How to be Bad by E. Lockhart, Lauren Myracle, and Sarah Mlynowski | Book Review

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

How to be Bad by E. Lockhart, Lauren Myracle, and Sarah Mlynowski | Book ReviewHow to be Bad by E. Lockhart, Lauren Myracle, Sarah Mlynowski
Published by Hot Key Books on June 4th 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Goodreads
four-stars

When you're tired of being good, sometimes you gotta be a little bad ...

Jesse, Vicks and Mel couldn't be more different. Jesse, a righteous Southern gal who's as thoughtful as she is uptight, is keeping a secret that she knows will change her life forever. Vicks is a wild child: seemingly cool, calm and collected on the outside, but inside she's furious at herself for being so anxious about her neglectful boyfriend. And Mel is the new girl in town. She's already been dismissed as just another rich kid, but all she wants is to get over some of her fears and find some true friends.

But for all their differences, the girls discover they've got one thing in common - they're desperate to escape. Desperate to get the heck out of Niceville and discover their true 'badass' selves! Even if it's just for the weekend ... One 'borrowed' car later, it's time to hit the road and head for Miami. Hearts will be broken, friendships will be tested, and a ridiculously hot stranger could change the course of everything.

What I thoughtI haven’t really been in the best mind-set the last few weeks, and the last thing I was interested in was reading. So when I tried to get back on track, I wanted a light and fun read. I still had How to be Bad lying around, and it was absolutely what I needed. It wasn’t a particular heavy read, so it was exactly what I was looking for.

The plot was good. It maybe wasn’t the most original one, but it was definitely entertaining. And I liked how the point of views were switched every new character. All chapters intersected, but there were also three other separate storylines within the bigger story. Every girl had her own voice, and her own story to tell, and that made this book so much fun. The novel has a relatable feel to it. With the three very different characters I felt like I could connect with each of them in a different way. I like that the three authors each wrote one character. The characters really developed throughout the story, both towards each other as to themselves.

I love a good story about friendship. It was fun reading how the girls came together. They all have very different characters, and they struggled to find a balance together. They really had to work through their issues in order to find the balance they needed, and I am a sucker for a good journey.

Final verdict IRISJEXX!It was a cute and fluffy curl-up-comfy-with-a-blanket-on-the-couch kinda read. Exactly what I needed to get out of my weird slump.

The Boy with the Tiger’s Heart by Linda Coggin | Book Review

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Boy with the Tiger’s Heart by Linda Coggin | Book ReviewThe Boy with the Tiger's Heart by Linda Coggin
Published by Hot Key Books on September 4th 2014
Genres: Sci-Fi
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
two-half-stars

A girl raised in the wild, a desperate race for freedom and a boy with a fiercely guarded secret...

When Nona's guardian kills himself, she is immediately suspected of murdering him. In a world where nature and darkness are feared, where wild animals are killed or held captive and cities are illuminated by permanent light, who will believe her innocence? Nona must flee with her only friend - a bear who is strangely human.

In their desperate attempt to escape capture, Nona and her bear encounter two strange boys, Caius and Jay. Together, the four of them will hide, and fight, and make the deadliest of enemies in their desperate race to a forbidden place called The Edge - where nature is unrestrained, where there is light and shade, forest and mountain, and where there are no shackles or boundaries.

A poetic, haunting and unforgettable modern fable about nature, society, and what it is that makes us human.

What I thoughtThe reason this review is so late, is because I can’t really make up my mind about this book. I didn’t really dislike The Boy with the Tiger’s Heart, but I didn’t love it either. I thought about it a lot, and in the end I think this mainly has to do with the fact that I felt detached from the story. The book was completely different from what I was expecting and I just couldn’t really get into the story.

The story felt weak, sure I understood that nature and animals were considered threats to society, but I felt like I missed the message the book was supposed to deliver. I would have liked more background information to back the story up, as well as some more depth. The synopsis promised various themes (and they indeed were addressed), but they weren’t really explored. Unfortunately, it just fell a bit flat for me.

However, it wasn’t all bad! The characters were interesting. Nona was a good character, and had the potential to be a great character. Though unrealistic, I thought the idea behind Jay was very intriguing. Caius felt a bit like the third wheel though, he was there, but at the same time he wasn’t. Once again, just like the story line, it was hard to connect with them.

Final verdict IRISJEXX!

I’m still not too sure what to make of this book. The Boy with the Tiger’s Heart had so much potential, but it fell flat. I don’t really dislike it, but neither do I really like it. It was a bit disappointing actually…

sigh

The Door That Led To Where by Sally Gardner | Book Review

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Door That Led To Where by Sally Gardner | Book ReviewThe Door That Led To Where by Sally Gardner
Published by Hot Key Books on January 1st 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
three-half-stars

AJ Flynn has just failed all but one of his GCSEs, and his future is looking far from rosy. So when he is offered a junior position at a London law firm he hopes his life is about to change - but he could never have imagined by how much.

Tidying up the archive one day, AJ finds an old key, mysteriously labelled with his name and date of birth - and he becomes determined to find the door that fits the key. And so begins an amazing journey to a very real and tangible past - 1830, to be precise - where the streets of modern Clerkenwell are replaced with cobbles and carts, and the law can be twisted to suit a villain's means. Although life in 1830 is cheap, AJ and his friends quickly find that their own lives have much more value. They've gone from sad youth statistics to young men with purpose - and at the heart of everything lies a crime that only they can solve. But with enemies all around, can they unravel the mysteries of the past, before it unravels them?

A fast-paced mystery novel by one of the country's finest writers, THE DOOR THAT LED TO WHERE will delight, surprise and mesmerise all those who read it.

What I thoughtThis book was my first encounter with Sally Gardner’s writing. Yeah I know… I should be ashamed of myself. But then again, I just had to read this book. For reasons that seem quite obvious to me. It’s time travel. Modern day London and 19th century London, that’s a win!

I haven’t read many time travel stories now I think about it. But when I read that The Door That Led To Were was about time-travel and London in two different ages I got intrigued. I love London. I’ve been there a few times and there’s this mystery and beauty to the city that blows me away every time I see it. And I loved that I felt the same way reading about the city in this book. Sally Gardner does a wonderful job portraying both modern day and 19th century London.

This book read really easily. I don’t really know how else to describe it. I finished the story really fast, and I think this has to do with the writing style that felt so comfortable to read. I never felt rushed, just extremely comfortable till I reached the very last page. The pacing even felt a bit slow at times. That, and I figured out where the story was heading pretty early on.

While the time-traveling added a bit of a ‘fantastical’ element to this book. I really enjoyed that AJ’s situation at home was anything but fantastical. The problems with his mom, bad grades (which results in bad job prospects), made for a very realistic character with problems that many readers can identify with.

Final verdict IRISJEXX!While I really enjoyed the setting and the ‘fantastical’ and ‘realistic’ elements within this book, I just wasn’t really blown away by The Door That Led To Where. In the end it made for a fun and quick read, and an enjoyable story.

The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard | Book Review

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard | Book ReviewThe Perfectionists by Sara Shepard
Published by HarperCollins, Hot Key Books on October 2nd 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
three-stars

In Beacon Heights High, Nolan Hotchkiss is king. His charm, wealth and good looks are deceptively seductive, and many are the students whose lives and reputations have been ruined by it. All while Nolan continues to reign, unquestioned and undisrupted. Until now, that is.

Mackenzie, Ava, Julie, Caitlin and Parker seemingly don't have much in common. Each has their own friends, dramas and goals. But one thing they do share: they all have a deep hatred of Nolan Hotchkiss. And they all think it's about time he paid for what he's done. They come up with the perfect murder - a hypothetical murder, of course. It's all wishful thinking ... until they wake up one morning to find that their wish has come true. Nolan has been killed - in exactly the way they planned. The thing is, they didn't do it. So who did?

What I thought

I’ll start this review with being honest and confess that I have never read any of the Pretty Little Liars’ books. I have watched the show… for a few seasons (when I still didn’t know who A. was a season or two later I got annoyed and quit watching -please don’t hit me). I read the synopsis and thought the story sounded intriguing, somehow under the impression that this was a standalone novel. Imagine my surprise when I got the end of the book and found out it wasn’t.

Disbelief

Well, that, or this book ends in a seriously dissatisfying way.

To me, it seemed that this story bore quite some resemblance to Pretty Little Liars. Of course I am basing this on my experience with the tv-show, but as the story unfolded I just couldn’t help but feel like I’d read this story before. I found the characters stereotyped and they have quite a similar mindset to the main characters in PLL. Not to forget that they share the same tendency to make the most stupid, dangerous decisions that just can’t have any other outcome than one that ends badly.

There are just so many high school cliché’s in this book, from the characters, to the events, and the predicaments. It wouldn’t have worked for me in any other book, but somehow Shepard made them interesting and engaging enough to keep me hooked to the story. Like I said, the characters make lots of silly, and some just plain stupid, decisions. Their web of lies grew and grew until they couldn’t see a way out anymore. While it did boggle my mind every single time, I can’t deny that it added to the atmosphere of the story.

In a way the plot demanded those ‘stupid, dangerous decisions’ because that’s that way the tension builds. It makes for a fast paced, engaging, and action  filled story. Unfortunately, it also became a little too much at times. There was just too much happening and too many decisions that were more than stupid and idiotic. It was what I expected going in, and I found it manageable up until that ending.

Of course I was under the impression it was a standalone, which may have meant that the ending came as a much bigger surprise, but it seemed so abrupt to me. BOOM cliffhanger: The End. I must have turned the last page a few times, just to check if it really was the ending. There was no clear resolution, just an ending that left me gaping like a fish.

Final verdict IRISJEXX!The Perfectionists was an enjoyable read (up until that ending, that ending was just ridiculous), but it bore a little to much resemblance to Pretty Little Liars for me. The book is by far one of my favourites, but I can’t deny that the story was engaging and has a slightly ‘potent’ and addictive quality to it. All and all it was an entertaining book to read.