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All the Bright Places
All the Bright Places
by Jennifer Niven
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most beautiful, heartbreaking books I've ever read., 8 Jan. 2015
This review is from: All the Bright Places (Paperback)
I've had a long time to write this review, months in fact, and I'm still at a complete loss for words. I really will try my hardest to find the adequate words to sum up how I feel about this book, but I'm not sure even that will be enough. It's just one of those books where I know, no matter how much I gush/fangirl over it, I'm never going to do the book justice with my review. But, trust me on this, if this book isn't on the top of your 2015 TBR pile then it needs to be. Seriously, I mean it, go and pre-order it and get ready to feel all the feels.

Finch & Violet. Violet & Finch. You can't think of one without thinking of the other, and I can't think about either without wanting to burst into tears and smile simultaneously. It's been two months since I read this book and my feels are still all over the place. I would like you to all believe that I am joking right now, but sadly it's true, just looking at the book spine on my shelf hurts me! MY EMOTIONS! I wasn't prepared for what Niven was about to do to me. I love her for it, I loathe her for it and I want you to all experience this wonderful/torturous feeling for yourself. Violet and Finch's story is touching, heart-breaking and felt so unbelievably real that I started to forget that it was fiction.

This book gets compared to Rainbow Rowell and John Green, which I feel leads to people having a lot of high expectations for it. I hate those comparisons on books - 'If you liked *insert really well known book here* then you'll love this!' - mostly because the books are usually nothing alike or the book doesn't live up to the expectations you get from the comparison. This is one of the few times where I feel it didn't just live up to the expectations, it hugely surpassed them, at least for me. This book made me feel everything I'd always wanted to feel from the Rowell and Green books I'd read. I just..... AHHHHHH! Please, tell me you didn't expect a coherent review because you're going to get fangirling, flailing and nonsensical rambling. Deal with it!

Okay, okay, okay! I will try my hardest to actually do some real reviewing right now. Let's start with some characters, shall we? I'm going to start with Finch because, let's be honest, how can you not start with the guy whose name is Theodore Finch. I'm calling it now - Best. Name. Ever. And also one of the greatest characters I've ever come across. You know you're in for a roller-coaster ride with Finch, almost from the moment you meet him. He's standing on a ledge, six stories up and trying to decide if today would be a good day to die. Finch is dealing with depression, but when he sees Violet on that ledge he helps her. Finch is in such a dark place, but he was ready and willing to be there for somebody else when they needed it. He's a character that can make you laugh, smile, cry and hurt; sometimes all at once.

'The fact is, I was sick, but not in an easily explained flu kind of way. It's my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.' - P15

While I could relate to Finch in some ways, despite being so different to him, it was Violet who I completely connected to and identified with. She's dealing with loss and grief, she's hurting but she's trying so hard to push it all down and not let anyone else see it. Finch and Violet help one another in different ways, they each have something to teach the other person. If you read this book then you're not going to be able to stop yourself being moved by it. And I think anyone who has dealt with a big loss in their life will be able to identify with Violet as easily as I could.

"It's like I've got this angry little person inside me, and I can feel him trying to get out. He's running out of room because he's growing bigger and bigger, and so he starts rising up, into my lungs, chest, throat, and I just push him right back down. I don't want him to come out. I can't let him out... Because I hate him, because he's not me..." - P226

I've spoken in the past about the fact my blog was started six months after losing my aunt last year. This book touched me in a way that I never expected. Violet had me crying at times that I wasn't even expecting because Niven perfectly captured how isolating loss can be. She also made me feel so much better about the fact I spent the last year and a half feeling ridiculously angry at almost everyone, and like I could happily slap complete strangers. I'm not crazy, I promise. It's just that Niven writes about loss in such a way that you feel like she must have dealt with a lot of it in her own life.

I'm so happy that this beautiful book found it's way to me. Jennifer Niven is a superbly talented author and I'm going to be keeping an eye out(totally stalking her online) for whatever she brings out next. She writes about such serious subjects in a way that makes it feel like she's putting so much of herself into it. This book is so touching and completely soul destroying, it's the kind of book that breaks you. I read it two months ago and I'm still broken. I opened it up to get a few of my favourite quotes from it and that had me crying.

There was so much I planned to say about this book. I wanted to be able to give you all of the reasons why you should go and pick it up the moment you can, but I don't have the words. It's raw, honest, heart-breaking, touching.... it's EVERYTHING! Just... eh.... meh....URHGHGHGHGH!

This is one of those moments where a 5/5 just doesn't seem to be enough! I'm sorry that I can't adequately sum up my emotions and feelings and love for this book. But, I'm totally proud of myself that this whole reviews isn't just - OMG THIS BOOK IS AMAZING!!! WHY HAVEN'T YOU PRE-ORDERED IT YET?!?! THIS IS INCREDIBLE. I'M DYING INSIDE. WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME NIVEN? WHY? WHY WWWWHHHHYYYYY? - because that's how it made me feel. I know there is a huge hype surrounding this book, and it's film adaptation, but it's compeltely justified. This book deserves every single bit of praise, acclaim and fangirl gushing it's getting at the minute. This is going to be one of the books of 2015. And, trust me people, this is the kind of heartbreak you want in your life.

*I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review and received no monetary compensation for this review.


The Truth about Alice
The Truth about Alice
by Jennifer Mathieu
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.52

5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary debut, 11 Jun. 2014
This review is from: The Truth about Alice (Hardcover)
Oh, how I adore and loathe books like this in equal measure. You know the ones, they are so amazing that you can't quite express or articulate all the reasons you loved them so much. So I adore it for all it's awesomeness and loathe it for how difficult it becomes to write a review showcasing said awesomeness. But, because I love you all, I will give it my best and try my hardest to not just gush nonsensical things at you. And... here we go!

This book is told from multiple perspectives, something that really helps with a story that's focusing on bullying, rumours and people's perceptions of others. Elaine is one of the most popular girls in her school and the party, where Alice slept with the two guys in one night, took place at her house. Her and Brandon had an off again on again relationship for a long time. Kelsie was Alice's best friend but didn't want to be hurt by Alice's reputation and hasn't really been talking to her since the rumours started. Josh was Brandon's best friend and in the car with him on the night he died. Then we have Kurt, one of the most unpopular boys at school, who's wickedly intelligent and has had a crush on Alice for the longest time. They each have their opinions on Alice and what she did the night of the party. We get to see their reasons for believing what they do and what role they had to play in all of it. I thought each character felt unique and had a very distinct voice and personality so it was easy to tell who was narrating each chapter, I never struggled to keep up with that aspect.

What really amazed me about this book was how it made me feel like I had come to know Alice most of all, even though I wasn't getting her point of view. I wasn't even getting Alice's truth, but I didn't need to get it to come to understand her as the author slowly but surely reveals more and more about Alice. I came to sympathise with Alice and came to love and admire her so much as a character. I found it astounding just how easily Mathieu was able to accomplish this when you never actually get to get Alice's narrative for, basically, the whole story. But Alice easily became one of my all time favourite characters and through all the other characters misconceptions of her you come to feel like you know her better than all of them.

This book broke my heart a little because of how honest and true to a lot of teenage life it was. The things that are said about Alice and the way people talk about her is pretty disgusting, it's slut shaming at it's worst. But, the author is drawing attention to a serious issue and something that many people don't even realise that they do... a lot. If I use public transport and a bunch of school kids get on I kind of lose all hope in humanity. The things they come out with and say about each other is kind of disturbing, I'm only twenty-two but it makes me feel so old as I think: it wasn't that bad when I was young!. I think books like this are important as they really show just how hurtful those types of comments can be and how easily one thing can escalate.

I think it also draws attention to the way that girls are being viewed by guys and the lack of respect that is sometimes found there. This book is very relevant in a time where we have things like #YesAllWomen trending on Twitter. This book, to me, did a perfect job of highlighting the differences in how men and women are viewed when it comes to sex. I think Jennifer Mathieu is unbelievably talented and I honestly can't believe this is a debut novel. Her next book is already up on Goodreads and doesn't even have any info to it at all yet but it instantly got added to my to-read shelf because I need more from this author. I can't describe how easily I fell in love with this book and the way the author writes her characters. I am hooked and I wish she had a hundred more books out that I could devour right away.

I was racking my brains for the longest time, trying to remember any problem I had with the book. The simple answer is that there wasn't one. I thought each character perspective felt individualistic and I never confused the characters. I felt the author did a fantastic job of slowly letting you come to know Alice as a character through the other characters feelings, opinions and misconceptions of her. Alice was such a superbly written character, she's very complex and I liked how you slowly come to know her better throughout the novel.

5/5 Butterflies

Jennifer Mathieu just got added to my favourite authors list. I don't care that this is her debut, that's what makes it so incredible and gets her added to the list so easily. If she had twenty books out then I would have ordered them in one go and binge read them, this woman is one to watch. This book blew me away, broke my heart and then slowly rebuilt it. It made me feel like I came to know Alice so much, even though you're getting four perspectives, none of them being Alice. She drew attention to the serious problem of slut shaming, something that I think is getting worse in younger generations. I am going to be ordering myself the hardback of this so that it can sit proudly on my favourites shelf.

*I received a copy of this novel from the author/publisher/publicist via Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review and received no monetary compensation for this review.


Starters (Starters 1)
Starters (Starters 1)
Price: £3.99

3.0 out of 5 stars An easy, fast-paced read., 7 Jun. 2014
I'd seen this when it first came out, but it had the white UK cover and seemed a little young to me. After seeing the Enders cover on Netgalley and realising it was the sequel, I decided that I wanted to try this series. It has a really fast-paced plot, but at times it did feel like a younger read.

I really enjoyed the premise of this book, that only the young and the very old are left - everyone between the age of twenty and sixty is now dead. When modern medicine is making it possible for people to live to be two hundred years old, there is a big age gap between the population. Any unclaimed Starters, like Callie, who have no grandparents and no home, the world is a tough place. Callie turns to Prime Destinations, a body bank that rents out Starters bodies to the Enders in exchange for a large cash payout. Callie sees it as the only way to take care of her little brother Tyler and provide him with a real home.

The plot moves along really quickly and it's easy to get caught up in the story. Callie wakes up halfway through one of her rentals, in her own body and the realisation that something has gone wrong. This is where the plot really begins to pick up, but I found myself wanting to see what Helena got up to in Callie's body, because it seemed like it would be a lot of fun to read.With the storyline moving along at full pace, I really found myself interested in the story and staying up late into the night to keep reading. My main issue was that things felt a little too easy, for example if Callie needed to escape from somewhere then she just escaped. There didn't seem to be as much struggle in situations where I felt it was probably needed.

Characters are really important to me, and they can really make or break a book. For me, great characters was one thing that Starters was lacking. Callie was an okay character, but I didn't find myself as invested with her as I like to be with my main characters. Other characters were lacking as well, especially the love interest Blake. I didn't feel like the story needed a love interest, but if it had to have one, I would much rather it be one with a personality, something Blake was really lacking. He sort of appears out of nowhere and his relationship with Callie just moves along really quickly. But the whole time I just couldn't get him as a character at all, what he was like or why Callie seemed to like him. Michael and Tyler were characters I felt I could like, but Callie spends no time with them in the book and it's hard to get to know them.

3/5 Stars

It's an easy, fast-paced read with a great premise and I would still recommend it. I will be reading my ARC of Enders and hope it's better than Starters. I just felt Starters wasn't everything I was looking for and that the characters were lacking. I really hope Enders is better, but I fear a love triangle is imminent.


Anything to Have You
Anything to Have You
Price: £4.19

1.0 out of 5 stars Your Teenage Years: What Not To Do, 7 Jun. 2014
Originally posted at Reviews from a Bookworm

First of all, this books title should just be changed to Your Teenage Years: What Not To Do. The amount of ridiculously stupid, irresponsible and cliché things the characters did made me want to launch my Kindle across the room in utter frustration. It makes me want to stop anyone under the age of sixteen from reading this, for fear they might assume that that's a normal way for a seventeen year old to act. It isn't!

If I was to describe this book in one word, I think I would pick cliché. From beginning to end, this was just one giant cliché made up of individual clichés and pointless plot twists that you see coming way before they are revealed. I can't name them all in the review on here without giving away spoilers but I will definitely be posting them on Goodreads. Honestly, looking back on my notes, I have written CLICHÉ in big letters seven times next to different events in the book. One I can use, that isn't really a spoiler, is that Aiden and Natalie get paired together for their senior class project... of course!

I requested this because I thought the premise sounded quite good and I'd enjoyed another one of the authors books. But, I was struggling with this book from the very beginning because I found the dialogue felt really forced, which makes it difficult to read. It also makes it harder to really connect with the characters because they don't seem very believable.

Our main character is Natalie, the quiet girl who'd rather stay at home than go out to party. Seeing as the last time she went to a party she got so wasted that she blacked out and ended up having sex with the local man wh**e, it's totally understandable why she doesn't want to go out. (See what I mean about terrible choices? That was her first time! *Shakes head*). But, of course, Natalie is absolutely gorgeous, beautiful, stunning and sexy and everything else you can think of - pretty much like EVERY character in the book.

I liked Natalie at the beginning, until it got to the blacking out at parties part. I just found her to be a bit of an idiot and that made her really hard to like. She gets ridiculously drunk again and wakes up in a bed, half-naked with her best friends boyfriend. She can tell she had sex the night before but immediately believes she slept with another guy and not Aiden, because she would obviously never do that to her best friend. This alone made me hate her for being so stupidly dense. But, then she goes on to not even ask or check with Eric or Aiden to see what really happened, or to see if they used any protection or anything. Nor does she think to go get the morning after pill, just in case and I'd probably have suggested an STI test too. How am I supposed to like this character?

About 40% of the way into the book it suddenly switches from Natalie's POV, to her best friend, Brooke's POV. This seemed really sudden and totally threw me off. I didn't particularly like Brooke as a character either and her life choices made about as much sense as Natalie's did.

Every plot twist that was thrown at you was one that you'd already seen coming about ten chapters before. The biggest one, and the most obvious, really had me rolling my eyes and shaking my head. The way this was pulled off was really not good in my opinion. I believe this book could have actually tried to teach a lesson or highlight a serious issue but just doesn't. I can't really explain properly without spoiling anything.

My reaction to practically every decision a character makes in this book:

1/5 Stars

Natalie was a really irresponsible character and I couldn't like her. This book had a chance to teach a lesson or highlight a serious issue but completely fails too. I want to keep this away from anyone under the age of sixteen out of fear that they will assume this is normal teenage behaviour. The book was one cliché after another and I saw every plot twist coming.

*I received a copy of this novel from the author/publisher/publicist via Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review and received no monetary compensation for this review.


The Impossible Knife of Memory
The Impossible Knife of Memory
by Laurie Halse Anderson
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just didn't work for me., 7 Jun. 2014
I have loved Laurie Halse Anderson's books from the moment I read Speak for the first time. When I saw her latest book up on Edelweiss, I just had to put in a request and I squealed with delight when it was accepted. So you can imagine how upset I am that I didn't end up liking this book all that much. It had it's moments, but overall I thought it was really disappointing. It has brilliant ratings on Goodreads, so I kind of feel like the odd one out here.

The book started off a bit shaky for me because the main character, Hayley, felt a little too forced. She's supposed to be a teenager but instead of being relatable, she seems like a teenager written by someone who has never met a teenager before. This was a huge shock to me because I have never felt this with any of the authors other books. Hayley refers to people as zombies or freaks constantly and it just seemed like something my eleven year old cousin would do, not someone of Hayley's age. Then there was the text speak, which was hideous and made my head hurt. I'm twenty-two now but back when I was a teenager I did shorten my texts, a little but they were decipherable, and all the teenagers I know now are the same. When you're reading a young adult book about young adults, you want them to seem like, act like or resemble an actual young adult.

This book focuses on Hayley, who has returned to her grandmother's house with her father after years on the road together. Her father has served in Iraq and Afghanistan and has suffered with PTSD for so long now it's hard for Haley to remember a time when things were different. Her reality is that her father drinks to drown out the memories, that he lashes out and then forgets it ever happened. This is supposed to be a fresh start but it's anything but. Hayley meets Finn at school, and here comes our love interest who just seems to fall a bit short for me.

The romance in this, for me, just didn't work at all. Finn and Hayley never really communicate, barely having one real and honest conversation. Most of the time they spend together is spent in a weird, uncomfortable silence. Finn gets a job and doesn't even bother to inform her. The whole relationship dynamic was so off and so dysfunctional. I wasn't rooting for them, they clearly aren't meant to be in a relationship with one another. I just couldn't root for them or feel like they were a good match, they didn't seem to help each other at all.

I was really interested in reading a YA book that focused on PTSD, it's not something you see a lot in YA fiction. I really did sympathise with Hayley at times, because of the things she had to deal with. But, most of the time, I really wanted to slap her because she was absolutely infuriating. She knows her father has issues, he's constantly drinking and getting worse as time goes on. But instead of realising that this is an issue that needs to be addressed, she spends most of the book being angry at a completely different person who acted like a sane, rational human being.

The ending was what really ruined the whole book for me. It was a little too far fetched and added in a lot of unnecessary drama and made it all seem very melodramatic. For me, that whole ending took the focus away from the real issue, which was PTSD. And then after that it ends in such a ridiculous and sickly sweet way that I kind of wanted to vomit.

2/5 Stars

Hayley's character felt very forced, like the author wasn't really aware how teenagers act. Finn and Hayley were too dysfunctional as a couple and I couldn't root for them or understand the pairing. The over the top, melodramatic ending took the focus away from the real issue of PTSD.

*I received a copy of this novel from the author/publisher/publicist via Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review and received no monetary compensation for this review.


Witch Finder
Witch Finder
Price: £3.49

3.0 out of 5 stars A promising premise., 7 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Witch Finder (Kindle Edition)
This one really took me on a ride, but not a good one. I went from thinking it was going to be a solid four stars, then saw it was probably going to be an iffy three, to then realising it would probably be a 2.5 and that was me being generous. This is a real shame because I loved the cover and the premise sounded very promising. I also want to warn any animal lovers that this book contains some rather brutal scenes of rather hideous treatment of some rather cute animals by some rather douchey men!

This sounded like it could be such a great story. Luke wishes to join the Malleus Maleficorum, a brotherhood that is dedicated to finding and killing witches. Luke is the only person they know who is a Witch Finder; he can see witches and the magic that clings to them. He witnessed his parents deaths at the hands of a witch and has been determined to seek revenge ever since. When he picks Rosa's name, Luke knows that he must track her down and kill her, or risk being killed himself for not completing the task. But Rosa Greenwood isn't what Luke expected, she's not the brutal, unfeeling person he has always imagined every witch to be.

I really loved the premise, it sounds like it could be such an amazing story. Sadly, this didn't really deliver and the story was actually really lacking. Luke and Rosa's romance is something you know is coming, but it takes a long time and then suddenly just happens. I feel like I would have really loved their romance a lot more if we had seen it slowly developing and had more moments between them.

Rosa's family is in a dire way, her father's death has left her devastated and her family struggling. They no longer have the wealth they used to and are struggling to keep up the pretence that they are a rich, powerful family. Rosa's brother Alexis wants her to marry Sebastian Knyvet, who is from one of the most powerful and wealthy witch families. Sebastian, as you quickly realise, is an utter knobhead! There isn't a likeable part about him, but that's the whole point, you aren't supposed to root for him at all and you don't.

My main issue with the book was how slow moving and boring it was. There wasn't much happening for a lot of the book and my interest really began to wane and I felt like I might nod off at times. I was really enjoying it at the beginning, but the story just really began to slow down at the halfway point. To make matters worse, the end seemed really disjointed and it felt like I was reading a different book from the one I started with. I also didn't like that there wasn't much of an ending to speak of, just an abrupt end and the knowledge that if I want any real answers, I will have to read the next book. I have no intentions of picking up the next book, I almost fell asleep reading this one.

2.5/5 Stars

An okay read. The premise sounded promising but the book didn't live up to it. Slow moving, with a romance that suddenly appears rather than building up over time. Really abrupt ending but I am not interested in picking up the sequel to see how it turns out.

*I received a copy of this novel from the author/publisher/publicist via Edelweiss in exchange for a free and honest review and received no monetary compensation for this review.


Maybe Someday
Maybe Someday
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've found a new favourite singer songwriter., 26 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Maybe Someday (MP3 Download)
This was an amazing album. I have listened to it almost non-stop since I downloaded it. I might have my favourites, but there isn't one bad song on the whole album. It works so well with the Maybe Someday book and added so much to my reading experience. I recommend the album even if you aren't going to be reading the book.


Alienated:
Alienated:
by Melissa Landers
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.36

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have read in a long time., 1 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Alienated: (Hardcover)
I find it really amusing that the one book I have been really hesitant to read, sure I wouldn't like it, turns out to be the book I love the most. I wasn't completely sold on the cover and after reading the book description on Netgalley I was sure I wouldn't enjoy. I was so incredibly wrong! And I really hate having to admit I'm wrong. This turned out to be one of the funnest, greatest reads that I've read for awhile.

Cara was a great character, she was hilarious and the kind of person that I would want to be friends with. I really enjoyed her sarcastic sense of humour and she really got me laughing at times. But I did get irked by a few of her, what I came to call, Cara-isms: sucktacular, craptacular, ridic (because ridiculous is obviously too ridiculously long to use!). those did get on my nerves after a while. Cara's blog entries were genius, yes this has blog entries! I feel it's because it all feels so familiar, the theme days like FAQ Friday and her little jokes made me smile. It was a really great way to break up the chapters.

Aelyx, oh I don't even know where to begin. Quite honestly, I totally fell for Aelyx, Team Aelyx all the way! I did not realise that the idea of an alien race would seem so appealing. I can only assume that if Twilight managed to make millions of girls all over the world swoon at the idea of vampires, then this definitely has the potential to makes us long for the discovery of an alien race. If this happens, sign me up for the exchange program.Let's hope if they do it's more like Ryan Reynolds in The Nines than E.T.

This: Not This:

Cara and Aelyx's relationship progresses really slowly throughout this book; which I much prefer to those instant 'I love you, you're mine!' relationships you seem to find so often in young adult books now. It feels so real, you can feel the tension between the two of them as if they were standing right in front of you. I was rooting for them the whole time, even when they weren't. It's been quite a long time since I have wanted two characters in a book to get together so badly. Usually the romance takes a back seat to the rest of the story for me.

I really like Cara and Aelyx as characters but if I were to find one fault with this book it would be that the secondary characters don't play too big a role in it. Cara's best friend seemed to have great potential early on to be a funny, likeable character but quickly disappeared. The same for Cara's boyfriend Eric who played the token douche every book needs, someone you can love to hate but sadly he too disappeared rather quickly. This book was Cara and Aelyx, but I don't mind too much as I rather fell in love with them both.

5/5 Stars

*I received a copy of this novel from the author/publisher/publicist via Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review and received no monetary compensation for this review.

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Splintered (Splintered 1)
Splintered (Splintered 1)
by A. G. Howard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A unique twist to the classic Alice in Wonderland tale., 17 Jan. 2014
I have to start by commenting on what a beautiful book this is, not only is the cover to die for but I loved that the text is purple and not standard black. The intricate pattern at the start of each chapter was something else I found really beautiful about the book. So the book is definitely aesthetically pleasing and one lots of points for Gryffindor for that.

When it comes to Splintered, I feel like that guy. I have seen this on so many blogs, had it recommended to me so many times, and seen so many 5 star reviews that I was sure I was going to absolutely love this. But I didn't. *Ducks to avoid being hit*. I am sorry blogosphere, I really am, but this just wasn't for me. It did make me realise a lot about myself as a reader though and I came to understand why I couldn't love this as much as everyone else did.

First I need to stress that this is in no way a bad book. It is ridiculously well written, has a great story and offers a really brilliant, unique twist to the Alice in Wonderland story. But, I personally struggled with it and couldn't get swept up in the story as much as everyone else did.

I was put off from the very first lines, and later was completely confused by it:
"I've been collecting bugs since I was ten; it's the only way I can stop their whispers. Sticking a pin through the gut of an insect shuts it up pretty quick."
Now I immediately found the main character rather crazy and strange. Especially when I found out she then uses the bodies of the bugs she kills to make art. Weird! But then the book went on to completely contradict itself, which always drives me crazy. The character later tells us that she has two eels for pets, because a cat or a dog didn't work because hearing a bug scream as it gets eaten by them was too much for her. But she has no issue with killing hundreds of them herself to make art. Find me the sense in that and you shall have twenty points for your house.

Alyssa Gardener is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Alice Liddell, the child who inspired the Alice in Wonderland story. But since Alice, the women in the Liddell family have all ended up mentally ill, with Alyssa's own mother in an asylum. Alyssa herself can hear bugs and plants talking, and knows she may end up just like her mother. But one day she realises that her mother isn't crazy, that Wonderland really does exist. If Alyssa is to break the curse on her family, she will have to dive into the rabbit hole and undo the mistakes her great-great-great-grandmother made all those years ago.

I did learn something about myself as a reader. I am not a fan of crazy. I really, really enjoyed the book at the beginning, but unlike so many others, my problems really begun when Allysa got to Wonderland. It was all a little too dark and crazy for me. The octobenus, which no matter how many times I came across it I still read it as octopenis, was the first thing that got me and it just went from there. An octobenus is basically what would happen if you crossed a walrus and an octopus. I can imagine it perfectly and yet this seems too crazy for me. But it actually confuses me that I find that and so much else in this book too crazy. I like fantasy books and supernatural books, but a dark retelling of Alice in Wonderland was too much for me... not sure how that even works and my brain feels like it wants to explode just thinking about it.

I did appreciate The Crow poster, as I adore that movie. But found it creepy that Morpheus is supposed to be a dead ringer for Brandon Lee, no pun intended. I also didn't really like Morpheus as a character, but I don't think you''re supposed to. It does leave me to wonder why there is a sequel and why Morpheus seems to be such a big part of it.

I really do want to stress that this is a really good book, it just isn't for me. I thought it had a really great storyline and I absolutely loved the twist at the end, I thought it was genius. It was well written and had such brilliant descriptions that I could see Wonderland so clearly in my mind. I wasn't the biggest fan of Morpheus or even Alyssa and Jeb for that matter, the world building was a lot better than the character building in my opinion. The ending was really well wrapped up and I can't see the need for a sequel, let alone a third book. I won't be reading my ARC of Unhinged but I am sure there are loads of people who can't wait to dive back into Howard's version of Wonderland.

3/5 Stars

This is really well written and offers a brilliant and unique twist to the classic Alice in Wonderland story. It has solid world building and you can imagine every part of Howard's Wonderland. This story just clearly wasn't for me. If you are looking for a unique Wonderland story, definitely pick this up because I don't think you will be in any way disappointed.

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1: Impostor (Variants)
1: Impostor (Variants)
Price: £3.59

4.0 out of 5 stars A fun, easy read., 17 Jan. 2014
I saw this on Netgalley and the cover instantly grabbed me and made me click on the book and see what it was all about. When I saw that it was being compared to X-Men, but with a crime aspect, I was really intrigued and knew I just had to read it. Although the spelling did throw me off, Imposter can be spelt either way but I can't remember ever seeing it spelt as Impostor before - explains why it took me so long to find it on Goodreads, I was spelling it completely wrong.

I completely understand the X-Men reference when it comes to Impostor. Tessa is a Variant, a mutant, who has an extraordinary ability, she is able to mimic the appearance of anyone she touches. This ability pushed away her family; her father abandoned her as a child and her mother turned her over to the FEA (Forces with Extraordinary Abilities). The FEA is a part of the FBI, and trains young Variants to use their abilities in order to help on FBI cases. Tessa's unique ability to be able to take on someone else's appearance means that she is very valuable to the FEA, especially when it comes to their latest case. Tessa is asked to take the place of Madison, the latest victim of a serial killer they are trying to track down.

This was exactly what I was looking for, a fun, fast-paced story that kept me guessing and wasn't too serious. I loved the idea of the Variants and finding out each persons ability, it was my favourite part of the whole story. As thrillers go, I believe this worked really well because it did keep me turning the page, suspecting everyone and second guessing myself to the very end. It was a fun read and a fast read, but it feels much more young than adult.

I liked Tessa as a character, she was complicated and a little damaged. She has some emotional baggage; I'm sure both your parents abandoning you because they think you're a freak is something you don't easily get over. She's hopelessly in love with Alec, who's three years older than her and in a relationship, and her constant pining for him did get a little old. There is a scene at the very beginning where she uses her ability to take on the appearance of Alec's girlfriend, in the hope that he would kiss her. That was a little too embarrassing and ridiculous for me, and had me cringing as I read it.

I did find the whole concept of her taking on the appearance of Madison a little bit morbid. Especially since it meant convincing Madison's parents that their daughter had survived and hadn't been killed by the serial killer. But we know that Tessa will have to go back to her life eventually, and they will be left to deal with losing their daughter all over again. Seemed ridiculously cruel and I am sure they could of tracked down the killer some other way. But oh well, it works for the story so I will let it go.

This is completely off the subject but I want to mention it. A pet hate I have is the lie that books and movies tell us, that people in death look all serene and peaceful. They always show people in comas as if they are asleep, and the same way after they die. Prime example from the book:
"I'd always thought that death would be ugly and ghastly and forbidding. Instead it masked itself with peacefulness and quiet."
Anyone who's been faced with the reality would know that the statement was more correct in the first instance. Death is ugly and ghastly. If you're in a coma, kept alive by machines whilst all your vital organs are basically shutting down, you do not look serene, you look like death. I'd like to find one book that actually give a more realistic view on that.

The romance aspect was a little meh. Alec was an okay character, but a little too overprotective and annoying at times. Plus, it was the classic girl likes boy, boy likes girl but neither admits to it and boy can't be with girl for whatever reason he has made up in his own head. All very trivial and you've seen it a hundred times before.I think a love triangle aspect may be introduced in the next book, and I think I'd actually enjoy that because Alec wasn't that interesting as a male lead.

4/5 Stars

I was tempted on a 3.5 or even a 3. It's a little immature at times, not the greatest series starter and doesn't have the most solid characters. But, I kind of loved it and I have to mark it up for that. It was exactly what I needed at the time; a fun and easy read. I can see myself picking up the next book in the series.

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