. Man vs. Wild: Survival Techniques from the Most Dangerous Places on Earth by Bear Grylls

Because where there is a desert island – pirates are never far away

8. Steel by Carrie Vaughn

9. The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe

Because I bought it today and couldn’t stand the idea of not being able to read it

10. The Diviners by Libba Bray (I’ve wanted this book forever and when I saw the gorgeous cover on the Allen & Unwin edition I couldn’t help myself… this is what happens when I go to a bookstore to buy a birthday gift for my sister-in-law without a chaperone.. whoops!)

There are a lot of other books that I adore and I’d love to bring with me but I thought I should try to obey the rules this week and stick to a top ten. And – I’m rather proud of myself – but I managed to complete a top ten without any Harry Potter, Meg Cabot or Vampire Academy on it 😛

A list of my favourites shelf according to goodreads

 

Book Review: Undeadly by Michele Vail

Title: Undeadly (The Reaper Diaries #1)
Author: Michele Vail (aka. Michele Bardsley)
Genre: paranormal, fantasy, zombies, mythology
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: November 2012
Pages: 272 pages
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird…

Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper-and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she’s shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath. Who seems to hate her guts.

Rath will be watching closely to be sure she completes her first assignment-reaping Rick, the boy who should have died. The boy she still wants to be with. To make matters worse, students at the academy start turning up catatonic, and accusations fly-against Molly. The only way out of this mess? To go through hell. Literally.

My Review:

I stumbled upon this book a few months ago – almost by accident. But it immediately captured my attention. I’m a new convert to books regarding zombies and mythology books always catch my fancy.

Molly lives a fairly uncomplicated life. School during the day, working at her father’s zombie emporium most afternoons. That is until her sixteenth birthday party and Molly accidentally manages to mess with necro magic that she doesn’t understand. She also finds out that she’s not a Bartolucci – but rather the guy she’s always believed to be her dad is not her real biological father!

Her maternal grandparents enter the scene and inform Molly that she’s a Legacy at a fancy necromancy private school, Nekyia Academy, where she will have her own personal ghoul to run her errands and a secret society to be a part of.

There’s so much of this novel that reminded me of Marked (House of Night #1) – from the fact that Molly is some sort of ‘chosen one’ to the super sugary sweet southern new best friend. There’s even the boyfriend that the heroine somehow managed to enthrall with her new magical gifts is along for the ride too. There were just too many similarities between the two stories that I couldn’t help but think that one was a poor copy of the other.

What I did love about this book was the mythology used. I love the Egyptian angle as it’s not something I’ve read a lot about before. The gods mentioned are kind of bad-ass and I loved their involvement in the novel. I would have loved if there was less time spent on the events covered early in the novel and a lot more on the fantastic and interesting drama that occurred after the half way point as that’s where I found this book to be new and exciting.

It’s a fun and easy read where the magic and mythology used is something I’ve not seen much of before – I love the necro magic and I can’t wait to see what happens next for Molly (there’s a bit of a cliff-hanger). There are a number of interesting characters (Roth for one.. he’s my favourite by far but also Aunt Leila and Anubis himself) that do may this book more than just another teenage girl who finds out she’s magical and important.

Thanks to Michele Vail for the digital review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: Sam Cruz’s Infallible Guide to Getting Girls by Tellulah Darling

Title: Sam Cruz’s Infallible Guide to Getting Girls
Author: Tellulah Darling
Genre: New Adult; Contemporary Romance; Humour
Publisher: Te Da Media
Publication Date: October 2012
Pages: 244
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Why the hell can’t chicks be more like guys?

That question plagues high school senior Sam Cruz. Sam is perfectly happy being a player. He just wishes girls wouldn’t change the game from sex to relationships. It makes him look like an asshole. But when Sam’s best friend, Ally Klinger, gets dumped, she begs him to transform her into someone who can screw around then screw off. No risk of heartbreak that way. It’s Sam’s chance to create the perfect female AND cheer up his best friend. Armed with Sam’s Three Step Guide to Backseat Success, Ally gets the game better than Sam thought she would and before long, Sam has his wish: the female version of himself. Too bad it’s driving him nuts. Told from Sam’s and Ally’s alternating POVs, Sam Cruz’s Infallible Guide to Getting Girls is a fast-paced romantic comedy that follows these teens as they navigate the minefield of sex, love, and friendship.

This book contains strong language, drinking, euphemisms, and lots of “bow chicka wow wow.”

My Review:

At times this book was crass and crude (the title character manages to have meaningless sex in a parking lot in the first chapter) but it did have its sweet moments to balance out the sex and swearing.

Seventeen year olds Ally and Sam have been friends forever – their mothers met at a mothers group back in the day. When Ally’s boyfriend of two years dumps her for someone else she approaches Sam to help her get some game. Sam, master seducer that he is, decides that is his chance to change the world. To create a girl who has sex like a guy and makes none of the messy relationship blunders that the fairer gender is so prone to making.

Needless to say it doesn’t exactly go the way either of them were expecting.

There were a lot of things I really liked about the book. It tapped into the teen flick vibe perfectly. Ally is a She’s All That girl especially with respect to the make over… just remove the glasses give her some clothes with shape, get rid of the ponytail and she goes from eco-warrior Hipster to dazzling man-eater. Sam is a player without a cause who leaves a trail of one night stands in his wake. But he does have a redeeming quality – his life long friendship with Ally. I loved the banter between the two. And if I’ve learned anything from TV and movies it’s that if a guy is nice to kittens then he must be a good guy (so I suppose that’s another point in his favour… ). The alternating point-of-view chapters were well done – there’s minimal overlapping of events which keeps the story pace going and it was great to see the thoughts of both the characters during the novel.

Other characters in the book were fun to read too – Ally’s cousin Rachel and her boyfriend Ian who were retro college students were my favourite of the supporting characters with their advice and drama.

This book was fun to read and I thought it managed to perfectly capture the sex-crazed teen movie vibe perfectly.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon


WWW Wednesdays… November 7th

W…W…W… Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Should Be Reading.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

My answers for this week:

What am I currently reading?: I just stared Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver. After loving the first book in the series (Delirium) I deliberately put this book off a while just so I could absorb the ending.

What did I just finish reading?: Just finished reading the Wool pentalogy by Hugh Howey. Firstly – I love the word pentalogy. Secondly – I was amazed by how much I enjoyed this story. It’s a fascinating post-apocalyptic world and I will be posting a review in the next few weeks even if it’s not quite young adult fiction. 

What do I think I’ll read next?: So many books, so little time. But there’s a few that have been on my to-read pile (the one that’s on my desk reminding me everyday that it’s there and waiting for me to get to it) which include Poison Princess by Kresley Cole and Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff.