Darkmere by Helen Maslin Review

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

A castle. A curse. A dangerous summer.

Leo has invited Kate and a few friends to spend the summer at his inheritance, Darkmere Castle: as wild and remote as it is beautiful. Kate thinks it will be the perfect place for her and Leo to get together – but instead, she’s drawn into the dark story of a young nineteenth-century bride who haunts the tunnels and towers of the house. And whose curse now hangs over them all. (Synopsis taken from Goodreads)

Darkmere by Helen Maslin

Release Date: 6th August, 2015

Pages: 368

Publisher: Chicken House

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchase

I tried hard to like Darkmere by Helen Maslin. I really did. I honestly feel quite apathetic towards Darkmere. Having said that, I do have some points to make about the book and, sadly, most of them are negative.

To be honest, I found the whole story to be unoriginal and predictable. There are two storylines that run concurrently throughout Darkmere and that is something that I like as a writing device. However, it was really easy to see which direction the storylines were heading in. When events occur in the book, I wasn’t reading anything new. Nothing about the plot made Darkmere stand out from the rest of YA fiction.

Darkmere presented me with a host of characters that I just didn’t care for. I couldn’t find anything about the characters that was likeable and I wasn’t able to gel with Kate, the main character in the story. This made it difficult for me to root for Kate and I found myself not really caring what happened to her as a character. As I have been writing this review, I have been trying to remember other details about Kate and her fellow characters but I can’t. Kate, her friends and the other characters we meet just aren’t memorable.

One thing I did appreciate about the book is that the characters are affected by issues that real teenagers have to deal with. The characters have problems at home, drink alcohol and smoke weed, amongst other things. References to these things, however, got old after a while and sometimes it felt like partying and going to the beach were the only things happening in the book.

By the end of the novel I was bored. This is mainly because Darkmere is too predictable and pretty uneventful. I do have to say, though, that the writing is the strongest part of the novel. It was the writing that encouraged me to continue with the book. I do believe that the author has the ability to write something special, so I will be keeping an eye out for any future novels that she publishes. Darkmere will hopefully be a stepping stone to greater things for Helen Maslin.

2/5 stars

– Liz

Reiko – A Japanese Ghost Story by James Avonleigh Review

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

It was a story that shocked Japan.

In the remote village of Izumi five high school friends died within the space of a fortnight.

The circumstances were never explained.

Four years later a British paranormal researcher travels to Izumi in an attempt to unravel the mystery.

There he encounters much more than culture shock.

He encounters the dark side of Japanese culture – the side they don’t talk about in guidebooks.

He encounters Reiko.

 

Reiko – A Japanese Ghost Story by James Avonleigh

Release Date: 25th April, 2013

Pages: 305

Publisher: –

Format: Kindle Edition

Source: Kindle Unlimited

I’m a big fan of Asian horror, especially if it comes from or is set in Japan. Reiko – A Japanese Ghost Story by James Avonleigh is, as far as I’m aware, only available in Kindle format. When I came across Reiko, I had been looking for a book that would give me a good scare. Asian horror has always been able to frighten me and I hoped that Reiko would be able to provide me with the scares I was looking for.

As I began to read the story, I felt that Reiko had potential. That feeling, however, wasn’t to last. Sadly, Reiko turned out to be a very cliché horror story. It was like watching a really bad remake of an Asian horror film. The novel wasn’t scary at all and it didn’t feel original. Very little happened in the novel and when things did occur it wasn’t anything that the horror genre hasn’t seen before. The characters just weren’t memorable either.

The writing was fine and was certainly easy to read, making the novel a fairly quick read. The descriptions were rather repetitive, though. With the amount of times cherry blossom trees are mentioned and described, you could invent a drinking game if you wished. The ending needed more work as it felt rushed. Having said that, the writing was definitely the best thing about Reiko.

If you’re new to the horror genre, and especially Asian horror, then Reiko may be the book to send a shiver down your spine. However, if you’re very familiar with the horror genre then give this book a miss, as Reiko is nothing that you haven’t read, or seen, before.

2/5 stars

– Liz

#FridayReads 28/08/2015

If you don’t know, #FridayReads originated on Twitter and every Friday people tweet what they’ll be reading over the weekend. Bunny Cates brought this over to Youtube and I’m hoping to write a #FridayReads post each week to share with you what I’ll be reading.

This weekend I will be reading:

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

I started reading this book earlier on today and so far I’m quite impressed. I think that Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas will turn out to be a great thriller.

What are you reading this weekend?

Happy reading! 🙂

– Liz

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi Review

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

“Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.” (Synopsis taken from Goodreads)

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Release Date: 2nd October, 2012

Pages: 340

Publisher: HarperCollins

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchase

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi was a book that I bought when Bookubers began raving about it a couple of years ago.For a really long time it has been sitting on my bookcase waiting to be read. I finally got to sit down and read Shatter Me recently and I was eager to see what all the fuss was about. The hype surrounding the book certainly didn’t ruin the book for me but I was ultimately left feeling very disappointed.

This book has been billed as a dystopian when it really shouldn’t have been. Shatter Me is a romance novel with a dystopian setting. I was in the mood for a really good dystopian story and I did not get that with Shatter Me. I found Shatter Me to be bogged down with a cringeworthy romance that I just didn’t care about. I should be in the Guinness World Records for the amount of times a person has rolled their eyes while reading.

I also found it difficult to care about the characters. There was nothing about Juliette, the main character, that made her stand out from all of the other YA female characters out there. I had the same problem with Juliette’s love interest, Adam. There was nothing unique about him as a love interest and he blends in with all the other YA male love interests that I’ve read about. And then there is Warner, the villain. Absolutely nothing about him had me quaking in my boots. Honestly, he has to be one of the worst villains I’ve ever read about.

I hate giving books a one star rating and I even find giving two star ratings difficult. All I can think about is the amount of effort every author puts in to creating their novel.  The writing was the best part of Shatter Me and is the reason I gave this book two out of five stars rather than one star. I’m aware that some readers found the writing to be nothing but purple prose and that style of writing doesn’t really bother me. I enjoyed the way the book was written and the crossed out sentences didn’t annoy me like it has with some readers. I have to admit, though, that the amount of metaphors used in Shatter Me did get ridiculous after a while.

Shatter Me might be the book for you if you’re someone who enjoys romance novels. I have to say, however, that if you edited the romance out of the novel you would be left with a story that really isn’t worth reading. I found it to be unoriginal and uneventful, with only Tahereh Mafi’s writing saving the day. I had good feelings about Shatter Me before I started reading it but now that I’ve finished the book I think I’ll be passing on the rest of the trilogy.

2/5 stars

 – Liz

#FridayReads 21/08/2015

If you don’t know, #FridayReads originated on Twitter and every Friday people tweet what they’ll be reading over the weekend. Bunny Cates brought this over to Youtube and I’m hoping to write a #FridayReads post each week to share with you what I’ll be reading.

This weekend I will be reading:

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

This is the third book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy. I’m really enjoying this series and I think the humour in the books is fantastic. I’ve almost finished Skulduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones so once I’m done with this book I’ll be turning my attention to:

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

The Wardstone Chronicles is also a great series to read. The Spook’s Secret is the third book in the series and I’m looking forward to returning to the world that the author, Joseph Delaney, has created in these books.

What will you be reading this weekend?

Happy reading! 🙂

– Liz

“Waiting On” Wednesday #4: 19/08/2015

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 “Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine (http://breakingthespine.blogspot.co.uk) which allows readers to showcase an up and coming book.

The book that I’ve picked for this week is:

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

From Goodreads:

When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there’s room for love in a heart so full of hate.

In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.”

Vengeance Road is expected to be published on 1st September, 2015. I’m really excited about this one as it sounds original and different. Hopefully it will be a refreshing read.

Happy reading! 🙂

 – Liz

Famous Last Words by Katie Alender Review

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

“Willa is freaking out. It seems like she’s seeing things. Like a dead body in her swimming pool. Frantic messages on her walls. A reflection that is not her own. It’s almost as if someone — or something — is trying to send her a message.

Meanwhile, a killer is stalking Los Angeles — a killer who reenacts famous movie murder scenes. Could Willa’s strange visions have to do with these unsolved murders? Or is she going crazy? And who can she confide in? There’s Marnie, her new friend who may not be totally trustworthy. And there’s Reed, who’s ridiculously handsome and seems to get Willa. There’s also Wyatt, who’s super smart but unhealthily obsessed with the Hollywood Killer.

All Willa knows is, she has to confront the possible-ghost in her house, or she just might lose her mind . . . or her life.

Acclaimed author Katie Alender puts an unforgettable twist on this spine-chilling tale of murder, mystery, mayhem — and the movies.” (Synopsis taken from Goodreads)

Famous Last Words by Katie Alender

Release Date: 30th September, 2014

Pages: 320

Publisher: Point

Format: Hardback

Source: Gift

A couple of years ago I read Katie Alender’s Bad Girls Don’t Die trilogy which I found to be average and disappointing. I was hesitant about reading Famous Last Words, also by Alender, because of this. I shouldn’t have worried because Famous Last Words was a great read.

There is a noticeable improvement in Alender’s writing in Famous Last Words compared to the Bad Girls Don’t Die trilogy. The writing was well paced, making for a quick read. I was captivated by the writing and the plot. I did not want to put the book down and whenever I was not reading the book I found myself thinking about it. I just needed to know what was going to happen next.  Famous Last Words was, however, slightly predictable. I was able to guess the identity of the killer pretty much straight away but I still had fun reading all the twists and turns as they unfolded. It was also nice to read a YA novel that was not bogged down by romance. I’m someone who has become tired of insta-love, love triangles and romance in YA. Romance does play a small role in this book but it certainly did not put me off. Instead, Alender lets the Hollywood serial killer plot take centre stage, which I appreciated and enjoyed. I’m a big fan of the horror genre, so I am used to a lot of scare tactics used in books and movies. It takes a lot to scare me but Famous Last Words had a definite creepy vibe to it that got to me at the end of the novel and I put that down to Alender’s carefully crafted writing.

I found the characters in the Bad Girls Don’t Die book to be one-dimensional and sometimes immature. But, just like with the writing, the character development has also improved greatly. Willa, the main character, was so much fun to read about. She is relatable, intelligent and likeable. As people who are familiar with the horror genre, and especially slasher films, know, if you do not have a strong protagonist then you often end up rooting for the villain. One of my main problems with the Bad Girls Don’t Die books was the development of Alexis, the main character, and with Famous Last Words being slasher-esque, I thought that I might end up with another main character I couldn’t root for. I was wrong. I was able to support Willa 100% and I always wanted to see her succeed. Willa, along with the other characters in the story, have depth to them and are interesting to read about.

Overall, Famous Last Words was such a pleasure to read and I would definitely recommend this book to others. I would also love to read another book starring Willa simply because she has been one of the best main characters I’ve read about in a while. I am now eagerly awaiting Alender’s next book, The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall.

“Maybe it’s human nature to be drawn to the things that have hurt us the most.” (Page 197)

4/5 stars

 – Liz

#FridayReads 14/08/2015

If you don’t know, #FridayReads originated on Twitter and every Friday people tweet what they’ll be reading over the weekend. Bunny Cates brought this over to Youtube and I’m hoping to write a #FridayReads post each week to share with you what I’ll be reading.

This weekend I will be reading:

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

There’s something about the Japanese and their ghosts that just creeps me out. I have high hopes for this one!

Happy reading! 🙂

– Liz