Book Review: Under My SKin (Zoe Markham)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Carina UK

Release Date: March 31st 2015

Summary (from Goodreads):

Inside we are all monsters…

Chloe was once a normal girl. Until the night of the car crash that nearly claimed her life. Now Chloe’s mother is dead, her father is a shell of the man he used to be and the secrets that had so carefully kept their family together are falling apart.

A new start is all Chloe and her father can hope for, but when you think you’re no longer human how can you ever start pretending?

A contemporary reworking of a British horror classic, Under My Skin follows seventeen-year-old Chloe into an isolated world of darkness and pain, as she struggles to understand what it really means to be alive.

Set against the familiar backdrop of everyday, normal teenage worries, Chloe’s world has become anything but…

Review:

I read and enjoyed White Lies by Zoe Markham earlier this year so was really excited when she offered me this review copy. I’m a big horror fan and couldn’t wait to get stuck in.

Under My Skin is like a modern version of Frankenstein, which I have to admit, I haven’t read, but I know the story generally (who doesn’t?!) It’s quite a slow burner and not really the make you jump or afraid to sleep at night kind of horror either. This is more of a body horror, with a big focus on how Chloe feels about her new predicament and the effects on her body – eating copious amounts of meat to fuel her, worrying that she must smell like death etc.

I loved that a lot of the focus was really on every day life and Chloe trying to fit in and regain what she had lost. It may be hard to understand at first, and in the beginning I was on her dad’s side: when there’s so much at stake and you’ve risked so much, why would you throw it away by being careless or for little whims like going to the library. But the more the book went on, the more I agreed with Chloe as she tried to get back to normal. Her dad may have bought her back to life, but what’s the point of being alive if you’re not living a life? With her stuck in the house, miserable and isolated, it felt like it would have been a waste of the second chance she’d been given.

The science stuff was played nicely too. There’s was enough detail to explain the events, without going into it so much that it got too technical or unbelievable. I also loved that for a lot of the beginning, Chloe didn’t overtly say what had happened to her; there were just lots of clues. As I’d gone into it not really knowing what it was about, I liked being able to work it out from the hints she dropped.

When I was sent this, Zoe mentioned it ‘never made the grade for paperback’ and I think that’s such a shame. I really enjoyed it, and it has some fantastic reviews on Goodreads too. I hope this book can find the audience it deserves.

4

Book Review: The Crown (Kiera Cass)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books

Pages: 288

Release Date: May 3rd 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Twenty years have passed since the events of The One, and America and Maxon’s daughter is the first princess to hold a Selection of her own. Princess Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you… and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult—and more important—than she ever expected.

Review:

I requested this on NetGalley despite not having read all of the previous book, The Heir – I had a sample of the first few chapters but never got round to getting the whole book. Still I was interested in seeing how the series ended, so after a quick catch up on the events of The Heir I was ready to go.

It didn’t feel that Eadlyn had changed much from the last book: she was still very self-obsessed and selfish and I didn’t particularly like her. Unfortunately, my opinion of her didn’t change much throughout the book. While I could see she was genuinely interested in helping her people, so much of her inner monologue was still about herself and people’s perceptions of her and it got a bit tiresome.

My main problem with this was that it didn’t seem to have much point to it. With the previous Selection books, while there was a big focus on the love story and the competition, there were more serious plot lines throughout with the danger of the rebels. This book lacked that threat. While there was something that threatened Eadlyn a little, it was nowhere near as dramatic and it came over half way through the book. It just felt like the real conflict was lacking.

I liked the final outcome of the Selection, which was not completely unexpected but fitted well with the story and characters. I was a little disappointed with Hale’s storyline. It’s difficult to say without spoilers, but it just felt like stereotyping and I kind of wanted more than that. Hopefully you’ll understand what I mean when you read it!

This series has been a bit like a guilty pleasure: although I don’t think the stories are really gripping or amazing, I do enjoy them and I can’t help but race through them. It was an interesting end to the series, and I will make sure I catch up with The Heir properly soon.

3

Book Review: Unrivalled (Alyson Noel)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Harlequin UK

Release Date: May 10th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

EVERYONE wants to be someone.

Layla Harrison wants to be a reporter.
Aster Amirpour wants to be an actress.
Tommy Phillips wants to be a guitar hero.
But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her own a long time ago.

She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.

That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and are lured into a competition. The prize, or rather the target? Madison Brooks.

Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.

Review:

This was one of those books where the blurb sounded more interesting than the story really was. Unfortunately I really struggled to maintain my interest.

What sounds like the inciting incident – Madison Brooks going missing – doesn’t actually happen until quite near the end of the book. Before that, there was a lot of introduction to all the main characters, and then there’s the competition, which takes up most of the book. And while it sounds sinister in the blurb – “The prize, or rather the target? Madison Brooks.” – the aim is actually to get her to go to the nightclub they’re promoting, not to murder her or anything exciting like that.

I was bored by most of the competition bits and only really got interested quite far into the book, when Madison disappeared and things got interesting. There’s some blackmail going on, there’s mysterious motivations from some characters, and there’s the mystery of Madison’s past as well. But these came too late in the book to make the rest of it interesting.

While I was intrigued towards the end and I would like to know exactly what’s happening and who’s behind everything, I don’t think the mystery is enough to make me want to read the sequel. This wasn’t a bad read: it was well written and I got through it quickly, I just think it wasn’t exciting enough to hold my interest and I wasn’t wowed by it.

3