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review 2016-03-02 00:08
My Hero: The Olympian by Max Vos
My Hero: The Olympian - Max Vos My Hero: The Olympian - Max Vos

This sequel directly picks up where "My Hero" left off, with Johnny, the now out college football player, and Rich, the professional diver still working towards the World Diving Championships and the Olympic Games, standing together as a stronger and more solid couple.

 

But even with friends and family supporting them all the way, bigotry and hate make their everyday life seem like walking the gauntlet with two big, fat targets painted on their backs. Between tender, sweet and incredibly sexy moments, things turn ugly and violent fast. And while Rich will always be Johnny's hero and vice versa, some things are no longer in their power. Which is why a change of scenery does them a world of good.

 

While I enjoyed the first book very much (except for some niggles and issues), this one was... all over the place. It felt more like several short stories packed into one novel. A lot of episodes, all differing in tone and topic, came together here, but they didn't always feel connected. The writing was great, and Max Vos is still my king of the smexy stuff. But overall, it felt like this novel was somehow missing one, general arc of suspense. Instead there were so many things going on, so many settings and sub-plots and side-characters with their own stories, that it felt like every "chapter" of their story had it's own little arc of suspense and it's very own HFN. I just could have done with a clearer, more defined golden thread, I guess.

 

Overall, I was happy to revisit this couple. It was good to see Johnny and Rich grow, evolve and get even closer to each other. On the other hand, I love Max Vos' hot and raunchy side, and the sweetness and cuteness here was killing me at times. It was just that little bit too much sugar and cheese and fluff. I might be too cynical for that.

 

Or maybe just a cranky bat with a little bit of romance-phobia thrown in now and again.

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review 2016-01-14 10:42
"Those places where sadness and misery abound are favoured settings for stories of ghosts and apparitions."
The Midnight Palace - Carlos Ruiz Zafón,Lucia Graves

What can I say? Thisreally isn't right up my alley, but my mother-in-law highly recommended it and I love that woman, so I gave it a try. I shouldn't have. 

 

I liked parts of it - mostly the writing. Zafón has a way with words. He lets them flow, makes them run through you, paints pictures in your mind. It's a wonderful albeit scary experience. It did however make me want to read more of this author's work which makes it not a total loss. 

 

 

"Set in Calcutta in the 1930s, The Midnight Palace begins on a dark night when an English lieutenant fights to save newborn twins Ben and Sheere from an unthinkable threat. Despite monsoon-force rains and terrible danger lurking around every street corner, the young lieutenant manages to get them to safety, but not without losing his own life. . . .

Years later, on the eve of Ben and Sheere’s sixteenth birthday, the mysterious threat reenters their lives. This time, it may be impossible to escape. With the help of their brave friends, the twins will have to take a stand against the terror that watches them in the shadows of the night—and face the most frightening creature in the history of the City of Palaces."

 

 

The blurb was very promising. I can't say I'm an expert on Calcutta, but I consider it a good thing to broaden my horizon now and again. I liked the first chapters very much. Thrilling and mysterious, it was all I could ask for in a book. Bite me, I'm a sucker for mystery novels and crime solving plots. Years later, Ben and his Chowbar society were a very loveable bunch. Young teens, not quite children anymore, but also not exactly adults, are unique and wild in a sense, but always stick together. Sheere and her grandmother were different. Especially the grandmother. Her issues were her own, and yet she forced a young girl to a lifer of fear, solitude and escapism. 

 

And the grandmother brings me to the parts I didn't like. As much as I enjoy a mystery plot, this one was all over the place. Mostly because despite the wonderful writing style, Zafrón failed to explain a lot of things. Or at least allude to them right from the start in order to make them plausible. The supernatural aspect of the story was strong, the corresponding plotline remained vague, pale and unsatisfying though. I was always torn between figuring out the origin of the supernatural or the mystery as a whole. Which led to a kind of constant distraction because time and time again, I would try to understand if one part of the story would finally give me a rational explaination for the superpowers or if the superpowers just were what they were and I should take all the other parts of the story as a piece of the mystery puzzle without thinking too hard about it. In the end, I wasn't happy with the execution of both, the supernatural and the crime solving. 

 

Also, the story started to fizzle and fly all over the place after approximately one third of the book. So many plotlines, so many pieces of a greater puzzle I wasn't able to see until almost the very end. Dramatic high points drowned in all the changing POVs that albeit being interesting, confused me or even bored me at one point or the other. The worst was the telling. So much telling of the same tales. Well written, but still all over the place. And when I get the same story told for the umpteenth time - with some parts changed completely and others completely the same? I'm over- and underwhelmed at the same time. The only good thing about that was my growing empathy for Jawahel, the "villain". Still didn't save me the disappointment at the end, but it gave the super-bad guy some facets and layers. 

 

All in all, I was sceptical going in because of the "horror" aspect of the story - since that is not my favorite genre. Being done with it, I can honestly say: The horror was not the problem. It wasn't the writingstyle, either. The plotlines and -holes, the lack of consistency and plausibility, the overall jumbled mess of explainations really didn't do it for me. Sadly disappointed. 

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review 2014-05-22 18:36
Huge Disappointment
#scandal - Sarah Ockler

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

#Scandal was a huge disappointment. I read The Book of Broken Hearts last year and fell in love and when I found out that Ockler had a new book coming out, I was so excited and had such high expectations but my expectations weren’t met.

We are dealing with cyberbullying which is such an important issue in today's world yet I felt so detached from the whole incident. From everything that happened in this book really. I cringed but when you’re reading about a character who is being bullied, you expect to feel a whole lot more and that didn’t happen. Sometimes I felt like the main character herself was detached from the situation because I couldn’t feel her pain or embarrassment. She talked about how she had it coming and yada yada yada but I never felt like she was truly hurt by the incident.

The main character, Lucy, was okay. She seemed like a bit of a cliché at first with her gorgeous best friend and she being the ‘awkward’ friend who stood out because she was interested in something most girls are (apparently) not, zombie games. I was worried about how well that would bode for her character but in all honesty, I never really felt that part of her personality come to life. She wore the t-shirts, made the references, played the games but it didn’t feel real to me. I DID like how she actually tried to tell her best friend the truth. She believed that her best friend deserved it even after her she had been ignoring her and refusing to listen to her explanations. What I didn’t love was how towards the ending she seemed to become a pushover (imo). I felt like instead of standing up for herself, she did what she though other people would approve of and it just didn’t sit well with me. After being bullied like that, she deserved to stand up for herself!

The secondary characters were not that well developed. There were a handful and out of that handful there were a couple who had a lot of potential but it didn’t work out well.

For starters, I don’t completely understand Ellie. I don’t understand why she had to lie to her best friend about her breakup and then ask her to be her ex’s prom date. I understand her anger at what happened. You really shouldn’t be making out with your best friends ex, especially after they recently broke up but I felt like Ellie felt like they had ‘cheated’ on her when they had not. With that said, I’d say she was the most likeable character in the book. Her best friend and her were not getting along, people were being asses but even with their differences she actually stood up for Lucy in spite of everything that had happened.

Her sister again had a lot of potential but I lost all respect for her once the mystery involving her unraveled (well one of them, there are two, one is more subtle). If she actually had any sisterly feelings for her sister she would have expressed some guilt and well taking her on shopping trips and buying her stuff will NOT CUT IT FOR ME! I need some expression of genuine remorse. When they met for the first time after a year, she brushed it off and while I disliked her for it at that point, you cannot imagine how disappointed I was when I learned what had actually happened.

The (e)VIL group was also an interesting addition. I was so glad to see the rolled they played and how they affected the main character. It was really nice to see how the author changed the main character perception of them over time making her realize it isn’t fair to be judgemental.

Franklin was cute. He was also not the love interest and that’s where the problem arises.

I do not care for the actual love interest. He was barely there in the book and he becomes a self-righteous snob near the end of the book. I also didn’t approve of how he thought it was okay to be in love with his girlfriend’s best friend and still continue to date her. If you know you like someone else. BREAK THE HELL UP. You are not married and even if you were, this is the 21st century. There is no need to lead someone on!

You can imagine how much harder that made it for me to enjoy the romance. The romance was barely there and their ILYs seemingly came out of nowhere. I mean they have been friends and ‘in love’ with each other for the past couple years but what about getting to know each other? I kind of expected Cole and her to spend some time trying to work things through after what happened and while that happened, there weren’t nearly enough scenes showing that happening in the book.

The plot could have been a little tied down too. I felt like there were too many mysteries to follow. It wasn’t that they were hard to follow but they were all resolved near the same time and I just felt like the excess of mysteries took away from the main one. Who posted the pictures? It was KIND of obvious who had but at the same time I felt like there were no real clues to suggest that. The reasoning seemed a little over the top to me.

I was also a tad bit disappointed by how cyber-bullying was handled in this book. I was so excited about this book and was so excited to see how the author would actually deal with the issue, but like I mentioned earlier, I felt detached and the main characters actions kind of made it harder for me to admire that aspect of the story. Her constant self-blame started rubbing on me and not in a good way. She said she had it coming because of her actions but no one deserves to have that happen to them. No matter how wrong what you did was, you don’t deserve to have your private laundry aired out like that. You deserve the right to explain yourself.

With all that said, the book had a handful of enjoyable moments and was a quick read, so while I didn’t enjoy it a whole lot, I am sure there are people who will.

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review 2013-03-11 00:00
All Over the Place
All Over the Place - Serena Clarke Livi Callaway has left her home in New Zealand to return to her birth place England. She's getting away from the fact that her ex boyfriend has totally humiliated her by appearing on a dancing reality TV show. Will she ever be able to show her face again?

While in London she's on a packed tube train, chatting/flirting with an American man, in the rush to get off at his stop his bag gets tangled with hers and he gets off without it. She knows nothing about him, not even his name, only that he is from Idaho.

Her best friend and flatmate Cass convinces her to hunt him down, telling Livi that he could be the love of her life but will Livi agree?

At first glance of this book I thought it might be a bit Mills & Boon type judging by the cover. Thankfully it's nothing like that. I finished this book over 12 hours ago and have thought and thought about it but I still can't make my mind up about it.

While there was plenty going on in the story, a few twists to it, I didn't find it really engaging. I didn't really care what happened to the characters, I just kept on reading to find out what happened. A bit of the plot had no need to be there, like what happened with Livi's parents, that could have been filled with something else which would have made a lot of difference. There were plenty of different characters in the book which made it a bit more livelier.

Told in the third person narrative, there were a few emails between Livi and her old childhood friend Cam. I enjoyed those as it's a bit of a favourite format of mine when reading, anything a bit out of the norm! The author did write this well as it the story did flow.

Would I recommend All Over The Place? I would recommend it, purely because we all have different tastes. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.
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review 2013-03-03 00:00
All Over the Place
All Over the Place - Serena Clarke All Over the Place by Serena Clarke is about a humiliated woman who just wants to find her place in life out of the spotlight.

Livi Callaway believes she has the perfect life in New Zealand, She has a good job working with her family and a handsome boyfriend that just asked her to marry him.. But life is about to change for her when her fiancée cheats on her in front of the cameras and her humiliation is filmed and showed nationally.

After that catastrophe, Livi decides to go back to the place where she was born, back to London. Now she is the manager of Peach Salon, and is happy with her friends and co-worker. Until one night on the tube she runs into an American, who strikes a conversation with her. But with all the people there, his satchel’s buckle get stuck on her bag’s buckle when he is exiting the tube.Read More...
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