Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Torrent by Gemma James

Torrent
by Gemma James

Summary: She sent an innocent man to prison. Now, eight years later, he's returning the favor...

I’ve been obsessed with Rafe Mason since I was thirteen. The twisted part of this story is that I still want him, even now.

Now that he's holding me captive on an island.

Rafe has his reasons for doing what he's doing, and if I'm honest, I can't blame him. I’m the girl who sent him to prison for a heinous crime he didn't commit.

But now he's free and the tables have turned...now he's the one driven by obsession.
This book has made me thoroughly sceptical of recommendations I see on Goodreads, because it's the second book I've read and had the same sort of issues with. I wasn't even going to review it because I was afraid it would be more rant than review, but I think negative reviews are important too...so...here goes.

I want to start of by saying that I don't have an issue with the author or with the people who loved the book, I'm sure they're all absolutely lovely people and I'm not judging them for writing/liking the book.

So...I had a lot of issues with this book. There was a warning at the end of the Goodreads summary saying this: "new adult dark romance with disturbing themes and explicit content, including sexual scenes and violence that may offend some" 

The book is about kidnapping*...because of that, the warning should've been more specific, because it's easy to think the warning is about the kidnapping aspect and the problematic things linked to a kidnapper/victim relationship. But no, there was a lot of rape and sexual assault in this book--the love interest himself is a rapist. 

To me, "love interest" and "rapist" are mutually exclusive terms in a romance. I'm fine with dark romance, but there's nothing romantic about a man who rapes a woman, who is violent and abusive and gets off on it. If I had known this was going to be another case of a girl falling for someone who sexually assaults and rapes her, I would not have read it because I know that I wouldn't like it. The warning lists "sexual scenes" and "violence" separately, I wish it had warned specifically that it contained sexual violence.

Anyway...enough about that. As for the book itself, I felt kind of sick while reading it...and yet, I did keep reading it because I wanted to see how it all played out. So while I had major issues with it, it did hold my attention, which is something I guess?

This wasn't a romance to me, I can't view it as that...I can view it as a book about a horribly unhealthy and disturbing relationship and it's kind of like a train wreck I can't look away from. When I thought of it like that, instead of as something intended to be romantic with a relationship I'm supposed to be rooting for, then it mades it easier to read it.

It ended on a cliffhanger and I hated that. Not just because it was a cliffhanger, but because of the twist it pulled, I hate that kind of twist. But, I will probably read the sequel because it will annoy me not knowing how it turned out...I guess in that way, the cliffhanger served its purpose.

I'd rate the book 2 stars out of 5, purely because it didn't bore me. If you're okay with stories with a lot of rape/sexual assault content, or rapist love interests, then you might be okay with this one--the main reason I wanted to review the book was so I could explain that that is what happens in the book and you could decide for yourself whether to read it or give it a miss because of the subject matter.

From now on, if a book comes with a warning the one this one had I'm probably going to just assume it means rape or sexual assault even if the warning is vague and could be referring to many other issues (because this is the second time it has happened).

Later.

*I was hoping it would be sort of like the New Adult version of Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Monday, 22 September 2014

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Afterworlds
Scott Westerfeld
SimonPulse
[September 23, 2014]
ARC from Teen Author Carnival

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she's made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy's novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the 'Afterworld' to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved - and terrifying - stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

I was so pumped about this book. A YA book about a YA writer? Hell yes I'm there! Why hasn't this been done before? And it held up to the high expectations I had...kind of.

The book alternates chapters between Darcy, the YA writer, and her move to NYC, and Lizzie, the girl who sees ghosts being written by Darcy. Lizzie's story tackles the traditional paranormal YA trope in a way. She's in genuine danger several times and makes an unexpected choice, so her storyline was interesting. It was thrilling and grabbing and creepy, but it wasn't really what I was reading for.

Then there was Darcy's story which is kind of where I'm torn. Darcy was maybe the most stereotypical teenage character I've read in a long time. She was impulsive and naive and seemed to have NO real experience in the world or idea of what she was doing which just isn't really the case so much with the majority of teenagers at this point. They're not generally that clueless anymore. But there were also aspects of her that were all too real to me. She moves to NYC and makes horrible decision after horrible decision. As I spent most of the summer at my parents' to avoid doing exactly the same thing in NYC, I can obviously relate to that. But it didn't make it any less hard to want to smack some sense into her. I'm still torn on if she had more redeeming qualities or horrible qualities and if that makes her a good character or not.

But there was still a lot of good in this book. It was unique and well written. It didn't pull punches about the reality of writing and living in NYC and being a writer. There were a lot of fantastic, three dimensional characters in both story lines. We also got to see Darcy while she was revising her novel and the editorial commentary she was getting for her revision and how she worked with it in real time, which was a cool experience. And it was a page turner. I really wanted to know how both stories turned out and was addicted.

This was without a doubt a good, well written book and I feel like everyone should at least try it, especially those with an interest in writing or publishing. But I definitely had some issues with it that may not work with you guys.

--Julie

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up (11)

On the Blog



Tuesday: Julie managed to throw together a review of STAY WITH ME between finishing a paper and going to work
Wednesday: Lanna's getting mixed signals from BOUNTY



Julie

Book Haul


Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang (finished copy bought at Books of Wonder)
A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Walker (finished copy bought at Strand)
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski (finished copy bought at Books of Wonder)
Zodiac by Romina Russell (ARC via work)
Nameless by Lili St. Crow (paperback via work) 
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (paperback via work) 
Our Song by Jordanna Fraiburg (ARC via work) 
The Fourth Wish by Lindsay Ribar (hardcover via work) 
The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe (hardcover via work) 
What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick (hardcover via work) 
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (mass market via Ksenia) 
Life Sucks by Jessica Abel (graphic novel via Ksenia)
Americus by M.K. Reed (graphic novel via Ksenia)
Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol (graphic novel via Ksenia)
The Color of Earth by Kim Dong Hwa (graphic novel via Ksenia)
The Cute Girl Network by M.K. Reed (graphic novel via Ksenia)
Solomon's Thieves by Jordan Mechner (graphic novel via Ksenia)
The Spiritglass Charade by Colleen Gleason (unsolicited hardcover sent by publisher) 
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry (egalley via Netgalley) 
Grace's Guide by Grace Helbig (egalley via Edelweiss) 
Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton (egalley via Netgalley) 
Pitch Imperfect by Elise Alden (egalley via Netgalley) 
Infinite by Jodi Meadows (hardcover bought at CBC Book Rave)
Deliverance by C.J. Redwine (hardcover bought at CBC Book Rave)
Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley (hardcover bought at CBC Book Rave)
All of You by Christina Lee (paperback bought at CBC Book Rave)

(Note: This does not include some ACTUAL work books as in books I am working on)
Things I Learned This Week: 
1.) Penguin has some pretty epic take shelves. I won't be talking about any of these while I work here, but. Penguin-o-Rama in the spring. 
2.) Ksenia is the greatest. She didn't want me to be deprived of Jamie, so she got me book 2 in the Outlander series and a whole bunch of graphic novels so I can further delve into my graphic-novel education. Also we had tea and custard together this week.
3.) I can't be trusted at book festivals. Which is why I'm at Brooklyn Book Festival today, obvs. 

Books Read
 
Stay with Me by J. Lynn
My True Love Gave to Me
 Upcoming Reads



Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
A Shakespeare Play I Don't Remember
Wild by Sophie Jordan
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Dirty Chick by Antonia Murphy
Hijacking the Runway by Teri Agins


Two for school, two for work, and two for me. I know this seems super ambitious, but these are all things I'm currently reading and will probably be reading for at least another week. Although, I DO have two days off this week and I want to spend one of those days sleeping and reading and doing laundry. The other day will be for tackling ALL THE THINGS. Or more sleep because man I miss sleep.
Odds and Ends 

I mentioned a couple things in this post you may be interested in!

1.) Book Festivals - Yesterday was the CBC Book Rave in New Rochelle, which is a 25 minute train ride out of NYC. Normally, I'd have refused BUT C.J. Redwine, Jodi Meadows, and Joy Hensley were going to be there and they don't make this trip often. Of the three, I've only met Jodi one other time. And all three are important enough to me I decided it was worth it. I also met/got to see several authors I've known on twitter and in real life and it was a lot of fun. Today, I'm at Brooklyn Book Festival. I'm a volunteer, so I'm acting as an author escort until the afternoon, then I'll get to go browse. I withdrew money and that's my budget for the day, no exceptions. I need to pace myself with all the other book events coming up! (Huntley Fitzpatrick, Christina Lauren, Marie Lu, Heather Demetrios, NYCC...it's a busy time, y'all)

2.) My lack of sleep - You're probably not interested in this but too bad. I'm currently working two jobs (internship + freelancing), taking 5 classes, 4 of which are reading intensive and 1 of which has really long homework assignments each week, as well as attending all these book events and trying to maintain some semblance of a social life. I think I've gotten more than 5 hours of sleep twice in the past week and a half. Fortunately, my campus is closed Wednesday-Friday for the Jewish holidays, so I only have one day of class and two days of work (which are WAY less exhausting than school, honestly) and two days to try and catch up on sleep and assignments and reading and relax. I'm...really not sure how it's gonna work when I keep remembering all that has to get done.

And...that's it. Should I push any of these books up my TBR? Anything else you wanna hear about? Let me know how your week was!

--Julie

Lanna:

Book haul

These are books I've gotten over a few weeks, because I suck at doing the weekly wrap up thing on a weekly basis.
 

For review



The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton - Amazing cover, awesome title and from what I've read so far, probably a fantastic book.

Bought


Outlander/Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon - I may have included this in a previous book haul, but the first time I ordered it I got an email saying the seller made a mistake and it was actually out of stock, so I had to re-order it.

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Heir of Fire and The Assasins Blade by Sarah J Maas - Already read an e-galley of Heir of Fire and loved it, needed a physical copy.

The Secret Sky by Atia Abawi - Ever since reading and loving A Thousand Splendid Suns, I've been looking for more books set in Afghanistan that I'll love just as much...hopefully this is one of them.

E-books

After Math by Denise Grover Swank
Asher by Jo Raven
Bounty by Elise Sax
Every Little Piece by Kate Ashton

Rules of Protection by Alison Bliss
The Protector by Gennita Low
Undeclared by Jen Frederick
Family Magic by Patti Larsen

Land by Theresa Shaver
Rogues, Rakes and Jewels by Claudy Conn 


So I kind of stupidly signed up to this site that sends you emails with e-books offers (either they're free or on sale) and you can choose which genres and things you want to be emailed about...anyway, I ended up downloading a bunch.  If any sound interesting, maybe check on Amazon because they might still be free/on sale.

I may be forgetting some, but that's all I remember.

Other non-bookish stuff

It's been an odd week. On Thursday, my country (Scotland) had a referendum and we got to vote on whether or not we wanted to leave the UK and become and independent country which is a pretty huge deal (and I think there was like a 90% turnout, which is a record amount...people as young as 16 were allowed to vote too, which makes it more impressive and may even make the government consider lowering the voting age for general elections too).

The No side won with 55% of the votes. But, considering nearly half of my country voted yes to independence, it pretty much forces Westminsters hand meaning they have to deliver on the promises (more power to control our own country) that they made... So, yeah, changes should--hopefully--be happening.

...And I'll shut up about that now, it's a big deal for Scotland (and the UK) but probably not interesting to most people outside of that (poor Julie had to put up with me rambling on Skype throughout the night as the results came in). =P
  
Later.

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