Thursday, May 24, 2018

Shattered Love Review

Shattered Love (#1 in the Blinded Love Series)
By: Stacey Marie Brown

Everyone has a story about a broken heart, but Jaymerson’s heart wasn’t just broken. It was completely shattered…

Along with her body and mind.

Jaymerson Holloway had it all—until one moment. One bad decision. A split second and her life was altered forever. Faced with unimaginable grief and guilt, while learning to simply walk again, Jaymerson realizes she will never be the same. Everyone wants her to get back to who she was before. But nothing of her old life feels real to her anymore. 

The only one who understands what she is going through is someone who has always been cruel to her and someone she hated. The other survivor. 

Hunter Harris is totally off-limits and full of secrets.

Though each blame the other, they are the only ones to help start to repair their shattered lives.

But as the undeniable pull between them intensifies, she starts to wonder if she will ever learn the secrets he’s been hiding—or if she even wants to.



I was lucky enough to score this book on a one day sale on Bookbub. I have read almost all of Stacey Marie Brown's previous books, and they're all YA fantasy, and I adore them; so I have to admit I was nervous to read this book. I have loved other authors work until they step out of their comfort zone into something new and it just doesn't suit their writing style. I had more faith than that in Stacey and I knew I would like this book, I did not think I would love it as much as I do though. You really have to respect an author who writes a genre so well it's like it was made for them, then they dip their toes into another genre and they end up dominating it with their amazing writing, as well. It really makes you wonder, is there anything Stacey Marie Brown can't write? At this point I'd even be willing to give her grocery list a peruse.

Almost as soon as I began reading Shattered Love I was hooked. So much so that by the time I got to chapter 5 I had already sobbed my way through half a box of tissues, and it was only the beginning. I swear this particular author has this way of writing her characters into real life, to the point where the character and I almost become a single entity and I start feeling everything that Stacey describes the MC as feeling. I felt every hurt, happiness, and disappointment that Jaymerson went through. And it was empowering, because that girl went through some crazy and heartbreaking stuff and became stronger in spite of it.

This is definitely a heavier book than I am used to, having been more into fantasy lately. Shattered Love deals with some pretty real life situations which makes it that much harder to read. The empowerment I felt came from Jayme's ability to live through loss, ostracism, persecution, and coming into her own as she discovers who she really is and what she wants to do with her life, as well as how to move on from the hands that life deals her. It was refreshing to read about a teen/young adult dealing with issues but still having her family to lean on. It felt very realistic that she didn't completely pull away from her family unit as she struggled to come to terms with who she was expected to be as opposed to who she wanted to become. I was also grateful that although Jayme had issue with her own feelings and how inappropriate they may be, but Stacey didn't dwell on that aspect of the book. Jayme recognized how she felt about Hunter, recognized how the rest of the world would likely feel about it and worked to come to terms with what to do about it. There were no long, drawn out, teen-angsty scenes where the reader is dead bored of the feeling overload and ceases caring about it. 

The end of this book was brilliant. There was literally nothing about it that I didn't love. And I am eagerly awaiting the next installment of this series......in the meantime though Stacey, how about that grocery list?


Final Rating:
✬✬✬✬✬
Probability of Rereading:
Definitely.

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Fury Frayed Review

Fury Frayed (Of Fates and Furies #1)
By: Melissa Haag

Megan’s temper lands her in Girderon Academy, an exclusive school founded in a town of misfit supernatural creatures. It’s the one place she should be able to fit in, but she can’t. Instead, she itches to punch the smug sheriff in his face, pull the hair from a pack of territorial blondes, and kiss the smile off the shy boy’s face. Unfortunately, she can’t do any of that, either, because humans are dying and all clues point to her.


With Megan’s temper flaring, time to find the real killer and clear her name is running out. As much as she wants to return to her own life, she needs to embrace who and what she is. It’s the only way to find and punish the creature responsible.
 



Have I told you how much I love a good book recommendation? I'm pretty sure I have, but let me just reiterate - I LOVE a good book recommendation!! I happened across this one on a FB group I am in dedicated to a specific indie author I adore. She actually promoted this book to her followers as she herself read and loved it. It stands to reason that if I love an author enough to be in a group dedicated to her awesomeness I'm probably going to love everything she recommends. Ergo, I immediately downloaded the book. 

I read the whole book in the span of a few hours, which oddly enough has not been the norm for me as of late. I could not put this down, and I really didn't want to! I was immediately hooked on the bizarre and seemingly unfit mother abandoning her teenage 'problem' child in a house, on the edge of a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. Throw in mass amounts of different creatures/species (hello, griffin's!!) and I could have happily lived in that book world forever. 

The main character, Megan, comes off as a spoiled brat with serious anger issues in the beginning, but as the book goes on we get to see her personality emerge as she works to help people, make friends and ultimately protect those friends from both danger and her own erratic mood swings. Megan becomes a beloved character not only to the reader, but to some of the townspeople as well as she struggles to find her place amongst them, make friends and figure out what she is. I was in my glory when she met two potential love interests, and it was gratifying to see her not jump into a relationship with the first interested guy. It gave the book a more authentic (I know, I know, fantasy clearly isn't authentic to begin with) feel and it gave Megan more depth.

I think my favorite aspect of this book is the town and the people. I love the idea of a small town full of magical beings, most of which are kids who are learning who they are, what they are and what they can do. There is such a collection of different beings in this book I was excited to read the school scenes to find out more about them. We get to see Werewolves, Siren's, Griffin's, Mermaid's, Giant's and Furies among many more. It was brilliant. 

The second book in this series comes out next week and you can be sure that I will be reading it ASAP. Well, at least as soon as I've finished Sarah J Maas' newest, which comes out the same day.

Final Rating:
✬✬✬✬✬
Probability of Rereading:
Yes

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Saturday, April 14, 2018

22 Scars Review

22 Scars
By: C.M. North

Raised with apathy and spite, Amy’s life is a monotonous drone of deep despair, broken only by coffee and nights out with her best—and only—friend. She battles depression daily, fighting to keep her sanity in a world that, to her, is set on destroying her soul.


Her future is bleak, overcast with shadow and doubt; her past harbors terrible secrets that even those closest to her couldn’t begin to guess. When tragedy strikes someone she holds dear, will she succumb to the crushing weight of despair, or will she find the strength to fight—to live?


22 Scars is a story of what it takes to live daily with depression - and how the scars of a lifetime can pass through generations and beyond.


Can the past ever truly be forgotten?


Can depression ever be beat?



SPOILER ALERT!!

I received a copy of this book from Voraciousreaders in exchange for an honest review.

I was so excited to read this book. I've been so entrenched in the fantasy genre lately that I was looking for a fresh new read to give me a little dose of reality. The synopsis for this book was very well written and is one of the very few synopsis that I have actually enjoyed. 22 Scars sounded like the most raw and emotionally genuine read book that I have read in awhile. 

The book began slowly, by that I mean the author spent so much time describing, in minute detail, absolutely everything from the character's clothing to the weather to the number of people surrounding the character at that moment (none of which had any bearing on the story) that I very quickly lost interest in the book. Eventually you begin to see into the life of Amy, a depressed teenager who has an unstable home life and cuts herself to gain the attention of those around her. 

Then the story jumps to an unhappy guy, who in the span of three chapters sees a girl at a party, meets her in a coffee shop and marries her. No names were given for either of these characters, and little was told about their personalities. The book basically narrates their day to day activity jumping forward quite a bit to only give insight into the most important details of their relationship such as the details of their meeting, their marriage, and the mental instability of both people. The author crammed too many life changing events in such a short time span that they felt glossed over and insignificant.

The whole book is laid out the same way jumping back and forth from Amy's unhappy existence and the anonymous couple's unhappy relationship. Neither story really displays any personality traits of the characters that allows the reader to empathize with any of the them, thus making the reader unable to feel anything for the character beyond a basic human sympathy. Even when the most harrowing events happen, such as the death of a secondary character or even the suicide attempt of the main character I didn't feel anything as deeply as I would have had the author had put more effort into developing his characters than describing their clothing or movements. 

I felt the author had a good plot line in mind when he began writing this book. I love the idea of reading about the early days of Amy's parents relationship to see how the dysfunction began and not finding out who they really are until halfway through the book. I understood Amy's actions more when I learned of the trauma she had endured in her past, and felt that the audience could have been given more insight into her past earlier on so she didn't lack depth the whole way through the book. She came across much the way her dad viewed her; as a whiny teenager who felt sorry for herself when she had every opportunity to turn her life around. I would have felt more for the characters and the book itself had the author written more about the characters personalities themselves and less about their actions. Writing this book in first person from Amy's perspective would have lent the book a more personable quality, giving the reader access to her thoughts and feelings and made me care more about her.By the end of the story when she killed herself, I still felt nothing. Which is bizarre for me because I am a crier when it comes to books and movies. It disappointed me that I couldn't really get into this book more because I truly loved everything about the story and how the book was laid out. 

All in all I feel more like this is a work in progress rather than a completed book. It has a lot of potential, it's just not there yet.

Final Rating:
✬✬✫✫✫
Probability of Rereading: 
No

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm


Friday, March 9, 2018

Before I Go To Sleep Review

Before I Go To Sleep
By: S.J. Watson

Christine wakes up every morning in an unfamiliar bed with an unfamiliar man. She looks in the mirror and sees an unfamiliar, middle-aged face. And every morning, the man she has woken up with must explain that he is Ben, he is her husband, she is forty-seven years old, and a terrible accident two decades earlier decimated her ability to form new memories.

Every day, Christine must begin again the reconstruction of her past. And the closer she gets to the truth, the more unbelievable it seems.




I was excited to read this book after reading the synopsis, who doesn't love a good suspense novel every now and then? About a quarter of the way through this book I began to feel a vague sense of recognition, but I did not remember reading this before. I realized about halfway thorough that this book was made into a movie that I had seen awhile ago. I can't remember if I liked it or not, although I suppose my lack of remembering seeing it at all is pretty telling. 

Given the original plot idea I can completely understand why it would be made into a movie, and truth be told, whether I liked the movie/book or not I love the idea of a story about a woman waking up every day with zero memory about who she is. The possibilities with a story like this are endless. Therefore, my expectations were a little high when I began this book. Unfortunately for me, they were a little too high.

I liked the way the main character, Christine, wakes up every morning with a completely blank slate. I was proud of her when she had taken the initiative to go behind her unsupportive husbands back to see a doctor and keep a journal in the hopes of jogging her memory and retaining some aspects of her life. The author dropped some pretty heavy hints early on that foreshadowed the end of the book so before it came I had figured out what was going to happen (and not because I remember the movie, because I still don't). It was disappointing because it would have been more shocking had it been a total surprise. 

There were few truly suspenseful parts in this book, but there was a lot of puzzling bits. Parts where the reader can't be sure if what Christine is remembering is real or a figment of her imagination. It was more like a puzzle that needed to be solved. It was a good read, but sometimes the pace of the book was slow and I found myself putting it down more than I would have expected. 

Final Rating:
✬✬✫✫✫
Probability of Rereading:
No

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Monday, March 5, 2018

That Night Review

That Night
By: Chevy Stevens

They said she was a murderer. 

They said she killed her sister.

But they lied.

As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn’t relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren’t easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night.

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

Now thirty-four, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni’s innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni’s life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.

But the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all.




Oh my goodness, I was not at all ready for this book. I received this in a box of books from my Aunt (thanks Aunt Deanna!!) and picked it up randomly yesterday in an attempt to cure my book hangover from A Court of Thorns and Roses- seriously, everyone should read those books!- I had not anticipated the serious emotional roller coaster that this book would take me on. I am embarrassed to admit that before picking up this book I had not heard of Chevy Stevens or any of her books, now I plan to seek them out in the hopes of reading something similar to what That Night was. I love books that give you all the feels! 

The first half of the book flips back and forth between past and present, which at times was a little frustrating because both were interesting enough that I just wanted to know what happened and then move on. Towards the middle of the book the tense changes were starting to get on my nerves, and at one point I completely lost interest in them. The past specifically got boring because it didn't matter what happened to Toni after she was arrested, we get the point, she went to jail. Hence her getting into a halfway house in the present tense chapters. It was overkill with how long it dragged on for. 

I was also thrown off by the amount of time that the author spent flipping back and forth before settling on present tense and continuing with Toni's story. So much more time was spent characterizing the time Toni spent leaving prison and acclimating herself back into the real world than on redeeming herself and proving her innocence. It made the back half of the book feel rushed. 

Despite my dissatisfaction of the way the book progressed the story made up for it. There was so much emotion felt for both Toni and Ryan and their situation. It was heartbreaking and I found myself in tears more than once. You get to see Toni's character persevere through so much catastrophe and still try so hard to live a productive and free life. She tries to reestablish herself, get a job, get a dog, reconnect with her family (don't even get me started on her twat of a mother!), only to hit setback after setback. The hardest part of reading this is that people go though this everyday; trying to re-acclimate themselves back into society after prison. I spent quite a lot of the time wondering how often innocent people go through things like this. How often they have to earn back the trust of society and their family and friends after being wrongly convicted. How awful that must be for them.

This book also acknowledges bullying in a very real way, demonstrating how the constant bullying done to a young person can affect every aspect of their lives. The author wrote some very real scenes of how Toni couldn't escape the bullying she received, even in her own home and how it affected her to the point that she just wanted to run away from it. She felt there was no escape other than to graduate school and move away, escape the situation where she felt it affected her the most. The entire situation was horrifying, and as a parent of young kids, I'm not ashamed to admit that the idea of it happening to my children scared the hell out of me.

Throw into all of that the mystery of who actually killed Toni's sister and why and this book was hard to put down. Sometimes I get so lost in the YA fantasy book world that I forget how complex and suspenseful other genres can be, how they too can satiate my need for great books. This book was a great reminder of that.

Final Rating:
✬✬✬✫✫
Probability of Rereading:
Yes

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Cruel Prince Review

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)
By: Holly Black

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.


Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
 




I had hit a bit of a book slump recently. I had read all of the new books I had acquired and decided to reread Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices series to keep my reading juices flowing. I saw The Cruel Prince advertised on FB but never bothered clicking on it. Then someone recommended it in one of the Young Adult reading groups I'm in, so I thought 'why not?'. If it's good enough for someone to recommend to over 1000 strangers then they must feel confident that it's a damn good read. There's not a lot I love more than a good book/book series recommendation. It's affirmation that I'm not the only truly avid reader out there, there are others. And they will talk books with me any time. It's amazing. 

I didn't bother reading the synopsis before reading the book. I just jumped right into it. Looking back on the synopsis now, I'm glad I didn't read it. It really doesn't do this book any justice. This was my first Faerie novel, I had seen glimpses of them in other series but never really got to know too much about who/what they are or their folklore. I didn't expect to find them very interesting to read about. However, Holly Black made them far more interesting than I could have imagined. As a people she made them contradictory in personality; they come across as cold and unfeeling, but they have a hidden warmth to them that is definitely not easily accessible or understood. They have a hierarchy that applies and is imposed no matter the age of the fae, and no one questions the wisdom in having older and wiser fae bending to the will of younger royal fae. They're so bizarre which makes them that much more intriguing; you find yourself reading in part, because you want to know more about them. 

The story itself was brilliant, original and heartbreaking for the majority of it. During the first half of the book I was having a hard time with the subject matter because there is so much abuse going on, much of it affecting the main character Jude. It was hard to read. It's always inspirational to read about young main characters facing the most horrific circumstances and coming out of it stronger than even the reader themselves are. Jude is a teenager now and has made a goal for herself, a goal that no one supports or believes in, but her. She is truly one of the loneliest characters I've read about in a long time, but it has made her self sufficient and capable beyond her years.

There were so many twists and turns in this book that I was always on edge, suspicious of everyone, wondering what was going to happen next. I usually make theories as I go along in books about how they will end, how the characters will fare, and in this book theorizing was almost impossible as almost every chapter brought a new change/challenge that completely turned the direction of the book. It was brilliant writing. 

There were only a few drawbacks to this book, one being that there were definitely times when the writing was a little drawn out. During the historic bits I tended to tune out a bit as they were dull. Thankfully there weren't many. I was also bored with Vivi's story line, which was disappointing as her character has such potential to be a serious force in this series given her lineage and personality. Unfortunately she seems more intent on escaping Faerie than getting revenge for what her father did to her mother. Ultimately I am most disappointed with the timeline for this series. I hate waiting for books to be released. I hate when the book has such presence that when it ends you need more immediately, only to find that you have to wait a year for the sequel and then another year on top of that for the conclusion. By the time the next book comes out I am sure I will have forgotten why I wanted to read it so badly. That's not to say this book isn't worth the wait, I just wish that I had waited to read it closer to the date of the sequel.

Final Rating:
✬✬✬✬✫
Probability of Rereading:
Yes

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Monday, February 19, 2018

In the Absence of a Body Review

In the Absence of a Body (A Frankie Wilson Story, Book 2)
By: K Britt-Badman

I WARNED YOU BITCH!

Frankie's left reeling by the shocking news of Verity Froom's apparent suicide. A stark threat, daubed in paint on her front door, confirms Frankie's belief that Verity's death was not a suicide—but murder. Before she can voice her suspicions, she finds herself fighting for her life.

After narrowly escaping death at the hands of Verity's killer, a high-speed police chase ensues. The police confirm that the killer has drowned but they can't find the body.

Frankie isn't convinced that the killer's dead. In fact, she's certain that the killer is still alive and continuing to stalk her a year on, but no one believes her. Frankie continues to live in fear for her life. Is Frankie right? Will the killer strike again? 




I was so excited when I was contacted by the author and asked to review this book for her. I loved the first installment and was excited to read the sequel to it. Especially as it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, I needed to know what happened to Frankie! So thank you, K Britt-Badman, for the opportunity to read and review your book before it's release date.

If you read the first Frankie Wilson Story and liked it as much as I did then you already have high hopes for this book, and if you haven't read the first one, what the heck are you waiting for?? Read it already! I am pleased to report that this book is much like the first one, and you will not be disappointed. In the Absence of a Body began right where In the Strictest Confidence left off, which I was grateful for, I wanted to know immediately what happened with Frankie after the way the first book ended. The first couple of chapters had me on the edge of my seat as the author wrapped up the dramatic events of the first book. I was glad that she didn't drag it on throughout the whole book, making this a continuation of the first. It makes In the Absence of a Body a novel in it's own right, instead of having this book ride on the coat tails of the first book, lending it a glory that it doesn't wholly deserve. 

One of my most favorite facets of Frankie is her profession. I found some of the most interesting parts of this book to be during Frankie's counselling sessions. Her clients are always interesting and their stories and problems are fascinating. The writing of these sessions by the author is beyond impressive, not only does she give each character a complex personality but she also writes about them in such a way that I find myself contemplating each character more than I normally would; questioning the depths of their problems, their actions in response to their feelings, the way they might affect Frankie outside of her office, how dangerous they may be. That's right, I became a little paranoid while reading this book, so I understood where Frankie was coming from. There were a number of times while reading this that I was creeped out and I am still unable to ascertain if that is because the story was creepy at those points or if it was just really great writing. 

Another facet of Frankie that I enjoy is that her character is definitely relate-able making her seem more realistic. I love the fact that she juggles the struggles of being a single parent, the financial hardship of being the sole provider for her household, trying to increase her client-base, and trying to have some semblance of a personal life. Her problems are very much true to life problems, especially the parenting ones. It's refreshing to read about a woman who knows she is not a perfect mother, and doesn't concern herself with trying to achieve that title. She makes mistakes, she tries her best to prioritize her kids first and spend as much time with them as she can. She does her best to stay on top of them and be aware of what's happening in their lives, but we get to see her struggle with that as sometimes life gets in the way and things get pushed back to be dealt with later. I love that her overall message is that she is the does her best to be a good parent, and her kids are happy, loved and well adjusted and that's the best that any parent can ask for.

The villain in this novel was a bit of a surprise, although the author gave us an indication of who it was towards the end of the book. The dramatic events and villain were all multifaceted, keeping the reader on their toes with trying to solve the mystery as to who was stalking Frankie throughout the whole book. The culmination was great and I was a little relieved that there was no cliffhanger at the end of the book. I am hoping that there will be a third installment in the Frankie Wilson Story as I cannot get enough of K Britt-Badman's writing.

Final Rating:
✬✬✬✬✫
Probability of Rereading:
Yes

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Shattered Love Review

Shattered Love (#1 in the Blinded Love Series) By: Stacey Marie Brown Everyone has a story about a broken heart, but Jaymerson’s heart wa...