Elements of Chemistry series (by Penny Reid)

New Adult

Kaitlyn has spent her life hiding in closets and generally being invisible. And the one person she is hiding from more than any other is Martin Sandeke, her lab partner.  He has a reputation as a love ’em and leave ’em kind of guy. Someone who breaks a woman’s heart and leaves her in tears.

After one of her closet excursions she overhears two students plotting against Martin. Disgusted with what they are planning she sets about saving him from their scheme.  But it seems that in saving him she has inadvertently come to his notice.

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Elements of Chemistry is a three book series that to be honest is a single book in three acts. It has all the things you expect in New Adult novels –– infatuation, lust, misunderstandings, jealousy, angst –– but those elements aren’t overplayed and the series is better for it.

I do think parts one and two are a little stronger than part three which seemed to drag a little but I’m still more than happy to say this is probably the best New Adult series I’ve read.

Oh…and the answer is Oxytocin if you were wondering.

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 6.08.18 pmOrange, Red, Yellow. What it means: red-orange-yellow-guide

 

Lumière (by Jacqueline E. Garlick)

Steampunk

When her father disappeared, Eyelet and her mother eked out a life in Brethren, all the while hiding her affliction from the authorities lest she be sent to an insane asylum. Then her mother is accused of being a witch and executed and Eyelet must escape or suffer a similar fate.

With her only guide a cryptic message from her mother that she needs to find one of her father’s inventions she sets off to the town of Gears where her father hid the machine. But just as the machine is in sight it’s whisked away from her by the enigmatic Urlick.

Reluctant allies, they find themselves right in the middle of a plot to turn her father’s invention from it’s intended use and make it into a super weapon.


 
This book is quite surprising. I honestly don’t quite know where to put it. It’s YA, definitely steampunk, but there is enough horror in there to make me leave on a light or two. It really isn’t like any other book I’ve read. I can see that there will be no middle ground with this book, you’ll either love it or hate it. I loved it.

And the ending is perfect in it’s breathtaking simplicity!

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 9.12.41 pmMany thanks to Skyscape and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

Orange, Red, Yellow. What it means:   red-orange-yellow-guide

Uprooted (by Naomi Novik)

Fantasy

Agnieszka lives in a small village in a valley at the very edge of the kingdom. Just beyond her home is the Wood, a malevolent and magical forest full of evil and magic. All that stands between the wood sweeping through her village is a cold and driven wizard known as the Dragon. For his services in battling the wood, every 10 years the village must offer up one girl who will act as his servant for the next 10 years and live with him in his tower.

Everyone knows that the next girl he will choose will be Kasia. She is both beautiful and a good cook. She has been preparing for the day the dragon will come and take her since she could talk. So when the dragon arrives and chooses Agnieszka –– clumsy, dirty, tree climbing Agnieszka, everyone is stunned, but before anyone can say a word she is whisked away to the tower to begin her new life.

The Dragon went to the village to find a servant. He wasn’t expecting to find a witch. But Agnieszka is no ordinary witch. She can read and cast spells that have been lost for many thousands of years. In her is both the power to destroy the kingdom and the power to save it.


 

I’m completely speechless. Uprooted is perfect. In every way. It finished perfectly but I still wanted (want) more. As soon as I read the last lines, I wanted to read the whole thing again. It’s that good.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 9.12.41 pmOrange, Red, Yellow. What it means: red-orange-yellow-guide

Killer Jam (by Karen MacInerney)

Cozy Mystery

After years as a journalist in Houston, Lucy cashes in her retirement and buys the farm which once belonged to her grandmother. Her plans are to make jams and other homestyle items to sell at farmers’ markets. So when she discovers that the Nettie who sold her the farm kept the mineral rights to the land and before the ink had even dried on the contract sent an oil exploration truck out to her land she was anything but happy.

Then Nettie shows up dead and the town’s sheriff, Nettie’s nephew is determined to put Lucy away for the crime. With the police more interested arresting her than catching the real killer it’s left up to Lucy to investigate the crime and catch the killer.


 
Cozy mysteries have always been a fun way to kill time for me. I know they’re formula. I know they all follow basically the same pattern and I know that I’ll probably forget even the best of them after a few days. I don’t really care. They’re fluff but they’re entertaining fluff.

So no, Killer Jam isn’t the greatest book ever written. It’s not even the greatest book I’ve read this month, but it’s good fun and honestly it’s not pretending to be anything else.

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 8.51.33 pmOrange, Red, Yellow. What it means: red-orange-yellow-guide

I Need a Hero (by Emma Bennet)

Contemporary Romance

Bronte is waiting for perfect. So when Ryan, who doesn’t meet her definition of perfect moves in next door, she immediately consigns him to the friend-zone. And despite his obvious interest and his being a pretty damned nice guy, she continues to gently turn him down throughout the book.

When she meets Sebastian she thinks she’s finally met the perfect guy. It’s like he stepped out of the pages of one of the romance books she writes, but honestly he’s a complete douche. Yet she continues to make allowances for him despite his being an ass-hat.

Naturally she finally realises that Ryan is perfect but as I write this review with a chapter to go and the resolution still up in the air I kind of hope he’s chosen the other woman. He’s honestly too good for her. I mean she takes stomping the hearts of good men into the mud to dizzying heights. I really didn’t like her much.

Adding to my issues with the book is the narrative style. Emma Bennet doesn’t seem to use enough pronouns. At the very least in the beginning. I stopped noticing it after about 20% so she either started using them or I had acclimatised to her narrative style.

There are definitely good things in this book. The author writes scenes brilliantly, but somehow in stitching those scenes into a story it loses some of the brilliance and ends up being just OK.

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 8.51.33 pmMany thanks to Joffe Books and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

Orange, Red. What it means:  red-orange-yellow-guide

Thirty-Four and a Half Predicaments (by Denise Grover Swank)

Mystery 

(part of a series)

Two decades earlier, Rose’s mother died in a car crash. The police at the time decided it was an accident and the case was closed, but Rose has good reason to believe her mother was murdered. As she investigates she uncovers a web of lies and corruption that stretch all the way to the present day and the people who are closest to her.

 

 


 

Thirty-Four and a Half Predicaments is a stand out as one of the best in the series. I’ve enjoyed them all, they’re entertaining fun reads but apart from book 1, Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes I wouldn’t say any of them are brilliant. Until now. This book is breathtakingly good right up to the conclusion which left me speechless.

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The Other Daughter (by Lauren Willig)

Historical (1920s)

After her mother dies of influenza, Rachel stumbles upon a picture torn from the society pages of a magazine. It’s of her father, who she thought was dead, together with his daughter –– the eponymous other daughter. As an earl he has everything –– wealth, status and respect. All things she lacks.

She forms an uneasy alliance with Simon, a gossip columnist who is a society insider and manages to insinuate herself into the bright young things of London in the 1920s. But as she sets her plan into motion to confront the father who abandoned her, everything starts crashing down around her.


The Other Daughter is good…occasionally it’s brilliant but it still somehow managed to leave me feeling a little unsatisfied. The resolutions are painfully sparse and in some cases completely absent. You grow to love Olivia and Cece but they just disappear without so much as a ‘by your leave’.

Overall, it’s worth the effort but those few missteps tarnished an otherwise great book.

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 8.51.33 pmOrange, Red. What it means: red-orange-yellow-guide