Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy: review

CriminalCriminal by Terra Elan McVoy
Stand Alone
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult/New Adult
Genre: Realistic, Thriller, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 7th 2013
Synopsis: A searing and gripping read that explores the depths of desperation true love can inspire, from the author of Being Friends with Boys.

Nikki’s life is far from perfect, but at least she has Dee. Her friends tell her that Dee is no good, but Nikki can’t imagine herself without him. He’s hot, he’s dangerous, he has her initials tattooed over his heart, and she loves him more than anything. There’s nothing Nikki wouldn’t do for Dee. Absolutely nothing.

So when Dee pulls Nikki into a crime—a crime that ends in murder—Nikki tells herself that it’s all for true love. Nothing can break them apart. Not the police. Not the arrest that lands Nikki in jail. Not even the investigators who want her to testify against him.

But what if Dee had motives that Nikki knew nothing about? Nikki’s love for Dee is supposed to be unconditional…but even true love has a limit. And Nikki just might have reached hers.

My Thoughts:

I believe that there are different ways to love someone. After reading so many books, watching so many movies and T.V. shows, I think that I have found out about many of those ways. But Criminal is the first novel that I have read that features such a dark, startling honest story about the consequences of being utterly blinded by love. But awhile this is a strong and solid story, I did have a few quibbles here and there.

The Things That I Liked–

— Criminal is super addictive. The story is tough to read through at times, but there is just something so compulsively addictive. Perhaps it is the yearning of knowing the characters’ fates. Perhaps it is the massive want of finally seeing the bright light at the end of the tunnel. Whatever it was, it kept me reading.

— I also have to say that Criminal packs quite a punch. There were times that I felt like it was hopeless. There were times when I celebrated. And then there were times when I just felt angry. McVoy did an excellent job at pulling just the right emotions out of me.

— The writing, although it is very minimalistic at times, is very good. McVoy’s prose matches the mood of the story perfectly, enhancing the dark, cold feel that I already felt all too well.

–Nikki is the type of character who needs to be written with a careful hand. She is very, very rough around the edges. She is desperate, blinded by love. But it is that terrible flaw that makes her transition from a girl who can’t see to a girl who can is incredible. Nikki’s growth as a person is a reason alone to read this novel.

— The side characters were given a fair amount of attention and written well. Bird, Priscilla, and the rest of the group were created with finesse. Awhile some like Cherry can be categorized easily, most of them can’t.

The Things That I Didn’t Like

— I feel massively disappointed by Dee’s character. As the reader, all I could feel towards him was hatred and disgust. I could feel nothing else. Nothing else at all. You see, I like antagonist who are fleshed out. I like feeling sympathy, even if just a fragment of it, toward them. The reader doesn’t learn anything about Dee, which is, to be blunt, disappointing.

— Open endings are not normally my thing. And the ending of this book is no exception. The end of Criminal would have been much more satisfying if it had an epilogue devoted to Nikki’s future.

The Verdict

Criminal is a dark story with solid writing and a good group of characters that knows what story it is trying to tell– and is completely honest about it. Which is absolutely refreshing. I would certainly recommend this novel to people who are aching for a story that doesn’t hold back anything.

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The Edge Of Never by J.A. Redmerski: review

The Edge of Never (The Edge of Never, #1)The Edge Of Never by J.A. Redmerski

Series: The Edge of Never #1

My Rating: 1.5 out of 5 Stars

Age Group: New Adult

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: Self Published

Release Date: November 15th 2012

Synopsis: Twenty-year-old Camryn Bennett thought she knew exactly where her life was going. But after a wild night at the hottest club in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, she shocks everyone-including herself-when she decides to leave the only life she’s ever known and set out on her own. Grabbing her purse and her cell phone, Camryn boards a Greyhound bus ready to find herself. Instead, she finds Andrew Parrish.

Sexy and exciting, Andrew lives life like there is no tomorrow. He persuades Camryn to do things she never thought she would and shows her how to give in to her deepest, most forbidden desires. Soon he becomes the center of her daring new life, pulling love and lust and emotion out of her in ways she never imagined possible. But there is more to Andrew than Camryn realizes. Will his secret push them inseparably together-or destroy them forever?

My Thoughts:

I will say without any hesitation that The Edge of Never has committed the serious sin known as cover-fraud. Okay, okay, I know I shouldn’t be suckered into reading a book because of the cover, but look at that it! I just want to grab that cover and hug it. Unfortunately, the content under the cover is not something I want to hug.

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The story could have been an amazing, emotional, and ultimately extraordinary love story. But the execution wasn’t up to par. There were many moments that were tedious to get through and some that had me wondering what purpose they made to the story.

One of my main issues with The Edge of Never is how offensive it is. There is slut-shaming, misogyny, rape jokes, bad portrayal of women, and bad portrayal of men. And what makes me angry is how easily Redmerski could have avoided this. It is not that hard to delete a sentence that is offensive from a page. It really isn’t.

The topic of depression should be handled carefully and with experienced hands. I don’t think Redmerski did very well with writing about depression. I couldn’t actually believe that Camryn was actually suffering from depression, and the way she recovered her zest for life is a bad portrayal of the people who are struggling through depression, I think. I am no expert on depression so take this paragraph with a grain of salt.

I barely had any emotional connection other than indifference to Camryn and Andrew. Camryn is judgmental, full of herself, and hypocritical. I couldn’t find it within me to feel sorry for her most of the time. And the moments I could sympathise for her were short lived. Andrew was a teensy but better, but even he got on my nerves. The decisions he made were very stupid at times and I couldn’t understand them. And as a love interest, Andrew was terrible.

The romance in the novel was mediocre at best sometimes. I will acknowledge that there were a few cute moments, but the happy feelings I got from those short scenes were completely obliterated whenever Andrew mentioned that he owned Camryn’s freedom. The misogyny in Andrew and Camryn’s relationship is blatant and rage-inducing.

The prose isn’t the very impressive. There are many weird phrases uses, and many words were use repetitively. Redmerski also made the characters say some odd things that only ruined meaningful moments instead of increasing their quality.

The road trip is the best element of The Edge of Never. I never tire of books that are about getting in a car and driving into new locations and discovering new things. The road trip element is the reason why I never got bored of this book.

I am sorry for this ultra rambly review, but I had a lot to say about this book even though it was mostly horrid. The Edge of Never wasn’t at all the great introduction to the NA Contemporary genre that I wanted it to be. Now only one question remains. Will I be reading the sequel? Heck, no.

*buddy read with Nenia 🙂

Transfusion by Nikki Jefford: review

TransfusionTransfusion by Nikki Jefford

Series: Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #1

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Age Group: New Adult

Genre: Paranormal, Romance

Publisher: Self-Published

Release Date: December 9th 2012

Synopsis: If there is one thing eighteen-year-old Aurora Sky wants, it’s to get off the iceberg she calls home. Being kissed before she graduates wouldn’t hurt either.

Then a near-fatal car wreck changes everything. Government agents step in and save Aurora’s life in exchange for her services as a vampire hunter. In Alaska. Basically she’s a glorified chew toy. All thanks to her rare blood type, which sends a vampire into temporary paralysis right before she has to finish the job… by hand.
Now Aurora’s only friends are groupies of the undead and the only boy she can think about may very well be a vampire. And if he’s a vampire, will she be forced to kill him?

My Thoughts:

There are many books that people read just for the sheer entertainment value. Transfusion is one of those books. Awhile it does have an entertaining vampire story it doesn’t offer anything new to the paranormal genre. Nor does it execute a vampire story better than other popular vampire novels. But it is funfunfunfun.

Aurora is our uniquely names protagonist. She is a very tough girl who goes through a lot of trauma. Her reactions to the things happening to her are fairly realistic. She does have does times when the terrible things to her become to much for her, but she bounces back! Her voice and personality are both disticnt. All in all, Aurora is a character that is easy to root for.

The side characters could have been more fleshed out, I believe. They were good for side characters but I felt like the story could have been a lot better with a fleshed out cast of characters.

The prose and dialogue could have been polished up. Some similes or metaphors felt awkward to me and a few conversation didn’t feel very smooth. But if you just want a book to read to have fun then the awkwardness shouldn’t be that big of a bother.

The story starts out with a big bang! The conflict is introduced quickly and there are some adrenalin pumping action scenes. I loved that about the beginning. But as the story went on drama started to leak into the plot. Instead of blood-sucking vampires and awesome fights there was more drama that could have been left out. More vampire and less drama with have been better 😛

I would recommend Transfusion to people who just want a book that is fun. It isn’t the best book in the world but I got a lot of enjoyment out of it. So if you are having a bad day go read this book and just be happy you aren’t Aurora.

*This post is part of the Aurora Sky Blog Tour. An advanced copy was provided in exchange for a honest review.

My Imaginary Ex by Mina V. Esguerra: review

My Imaginary ExMy Imaginary Ex by Mina V. Esguerra

Stand Alone

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Age Group: New Adult/Young Adult

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Chick Lit

Publisher: Summit Media

Release Date: 2009

Synopsis: Here’s what happens when you play pretend.

When Zack asks Jasmine to pretend to be his ex-girlfriend, she gamely agrees, thinking it would be fun. A few years later, she still has to keep convincing people that they were never together! Then one day, she finds out he’s getting married—to someone she’d just met once! All of a sudden, things aren’t so clear-cut anymore. Can Jasmine sort out her feelings (sometimes, she can’t even tell real from pretend when it comes to her and Zack) before it’s too late?

My Thoughts:

I am a very girly person and I love fun, cute love stories. Love stories that are written well never fail to make me absolutely giddy. I am not afraid to admit the my girly self squees a lot when I encounter a cute story. One day I was struck with the want of a cute love story and so I picked up My Imaginary Ex. Do you know what happened when I read it? I squeeed. (Is squeeed even a word?)

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My Imaginary Ex is a fun, amusing friend-to-couple tale that is very different from the norm. When Jasmine was in college a boy named Zack asked her to pretend to be his ex-girlfriend because the girl he liked only dated boys who had dated before. After the lie was created it just kept growing and growing. Years later, people still think that Jasmine and Zack used to date each other!

One day Jasmine finds out that Zack is getting married to a Kimmy, a woman she has never met. After this happens things quickly turn complicated when two of Zack’s past ex-girlfriends* meet up with Jasmine and tell her that she must stop the marriage! Jasmine must figure out how she feels about Zack before time runs out.

I admit that My Imaginary Ex had a story structure that took some time to get used to for me. The story has many flashbacks that show how Jasmine and Zack’s relationship was in the past and how it got to it is in present time. When I did get used to it I found that it worked really well. I was able to find more about Jasmine and Zack which would only make me root for them as a couple even more.

The characters in My Imaginary Ex were fun to read about. Jasmine is a bit dense but she is a nice character to read about overall. I could tell that Lena and Marjorie really cared about Zack even though they were driven to break up with him in the past. It is not everyday one gets to read a love story where the ex-girlfriends do the matchmaking! Zack is the kind a of guy who is afraid to confess to the one he loves in fear of ruining the friendship between them. He doesn’t let people know much about himself but he is still sweet. He did have a interesting way of getting his crush Lena to date him in college 😛

I love stories where friends turn into a couple so Jasmine and Zack’s relationship worked well for me. I know this sounds really cheesy but I do want the love of my life to be friends with me first before we start dating so I guess that was probably why I liked this story so much.

My Imaginary Ex was a fun, short book to romp through and I would definitely recommend it for someone who is in search for a cute story. This book fulfilled my girly want for a love story. At first, I was afraid to read this book because I knew that I would compare it to Fairy Tale Fail which was by the same author. Thankfully, this book was still good. (Fairy Tale Fail is still better, though!)

Now if you need me I will be browsing through the store in search of Love Your Frenemies which tells Kimmy’s side of the story!

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