Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Child Finder Review

The Child Finder (Untitled Series #1)
By: Rene Denfeld

Three years ago, Madison Culver disappeared when her family was choosing a Christmas tree in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. She would be eight years old now—if she has survived. Desperate to find their beloved daughter, certain someone took her, the Culvers turn to Naomi, a private investigator with an uncanny talent for locating the lost and missing. Known to the police and a select group of parents as The Child Finder, Naomi is their last hope.

Naomi’s methodical search takes her deep into the icy, mysterious forest in the Pacific Northwest, and into her own fragmented past. She understands children like Madison because once upon a time, she was a lost girl too. 

As Naomi relentlessly pursues and slowly uncovers the truth behind Madison’s disappearance, shards of a dark dream pierce the defenses that have protected her, reminding her of a terrible loss she feels but cannot remember. If she finds Madison, will Naomi ultimately unlock the secrets of her own life?



I'm going to start this review with a rather embarrassing confession; before last week I had never been on Indigo's website. Sure, I have visited my local Coles bookstore a handful of times (if you understood how much of a ghost town our mall is and how out of the way it is you would understand why I don't go there more often) but I had never gone to their website to order anything or even just browse. However, that changed when I got an Indigo gift card for Christmas and now I'm pretty sure my bank account will never be the same. I decided to buy books that I hadn't heard of and are not already on my 'To Be Read' list, so I chose from their bestsellers sale list, and after reading my way through all the different book summaries one of the books I chose was The Child Finder. I can honestly say that had I been able to view the cover in person it is most definitely a book I would have chosen to read, as I have a penchant for pretty book covers and this one is made of some sort of shimmery paper. Between the shimmery paper, the pretty snow scene and the beautiful blue/green colour scheme I would not have been able to resist it. Usually when that happens, me choosing a book based on the appealing cover, I end up disappointed that the story did not match the cover in greatness, I can honestly say that this book could not be labelled the same way. 

A thriller, mystery is not my typical choice of genre as of late, but it was a reminder to me of how much I really do enjoy that particular genre. The writing came alive in this book and there were definitely some creepy moments when I was glad that I was reading in the middle of the day surrounded by people (yes, I'm a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to suspense). I have to say that I was most impressed by the vocabulary and descriptors used by the author when describing the sexual abuse suffered by victims. It's hard enough to read stories about children being helpless victims, but getting more in detail than necessary has definitely put me off books in the past, however, I do tend to be more forgiving if a book is non-fiction but since this one was not I was grateful to the author for allowing child victims some privacy and dignity when talking about the abuse they receive at the hands of their abusers. She didn't gloss over any detail but rather told it in a way that was heartbreaking and respectful to those children. 

There was a lot more going on in this book than I had anticipated. The main character, Naomi, was investigating two missing child cases simultaneously as well as dealing with her own childhood flashbacks/memories, and her current circumstances with her romantic issues. During all that there were the snow girl points of view. It was a lot to keep track of and sometimes it got a little confusing trying to figure out what was past and current. The different stories could have been more precisely separated to make everything more straight forward. Things got a little slower moving in the middle of the book when Naomi was dealing with her feelings about Jerome, it was dragged on a little longer than it needed to with unnecessary flash backs into their shared childhood. For a romance lover like myself I was surprised that I wasn't all that interested in Naomi's relationship with Jerome, but that really wasn't what this book was about. 

The book ended with Naomi deciding to investigate into her own past and find out what happened to her and were she was. I am looking forward to the next installment and learning more about Naomi's childhood and how she came to be a lost child. If the writing in the second installment is as suspenseful as the first one then I have no doubt that the author will have another bestseller on her hands. 

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

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Friday, December 29, 2017

Vampire Academy Series Review

Vampire Academy Series (Vampire Academy, Frost Bite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound, Last Sacrifice)
By: Richelle Mead

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with an unbreakable bond to the earth’s magic. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a Dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making her one of them. Rose and Lissa must navigate through this dangerous world, confront the temptation of forbidden romance, and never once let their guard down, lest the Strigoi make Lissa one of them forever.



As with the last series I reviewed (House of Night) I decided to review all the books of this series as one. This was another recommendation from my sister, and she lent me her books all at once. I devoured them within a few days. I couldn't get enough of reading this series. Anyone who knows me or has read my reviews knows my weakness for great loves, and this series definitely has that. It kept me hooked throughout the whole series, never once getting stale. 

The series began rather tame and I had low expectations as I was unsure of what to expect. About halfway through the first book my expectations and opinion of this book soared. I almost immediately loved the main character, Rose. She had a strength and unwavering loyalty to her friend Lissa, that was absolutely admirable. She is very self aware and mature for her age and her character only grows exponentially in all aspects throughout the series making her one of my favourite book characters of all time. I was drawn in more to her story when she met Dimitri and their story grew so complicated and involved and yet she never wavered from him. She went through so much for him and vice versa, it was exactly the kind of powerful mushy love that I love to read about.

The conflict in the series changed throughout the books, and there wasn't one main bad guy that carried on throughout all of the books. Each book had something refreshing to intrigue the reader and keep our interest. I particularly enjoyed the fourth and fifth books, as the villain was someone I didn't expect and kept Rose on her toes and me on the edge of my seat. 

The author did a great job with her imagery and description, but also with the perception she weaves with her stories. I spent the majority of the series not liking Lissa's character because she over shadows Rose so much, whether or not it was intentional on her characters part is beside the point. When I reflected back on the books after reading them I concluded that while Lissa's character always over shadowed Rose's in their lives, in the books Lissa's character was almost always in the background. So while in their reality Rose was just a guardian to the ever-important Lissa, to the reader Rose is the most forefront character in the story. For whatever reason the realization of that raised Lissa slightly in my opinion. 

My favorite part of this series was not the characters or the love story, it was that even with all the other fantasy novels out there involving vampires there is still some originality to be had. Reading a series like this involving school systems, different vampire races, the history of the species', etc, gives the reader insight into the intricacies of the writers mind, and personally, I found the mind of this author fascinating. She continued on throughout the series introducing new characters, new races and kept things fresh all while slowly introducing a new world to the reader. One that may be a lot bigger than just the stories the author gave us in this series.

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

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm


Heir of Fire Review (Throne of Glass #3)

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)
By: Sarah J. Maas

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?


I try to avoid reading reviews of a book if I know that I am going to be reading it. I don't want other people's opinions to colour mine in any way. However, I did not own this installment of the Throne of Glass series before reading the first two and my curiosity got the best of me in the time that passed between reading the second and third installments. I read a few reviews on Goodreads and was surprised at some of the poorer reviews. They said that this was the most boring book of the series thus far and they did not enjoy it as much as the first two. If you have read my reviews of the first two books you'll know that I enjoyed them immensely, so I was reluctant to begin this book as I thought it might negatively impact my opinion of the series and make me hesitant to keep going with the rest of the books. If you've already read this book and you're not reading this review I have no doubt that you're thinking 'this girl is an idiot' and you're right. I was definitely being idiotic. After reading the negative reviews and the book, I respectfully disagree with those reviewers; this was, in my opinion, the best book of the series thus far. 


Heir of Fire is the largest book in the series and as such it's also the most action packed. There were three separate stories happening throughout the book and they remained separate through to the end, which I loved. It adds to the anticipation of the next novel; will any of the three story lines intertwine? Will the characters finally meet? What is the purpose of the witch covens the author introduced? Which side will they ultimately be on? 


I think the most impressive part of this book for me was the witch chapters. Typically if there is a standalone story line that doesn't involve the books main character in any way I get bored of it very quickly. No matter how it comes together in the end I always hate the time I feel I waste on things that have nothing to do with the books main plot line and are essentially irrelevant until the very end. I did not ever have that feeling of boredom with this particular story though. The new characters that the author created for this plot and the adventures and trials they endured were engrossing and I found myself looking forward to their chapters. I loved that even with a smaller story than that of Celaena the main character of the witch chapters, Manon, underwent a dramatic character growth that we will hopefully see the repercussions of in the following installments. 


I had a hard time with Celaena's character for the first half of the book as she had gone through some devastating losses in the last book and in this book her character seemed damaged almost beyond repair. She was certainly not the strong, independent character that we had become accustomed to from the first couple of novels. It made it that much more rewarding when at the end of the book Celaena is on her way to becoming stronger and more powerful than the reader could have been prepared for. The author created such a sense of hope in the end of the book that I am dying to get the fourth book to know what happens next. Sarah J. Maas certainly knows how to keep her readers wanting more. 

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

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

House of Night Review

House of Night Series
(Marked, Betrayed, Chosen, Untamed, Hunted, Tempted, Burned, Awakened, Destined, Hidden, Revealed, Redeemed)
By: P.C. Cast & Kristen Cast

When 16-year-old Zoey Redbird is Marked by a vampyre tracker and begins to undergo the Change into an actual vampyre, she has to leave behind her family in Tulsa and move into the House of Night, a boarding school for other fledglings like her. It’s tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling. She has been singled out by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. Although Zoey has awesome new powers, it’s not so easy to fit in when everyone knows you’re "special" – and some people wish you weren’t....

As Zoey tries to make new friends and maybe find a hot boyfriend (or three), she comes up against all kinds of evil, from the perfect-looking, super-popular girl with not-so-innocent plans, to the mysterious deaths happening at the House of Night and all over Tulsa, and the beautiful high priestess, Neferet, who seems to have Zoey’s best interests at heart…or does she? Things at the House of Night are rarely what they seem. Can Zoey find the courage deep within herself to find the truth and embrace her destiny?



I want to start this review by thanking my friend Stevie and my sister, Alli, for both recommending this series to me and allowing me to borrow their books so I wouldn't have to go buy all 12 books without knowing whether or not I would like them. There's always a measure of trust that you extend to someone by allowing them to borrow books, especially if they're favourites of yours, and I'm grateful that they trusted me enough to lend them to me. 


This is a bit of a different kind of review as I am going to be reviewing all the books in the series as one. As you all know I am a speed reader, and these books were pretty short compared to my usual novels, with good reason as they are geared to a young adult, almost teen-aged audience. So unfortunately with the speed that I read combined with the length of the books, I read them so fast and so close together that they melded into one another. I read one or sometimes two per day. Honestly, I'm not sure I could figure out which content was in which book specifically to write twelve separate reviews. So please keep that in mind when reading this review. I'm sure some of the books were better than others, and I distinctly remember reading one or two of them and thinking how pointless I felt they were because of lack of detail or lack of main plot involvement. 


When I began the series I was impressed with the idea of teens getting "marked" and thus changing them into vampires. It's an interesting concept of some 'higher power' selecting only certain people to be apart of the vampire race, and even then their place is not guaranteed. It seems they still have to partake in some sort of test that determines if their bodies are even equipped to deal with such a drastic change. It is definitely an original idea that gave me a lot of hope and high expectations right from the onset of reading the first book. Unfortunately, the series overall did not live up to my high expectations and although I did enjoy it for the most part, I was a little bit bored quite a lot of the time. I began the series knowing that it was a Young Adult series, but I really didn't realize just how Young Adult it was. Most of the YA books I read have a level of maturity that I've come to expect from all YA books now, but this series seemed to be aimed for 10-13 year old audiences. Once I acclimated myself to that fact I was able to get into the series a little more, although I have to say, the use of the word "bullpoopie" which is used constantly in all of the books, was the most annoying thing I've ever come across in any book I've read and it was almost enough in itself to put me off reading the books.

The main plot line carried through the entire series, which I enjoyed, much to my own surprise. I usually find that drawn out conflicts can quickly become stale but the authors did a great job at keeping the reader interested in seeing the issue resolved and the villain dealt with.  There were a series of smaller conflicts thrown into every book in the series, and most of them were geared to the 'pre-puberty' audience so there was a lot of relationship issues, boy issues, mean girl issues and friend issues. They were mostly dull and failed to keep my attention, unless they involved characters that I found myself emotionally invested in. 

There were a lot of characters in this series. A lot of main characters even. The forefront character, Zoey, was not a character that I liked. She spent the first half of the series flitting from guy to guy and drawing out her issues with them, making the problems a million times more dramatic than they needed to be. I found her slutty tendencies and her lack of regard for the feelings of the males that she dragged along to discolour my opinion of her early on and she never did anything to raise my opinion of her. She had five close friends in the series, only one of whom I liked. I felt the supporting characters went through more personal growth than Zoey did, so even though I may have been indifferent to all of them in the beginning I grew to appreciate their respective stories. I think the only character that I liked the whole way through the series and really felt for was Heath. He had such a bad hand dealt to him and his character was a genuinely good person. His story was heartbreaking. 

Overall while I may not have loved the series it's a series that needed to be written. It's a fantastic introductory Fantasy series for a younger generation who aren't interested in reading all about sex and more adult problems that they can't relate to. I fully believe that this series could absolutely help turn a young reader into a YA Fantasy fanatic. The authors did a great job at keeping all the content in the books relate-able to pre-teens, while keeping the books age appropriate. 

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

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Alpha Review

Alpha (Alpha, #1)
By: Jasinda Wilder

The first time it happened, it seemed like an impossible miracle. Bills were piling up, adding up to more money than I could ever make. Mom's hospital bills. My baby brother's tuition. My tuition. Rent. Electricity. All of it on my shoulders. And I had just lost my job. There was no hope, no money in my account, no work to be found. And then, just when I thought all hope was lost, I found an envelope in the mail. No return address. My name on the front, my address. Inside was a check, made out to me, in the amount of ten thousand dollars. Enough to pay the bills and leave me some left over to live on until I found a job. Enough to let me focus on classes. There was no name on the check, just "VRI Inc.," and a post office box address for somewhere in the city. No hint of identity or reason for the check or anything. No mention of repayment, interest, nothing…except a single word, on the notes line: "You." Just those three letters.
If you receive a mysterious check, for enough money to erase all your worries, would you cash it?
I did.
The next month, I received another check, again from VRI Incorporated. It too contained a single word: "belong."
A third check, the next month. This time, two words. Four letters. "To me."
The checks kept coming. The notes stopped. Ten thousand dollars, every month. A girl gets used to that, real quick. It let me pay the bills without going into debt. Let me keep my baby brother in school and Mom's hospice care paid for. How do you turn down what seems like free money, when you're desperate? You don't. I didn't.
And then, after a year, there was a knock on my door. A sleek black limousine sat on the curb in front of my house. A driver stood in front of me, and he spoke six words: "It's time to pay your debt."
Would you have gotten in?
I did.
It turns out $120,000 doesn't come free.



Did you read that synopsis?
Yes? Well, good. Because that's basically the extent of this novel. 
The writing was good, but the story itself lacked....well.....story. There seemed to be no purpose to this book other than writing good sex scenes, and sure, who doesn't love a good steamy sex scene? But in between those scenes should have some content that keeps the reader entertained and want to continue reading the novel. I had a hard time with this one. I felt like I had to keep coaxing myself into continuing to read the book when I really just wanted it to be over.

The characters were shallow and lacked personality. Their actions were never really explained to the extent that satisfied me into believing their actions were warranted, for example, who continues to cash random cheques from a stranger, knowing full well that they don't come without strings attached? Furthermore, who willingly goes with a stranger, to meet another elusive stranger and allows themselves to be told what to wear and blindfolded?? Honestly, just reading the account of the interaction was enough to make me uncomfortable, but to make myself believe that anyone would be stupid enough to put themselves into that situation is beyond comprehension. 

Seriously readers, do yourselves a favour and skip this book. Again, props to the author on her descriptive writing style, but next time add a bit of story between those sex scenes to keep us interested!

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

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

If You Find Me Review

If You Find Me
By: Emily Murdoch

A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.


I began reading this book in between reading the House of Night series, and thought this would be a good break from the Young Adult fantasy genre that I seem to be obsessed with as of late. I prejudged the book by it's dark cover and anticipated reading some sort of crime or mystery novel; what I ended up reading was so much better than I had predicted. 

I was instantly drawn in by the description of the dirty, backwoods setting the author created. She described a place that not many people would willingly live in, a place without any of the most basic  modern comforts (which we now think of as necessities) such as electricity and running water. Somewhere that no one who had once lived within modern society would ever dream of raising their children. Yet, there you are, reading about this shabby place and the two young girls who call it home. The idea of it is heartbreaking, but the story, while sad is not one of complete despair.

The characters were portrayed as normal, friendly people and there really isn't any character that I could say I didn't feel anything for. The main character, Carey, is a strong fifteen year old girl who has already suffered through more than most people go through in an entire life time and yet she's still positive and still trying to improve the lives of herself and her sister, who she cares for like a mother would. She never got to experience a normal childhood and is so loving and protective of her younger sister that you can't help but to admire her spirit.

The story, while starting off quite dark, very quickly took on a tone of enlightenment and prosperity and the journey that the reader gets to watch the characters go on is so heartening and inspiring to read. The author really displays how resilient children can be, even when faced with an absent drug addicted mother and a father they never knew who is trying to help assimilate them into a new kind of life. 

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


Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Haven Review (Relentless #5)

Haven (A Relentless Novel)
By: Karen Lynch

Things are going well for Roland Greene. High school is behind him, he has a sweet new ride, a good job, and he’s making plans for his future. At eighteen, he’s one of the strongest werewolves in his pack, and he already has more vampire kills than most wolves have in a lifetime. Life is good. Almost.


It’s time for the annual pack gathering. Wolves from all over Maine come to take care of pack business and socialize – and to find mates. Everywhere Roland turns there are unmated females, and as the Alpha’s nephew, he’s prime mate material. The last thing he wants right now is a mate, and he’ll do all he can to stay a free wolf.




This story takes place after the Relentless trilogy, and details Roland's life in the pack. I had been hoping for a more detailed view of Roland and his pack in the original books and was so happy to see that the author gave Roland his own book. His character was always a strong ally and friend to Sara and it was so rewarding to read his experience after all of the events that took place in Relentless. 

It was doubly rewarding to also get to see a more intimate look at Emma, the girl that Sara saved from a life of living as a vampire and how she grew and matured into her own person again after being controlled by her sire for so long. 

Of course when the stories of Emma and Roland start to intertwine you can't help but hope that something more happens between them, regardless of Roland's absolute opposition to being mated. We get to see a side of Roland that the author had left us wanting to see in the original story, but in such depth that you can't help but wonder why the heck Sara never dated him when they were growing up together. From everything the author details about his character he is strong, caring, reliable and passionate. Seriously, my crush on him may be getting a little ridiculous, but what girl could blame me? 

This book was far more short on dangerous conflict than the original series had been, but had all the compelling markers of the original books; strong characters, undeniable love story and the personal growth of each character in a way that satisfied the reader to no end. The author has proven herself adept at keeping the reader wanting more, and I cannot wait until the next book in the Relentless story-line comes out.

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

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Broken Love Review

Broken Love (Shattered Love Series #2) By: Stacey Marie Brown Life shattered my bones, now it wants to break my heart.  Jaymerson Hollowa...