Review for White Space (Dark Passages #1) by Isla J Bick

White Space by Ilsa J Bick

TITLE: White Space
SERIES: Dark Passages #1
AUTHOR: Ilsa J Bick
NARRATOR: Kathleen McInerney
PUBLICATION DATE: February 11, 2014 (book) / February 11, 2014 (audio)
PUBLISHER: Egmont USA (book) / Audible Studios (audio)
PAGES: 560 pages / 15 hours 51 minutes
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss / Purchased
RATING: 2 bows

Summary from GoodReads:

In the tradition of Memento and Inception comes a thrilling and scary young adult novel about blurred reality where characters in a story find that a deadly and horrifying world exists in the space between the written lines.

Seventeen-year-old Emma Lindsay has problems: a head full of metal, no parents, a crazy artist for a guardian whom a stroke has turned into a vegetable, and all those times when she blinks away, dropping into other lives so ghostly and surreal it’s as if the story of her life bleeds into theirs. But one thing Emma has never doubted is that she’s real.

Then she writes “White Space,” a story about these kids stranded in a spooky house during a blizzard.

Unfortunately, “White Space” turns out to be a dead ringer for part of an unfinished novel by a long-dead writer. The manuscript, which she’s never seen, is a loopy Matrix meets Inkheart story in which characters fall out of different books and jump off the page. Thing is, when Emma blinks, she might be doing the same and, before long, she’s dropped into the very story she thought she’d written. Trapped in a weird, snow-choked valley, Emma meets other kids with dark secrets and strange abilities: Eric, Casey, Bode, Rima, and a very special little girl, Lizzie. What they discover is that they–and Emma–may be nothing more than characters written into being from an alternative universe for a very specific purpose.

Now what they must uncover is why they’ve been brought to this place–a world between the lines where parallel realities are created and destroyed and nightmares are written–before someone pens their end.

Okay, I know I never rarely ever just pull a summary straight from GoodReads. I cannot summarize this novel. I cannot do it. There is too much that goes on between it’s plethora of pages to pick just a few parts to give you. The GoodReads description is pretty adequate anyway. Also, WARNING! WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!

So, character-wise, I’m not sure what to say. I liked all of them, but I wasn’t head over heels for anyone. Plus, they start killing them off pretty early on, so I didn’t want to get overly attached to anyone who bites the dust. Hint, that’s everyone but Emma. They all die. They all die bloody, gory, terrible deaths. This, obviously, irked me. I like my characters to ride off into the sunset happily ever after style and that is NOT what happened here. Each character brings their own set of qualities and skills to the table, allowing the ever-shrinking group to survive as long as they do, but it’s not enough in the end. So, you know, don’t get attached.

My main problem with this was it took too long to explain itself. It keeps talking about nows and bookworlds and panops (I don’t know the proper spelling, I listened to the entire thing on audio) and even halfway through the book, you still aren’t sure what it all means. You don’t get an explanation until the last quarter of the book and even then, I’m still not sure. What I do know for sure is that there had to be a better way to do that. I don’t know what because I a shitty story teller, but there had to be a better alternative.

I also think this is a case of reading the wrong genre. I’m not really a horror fan. I like some gore in movies and shows, but it doesn’t come across well for me in writing. That coupled with the tendency to murder all the characters and you can see why this would not be the novel for me. I honestly think I only downloaded it because I was still in the early stages of reviewing and wanted to read anything and everything I could for review. This gem was up for immediate download, no annoying wait for approval or denial. Just click here and it’s yours! I don’t know if I even read the summary. I should have.

I really think that if you like gore and death and mystery, this novel is one you’ll enjoy. But it wasn’t for me! It also ends on a mind-breaking cliffhanger, but I can’t say I’ll be picking up book 2!

Audio Notes:
Despite the fact that I didn’t enjoy this novel overall, I loved the narrator! Kathleen does an amazing job, creating voices and characters and sound effects. She even does fantastic accents and I was enthralled despite my less than enthused reaction to the story and the plot. I honestly don’t think I would have finished this had I been reading a physical book, but Kathleen is awesome. I will definitely be checking out more of her work in the future!

****Thank you to Egmont USA for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

2 bows
Tabitha's signature

Review for A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

TITLE: A Wicked Thing
SERIES: ? at the time of this writing there is no announced series nor a mention of one on GoodReads, but if not, than this thing was pointless
AUTHOR: Rhiannon Thomas
PUBLICATION DATE: February 24, 2015
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen
PAGES: 352 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss
RATING: 2 bows

Princess Aurora pricker her finger on a spindle many years ago and fell into a death like sleep. Now, Prince Rodric has kissed her awake and she is utterly confused. Everyone she ever knew is dead and her kingdom is in the middle of a rebellion. She does not know this Rodric nor does she understand why she is expected to marry him. As their wedding day draws nearer, this sleeping beauty must decide whether she wants to carry on with the life everyone has laid out for her or if she wants to break the mold and fight for what she believes.

I was very ambivalent about Aurora. At first, I really sympathized with her. This poor girl has basically been in a coma for decades and everyone she ever spoke to is now dead and gone. Her parents, her friends, her servants, even any pets are long gone and she struggles to maintain a happy face for the kind prince who awoke her. She was pretty annoying though. On one hand, she wants to help her kingdom because it’s obvious that things have changed since she fell asleep. But she doesn’t DO anything. Instead, she just sneaks around with a guy and doesn’t really give Rodric a chance.

Rodric is someone I kinda liked. He’s just trying to make the best out of his situation and do what he thinks is right. Sure, he’s a little slow and might not really be doing what’s best for his future kingdom, but he believes it is and therefore trudges on. The other two points in the love square are Tristan and Finnegan. Tristan was obviously up to more than just hitting on a pretty girl in a tavern from page one. He clearly has his own agenda, even if Aurora is too dumb to see that. I don’t know what Finnegan’s angle is. He’s the charming and flirting prince of another realm and I liked him a lot…except that I felt like he was hiding something as well. The only prince that seemed utterly sincere was Rodric and we all know she is not going to end up with him. If she did, this would be a new spin on a classic fairy tale. I think she’ll end up with Finnegan in the end, but we’ll see.

I am know officially finished with fantasy fairy tale sounding novels for a while. I’ll stick to contemporary. First it was Stray and now this. Both promised fairy tale epic-ness and both failed miserably and I’m just done for a while. Because this sounded so amazing! Sleepy Beauty wakes up and has a realistic response to her sleeping fit? Awesome! Prince Phillip Rodric might not be the one for her. Cool. I was totally ready for a action-packed fairy tale with the required happily after and that’s not what I got. This novel is very slow, with little action. The first half is basically Aurora thinking about the changes and sneaking out to meet Tristan and learning that the king is a world class dick. There is just a bit of action in the second half, but basically, it’s all Aurora whining. Don’t get me wrong, her plight is understandable, but damn women, do something about it. I realize your reach is limited and there isn’t really a perfect option for you, but do something, anything!

Then, we get all this story and stuff building and building and building….and then it’s over. It’s done. No more story. No wrap up, no real conclusion, and certainly no happily ever after. I’m sorry, I was under the impression that this was a stand-along Sleeping Beauty retelling. Riding off into the sunset with the Prince Charming of your choice is a must for fairy tales. And you failed to provide that for me. Even now, a month before the release, there is still no word on whether there will be a sequel, if it is will just end this way. If that is the case, then it was pointless. Nothing was resolved. Nothing was fixed. This felt like middle book syndrome, but it’s book one. That doesn’t bode well if it is a series.

In the end, I was wholly disappointed in this novel. It was rather boring at times and downright irritating at others. If you are looking for an epic Sleeping Beauty retelling, this is not it. It gets two stars instead of one simply because I was liked Finnegan and his flirty self. No reason beyond that. The writing is decent, but not great. The plot was slow and dull. The characters (besides Finnegan) were boring. Oh, and be aware that a character dies. Yeah, that didn’t make me happy. So…you know…I am unhappy with this book and will not be recommending it to anyone or reading the possible sequel. That’s a massive pile of nope for me.

****Thank you to Harper Teen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

2 bows
Tabitha's signature

Review for Shattered Ties (Ties #1) by K A Robinson

Shattered Ties by K A Robinson

TITLE: Shattered Ties
SERIES: Ties #1
AUTHOR: K A Robinson
NARRATOR: Kirsten Leigh
PUBLICATION DATE: November 27, 2013 (book) / December 2, 2014 (audio)
PUBLISHER: K.A. Robinson Publishing LLC (book) / K.A. Robinson Publishing LLC (audio)
PAGES: 231 pages / 7 hours & 6 minutes
FORMAT: Audiobook
SOURCE: Review copy via Audible
RATING: 2 bows


Emma Preston has always had the best life could offer. Her mom is a former supermodel and her dad is a rock star and she has never wanted for anything money could buy. But that doesn’t mean her life is perfect. Her dad is always off touring with his band and her mother cares more about becoming the biggest socialite than she does about being a parent. Jesse is Emma’s opposite in every way. He has lived his entire life in a trailer park with a single mother and works part time after school at a tattoo parlor to help make ends meet. He gets a scholarship to the snooty rich kids school and his mom forces him to go. Suddenly his world and Emma’s world collide and things will never be the same for either of them. Emma knows that her mother would never accept Jesse in their lives and Jesse knows that he has no place with Emma, but they can’t seem to fight their attraction to each other. Can they find a way to make it work or is their relationship doomed to fail before it even starts?

Emma is a character that I liked in the beginning. I’m not normally one to sympathize with the poor little rich girl plight. Sorry, I spent too much of my childhood worrying how my parents would make sure the bills got paid to believe that money can’t truly buy happiness. But Emma quickly won me over with her sweet disposition and the way she treated Jesse. Despite her upbringing, she isn’t snotty or uppity or of that I’m better than you because I have money attitude. She actually seems relatively normal. She doesn’t flaunt her money. In fact, we don’t see her spent any throughout the entire novel. There is nary a shopping trip to be found. I become slightly irritated with her as we get deeper into the novel. She seems a bit naive, which is probably to be expected in a household with that much money, but it was irritating none the less. There is a scene towards the end where she is talking about moving out from her mother’s house after she turns 18 and flat out expecting her father to pay rent for a place for her to live. Basically, I was jealous. Insanely jealous. I want that life. The one where bills aren’t a worry. The one where you know if you fail at life, Mommy and Daddy can easily pick up the pieces and pay your debts. She was also a bit…quick? Emotionally, she does everything quickly. She’s quick to fall for Jesse. The minute Jesse suggests a tattoo, she instantly wants it (and then they go do it). She puts no real thought into the consequences of those actions. The tattoo especially bugged me. You are going to let this boy you’ve only known for a few weeks put a permanent mark on your skin? He’s not even legally authorized to do that. If he fucks you, well sucks to be you! They literally discuss the idea of a tattoo and then immediately leave to go do it.

As for Jesse, well, I’m still not sure how I feel about him. On one hand, his situation is much easier for me to relate to. Though I didn’t come from a single mother household, I know the trailer park life. I lived in a trailer park until right before I turned 18, so I see through his eyes pretty clearly. But the boy was cocky and it bugged me. He was too sure of himself for a 17 year old. Really, both characters felt a bit older. If there weren’t multiple scenes in a high school, I would never have realize that this was about teenagers. Well, except the uber immature moments. Like when Jesse’s mom falls in love and wants to move away with him and Jesse flat out refuses to acknowledge that she might just feel the same way about her beau that he feels about Emma. That’s not possible, right? Or maybe his refusal to even treat the guy with an ounce of respect. He’s whole attitude felt a bit off.

Then there was Ally, Jesse’s friend and the sister to Alan. She was the point in the semi love triangle. It’s apparent from minute one that the reason she hates Emma is because she wants Jesse for herself. There is no other reason for her to possible hate Emma so much so quickly. Besides, the sister falling for her brother’s best friend is the oldest story in the book. Of course she has a thing for him. But idiot Jesse has no idea. And no one feels the need to clue him in. Not Emma once she figures it out, not Alan who has to fucking know that his sister is crushing on his best friend, and definitely not Ally herself. But Ally creates that triangle that we all know I hate so much. From the synopsis of book 2, the triangle is worse there.

Starting off, I was hooked on this pretty quickly. I’m a sucker for contemporary romances lately, regardless of what genre they adhere to. Romance, young adult, new adult, erotica, I’ll read it all. I’ll devour it so quickly that even I’m a little shocked when it’s over. Rich girl meets poor boy and romance ensues? GIMME! This will be perfect. BUT, it wasn’t. The closer I got to the end, the more I knew it wasn’t going to end well. There wasn’t enough time to wrap this up in a positive way. Oh boy, was I right on the money there. This does not end well. This ends pretty terribly. Had it ended better, it probably would have gotten 3 stars instead of 2. But it does not. At the end, Jesse and Emma are broken up and Jesse is moving away with his mother. All because they fought it then Ally made it look like he slept with her. To top that off, Jesse loses Alan as a friend because Ally runs home and tells him they slept together and then he kicked her out. That tells you what kind of friend Alan is pretty quickly, if he won’t even hear Jesse out.

My other comment is that this was written pretty graphically for a young adult novel. It was probably the most explicit YA I’ve ever read. DI like smut as much as the next girl, but I feel a bit weird listening to it about teenagers. It’s not really a bad thing, just very unexpected. Especially when I’m listening to parts of it with my husband when the naughty bits start. That was kinda funny. He ran from the room and kept screaming so he couldn’t hear anything. He said reading it was one thing, but listening to someone read it to you was just too weird.

Even though this ended terribly, I’m not sure I want to read the next one. The summary makes it seem like there is a lot more love triangle drama ahead and I don’t know if I want to subject myself to that when I’m not swoony over Jesse as I assume I was supposed to. He just seems like a weird juxtaposition of mature and immature and I can’t say I’m a huge fan of him. Emma can’t hold the story up on her own, so I’m undecided if I’ll give the next book a try yet or not. Time will tell!

Audio notes:
This was my first Kirsten Leigh and I’m not unhappy with her performance. She actually does a pretty awesome job narrating the two separate points of view. Her Jesse voice is noticeably different than her Emma voice. She even does special accents for the parent characters, adding a slight southern twang to Jesse’s mom and a more extreme accent for Emma’s mom. She reads at a nice pace, giving you just the right amount of time to absorb her words before moving on. She enunciates pretty clearly as well. Trust me, there is nothing worse than a narrator who doesn’t enunciate properly and you don’t understand them. Or better yet, the ones who completely mispronounce words.
Dean eye roll gif
You’d think that they would know how to properly pronounce the words since it is part of their job, but it isn’t always the case. There is none of that here though! Kirsten does an excellent job and I will definitely make sure to check out some of her other work.

****Thank you to Esther Bochner at Audible for providing me with an audio copy in exchange for an honest review****

2 bows
Tabitha's signature

Review for Before We Fall (Beautifully Broken #3) by Courtney Cole

Before We Fall by Courtney Cole

TITLE: Before We Fall
SERIES: Beautifully Broken #3
AUTHOR: Courtney Cole
NARRATOR: Shannon Gunn & Bunny Warren
PUBLICATION DATE: December 3, 2013 (book) / November 4, 2014 (audio)
PUBLISHER: Forever (Grand Central Publishing) (book) / Hachette Audio (audio)
PAGES: 336 pages / 11 hours & 50 minutes
FORMAT: eARC / Audiobook
SOURCE: Publisher via NetGalley / Purchased from Audible
RATING: 2 bows

Dominic Kinkaide is a world famous actor. He’s very good and it’s mostly due to the fact that he likes to bury himself in his roles. A tragic accident in high school has haunted him for his entire adult life and acting helps him forget. Acting and fulfilling his dark fantasies. Jacey Vincent is just trying to make it by until she can finish her business degree. After that, she’ll be home free, but until then, she’s stuck working as a waitress for a catering company in a skimpy outfit. That is until she and Dominic are thrown together for a possession charge even though both claim the weed wasn’t theirs. Regardless of their guilt, they are both stuck with community service hours at Joe’s. The two hate each other and then respect each other and then something more. But can Dom escape his demons enough to make things work with Jacey or is his life as doomed as he believes?

I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way now. SPOILERS AHEAD. I REPEAT, THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. I’ve been trying to do spoiler free reviews, but I can’t do that with books that severely irritate me and, sadly, this book did just that. So, knowing that there are SPOILERS AHEAD, you may proceed.

Dominic was a character that didn’t annoy me instantly, but the more I learned, the more I disliked him. To be fair, I’m not a huge fan of the Alpha Male character. He’s a dick and his logic over why he won’t fornicate is stupid. I just wanted to shake him. Then, we finally learn about his past and what happened with Emma and I wanted to fucking shot him.
Lizzie McGuire angry gif
I get the undeniable rage that comes with the knowledge that you’re girlfriend and best friend got drunk and got it on. That’s fine and they both deserve to be shunned for such behavior. That reaction I was fine with. The next one, not so much. Emma realizes that she is pregnant as a result of that night and Dom flips shit and demands an abortion. The first issue I have with that is a very controversial one. I don’t believe in abortions. The whole right to choose thing is bullshit. You had a choice, to have sex or not. Period. You chose to have sex, knowing that no method of birth control is 100% effective. That was your choice. Now that is done and a human being is growing within you. I know there are extenuating circumstances sometimes and that’s fine, but that is how I feel regardless. Even with that, you are so sure that there is no possibility this child is yours? Condoms are not 100%. That baby could very well be yours and you are demanding it be murdered. I would have been sympathetic towards him due to his situation, but that it is too much. You were right, jackass, you are partly to blame for Emma’s suicide. There is a good possibility that she would have done it anyway because she couldn’t live with her mistake, but we’ll never know.

I wasn’t anymore in love with Jacey. She’s better than Dom, but not so much so that I can see her as a role model for him to emulate. Then there was the whole Brand thing. It’s obvious he’s in love with her and she knows it, but she just doesn’t feel that way about him.
Alantis: The Lost Empire eye roll gif
That’s all I really need for her, one massive eye roll gif. Everything she does gets that reaction from me. Her comments on her job and how she needs it.
Big Macintosh eye roll gif
Her knowledge that there is more to Dom and her need to “help” him.
Lily Allen eye roll gif
Every single thing about her just rubbed me the wrong way.

Brand is probably the only character I liked out of the whole novel. He was nice and normal and went out of his way to help Jacey. She doesn’t really deserve it, but he’s dedication is admirable all the same. I generally like the nice guys who never win. I want them to win, even if I like the asshole or two on occasion.

This has a love triangle and characters I hate. I’ll have to emphasis again how important characters are to me. If I don’t like them, the probability of me enjoying the novel are slim. And these characters were not for me. It just wasn’t the novel for me. I do, however, plan to read the others in this series. This series is about Jacey’s family/friends and the next novel is about Brand, so I’m all for that! I am really disappointed in this. I really enjoyed Cole’s Dante’s Girl and had high hopes for getting to read this, but, as I keep saying, it just wasn’t for me. Dominic’s character irritated the fuck out of me and there was no getting around that.

I really enjoyed Shannon’s voice, but Bunny irked me. This is probably because of the source material as I know a narrator can only work with what they are given, but still, she bugged me. They had good pacing, though, and brought me through the story well enough. I’m not overly talented at commenting on audio yet, but I’m working on it! Shannon did a decent job of differentiating between characters, but Bunny didn’t. It’s obvious she tries, but I still had a difficult time determining who was talking.

****Thank you to Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****

2 bows
Tabitha's signature

Review for Eyes Ever To The Sky (The Sky Trilogy #1) by Katie French

Eyes Ever To The Sky by Katie French

TITLE: Eyes Ever To The Sky
SERIES: The Sky Trilogy #1
AUTHOR: Katie French
PUBLISHER: Katie French Books
PAGES: 198 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via NetGalley
RATING: 2 bows

Hugh wakes up in the middle of a crater in a park completely naked. He has no memory. The only thing he knows for certain is that he’s name is Hugh. The longer he wanders around, the more he realizes that there is something off about him. He is stronger than he should be and heals incredibly fast. He crosses paths with 15 year old Cece and things really get interesting. He’s instincts tell him to trust no one, but she’s so kind and caring that he wants to let her help him. Cece has enough on her plate without an amnesiac homeless teenage boy following her around, but she can’t help the desire to aide him. How can you not want to help a boy who is literally sleeping in a dumpster and scavenging for food? Add to these twos needs, there is also a murderer on the loose, ripping peoples throats out. Can they help each other and find the killer? Or will Cece be the next victim?

That was kinda a crappy description, huh? I’m sorry about that, I just couldn’t find a good way to tie it altogether that doesn’t give everything away. This was another one of those novels that I requested right when I started reviewing books because it had an interesting cover and it sounded interesting enough. Now my screening process is much stricter. I read the entire description several times, I check Goodreads to see if anyone I follow has read/rated/reviewed it so I have something to go off. I really think and consider what I’m downloaded. In the beginning, though, that is never the case. I think every reviewer can tell you that in the beginning they downloaded nearly anything they could. You, person I don’t know, are going to give me access to a book free of charge? All I have to do is leave a review?
Grabby hands gif
As long as it sounded mildly good and was in a category I read (ie YA or NA or historical romance), I was all for it. I’m paying for that now because I’m making a point to read through all of them, in that better late than never spirit and get reviews up for them. What sucks is having to write negative reviews. I realize that negative ones help just as much as positive ones, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel bad about shooting down some indie authors baby. Speaking of….

Cece was a character that was fine, if somewhat annoying. I feel like her story was so cliched. Teen girl with only one parent with is so affected by a mental illness that she can’t bring herself to provide so said teen girl must support them. I think that is part of what irritates me. I don’t understand anyone who has a mental illness that doesn’t want help. My husband actually is bi-polar, like Cece’s mom, and there wasn’t a day when he wasn’t on medication that he didn’t want help. That whole “the side effects aren’t worth it” argument just angers me more. There are hundreds of different pills! There are many different choices and options and tons of generic versions for each of them! I know the first set you try isn’t going to be a magic set. But you keep fucking trying. Period. I don’t understand or sympathize with anyone with a different view than that. Especially someone with a child! LADY! Get off your ass and take care of your kid! Go to a free clinic and get yourself an appointment and work something out. Make it happen! So…maybe it wasn’t Cece who irritated me. But she kinda did too because she was so trusting of Hugh. I mean, the audience knows he didn’t kill those people, but she has no real proof of that besides the fact that he seems kind. You do realize that sociopaths are usually very charming, right?

Hugh wasn’t really any better. I actually am trying to think about how to describe him and I can’t. He’s a non-person. He is personality-less. He is scared because he doesn’t know who he is or where he’s from or anything and then he becomes fiercely protective of Cece (oh yes, the dreaded insta-love).

As far as writing, it was written well, but it was a little boring. It was slow and all over the place. I felt like it almost had too much going on. The crazy mom, the forcing Cece into work, the Hugh-alien thing, the conflict with the aliens….just too much for this bitty 200 page novel. And then, the ending just felt forced. Cece’s family thing working out the way it did had me screaming “THAT’S NOT HOW REAL LIFE WORKS!”

In a nutshell, this novel was disappointing. The premise was intriguing, but it had no follow through. It felt very unfinished. It also is supposed to be the first book in a trilogy, but there is no word on releasing the next books. That really sucks for anyone out there who genuinely liked the novel because it ends on a cliffhanger.

****Thank you to Katie French Books for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****

2 bows
Tabitha's signature

Review for Love And Other Theories by Alexis Bass

Love & Other Theories by Alexis Bass

TITLE: Love & Other Theories
AUTHOR: Alexis Bass
PUBLICATION DATE: December 31, 2014
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen
PAGES: 384 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss
RATING: 2 bows

Aubrey Housing and her friends live by a simple code: If you want more, you give less. Don’t be clingy, don’t be needy, and whatever you do, don’t let your heart into the game (GOTCHA). So when Nathan Diggs, the new guy, catches Aubrey’s attention, she knows just how to win him over. There’s only one problem: she thinks her heart is becoming involved whether her head wants it to or not. As she steals more and more time with Nathan, she begins to wonder about the dating rules and if they really are what’s best. Can she find a way to accept this new thing with Nathan or will she let the rules ruin it?

At first, I was in love with this novel. I loved the progressive feel, the I am woman, hear me roar thing it had. These girls are smart and confident and completely right in a lot of ways. Acting clingy in high school irritates a lot of guys and the best thing to do is avoid that. The problem starts to develop, though, when you aren’t allowed to move past the “player” phase. Feelings are a real thing and they cannot always be controlled. Falling in love in high school isn’t exactly the best idea. We all know the statistics of how well that will end (or the statistics you can overcome, as I married my high school sweetheart and don’t regret decision I made that lead to that), but that doesn’t mean you can wish it away if it happens. My opinion of Aubrey fell a little every time she refused to admit what this was, every time she refused to confront her friends about the bullshit, and every time she acted like it didn’t bother her to see Nathan flirting with someone else. I’m sorry lady, but no one has “evolved” past jealousy at seeing your not-boyfriend making out with your supposed best friend. That’s not how real life works, no matter how much you wish it was.

The same can be said of almost all the characters in this novel. Her besties, Nathan, anyone else they associated with. They way they made fun of the girls who actually desired a normal relationship instead of endless hookups pissed me off a lot. They basically did the opposite of slut-shaming. Relationship-shaming. If it’s perfectly fine for a girl to sleep with whoever she pleases (and it is!) and not become attached, then it’s perfectly logical to assume that a girl may sleep with someone she is attached to and that’s fine as well. And Nathan started off better than all their bullshit, genuinely wanting a relationship with Aubrey. He is sweety and a little dorky and I wanted to love him. That love, however, went kaput the minute he started hanging out with Aubrey’s bestie, the minute he start sleeping with Aubrey’s bestie. Dude, that’s wrong. Period. I know we watch TV shows where the same six people date and split and re-couple constantly, but that’s TV LAND. That’s not real life and that shit hurts. Period.

For me, this started out as a new and different contemporary YA, showing girls can be powerful and confident and that’s all well and good, but then it digressed into a hot mess of love triangles and confusing hookups. It gets 2 stars instead of 1 solely because it was extremely readable. For the first 75% of the book, I couldn’t put it down. I had to keep reading to find out what shenanigans the girls and boys got into next. For the last quarter, all that intrigue disappeared and the ending was completely disappointing. I feel like things were resolved, but not in a manner I could really get behind. So, if you are looking for a happy ending, look elsewhere. You will not find it here.

****Thank you to Harper Teen for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review****

2 bows
Tabitha's signature

Review for Wilde’s Meadow (Darkness Falls #3) by Krystal Wade

Wilde's Meadow by Krystal Wade

TITLE: Wilde’s Meadow
SERIES: Darkness Falls #3
AUTHOR: Krystal Wade
PUBLICATION DATE: November 4, 2012
PUBLISHER: Curiosity Quills Press
PAGES: 314 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via NetGalley
RATING: 2 bows

It’s time for war. In the previous novel, Kate built an army to go to war with a god and it’s go time. Kate knows the battle will be hard and lives will be lost, but it must happen for Encardia to have light and happiness. Can she do what she was destined to or will she fail and doom her people.

I’ve been relatively nice in the reviews for the previous books in this series. None of them are bad, but they aren’t particularly good either. That ends here. I found this novel to be boring and just plain annoying. Had I not gotten an audio copy, I would have never made it threw this. I found myself listening at every possible moment not because I needed more of the story, but because I needed it to be over. I needed to be done with this and mark it off my list.

Kate is just as bad here as she is in the previous novels. I found her to be just plain annoying and I was wholly ambivalent to her situation. Had she died, I probably wouldn’t have cared. That, my friends, is saying something. We all know I hate character death. We all know that is one of my biggest pet peeves. If I can’t bring myself to care if the lead character lives or dies, we have a problem, a big fucking problem. But I didn’t care. I’m so sick of the special little snowflakes and their destinies. Plus, she’s as dense as a box of rocks. She doesn’t realize obvious things and her minor screw ups just had me rolling my eyes, instead of sympathizing with her, as I’m sure was the author’s intent.

Then we have Arland, Kate’s perfect love. That’s just what he is, perfect.
Star Trek Eye Roll gif
He is too damn perfect. He’s a goodie too shoes who always says the right thing and does the right thing and I just wanted to punch him. The man needs some flaws to bring him down to Earth and he just doesn’t have any. He’s a damned robot and I hated him.

Even though I didn’t care about most of the cast, I found the fact that almost everyone dies incredibly irritating. If you like any particular character besides Kate and Arland, don’t hold high hopes for their survival because there is a lot of death and “sacrificing.” Kate isn’t worth all this. One of my big issues with this series is that once Kate gets control of her powers, all she has to do is ask her magical god for help in fighting or protecting or healing or whatever she needs and he complies. He sends a bunch of magical sprites to help. This guys do everything from heal mortal wounds to terminate bad guys to lighting the way. Once you learn that, WHY THE FUCK DO YOU CONTINUE FIGHTING?
Doug Walker WHAT gif
Why do you do anything except that? Get in the middle of the battle, ask for help, BAM. You win. Oh? The process drains her?
Rise Of The Guardians thinking gif
Give the bitch a sandwich, let her take a nap, and then proceed to the next damn battle! I had big issues with that. That is an insta-win for the battles.

Basically this novel annoyed the hell out of me and I’m glad it’s over. I can’t say I’ll be recommending this series to anyone. The first two are mediocre and this conclusion wasn’t particularly satisfying. Maybe you’ll like it more than I did, but I doubt it.

****Thank you to Curiosity Quills Press for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****

2 bows
Tabitha's signature

Review for Frayed (Connections #4) by Kim Karr

Frayed by Kim Karr

TITLE: Frayed
SERIES: Connections #4
AUTHOR: Kim Karr
PUBLICATION DATE: September 2, 2014
PAGES: 304 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss
RATING: 2 bows


Ben Covington is sure he’ll never love again. Circumstances beyond his control took him away from her and by the time he returned, she’d moved on. He’s just living to work until Bell Wilde floats back into his life. He’s attraction to her reignites instantly. He never forgot their college fling and now he is determined to get another shot with her. Bell is determined to never give him that shot. Their history is more complicated than he knows and she can’t bear to share it with him. But the attraction is undeniable and soon she is giving in and hoping for the best. Can these two work things out? Or are they as doomed to fail as Bell believes?

I have been avoiding this review, like the plague. I have nothing positive to say and I hate that. I was over the moon when I was approved for this. Kim’s Connections series has been on my TBR shelf for a long time and I have heard great things about it. The description of this makes it clear that it is a spin-off series, leading me to believe that reading the other novels first was not a requirement. I honestly don’t know if I’m glad I didn’t read them first or not. Had I read the books in this series first, I would have been less than excited to start this novel. What reading the others books first would have told me was that this novel is about cheaters. Ben and Bell has a one night stand in college while Ben was still with this supposed love of his life. That would have had me avoiding reading the novel itself. However, due to my lack of series knowledge, all of the characters in this were overwhelming. I had a very difficult time keeping up with who was who and who was related to whom and the various other connections between characters.

My biggest problem was that these two were selfish. If Ben had loved his fiance as much as he claimed to, then he would have never cheated. Bell would have thrown herself at him and he would have nicely rejected her and case closed and this book would never had needed to be written. But he didn’t. He slept with her. Now, many years later, when he’s love is now married to Bell’s brother, everyone has managed to get over it. The cheated fiancee is even okay with the new developing relationship between these two and I just found that unbelievable. If my husband ever cheats on me, I highly doubt that even a decade later I’d be okay with it enough to wish him well on his next relationship with the cheating skank. That may just be me because I’m not the forgive and forget type, but still.

I hated these characters. I couldn’t connect with them on any level and since my number one thing is characters, that made it very difficult for me to enjoy this from the start. Beyond the fact that their relationship started as an affair, I found that I hated Bell. The whole pregnancy thing blew me away, especially considering her “efforts” to tell Ben consisted of all of 4 missed phone calls. The man impregnated you! I’m a big believer in Dad rights and he needs a choice in all of this. I cannot imagine the devastation of knowing someone had your child and gave it up for adoption without even a phone call. I get why you did it, you would have made a terrible fucking parent, but seriously, you could have sent an email in the very least. Ben’s quickness to get over the pregnancy scandal was also unbelievable to me. I’m sorry, that’s not something you get over quickly and the fact that they are pregnant again at the end. X_X You two don’t need to procreate, seriously. We don’t need more of you in the fictional world.

I’m also incredibly sick of the “pretty people” books. I have read enough novels about how insanely gorgeous she is or how dead sexy he is to last me quite a while. I like a hot guy as much as the next girl, but how about something new? How about someone who isn’t conventionally beautiful? Or someone who’s beauty isn’t an obvious thing? How about inner beauty? It’s a shocking concept, I know, but sometimes I just want these things to be a bit more real. Perfect abs and a flat tummy are great fantasies, but it makes me feel extremely inadequate. I’m sorry, I have a job and a blog and a husband and I do not have hours to slave away at the gym to find conventional beauty and the perfect weight. Mini-tirade over.

Beyond the fact that I hated the characters and the amazing pretty people issue, I had other problems. I realize that this is a digital ARC, so it’s not perfected and there may be some changes made, but in the edition I read, the whole thing felt very choppy. The writing didn’t flow well at all. They two characters jump from topic to topic with little or no transition. And Ben makes a point to continually comment on Bell’s quirkiness. Here’s a hint: if a character is quirky, let that speak for it’s self. Telling me 25 times that Bella is an oddball when she’s acting completely normal doesn’t make her quirky. And the plot was predictable. I realize that it’s a romance novel and it’s not supposed to win an award for best twist, but all the mini-twists are obvious from the start. The initial pregnancy is pretty transparent and so it the fact that she’s pregnant by the end. Before she even realizes it, I wanted to bash her in the head with my kindle for being so dense.

I can’t express how disappointed I am by this novel. I had such high expectations and they were not held up. I still want to read the other books in this series because from the reviews and comments on this book, it’s the abnormality, not the norm, but I’m definitely not as excited as I was. This novel was shallow and predictable and just fell completely flat for me. I actually didn’t want these two to end up together because I knew they’d procreate and even in the fictional world, I didn’t want that. Maybe I missed something or maybe I’m too difficult to please, but this novel was just not for me.

****Thank you to NAL Paperbacks for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

2 bows
Tabitha's signature

Review for The Brokenhearted (The Brokenhearted #1) by Amelia Kahaney

The Brokenhearted by Amelia Kahaney

TITLE: The Brokenhearted
SERIES: The Brokenhearted #1
AUTHOR: Amelia Kahaney
PUBLICATION DATE: October 8, 2013
PAGES: 336 pages
FORMAT: Hardback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 2 bows


Anthem Fleet was just a normal rich girl with a pushy boyfriend, barely there parents, and a drive to be the best prima ballerina she can be…..until she sneaks out for a party, meets a new boy who subsequently get’s kidnapped for ransom causing her to run away and fall into a lake where she is saved by a boy who takes her to a crazy doctor who gives her a chimeric heart because she’ll die otherwise. Then she goes all vigilante to save the oh so special boy and get vengeance on the people who took him in the first place.

Before I get started with the usual shenanigans that are involved in my angry reviews, I want to get something out of the way. I’m going to try something new here. Since talking with Lauren about this book and how absolutely insane it is, I have been inspired to make it a themed gif post. All the gifs used here will be taken from the Nostalgia Critic. This will happen for two reasons. The first being I’m a huge fan. The second is that this book inspired Doug Walker level rage and I feel his expressions can help me express my feelings to you. If it goes well, I may attempt to do more gif themed reviews, but we shall see. Also, instead of just giving you my thoughts, I’m going to walk you through the novel and it’s craziness. This may go horrible wrong, but I’ll never know unless I try. Now, back to the review.

We start off with Anthem whining about life. She is a replacement kid, you see. Her parents had another daughter who died and they had Anthem to replace the dead one. So we see her parents pressure her to fit into Rachel’s (the dead one) mold even though they are ssssoooo different (Hint: they really aren’t). She is supposed to attend this fancy party with her parents and meet up with her boyfriend of several years, but since he has been pressuring her to sleep with him and she doesn’t want to, she lies and tells her parents she is sick and stays home. Then she sneaks out with her friend and goes to a rave. She meets Gavin, a oh so hot, but sweet and sensitive, guy. The two talk a little and then the police break up the party so they get separated and she assumes she won’t see him again. Up until this point, I was fine. The novel was okay, but not amazing. Then we get to the next bit.

Anthem realizes that she doesn’t really want to be with Will because her night with Gavin showed her better things are possible, so she dumps him. She goes to ballet practice as normal and Gavin is waiting outside for her. Now, at the party, Anthem didn’t give him any of her info besides a fake name and the general direction of her home. The fact that he was able to find her suggests stalker tendencies because he had no logical way of knowing we she’d be. But Anthem, being the idiot that she is, is just overjoyed to see him and skips Ballet practice (something she’s never done before) to spend time with him. She ends up skipping practice all week, telling her instructor that she has an injured ankle which the instructor believes without any kind of corroboration from a doctor or her parents, to continue hanging out. Now, at the end of this single week, she follows Gavin home and gives him her virginity because she loves him so much.
Doug Walker isn't that just precious gif

That’s right, Will, the obnoxious boyfriend of years doesn’t deserve it, but guy of the one week knowledge is worth it. After they get it on, things get really interesting. Or maybe interesting isn’t the right word because there was no point in this novel where I would have had a problem sitting it down for something else. But anyway, things take an unexpected turn with thugs break in and kidnap Gavin. They tell Anthem to get them an exorbitant amount of money by Friday or they’ll kill precious Gavin. They leave and Anthem tries to run back home, but gets accosted by a hobo. Then Ford, another random guy, saves her and tells her that she needs to give him a reward for such an act.
Doug Walker Sorry gif
Thinking he is a creep, she runs off again and ends up falling off a bridge into a river that kills her. But oh so heroic Ford jumps in and saves her and takes her to his demented doctor friend who gives her a heart transplant to save her. She gets a chimeric heart and she’s all healed.
Doug Walker thinking gif
Now, when Anthem awakens, she realizes several days have passed. She runs home, against the good doctor’s recommendation, to beg her parents for the money to save Gavin. She decides they don’t need to know about her death and surgery and new heart. She begs them to save Gavin, but they refuse because they won’t negotiate with terrorists and they’ll probably just demand more money anyway.

Anthem then steals some of her mom’s jewelry to try to negotiate with them. Her family’s body guard, Serge, helps her in this endeavor, volunteering to go in and make the trade. This goes badly and Anthem swoops in the save him because her chimeric heart gives her many new abilities. She’s super fast, super strong, super healing…basically a lot of supers. Why does the chimeric heart allow her to do these things? I don’t fucking know. It’s never explained!
Doug Walker illogical gif

Anyway, after that she decides to find the baddies on her own because she doesn’t want anyone else she loves to get hurt. Meanwhile, in normal life, because she is a teenager and that means parents and school and drama, Will is black mailing her into being his girlfriend. Apparently after she dumped him he planted a camera in her room and recorded her acting like a chimeric heart freak and says if she doesn’t pretend to date him, he’ll post it online so the world can see what she really is. Instead of using her new found abilities to sneak into his home, beat him senseless, and take his computer with the files, she angrily agrees to his plan. Because she is powerless against him?
Doug Walker shrugs gif

So in real life she is going through the motions and in night life, she is using Ford to help her hunt down Gavin’s kidnappers. They find him, she goes to save him, he gets shot through the heart and dies. At which point I just freak the fuck out.
Doug Walker the hell was that gif
You make such a big deal about the instalove and how she can’t let him die and then just like that, you shoot him and it’s game over? Interesting. That wasn’t a twist I saw coming. I don’t like it, but kudos to you for shocking me. After that, Anthem goes into a short depression and then a rage filled training session with Ford to learn to fight. I personally think this is useless because she has super-human strength and super-human speed and super-human healing, so the basics are combat aren’t really necessary, but hey, it’s your life! She takes out the gang that killed Gavin one by one. When she gets to the ringleader chick, she actually kills her. The others she just gift wraps for the police, but the girl who actual shot Gavin gets to die.

Her quest is complete, so the novels over, right?
Doug Walker Dancing gif
No? Damn. Anthem, despite missing all those practices, is the lead in the ballet’s performance of Giselle. She performs and then finds a note about the boss of the gang that the kidnappers worked for is going to be at a party and she should go and handle him. And she does. Anyone wanna guess who the boss is?
Doug Walker raising hand gif
It’s Gavin! He’s not really dead! He faked his death and used Anthem to get her money!
Doug Walker HA! gif
Apparently Anthem is dumber than we thought because even though he dies in her arms, she doesn’t notice the fake blood or how it’s cold or possibly how he is still fucking breathing!
Doug Walker are you even trying gif
But yeah, they fight, he shoots Ford, who followed Anthem to save her and Gavin gets away while Anthem rushes Ford to his crazy doctor friend. Don’t worry people, he is fine. She uses her super-sleuth abilities…
Doug Walker SHHH! gif
to find Gavin and throws him off a cliff, killing him. Then she realizes that her dad is in cahoots with Gavin and his gang and book over!

Oh! And somewhere in the middle, Anthem convince’s Will’s parents that he is on drugs and needs help so they ship him off to rehab while she makes off with is damning video! YAYAY!

Doug Walker I need my fuckital gif

The problem with this besides the insta-love and love triangle (rectangle?) and the crazy plot and my annoyance (read: hatred) for the lead character, is the complete lack of world building. It is apparent that this does not take place in modern day America (or modern day anywhere). It’s obvious that it’s a dystopian world of some kind. But we never get anymore information than that.
Doug Walker remember me? gif
Just like an explanation for why a chimeric heart suddenly allows her to do so many new things, we get no explanation about this world. We get no background or history on when things changed or why or how. We get nothing to explain away the crazy people names and don’t even get me started on the names for the drugs people take.
Doug Walker see the problem? gif

What it comes down to is this novel was a big mess. It gets 2 stars instead of one because the last 50 pages or so were very intense and interesting and I like that she realizes what an idiot she was in the beginning with Gavin. This novel is billed as The Dark Knight meets Cinder and in that respect it fails hopelessly. It resembles neither work. It fails on all counts, barely keeping me motivated enough to put in the effort to finish it. And now I have to read the sequel because I requested it for review. This novel is why I’m going to stop doing that. I’m only going to request first books or books in a series I have already started to avoid having to force myself to read something I’m pretty sure I’m not going to enjoy.

So there you have it! My very first novel walk through! What did you think? Did you like the themed gifs? Did you hate them? Are you also a Nostalgia Critic fan? Inquiring minds need to know! Mostly just I need to know, but I’m sure someone else out there is curious!

2 bows
Tabitha's signature

Review for Dangerous Creatures (Dangerous Creatures #1) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

TITLE: Dangerous Creatures
SERIES: Dangerous Creatures #1
AUTHOR: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown Books For Young Readers
PAGES: 368 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via NetGalley
RATING: 2 bows

Ridley Duchannes is a bad girl, the absolute worst. A siren with enough juice to persuade anyone to do as she bids, she’s out for her own. But after losing a poker game, she’s in a world of shit and she can’t seem to get out on her own. Wesley “Link” Lincoln just wants to make it big in the big bad city. Off to New York to start a new band (or join a band) on his way to fame and success. Link, though, is a southern gentleman at heart and he also really wants to be with Ridley. Can the two love birds make it work or are they going to crash and burn in NYC?

I’ve been avoiding writing this particular review because I have only negative things to say. I hate writing negative reviews on books I got just to review. X_X I might as well get it over with, right? Ridley and Link are just the same as they have always been, but we get a few new cast members here. I honestly won’t go into details about them because I didn’t love any of them and that’s part of where this series failed as a spin-off. With Beautiful Creatures (and it sequels) I loved most of the characters and generally wanted their success and happiness. Here I was pretty ambivalent about the new people. Hell, I was even a bit ambivalent about Ridley herself. Her determination to remain a “bad” girl and the idea that it was all she was capable of doing drove me fucking nuts. She refuses to even try to be better. And we all know she is capable of more, but she is just so damn stubborn. It really made me sad because I loved Rid in Beautiful Creatures & Beautiful Darkness.

The only cast member I really loved was Link. Sweet, devoted Link. He should irritate me. He’s a pretty stereotypical southern boy, but he’s got so much charm that it just works somehow. That’s probably why I was still rooting for the Rid/Link duo, because I wanted to see him happy. But we don’t get that here. This veers straight into love triangle (square) land, with both Ridley and Link finding new love interests, but somehow still being interested in each other. It was a bit confusing because it was clear they were both moving on and then the thing at the end? WTF?

Another issue for me was this was exceedingly boring. I know I received an eARC for review, but I just couldn’t get through it. I ended up getting an audiobook copy and listening to it almost entirely that way. Even with audio, it was a struggle to get through. I didn’t care about the characters. Without a connection to them, it is hard to muster up emotions about their journey.

Then there is the villian. I won’t say who he is, but I’ll give you a hint. It’s the same one as the previous books, which was another problem for me. How many fucking times do we need to kill this guy?!? And then there is the horrid cliffhanger ending that you don’t see coming. You don’t see it coming because when it ends, the audiobook still has well over an hour of time left (which is obnoxiously filled with excepts from Kami’s & Margaret’s other books). But the thing is over and it is a cliffhanger from hell and I wanted to punch my computer when it happened.

I know I am OCD about finishing series, especially ones that I once loved, but I don’t know that I will read any more of these books. Things for me starting going downhill in Beautiful Chaos and they have just kept rolling downwards. This was no improvement. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad story, but I’ve come to expect more out of Ridley and she just doesn’t delivery. Maybe you’ll love it to bits, but it just pissed me off.

****Thank you to Little, Brown Books For Young Readers for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****

2 bows
Tabitha's signature