Saturday, July 29, 2017

Throne of Glass Review

Throne of Glass
By: Sarah J. Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her ... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead ... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

This was a great and original story that I could not put down. I was immediately enthralled by Celaena's character and how strong she is regardless, or maybe because of, her environment. It's not often that we get a true heroine who stays strong throughout every setback and who isn't made weak by falling in love and changing her personality to suit her partner; and this time the author gave us just that. When you think of the word assassin you think of someone cold, unfeeling, who thinks nothing of death or the people they kill. Celeana's character made it known that that is not how she felt. Her character was so refreshing in that while the general population knew of her and was terrified of her, she was compassionate. She was nice to people. She made friends. She was still human.

The plot line of the competition and the competitors kept the story interesting as it always added a bit of action to the book. The competitors were ruthless and it was a great test of strength to see Celaena pitted against them in the fight for her freedom. Celaena's opponents were all interesting characters, themselves being criminals of sorts. The competiton also brought to light the shady intentions of the King and the way he rules his kingdom. It seemed odd to me that the King began the competition knowing that the competitors would be the dregs of his kingdom, for the most part, and didn't care. He was completely willing to have one of them win and then be in his service as his personal assassin, giving them the freedom to roam around the city and do whatever they please, as long as they carry out his orders. The underlying issue of who is killing off the competitors was an interesting interlude to the competition and also added a bit of mystery to the story. The castle is filled with so many criminal and untrustworthy characters it's hard to decide who is behind the killings.

I wasn't a huge fan of the author's intention to create a love triangle between Celaena, the Captain of the Guards and the prince. I do like how Celaena isn't too affected by their attention but at the same time takes an interest in both of them for different reasons. I loved how she befriended them both and kept their relationships platonic for the most part. The love triangle aspect of the book really took second place to the competition and therefore didn't make or break the book for me. Too often I become involved in a story just to see how their love lives play out, but in this book, I really didn't care how it went either way. I was far more engrossed in Celaena's personal history and her performance in the competition.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. I found the whole thing very refreshing compared to all the other books I've read recently as there are not many female characters that give their male counterparts a run for their money. Too many times the male characters end up overshadowing the female's allowing them to slip into the background. I don't necessarily consider myself a feminist but who doesn't love a good strong dose of girl power to help raise their own sense of strength? This book has made me excited to read the rest of the books in this series. And I am sure that they will become some of my favorite books.

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

The Prince's Plan review

The Prince's Plan
By: E.M. Youman

Marnie Ducello is way past second chances. Most days she’s fighting to forget the past and stay sober—a combination she doesn’t always pull off. She’s done waiting for Prince Charming. So when a sexy stranger turns out to be an arrogant, cab-stealing jerk, Marnie isn’t surprised. If only her rash reaction to his rudeness hadn’t resulted in her arrest. . .

Singer Danny Roland is no prince. He has fame, fortune, and a not-so-hidden addiction. He’s running from memories of the lives he’s ruined. Keeping his personal demons under control and out of the tabloids is what Danny wants more than anything. After a simple drug deal goes very wrong, Danny decides to make karmic amends—by finding the woman he abandoned to the police. Marnie’s a recovering addict, too, so he offers her the deal of a lifetime: a job as his personal assistant and a safe space in his home to live in if she stays sober.

Marnie is soon swept up into Danny’s world of prying paparazzi and vengeful exes. She can’t help the burning attraction between them, but she can’t trust Danny—or herself. And when Danny’s brother begins to pursue her, Marnie and Danny must both come to terms with the painful secrets that haunt them. They’re both broken…but maybe together they can be unbreakable.

I received this early release book in exchange for an honest review.

I had a hard time getting into this book from the very beginning. I thought that maybe it would just take some time to sink into the story and that midway through the book I would be engrossed. Unfortunately that didn't happen for me. I found the characters to be unlikeable and their personalities and situations frustrating and unrealistic.

I felt lost quite a few times and had to go back and reread pages thinking that I had missed pages as the story jumped ahead quite quickly in places. There was one point where Danny was all of a sudden head over heels in love with Marnie, seemingly out of nowhere; as he has been treating her poorly and frequently sleeping with a lot of other women, in one case in front of Marnie. It didn't scream 'true love' to me.

When the part with the tiger happened I couldn't figure out where it even came from. Then I was just deeply disappointed, because, really, a tiger?? How silly is that? Out of all possible life or death situations the author chose to write about one that makes absolutely no sense and is beyond far fetched.

All in all I was really disappointed with this book. From reading the synopsis of the book I had been looking forward to reading it. I had thought the idea original and the story had the potential to be very emotional. For a crier, I did not cry a single time during the reading of this book. It shows how disengaged I was.

I did like that the author tackled the severity and seriousness of addiction. The main characters background stories were heartbreaking and their only redeeming factors. The fact that they continued to struggle with sobriety and relapsed more than once added a touch of realism that the book desperately needed. 

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Monday, July 17, 2017

White Bodies Review

White Bodies
By: Jane Robins

Felix and Tilda seem like the perfect couple: young and in love, a financier and a beautiful up-and-coming starlet. But behind their flawless facade, not everything is as it seems.

Callie, Tilda's unassuming twin, has watched her sister visibly shrink under Felix's domineering love. She has looked on silently as Tilda stopped working, nearly stopped eating, and turned into a neat freak, with mugs wrapped in Saran Wrap and suspicious syringes hidden in the bathroom trash. She knows about Felix's uncontrollable rages, and has seen the bruises on the white skin of her sister's arms.

Worried about the psychological hold that Felix seems to have over Tilda, Callie joins an Internet support group for victims of abuse and their friends. However, things spiral out of control and she starts to doubt her own judgment when one of her new acquaintances is killed by an abusive man. And then suddenly Felix dies--or was he murdered?

This was one of the best psychological suspense novel's that I can remember reading. Usually I am so turned off by the synopsis of the book that I stick to my tried and true genres, but this is a book that made me glad that I gave it a try. I spent most of the novel chewing my nails and grinding my teeth in anticipation and the other parts talking to the book as if the characters could hear me (just imagine the reactions from the people around me as I'm yelling "what the hell are you thinking?!" at a book).

For the duration of the book I was really unsure of how I felt about it. I felt such an array of emotions as I read it and I couldn't get a handle on how I felt about any character because they all seemed so complex and contrary. For most of the book I felt sorry for Tildy, of course, who seems as though she is stuck in an abusive relationship. I hated Felix and had decided that I wasn't at all sorry that he had died. I liked Wilf, Daphne and Belle, and I pitied Scarlett. I was intrigued by Callie but neither liked nor disliked her.

Callie's character was by far the most complex in the book. It seems as though she has mental issues and needs psychological help as her obsession with her twin has consumed her for as long as she can remember and is truely bizarre turn as she stalks Tildy, spies on her, eats her hair clippings and baby teeth ( honestly, I had such a hard time reading the part about the teeth). I spent the majority of the book wondering if Tildy's abuse was all a figment of Callie's imagination, that Callie had created to try to keep Tildy to herself, or enable herself to play the role of Tildy's rescuer. But at the same time Tildy seems very aware of Callie's obsession with her and does nothing about it. She never confronts her or points out how unhealthy it is. On the contrary she seems to enjoy the attention and adoration that Callie gives her.

The end of the book really threw me off, I don't know what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn't that! That was the point that I decided I loved the book. It was completely unexpected and Callie's character is somewhat redeemed (still, that girl needs some professional help!) and you get to see the intricacy of the whole book come together and make sense in a way that shocked me so much that I reread the end of the book twice. 

Jane Robins wrote a phenomenal book that I enjoyed more that I can say. I look forward to reading more from her. 

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Lord of Shadows Review

Lord of Shadows
By: Cassandra Clare
Book#2 in The Dark Artifices series

As the second installment of The Dark Artifices series this book focuses on a discord that's brewing between Shadowhunters and the Unseelie King - The Lord of Shadows. The Shadowhunters of the Los Angeles institute have to hurry and find the Black Volume of the Dead in a bargain they have made with the Seelie Queen to overtake the Unseelie King and stop him from potentially starting a war with Shadowhunters. Meanwhile Emma and Julian struggle with their relationship and the forbidden love that they share.

I have wanted to love every Shadowhunter novel ever since I read The Infernal Devices series (if you have not read it I highly recommend you do), but this series just isn't doing it for me. I don't know if it's the boring storyline, the lack of interesting storylines from the supporting characters, the redundancy of the forbidden nature of Emma and Julian's relationship, or the somewhat unlikeable characters themselves; I just always find myself disappointed at the end of these novels.

Lord of Shadows started out well enough, the author began the book in the middle of a mission so there's a bit of action right at the beginning, but that very quickly tapers off. Then it goes into a bit of a recap of the first book, which was perfect for me since my poor memory had forgotten almost everything from the first book. Then it starts talking about the supporting characters. Since Mark came back from the Wild Hunt in the first book I've been anxiously awaiting a storyline worthy of his character. I am disappointed that all he's had thus far is a fake relationship with Emma and a tired love triangle with Kieran and Cristina. Cristina's storyline is much the same with just the Mark/Kieran love triangle and the failed relationship with perfect Diego. Diana's storyline is a bit more interesting when she meets the Head of the Wild Hunt, Gwyn ap Nudd (seriously, where does Cassandra Clare come up with these names??). I did enjoy the dynamic between Kit, Ty and Livia. It was nice to see a sort of camaraderie spark between them, in spite of Kit's dislike of the Shadowhunter world and Shadowhunters themselves. The way that Cassandra describes the fast bond between Kit and Ty makes you think that at some point they will become parabatai, and gives the hope that Kit will stay at the institute and become a Shadowhunter.

I found the middle of the book, with all the small separate missions to be long and drawn out. They always consisted of Emma thinking about how she and Julian can never be together and Julian acting indifferent. Even the sacrifice that Julian's uncle made went almost unnoticed and wasn't really addressed in any way that made me feel anything about it (not gunna lie, I'm usually a crier). Although the involvement of the Seelie and Unseelie's was the main conflict of the book, it was pushed into the background while Emma and Julian's relationship was pushed into the foreground. I had a hard time even getting through the middle of the book, but by the end I was back into it again.

The very end of the book almost made up for the lack of suspense in the rest of it. The last chapter had a lot of anticipation, conflict and death. And, oh my goodness, did I ever cry. Cassandra had spent some of the book building up characters and growing them and then at the end she killed one off and although I did like the character, I felt that that death saved the book from being a complete waste of my time. I was also intrigued by the conflict that Magnus and Tessa are facing and am really hoping that it is resolved in the final installment of this series and not in a complete separate series that hasn't been written yet. I love those characters, as they are favorites from both The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices and their conflict really isn't something that you can ignore as it really is life or death for them.  

All in all it wasn't a terrible book, but I do find that a lot of sequel's in Cassandra's series' leave something to be desired as they're quite a bit more dry than the first or third installments. Hopefully this series is just following suit and the third installment will knock this series out of the park.

Final Rating:
Probability of Re-reading:

Let me know what you thought of the book in the comments, I am interested to see if anyone's opinion coincides with mine, as these books have a die-hard following which seems to think that the author can do no wrong.

Opinionated Bookworm

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Map for Wrecked Girls Review

A Map for Wrecked Girls
By: Jessica Taylor

Emma, her sister Henri and Alex find themselves washed up on shore of a beautiful, uninhabited island after a boating accident. They spend the next few days trying to find ways to survive, get off the island and not get on each other's nerves. Meanwhile Emma and Henri are dealing with the aftermath of Emma's betrayal of her sister and the unwavering anger that Henri has for Emma.

I scored an advanced reading copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway. I had read the description online and wasn't overly enthused about reading it, but was still excited that I had won. After reading the book I found that the description on the book's jacket does not do the book any justice.

From the first chapter I was completely hooked. The dynamic of Emma and Henri's relationship really pulls you in as the book explains and explores their relationship. You get the sense of a forever bond between sisters who are destined to be each other's best friend regardless of the year difference in their ages. But as the book alternates between the island and San Francisco you're faced with the reality that Emma has done something to Henri that has deeply affected both her sister and their relationship. Henri is determined to put space between herself and Emma but it proves very difficult to do on a small remote island that they wash up on after the boat they were on explodes.

Emma's character undergoes a revolution as she starts out as quiet and compliant allowing Henri to guide her through life without having any sort of identity of her own. She gains strength and independence on the island thanks to Henri's anger at her and disinterest in helping her and Alex find ways to help the survive, and learns to stand up for herself along the way.

Henri isn't the most likeable character but nevertheless I found myself rooting for her and her relationship with Emma. Henri is a spoiled, selfish and lost girl who depends on Emma to be her partner in crime in every escapade she gets into. She often talks about how she and Emma have no one but each other and you get the impression that she really does have a deep love for Emma that she cherishes.

Alex's character is really useful for taking the focus off the tense relationship between Emma and Henri and of the dire life or death situation they're all in; and he adds some comedic relief and an outlet for Emma's character. He's the one bit of happiness and relief that Emma has on the island and the one thing that consistently gives her a bit of hope.

The book is definitely aimed at a young adult audience, especially as the main characters ages are sixteen and seventeen, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I found the story interesting, the characters to have depth and the over-all feel of the book was a hopeful one. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good young adult read.

Final Rating:
Probability of Re-reading:

Look for the book when it's released in August, 2017.

Thanks for reading,

Opinionated Bookworm

Monday, July 10, 2017

Walking Disaster Review

Walking Disaster
By: Jamie McGuire

Spoiler Alert!!!!

Travis Maddox is your typical college bad boy. He loves gambling, underground college fighting and women. He's notorious on campus for being a playboy and gives no thought or concern to his womanizing reputation. Until he meets Abby Abernathy.

This is the sequel to Beautiful Disaster. In Beautiful Disaster Abby told their story from her point of view, in Walking Disaster it's told from Travis'.

I enjoyed this book much more than the first. It's the same story, but because it's being told by Travis you don't get all the mixed feelings and confusion that you got from Abby's point of view. It's told very early on where Travis stands on their relationship and he spends most of the book trying to bring it to fruition.

This book really demonstrates the depth of the love that Travis has for Abby and the lengths that he goes to to show her how he feels. There's nothing I love more than a good love story that has that perfect, movie-type love where everything is passionate, beautiful and intense with the illusion that nothing could ever come between the characters. It's the gooey, cheesy kind of junk that every female on earth wants to believe exists, and that one day she will experience it. This book was perfect for that. It would make any female develop a crush on Travis and envious of Abby.

I talked about the story a bit in my review on Beautiful Disaster, but in this book you get more of a beginning and more of an ending. It was interesting to see how the death of Travis' mom affected him in how he views women and relationships, and it was gratifying to see more of the relationship he has with is dad and brothers. It certainly gave his character more depth than that first book did and showed that there's more to him than insecurities. In the epilogue you also get a glimpse into the future that he and Abby share which, after the shocking end in Beautiful Disaster, really just served to appease my love story yen.

I enjoyed reading this book so much that I actually reread it right after I finished it the first time. I'm so glad that the author added this one on to the first one. It was instrumental in making Travis and Abby's relationship more meaningful and realistic. I rarely enjoy sequels in novels, but this one was necessary.

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Strapless Review

By Leigh Riker


Darcie Baxter is a 29 year old woman who is stuck in a rut. She has a job that she enjoys, but she has a competitive co-worker who is constantly stealing her ideas and presenting them as her own. She lives with her eccentric grandmother in New Jersey, although her parents are constantly trying to convince her to move back home to Connecticut to mold her life into what they think it should be. Her love life is definitely a cause for concern but she seems to have no ambition to improve upon it and is content to go on indefinitely meeting the man she has been seeing for years once a week in a hotel room.

I think this book was meant to be some sort of uplifting romance novel that shows how finding love is possible in any situation, at any age and at any time. But for the most part I just found it depressing and frustrating. Darcie's character seemed needy, confused and sad for most of the novel. She spends her work hours trying to impress her boss but not standing up to the coworker who blatantly steals her files and paperwork from her desk and then passes it off as her own. She literally finds Greta going through her things and makes a passive joke about it instead of standing up to her. And the author gives no indication as to why Darcie will stand up to her boss, her parents, the various men in her life but not to this one deceitful coworker that she doesn't even like!

Speaking of the men....I don't know if I'm just a prude but Darcie definitely came off as a tramp in this book, which made her character less likeable. First the author tells how Darcie has been meeting up with a man, Merrick, in hotel rooms for years, but knows virtually nothing about him. She finds out he's married with children when she conveniently runs into him before she goes on her work trip to Australia. The same work trip where she meets a man named Dylan on the first night in the hotel's restaurant and then proceeds to sleep with him, and drink to excess making her very sick the next day. On a work trip!!! She then continually meets up with Dylan for the next two weeks that she's there, much to the annoyance of her boss who wants her to focus on the work that they are there to do. She goes back home to New York with her boss and then spends the majority of the book pining for Dylan, forgiving and spending time with Merrick and meeting her neighbour, Cutter, and proceeding to spend time with him, simultaneously. It made Darcie's character seem ridiculously desperate and pathetic that she couldn't just let go of Merrick after he had lied to her (twice), couldn't keep herself from kissing Cutter, and wouldn't commit to Dylan's idea of married life, but also couldn't move on from all three to be single, or meet someone new.

There was no redeeming characters or storylines in this book to me. All of the characters were weak, their storylines were boring and predictable. I am glad that I had some extra time to dedicate to reading this book so that I could get it over with as quickly as possible and move on to something else. It was a painfully dull read.

Final Rating:
Possibility of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Beautiful Disaster Review

Beautiful Disaster
By Jamie McGuire


Abby Abernathy is the main character and the book chronicles her meeting Travis Maddox and the complicated relationship that develops between them. Abby is described as a 'good girl' who is working hard at keeping the demons of her past at bay, while Travis is the proverbial playboy who is sleeping his way through the college's female population. After meeting Travis Abby becomes resolved not to have anything to do with him as she is determined to meet a more straight-laced guy to distance herself further from her mysterious past.

My first impression of this book early on was that I thought it was going to be a classic good girl meets bad boy type of love story. It seemed exactly like the frivolous fluff that I had been looking to read at the time. It turned out to be a little more complicated than that. There is definitely an all-consuming love story involved, but there's also disturbing layers of dependency issues and emotional abuse. Travis's character has an intense personality and is peppered with issues that he doesn't seem to be aware of. He is constantly turning every emotion into amplified anger which he takes out on those closest to him, predominantly his cousin Shep. Abby seems to be a reluctant participant in their friendship in the beginning and then she seems oblivious to all the signs of affection that Travis shows her. He all but hits her over the head as a way of telling her he loves her but she ignores the signs choosing to believe that he's just a very good friend.

Eventually when they do enter a relationship there are more signs of dependency and jealously issues that almost overshadow the beautiful love story that's unfolding.

The end was a bit predictable in that they end up together, but in keeping with the intensity of the characters personalities they don't just live together they get married. Within a year of knowing each other. It just seems insane and rushed. But oddly enough it fit in perfectly with the rest of the story.

While all this Abby/Travis drama is happening the author is slipping in little clues here and there about Abby's elusive past, which turns out to not be as interesting as it initially promises to be. Her mom is an absent alcoholic and her dad is a compulsive gambler who is convinced that Abby 'stole' his luck from him, causing him to lose all his money.

I can't even lie. I enjoyed this book. I have reread it already skipping past the parts about Abby's past and past Travis's issues to the love story between Abby and Travis. With all of their issues their love story is still a passionate one that feels more like a guilty pleasure read for me.

Final Rating:
Possibility of Rereading:

Stay posted for my review of the second book of this series - Walking Disaster

Opinionated Bookworm

Monday, July 3, 2017

Bulletproof Review

By Maci Bookout

Maci Bookout became well known for her segment on MTV's 16 and pregnant and Teen Mom. Her memoir takes you through her unplanned pregnancy and subsequent struggles as a young teenager with a child who's father is very removed from the situation. The book spans over a period of four or five years as she details the growing stages of her son Bentley and the demise of her relationship with Bentley's father Ryan.

I have to begin this by admitting that I am a Teen Mom OG fan. It's a guilty pleasure that I don't get to indulge in much anymore, but when I heard that Maci was writing a book I knew I had to read it. I knew quite a bit of her story and her personality from watching her on MTV and was curious to know what else she could possibly offer in her book that her fans didn't already know. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, but I found it fascinating and could hardly put it down.

My favorite part of this book is that it did not follow a typical chronological order. She starts with the revelation of finding out she was pregnant and then the telling her news to her unsuspecting parents. But in the midst of this she brings up memories, feelings and her parents background. The book flows like a conversation would, which makes you feel like you're getting a more personal view into her life that you would by just watching her on TV. You get access to her thoughts, her feelings and actions that she had taken that were not filmed by MTV. She also includes chapters of poetry and lists that she's written.

The message of her book was not lost in her story. This was a very clear warning to any teenagers and parents of teenagers that conversations about safe sex and birth control should definitely be a priority so that no teenager is left feeling as though unplanned pregnancies cannot happen to them. No one is exempt from circumstance and Maci makes that very known as she recounts the occurances in which her own unplanned pregnancy came to be. However, in all of this she also makes it known that her child is the best thing that could have happened to her and that she could never regret having him.

As much as I was slightly embarrassed to be purchasing this book and earning a lot of incredulous and amused looks, I am glad I did. It was a captivating depiction of the struggles that a lot of young mom's go through. And admirably the author really tries to convey the fact that although everything worked out for her in the end there were a lot of hurdles she had to endure raising a child on her own at such a young age. And she makes sure that the readers know that although she had an amazing support system in her friends and family that is not the reality for most teen moms.

Final Rating:
Possibility of Rereading:

Opinionated Bookworm

Phoenix (The Legends of Peradon #1) Review

Phoenix (The Legends of Peradon #1) By: Daccari Buchelli No power is greater than the one you’re willing to sacrifice.  Princess Violetta...