Thursday, 23 August 2012

Blog Relocated!

As most of you could probably tell, I have been MIA for the past few months. 
Life got crazy but I loved that it did. Unfortunately my reading time all but vanished and my blogging time definitely fell by the wayside. 

My year at Trinity College where I have been pursuing my Masters in Creative Writing is coming to a close and I thought it was time to move on and create a blog that would better represent where I am as a reader, blogger and writer. 

So, if you're still with me, please come along for the new ride and visit me at my new location: truthaboutfiction

A big heartfelt thank you to all my followers who have made the past few years here at SweetUnrest (my first step in the blogging world) a great experience. 

Friday, 20 April 2012

The Kingdom by Amanda Stevens

3 Stars. (Paranormal romance)
ARC provided by Netgalley
mass market paperback, 376 pages
Publication: March 27th, 2012
Published by Mira
Definitely not as enjoyable as book 1 in the series. Felt like there was something missing. But I am looking forward to book 3 if only to revisit Devlin and Amelia and find out how/if they can resolve their 'ghosts' and get together.

I waffled back and forth between giving this book a 2.5 or 3 star rating. On the one hand I enjoyed revisiting Amelia and her story, but on the other I was disappointed that the setting changed from Charleston to Asher Falls which meant Devlin was excluded from the story as well as the majority of the characters we met in book 1 in the series. Overall, I have to say that this book felt very much like a filler novel rather than any real advancement of plot.

The pieces of the puzzle that are revealed about Amelia and her birth and history are important and relevant sure, but at the same time they all could have been brought to like within the space of two novels. For the amount of information we get, and the way we have to work up to it slowly through out the rest of the drama of The Kingdom I wasn't sure it was worth it in the end.

Although I liked the inclusion of Thane Asher, a new suitor for Amelia's heart, I wasn't as pulled in by the setting or mystery or ghostly presence as I was in The Restorer. The setting which seemed to very alive in book 1 fell flat for me here. Although some plot points were interesting and kept me intrigued and reading I felt that so much more could have been developed.

A worthwhile read if you've read book 1 and want to continue the series for sure, but I thought that so much more could have been made of this book. I'll definitely pick up book 3, I want to know what happens between Devlin and Amelia but I was slightly disappointed by this book after loving The Restorer so desperately.

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

3 Star (Paranormal) 

Fun and light-hearted. An entertaining read!

This book is full of snark and comedy, which is nice considering the main character is a grim reaper and can see and speak to the dead but not so departed. Charley Davidson is a go getter girl full of snark and sass which I love to read in a heroine. She's tough, capable, not a bullshitter and loves to protect the innocent folk. She also has a interesting career trying to help the souls of the dead pass over into the afterlife by trying to solve the mystery of their deaths.

I won't go into mighty detail about the plot itself, there is an interesting if not fully fledged love triangle, two very intriguing men to drool over, as well as enough wit and spark to keep the story moving. At times I did feel like the snarkiness went a bit too far - when I read a few pages where mostly every line was some pun or sarcastic joke it began to get on my nerves a bit, but I know several people who have read this book and loved the spark of humour. I prefer a good balance between humour and a darker edge which I felt this book could have maybe done with a bit more of considering we're reading about murder and demonic presence and all...

Overall, this book was enjoyable if not slightly forgettable. I liked Charley, she brings new meaning to a tough as nails heroine but she also had a more vulnerable side which made me like her even more. Both Reyes and Garrett are interesting characters and both a likeable so it makes the love triangle that is beginning to form that much more interesting. I liked the love/hate banter between Garrett and Charley and was sucked in by the mystery and intrigue and darkness that surrounds Reyes.

A light read, perfect to curl up with if you want a good laugh with an interesting storyline and cute heroine. 

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

3 Stars (contemporary YA)

I have to say I was hoping this book would hit me hard. The context of the story had it all, the drama, the hope, the love, the loss, but ultimately it fell flat a little bit in the overall impact.

I couldn't help comparing it a little bit to Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. They're both road trip books but at the core they are both books about healing after a great loss. I feel like Matson achieved the core better than Harrington. I know it may seem unfair to compare one author to another but in this case I just couldn't help it. I felt like Harrington's book was darker in a way. The main character Harper has just lost her sister June after she commits suicide. We never really come to understand why her sister commits suicide - maybe that's the point, that an action like that really isn't understandable for those left behind. We really can't know at all what someone in that position would have felt or thought in the last moments. So the tone is darker I feel, but the rest of the story - the road trip to California in order to scatter June's ashes in the Pacific, in California where she always dreamed of escaping in what sets the whole story in motion. Jake, who has a mysterious connection to June tags along with Harper and her best friend on this road trip - for reasons again which I never felt I truly came to understand.

So they're on this road trip and the whole time I felt like Harper flip flopped between pleasant and engaging to moody and dismissive. I hated this and it made me dislike Harper more often than not. She was so up and down with Jake, at once attracted and interested in him and then antagonistic. It just didn't make sense to me, even if Harper was meant to be grieving and confused about her emotions. She'd get in a fight with Jake that was completely her doing and then turn it around on him the next day as if he were the one to start the whole thing. It got irritating and consequently I never felt like I truly understood Harper or sympathized with her.

There were some good moments for sure. Some cute and refreshing scenes, but I felt like I got bogged down by the mood swings. It didn't feel much like a road trip book in a sense. A lot of the scenes felt like they could have been taking place in the same area - like the setting never really changed or was described well enough to make a difference to the reader. Like we weren't really moving forward at all.

Jake was a nice character. He seemed to have depth and insight and the best friend was funny, but I felt like all the character could have been pushed just a little bit further.

Overall the read was entertaining in the moment but forgettable once the last page is turned. There were too many unanswered or maybe unexplored questions and the main character was confusing and annoying. 

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Oh for the Love of Books {37}

Last week I received a package from my momma filled with three books that had come to my house in Canada. She kindly sent them to me here in Ireland and although I thought I knew about all the books I would be getting (Saving June by Hannah Harrington and Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer) I was very surprised when I opened the box and found a third book I hadn't ordered myself and had no idea was coming along for the ride across the pond. 

I've heard so many great things about John Green's last few books and knew that this was an author I wanted to spend time reading, well his new book has gotten great reviews since it's released and I was very happy indeed to find a copy of my very own nestled within the package. 
A very nice surprise, although I still have no idea where the book came from!

I knew my mom couldn't possibly have bought it for me, she wouldn't have known to get it and I never once mentioned it to her. I also know I didn't order it, so I'm thinking the book fairy's brought me a little gift!

Can't wait to dive into this one.

 The Fault in our Stars by John Green

What's in your mailbox this week?

Monday, 12 March 2012

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

This is going to be a tough one to review.

Better than Clockwork Angel for sure, but I'm still a bit undecided in a lot of small ways about this series as a whole.

3.5 Stars

First off I thought I'd list the things that bugged me a bit in this book:

1. The constant name dropping of Victorian authors and books. Added to this, the countless times Tessa compares herself to a heroine or hero in a books she's read. I know this is supposed to be a part of her character, the girls a book lover, got it, but still. It grated on my nerves after a while and I kept wondering how books could seriously be her only reference for things.

2. The way Tessa is somehow completely irresistible to both Jem and Will. The girl is cute, she has her moments of toughness and sassiness, but usually she's just insecure and way to proper for my liking. I've said this in a previous review of the Clockwork Angel I read historical romances and historical fiction, so I know well how girls of this time period would think and act, but something about Tessa's cluelessness grates on me. Honestly what I realized is that I don't really love Tessa all that much. She has her moments, but not enough of them to make me really identify with or appreciate her as a character. Not a fabulous thing when as a reader you want to be invested in what's happening in her life and want to believe that two eligible guys would desperately want her.

There were a few other smaller things that got to me, like a certain scene between Jem and Tessa - not because it was between them but because it seemed out of character for Tessa. If you've read both books you might understand what I mean.

I love Will. I'll make no bones about this. I think he's the best character in the series. He's dark and light at the same time. He's sarcastic and mean, but honorable and loyal. I love the push and pull with his character, the back and forth and the angst he has wrapped up in his character. Out of everyone I think he is the most interesting but all the best developed. I think I read these books mostly for him, to see how it'll all work out for Will in the end.

Because of the similarities of this series to Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities I think there are definitely ways this series could end. I'll be interested to see if Clare turns the predictability on it's head or sort of flips the developments of Dickens's classic on it's head a bit.

I liked the action in this book, the developments with the Magistar and the addition of more characters. Gideon was an interesting character and I really enjoyed Sophie more in this book. I hope more develops for the both of them.

Ultimately towards the end this book really picked up. I loved reading the scenes between Tess and Will, but what I noticed, which ultimately led me to give this a 3.5 star rating, is that I didn't feel that punch to the heart I usually do when I'm thoroughly invested in the characters, the drama and the angst playing out. I loved reading the scenes, but I didn't feel much while reading. I react heavily when I read books. When I'm invested I get worked up, just ask my best friend what I look like when I'm feel the heartbreak right along with the characters. She thinks it's pretty funny.

I thought this book was much better than the last one, it has lots of action, developed the overarching plot and the character were more interesting.

Definitely worth reading if you love Cassie Clare or have read Clockwork Angel but I have to be honest and say I'm not enjoying this series as much as Mortal Instruments.   

Below are my feelings about the whole Tessa, Will, Jem triangle. 

Read on only if you've read this book or don't mind spoilers...
It is plainly obviously that Tessa loves Will. She loves Jem as well, but the love she has for Will is the passion filled, desperate, forever, soul mates kind of love. With Jem, it's the comfortable, stable, tame love that will sustain itself through the years but really never be the love girls spend their youths dreaming about. It was obviously by the way the scenes between Tess and Will were written and then Tessa and Jem that every time Tessa kissed Jem she thought of Will. When you're kissing the guy you can't be without, there's never anyone else on your mind. It's obvious that Will is in Tessa's heart and always will be. She's marrying Jem, but she wants Will.
End of spoilers.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Oh for the Love of Books {36}

This week from Thursday to Saturday, Trinity College had a massive used book sale where students and staff could browse the rows and rows of tables and collect cheap books. 
I went with a few friends on Friday and walked away with a number of great purchases, all for a low low price of 6 euro :)

First off is a book by Cecelia Ahern. Made famous after PS I Love You was adapted into a movie, Ahern has tons of books out, but one in particular was strongly recommended by my friend Chelsey at Chels and a Book. She loves Ahern's books and has friend all but PS I Love You interestingly enough. When I saw this book packed between several others and saw that it was only 1 euro I grabbed it. 

 Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern

Next were two highly acclaimed books that I've heard loads about over the past year. They both came out several years ago, but for some reason I've heard a lot about them recently. I was reluctant to read both because of the content of each - heavy topics to tackle - but figured that with the books each being so well priced I might as well pick them up and read them eventually. 

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Last but not least was a book I've been wanting to pick up in stores for months. William Trevor is a beloved Irish author and you hear so much about him here. I've read several of his short stories but never one of his novels. This one I have heard nothing but good things about so I'm very excited to read it.

Love and Summer by William Trevor

What's in your mailbox this week?