Sunday, September 15, 2013

Review: The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard

Thank you to NetGalley and the author for allowing me to read and review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Great start to a promising new series by Laura Howard!

Allison O'Malley is a painfully shy young woman, living with her grandparents and her mentally ill mother in a small town. She avoids most social situations, only able to come out of her shell around her cousin, Nicole. She has an all-consuming crush on Ethan, the boy she's been in love with all her life, but she is so awkward around him that she avoids him like the plague. And if that wasn't enough, her mother is practically comatose, and Allison carries the guilt of putting her mother in that state - it is well known around town that Elizabeth O'Malley was once a vibrant, social butterfly, at least, until Allison was born. So, yeah, Allison has a lot against her and I don't envy her one bit. 

The story really kicks into gear when Allison's father comes to town. Nobody knows, except Allison, that Liam has any previous involvement in her mother's life, but it doesn't take long for Allison to become embroiled in all the drama of winning back her mother's sanity. Liam introduces her to the Tuatha de Danaan, a race more commonly known as faeries. Although some of the fae can help Allison and Liam, they are also all self-absorbed, and it seems like even the "good ones" are only partially good. Allison quickly learns that none of them are to be trusted.

I've read a few books and series about fae, and this is probably my favourite, although I think a few things could be improved upon. The names of the fae are impossible to pronounce (like I'm one to talk, with a daughter named Ailis!), so the pronunciation guide at the beginning of the book would be extremely helpful. Even though I can relate to Allison and empathize with her situation, I didn't feel like she was a very dynamic or memorable character. She did show some growth throughout the novel, but as a quiet and subdued person, she was also a tad boring. I would have liked to see more humour injected throughout, even if it was just in Allison's thoughts. 

A couple of things I did notice and really liked were the cover (gorgeous!) and formatting - really liked the Celtic symbols throughout!

Monday, September 9, 2013

New Review: Where My Heart Breaks by Ivy Sinclair

Still trying to work out a design I'm happy with here, but there probably won't be all that many people reading this, so it'll be okay for the moment.


From Goodreads:

If there were a course in screwing up your life, Kate Spivey would get an A+.

Trust is in short supply for Kate at the start of the summer before her senior year of college. Her parents sentenced her to spend it under the watchful eye of her aunt at the famous Willoughby Inn. It was further proof that she was a prisoner in, and not the decision maker of, her life. Nothing she does is good enough to prove that she learned from the mistakes of her past.

Almost immediately, Kate finds that her new summer home holds another person who understands the unfairness of her situation better than most. Reed Black has had his own share of tragedy and regrets, but instead of trying to fight his reputation, he embraced it.

Sparks fly between Kate and Reed, but his mixed signals remind Kate that she needs to watch her step. He is one temptation she can't afford to indulge in, no matter how strong her attraction to him. If she isn't careful, she'll lose more than her heart.

And my review:

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read an ARC of Where My Heart Breaks before its release.

I finished quite a while ago, but here's a quick synopsis: it's your typical NA set-up, with damaged girl meeting damaged guy, falling quickly into lust, but it's never going to work out because they're both so damaged, blah blah, and blah. But, here's the twist: it's not so typical after all, because the characters are so beautifully drawn and the plot is perfectly paced. What more could a reader want? Oh yeah, a great setting! 

Well, let's start there, then. Kate Spivey has been exiled to work the summer at her aunt's hotel, the Willoughby Inn. There is a bit of mystery surrounding this spot, as the author of a famous novel stayed there while writing it. In this novel, there is mention of certain buildings and outdoor venues that can still be viewed and enjoyed today. Kate, at first, is a little bit intrigued about all this, but because she hasn't read the book, she really doesn't know what all the fuss is about.

Enter Reed Black. When he first meets Kate on the side of the road, sparks fly, but there's more to this picture perfect man than meets the eye. Not only is he buff and handy, he's smart, too. But... he's got a reputation. And everybody, from Kate's aunt to the bartender of the only watering hole in town, makes sure Kate knows that Reed is off limits. When Reed offers to show Kate around the town, as "just friends", Kate figures she's safe - although maybe she doesn't want to be!

Kate is a multi-dimensional character, too. She has messed up big-time, and she needs to work her butt off at the Willoughby or else her parents will not fund her last year of college. Dang! And her aunt does not make it easy - picture Cinderella's stepmother, but with trousers! But Kate's feisty, and a little bit sassy, and she's determined to make the best out of a crappy situation. 

That's just the two main players in a nutshell. I could go on for a while about the supporting characters, but how 'bout you just read this book for yourself? If you're looking for something in the New Adult genre, but are sick of reading the same ol' recycled characters and plot, try 
Where My Heart Breaks. I think you'll like it as much as I did!