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review 2017-06-27 11:50
Review: Royce Rolls
Royce Rolls - Margaret Stohl

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I was really looking forward to this one. I’m actually not interested in reality television. (With the exception of Judge Judy and court TV)  I pretty much loathe the type of reality TV this book is based on. But I do actually like novels about reality TV.

 

Unfortunately, this book didn’t work for me at all. The satirical nature of it was almost too over the top, it seemed to be going one minute like it was making light of all the ridiculous drama that this scripted reality family go through, then tried to be deep and meaningful as the main character tried to do whatever it took to keep her family together.

 

The biggest problem I had was the main characters, the Royces,  were all horrible horrible people. The mother Mercedes is the worst type of all about me showbiz mother who only seems interested in keeping the show on air, the eldest daughter Porsche, who was an attention seeking bimbo, focused only on her own fame and her own product line of cosmetics. The sixteen year old daughter Bentley is the one the reader is supposed to be routing for, nothing like the vapid character she supposedly portrays on the show she’s really quite deep and smarter than anyone ever imagined. Problem for this reader was I just didn’t like her. And then there’s Maybach, the youngest brother, who’s sole purpose seems to be the cute gay brother. Though for Bach, he seemed to just have a gambling problem that was used as plot point later on rather than give him a romance or something.

 

The premise of the novel is the show is on the verge of cancellation, the family want to keep it going, Bentley wants out and wants to go to college instead. So they keep coming up with more and more ridiculous antics to keep the public watching. So the older sister comes up with an idea for making a wedding, which would give her new product lines and sponsorships and things. Of course it’s all a big fake.

 

But when the chosen groom makes an appearance it all goes wrong very fast. The drama is ridiculously increasing throughout the novel. And to be fair, Bentley does a pretty good job of playing her role as the brattiest daughter of the bunch, managing to ruin planned events and become the worst sort of paparazzi fodder. It’s told with a tone that’s meant to be humorous, but it’s the type of humour that I found got very old and very tiring quite quickly.

 

Bentley finds herself stressed more than she wants to be, she finds out a pretty shocking secret about her sister’s so-called fiancé. She can’t talk to anyone about it. She’s also dealing with constant bickering between her mother and Porsche who seem to be trying to one up each other in antics meant to get attention. And then there’s annoying network executives to deal with and producers and such.

 

She does get a little bit of freedom when she can sneak away and hang out at the library, where she chats to a boy named Venice who appears to be a vagrant. She can talk to him like herself, she doesn’t have to play a character. And Venice listens to her. He was actually one of the decent characters. He had a huge secret of his own as well.

 

Again to be fair, the twist at towards the end was pretty damn epic.

 

There was just too much annoying stuff about the book in general to care by then, too much of Hollywood image crap, the body shaming was really irritating. While there were some decent scenes of the family coming together, finally, when the answers to the twists are finally revealed. There just wasn’t anything really redeemable by the end for my liking.  Reading it was a bit like even though it’s terrible there was still a need to know how it all turned out.  

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ)

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review 2017-06-26 11:56
Review: It Started With Goodbye
It Started With Goodbye - Christina June

Netgalley actually granted one of my request wishes! Which was a fun summery themed contemporary YA novel. There was nothing startlingly original about the plot. Tatum is an average snarky teenager with a larger than life spoiled rich girl best friend, a dad who works far too much and is often out the country on business, a stepmother who’s way too strict and a step sister who is a goody two shoes.

 

At the start of the novel Tatum and her best friend whose name I have already forgotten get big trouble when the BFF and her sleazeball boyfriend are caught doing some major shoplifting. Of which Tatum was unaware, she was in the car waiting for them when the police showed up and was lumped in as the getaway driver.

 

While her BFF gets off with practically no punishment other than transferred to a snotty boarding school miles away, Tatum gets stuck with community service, a fine, grounded all summer, a mass of chores and lecturing from her parents. Her dad has to go out of the country on business so she’s been left with her stepmother to met out the punishment.  The sister is a brilliant dancer and goes to some snooty art school, Tatum has a secret graphic design business she’s trying to get off the ground. After a show at her sister’s school, she leaves some of her business cards out, and starts getting some responses.

 

For the most part Tatum was actually quite a likeable character, she was easy to relate to and understand as she moaned about her situation, it’s no fun being grounded during the summer! Doesn’t help when her stepmother announces that her mother, Tatum’s grandma is coming to stay for the summer as well. Thankfully, Grandma turns out to be really cool, and actually listens to what Tatum has to say, doesn’t automatically dismiss her as a grumpy teen.

 

She ends up trading emails with a music student interested in her graphic design service, and they get to know each other throughout email. It’s delightfully cute and entertaining, the guy is a cellist and he introduces her to new artists and music she’s never heard, including some of his own pieces. There’s some wonderful descriptions and emotions brought out as Tatum listens to the pieces. It was quite surprising and incredibly moving in parts.

 

She’s made some friends with some of the kids on her community service team that she knows from school, and a guy in a band. She’s gets some escape from her monotony of community service then chores from a baby sitting job she’s supposed to be doing, which gives her a breath of freedom. Turns out that the step sister isn’t actually as bad as she’s made out to be, and later on in the novel through conversations with the grandmother she learns some things about her stepmom that explain why she’s the way she is.

 

Some nice scenes of the family coming together towards the end as discussions are held, after many many arguments, tears and tantrums throughout the summer.

 

A decent read, with a cute romance, family drama and likeable characters.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Blink for granting my wish to view the title.   

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review 2017-06-25 03:48
CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS BY: MARTINA MCATEE
Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things - Martina McAtee

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best friends

 

 

This book was AMAZING! I rarely give a first book in a series 5 stars, but if I could give this book a million stars I would!

 

 

all the stars

 

 

The world building was TOP NOTCH. I kept telling my friend this was Ilona Andrews level world building. For those that don't know, that is like the be all end all of world building, in my book at least. It was so vast I kept thinking I could stay in this world forever. I can see where there would be no shortage of stories to be told in this world that McAtee has created. There was a supernatural POWERHOUSE in this book, with plenty of beings that are familiar, shifters, witches, demons, necromancers etc. and some new and fascinating beings I haven't read about before! I enjoyed the fact that Ember was new to this supernatural world too so you got to learn everything about this new mesmerizing place and all its colorful inhabitants side by side with her.

 

 

 

The characters were so diverse and plentiful. There were a lot of people in this story, and there wasn't one that didn't have me completely engrossed in their life. I could not get enough of them! We get a few different POVs in this story, and they are perfectly executed. I am so particular about multiple POVs. If they aren't clearly recognized each time, rather by each voice being distinguishable and unique enough to stand on their own obviously, or by marking it at the chapter changes, I tend to be disappointed. I had no problem with that here. I was honestly kind of blown away how seamlessly the shift was made each time, and even more impressively, how loveable each person was! I was always happy to spend time seeing things through any of their eyes and that is no easy task!

 

 

I love YOU!

 

 

It also needs to be said that this cover is stunning as well! I really can't even do this book enough justice with a review. I loved everything about it, plain and simple. And if any of this sounds even remotely like something you may enjoy, pick this book up because I have a feeling you are going to fall in love with it too.

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review 2017-06-24 02:14
ROAR BY: CORA CARMACK
Roar - Cora Carmack

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I first heard about Roar around a month or so before it released. The premise instantly intrigued me and I knew I wanted to give this book a try so I pre-ordered it. I am so glad that I did! Roar did not disappoint! It was everything I was hoping it would be, and more!

 

Aurora was such an interesting character. I sympathized with her plight, an heir to her kingdom with a huge secret that could topple it before she even got a chance to take the throne. I liked that she was noble enough to want what was best for her kingdom, not just herself and her pride.

 

 

She needed Stormling magic as much for them as she did for herself. I was impressed with the lengths she was willing to go to become independent and strong enough to lead on her own. And considering her sheltered life, hiding herself away so no one would learn her secret, that she lacked her family magic, I thought her going on this epic journey was just what she needed, not only to find her magic, but to also find herself and get a better understanding of the world and the people that she will be ruling over one day.

 

I have to say that not only was Aurora a wonderful leading lady, but each character in this story was enchanting! I genuinely wanted to know more about each and every one, even the ones with the more nefarious intentions, maybe even especially them. Each character was well thought out and multilayered, and it made the story shine that much brighter for it. I loved the rag tag group of storm hunters!

 

 

These misfits that found something like a family in each other and a home in wherever the winds were blowing up the next big storm. They each had a compelling tale to tell, what lead them to where they are now and the things that shaped them. I feel like we have only just begun to hear their stories and know their motivations and I really can't wait to get more!

 

Besides the amazing set of characters the setting is equally enriching. Carmack has created a vast world here and I am desperately hoping to get to see even more of it in future books! And the magic! I loved the idea of these people who can conquer these storms that seem more beastly than natural. Forces of nature have always been something that equally interests me and frightens me. These things that can just come out of nowhere, wreak such havoc and bow to no man.

 

 

There's a reason "ride out the storm" is a saying, what else can you really do against such raw power? That is part of the reason I found the idea of these people who can stand toe to toe with a storm and steal its heart, its very essence, for their own so wild and compelling! And if that sounds as awesome to you is it did to me...just wait until you get to the end of this book! That twist was not something that I saw coming, and might just be my very favorite thing in this story!

 

 

If you are a fan of fantasy and adventure stories with a strong cast of characters I highly recommend giving this book a read! I am so glad that I did and now begins the excruciating wait for the sequel.

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review 2017-06-23 11:03
Review: The Memory Book
The Memory Book - Lara Avery

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

This book was an absolute heartbreaker. And I loved it. Surprised because I really wasn’t expecting much considering I really didn’t like the last book I read by the same author, but I really enjoyed this one.

 

The novel tells the story of 18 year old Samantha, who has a rare disease which will cause memory loss and other nasty side effects, very few teenagers are diagnosed with the disease and very few (if any) survive. Sam is very smart and almost ready to graduate high school, with dreams of going to college in New York. Determined to survive and live her life the best she can, in spite of the horrible news she’s been dealing with.

 

She writes The Memory Book as a guide to her future self for when her memory has been sliding and she can’t remember things. She has two younger siblings, a brother and a sister and involved parents who are reluctant about the whole college thing. She sees a guidance councillor regularly and doctors regularly.  Sam is a brilliant debater, she’s off to Regional Debate Championships with her friend and debating partner Maddie, she’s set to be Valedictorian when she graduates. And the boy she’s had a crush on for years, Stuart, who went off to New York and became a published writer, has come back into town. All going pretty good. She’s going a high school party and actually talks to her long term crush.

 

However, it all starts to go wrong, symptoms of Sam’s illness which cause her to forget where she is, strike suddenly, and unexpectedly. Maddie freaks because Sam didn’t tell her about the seriousness of her illness, Sam is naturally crushed. Bright point of life is when she starts developing a friendship into something more serious with Stuart. At the same time her childhood friend Cooper has recently come back into her life as well, Cooper became a big baseball star in high school then blew it with a pot addiction. Sam finds an unexpected closeness with Cooper, opening up to him as they reminisce about their childhood companionship.

 

The novel was very emotional, I loved Sam’s voice, given what she was dealing with she was incredibly strong and very brave. Her inner monologue went from a range of emotions from excitement and swooning over her developing relationship with Stuart, funny, moody, despair. She talks about her fears, her desires, what she longs for. The struggles with talking about what she’s going through. Dealing with the fall outs when things happen.

 

There’s a love triangle that does pop up but it’s one that works really well and managed to surprise me. And still made me smile.

 

Sam’s memory book also includes input from her parents and siblings and later Cooper who all start adding to the narrative.  The emotional impact was incredibly deep and moving.

 

By the end I was in floods of tears. I was reading the last 20% or so during a slow afternoon at work and by the time I’d finished I had to leave the office and have a cry in the toilets for five minutes. I reread the end again at home and cried all over again.

 

Beautiful, beautiful book. The story manages to go from cute and funny to gut wrenching with some incredibly sad moments. Even so, it was a really amazing read. I loved it so much I bought a finished copy.

 

Thank you Netgalley and Hatchette Children’s Group.

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