A Reader's Heart

Focuses on reviews of Young Adult novels with honesty and integrity.  My ratings and reviews vary on how I feel about the book.   



Silent Echo: A Siren's Tale

Silent Echo: A Siren's Tale - Elisa Freilich

This book was given to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I need to disclose that this was NOT A FINISHED COPY! Some of this book could have changed by the publishing date.That being said, I will go on with my review. First off, I did not finish this book. Normally I don't review books I haven't finished, but as it was an ARC I need to explain my reasons for not liking or finishing it.Second, a lot of people WILL love this book, I'm sure of that, but I didn't and couldn't finish it and here are my reasons why.


1. The Characters


Simply put - I despised the characters. If they were real people, they'd be the kind that I would keep away from. The main problem with the characters was Portia, who incidentally is the main character. I find that if I can't connect with the main character and the plot is sketchy then the book falls out of favor with me. If I don't connect with a character, when they act bitchy, even as a part of the plot, I can't stand them.


And Portia was just 'ugh'.


And even though I have trouble providing quotes, I found some, because to be quite honest, once Max (her love interest) came into the picture, she started treating the only person who had had her back like dirt. What's worse was she knew he was developing feelings for her, but she tended to forget him whenever Max was on the scene. I mean, what is that teaching the reader? That it's okay to mess with your best friend, male or female, if you get a hot boyfriend or girlfriend. No, it's not. It's in no way cool.


So anyway these are some of the quotes I came up with. The first one is before Max and the last two are after Max.


'What?" she mouthed silently.'Nothing, I'm just happy that Zachary Wilson pummeled you that day,"'Me too, Felix." Though her words were silent, she hoped that they resonated in the deaf ears of her best friend.


Haha in case you were thinking Felix was a douche about being happy about Zachary beating Portia up, the back story shows that it was the beginning of their friendship and it happened when they were very young.So, anyway now Post-Max - keep in mind that Felix and Portia had never argued before, not to a mean degree anyway.


"You don't own me Felix." She mouthed the words harshly, momentarily satisfied by the look of hurt on his face. 14%


She said that because Max walked off in a huff after he caught Felix rubbing her aching back. He was teasing her and that was her response. She was glad she hurt him. Why would anyone be glad they hurt their best friend? Seriously? Turning bitchy because your boyfriend walked off in a huff? Yeah, that makes me like you, Portia.And this following one was the last straw for me.


'So why was it that at the sight of Felix's new love interest, the rage that had been sweeping over her in vibrant spurts returned so fiercely that all she could do was turn around. If not the words that were creeping up in her throat would surely have broken the surface."Hey Parker - stay the hell away from him..." 29%


Now maybe you're wondering why that would upset me? Obviously, she likes him a lot more then she lets on. No, unfortunately, she's totally hooked on Max. What this is, is a case of 'I don't want you, but I don't want anyone else to have you either', with maybe a little bit of 'you're my best friend and you have to be there for me, even though I know you like me and I rub it in your face that I'm with Max.' And he writes the most amazing songs in the whole wide world because (of course) he's a musician. Not to mention my boyfriend eggs on my best friend so much that they end up in a fist fight. Ugh! No, just no!


She just came across as totally self-absorbed and awful!I could go on about Max, but this review is getting long enough and I still have other points to go over. Let's just say that I wasn't happy with any of them.


2. Writing Style


So the book actually started off all right, even though Portia was already starting to rub me the wrong way. It's written in third voice and the story was basically told around Portia, with her thoughts and feelings. And then, bam, suddenly it changes so you've suddenly got Max's Felix's and Leto's perspective. There were probably even more characters' perspectives, but I stopped reading around the 42% mark. so I don't know.


Now don't get me wrong - I love third voice and getting into the heads of other characters, but this was just so poorly executed that all I could think was, 'What the hell is going on?" Suddenly, instead of having to focus on one or two characters, I had to get inside the head of several. When it's executed well, it can be a wonderful experience. This, sadly, was just painful.


Another thing is that I couldn't experience anything the characters were going through. There just wasn't any depth. I felt like I was being told that this was happening, not experiencing what was happening. When Portia almost killed an abusive man, I felt nothing. When Max sang a love song (at least I think it was a love song) to Portia at the nightclub, I felt nothing. And as much as I wanted to, I just couldn't find the connection I needed.


3. The Lyrics


Okay so this is actually the hardest part for me. As a writer, I know that your heart and soul can go into developing and writing lyrics. They end up being very personal and special. But, as a reader, I hated them. There were too many of them and I ended up just skimming over them. If they were there to act as part of the plot, it didn't work for me. Maybe they were explained further into the book, but I didn't care enough about the story to find out. They didn't feel AT all necessary, even though Portia was a siren.


4. Plot


The story line was actually kind of interesting, but the execution of it just ruined it for me. Using a little 'poetic license' and changing mythology to suit your story doesn't bother me. But, I just couldn't connect to it and I absolutely ADORE mythology. There just wasn't enough to hold my interest and add that to the characters that I thought were just hideous just made my whole reading experience awful. The truth is that if I had forced myself to keep reading it - because it was an ARC (and I treasure them), I would have ended up an angry, bitter and tortured mess.


As much as I wanted to love this book, and I've read another book published by Diversion Books that I absolutely adored, I just couldn't.I can't recommend this to anyone the way I'm feeling about this book - the reader will need to decide for themselves.


Anyway, I'm sure you can guess what my rating is:-  One out of five stars.

Wow, just wow!

More Than This - Patrick Ness

‘More Than This’ was one of those books that I have trouble describing, because right from the start it left me in awe. Initially, I didn’t even know the main character’s name, but I had connected with him within the first few seconds. How could I not when the very first scene was of him drowning?

This book took me to places where I couldn’t decide whether the character was in purgatory or in a post-apocalyptic world, or (there was this distant thought) he had been rescued and was dreaming. I didn’t know which way was up. All I knew was that I wanted more. I wanted to find out where Seth was, how he had come to be in the position he was now, and how he was going to make his way through to the other side.

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This book hit me where I lived - strange but true.

The Program - Suzanne Young

Every now and then you come across a book that hits you where you live. A book that keeps you up when you know you have to get up early for school, work or any other activity you have for the next day. ‘The Program’ by Suzanne Young was one of those books. The expectations I had for this book were definitely underrated.

This book almost killed me. I never dreamed that I would become so connected with the characters, Sloane and James, in such a short time. I mourned when James got sick, cried as I followed Sloane through ‘The Program’ and had righteous indignation when the emotional ties between a couple that were so much in love were torn and ripped to shreds.

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Silent world filled with frightening horrors and a kickass heroine.

In the After - Demitria Lunetta

‘In the After’ starts in a world filled with intrigue, suspense and silence. There’s that sense of desperate urgency, of deep sadness and of trying to live in a world that’s so different then what the characters in the novel have ever known. ‘In the After’ was relentless with its action and adventure. And, even though I went into this book have no expectations at all, it was a book that I ended up not being able to put down.

The world was what interested me most about this book. There was this feeling inside me that just wanted to scream in horror and, at the same time, I felt so much empathy for the characters. One wrong sound would attract the very element that the characters never wanted anywhere near them because it meant a quick, painful and horrifying death. This world was built on a lack of trust and survival of the fittest. If I had been a character in this book, I would have been eaten.

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Snarky character, interesting plot line, but a bit predictable

Find Me - Romily Bernard

‘Find Me’ is a wonderful psychological thriller about a hacker girl who takes on a sociopathic, some-what homicidal maniac who has chosen her sister to be his next target. It delves into the world of a girl who has limited time to solve the mystery, before the only family member she cares about is taken from her.

Wicket is a girl who has a criminal father and a mother that died when she was a child. She could be taken as a character that is exceptionally whiny and ungrateful, but, to me, she was a character who had lost faith that anything good was ever meant to happen to her – that somehow because of her past, and what she had to do now, it didn’t make it permissible for her to be happy. And, as a result, she was extremely cynical.

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So many things wrong with this book - Spoilers ahoy!

Allegiant  - Veronica Roth



Allegiant‘ was so incredibly bad, and the ending was the least of it.


A lot of the things I had problems with have already been mentioned in other reviews, but I have to put my own spin on things.


First, what the heck was going on with Four and Tris? Did they have a ‘Freaky Friday’ moment and switch personalities, because seriously, Four was a whiny little girl. There were several times where I just wanted to yell at him to change back to the character I knew in ‘Divergent’ and ‘Insurgent‘. If this was supposed to be character development, well, it didn’t work. And Tris went to being one of the most selfish, self-serving characters I’ve read in some time. I know I was supposed to believe she was selfless, but I didn’t. Sorry. But not really.


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Unique tale based in mythology and magic

Scion of the Sun - Nicola Marsh

‘Scion of the Sun’ was a unique tale based in mythology and magic. From the very first page, I was introduced to a character that experiences so many disturbing, yet mysteriously exciting things. The world, in this Young Adult novel, felt so familiar and yet I knew it was anything but that.

This novel sent me on an adventure seen only through the eyes of a snarky, yet somehow normal girl named Holly. She had her issues, including being dumped off at a boarding school that isn’t exactly known for its normal classes. The main characteristic that I loved about her was her snark. Somehow, it was the one thing that made me connect with her, because underneath all that attitude was a girl just trying to figure out who she was when the most important person she had in her life wasn’t there anymore.

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Unique, powerful and bittersweet

Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why‘ was an unforgettable, thought-provoking novel that took me inside the mind of a young teenage girl who had lost all hope.


This book had an edge to it that had me initially feeling that the girl who narrated on the tapes was selfish and sort of self-serving in her way for wanting to make others feel guilty for the fact that she had taken her own life. But as the story continued, my heart began to break for her. She was a girl who was just trying to fit in, only she drew the attention of the wrong people and that started a chain of events that would lead to her destruction.


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Fun and entertaining Middle-grade novel

The Apothecary - Maile Meloy

‘The Apothecary' brings forth the inner child that lives inside every one of us. This book has the power to make your eyes light up with the impossible, even as your mind tries to defy you. There were elements of pure magic and of serious logic, and I don’t think a reader can help, but appreciate the mix.

This book is set in 1950’s London. A time when a young Queen Elizabeth sat on the throne. While in America, your neighbor was being spied on and labeled a ‘communist’ if he or she fell under the slightest suspicion. It was set in the time before the Cold War. And when countries fought to get the atomic bomb. Not to mention the spies around every corner.

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Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four

Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four - Nya Jade

This was an absolutely brilliant book and so enjoyable.


Phoebe Pope's tale had me hooked from the first. I've had amazing luck with so many incredible books lately and this was no exception. I loved the world I was introduced to. It was dark, mysterious and dangerous. It was romantic at times and it held the elements of the unexpected.


The plot was absolutely intriguing and I love original books and this was one of them. This book always had me on the edge on my seat, wondering what would happen next. And, I really loved how the setting worked too. They blended together so I could really see how having an above school and a below school would really work. Sometimes a plot or the setting doesn't work, but it definitely did in this case. I also liked the differences in the shape-shifting elements.


The characters held depth and I was lucky enough to be able to find out so much about them in this book. Usually, I only get the bare details, but in this story I was able to connect with all of them. I loved Phoebe and Colten. They were so good together and yet the very different in so many ways. I think what I liked about the relationships in the book is the fact that they had so much to overcome. And it was interesting to see how they did it.


I really loved the secondary characters too. They were funny, yet so real. I really loved the dialogue between them,The writing, I thought, was lovely and the imagery was also great. I loved how I was able to see and feel the places they went and I love the magical feeling of it all. I really liked this author's writing style and I would definitely read anything of hers again.


Overall, I really loved this book and would recommend it to anyone.Now for my rating 4 out of 5 stars

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Fun, feisty and full of snark

My Ex From Hell - Tellulah Darling
There's no secret that I love books based on mythology and  I have to say that I really enjoyed this book.  It was fun, feisty and full of snark.
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I feel at peace.

I just wanted to say hello to BookLikes and to thank you for taking me on.  I think I'm going to like it here.  


hello gifs photo: Doctor hello hello.gif


I'll be glad when I have my first review up.  I know I've imported some from Goodreads, but it'll feel good when I post my first actual BookLikes one. :)  That's when I'll really feel like part of the BookLikes family. 


Anyway, that's enough rambling for now. Bye. :)

Escaping Reality - Lisa Renee Jones

If you're looking for a book that's hot and spicy, 'Escaping Reality' has huge lashings of it. From suspense to erotically enticing scenes, this book steams you up in more ways than one.


Amy is running from a post that she doesn't appear to remember. She's brave, sassy, but caves in to her obvious desire for Liam. And, to be honest, who could blame her. She's a likable character who has flaws. She trusts too easily and is emotionally soft.


And Liam,


Liam is the type of character that you wouldn't mind doing things for, if he requested it, including licking his tattoo. Haha, some of you may be saying, 'not in a million years', but I would (just saying). He appealed to me because although he was possessive and did have moments when I thought he had reverted back into a caveman, I still loved him. He had an awful past that I think I've only seen a glimpse of, but he wasn't vigilante, even if there were times I wanted to slap him about the head and tell him not to be so bossy.


That edge of violence that I've read in some books wasn't there. Well, I haven't read anything like that in this first book. Despite what a lot of people may think, being around someone who hits is not romantic. It can be terrifying, sickening and as uncomfortable as hell (I speak from experience) regardless of the reason why it occurred in the first place. Yeah, and he definitely has Dominant traits and he has secrets.


Anyway, I really liked the writing style of this book. I wouldn't say that the book was action-packed, but there was enough going on to keep me highly entertained. I did have a bit of a problem though. It was a bit of a stretch to say this was New Adult. The main characters were 31 and 24. It was borderline adult. New Adult to me means that ALL the main characters are late teen or early twenties. Amy was New Adult (barely), but Liam was an adult and there's no getting away from that.


For those of you looking for a clean New Adult book to read, sadly this book won't be for you. It is a light read though and has a touch of mystery to hook you into Amy and Liam's story. Although 'frustrated' could be a key word for those of you who want to know everything by the end of the book. Luckily, I'm one of those readers who like mystery and cliffhangers as long as it is executed well.I would recommend this book to anyone who likes general fiction and doesn't mind erotically charged scenes.


Now for my rating:-three out of five stars.

Control (Shift, #2) - Kim Curran

Every now and then I come across a sequel that tries to be as good as the first. That's what happened in this case. Reading 'Control' was like visiting an old friend that I hadn't known I was missing, but finding out that part of the friend had changed during that time and they weren't quite the same.


Scott had more challenges ahead of himself in this new adventure, but he wasn't alone as some of his old friends from the last book return as well, along with some unexpected ones. I still liked him even though he lost his mind during a part of it.I didn't like Aubrey so much in this book. She seemed more whiny than kickass. She actually grated on my nerves at one point. In fact, I was disappointed that there wasn't more involvement with the secondary characters. They felt like they were just...there this time, not an integral part of the story as they had been in the last one.


I think what I mostly enjoyed about this book was the action. There was always something happening. I don't think the pace of the novel ever actually slowed down. And I really love the concept of 'shifting'. That you can somehow change the past by making a simple decision to do so. 'Control' took it one step further though. It went into what it would be like if someone who had the ability to shift did it for the wrong reasons. Writing about that kind of plot makes plot twists easy - and there were a few of them in this book. As with 'Shift' I really loved the writing style of this book.


Even with my disappointment with the lack of character involvement, I still found it easy to connect with the story itself. As with the first book, it is written in Scott's POV.So, on the whole, 'Control' did have some good points to it, but it also had some that I didn't like so much - it didn't have the 'wow' factor that I got from the last book. I will still go on to read the sequel though, because the ending was killer.


I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys sci-fi and has read the previous book.Now for my rating:-three out of five stars.

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