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

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) review

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6)
By: Sarah J. Maas

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent's mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.




I want to start this review by first admitting that Chaoll Westfall has never been a favorite character of mine. At one point I used to dread his parts entirely because I found both his personality and his story lines to be very dull. It's pretty safe to say then when I found out that this installment of Throne of Glass was entirely about Chaol I did not rush out to buy it. I knew at some point I would have to read it or else that last installment (due out this year!! Woo Hoo!!) would probably not make as much sense to me. Luckily, I was given this book as a gift from my other half (thanks, babe!) and though I may not have been excited about the amount of Chaol I was about to digest, who could ever turn up their nose at a Sarah J Maas book?? She is a brilliant writer, and I knew that no matter what I would not be disappointed at the end of the book. I was so right.

This book was about Chaol and Nesryn's journey to Antica, for Chaol to be healed from the injury he received in the Queen of Shadows book and I looked forward to exploring a new place with new characters. It's always exciting to see what the mind of Mass will create next for her readers. This time she came up with a royal family with an interesting way of selecting the next heir, a group of prominent magical healers and potential new allies in the great war that's coming. 

One thing that disappoints me about Chaol's character is that he never evolves in any way. His thought processes, actions and values always stay the same no matter how much the world around him changes and evolves, or how much he learns about the wonders of this fantasy world. He's a bit of a caveman in that respect. Don't get me wrong he is still protective, observant, caring and mindful of the people and places around him, however because he comes at every new obstacle in much the same way as the last, his story lines tend to get stale quickly as the reader already knows what to expect of this character. I had hoped that during this 664 page tomb he would grow and become slightly more unpredictable, thus making him more interesting but unfortunately that didn't happen, and as such there were quite a lot of dry parts is this novel.

The new characters that Maas brought in were all rather interesting though, my favorite being Yrene. By the end of the book I could just feel that Yrene will be playing a very big part in the war, not that I expect her to survive to see the aftermath of it. Her character is powerful in a way that we hadn't seen yet and that power, combined with her extraordinary empathy was so refreshing to read. She definitely brings a lot of character and vigor to the series and I am very excited to see what she does next and how she handles meeting Aelin for the first time. 

Actually, one thing I can definitely say about this book is that it has built up so much excitement in me for the final installment that I cannot wait for October for it to come out! I am beyond excited to see the entire rag-tag cast of characters from all of the books finally culminate into an incredibly powerful force. The war is going to be something to behold that is for sure. 

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

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Fated (Relentless #6) Review

Fated (Relentless #6)
By: Karen Lynch

Christian Kent has many labels – warrior, protector, friend, lover – but the one label he never wanted was mate. In his lifetime, the only girl he has ever loved, was the one he couldn’t have. He left her to protect her heart, but his own will always belong to her.

As a girl, the one person she believed would never hurt her broke her heart. Now a warrior, she’s loving life and living for the next adventure. She’s put the past behind her, including the man who walked out of her life.

Fate brought them together once, and it’s not done with them yet. When they are suddenly thrown together to battle a lethal new foe, sparks fly and old feelings resurface. Chris will have to work hard to heal the rift between them. But will she be able to let go of the old heartbreak and open her heart to him again? Can they come together before the threat they are facing tears them apart forever?




The anticipation I had while waiting for this book to be released (it was released yesterday!) almost killed me. I so badly wanted to stay in the Relentless world that I reread the first five books more times than I care to admit and joined a few Relentless/Karen Lynch FB groups to satisfy myself with their Fated theories and discussions. I have to say doing so may have been a misstep for me. I was so caught up in all of the 'release day' hype and every group member's excited posts about how they had gotten their books and how "amazing" it was and how they absolutely loved it. Literally, so many posts from different people about how great this book is had me thinking non-stop about how I could not wait until it was released in Canada. Unfortunately for me I had to work on release day, but I get off fairly early and finished this book the same night I began it.

I have always loved Chris's character. I love how fearlessly he teases Nikolas all through the Relentless trilogy about his bond with Sara, I love how he knows how attractive he is and flirts shamelessly with every female he comes into contact with and I love how he's always fiercely protective of people he cares about. That said, I began this book with expectations of how Chris would behave and react based on the previous novels, and was a little let down when his personality didn't shine through in this book as it had in the others. I fully understand how the bond affects/changes Mohiri males, and that Chris was fully focused on Beth throughout the book, but I felt that he had become someone completely different. He was far less playful, teasing and generally fun. I don't think he teased anyone but Beth during this book which is completely out of character for him.

I liked Beth's character. She's very much like Jordan, just less intense. It was nice to see another Mohiri female in her ass-kicking glory. She also brought with her a new dynamic to the story since she had grown up Mohiri as opposed to Sara who was new to all of it. We got a glimpse at what her upbringing was like as well as the decision's she got to make for herself and her life after she graduated from the institute. The only reservation I had in regards to her character is how emotionally weak she came across. I felt that she held a grudge against Chris for far too long taking it to unreasonable lengths at certain points. 

I think my favorite component of this book was the villain. It was so refreshing to read about someone/something new and intimidating. It was fun to watch the conflict begin relatively small and then become something so large it spanned beyond the city's reach. Karen gave us little hints throughout the book to help us piece the puzzle together before the finale, and while I had already figured out who the villain was it didn't stop my surprise when I realized that I was only partially right. I also really enjoyed reading the fight scenes between the villains and anyone who was in their way. I think my favorite, though we only got to see a glimpse of it, was the Blue Nyx scene. It also lent the Blue Nyx characters some humanity, for lack of a better word. It's always nice to see even the smallest of characters show us a little of who they are.

Of course, the bonus scene given to us by Karen was such a treat. I will be honest when I say that I was happy with the way she ended Sara and Nikolas' story. The odd peek at their life in Haven and Fated only cemented the fact that they are happy; the rest I can make up in my imagination. But to get an official update (and from Nikolas's POV!) on their well-being by the author was extremely satisfying. Again, I am good if Karen decides not to write anymore about Nikolas and Sara centrally. I am happy for them to appear in the background of other characters stories (please Karen, give us a Jordan story!!). I am content in the knowledge that Nikolas and Sara have their happily ever after. 

Again, I want to reiterate that I did like this book. I didn't love it as I did with the first ones, but I will never say that it disappointed me either. I absolutely plan on buying the hard copy version, hopefully signed to go with the rest of my set, and rereading it multiple times down the road. I just wish Chris's character had a little more flavor. 

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

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

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 ...