Aly in Wonderland

We All Looked Up

We All Looked Up - Tommy Wallach Strangely excited to read this.

YEAH!

Thank you, NetGalley and Simon & Schuster UK, for providing me with an ARC to review.

Magic Strikes

Magic Strikes  - Ilona Andrews Oh this series just keeps getting better and better.

Iced

Iced - Karen Marie Moning Oh boy. I never thought I'd say this but I LOVE DANI. Bless her heart.

Full review to come!

Authors for Goodreads

Authors for Goodreads - Tobias Gavran Just this:

Dedication
To everyone who writes
Be it romance, poetry, reviews,
Grocery lists, or novels, no matter their views
No matter their rights.
Goodreads is a place of free speech,
And if that makes you screech,
Please… Please…
{INSERT HURTFUL GIF}


And this:

The structure of Goodreads’ community seems to be dark and handsome. You may play hard to get, but you know that you want that stranger to wrap their big, muscular arms around you and tell you how beautiful you are. Oh, yeah, baby, let that stranger give you a hickey over the sound of the humming server farms! That’s it. Right there. (Tip #1: If you want to make money, write cheap erotica.)


And this:

{Insert iconic gif of Robert Downey Jr. to pretend this is working at any rate}


The Alpha Alternative: JZB Sex Scene

The Alpha Alternative: JZB Sex Scene - Karen Marie Moning What the fuck?

I'm so confused.

But Jericho Barrons. *fans self*

I must have him.

Trojan Wolf: Olympia

Trojan Wolf: Olympia - Tobias Gavran A short story of just over twenty pages (according to the copy on my iPad), Gavran weaves a story of magic and mystery incredibly well. It's action-packed from beginning to end and constantly keeps you on your toes. Although it's a fast, easy read, the reader is quickly sucked into the storyline and I, for one, am excited to find out more about these soldiers, the Trojan Wolf, and their missions. I was surprised to find that Gavran packed a lot of punches in such few pages -- there's magic, charms, warded weapons, super-fast , super-experienced killers and random twists and turns that catch you off-guard.



Full review to come on 100% Rock!

The Edge of Always

The Edge of Always  - J.A. Redmerski I can already guess what the "tragedy" that befalls them is.

I mean, in The Edge of Never, Camryn was pregnant. It's not hard to guess.

Also, might read this and only for the hilarity that will ensue.

The Edge of Never

The Edge of Never  - J.A. Redmerski
I always thought depression was so overrated, the way people toss the word around (a lot like the L-word that I will never say to a guy again for as long as I live). I never like to see someone hurting, but I admit whenever I heard someone play the depression card, I'd roll my eyes and go about my business.
Little did I know that depression is a serious disease.


Sometimes you read a book that is so bad, it actually becomes entertaining. After a pretty awful day, I decided to read The Edge of Never thanks to all the god awful reviews.

Needless to say, the only reason I got this book is because it was free. Thank you, shop that was closing down and was giving copies away.

Camryn is a fucking idiot. There's no nicer way to say it. She thinks every girl who isn't her is a slut, every man who she doesn't fancy is a rapist and believed depression was something people made up for attention. By page five, I'd rolled my eyes hard enough to irritate a nerve, thanks to little gems like this:

Instead of sitting around dreaming up new sex positions, as Natalie often does about Damon, her boyfriend of five years, I dream about things that really matter. What the air in other countries feels like on my skin, how the ocean smells, why the sound of rain makes me gasp. 'You're so deep, Camryn' Damon always says.




I must be pretty deep, too. I wonder about things like why dogs smell like dogs and if they smell different in other countries.



When Camryn's best friend's boyfriend, Damon, forces himself upon her, and when Camryn does the right thing and tells Natalie, her best friend, she is accused of being a "lying bitch" and told never to contact her again...



So she decides to do the most mature thing ever and run away, destination unknown, on a bus without telling anyone. Because, apparently, running away from problems that aren't so problematic if she actually talked to people is the answer to everything.



The Edge of Never is a good example of interesting plot but executed awfully with terrible characters and terrible writing.

He looks gently offended


I'm quietly stunned


He points gently


He is softly amused


My mouth parted with an offended spat of air


We both laugh gently


My face sours delicately




It's very much like the author just randomly picked out words from a hat, jumbled them together, and hoped they made sense.

Well, they don't. Stop it.

Not only is the writing pretty bad, but the love interest? He's the creepiest fuck I've ever had the displeasure to read about. The kind of guy who has been talking to Camryn all of FIVE MINUTES, and thinks she is his "property" and "territory".

I resist the urge to watch her, noticing how soft and innocent she looks, which makes me that much more primal, more protective.
The pervert seems to have stopped watching her when he saw us sitting together inside the last terminal. In the eyes of men, he probably sees her as my territory now, my property.


The kind of guy who thinks this is hot:

"If you were to let me fuck you, you would have to let me own you."


The kind of guy who takes stalking to whole new level:

"When you were in the bathroom the next morning and I gave you two minutes to get ready..."
"Yeah, I remember. What did you do?"
He smiles nervously. "I sort of took a picture of your driver's license with my phone."[...]"I just wanted to make sure I knew how to find you again," he confesses.


And of course, instead of running for the hills, Camryn thinks that is the SWEETEST, MOST ADORABLE THING EVAAAA!1!!!!1!ONE!



Camryn is the sort of cute you want to high five in the face with a shovel. Andrew is the sort of hot you want to roast on a BBQ, not sleep with.

Speaking of sex, the scenes were incredibly cringey and awful.

"Lick my pussy! Goddamnit, Andrew, lick my fucking pussy!"



And, of course, there is a TERRIBLE tragedy, because it wouldn't be cheap, "heartbreaking" New Adult without a tragedy, amirite? I mean, what happened to HEAs? And OF COURSE the TERRIBLE TRAGEDY is easily resolved in like two pages and everything is fine and dandy, which really begs the question: what was the point in including it in the first place?

It was really sickening, actually, how Andrew didn't tell Camryn he had a tumour and might die. That was the most selfish thing I've ever heard. She only found out when he had a goddamn seizure. What the fuck? That's romantic, not telling someone you're dying, that you have cancer?



Well done on being a Class A Dickwad, Andrew. Really.

ZERO STARS.

Black Ice

Black Ice - Becca Fitzpatrick

Just stay calm, Aly. Stay calm.

There is so much wrong in this book that I can't fully comprehend how editors and the like didn't pick up on it, how Sugarscape called this "The perfect escape into fantasy and a love that can break all boundaries."

Then again, it's Sugarscape. I shouldn't be too surprised.



And yeah, the front cover does have "Falling in love should never be this dangerous..." on the front so really, it's my fault. What's the saying? "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me"? Really, I'd been warned plenty. It's a shame, because I received this as a Christmas gift from my mum, and the premise sounded exactly like my cup of tea. Road trip gone wrong? Stranded in the woods? Survival? What's that? Men are keeping them hostage?! Hand it right over!

But the second I cracked open this little gem, I was confronted with this:

They didn't want a free-spirited artist in the family. They wanted a daughter with a diploma from Stanford.
If they would just love her. Then she wouldn't wear tight, cheap dresses that infuriated her mother or throw her passion into causes that offended her father's egoism and stiff, aristocratic morals.


Do you know what I'm tired of? People thinking being an artist is "rebellious", that wearing tight dresses is "immoral" and "wrong", that every boy artist or music lover is a weed-smoker. This book is so full of stereotyping, I'm both shocked and offended.

And, of course, I'm tired of parents wanting the best for their children being called "suffocating" and "restricting." Let's be honest, parents who want the best for their children aren't awful at all. There are parents out there who really don't give a crap about their children, and that's sad.

Yet, in every single book I've read featuring rich kids, they're all represented as awful, unfeeling monsters. I don't deny that there are OTT parents out there, but every single rich kid YA book really plays on that trope. It's sad.

Here's the real kicker: Black Ice is shelved under "fantasy" and "paranormal".

What? WHERE IS THE FANTASY? WHERE IS THE PARANORMAL?

OH, I get it. Fantasy because this would never happen in a million years and paranormal it goes beyond scientific understanding. That, I can deal with. It also makes sort of sense.

This is the worst mystery/thriller I have ever read, ever. This is a pathetic love story cleverly concealed as a mystery/thriller. This is the result of some girl's angry, pissed off thoughts about her boyfriend dumping her on prom night, and her not being able to deal with it. This is... I can't. I just can't.

Britt and Korbie are off on an adventure! They're going to spend Spring Break hiking forty miles across the Teton Range! Britt has been training the entire year in the hopes her ex-boyfriend tags along because he luuurves hiking! Teen angst, yay! Sappy I'll-get-him-back plans, yay! How exciting! How RIVETING!

No, really though. From the first chapter, I knew Britt and I weren't going to get along. She's a daddy's girl who has never done anything for herself, always running to daddy, boyfriend and brother to help her out. She says a boy should quit his job just because he doesn't kneel down and kiss the ground she walks on. She despises the fact that her ex-boyfriend has moved on and, a year later, she's still pining after him. It's pathetic. It's ridiculous how weak girls are portrayed in this book, and it's awful to see how people react when they excel at something.

Oh no! Rain! Oh no! Snow! A blizzard! Oh crap, the car has stalled! Now what? What's that up there? Oh, a cabin! Yay, Britt and Korbie are saved!

Wait! That guys is so mean for not letting them in. They should probably insult him. Yeah, bitch at them both, force your way in, and then wave your richness in their faces! That'll get them to help you, right? Britt, tell them all about your "top of the line" mountain hiking equipment!

Le gasp! One of them has a gun!

HE'S HOLDING THEM HOSTAGE!

Oh, come on. It's like these girls have never seen a goddamn horror film in their lives. This is exactly like every other cheap, B-Line horror I've seen.

Oh! Korbie has been left behind in the cabin! Britt has to lead them to the highway! But everyone will freeze! One of them is really hot though. But there's not enough shelter! He's really hot. What about food?! Hot damn, look at dem lips! Another cabin! Britt, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! Wait, you should probably sit around and then have a nice, wistful chat to the "hot" kidnapper about the mean kidnapper before venturing back. Because, y'know, he's really hot.

The mean kidnapper has been shot! YAY! RUN AWAY, BRITT. Oh, okay, or you can just camp out with the hot kidnapper, make out with him for a while, use alcohol as an excuse. You know. Real clever. YOU GO GIRL.

I'm so done. So beyond done. The "plot twists"? Saw them from a mile away. How else was Britt going to clear her conscience about making out with the guy who assisted in her kidnapping? The "closure"-type ending? Yep. Knew that was going to happen, too.

It's not cute. It's not sweet. It's not romantic. I'm only giving it an extra star because I'm a sucker for the lost-and-stranded-in-the-woods plot, but that's about it.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Blue Lily, Lily Blue - Maggie Stiefvater I can't get over how gorgeous the covers for this series are.

#bookporn

The Seeker

The Seeker - Stephenie Meyer Didn't the first one come out like 4 years ago?

Isn't this series dead already?

The Dream Thieves

The Dream Thieves - Maggie Stiefvater This review is now LIVE on 100% Rock!


“In that moment, Blue was a little in love with all of them.
Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness.
Her raven boys."


Well, hot damn. Now that I have had time to reflect upon this, I have to admit, I'm rating it a little higher than before. I loved this instalment of The Raven Cycle, and what can I say, I'm also loving the Gansey vibes.

So, right now, I am a huge Gansey and Ronan fan (and even Blue). I still don't like Adam. I don't think I ever will.

What I liked:

- Although not much happened in this book, a lot happened, too. Does that make sense? Plot-wise, we didn't get much out of it, but character wise... Oh, boy.
- The characters have more than grown on me. I like Gansey It's a post-Christmas miracle! His personality, although overwhelming, is a lot easier to swallow. Also the new characters they added were brilliantly done.
- Legends. I love legends. We get so much more history and it's done in a way that doesn't bore you to tears. Hurrah!
- Ronan. RONAN FOREVER.



What I didn't like:

- Adam. Just go away. He's the whiniest brat I have ever met and is never happy. I get that the awakening of the ley line changed him, but there's "change" and then there's being an absolute dickhead to your best friends.



Seriously. Stahp.

The full review will be up on 100% Rock!

This Is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn

This Is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn - Aidan Chambers I remember really liking this book when I read it back in '08 (I think). The story was wonderful, the voice defined and distinguished from the rest. However, I can't remember a whole lot of it, so I will possibly be doing a re-read at one point or another.

The Pull of Destiny

The Pull of Destiny - Hotcheri I remember being completely in love with this story when hotcheri was posting it on FictionPress. So much so that I checked my inbox every week awaiting the newest chapter.

But I think that's what had made me love it so much. Many chapters ended on cliffhangers, and thirteen year old me just had to know what happened next, but in a full-length novel to read, it didn't work out as well as it did online.

The storyline is the same as many, but I really enjoyed the characters, the interracial differences in the relationship between rich-and-important boy Luke and the girl who had nothing Celsi. It's pretty sweet, too, how they work through the hate/hate barriers towards hate/love, and how the relationship progresses and evolves.

However, reading it as a book, I found myself a little bit bored with how things kept taking a turn for the worse, even when it was unnecessary and many issues could've been resolved just by talking to each other.

Kids, it ain't that hard.

Game of the Few

Game of the Few - Teri Terry I SERIOUSLY have got to stop requesting ARCs. They're going to be the death of me.

But



Although Terry's Slated trilogy was not my cup of tea, I have hopes for this one. It sounds right up my alley.

Conspiracy Girl

Conspiracy Girl - Sarah Alderson **Thank you Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for the ARC in exchange for an honest review**


We can't save everyone. Finn's right. Sometimes it's all we can do to save ourselves.


After the brutal murders of her mother and step-sister, and after the supposed murderers walked free, Nic Preston now lives in New York City, fighting her OCD and stress with high-tech security on her apartment, kick-boxing and a tight routine alongside her guard dog Goz. She's studying psychology and has a tight leash on her life. Nothing else can go wrong. Right?

Wrong.

Here, I am going to admit that the first quarter was not my cup of tea. Nic's internal monologue and slowness of the story just didn't grab me. The fact that I was dealing with a second point of view, too, didn't sit right with me, either. Why? Because Finn comes across as a total dickwad straight away. First impressions are a big deal, and if I were to meet Finn in real life, his first impression on me would probably end up with a shoe hurled at his face.

I mean that in the nicest way possible.

However, the deeper I delved into the story, the more tangled things got. I have no reservations in saying that, although I've only read one other book by her, Conspiracy Girl has got to be Sarah Alderson's best story yet, just for the sheer research that went into it.

We're dealing with pay-offs, mob murders and hackers. What's not to enjoy? And the hacking side of the story is what really made me love it. It's always been interesting for me to learn about these geniuses that hide behind a computer screen, capable of doing absolutely anything, no matter how well protected you think you are. I mean, someone out there could've hacked into your computer, and you wouldn't even know about it. Someone could be looking through your files, digging through your things that you think you're keeping private, or even looking at you through your webcam. It's creepy as fuck. Imagine not having that privacy, the thin veil of anonymity as you sit at your computer, typing away. Imagine if someone can literally strip back all those firewalls, and lay everything out on a silver platter for the whole world to chew on.

Scared yet?

Imagine how Nic Preston felt when, coming home from her daily workout, she realises someone has broken into her apartment. An apartment, may I add, secured to the tens. Not even the nines, but tens. We're talking top-notch security cameras, sensors, passwords. It's impenetrable. Or so she thinks. Because someone has managed to strip away every single bit of security, and threaten her life.

I slam my bedroom door shut and draw the bolt, scrambling towards the panic button that's built into the bedside table and ramming the hell of my hand down on it. Collapsing to my knees, I stare wide-eyed at the door. Three minutes, I tell myself. The armed response unit will be here in three minutes.
The door is reinforced with steel. Nothing, no one, can get through it. The security guy told me my apartment was as safe as the President's nuclear bunker.


People are dead. Shit is real. This isn't a nightmare or a sick manifesting hallucination.

As soon as I throw open the door, Goz flies past me, snarling. He leaps towards the body lying on the floor and I scream, calling him off, even as I throw myself towards the person on the ground.


The FBI are involved, and suddenly she's on the run, jumping from her home to a safe house...

"Well," says Agent Corbell, "something doesn't add up. I don't think we're looking at an ordinary break-and-enter."
Just then Agent Ziv appears behind her. "We good to go?" he asks Agent Corbell.
She looks at me. "Nic, do you want some help packing a bag?"
"What? Why?" I ask, looking between them both.
"We're taking you to a safe house."


And then, inexplicably, to a man's apartment. The very man who helped the supposed murderers of her family walk free.

"You!"
Bracing myself, I turn around.
[...]
"You're the guy who testified for the defence in my mother's trial," she says. "You're the reason her killers walked free."
I sigh under my breath. This is just great. "Guilty," I say, immediately regretting my choice of word.


Finn is a hacker. One of the best in the world, apparently, and his job is to look after Nic whilst the FBI do their thing, and figure out who is behind the hacking of the security systems.

Once I got over my initial impression, I enjoyed reading Finn's point of view a little bit more than Nic's. Even though he's really far too perfect to be even real. But whatever. A girl can dream.

I frown at his driver's licence photo as it pops up on my screen. He has a shiny forehead, is already starting to lose his hair and has a nose you could slalom ski off. She's dating this guy? He looks like the kind of dude who'd spray down the sheets with antiseptic before making love and bleach them straight afterwards.
The king of guy who wouldn't know what to do with a woman if she lay down naked and offered herself to him with an instruction manual.


Oh, Finn. You funny fucker, you.




It's action packed. The moment I thought I could put this down, something else happened and I was immediately sucked into the action.

The characters have depth. Although they may give off the worst first impressions ever (Finn, I'm looking at you), and although their backgrounds are between questionable and downright unbelievable, it still gives them a certain depth so you can really feel them.

There is insta-attraction quickly smothered by insta-revulsion on Nic's side. How refreshing! It takes her a while (and, believe me, staying cooped up with that one person day in and day out for weeks can fix this kind of thing) to really see Finn after everything he, unwillingly and blindly, put her through in the past. Although he's instantly attracted to her body, he, too, keeps his distance. After all, he's working with the FBI and canoodling with someone you're meant to be protecting is a big no-no.

As the story unfolds, it all starts to make sense. Unlike some conspiracy books, you're not left absolutely flabbergasted. As pieces start falling into place, you go, "Ah-HA!" It's absolutely genius, the way it unfolds and how it all begins to make sense.

3.5 stars. I was pleasantly surprised.

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