Review: Nemesis by Brendan Reichs

Nemesis (Project Nemesis, #1)Nemesis by Brendan Reichs

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I’m really struggling to write a review of Nemesis. Firstly because I really can’t decide what I think about it and secondly because it’s really difficult to talk about Nemesis without spoilers.

So what did I like? The premise is great, every other year on her birthday Min (Melinda) is brutally murdered by a man in a suit wearing sunglasses. However Min doesn’t stay dead but wakes up in the woods with no memory of how she got there and no evidence that the killing took place. Meanwhile, Noah (who coincidentally shares a birthday with Min) is having terrifying nightmares about violent murders and death.

After her latest death on her sixteenth birthday, Min decides she wants answers. Noah wants a cure. At the same time the residents of the small town in Idaho where she lives are all on edge waiting on an announcement about whether a planet killing asteroid is on a collision course with earth.

It’s definitely unlike anything I’ve ever read before and I have to salute the author for creating a completely unique and slightly crazy (in a good way) story. At times I did think maybe there was a little bit too much thrown in but I loved the unpredictability of it and found it very difficult to stop reading as I tried to figure out what was going on.

The story is told from both Min and Noah’s points of view and while Min was likeable enough it was Noah I found the more interesting, complex and frustrating of the two. Despite coming from money and hanging with the popular crowd he suffers from anxiety and is riddled with self doubt. While it is frustrating watching him hesitate, let others make decisions for him and generally just panic and freeze up it’s great to have a character behave the way I probably would if I’m being honest.

The secondary characters are a little bit cliched but they too don’t always behave the way you expect them to. It’s set in a high school so you do have the class clown, the bullying jocks, the rich popular mean girls and the various groups of outcasts. There are actually a heck of a lot of secondary characters and again I think that was one of my issues with this book. I am not great with remembering who’s who and there were so many names that I gave up trying and focused on the most important ones.

The writing is ok. The plot does get a little complicated in places and I found myself going over certain bits more than once. What I thought really let it down however, and the reason I rated as I have is that I just didn’t feel it. I was intrigued about what would happen next and the twists and surprises kept me hooked but I didn’t connect with any of the characters so felt a little bit detached from the whole thing. There were a few scenes that should have triggered some kind of emotion (tears, laughter, shock) but the whole thing left me cold.

I would still recommend you give it a try but at the moment I’m undecided about whether I’ll continue to read this series.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. As always all views are my own.

ARC Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus

One Of Us Is LyingOne Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller

Publication Date: 1st June 2017

Completely addictive and enjoyable read. I couldn’t resist reading almost straight away and once I started I couldn’t put it down.

Before I write anything else I should say that I’m a huge big massive fan of The Breakfast Club, it’s one of my all time favourite films. When I read the blurb for this my mind instantly thought “YES!!!!” it’s the Breakfast Club with a bit of murder mystery thrown in…. and it kind of is.

It begins with five teenagers, Addy, Nate, Bronwyn, Cooper and Simon ending up in detention together. Bronwyn is the nerdy one who gets good grades and never does anything wrong, Nate is the bad boy with a reputation for dealing drugs and the troubled home life, Cooper is the jock and Addy is the superficial popular girl. While they couldn’t be more different they all know where they fit in the school hierarchy and have their own friends, all except Simon. Simon’s the outsider who runs the school gossip app and knows everyone’s secrets. He’s more feared than popular. By the end of detention though, Simon’s dead and Addy, Nate, Bronwyn and Cooper are the main suspects.

I liked this story a lot. It has all of the elements of The Breakfast Club that I loved, the kids from different worlds and backgrounds being forced together and initially clashing before discovering that they might have more in common than they thought, but it brings it right up to date. Added to that it has a great murder mystery that keeps you guessing.

I have to admit I had an idea from the beginning who was behind it all but it was still a really enjoyable read that had enough twists and turns to keep me questioning my theory and turning those pages.

The characters are a little stereotyped but this is a deliberate part of the plot and I still found myself liking them a lot, particularly as they develop over the course of the story. Even those I wasn’t too sure about kind of grew on me by the end.

The narrative is told in alternating chapters from each of the four and it really gives you a great sense of them. I’m not always a fan of multiple pov’s but it works very well here although when you know each characters thoughts it does give an indication of who did what (or does it??).

The writing is excellent and for a debut novel it’s pretty impressive. The pacing is spot on and I loved the dialogue between the characters. The author also manages to sneak in some difficult teen issues but does it in a very natural way that gives positive messages in a non preachy way which is always good.

Overall, it’s a great story that I’d recommend and I’ll be looking forward to the authors next book.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. As always all views are my own. One of Us is Lying is due for publication on the 1st June.

OK I can’t resist a Breakfast Club gif

ARC Review: Legion by Julie Kagawa

Legion (Talon, #4)Legion by Julie Kagawa

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Phew, I made it to the end. Kagawa is truly the master of the epic, edge of your seat finale. The ending of the previous book Soldier just about broke me and I thought this one might actually finish me off. She’s definitely not one of those authors who shies away from killing off her characters, something I both love and hate.

As this is the fourth book in the series and the previous book had such a big finish it’s almost impossible to write a review without spoilers so I’ll need to keep this short. The writing is as always excellent and there is plenty of action throughout as well as some real character development. Ember is really growing up and taking control rather than letting her impulses run wild.

This time the story focuses a lot more on Dante and we learn a lot more about his background and relationship with sister Ember. He’s one of the most interesting and complex characters in the book so I really enjoyed getting to know him better and gaining a more deeper understanding of his character and why he does what he does. I enjoyed the flashbacks to their childhood so much that I kind of wish there had been more of them but there was so much going on in the story that there probably wasn’t time.

The other characters from the previous books are more or less all present and correct and there is plenty of the banter between them that makes this such an enjoyable series. Jade, the eastern Dragon has a much bigger role to play (something I loved) but unfortunately Wes was pushed a little to the sidelines (something I didn’t love).

I will admit that I didn’t quite enjoy the story as much as in the previous book (there was a certain storyline that I’m just not buying) but I get the feeling that it’s building to the fifth and final installment which I think will be truly epic. I both can’t wait and am terrified to read it.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC. As always all views are my own.


Blurb (from GoodReads) –

*Contains spoilers for previous books in the series*

The legions are about to be unleashed, and no human, rogue dragon or former dragon slayer can stand against the coming horde. Book 4 of 5 in The Talon Saga from New York Times bestselling author Julie Kagawa.

Dragon hatchling Ember Hill was never prepared to find love at all–dragons do not suffer human emotions–let alone the love of a human and a former dragonslayer, at that. With ex-soldier Garret dying at her feet after sacrificing his freedom and his life to expose the deepest of betrayals, Ember knows only that nothing she was taught by dragon organization Talon is true. About humans, about rogue dragons, about herself and what she’s capable of doing and feeling.

In the face of great loss, Ember vows to stand with rogue dragon Riley against the dragon-slaying Order of St. George and her own twin brother Dante–the heir apparent to all of Talon, and the boy who will soon unleash the greatest threat and terror dragonkind has ever known.

Talon is poised to take over the world, and the abominations they have created will soon take to the skies, darkening the world with the promise of blood and death to those who refuse to yield.

Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White

And I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga, #1)And I Darken by Kiersten White

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

When I originally read the blurb for this I immediately thought “must read”. Seriously, gender switching Vlad the Impaler story, how could I resist….and then I saw some of the reviews which weren’t exactly glowing and it gave me pause. Thankfully I trusted my initial instincts and I’m so glad I did as this book is absolutely brilliant.

It’s packed full of action, political maneuvering and intrigue and has some incredible world building and a strong female main character. I can’t wait for the rest of the series.

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Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

The Upside of UnrequitedThe Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Smart, funny, sweet and emotional. I loved this book even more than Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

It’s incredibly well written, with a diverse and likeable cast of characters and an incredibly cute romance.


Synopsis (from GoodReads)

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.


Thoughts

OK confession time, I didn’t love Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I wanted to, had really high hopes for it but while I did enjoy it there was that little something missing for me.

This book however, this book I did love. I don’t know if it was just that I went into it with slightly lower expectations (my expectations were through the roof for Simon vs) or if I could just relate more to Molly but I thought it was so much better.

Albertalli’s writing is absolutely wonderful. She manages to capture the voice and feeling of being a teenager so well that it took me right back to my teenage years. There isn’t a huge story, it’s pretty much your usual coming of age/YA romance but main character Molly is so likeable it’s difficult not to get hooked in.

Molly was definitely a character I could relate to. She’s smart, creative and close to her family and friends but is self conscious, anxious and quiet when it comes to meeting new people and boys in particular. She develops crushes at the drop of a hat but is too scared to act and therefore ends up worshiping the boy of the moment from afar.

I loved how her character developed over the course of the story and in particular the very real way in which the author portrayed the changing relationship with her twin sister. In many ways the romance within the book was almost secondary, although it was very sweet and one of the highlights for me.

One of the other highlights was the amount of diversity. This is possibly one of the most diverse books I’ve ever come across and it felt like almost every group was represented in some way. Molly has two moms, she’s Jewish, her sister is a lesbian who is involved with a pansexual character, she has weight issues and suffers from anxiety. In the beginning I did wonder if this was too much and the author was forcing too much in but thankfully this turned out not to be the case. It all feels very natural and the issues raised are dealt with in quite a subtle and realistic way.

Overall a great read and one I’d definitely recommend if you like YA contemporary with diverse characters.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. As always all views are my own.

Review: Blacklist by Alyson Noel

Blacklist (Beautiful Idols #2)Blacklist by Alyson Noel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blacklist, the second book in Alyson Noel’s Beautiful Idol’s series is even more addictive than the first. It’s a fast paced and enjoyable read and there are plenty of reveals and twists to keep you hooked. With another cliffhanger ending I will definitely be looking out for the third and final book in this trilogy.

Note as this is the second in the series there are some spoilers for the first book.

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